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2021 MLB Season: Ranking the Divisions

The 2021 MLB Season has snuck up on us quickly! About a month ago, one of our other writers wrote a piece similar to this but a lot has changed since then. This offseason flew by with massive free-agent signings and some surprising trades. Opening day is just over 30 days away, how does each division stack up against one another after a move-filled offseason?

2021 MLB Season: Worst Divisions

The sixth, fifth, and fourth-ranked divisions all have one thing in common. Each saw superstars on the move outside of their division. Expect two teams to end up .500 or better in these divisions.

#6.) National League Central

Notable Departures

A division that saw four teams make the playoffs last year, the NL Central would be lucky to send two teams this year. The Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds seem to be out of the race this year after both lost their Cy Young Award candidate.

The obvious favorite to win the Central in this upcoming season is the St. Louis Cardinals after the addition of Nolan Arenado. On their heels is the Milwaukee Brewers, hoping for a rebound for their MVP candidate Christian Yelich. But the NL Central feels like a one-horse race heading into the 2021 MLB season.

#5.) American League West

Notable Departures

The AL West saw two teams make it into the eight-team AL playoffs last year. But much like the NL Central, this division would be lucky to send two teams to the playoffs in the upcoming 2021 MLB season.

The Astros lost their superstar centerfielder, George Springer, to the Blue Jays. Along with the loss of Springer, Houston will be without Justin Verlander due to injury for some time as well. While the division-winning Athletics lost arguably the best closer in baseball and a key piece of their lineup.

The favorite according to MLB.com remains the Astros, but with moves made by the Angels to give their starting rotation a facelift, it would not be a shock to see Mike Trout and company make the playoffs by winning this horrid division.

#4.) National League West

Notable Departures

  • Nolan Arenado (COL to STL)

How can a division with two of the most exciting teams in baseball be ranked as one of the three worst divisions for the upcoming 2021 MLB season? Look at the rest of the teams involved. The top three divisions have three teams that can contend for winning the division. Outside of the Dodgers and Padres, the Giants, Rockies, and Diamondbacks will be lucky to top 70 wins this year.

On top of the weak bottom half, the division has a clear favorite with the Dodgers. The Padres are exciting and on the come up for this season, but taking down the revamped Dodgers will be no simple task. A clear favorite along with a putrid bottom half of the division causes the NL West to be one of the worst divisions for the 2021 MLB season.

2021 MLB Season: Best Divisions

#3.) American League Central

Notable Departures

Even with the departure of one of the best shortstops in baseball, Cleveland still has a chance at winning the AL Central. The pitching staff is still is led by Shane Bieber and a strong bullpen with the likes of James Karinchak.

Obviously, the two favorites for the division are the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox. But it is far from a two-horse race. Cleveland still has a talented roster and additions to the outfield have bolstered their line-up.

Looking at the bottom half of the division, the Royals and Tigers are both more exciting than any team in the bottom half of the National League West. With additions to their line-up, Kansas City will be an entertaining watch and Detroit has a young pitching staff that every baseball fan should keep their eyes on during the 2021 MLB season.

#2.) American League East

Notable Departures

The Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, and New York Yankees all have a legitimate chance at winning the AL East. Heading into the 2021 MLB season, question marks about the Rays rotation have arisen after the losses of two key starters. But Tampa has shown they are a pitching factory that manufactures young talent to perform well at the MLB level.

After a big offseason, Toronto comes into the 2021 MLB season locked and loaded with one of the best line-ups in baseball. The only question with the Jays is around the back end of the rotation. Everywhere else looks as if the Jays want to win and win NOW!

The Bronx Bombers kept their guy in D.J. LeMahieu and were able to get another budding star in Jameson Taillon to pair with Gerrit Cole in the rotation. The bullpen got some proven veteran arms, and the line-up is ready to hit homers in the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium.

The race to win the AL East is going to be one of the biggest storylines in the MLB. Also, do not be shocked to see THREE teams from the AL East contending for the playoffs during the 2021 MLB season.

#1.) National League East

Notable Departures

  • NONE!

There is an argument to be made that every team in the NL East has a likelihood of winning the division. The East only sent two teams to the playoffs last season, but with additions of Francisco Lindor to the Mets and a big rotation boost in Washington, all five teams are armed and ready for what should be a very entertaining race to the top!

The 2021 MLB season will be exciting!

The best baseball to follow will be out east, as both the AL and NL east have at least three teams with an argument to win their respective divisions. But do not let that take away for the excitement out west between the Dodgers and Padres. This upcoming 2021 MLB season has plenty of storylines and coming off an offseason full of movement, seeing where each team stacks up will be VERY fun to watch.

Follow me on Twitter at @craines38 for more of my content! Don’t forget to join our OT Heroics MLB Facebook group, feel free to follow our new Instagram –  @overtimeheroics_MLB, and listen to our baseball podcast, Cheap Seat Chatter! We’ll see ya there!

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main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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