Baseball in the 2000s

Taking a completely unbiased approach, I ranked each Major League Baseball franchise based on its performance throughout the decade. I assigned a point value to each squad based on how it did at the end of each season.

For each season, the lowest-ranking team received one point (which was most frequently “achieved” by the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays — 2001, 2002, 2006 and 2007. Not a category you’d like to lead). The next “best” team received two points, etc. This score trend continues though 22, which covers each team that failed to reach the playoffs.

Now I should clarify, these point values are not based solely on record. Why? Because a team doesn’t make the playoffs based solely on record. It’s only part of the equation. It doesn’t matter what your record was if you didn’t make the playoffs. My scoring system is based entirely on how close the team was to winning the World Series.

The bottom six spots are taken by the six teams that finished last in their respective divisions (plus, if applicable, a team that finished fifth in the National League Central). It is within the group of division bottom feeders that record is then taken into account. Anyway, it’s a little complicated, but it makes sense to me. And that’s all that counts.

Once we get to the playoff teams, the first four teams that were eliminated from the playoffs get scores of 25-28. I thought a jump from 22 to 25 was good enough to put a little separation between playoff teams and non-playoff teams. Of the four teams to be eliminated, I ranked them by what seed they were. For example, the first four teams eliminated from the playoffs this year were:

  • St. Louis Cardinals (NL 3 seed, .562 regular season record)
  • Minnesota Twins (AL 3 seed, .534 regular season record)
  • Boston Red Sox (AL Wild Card, .586 regular season record)
  • Colorado Rockies (NL Wild Card, .568 regular season record)

Now using my scoring system, Colorado gets 25 points for the 2009 season, Boston gets 26, Minnesota gets 27 and St. Louis gets 28. I know a lot of you are probably saying right now, though, that the Red Sox were a far better team than the Twins. I care not. Like I said, my point system is based on who came closest to winning the World Series. In my opinion, this reflects that.

Anyway, below are the rankings, which DO include up to the first round of the 2009 playoffs. I will post updated rankings once the Series is complete. Just so you know, the four teams that are currently still in it (New York Yankees, LA Angels, LA Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies) currently each have the minimum score they will obtain for the 2009 season assigned to them, which is 32 (again, there’s a little jump from the previous round of playoff losers, the highest of which has 28 points).

The better of the two League Championship Series losers gets 33. The World Series loser gets 40. The World Series champion gets a whopping 50 points.

Next to each team, you’ll see its 2000s decade score followed by the team’s estimated total salary paid out during the decade (based on figures from the USA TODAY Baseball Salary Database) and some notes. Enjoy!

  1. New York Yankees, 321 pts, $1.67 bil. — 1 WS win, 3 WS appearances, 9 playoff appearances.
  2. Boston Red Sox, 293 pts, $1.17 bil. — 2 WS wins, 2 WS appearances, 6 playoff appearances.
  3. St. Louis Cardinals, 284 pts, $831.62 mil. — 1 WS win, 2 WS appearances, 7 playoff appearances.
  4. Los Angeles Angels, 259 pts, $883.67 mil. — 1 WS win, 1 WS appearance, 6 playoff appearances.
  5. Philadelphia Phillies, 228 pts, $795.05 mil. — 1 WS win, 1 WS appearance, 3 playoff appearances.
  6. Atlanta Braves, 224 pts, $927.57 mil. — 6 playoff appearances.
  7. Chicago White Sox, 217 pts, $773.52 mil. — 1 WS win, 1 WS appearance, 3 playoff appearances.
  8. Oakland Athletics, 215 pts, $522.94 mil. — 5 playoff appearances.
  9. Minnesota Twins,  212 pts, $502.37 mil. — 5 playoff appearances.
  10. Los Angeles Dodgers, 212 pts, $1.00 bil. — 4 playoff appearances.
  11. Houston Astros, 205 pts, $771.37 mil. — 1 WS appearance, 3 playoff appearances.
  12. Arizona Diamondbacks, 196 pts, $731.54 mil. — 1 WS win, 1 WS appearance, 3 playoff appearances.
  13. San Francisco Giants, 194 pts, $789.61 mil. — 1 WS appearance, 4 playoff appearances.
  14. New York Mets, 177 pts, $1.09 bil. — 1 WS appearance, 2 playoff appearances.
  15. Florida Marlins, 173 pts, $352.86 mil. — 1 WS win, 1 WS appearance, 1 playoff appearance.
  16. Cleveland Indians, 167 pts, $650.73 mil. — 2 playoff appearances.
  17. Seattle Mariners, 165 pts, $881.4 mil. — 2 playoff appearances.
  18. Chicago Cubs, 160 pts, $907.07 mil. — 3 playoff appearances.
  19. Toronto Blue Jays, 142 pts, $679.31 mil. — 0 playoff appearances.
  20. Colorado Rockies, 139 pts, $610.00 mil. — 1 WS appearance, 2 playoff appearances.
  21. Detroit Tigers, 134 pts, $761.81 mil. — 1 WS appearance, 1 playoff appearance.
  22. Texas Rangers, 127 pts, $751.98 mil. — 0 playoff appearances.
  23. San Diego Padres, 126 pts, $544.38 mil. — 2 playoff appearances.
  24. Milwaukee Brewers, 116 pts, $528.94 mil. — 1 playoff appearance.
  25. Cincinnati Reds, 102 pts, $583.41 mil. — 0 playoff appearances.
  26. Tampa Bay Rays, 78 pts, $401.31 mil. — 1 WS appearance, 1 playoff appearance.
  27. Baltimore Orioles, 78 pts, $717.76 mil. — 0 playoff appearances.
  28. Washington Nationals (Montreal Expos), 72 pts, $464.56 mil. — 0 playoff appearances.
  29. Kansas City Royals, 57 pts, $474.00 mil. — 0 playoff appearances.
  30. Pittsburgh Pirates, 48 pts, $434.45 mil. — 0 playoff appearances.

You can check out all my crazy data here.

… so it took me all those calculations to figure out that the Yankees were the best team of the decade and the Pirates were the worst. Hmm. Time well spent.

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