In August, with a month and a half remaining in the MLB regular season and with two and a half months remaining until the final World Series champion of the 2010s was crowned, I decided to publish a list of the greatest teams of the decade so far. And now, my “so far” includes the entire decade. So here’s the final list.

But now that conclusions have been reached, I’m breaking things down a bit further, to a point where I’m going to release five different parts, spread out across this week. And in the name of transparency, I’ll post the formula I used to calculate the rankings. Is this formula arbitrary, if based in logic? Yes. Is this formula easy to replicate and thus if you really care that deeply about my rankings, you could figure out the answer with ten minutes of Excel tinkering? Absolutely you could. But I’m doing it anyway because what better time than the slowest week of the baseball year to publish (at least) five posts?

The formula is as follows: I ranked all thirty franchises by most overall regular season wins. I then devised a basic formula in which one point is awarded for a League Division Series appearance, two points are awarded for a League Championship Series appearance, three points are awarded for a World Series appearance, and four points are awarded for a World Series victory (note that while I do consider a Wild Card Game loss still making the playoffs, this designation didn’t exist for the first two seasons of the decade, so I excluded it for simplicity’s sake). So let’s get rolling with ranking the top teams of the 2010s.

30. Florida/Miami Marlins

Regular season: 707 wins (30th in MLB)

Postseason: Zero appearances

Best season: 2010, 80-82, 3rd place in NL East, 17 GB

Best position player: Giancarlo Stanton (34.6 fWAR)

Best pitcher: Jose Fernandez (14.5 fWAR)

The history of the Marlins franchise has been largely disastrous, but at least in each of the previous two decades of it, they could point to two semi-flukish World Series runs. This decade, the Marlins never came particularly close to a playoff berth, with the closest thing to an indelible franchise feel-good moment coming in the wake of the tragic death of the decade’s best pitcher at 24. This is a franchise whose primary function in baseball is to produce players who will eventually go on to do great things with other organizations. In the meantime, all Marlins fans, sporadic but existent, get is to be perpetually shamed for apathy that no other franchise’s fans could say with absolute certainty that they wouldn’t feel if they rooted for such a catastrophic disaster of an organization.

29. San Diego Padres

Regular season: 739 wins (29th in MLB)

Postseason: Zero appearances

Best season: 2010, 90-72, 2nd place in NL West, 2 GB

Best position player: Chase Headley (17.8 fWAR)

Best pitcher: Tyson Ross (9.4 fWAR)

The Padres of the 2010s, much like the Padres of most of the franchise’s half-century of history, are nondescript and boring. To their credit, they did have winning season, so they are out of the cellar, but going an entire decade with your best pitcher being Tyson Ross is inexcusable for a Major League franchise. To their credit, the trajectory of the organization does look up, and a future led by the likes of Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. should be nothing if not interesting. But this decade will rightfully be viewed as a lost one in San Diego–given that the other major professional sports team in San Diego left town, this was certainly the city that had the worst sports decade.

28. Chicago White Sox

Regular season: 743 wins (28th in MLB)

Postseason: Zero appearances

Best season: 2010, 88-74, 2nd place in AL Central, 6 GB

Best position player: Jose Abreu (17.9 fWAR)

Best pitcher: Chris Sale (27.1 fWAR)

The White Sox got legitimate star-level seasons out of pitchers Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, which makes them at least a more interesting franchise than the Padres. But their lack of success is impossible to ignore in the grand scheme of things. In theory, that the franchise never really dove head-first into a full tear-it-all-down rebuild might hinder their long-term potential for excellence, but it did at least allow the team to rarely have completely miserable seasons in the 2010s–the team only cleared 90 wins on three occasions, which isn’t great, but it’s something.

27. Seattle Mariners

Regular season: 758 wins (tied for 24th in MLB)

Postseason: Zero appearances

Best season: 2016, 86-76, 2nd place in AL West, 9 GB

Best position player: Kyle Seager (30.7 fWAR)

Best pitcher: Felix Hernandez (34.5 fWAR)

Despite three solid, winning seasons, the Mariners never made the postseason in the 2010s and haven’t made it since 2001. But if you’re able to exclude 2002-2009 from your memories, they were certainly a less demoralizing franchise than others. Kyle Seager and Felix Hernandez, in addition to Robinson Cano, gave Seattle its moments and its well-it’s-better-than-depending-on-Chase-Headley consolation.

26. Colorado Rockies

Regular season: 752 wins (27th in MLB)

Postseason: One NLDS appearance (2018)

Best season: 2018, 91-72, 2nd place in NL West, 1 GB, Wild Card winners

Best position player: Nolan Arenado (31.3 fWAR)

Best pitcher: Jon Gray (13.1 fWAR)

2019 provided an anticlimactic conclusion to a rapidly improving decade which saw the Rockies nearly earn their first NL West crown in 2018. While the Rockies largely spent the decade mired in mediocrity, they had their moments of glory, and had their share of franchise-level position players–prior to Arenado, the Rockies had Troy Tulowitzki, and concurrently had the likes of Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon, and Trevor Story.

25. Minnesota Twins

Regular season: 765 wins (23rd in MLB)

Postseason: Two ALDS appearances (2010, 2019)

Best season: 2019, 101-61, 1st place in AL Central

Best position player: Joe Mauer (24.0 fWAR)

Best pitcher: Kyle Gibson (13.0 fWAR)

The beginning of the 2010s saw one run of Twins success ending while the end saw a much-ballyhooed crop of young talent coming into their own. There was a ton of mediocrity in the middle, with the Minnesota faithful relying on Joe Mauer and antiquated strikeout-resistant pitchers to give them some sort of solace, but the occasional moments is a nice thing to have. Four winning seasons, including one with triple-digit victories, isn’t nothing.

T23. Cincinnati Reds

Regular season: 775 wins (22nd in MLB)

Postseason: Two NLDS appearances (2010, 2012)

Best season: 2012, 97-65, 1st place in NL Central

Best position player: Joey Votto (48.1 fWAR)

Best pitcher: Johnny Cueto (18.2 fWAR)

The decade took a sharp downward turn in the second half, but in the first four seasons of the decade, the Cincinnati Reds had three 90+ win seasons, winning the NL Central crown twice. The franchise had one of the decade’s truly great players, Joey Votto, for the entirety of the decade, and Johnny Cueto had a near-Cy Young season in 2014. The franchise stuck with their early-2010s core far too long, but those early successes shouldn’t be held againt the franchise in the macro sense.

T23. Baltimore Orioles

Regular season: 755 wins (26th in MLB)

Postseason: Two ALDS appearances (2012, 2014), one ALCS appearance (2014)

Best season: 2014, 96-66, 1st place in AL East, ALCS appearance

Best position player: Manny Machado (27.7 fWAR)

Best pitcher: Kevin Gausman (11.0 fWAR)

It’s hard to imagine a franchise crashing harder than the Orioles–while they were notorious for their good fortune in the earlier years of the decade, they more than paid the pied piper in the later years, combining for 101 total wins over the final two seasons of the 2010s. Even in their good seasons, the Orioles were never particularly adept at developing starting pitching (or ponying up on the free agent market for it), but the likes of Manny Machado, Adam Jones, and pre-collapse Chris Davis made Baltimore a solid offensive threat for their 2012-2016 Buck Showalter-fueled stretch.

That will be a wrap for Part 1. Part 2 drops tomorrow.

 

3 thoughts on “The Team of the 2010s Rankings: Part 1

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