The NL Central Standings Are Weird, Man

Those who came here looking for a really detailed investigation of the Senior Circuit three weeks into the season are going to be sorely disappointed. And I mean more than usual when you discover my byline only after clicking on an artfully crafted, totally non-clickbait-y title. That’s because, well, we’re only three weeks into the season.

It’s also because I don’t have much of note to say outside of noting just how weird the NL Central looks right now. In both other divisions, the teams with the highest run differentials are leading and those with the lowest are trailing. The Phillies (+17) and Dodgers (+29) hold the top spots, the Fighting Jeterfish (-49) and Rockies (-23) lag behind.

In the bizarro Central, however, things appear as they should in a mirror. The Brewers (-2) have the division’s worst run differential while the Cubs (+18) have the best despite still sitting a game under .500 heading into Friday. A pair of shutouts against the Marlins helped matters, but it’s hard to ignore the Cubs’ potential to gain ground in a hurry.

It’s hard to believe, but I actually drew that red oval freehand.

Run differential is by no means an accurate sign of how good or bad a team is, at least not this early and absent additional supporting evidence. That said, it’s a general truth that the best teams will end up outscoring their opponents over the course of the season. The opposite is true, so maybe that means the Brewers will cool off a little bit here.

To wit, just not playing the Cardinals will hamper Christian Yelich‘s bid at another MVP award.

Again, this really doesn’t mean much at this point, but it was something I was stewing over a little bit and figured I’d share. Keep an eye on these run differentials as the season goes along, though, and we’ll find out whether and when it normalizes.

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