BY JERRY TAPP
The calendar has turned to June and Major League Baseball has completed the first two months of the 2017 season. The big question is… will the Houston Astros make their first World Series appearance since 2005 and are they primed to win their first World Series title in franchise history?
The Astros have baseball’s best record at 38-16, a .704 winning percentage. But here’s a quick stat that may give Astros’ fans even more reason to think this is their year: In three of the last four seasons, the team with the best record in baseball as of June 1 has made it to the World Series that year, and two of the last three World Series champions (the Cubs last year and the Giants in 2014) had the MLB’s best record on June 1. All good news for the fans in Houston.
Of course two months does not a season make. But let’s take a look at the last five seasons and see how the teams that led their division on the morning of June 1 did that season.
First, a quick look at this year’s standings. The teams leading their division on June 1 in 2017 are the New York Yankees, Houston and a tie between the Indians and Twins in the American League, and Washington, Milwaukee (yes, the Brewers) and the Dodgers in the National League.
Here’s a few stats concerning teams in first place in their division as of June 1:
- There were 32 teams that led or were tied for the division lead from 2012-2016. Of those 32 teams, 13 went on to win the division that season. Of those 32 teams, 20 made the playoffs that year.
- Of those 13 teams that led their division on June 1 and then won the division that year, four of those teams came from the N.L. Central (good news for the Brewers), most of any of the six divisions.
- Of the last 10 World Series teams, four led their division on June 1 that year, six did not.
- Of the last five World Series champs, three led their division on June 1 that year, two did not (Kansas City in 2015 and the Giants in 2012).
- The last season where two teams that led their division on June 1 met in the World Series was in 2013 (Boston versus St. Louis).
Here’s one final stat: As mentioned above, the Astros have a .704 winning percentage here on the morning of June 1. Since 2000, the Astros are only the fourth team to have a winning percentage of .700 or better on June 1. The Cubs last year were at .700 on June 1, while the 2002 Red Sox (.706) and the 2001 Seattle Mariners (.769) are the other teams on the list.