To commemorate the conclusion of the 2010s, I present you the first chapter of the DOL 2010 Closeout Series. A decade closeout extravaganza full of reminiscing and recency bias. As mentioned in my previous blog i-refuse-to-believe-the-wonders-were-actually-one-hit-wonders.html I loved VH1 countdown shows as a kid. Naturally, I was a huge "I love the ____s fan" too, even though they were usually decades I never experienced. This a long-winded way of saying I have been looking forward to this project for a long time.
With baseball being the only major sport that has concluded play for the 2010s it seemed like a natural starting off point. I was considering leading off with my Top 210 songs of the 2010s super-playlist in classic DOL song of the day format, but with 48 days left of the 2010s (when I started this blog) we could theoretically have a decade defining song come out, so I'm going to hold off for at least another month (follow me on apple music @RLM15)
Today is the first school day I haven't worked since early September so I figured what better time to pack the bubbler, crank some tunes (JK I need absolute silence to concentrate while writing) and try to cover an entire decade's worth of Major League Baseball. This blog will cover A LOT; In depth looks at an All-Decade Team, Best World Series and Ranking the World Series Champs. Then quick over few of Best Teams Who Didn't Win it All, and Least Deserving Award Winners.
Leading off is the all-decade team. No advanced analytics here, this is combo of looking at baseball-reference, my memory, big moments, impact and accomplishments.
2010s All-Decade Team
Catcher: Buster Posey; San Francisco Giants (Runner-up: Yadier Molina; St. Louis Cardinals)
2010s Highlights: 6 time All Star, 4 Silver Sluggers, 2011 NL Rookie of the Year, 2012 NL Batting Champ, 2012 NL MVP, 2016 Gold Glove winner. Three time World Series Champion (2010, 2012, 2014)
Buster Posey debuted late in 2009 but has played essentially his entire career to this point in the 2010s. As a rookie in 2010 he helped lead the Giants to a World Series title; the organizations first since 1954 when they still played in New York. After a freak injury during a home plate collision ended his 2011 prematurely (and forever altered the game as we know it) Buster dominated in his return the following season.
2012 was Posey's career year. He hit .336 24 HR 103 RBI. Good enough for NL MVP and a batting title. All this as a catcher coming off of fractured fibula. The Giants won the World Series, again. His game 5th inning grand slam in Game 5 of 2012 NLDS off Mat Latos capped a 0-2 comeback with all three wins on the road in Cincy.
In 2014 the Giants shocked much of baseball yet again and won the World Series. This time as the 2nd Wild Card in the NL, making them the first Wild Card World Champs since the playoff format changed all the way back in 2012. I believe at the time it was the first World Series match-up of sub 90 win teams in a full season.
While he's no longer the same player he was in the first half of the decade and has appeared in around 25 games a year at first base there was no better catcher in the 2010s than Buster Posey imo.
First Baseman: Miguel Cabrera; Detroit Tigers (Runner-up: Joey Votto; Cincinnati Reds)
2010s Highlights: 7x All Star, 5 Silver Sluggers, 2012 American League Triple Crown winner (first since Yaz in 1967), Two AL MVPs (2012, 2013), 5 top 10 MVP finishes (2nd, 2010; 5th, 2011; 1st, 2012; 1st, 2013, 9th; 2014, 9th; 2016), 4 AL Batting Titles, 1x Home Run leader, 2x RBI leader, 4x OBP leader, 2012 American League Champion.
There were multiple men worthy of being in the discussion for best first baseman of the decade, but at the end of the day, none really hold a candle to Miggy with the exception of Joey Votto. Sure, his two best seasons, 2012 and 2013 took place across the diamond at 3rd to accommodate Prince Fielder, but the eye test would tell you Miggy was 1st baseman the entire decade. Wasn't exactly Brooks Robinson at the hot corner. First baseman trapped in a third baseman's body.
Few players have had more fun playing in a Detroit on a team that did nothing but underachieve in the early half of the decade, and dwell in the cellar for the latter half. Miggy may not have much left in the tank but for first 7 years of the decade there were not many batters more feared than #24. Beast.
2nd Baseman: Jose Altuve; Houston Astros (Runner-up: Robinson Cano; New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, New York Mets)
2010s Highlights: 6x All Star, 5 Silver Sluggers, 2015 Gold Glove, 3x AL Batting Champ (2014, 2016, 2017) 4x AL Hit leader, 2x AL Stolen Base leader, 2017 World Series Champion. Walk-off HR to clinch 2019 AL Pennant. 13 Post Season Home Runs.
I almost don't want to waste my time here because there's a great chance the Houston Astros are going to get kicked out of Major League Baseball and completely whipped from the record books like a vacated college team, but for now, Jose Altuve remains the best 2nd baseman of the 2010s. Did you know he's only 5' 6"? (allegedly)
3rd Baseman: Nolan Arenado; Colorado Rockies (Runner-up: T-Adrian Beltre; Boston Red Sox, Texas Ranger. T-Josh Donaldson; Oakland A's, Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves)
2010s Highlights: 5x All Star, 7x Gold Glove winner (every season of his career), 3x Platinum Glove winner, 3x NL Home Run leader, 2x NL RBI leader. (Pretty cool walk-off HR with a bloody eye on Father's Day 2017 to clinch hitting for the cycle)
If he wasn't wasting away in Denver Nolan Arenado would be A-Rod on a national level. Nobody has dominated at their position more since coming into the league this decade with the except of Mike Trout and maybe Mookie Betts. I don't care that he plays at Coors Field, it has nothing to do with his fielding. (Obviously it impacts his offense)
Shortstop: Fransisco Lindor; Cleveland Indians (Runner-up: Elvis Andrus; Texas Rangers)
2010s Highlights: 4x All Star, 2x Gold Glove winner, 2x Silver Slugger, Platinum Glove Winner, 4 top 10 MVP finishes , 2016 American League Champion.
After LF, shortstop was probably the most challenging position to pick. The 90s and 2000s were full of star SS. The same cannot be said for the 2010s as a whole. At least nobody who had an extended run of dominance like your Miggys or Mike Trouts of the world. I went with Franky Lindor for how electric he is and how much he's dominated since entering the league in 2015. I don't think its a coincidence that the Indians started really winning again right around when he showed up. Sucks for Tribe fans they'll lose him. As a Mookie Betts lover I can empathize.
Left Field: Ryan Braun; Milwaukee Brewers (Runner-up: Justin Upton; Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels)
2010s Accomplishments: 4x All Star, 3x Silver Slugger, 2011 NL MVP, 2012 MVP runner-up, 1x NL HR leader, 2x NL OPS leader
I wanted to stay true to traditional baseball and have a representative for all three outfield spots instead of just picking three OF. Baseball changed gold glove voting in 2011 so every position was represented and ole dozo just followed suit.
Ryan Braun is a known steroid guy which makes me not want to include him but all things being equal if you were to think of 2010s Left Fielders he's likely the first name that comes to mind. There was a two season run where Braun manned RF but for the most part #8 has been #7 in the scorecard.
Center Field: Mike Trout; Los Angeles Angels (Runner-up: Andrew McCutchen; Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies)
2010s Highlights: 8x All Star, 7x Silver Slugger, 2012 AL ROY, 3x MVP (2016. 2018, 2019), 4x MVP-runner up (2012, 2013, 2015, 2018), 4x leader in runs scored, 1x AL RBI leader, 4x OBP leader, 4x OPS leader.
Best player of the generation. Mike Trout realistically could've been MVP any full season he's been in the big leagues. I've been lucky enough to see him play in person twice. He's literally in a league of his own. Sucks he only went to the playoffs once in the 2010s (swept in 2014 ALDS) but with Joe Maddon managing the Halos in 2020 I feel like he'll at least get to a wild card game at some point. I think his hair and nickname stick but its hard to find many flaws in Mike Trout.
Right Field: Mookie Betts; Boston Red Sox (Runner up: Mike/Giancarlo Stanton; Florida/Miami Marlins, New York Yankees)
2010s Highlights: 4x All Star, 4x Gold Glove winner, 3x Silver Slugger, 2018 AL Batting Champ, 2x Runs scored leader, 2018 AL MVP, 2016 AL MVP runner-up, 2018 World Series Champion.
Mookie Betts' 2018 alone may be enough to get him a spot on the list when he accomplished something no player has ever done in one season. Batting title, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, MVP and a World Series ring. In addition to his historic 2018 Betts is the four time defending AL Gold Glove winner in RF and already has close to 1000 hits. I hope Mookie continues his career in Boston, but should go elsewhere what he accomplished from 2015-2019 earns him RF of the decade honors.
DH: David Ortiz; Boston Red Sox (Runner-up Nelson Cruz; Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, Minnesota Twins)
2010s Highlights: 5x All Star, 3x Silver Slugger, 2 top 10 MVP finishes (10th, 2013; 6th, 2016), 2013 World Series Champion, 2013 World Series MVP, joined 500 HR club on September 12th, 2015.
After 2008 and 2009 it seemed like David Ortiz was reaching the end of his career. In 2009 David hit .238 over 150 games. Papi found a new lease on life in the latter part of his career belting 224 home runs in 7 seasons during the 2010s. It seemed like David Ortiz was getting better with age, his 2016 is one of the best final seasons in MLB history; he finished 6th in MVP voting. Not bad for a 40 year old DH with bad feet. His performance in 2013 postseason, highlighted by a .688 batting average in the World Series cemented his legacy as one of the best postseason performers in baseball history.
Starting Pitchers; Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
2010s Highlights: 8x All Star, 3x Cy Young Award Winner (2011, 2013, 2014), 8 top 10 Cy Young finishes (1st, 2011; 2nd, 2012; 1st, 2013; 1st, 2014; 3rd. 2015; 5th, 2016; 2nd, 2017; 8th, 2019) 2014 NL MVP, 3 top 10 MVP seasons (7th, 2013; 1st, 2014; 10th, 2015), 2011 NL Pitching Triple Crown, 2011 Gold Glove winner, 5x NL ERA titles, 3x NL wins leader, 3x NL Leader in Strikeouts, 4x NL Leader in ERA+, 4x NL Leader in WHIP, 2x NL leader in K/9
There is no more polarizing starting pitcher than Clayton Kershaw. In the regular season he has been arguably the pitcher of the decade, highlighted by a four year run from 2011-2014 where Kershaw lead the National League in ERA every year, won 3 Cy Youngs and an MVP. He's a major reason why the Dodgers have won the NL West every year since 2013 and have had so many shots a World Series title. Unfortunately for Kershaw his legacy will forever tied to his postseason performances.
Kershaw's postseason numbers since 2010:
I'm not a Dodgers fan whatsoever and lean more anti-neutral on all things Dodgers, I've made my fair share of jabs at Kershaw's expense but I can't lie I feel bad for the guy. He's the anti-Bumgarner. I honestly think on a baseball level I'd rather be Rick Porcello. Rather be the guy who defies expectations a couple times then the guy who's got nowhere to go but down. He's been hands down the most dominate left-handed pitcher since Randy Johnson and to his credit has his share of postseason gems, at 9-11 with a 4.43 ERA that only increases by the round. Regardless if you think he's just gotten bad luck and been hindered by poor managerial decisions or the most overrated pitcher of all time there's no denying Kershaw's spot on this list.
Justin Verlander; Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros
2010s Highlights: 6x All Star, 2x Cy Young Winner (2011, 2019), 6 top 10 Cy Young seasons (1st, 2011; 2nd, 2012; 2nd, 2016; 5th, 2017, 2nd, 2018, 1st, 2019), 2011 AL Pitching Triple Crown, 2011 AL MVP, 3x leading in innings pitched, 2x wins leader, 4x strikeout leader, 4x leader in WHIP, 2017 ALCS MVP, 2017 World Series Champion
Justin Verlander is one of the greatest contemporary RHP. Cy Young awards 8 years apart, an MVP award, he's going to be in Cooperstown one day. His career has been resurrected since landing in Houston minutes before the non-defunct waiver-trade deadline, although similarly to Altuve with on going allegations this could all be erased.
While Verlander doesn't have the same playoff loser tag that Kershaw does, he is 0-6 with a 5.68 ERA in 7 career World Series starts. 5 of those came this decade. Baseball is a funny game.
Max Scherzer; Detroit Tigers and Washington Nationals
2010s Highlights: 7x All Star, 3x Cy Young winner, 7 top 5 Cy Young finishes, 1x AL win leader, 3x NL wins leader, 3x NL strikeout leader, 4x NL WHIP leader, 2019 World Series Champion.
Mad Max came into his own in the motor city and became a Hall of Famer in the nation's capital. Without question the best pitcher in baseball since 2013. In an era of over-inflated bad contracts his deal with the Nats may go down as the best free agent signing ever.
Chris Sale; Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox
2010s Highlights: 7x All Star (3 time starter), 7 top 6 Cy Young finishes (6th, 2012, 5th, 2013; 3rd, 2014; 4th, 2015; 5th, 2016; 2nd, 2017; 4th, 2018) , 2x AL strikeout leader, 2018 World Series Champion.
Despite a disappointing end to the decade, Chris Sale had a pretty decade start to his major league career. As of now he's on a HOF trajectory although concerns over his built and entire left arm could derail that train without much resistance.
Madison Bumgarner; San Francisco Giants
2010s Highlights: 4x All Star, 4 top 10 Cy Young Finishes (9th, 2013; 4th, 2014; 6th, 2015; 4th, 2016) 2x Silver Slugger, 3x World Series Champion (2010, 2012, 2014), 2-0, 18.0 IP, 0.00 era, 2 CG SO in Wild Card Games, 2014 NLCS & World Series MVP, 4-0 with a 0.25 ERA in 4 World Series starts and one five inning save.
Mad Bum doesn't have sexy regular win loss numbers numbers, but with all but 10 innings of his career taking place in the 2010s I feel okay just using his career numbers... 3.13 career era in 1846.0 IP (1836.0 in the 2010s). Absolute stud in the postseason. Every Giants World Series have a different narrative, but every time Madison Bumgarner's number was called he dealt. 8.0 innings of 3-hit shutout ball in Game 4 of the 2010 WS; 7.0 innings of 2-hit shutout ball in Game 2 of the 2012 WS. His signature postseason that forever cemented his legacy as October great came in 2014. It's hard to say in baseball a single man can lead a team to a championship, but Mad Bum came pretty fucking close in 2014.
For 2014 alone Mad Bum is the 5th starter in the all-2010s rotation, but come October he's going game 1.
Setup man: Andrew Miller; Florida Marlins, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals
2010s highlights: 2x All Star, 2 top 10 Cy Young finishes, 2013 World Series Champion (injured) 2016 ALCS MVP, 2016 American League Champion, 0.95 career postseason ERA in 38.0 IP.
The 2010s was the decade of the bullpen. We saw the Rays start the opener and bullpen day method. It was partly by necessity, partly by analytics, but completely changed the way the game is played. We saw teams like the 2014 and 2015 Royals win pennants greatly in part to lockdown late inning arms.
Of all the individuals, no pitcher had a run like Andrew Miller from 2012-2017. A failed starter who was a key piece of the Miguel Cabrera trade going back to the Marlins, Miller's era was above 5,00 in 4 of his first 5 seasons. After moving the bullpen full time in 2012 with the Red Sox Miller reached that potential that made him the #6 overall pick in 2006. Miller's best moments of the decade came as Yankees closer in 2015 and Indians set-up man on a run all the way to Game 7 of the World Series where he scooped up ALCS MVP along the way.
Closer: Craig Kimbrel; Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs. (Runner-up Kenley Jensen; Los Angeles Dodgers)
2010s Highlights: 7x All Star, 5 top 10 Cy Young Finishes (9th, 2011; 5th, 2012; 4th, 2013; 9th, 2014; 6th, 2017), 2010 NL Rookie of the Year, 4x NL Saves Champion, 2018 World Series Champion. 346 saves in the 2010s, 2.08 ERA in 553.1 IP.
Kimbrel broke into the scene late in 2010 and showed a sign of things to come for the next 8 season. If he got hit by a bus tomorrow he'd be in Cooperstown 5 years later. Don't let a weird end to 2018 and horrible 2019 under some unfair circumstances make you forget how dominate Kimbrel was for a very long time.
Top 5 World Series of the Decade
5. 2019 Washington Nationals(93-69) over Houston Astros in 7 (107-55)
Series MVP: Stephan Strasburg; 2-0, 2.51 ERA, 14.1 IP, 14K
Best Game: Game 1, Nats 5, Astros 4
First 7 game series in North American sports history where the road team won every game. While the games in DC were rather uneventful, the story line of this World Series as it played out earns it a spot in the top 5. #narrative. Nats go up 2-0 the road, Astros win three straight to take 3-2 lead going home with Verlander and Greinke pitching, Nats go back to Houston and beat them both. Game 7 ended 6-2 but was a much better game than the scoreline would indicate (same with game 2). Astros lead 2-0 until the 7th where the Nats came back (and hit the over) to become the first team to win a championship by winning four road games.
4. 2013 Boston Red Sox (96-66) over St. Louis Cardinals (96-66) in 6
Series MVP: David Ortiz .688, 2 HR, 6 RBI
Best Game: Game 3, Cardinals 5 Red Sox 4
Only World Series that didn't go the distance to make the top 5. In the 6 game series, 4 games were determined by two runs or fewer. The Red Sox won game 1 at home convincingly thanks to a dominating performance by Jon Lester. The Cards battled back to win game two at Fenway aided by a little league double error by the Red Sox in the top of the 7th after taking the lead 2-1 after a David Ortiz monster show. Game 3 was a classic, highlighted by the obstruction play, but that game was like a pinball going back and forth in the late innings. (Daniel Nava's best game!) The Sox won the next two in St. Louis, notably ending game 4 with a pick-off of Kolten Wong when Carlos Beltran represented the tying run. The Sox went home to Fenway for Game 6 where John Lackey exercised his demons in a 6-1 Red Sox victory; the only of the Red Sox four World Series titles since 2004 clinched at Fenway Park.
3. 2017 Houston Astros (101-61) over Los Angeles Dodgers (104-58) in 7 games
Series MVP: George Springer .379, 5 HR, 7 RBI
Best Game: Game 5, Astros 13 Dodgers 12 (10 innings)
A classic game 7 series that would likely be a spot higher if game 7 had a little more drama. But if you were ranking best overall World Series games of the decade Games 2 and 5 likely are both in the top 10. I'll always think of Dave Roberts blowing this series. Still will never understand taking out Rich Hill in game 6. Again this series may have an asterisk.
2. 2011 St. Louis Cardinals (90-72) over Texas Rangers (96-66) in 7 games
Series MVP: 3B David Freese .348, 1 HR, 7 RBI
Best Game: Game 6, Cardinals 10 Rangers 9 (11 innings)
Game 6 is the best baseball game I've ever seen that did not involve the Boston Red Sox. That's enough to clinch the 2nd spot. Unreal Cinderella run by the rally squirrel Cardinals. They were probably worse than all three teams they faced in the playoffs but that's the beauty of October. The Rangers were up 3-2 in the series and leading 7-4 going into the bottom of the 8th but allowed 1 in the 8th and 2 in the 9th to tie the game 7-7. After the Rangers scored 2 in the top of the 10th, the Cards scored 2 in the bottom of the 10th when down to their last strike before David Freese hit a walk-off HR in the 11th after tying the game 9th. I love how after scoring 16 runs in game 3 (lead by Pujols 3 HR game) the Rangers shut the Cardinals out and held the to two hits in game 4. Game 7 looked like it was going to be a classic after the first inning, it wasn't...but the 2011 as a whole was.
1. 2016 Chicago Cubs (103-59) over Cleveland Indians (94-67) in 7 games
Series MVP: 2B/OF Ben Zobrist .357, 0 HR, 2 RBI (2nd worst MVP choice of the decade after Steve Pearce in 2018)
Best Game: Game 7, Cubs 8 Indians (10 innings)
After the Cleveland Cavaliers came back from down 3-1 against the 73-9 Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals the Cleveland Indians held a 3-1 series lead against the Chicago Cubs. Corey Kluber likely would've been series MVP had the Indians won game 5 or 6. I'll never forget game 7 for as long as I live. In a way the Cubs won in spite of Joe Maddon's decision making. A legendary fall classic between the two teams with the longest World Series droughts and game 7 was a movie! Doesn't get much better than that.
Best World Series Champions
Pythagorean record basically uses runs scored and runs allowed to give an idea of how good your team is. It's not a perfect stat as run-differential has it's flaws, but for the most part shows how good your team should be based on it's production. Things like blowouts, one-run wins and managerial decisions aren't really factored in. For days in first place think out of 162.
10. 2014 San Francisco Giants
Regular season finish: 2nd NL West; 88-74 (Pythagorean record: 87-75)
Longest winning streak: 6 games
Longest losing streak: 6 games
Days in first place: 89
Games back: 6
Beat Pittsburgh Pirates 9-0 in the NL Wild Card Game
Won NLDS in 4 over the Washington Nationals (98-64)
Won NLCS in 5 over the St. Louis Cardinals (defending NL champs)
Won World Series in 7 over the Kansas City Royals
It's hard to say one man carried a team to a title, but if there was ever a case of that in baseball it was the 2014 Giants (who were the 2nd wild card, won less than 90 games, nobody with over 89 RBI, finished last in NL runs scored) and Madison Bumgarner. Like their two previous World Series, this title was shocking.
9. 2011 St. Louis Cardinals
Regular season finish: 2nd NL Central; 90-72 (Pythagorean record: 88-74)
Longest winning streak: 5 games
Longest losing streak: 7 games
Days in first place: 64
Games back: 6
Won NLDS in 5 over the Philadelphia Phillies (101-61)
Won NLCS in 6 over the Milwaukee Brewers
Won World Series in 7 over the Texas Rangers
One the best Cinderella playoff runs in recent memory, aided by an all-time Game 6 of the World Series. On September 5th the Cardinals were 74-67. While this team had many names there were no career years. Starting rotation was nothing special in a year where Adam Wainwright was unavailable. In the playoffs they squeaked by the heavily favored Phillies in the NLDS, and beat the Rangers in one the best World Series of all time. David Freese chiseled his name in baseball lore this October.
8. 2012 San Francisco Giants
Regular season finish: 1st NL West; 94-68 (Pythagorean record:88-74)
Longest winning streak: 6 games
Longest losing streak: 5 games
Days in first place: 79
Games ahead of 2nd: 6
Won NLDS in 5 over the Cincinnatti Reds
Won NLCS in 7 over St. Louis Cardinals (came by down 3-1)
Won World Series in 4 over the Detroit Tigers
This team won its division which is something the last Giants team cannot say. Hunter Pence trade was a turning point. All three Giants titles were lead by a different "ace" and closer. This was Matt Cain's year; 16-5 2.79 ERA and a perfect game. Sergio Romo locked down the back end with some sort of lawnmower type dance after Brian Wilson missed essentially the entire season. As mentioned earlier in the blog Buster Posey was MVP in 2012. Vogelsong was a great story, but my favorite was the redemption of Barry Zito after being left off the roster in 2010.
7. 2010 San Francisco Giants
Regular season finish: 1st NL West; 92-70 (Pythagorean record: 94-68)
Longest winning streak: 5 games
Longest losing streak: 7 games
Days in first place: 33
Games ahead of 2nd: 2
Won NLDS in 4 over the Atlanta Braves
Won NLCS in 6 over Philadelphia Phillies
Won World Series in 5 over the Texas Rangers
Almost blew their division lead to the Padres on the final weekend of the season but the 2010 Giants on paper were probably the most talent of their three title teams of the decade. Brian Wilson took the world by storm, Big Game Timmy Jim wasn't his 08-09 Cy Young form but easily the ace of this staff. Aubrey Huff and the rally thong highlighted a cast of vets (Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, Edgar Renteria, Juan Uribe, Andres Torres) who came together to help San Francisco win its first World Series.
6. 2015 Kansas City Royals
Regular season finish: 1st AL Central; 95-67 (Pythagorean record: 90-72)
Longest winning streak: 7 games
Longest losing streak: 4 games
Days in first place: 143
Games ahead of 2nd: 12
Won ALDS in 5 over the Houston Astros
Won NLCS in 6 over the Toronto Blue Jays
Won World Series in 5 over the New York Mets
When I think of the 2015 Royals I think one word "contact".
Originally I had the Royals at #8 because their rotation was a joke, they feasted on a horrible division and were aided by every team they faced in the playoffs beating themselves. but I have to tip my cap to what the 2015 Royals accomplished. They knew this was their one chance after losing in game 7 the year before. They went all in by adding Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist. Pretty much the entire team made the All Star team. The mid-decade Royals had a very short run but they made the most of it. Sal Perez was a stud in 2015. Lead by a dominant bullpen and core of just solid but in no way HOF talent, in a way these are the 2004 Detroit Pistons of MLB.
5. 2019 Washington Nationals
Regular season finish: 2nd NL East; 93-69 (Pythagorean record: 95-67)
Longest winning streak: 8 games
Longest losing streak: 5 games
Days in first place: 0
Games back: 4
Beat Milwaukee Brewer 4-3 in the NL Wild Card Game
Won NLDS in 5 over the Los Angeles Dodgers (106 wins)
Won NLCS in 4 over the St. Louis Cardinals
Won World Series in 7 over the Houston Astros (107 wins)
While they may have been a Wild Card team and never lead the NL East at any point, the 2019 Nationals are still a top 5 World Series Champ of the decade. After starting the regular season 19-31 the Nats had the best record in baseball and slayed the two teams everybody assumed would meet in the World Series (Dodgers and Astros) en route to Washington D.C.'s first World Series winner since 1924. One of the best starting rotations of the decade led by two future Hall of Famers and Patrick Corbin who doesn't suck. Perfect mix of old and young talent. (s/o Howie Hendrick) Juan Soto became a star, Anthony Rendon played like an MVP. 2019 Nats became the first team in North American sports to win a best of 7 series by winning four games on the road. Considering the deck was stacked against them its even more impressive.
4. 2017 Houston Astros
Regular Season Record: 101-61 (Pythagorean Record: 99-63)
Longest winning streak: 11 games
Longest losing streak: 5 games
Days in first place: 154
Games ahead of 2nd: 21
Won ALDS in 4 over the Boston Red Sox
Won ALCS in 7 over the New York Yankees
Won World Series in 7 over the Los Angeles Dodgers
The 2017 were a dominant team that basically clinched the division in June. We all know the big names on this roster, but let's not forget the Achilles heel; starting pitching. After not making a major splash at the deadline the major question for the Stros was would they be able to advance in the playoffs with their questionable pitching rotation. I remember Kuechel was heated they did nothing. At the 11th hour they landed Justin Velander on August 31st. He proceeded to go 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA in 5 starts to close out the regular season. After steamrolling the Red Sox, the Astros beat the Yankees in 7 in a series that saw the home team go undefeated to win the pennant. They defeated the Dodgers in a memorable World Series that included two instant classic Astro wins in game 2 and 5. Oh and they probably cheated worse than any other team in the history of organized sports.
3. 2013 Boston Red Sox
Regular Season Record: 97-65 (Pythagorean Record: 100-62)
Longest winning streak: 7 games
Longest losing streak: 3 games
Days in first place: 141
Games ahead of 2nd: 6
Won ALDS in 4 over the Tampa Bay Rays
Won ALCS in 6 over the Detroit Tigers
Won World Series in 6 over the St. Louis Cardinals
Boston Strong. This team was united playing for something bigger than themselves. Some key pieces from the 07-11 run were left mixed with key off-season acquisitions. Absolutely jelled from the jump. Never has a losing streak longer than 3 games. Jon Lester had a nice bounceback from a disappointing 2012. John Lackey atoned for 2010 and 2011. Koji was electric. Pedroia had his last great season, Ellsbury was a sparkplug leading off, Victorino was a delight in RF, Nap was solid, Nava hit .303/.385 and David Ortiz WAS GOD. Probably my favorite team of the decade. No bias in their ranking.
2. 2016 Chicago Cubs
Regular Season Record: 103-58 (Pythagorean Record: 107-53)
Longest winning streak: 11 games
Longest losing streak:5 games
Days in first place: 159
Games ahead of 2nd: 17.5
Won NLDS in 4 over the San Francisco Giants
Won NLCS in 6 over the Los Angeles Dodgers
Won World Series in 7 over the Cleveland Indians (came back down 3-1)
Easily the most important team of the decade. The 2016 Cubs lost Kyle Schwarber to a torn ACL in like the 4th game of the year but didn't skip a beat; 17-5 in April. Their entire infield started in the All Star Game. Kris Bryant won MVP. Starting rotation was phenomenal with Lester, Hendricks and Arrieta. Chapman nearly blew it but was the missing piece they needed. Cost the Cubs Gleyber Torres but I think they'd all make the trade again.
1. 2018 Boston Red Sox
Regular Season Record: 108-54 (Pythagorean Record: 103-59)
Longest winning streak: 10 games
Longest losing streak: 3 games
Days in first place: 148
Games ahead of 2nd: 8
Won ALDS in 4 over the New York Yankees (100 wins)
Won ALCS in 5 over the Houston Astros (103 wins, defending champs)
Won World Series in 5 over the Los Angeles Dodgers (defending NL champs)
Most dominate team of the decade and it's not even close. 17-2 out the gates. Notable months: April: 19-6; July 19-6; August 18-9. Probably one the three best teams of the last 40 years. Mookie had one the greatest single seasons in MLB history. J.D. Martinez won two silver sluggers. JBJ played an elite CF. Great starting rotation, iffy bullpen that figured it out in October. Cut through two 100+ win teams like a guillotine through tissue paper and if it wasn't for an Ian Kinsler error they likely sweep the World Series.
Best Non-Champions in no particular order:
-107 wins. Top 2 finishers in Cy Young, Unanimous ROY, Bregman finished 2nd in MVP. 0-4 at home in World Series.
-106 wins. Lose NLDS in 5 to eventual World Series Champs.
-103 wins. Came back defending even stronger with the addition of Cole. Won game 1 of the ALCS at Fenway then lost four straight (including three at home) to go home without a pennant.
-104 wins. Cruised through first two rounds of the playoffs. Lose game 7 of the World Series at home.
102 wins, 22 straight from August 24th to September 15th. Only 4 losses in September. Corey Kluber won Cy Young (clearly hurt in October). Blew 2-0 lead in ALDS to the Yankees.
2015 Blue Jays
93 wins (102 pythaogorean) Very fun team, first Canadian playoff team since 93. All time moment with Bautista bat flip in ALDS. Could've beaten Royals had Price not imploded in game 2.
90 wins. Swept Cubs in NLCS. Lead basically the entire 2015 World Series but somehow lost in 5,
93 wins (99 pythagorean wins). Cy Young winner in Max Scherzer. Verlander was close to his peak. MVP Miggy. Prince Fielder, Torii Hunter, great manager in his final year. Dominated ALCS against my Red Sox but bullpen blew multiple games for them.
96 wins. A strike away from winning it all..........twice.
Last year of the Phillies core run and most successful regular season. 101 wins. Lead by R2C2 rotation. Roy Halladay's last great season; easily could've won Cy Young again. Lose game 5 of NLDS at home 1-0 in pitchers duel between Chris Carpenter and Halladay. Cards scored in top of 1st. Brutal.
Least deserving award winners;
2012 Cy Young: David Price (should've been Justin Verlander)
2015 AL Gold Glove: Yoenis Cespedes (traded to NL mid-season)
2016 Cy Young: Rick Porcello (should've been Justin Verlander)
2016 World Series MVP: Ben Zobrist (should've been Anthony Rizzo)
2016 NL Manager of the Year: Dave Roberts (had to Maddon)
2018 World Series MVP: Steve Pearce (should've been David Price)
P.S. I don't know why the stats aren't showing up. They were fine when I run through the blog. It's midnight and I have to work in 7 hours. I will try to fix it afterwards.