AL Central takes the cake ... for now

I don't think I'm going out on a limb by saying this, but the American League Central is MLB's hottest division. Last season, the division featured two playoff teams and the defending world champions and a sub-.500 team that nevertheless outscored its opponents by 88 runs. Even the lowly Royals managed, just by the hairs on their chinny-chin-chins, to avoid finishing with the league's worst record. The Central featured the winningest second-place team in the league, along with the winningest third-, fourth-, and fifth-place teams. This was the Central's best showing since the Central was invented in 1994.

Can they do it again, though? As sports fans, we tend to assume that what happened last season will happen next season. But when it comes to divisional dominance, is the past necessarily prologue? We know nothing's permanent; after all, what's so interesting about the AL Central's performance in 2006 was that just a few years earlier the Central easily was the worst in the league, and perhaps the majors.

Which got me to wondering if we can learn anything from history about divisional dominance. Are multiseason runs common, or rare? Does one season predict the next?