New York Yankees' Aaron Judge, center, is greeted by teammates in the dugout after scoring on a single hit by Chase Headley during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Monday, June 12, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

MLB’s top teams in each division

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Each division in Major League Baseball is different; here are the top teams in each division and who is coming in a close second.

By Adam Hensley

adam-hensley@uiowa.edu

 

AL East: New York Yankees (38-29)

New York took two games from Toronto and Boston and added a sweep of Baltimore before dropping two to the Los Angeles Angels and four to Oakland.

During the Yankees’ six-game losing streak, they’ve managed to keep things close — four games have been decided by a single run.

Aaron Judge, the largest rising star in baseball, leads the bats. Hitting with the league’s fifth-best average (.335), Judge’s 23 home runs sit atop the MLB leaderboards.

Meanwhile, Starlin Castro leads the team in hits — his 88 rank second in the MLB.

As a team, New York ranks third with a .275 batting average and first in on-base percentage (.351), runs (380), and home runs (108).

 

AL Central: Cleveland Indians (36-31)

The race for the AL Central remains the closest of the other divisions.

Cleveland, Minnesota, Kansas City, Detroit, and the Chicago White Sox sit within six games of each other.

The Indians have a two-game lead over the Twins thanks to a four-game sweep from June 16 through Sunday. Cleveland had little trouble rolling through Minnesota — the Indians outscored the Twins 28-8 in the four games.

Winning seven of its last 10 games, Cleveland isn’t a flashy team.

The Indians only rank 17th in batting average, 12th in on-base percentage, 17th in runs, and 15th in home runs. An 11th-ranked slugging percentage (.432) helps their offensive cause, however.

 

AL West: Houston Astros (46-23)

Holding the best record in the majors, Houston commands an all-around solid unit, both offensively and defensively.

The Astros lead the league in batting average (.277) and batting average against (.230). They also rank second in on-base percentage (.344), home runs (106), slugging percentage (.470), and walks plus hits per innings pitched (1.19).

George Springer brings the heat from the plate. In his fourth year, Springer’s 19 home runs pace the Astros.

Defensively, pitcher Dallas Keuchel leads the MLB with a 1.67 ERA. He’s 9-0 this season.

Despite losing six of its past 10 games, Houston holds an 11-game lead over the second-place Texas Rangers.

 

NL East: Washington Nationals (42-27)

The Nationals hold a similar position to that of the Astros — both squads have only won four games in their last 10, yet they hold a lead larger than 10 games over second place.

Through 69 games, Washington sits in the top-two in batting average, home runs, and slugging percentage.

Bryce Harper leads the team with a .421 on-base percentage, and Ryan Zimmerman boasts team highs in batting average (.353) and home runs (19). His batting average is second-best in the league, while his home-run totals tie for third.

No other team in the National League East possesses a record better than .500. Keeping division rivals at bay, Max Scherzer’s 2.26 ERA is fourth in the MLB, helping him to an 8-4 record.

 

NL Central: Milwaukee Brewers (38-33)

Eric Thames highlights a squad sitting only 7.5 games ahead of last-place Cincinnati. Thames’ 20 home runs this year are just one shy of the number of dingers he’s tallied in his three seasons combined prior to this season.

That being said, Thames is only hitting .269 on the year; seven Brewers are hitting better than him so far.

The Chicago Cubs (34-34) are only 2.5 games behind the Brewers and pose a legitimate threat when firing on all cylinders.

The defending World Series Champions have yet to put things together, and until they do so, Milwaukee has the best shot at taking the NL Central.

 

NL West: Colorado Rockies (46-26)

Three of the MLB’s top five teams reside in the National League West. Colorado, Arizona (44-26), and the Los Angeles Dodgers (44-26) are one game within each other, providing fans with the tightest division race.

The Rockies are 7-3 in their past 10, but the Diamondbacks and Dodgers are both 9-1.

Leading the league with 383 runs, the Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon’s 94 hits stands as the best in the MLB, 6 ahead of New York’s Starlin Castro. DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado both have at least 80 hits on the year.

In the pitching department, Antonio Senzatela is tied with Clayton Kershaw, Jason Vargas, and Keuchel with 9 wins.

 

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