The 2018 Major League Baseball season is upon us, and so it’s time for the yearly tradition of ranking every active franchise. For those new to this series, a brief reminder: My formula for ranking teams looks beyond World Series titles to evaluate several criteria that I think offer a more complete picture of success or failure over the years.
This is especially important in baseball where, until fairly recently, a team could turn in a really good season and not even be rewarded with a postseason appearance. Are we to completely forget those team? Or teams that churn out lengthy stretches of seasons with above-.500 records? I think not, and that’s what this system takes into account besides just championships.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look once again at my criteria and then get to the list!
The categories and point values are as follows:
- 20 points for a World Series title. Pre-1903 titles are not counted.
- 15 points for a pennant.
- 6 points for a playoff series win.
- 2 points for a win in the Wild Card game.
- 4 points for a division title.
- 3 points for a regular season winning percentage of .556 or higher, -3 points for a percentage of .444 or lower.
- 1 point for a winning season, -1 point for a losing season.
- Consecutive winning regular seasons are worth 2 points starting with the second, 3 points for the third, 4 points for the fourth, and so on. The counter is reset after any non-winning season. So if a team has three winning seasons in a row, they get a total of 5 points.
Feel free to share your thoughts on my rankings in the comments below. And as I do every year, I must give credit to two sites that helped form the basis of my own formulations — Bob’s Blog and Page 2.
All rankings are current through the end of the 2017 Major League Baseball season (prior-year ranking in parentheses). Click on the image to be taken to the interactive version:
The Top 10
#1. New York Yankees (#1) — 23.35 pts.
#2. San Francisco Giants (#2) — 8.32 pts.
#3. St. Louis Cardinals (#3) — 7.75 pts.
#4. Boston Red Sox (#4) — 7.60 pts.
#5. Los Angeles Dodgers (#5) — 7.49 pts.
#6. Oakland Athletics (#6) — 5.52 pts.
#7. Atlanta Braves (#7) — 5.51 pts.
#8. Chicago Cubs (#8) — 5.09 pts.
#9. Detroit Tigers (#9) — 4.74 pts.
#10. Pittsburgh Pirates (#11) — 4.63 pts.
Another year, another winning season for the Yankees. That’s 25 in a row for those keeping count. So long as they keep that streak alive their stranglehold on the top spot will not change. Elsewhere, the Pirates moved into the top 10 by default. This is because while they and the Blue Jays had nearly identical losing records in 2017, Toronto has played far fewer seasons and therefore had their average negatively impacted more.
The Mediocre 10
#11. Toronto Blue Jays (#10) — 4.61 pts.
#12. Arizona Diamondbacks (#12) — 4.24 pts.
#13. Cleveland Indians (#15) — 3.70 pts.
#14. Chicago White Sox (#13) — 3.64 pts.
#15. New York Mets (#14) — 3.52 pts.
#16. Cincinnati Reds (#16) — 3.45 pts.
#17. Kansas City Royals (#17) — 3.19 pts.
#18. Baltimore Orioles (#18) — 2.88 pts.
#19. Houston Astros (#22) — 2.67 pts.
#20. Miami Marlins (#19) — 2.17 pts.
As longtime readers might expect, the Astros are the biggest climbers this year. Their amazing World Series title run propelled them out of the bottom tier (#22) all the way to the mid tier (#19). Likewise, the Indians continued their climb through the rankings with another division title, even with the disappointment of an LDS loss to the Yankees.
The Bottom 10
#21. Philadelphia Phillies (#20) — 1.96 pts.
#22. Los Angeles Angels (#21) — 1.95 pts.
#23. Minnesota Twins (#23) — 1.58 pts.
#24. Tampa Bay Rays (#24) — 1.21 pts.
#25. Texas Rangers (#25) — 1.01 pts.
#26. Washington Nationals (#26) — 1.01 pts.
#27. Milwaukee Brewers (#27) — 0.45 pts.
#28. San Diego Padres (#28) — 0.10 pts.
#29. Colorado Rockies (#29) — 0.01 pts.
#30. Seattle Mariners (#30) — -0.13 pts.
Someone had to replace the Astros in the bottom group, and it was the Phillies. Of course their last place finish in the NL East didn’t help matters any. The Rangers actually edged the Nats when you don’t round up (1.01417 vs. 1.00910).
- The Astros have countered some horrible seasons in the early part of the decade and are now in the middle of the pack, points-wise.
- The San Francisco Giants are still the team of the decade so far, thanks largely to three pennants and World Series titles.
Incoming search terms:
- greatest mlb franchise
- least successful baseball franchises