Updated MLB franchise rankings in the wild card era

Last June I devised my own simple formula at Viva El Birdos to rank all 30 MLB franchises in the wild card era. To explain, here’s the pertinent text from that post:

From 1995 to 2016, each team gets:

  • +1 point for every regular season game won;
  • +15 points for every division title;
  • -10 points for every last place finish;
  • +2 points for every playoff game won;
  • +20 points for a Pennant; and
  • +50 points for a World Series title.

Now, a couple of things before we get to the numbers. First, the Diamondbacks and Raysdidn’t join the league until 1998. I averaged their win total by season from 1998-2016 to fill in the blanks for 1996 and 1997, and pro-rated that average win total to fit the 1995 144-game strike-shortened schedule. But they’re at a disadvantage because those are three seasons in which they didn’t have the opportunity to accrue points by playoff wins, pennants, etc. On the other hand, they would have been expansion clubs so if anything this just saved them from being docked 10 points a couple of times because of possible last place finishes.

Second, I awarded the Cardinals a division title in 2001 as well as the Red Sox in 2005, even though they were technically the wild card but finished with the same respective record as the division winning Astros and Yankees. In similar fashion, the Rockies and Diamondbacks were both docked 10 points for finishing with the same last place record in the NL West in 2006, and same with the Royals and Indians in 2009. And no points were awarded for winning the wild card. Those teams are left with the points from what should be a decent amount of regular season wins and whatever they were able to accomplish in the postseason (i.e., the 1997 and 2003 Marlins). As you’re going to see, that hurt teams like the Pirates but I didn’t see the need to award a team who neither won the division nor went far in the playoffs.

With all that taken into consideration, here’s how the 30 teams ranked by points:

  1. Yankees – 2,854
  2. Cardinals – 2,418
  3. Braves – 2,352
  4. Red Sox – 2,297
  5. Giants – 2,233
  6. Indians – 2,116
  7. Angels – 2,059 (tie)
  8. Dodgers – 2,059 (tie)
  9. Rangers – 1,947
  10. Phillies – 1,935
  11. White Sox – 1,916
  12. Mets – 1,892
  13. Athletics – 1,891
  14. Diamondbacks – 1,850
  15. Cubs – 1,839
  16. Astros – 1,837
  17. Marlins – 1,802
  18. Mariners – 1,774
  19. Reds – 1,766
  20. Blue Jays – 1,756
  21. Tigers – 1,752
  22. Padres – 1,736
  23. Twins – 1,731
  24. Orioles – 1,711
  25. Brewers – 1,662
  26. Nationals/Expos – 1,658
  27. Royals – 1,640
  28. Rockies – 1,632
  29. Rays – 1,613
  30. Pirates – 1,520

Since the 2017 season concluded about 32 hours ago, I thought it worthwhile to update the rankings, and here they are as sorted by the total points in the last box (I apologize for the crowded text):

1995-2017

Team Regular Season Wins Division Titles Last Place Finishes Total Playoff Games Won Pennants World Series Titles Total Points
1. Yankees

2,162

13

0

106

7

5

2,959

2. Cardinals

2,014

11

0

71

4

2

2,501

3. Braves

2,044

12

1

50

3

1

2,424

4. Red Sox

2,035

6

3

51

3

3

2,407

5. Giants

1,926

5

4

48

4

3

2,287

6. Indians

1,958

9

1

47

3

0

2,237

7. Dodgers

1,999

9

0

32

1

0

2,218

8. Angels

1,957

6

2

21

1

1

2,139

9. Astros

1,852

5

3

29

2

1

2,045

10. Rangers

1,898

7

6

21

2

0

2,025

11. Phillies

1,832

5

6

27

2

1

1,991

12. White Sox

1,854

3

1

12

1

1

1,983

13. Mets

1,858

2

2

27

2

0

1,962

14. Athletics

1,896

6

7

15

0

0

1,956

15. Cubs

1,819

5

6

25

1

1

1,954

16. Diamondbakcs

1,824

5

6

18

1

1

1,945

17. Marlins

1,755

0

6

22

2

2

1,879

18. Mariners

1,847

3

7

15

0

0

1,852

19. Blue Jays

1,837

1

4

10

0

0

1,832

20. Reds

1,799

3

3

5

0

0

1,824

21. Twins

1,784

6

7

6

0

0

1,816

22. Padres

1,781

4

7

8

1

0

1,807

23. Tigers

1,726

4

7

25

2

0

1,806

24. Orioles

1,766

2

5

15

0

0

1,776

25. Nationals/Expos

1,780

4

8

7

0

0

1,774

26. Brewers

1,751

1

3

6

0

0

1,748

27. Royals

1,661

1

9

22

2

1

1,720

28. Rockies

1,751

0

7

9

1

0

1,719

29. Rays

1,717

2

10

13

1

0

1,693

30. Pirates

1,679

0

9

3

0

0

1,595

There really isn’t much change at the top but the Astros jumped from number 16 to the ninth spot, with 208 total points alone as a result of their just-completed World Series season and knocked the Phillies out of the top-10. The Yankees, Cardinals, and Dodgers remain the only three franchises to not have a last-place finish in the Wild Card era, a feat that shouldn’t go unnoticed by Cardinals fans even if the team did just finish with their lowest win total since 2007. And the Marlins, Rockies, and Pirates are still searching for their first division title during this span. I’m no Dan Szymborski but given the current divisional landscape I suspect that will still be the case exactly a year from now.

By this formula the Cardinals can still claim the title of the second best franchise in MLB since the wild cards were introduced. Barring something unforeseen, the only thing that could dislodge them from that spot after next year would be another Red Sox World Series title (I feel comfortable saying that the Braves are not yet a credible threat on that front next season). If you’re one of the few who cares about these things then take comfort in that, and ideally the Cardinals will add to their point total next season with more than just regular season wins.

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