Five years of April standings have taught us nothing

As we march towards the end of April and the conclusion of the first full month of the 2016 season, here's a friendly reminder about the standings this early in the season: LOL, April baseball. Sometimes teams who are in first place at the end of April wind up winning their division, it's true, but more often than not, they don't. 

So let's have some fun, shall we? Here's a look at which teams were in first place in the end-of-April standings for the previous five seasons.


AL: Yankees, Indians, Rangers
NL: Phillies, Cardinals, Rockies

The Yankees, Rangers, and Phillies all went on to win their division. The Indians placed second (with a record two games under .500), as did the Cardinals (who won the World Series because #DevilMagic), while the Rockies finished the season in fourth place. Woof.


AL: Rays, Indians, Rangers
NL: Nationals, Cardinals, Dodgers

Only the Nationals went on to win their division. The Cardinals, Dodgers, and Rangers all finished in second place, while the Rays finished in third place and the Indians sank to fourth place. Suck it forever, Indians.


AL: Red Sox, Tigers, Rangers
NL: Braves, Cardinals, Rockies

This year saw one of the highest clusters of teams that won their divisions after finishing first in April, including the Red Sox, Tigers, Braves, and Cardinals. The Rangers finished second and missed the postseason completely, and the Rockies somehow managed to finish in dead last place. Maybe next time, Rockies.


AL: Yankees, Tigers, A's
NL: Braves, Brewers, Giants

Only the Tigers managed to turn a first place April finish into a division championship. The Yankees, Athletics, Braves, and Giants all finished second, and of course the Giants later won the World Series because #EvenYearVoodoo. The Brewers? They eventually placed third.


AL: Yankees, Royals, Astros
NL: Mets, Cardinals, Dodgers

Like 2013, four April winners won their divisions: the Royals, the Mets, the Cardinals, and the Dodgers. The Yankees and Astros both finished in second place, but the real surprise was the Rangers. They won their division, but at the end of April they were in last place in the AL West.

In total, fewer than half of the teams who finished April in first place were still in first place by the end of the year, even though many of those teams finished in second place and still found their way into the postseason via the Wild Card (and later, the second Wild Card spot). Teams like the 2013 Rockies and the 2015 Rangers, however, show just how unpredictable a season can be.

The lesson? April standings have very little predictive value. It's a long season! Settle in and enjoy the ride!
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