Skip to main content

How Are Major League Baseball Teams Divided?

Chicago Cubs Al Bridwell and Jimmy Archer in 1913.

Chicago Cubs Al Bridwell and Jimmy Archer in 1913.

To veteran baseball fans, the way in which the teams of the MLB are divided is common knowledge. But to those who are still learning about the league and the game, these simple divisions may be unclear. This article will break down the divisions of the MLB, giving students of baseball a guide to reference when they want to look up their favorite teams and the divisions to which they belong.

How Is Major League Baseball Divided?

Major League Baseball is divided into two leagues: the American League and the National League.

American League

The American League is divided into three regional divisions:

  • American League East (AL East)
  • American League Central (AL Central)
  • American League West (AL West)

National League

The National League is also divided into three regional divisions:

  • National League East (NL East)
  • National League Central (NL Central)
  • National League West (NL West)

In total, the MLB is divided into six divisions.

AL EastNL East

Baltimore Orioles

Atlanta Braves

Boston Red Sox

Miami Marlins

New York Yankees

New York Mets

Tampa Bay Rays

Philadelphia Phillies

Toronto Blue Jays

Washington Nationals

AL CentralNL Central

Chicago White Sox

Chicago Cubs

Cleveland Indians

Cincinnati Reds

Detroit Tigers

Milwaukee Brewers

Kansas City Royals

Pittsburgh Pirates

Minnesota Twins

St. Louis Cardinals

AL WestNL West

Houston Astros

Arizona Diamondbacks

Los Angeles Angels

Colorado Rockies

Oakland Athletics

Los Angeles Dodgers

Seattle Mariners

San Diego Padres

Texas Rangers

San Francisco Giants

How Do the Playoffs Work in the MLB?

When it comes to the postseason, the MLB breaks down the games into four competitions. In the order they are played, these are:

  1. Wild card game
  2. League Division Series (LDS)
  3. League Championship (LCS)
  4. World Series (WS)

Wild Card Game and League Division Series

The League Division Series consists of four best-of-five games played by eight teams (four teams from each league).

For each league, the first-seeded team plays the winner of the wild card game (which is played by the fourth- and fifth-seeded teams), and the second-seeded team plays the third-seeded team.

League Championship Series

The winners of the American League Division Series (ALDS) move on to the American League Championship Series (ALCS), and the winners of the National League Division Series (NLDS) move on to the National League Championship Series (NLCS). This is a best-of-seven series.

World Series

The world series is played by the winners of the American League Championship Series and the National League Championship Series. This is a best-of-seven series, and the winner is crowned the best team in American baseball for that year.

© 2018 Matt Zamudio


CJ Kelly from the PNW on April 24, 2018:

Good primer on the game. One thing I would like MLB to start doing is move teams between divisions or leagues more often. Teams with no real history (Dbacks, Rays, Rockies). Put Detroit back in the AL East and move Tampa Bay or Toronto. The Al East is all about the Yankees, Sox and Orioles anyway.