The regular season is over, so how'd your team do? [Final MLB Power Rankings]
Before I continue, I'd just like to thank Eric for helping out with this. I think that his input has definitely made these power rankings better throughout the year, and I hope you guys have enjoyed it.
It's going to be sad to see baseball end for the year, but these playoffs are shaping up to be pretty exciting, with some fantastic teams heading into October.
Without further ado, here are your final MLB Power Rankings of the season:
1. St. Louis Cardinals (97-65) [LW: 5]
Eric: Two of their three young starters- Miller, Wacha, and Kelly- are going to have to keep stepping up for the Cardinals. It also remains to be seen if their ridiculous hitting with RISP continues in the postseason.
Pat: The Cardinals are entering the playoffs the right way, with 6 straight wins to close out the season. Hopefully for them, they can take this momentum into the playoffs. But as they say, momentum is only as good as tomorrow's starting pitcher.
2. Boston Red Sox (97-65) [Last week: 1]
Eric: The Red Sox are guaranteed home field advantage for the entire playoffs, they have the best lineup in baseball, and Lester-Lackey-Buchholz makes for a pretty good top three in the rotation. You can make a pretty easy argument that they should be the favorites going into the postseason.
Pat: As a Red Sox fan, it has been incredible to watch this team and their immense improvement after the last two extremely disappointing seasons. Win or lose, this team has been a pleasure to watch.
3. Oakland Athletics (96-66) [LW: 2]
Eric: The A’s don’t have a lot of eye popping strengths, but don’t have many weaknesses either. The biggest issue I could find is that their rotation is mostly fly ball pitchers, which could be a big problem outside of the Coliseum.
Pat: The Athletics came on strong at the end of the year to win the AL West rather handily, despite trailing the Rangers for much of the year. Now, they can sit back and watch the mayhem of the 1-game playoffs, and they'll take on the Tigers in the ALDS.
4. Atlanta Braves (96-66) [LW: 3]
Eric: Presumably the Braves can motivate themselves in the postseason without playing the unwritten rules police.
Pat: The Braves have been one of my favorite National League teams for a while, since they have roots in Boston, but their behavior this year has been incredibly disappointing.
5. Detroit Tigers (93-69) [LW: 4]
Eric: The Tigers appear have the elite talent that wins championships, but how healthy is Miguel Cabrera?
Pat: If Cabrera is healthy, or at least healthy enough to mash the baseball at Cabrera-like levels, this team has a great chance. Their pitching is outstanding, and the heart of their lineup strikes fear in pretty much everyone.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers (92-70) [LW: 6]
Eric: Speaking of elite talent, the Dodgers certainly have that, even with Matt Kemp out for the playoffs. Only the Pirates scored less runs of the playoff teams though.
Pat: The Dodgers are absolutely built for the playoffs. I mean... they have the highest payroll in the history of baseball, so they should be. But with studs like Kershaw and Greinke heading up the rotation, they're in great shape.
7. Pittsburgh Pirates (94-68) [LW: 8]
Eric: Francisco Liriano has a .321 OPS against versus left-handed hitters this year, the best all-time. With Cinci’s left handed power, Liriano was the only choice to start the Wild Card game.
Pat: Congratulations to the Pirates on an incredible season, and it looks like Andrew McCutchen is the well-deserving favorite to win the NL MVP. As much as I love to troll them, Pirates fans deserved this, I suppose.
8. Cincinnati Reds (90-72) [LW: 7]
Eric: The fact that the Reds are even considering not putting Billy Hamilton on the postseason roster is insane. He has to be at least on the roster for the Wild Card game. Not having a potential game breaker like that is malpractice.
Pat: The Reds have been awesome this year, but they just lost 5 straight games to end the season, and their pitching rotation is one that I trust the least among all playoff teams. I could be wrong, but that's just me. I see an early exit in their future.
9. Cleveland Indians (92-70) [LW: 10]
Eric: The Indians made the Wild Card game on the strength of a 10 game win streak, but they went 17-28 against the rest of the AL playoff field (including both potential Wild Card game opponents).
Pat: The Indians came on strong and surprised almost everyone by snagging the top Wild Card spot in the AL, but a lot of it was due to an absolute cakewalk of a schedule late in the season.
10. Texas Rangers (91-71) [LW: 12]
Eric: The Rangers got hot at the end of the year to save their season, which now rests on rookie starter Martin Perez.
Pat: The Rangers have to play a 1-game playoff with the Rays for the right to play a 1-game playoff with the Indians, for the right to get their asses handed to them by a well-rested and loaded Red Sox team. Maybe I'm biased, though.
11. Tampa Bay Rays (91-71) [LW: 9]
Eric: They are not in a position to care at the moment, but having to use Matt Moore yesterday and David Price today would hurt them in the postseason if they made it. Chris Archer struggled down the stretch and Jeremy Hellickson looks lost right now.
Pat: As nice as it is to have David Price on the mound in this do-or-die game against the Rangers, Eric has an outstanding point. It doesn't exactly leave them set up all that well for the remainder of the playoffs, if they make it that far.
12. Kansas City Royals (86-76) [LW: 13]
Eric: 86 wins makes this their best season since 1989. The question now is can the Royals take that next step, the most difficult step of all.
Pat: The Royals made some huge strides this year, and they actually look like a respectable team. Perhaps next year, they can make the playoffs again and bring some joy into Kansas City, where they've been a pretty tortured fan base for quite some time.
13. Washington Nationals (86-76) [LW: 11]
Eric: Due to the Nationals disappointing season and his injuries, people may have forgotten how good Bryce Harper is. His .854 OPS would’ve ranked 11th in the NL had he qualified, and it’s one of the best ever for a 20 year old.
Pat: The Nats really came on strong at the end of the year, and it's a shame that they fell in such a deep hole at the beginning of the year. This would have been a fun team to see in the playoffs. Not that the playoff teams aren't fun, but still.
14. Baltimore Orioles (85-77) [LW: 15]
Eric: The regression stick hit the Orioles in one-run games and Jim Johnson hard, so going over .500 was a good sign. However, watching them all year, it sure felt like they had their opportunities to make the playoffs. They just couldn’t get it done. Next year will be interesting, and luckily, should still involve Manny Machado.
Pat: It's really great to see that Machado's injury wasn't as bad as it looked. Obviously I don't really want the Orioles to do well, since they're a division rival, but Machado is going to be a great player both at the plate and in the field, and you never want to see a guy like that go down.
15. New York Yankees (85-77) [LW: 14]
Eric: Joe Girardi should receive Manager of the Year consideration for keeping this aging circus in the race as long as they were, despite being outscored. It’s hard to be very optimistic about the Yankees future though, with or without Cano.
Pat: Have we finally seen the end of this era of Yankees' dominance? The "Core Four" is almost entirely retired, with only a shell of Derek Jeter remaining. They'll look quite different moving forward.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks (81-81) [LW: 16]
Eric: The Diamondbacks went 81-81 last year. In the offseason, they made a point to say they were concentrating on hustle and “grit.” The result? 81-81 again.
Pat: The Diamondbacks weren't that good this year, but Paul Goldschmidt really emerged as a true superstar. He should get some MVP consideration, but the D-Backs' mediocrity really hurt his cause.
17. Los Angeles Angels (78-84) [LW: 17]
Eric: The Angels have the best player in baseball, a lot of large albatross contracts, and not much else. It’s an open question on whether GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia stay on for next year.
Pat: This was an incredibly disappointing season for the Angels, who were considered by many to be the World Series favorite before the season. That's why they play the games, folks.
18. San Francisco Giants (76-86) [LW: 18]
Eric: Brian Sabean never changes, as shown by his 5 year, $90 million extension to Hunter Pence, a nice player, but on the wrong side of 30 now and unlikely to provide that kind of value.
Pat: Last year, the Giants won the World Series. This year, they'll be on the golf course watching their biggest rivals (Dodgers) and their neighbors (Athletics) on television.
19. San Diego Padres (76-86) [LW: 20]
Eric: In Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross, the Padres did get some young arms worth building on (if Cashner can stay healthy, which is far from a guarantee). That’s something at least.
Pat: I'm honestly a bit surprised that the Padres even finished this high, so perhaps that can be considered a pleasant surprise for them in what was still a pretty mediocre season.
20. Colorado Rockies (74-88) [LW: 22]
Eric: In Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge de la Rosa, the Rockies might have found two guys that can pitch in Coors Field. That and a 10 game improvement from 2012 portend potentially better days ahead.
Pat: The Rockies have always had considerable talent, but they've had some injury issues at key times with guys like Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, and their pitching has been pretty questionable.
21. Milwaukee Brewers (74-88) [LW: 25]
Eric: The perception is that the Brewers were terrible at run prevention, but they ranked midpack in runs allowed. 2014 will be big for them if they can have another year or two of contention, or if it’s time to blow it up and start over.
Pat: If this team can acquire some competent pitching, they'll be fine. But they're in a hellaciously tough division... aside from the Cubs, of course.
22. Toronto Blue Jays (74-88) [LW: 21]
Eric: The pitching completely imploded for the Blue Jays this year. It’ll likely be better next year by default, but other than RA Dickey, it’s hard to see where the improvement will come from.
Pat: The Blue Jays, much like the Angels, were a high-priced team with lofty expectations. And much like the Angels, they got a heavy dose of reality. Where do they go from here?
23. New York Mets (74-88) [LW: 23]
Eric: Some Mets fans may be clamoring for a big offseason splash, but looking at the free agent market, there are very few guys worth even a medium contract. The Mets are finally getting out of big contract jail. Don’t go right back there.
Pat: Next year almost feels like a lost season, thanks to the Matt Harvey injury. But can the Mets keep their wits about them and continue building for the future? Now is not the time for panic moves.
24. Philadelphia Phillies (73-89) [LW: 19]
Eric: 7th worst record in the majors. 3rd worst run differential. It was a disastrous season on every level for the Phillies. It could be the start of a large hole to dig out of.
Pat: Not only were the Phillies a terrible team this year, they're still an old team with a few big contracts for old and/or underachieving players. Barring a miracle, this team is in rough shape for a while.
25. Seattle Mariners (71-91) [LW: 24]
Eric: Next year is almost certainly a win or get fired year for GM Jack Zdurienick. Between Seager, Smoak, and Franklin, plus King Felix and Iwakuma on the mound, he may just have the core to be a sleeper next year.
Pat: The problem with the Mariners is that they simply haven't have a deep enough roster to make much noise. Their top players (Hernandez, Iwakuma, Seager, Franklin) will be pretty good, but the end of their lineup (and rotation) is hardly even worthy of MLB roster spots.
26. Chicago Cubs (66-96) [LW: 27]
Eric: Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo were the keys to the Cubs future in the lineup, and if this season was any indication, the team is in trouble on that front.
Pat: The Cubs aren't a very good team, but they might be slightly better than their record indicates. Keep in mind that they had 3 division opponents who were top 5 NL teams.
27. Minnesota Twins (66-96) [LW: 26]
Eric: The best thing about the Twins year was Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano becoming the best 1-2 punch in the minor leagues. On the big club, they still don’t have any starting pitchers that miss bats. One thing’s for sure, we all should root for a full healthy season for Joe Mauer.
Pat: The Twins are pretty heavily rebuilding, and their can't-miss prospects look pretty awesome. I hope they can hang onto them for a long time.
28. Chicago White Sox (63-99) [LW: 28]
Eric: They’re old and can’t score runs. This is the first year of what will likely be a lean spell for the White Sox. Nobody tell Hawk.
Pat: This is a bad time right now in Chicago. Whether you're a Cubs fan or a White Sox fan, it's just a rough time right now.
29. Miami Marlins (62-100) [LW: 29]
Eric: First off, the Henderson Alvarez walk-off no-hitter was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen, and one of the reasons why baseball is great. Second, the Marlins unearthed a bunch of guys that would make a nice young core. However, with the head as rotten as is it, it’s not likely to matter much.
Pat: The Marlins actually finished strong, and almost managed to avoid the dreaded 100-loss mark. This team was pretty bad, but as Eric said, there are definitely some reasons for optimism, if you can look past arguably the worst ownership in baseball.
30. Houston Astros (51-111) [LW: 30]
Eric: The (fascinating for a neutral observer) plan in Houston was for this season to have been the nadir in the long rebuilding process. They’ve built a very nice farm system while the big league team has foundered. It’s time for that farm system to (slowly) begin to pay dividends.
Pat: This plan in Houston is definitely a long-term one, and I think that in 3-4 years, we could be looking at a team quite similar to the Rays of the past few years, loaded with young talent and still maintaining a relatively low payroll.
If you love these rankings, you're probably a smart baseball fan. If you hate them, let us know why, in the comments below.