MLB standings ordered by run differential: Rays, Rangers, Braves lapping field

Taking a look at the MLB standings in every division and both the American and National League if it were ordered by run differential. 

It doesn’t take a genius to dive into the MLB standings. You look at the records of teams like the Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers or even some on the opposite end of the spectrum like the Oakland A’s or St. Louis Cardinals, and where they sit in the standings is obvious.

Things can take on much different context when you order the MLB standings by different measures, though.

So what happens when you sort the league and every division by run differential through the first quarter-plus of the 2023 season? Let’s take a look and see what curiosities come from the MLB standings when they’re ordered in that manner.

MLB standings: Divisional standings ordered by run differential

AL East

  1. Tampa Bay Rays (+122)
  2. Baltimore Orioles (+35)
  3. New York Yankees (+25)
  4. Boston Red Sox (+21)
  5. Toronto Blue Jays (+13)

Really not much to say here as the AL East standings remain perfectly in order as normal when sorted by run differential.

AL Central

  1. Minnesota Twins (+41)
  2. Cleveland Guardians (-32)
  3. Detroit Tigers (-46)
  4. Chicago White Sox (-61)
  5. Kansas City Royals (-64)

Not too much to decipher here, though the one flip is that the Guardians are ahead of the Tigers by run differential, which is reversed in the standings as Detroit is a game ahead, though they have played two fewer games this season.

AL West

  1. Texas Rangers (+92)
  2. Houston Astros (+35)
  3. Seattle Mariners (+15)
  4. Los Angeles Angels (+9)
  5. Oakland Athletics (-165)

The two big notes out of the AL West are that the Mariners and Angels are actually flipped in the normal MLB standings in comparison to run differential. More importantly, though, it is truly absurd to think that the A’s are a full 257 runs worse in differential than the Rangers.

NL East

  1. Atlanta Braves (+66)
  2. New York Mets (-16)
  3. Washington Nationals (-26)
  4. Philadelphia Phillies (-38)
  5. Miami Marlins (-53)

If you needed further evidence that the Braves are the goods in the NL East, they’re a full 82 runs better than the next-best team in run differential. It is crazy, though, that the Marlins are second in the normal standings but dead last when sorted by run differential.

NL Central

  1. Chicago Cubs (+31)
  2. Pittsburgh Pirates (+23)
  3. St. Louis Cardinals (+12)
  4. Milwaukee Brewers (0)
  5. Cincinnati Reds (-37)

Run differential might shake up the NL Central more than any other. The Pirates and Brewers are atop the division in normal MLB standings but are second and third here. Meanwhile, the Cubs and Cardinals are third and last in the regular standings, but first and third, respectively, in terms of run differential.

NL West

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers (+54)
  2. Arizona Diamondbacks (+6)
  3. San Diego Padres (-13)
  4. San Francisco Giants (-19)
  5. Colorado Rockies (-30)

The only flip in the NL West standings is the Padres and Giants, who are reversed by record. With that said, it’s stunning that San Diego is negative given the star power in their lineup.

MLB standings: American League standings ordered by run differential

  1. Tampa Bay Rays (+122)
  2. Texas Rangers (+92)
  3. Minnesota Twins (+41)
  4. Baltimore Orioles (+35)
  5. Houston Astros (+35)
  6. New York Yankees (+25)
  7. Boston Red Sox (+21)
  8. Seattle Mariners (+15)
  9. Toronto Blue Jays (+13)
  10. Los Angeles Angels (+9)
  11. Cleveland Guardians (-32)
  12. Detroit Tigers (-46)
  13. Chicago White Sox (-61)
  14. Kansas City Royals (-64)
  15. Oakland Athletics (-165)

No, that’s not a typo with the A’s. Their run differential is literally 100+ runs worse than the next-worst team in the American League through their first 46 games, giving up an astounding 339 runs to this point.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, it shouldn’t come as a shock that the Rays, who have the best record in baseball by 3.5 games, are dominating in run differential. How dominant they’ve been, though, is wild, leading all of baseball in both runs scored and runs allowed, which is truly incredible.

Shockingly close to Tampa Bay and well ahead of the rest of the AL, though is the Rangers, who have scored the second-most runs in baseball to this point and have pitched well to earn that run differential.

MLB standings: National League standings ordered by run differential

  1. Atlanta Braves (+66)
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers (+54)
  3. Chicago Cubs (+31)
  4. Pittsburgh Pirates (+23)
  5. St. Louis Cardinals (+12)
  6. Arizona Diamondbacks (+6)
  7. Milwaukee Brewers (0)
  8. San Diego Padres (-13)
  9. New York Mets (-16)
  10. San Francisco Giants (-19)
  11. Washington Nationals (-26)
  12. Colorado Rockies (-30)
  13. Cincinnati Reds (-37)
  14. Philadelphia Phillies (-38)
  15. Miami Marlins (-53)

The Braves and Dodgers leading the way here by a wide margin shouldn’t shock anyone. Having said that, there are a lot more oddities in the National League than in the AL when you look at things this way.

For example, the Cubs and Cardinals are two of only six teams with a positive run differential, but the two clubs are third and fifth in the NL Central, respectively, and are both below .500 on the season. On the opposite end of that, the Marlins are actually in second-place in what was supposed to be a loaded NL East and despite having the worst run differential in the league.

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