End of Year Summary

By David Weiss

 

Now that the regular season is over, we need to rank each time. This ranking is a calculation of a team’s record only. It doesn’t take into consideration anything that postseason related. At the end, I gave a subjective grade that only considers how well the team did relative to expectations.

 

 1- Boston Red Sox (108-54)

Going into the season, most experts thought that the Red sox would win 95-100 games. The only question was if the Yankees would be better and take the AL East. Boston simply went out and dominated from day 1. They started the season 17-2 and never really looked back. While the Yankees tied them for first at the beginning of July, Boston was always playing well. They led the majors in runs scored, hits, doubles, batting average, OBP and slugging. They had strong pitching all year and that is why they were the best regular season team in baseball.

My Grade: A+

Betts
Mookie Betts was the best player on the best team. He may win the MVP.

 2- Houston Astros (103-59)

Pitching wins games. When you have the best pitching in the game, you win lots of games. Houston led the majors in ERA, K’s and WHIP. They gave up the fewest runs and hits. When the back end of your rotation includes Morton and Keuchel, it is almost unfair. Their defense hardly made any errors. Now add in an offense that is one of the best in the game and no one should be shocked with what a great season they had.

My Grade: A

3- New York Yankees (100-62)

The Bronx Bombers lived up to their name this season. Their 267 home runs was the most by any team in a season ever. They were second in the majors with 5.25 runs per game. Their main weakness this season was the rotation. The starters were middle of the pack in ERA and WHIP.

My Grade: A-

4- Oakland A’s (97-65)

This team threw off all the preseason predictions. They came into the season with the lowest payroll. So, what was their secret? Offensively, they crushed the ball. They had five players hit at least 20 dingers, and aside for Lucroy all starters hit double digits. However, the real key to this team was the bullpen. Treinen had a breakout season as a closer and will get Cy Young votes. Rookie Trivino was very good in the first half. Buchter was silently awesome. Petit had a career year. The Familia and Rodney additions mean that almost every late led to a victory.

My Grade: A+

Oak
Could we see a closer winning the AL Cy Young?

5- Milwaukee Brewers (96-67)

We can now officially say that the Brewers had the best offseason moves as Yelich and Cain are both MVP candidates. Aguilar and Shaw showed that their 2017 power surges were no joke. Their starting pitching was not great but good enough, while their bullpen was very impressive. Hader and Jeffress were great all year long.

My Grade: A

 6- Chicago Cubs (95-68)

The Cubs haven’t had a golden age like this in over 100 years. For the fourth year in a row they are in the playoffs. They did this by leading the NL in batting average and OBP. While no one player had an OPS over .881, they had a lineup that was extremely efficient. The bullpen had the lowest ERA in the NL. They would have won the division if not for a late season push by the Brew Crew.

My Grade: A-

7- Los Angeles Dodgers (92-71)

They did a lot right as a team. They had the best team ERA & WHIP in the NL. Offensively, they hit the most blasts and led the league in OPS. LA drew close to 4,000,000 fans. The Dodgers led the majors in attendance and set a franchise record. When you take the division for the sixth consecutive year, you are doing something right.

My Grade: A

8- Cleveland Indians (91-71)

On April 21st, they went into first never relinquished it. Normally this would mean that this was a great team. Right?? Not so fast! Cleveland was lucky to be in the worst division by a wide margin. In May they spent much of the month below .500 and in mid-June they were only a few games over. They dominated their division but only went 30-36 when playing the other AL teams. Are they good or did they have a very easy division? The postseason will answer this question.

My Grade: B-

 9- Colorado Rockies (91-72)

This is a hard team to judge. The season was a roller coaster. They were below .500 in early July and were just 60-55 at one point in August. They then went on to be the hottest team in baseball. The big difference makers were the guys in the pen. Oberg and Ottavino were stellar. Freeland was a true ace in the rotation. Something about the late season heroics reminds me of 2007.

My Grade: A-

Tied 10- Atlanta Braves (90-72)

They were the biggest surprise in the NL. With a young core of Albies, Acuna, Swanson and Camargo, Atlanta could be great for years. They won thanks to a very strong pen. They had some great situational hitting as they were the best NL team in batting with men on base, especially in scoring position. By the end of the year, they just ran away with it.

My Grade: A+

A & A
Albies and Acuna are the future of Atlanta.

Tied 10- Tampa Bay Rays (90-72)

This is just unfair. Tampa had a minuscule payroll. They are stuck in a division with two robber barons. They won 90 games yet missed the playoffs. They did this without a starting rotation outside of men named Blake Snell. What makes this team so amazing is that after they dumped salary at the trade deadline, they went on to become the hottest team in the league. Let’s see if they can keep this up in 2019.

My Grade: A

12- Seattle Mariners (89-73)

This playoff drought is getting painful. It is the longest in American professional sports. They played good ball during the Cano suspension but fell out of it in August. It is hard to be optimistic about this team.

My Grade: C+

Mitch Haniger, Kyle Seager, Nelson Cruz
Despite their best efforts, the Mariners missed the playoffs once again.

13- St. Louis Cardinals (88-74)

This team deserves a lot of credit for staying in the race after Matheny was fired. While missing the postseason for the third consecutive year isn’t fun, they can take solace in knowing that they are always competitive. The emergence of Bader, Munoz, Flaherty and Hicks gives the Red Birds a nice young core. Also, the Mikolas renaissance makes you realize that this team is run extremely well.

My Grade: B

14- Pittsburgh Pirates (82-79)

The 12-6 start as well as the winning streak were both flukes. When Polanco and Cervelli are your power bats, things aren’t going to go well. They had a strong bullpen but only average starters. This isn’t bad for a year with no expectations, but I don’t see a huge improvement with the current squad. If they really want to rebuild, they would trade Dickerson, since his value is the highest it may ever be.

My Grade: C+

Tied 15- Arizona Diamondbacks (82-80)

This may be one of the strangest teams we have ever seen. They were great in April, terrible in May, great again in June, average in July and August and terrible again in September. For this reason, they ended around .500 this season. Goldschmidt put up fantastic numbers again. Peralta and Pollock each had good seasons, but the rest of the offense was lacking. Godley regressed as a pitcher and Boxberger gave Arizona heart attacks. Probably the best story though was the second wind of Buchholz.

My Grade: C

Tied 15- Washington Nationals (82-80)

They may have been the biggest bust of the season. Every expert assumed that they’d run away with the division once again. Instead they were basically irrelevant by July. They played well for a couple of months in the first half, but in the second half the only question was if they would trade Harper. Their lack of rotation depth was noticeable. The future is filled with question marks in DC.

My Grade: F

HArper
Most believe that the Nats and Harper will part ways.

Tied 17- Philadelphia Phillies (80-82)

Everyone is shocked at how fast they collapsed. On August 17, they were just a half game out of first and had the top wild card spot. It looked like they would sail to the postseason. In September the pitching fell apart. They posted a team ERA of 5.66 in the final month, which was the worst in baseball. There is no one reason for the collapse. In short, everyone went cold during crunch time. The fielding was atrocious at times. This is a disaster for a team that should have gotten back to the postseason.

My Grade: C-

Tied 17- Los Angeles Angels (80-82)

Trout is a God-King. Ohtani is very good but injured. The rest of the team needs work. Angel fans are getting tired of cheering individuals while the team keeps losing. Injuries played a big role in keeping them down, but the reality is that this team was not that good. If you look at the 19 guys with at least 100 at bats, only four guys put up an OPS that is over the .710 mark. This is not a recipe for success.

My Grade: C

19- Minnesota Twins (78-84)

The Twins had everything needed to have a great season. Coming off a playoff appearance they were thrilled to find out that three of their division rivals were in rebuild mode and were throwing the season away. So what happened? Everything went wrong. Mauer was a shell of himself. Sano was demoted to the minors since he forgot how to play (not to mention out of shape). Dozier was traded when his power vanished. By the trade deadline they went into seller mode and never recovered.

My Grade: D-

20- New York Mets (77-85)

This was a strange season. They had a great start and a strong end. The problem was that NY went 2.5 months in which they couldn’t win a series. The most bizarre part of the season was their inability to win when deGrom was on the mound. With Nimmo, Conforto, McNeil and Rosario, the Mets have a nice young core of everyday players moving forward.

My Grade: C-

Salute
Will Jacob deGrom win the NL Cy Young?

Tied 21- San Francisco Giants (73-89)

Congrats to San Fran on winning the offseason. Unfortunately, it had no bearing on the regular season. McCutchen was dumped before the end of the season, while Longoria underachieved. The fact that they have Cueto, Samardzija, Posey, Longoria, and Crawford locked up for many more years is a scary thought.

My Grade: D

Tied 21- Toronto Blue Jays (73-89)

The bad starting pitching caught a lot of people by surprise. Estrada, Sanchez and Stroman were all a lot worse than expected. It must have had something to do with the Yankees and Red Sox facing them so many times. Martin, Morales and Tulo are all owed a lot of money next year. If the Jays don’t dump them and eat their contracts, they are going to have a hard time competing. The franchise is banking on the hope that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will be the real deal.

My Grade: C-

 Tied 23- Cincinnati Reds (67-95)

The season started off as bad as imaginable. They began 3-18 and were ten games out of first before they knew what hit them. Cincy then played relatively well for the next few months before going into free fall after the all-star break. In typical Reds fashion they had a lot of good offensive production. Votto, Suarez, Gennett and Winker all put up big numbers. Also typical of the Reds was their terrible pitching. They had the worst NL WHIP and second worse ERA. Their pitchers gave up an atrocious 228 dingers. The Reds will not be good until they get some respectable pitchers.

My Grade: D+

Tied 23- Texas Rangers (67-95)

A lot went wrong in Arlington. They led the AL in errors. Their starting rotation got shelled on a nightly basis. Colon, Gallardo, Perez and Moore all made at least 12 starts and had ERA’s that were 5.77 or higher. Gallo either homered or whiffed. He was one of six players to strikeout 116 or more times. Choo was probably their best batter, but at age 35 that isn’t a great sign.

My Grade: D

25- San Diego Padres (66-96)

This team continues to be unwatchable. The rotation just takes them out of games. The starters were last in the league in ERA, WHIP and K’s. On offense, things were terrible too. Hosmer was a bust. Galvis only started to hit in meaningless September games. Renfroe and Reyes were the only two bats that performed well. The good news is that they have a great farm system that could turn things around soon.

My Grade: D

Hosmer
A frustrated Hosmer ends his first season in San Diego.

26- Detroit Tigers  (64-98)

It doesn’t seem like Ron Gardenhire knew what he was getting himself into when he took the job. It was like every relevant bat on the team decided to just stink at the same time. McCann, Mahtook, Hicks, Martinez and Machado were noticeably worse this year. As a result, they were last in the AL in slugging, and home runs. They were second to last in runs scored and OBP. The pitching was below average. Considering their lackluster division, they really underperformed.

My grade: D+

27- Miami Marlins (63-99)

They were just as dreadful as predicted. They were last in the majors in OPS and homers. Guys who were supposed to be their young stars like Magneuris Sierra and Lewis Brinson couldn’t hit. To make matters worse, the fans are furious at the new ownership. Miami had the worst attendance since the Expos were kicked out of Montreal. Add in the fact that they have a poorly ranked minor league system and they could be terrible for a while.

My Grade: D

28- Chicago White Sox (62-100)

This is a tale of terrible pitching. Allowing Lucas Giolito to make 32 starts was cruel and unusual punishment. Although when your other options are guys like Dylan Covey it makes some sense. Carson Fulmer was a disaster in his minimal appearances. Michael Kopech was their hope, but now that he is out for 2019 thanks to Tommy John, things are looking grim. To make matters worse, they had horrendous defense that gave up the most unearned runs in the AL.

My Grade: F

29- Kansas City Royals (58-104)

KC has reverted to the days of being an irrelevant joke. This season was abysmal. The only bright spot was Ryan O’Hearn and his late season contribution. While they had low expectations entering the season, this was an embarrassment.

My Grade: F

30 Baltimore Orioles (47-115)

This is the worst team since the 2003 Tigers. They were beyond awful. Being that they had some potential, the O’s were a huge bust. On the mound they had the worst team ERA (5.18), WHIP (1.50) and opposing team batting average (.276). Offensively they were terrible. Chris Davis had the worst batting average ever and his contract is arguably the worst in MLB history. On the bright side, they get the top draft pick in 2019.

My Grade: F- (Since a regular F was too kind)

O's
2018 couldn’t have been any worse for Davis and Baltimore.

 

(David Weiss is a lifelong Mets fan. He has lived in Israel since 2008 and runs the Facebook page Jewish Mets Fans.)

 

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