All-Decade Power Rankings
A new decade is upon us, which means a new decade of baseball is almost upon us as well.
Before we move on to the 2020s, though, let’s take one more look back at the 2010s and rank every team’s performance throughout the decade.
1.) San Francisco Giants
The last few years weren’t great. In fact, the San Francisco Giants had as many losing seasons as winning ones this past decade. Still, they won three World Series. They weren’t the most consistently dominant team, but anyone would take the three titles.
2.) Boston Red Sox
I was surprised to see that the Boston Red Sox only made the playoffs four times in the 2010s. That’s just one more postseason appearances than teams like the Baltimore Orioles, Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers had. It’s as many as the Detroit Tigers and Tampa Bay Rays had. It’s one fewer than the Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers had.
It was a weird decade of highs and lows for Boston, which won two World Series but also finished last place in the AL East three times and went through four managers. There were also some odd controversies. They weren’t as consistent throughout the decade as some of the teams below them, so I was tempted to put them lower. However, they were still one of only two teams to win multiple titles in the decade, so they get second place.
3.) St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals made the playoffs six times and reached the World Series twice this past decade, winning it once. They also never won fewer than 83 games.
4.) Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals struggled mightily in their first seven seasons after the franchise moved from Montreal before breaking out with a 98-win 2012 campaign. They’ve finished above .500 every season since then, making the playoffs five times. After losing in the NLDS the first four times, they finally exercised their postseason demons in 2019 and won the World Series. With that title, we can officially recognize the Nationals as one of the best teams of the decade.
5.) Houston Astros
The Houston Astros were absolutely terrible for the first half of the decade, but they had a plan. It paid off in a big way in the second half of the decade. Since 2015 the Astros have four postseason appearances, three 100-plus win seasons, two World Series berths and one World Series victory.
6.) Chicago Cubs
Similar to the Astros, the Chicago Cubs were terrible for the first half of the decade but enjoyed a lot of success in the second half. They made the playoffs four times and in 2016 won the franchise’s first World Series since 1908.
7.) Los Angeles Dodgers
Since 2013 the Los Angeles Dodgers have been the most consistently great team in baseball. They’ve won seven straight NL West titles, won 90-plus games in seven straight years, won 100-plus in two of them, and reached two World Series. As good as they’ve been, though, they still haven’t been able to win the franchise’s first title since 1988.
8.) New York Yankees
The New York Yankees never won fewer than 84 games this past decade, despite going through somewhat of a quasi-rebuild in the middle of it. Like the Dodgers, they made the postseason seven times but didn’t win a World Series. Unlike the Dodgers, they didn’t even play in one. As any Yankees fan you know has surely told you, that’s a disappointing decade for this franchise. Don’t worry, though. With Gerrit Cole now on board, the Death Star is fully operational heading into the 2020s.
9.) Kansas City Royals
The Kansas City Royals only had three winning seasons in the decade, but played in two World Series and won one of them. You could argue that the championship means they had a better decade than the Dodgers and Yankees. Given their overall bodies of work, though, I couldn’t bring myself to put them ahead of either team.
10.) Texas Rangers
If any team can argue it had as much postseason heartbreak as the Dodgers in the decade, it’s the Rangers. They were one strike away from winning it all in 2011, only to end up losing the World Series for the second straight year. Then there was a Wild Card Game defeat to the Orioles in 2012 and a Game 163 loss to the Rays in 2013. They also blew a 2-0 ALDS lead over the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015, suffering through a nightmare seventh inning in Game 5 that led to their elimination. Still, the Rangers had to be pretty good just to be in a position to have their hearts broken so much.
11.) Cleveland Indians
Of course, the Cleveland Indians also suffered their fair share of heartache. They led the 2016 World Series 3-1 over the Cubs and looked to be on their way to their first title since 1948, only to end up losing Game 7 in extra innings. The following year, they blew a 2-0 lead to the Yankees in the ALDS. Still, the Indians have enjoyed a lot of success since 2013. They’ve had a winning record every year since then, winning 90-plus games five times and making the postseason four times.
12.) Detroit Tigers
The last few years have been pretty ugly for the Tigers, but let’s take a moment to remember how good they were for the first part of the decade. They won four straight AL Central titles from 2011-2014 and reached a World Series in 2012. They had the game’s best hitter in Miguel Cabrera, and perhaps the best pitcher as well in Justin Verlander. Oh, and Max Scherzer was in their rotation, too.
13.) Atlanta Braves
They spent a few years rebuilding in the middle of it, but the Atlanta Braves still had a lot of success this past decade, reaching the postseason five times. They never got further than the Division Series, though.
14.) Oakland Athletics
The A’s had five winning seasons in the decade and made the playoffs all five times. They made a habit of going on great runs in the second half of the year to get there, but could never carry that momentum into the postseason. They played in three Wild Card Games, losing all three. The two years they won the AL West, they lost in the Division Series.
15.) Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays won 90-plus games six times this past decade and only twice won fewer than 80. They made the playoffs four times, though all four appearances ended in the ALDS. Given their payroll limitations and that they share a division with the Yankees and Red Sox, it remains an impressive baseball operation in Tampa Bay.
16.) Baltimore Orioles
You might have expected them to be lower, but believe it or not, the Orioles won more games than any other American League team from 2012-2016. That run included three postseason appearances and was highlighted by an AL East title and a trip to the ALCS in 2014. That said, they also finished in last place in the AL East five times.
17.) New York Mets
The lowest-ranked team that played in a World Series in the decade. Aside from their 2015 National League pennant, the New York Mets made just one other postseason appearance — a Wild Card Game loss in 2016 — and finished below .500 seven times.
18.) Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers made it to the postseason three times this past decade, twice reaching the NLCS. They also missed the playoffs by just one game in 2017. There were some lean times too, though. Milwaukee lost 85 or more games four times in the decade.
19.) Cincinnati Reds
The Reds actually had some really good teams in the early part of the decade. They won 90-plus games and made the playoffs in 2010, 2012 and 2013. The Reds didn’t get further than the NLDS, though, and since then have lost 86 or more games in six straight seasons. They also lost 94 or more games four times.
20.) Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays only had one 90-plus win season in the decade, and also only one 90-plus loss season. They never contended aside from their back-to-back ALCS runs in 2015 and 2016, but also weren’t really ever truly terrible.
21.) Arizona Diamondbacks
The Arizona Diamondbacks lost 90-plus games three times in the decade and finished above .500 only four times. They made the playoffs twice, but lost in the NLDS both times.
22.) Minnesota Twins
The Twins started and finished the decade with an AL Central title, but were swept out of the ALDS by the Yankees both times. In between, there wasn’t a lot to write home about. They lost 90-plus games five times between 2011-2018, including a 103-loss season in 2016. They did make the playoffs as the second Wild Card in 2017 despite winning just 85 games, but were quickly knocked out by — guess who — the Yankees.
23.) Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates enjoyed a renaissance in the middle of the decade, making the playoffs in three straight years from 2013-2015. All of those were Wild Card entries and resulted in an NLDS defeat and two Wild Card Game losses. They only had one other winning season, though, which was an 82-win 2018 campaign. During that season they made a bizarre trade for Chris Archer that has backfired spectacularly, just six months after they traded Gerrit Cole and watched him take his game to the next level with the Astros.
Pittsburgh fired its manager, general manager and president this offseason. There may not be another team finishing the decade as big of a mess as the Pirates are right now, but there was value in those three straight postseason appearances after a 20-year drought.
24.) Los Angeles Angels
25.) Philadelphia Phillies
The decade began with the Philadephia Phillies adding Roy Halladay — a future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer who might have been the best pitcher in the world at the time — to a team that was coming off back-to-back World Series appearances. They won two more NL East titles in 2010 and 2011 but didn’t get back to the World Series, and then things began to crumble. They clung to the aging core of those great teams they had longer than they probably should have before finally acknowledging that they needed to rebuild.
Two years ago the Phillies announced that they were ready to try to compete again by going out and signing Jake Arrieta and Carlos Santana. Then they made it really clear that they were hungry to win again last year when they gave nearly a third of a billion dollars to Bryce Harper. But they still haven’t finished above .500 since that last NL East title in 2011.
26.) Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies had just three winning seasons this past decade and only made the postseason twice — a Wild Card Game loss in 2017 and an NLDS sweep in 2018. The decade’s other seven seasons each saw them lose 87 or more games.
27.) Seattle Mariners
Of the four teams to not make the playoffs this past decade, the Seattle Mariners were the most competitive. They had an 89-win season in 2018, an 87-win season in 2014 and an 86-win season in 2016. They’re ending the decade as a rebuilding team with MLB’s longest active postseason drought, though.
28.) Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox had a couple of a decent seasons early in the decade, winning 88 games in 2010 and 85 in 2012, but that was as good as things got. They finished the decade with seven straight losing seasons and spent the latter part of it rebuilding. They look to be on the upswing as they head into the 2020s, but while White Sox fans did get to enjoy some individual brilliance from guys like Chris Sale and Jose Abreu, overall it was not a fun decade on the Southside.
29.) San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres actually kicked off the decade with a 90-win 2010 season that you forgot about, but it’s been a whole lot of losing ever since. They’ve actually made some admirable attempts in recent years to try to make the team competitive again, but just can’t seem to find their way out of the woods. Like the White Sox, there’s reason for optimism as they head into the new decade, but patience is running thin.
30.) Miami Marlins
The decade of Miami Marlins baseball that was: Two fire sales, two uniform rebrands, one name change, one ownership change, 10 losing seasons.