The 2010s were an ultra-competitive decade in baseball, with no definitive dynasty. No team won consecutive titles, and five World Series went the full seven games. Because of this parity, it is a task to determine the 25 best teams of the decade, let alone rank them. However, with the decade officially in the books, that is what we are here to do. The criteria in doing so is based largely upon total season win/loss record, postseason performance, significant impact and historical context, when applicable.
With that, here is a ranking of the 25 best MLB teams of the 2010s.
Total record: 97-71, postseason 3-3
Although they would win more games the following year, the 2013 Pirates marked an especially important moment in their mid-decade resurgence. Led by NL MVP Andrew McCutchen, the 2013 season represented the first winning season for the Pirates since 1992, ending a North American pro sports record of 20 consecutive losing seasons. Five Pirates made the All-Star team, Francisco Liriano won Comeback Player of the Year and Clint Hurdle was named NL Manager of the Year. The Bucs victory in the wild-card play-in game marked their first postseason victory since the 1992 NLCS.
Total record: 97-69, postseason 1-3
Five Nationals starters won 10 or more games, Stephen Strasburg led the NL with 242 strikeouts and Jordan Zimmermann threw a September no-hitter for a Nationals team that won the NL East by 17 games. During a 10-game August win streak, six wins came via walk-offs. In the postseason, they were opposed by the San Francisco Giants, with Bryce Harper hitting a pair of mammoth home runs against Giants reliever Hunter Strickland. But the Nationals ultimately fell in four games, with their one victory being the sole loss of the postseason for Madison Bumgarner amid his legendary playoff run.
Total record: 101-70, postseason 4-5
Kris Bryant captured NL Rookie of the Year, and Jake Arrieta authored one of the great pitching seasons of all time, going 22-5 with a 1.77 ERA, as the Cubs went 38-18 over the final two months of the season. They defeated both interdivision teams that finished ahead of them in the playoffs, defeating the 98-win Pirates in the NL wild-card game, followed by the MLB-best 100-win Cardinals in the NLDS. Although they would fall to the Mets in the NLCS, the table was set for a special season to follow.
Total record: 102-65, postseason 2-3
Armed with one of the most fearsome lineups of the decade, the Yankees won 100 games in Aaron Boone’s first year as a manager. The Aaron Judge/Giancarlo Stanton-led offense set a new MLB record with 267 home runs, as each slot in their batting order had at least 20 home runs hit from it. Despite reaching the century mark in wins, they still finished eight games back of the eventual World Series champion Red Sox, whom they fell to in the ALDS.
Total record: 106-73, postseason 9-8
Rallying from the loss of a series of key players early in the year, the Cardinals had an incredible knack for coming through when it counted. They set a major league record with a .330 average with runners in scoring position, with Allen Craig leading the way at .454. Rookie Michael Wacha provided the club with a potent weapon on the mound, becoming the youngest NLCS MVP ever at 21. The Cardinals scrapped through to a second World Series in three years, ultimately falling in six games to the Boston Red Sox. In the process, no team lost more postseason games in a single season than this team.
Total record: 104-71, postseason 6-4
Few teams closed a year stronger than these Brewers, whose final month surge led to a stunning division championship. Led by eventual NL MVP Christian Yelich, who came one RBI and two home runs short of a Triple Crown, Milwaukee won its final eight games (including a one-game playoff with the Chicago Cubs) to claim the NL Central crown. The Brewers would ultimately push the NLCS to seven games before bowing out, ending an incredible run of winning 66 percent of their games and erasing a five-game deficit from Sept. 1 onward.
Total record: 108-63, postseason 5-4
The most prolific offense of the decade belonged to this year’s Yankees, whose 943 runs topped the era. They set a record for the most players with double-digit homers, with 14, while seven different Yankees hit 20 home runs or better, with Gleyber Torres’ 38 leading the way. Their 306 homers bested their record-setting 290 from 2018 and finished second to the 307 hit by the Minnesota Twins, whom they swept in the ALDS.
Total record: 108-59, postseason 2-3
The biggest disappointment of the decade came via the 2019 Dodgers, who won more games than any other team that didn’t reach the League Championship Series. L.A. set franchise records for wins and a National League record for home runs, with 279. Cody Bellinger hit 47 home runs and led the NL with 351 total bases, while four Dodger pitchers reached double digits in victories. But shortly after claiming a seventh straight NL West title by a decade-high 21 game margin, L.A. was stunned by the Washington Nationals in Game 5 of the NLDS, ending a streak of three consecutive trips the NLCS.
Total record: 106-72, postseason 10-6
After coming up short in the World Series the year before, Texas didn’t skip a beat the following summer. Ian Kinsler, Mike Napoli and Adrian Beltre all hit 30 home runs, with Josh Hamilton contributing 29. Rangers starters led the American League in shutouts, with the entire rotation staying intact the full year. In the process, they set a franchise record with 96 wins and returned to the World Series. However, after suffering a sweep the year before, they lost in an opposite fashion this year, losing in seven games to St. Louis.
Total record: 104-72, postseason 10-5
The Tribe moved into first place at the beginning of a 14-game winning streak on June 17 and never looked back. Cleveland spent 3.5 months in first place, before dropping only one game throughout the playoffs en route to claiming the American League championship. Cleveland came within an inning of winning its first World Series since 1947, following an unlikely Rajai Davis home run in the eigh th inning but losing in the 10th following a rain delay.
Total record: 100-79, postseason 12-5
On the back of a month of heroics from Madison Bumgarner, the Giants were able to capture their third World Series title in five seasons. Bumgarner was lights out throughout four rounds of the postseason, winning both the NLCS and World Series MVP while allowing six runs over 52.2 innings. He entered Game 7 in relief, working five scoreless innings on three days rest and earning the series-clinching save. In the process, they became the first team to advance from being the lower seed in the NL wild-card game to becoming World Series champions.
Total record: 101-79, postseason 11-7
On Aug. 28, the Cardinals were 10.5 games out of a playoff spot before going 21-8 through the end of the season to secure a postseason slot on the final day of the season. After defeating highly favored Phillies and Brewers teams throughout the National League playoffs, they faced the Texas Rangers in one of the best World Series of the decade. In Game 6, David Freese connected for a series-saving RBI triple in the bottom of the ninth before hitting a walk-off homer two innings later. St. Louis would win Game 7 to capture one of the greatest comeback championships of all time.
Total record: 104-63, postseason 2-3
A year after coming up short in Game 7 of the World Series, the Indians came back stronger. Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco all won 17 games or more for the AL’s top rotation, while Andrew Miller led the way for the league’s best bullpen. Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley and Jose Ramirez led the everyday attack, and the Indians 22-game winning streak represented the second-longest streak in MLB history. Ultimately, they ran out of gas early, falling in the ALDS in five games to the Yankees.
Total record: 103-74, postseason 11-5
Armed with a dominant starting staff of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Barry Zito, the Giants produced an MLB-low 3.36 ERA. Their efforts were further amplified by a potent bullpen led by Brian Wilson, Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo. The final touch came in the form of a pair of rookies: Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner. Posey won NL Rookie of the Year and the duo became the youngest battery to win a World Series game since 1947. The Giants swept the Texas Rangers to win their first championship since relocating from New York in 1957.
Total Record: 105-73, postseason 11-5
The 2012 Giants perfected the art of the miraculous comeback. In the NLDS, they rallied from a 2-0 deficit to sweep the final three games against the top-seeded Cincinnati Reds. After falling behind three games to one in the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals, they won the final three games of the series, holding the Cardinals to one run over the series’ final 28 innings. Finally no comeback was needed, as they produced the decade’s only World Series sweep, vs. the Detroit Tigers.
Total record: 106-72, postseason 11-5
After coming up a game short in the previous year's World Series, the Royals spent 2015 playing like a team of destiny. Of the eight Royals elected to the All-Star Game, four were named starters (Salvador Perez, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon). They won the AL Central by 12 games before defeating the Astros and Blue Jays to return to the Fall Classic. In the World Series, they beat the New York Mets in five games, something an estimated 1 million Royals faithful celebrated at the team’s championship parade.
Total record: 104-63, postseason 2-3
Led by one of the great all-time pitching rotations in Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, the Phillies captured a fifth consecutive AL East title by a 13-game margin. They finished with the best regular-season record in baseball and were heavy favorites to capture the World Series. Ultimately in Game 5 of the NLDS, Philadelphia came out on the wrong end of a classic 1-0 duel between Halladay and Chris Carpenter, as its season ended in the biggest postseason upset of the decade.
Total record: 117-63, postseason 10-8
Armed with a dominant starting pitching duo of Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole — who combined for 626 strikeouts — the Astros roared to a third straight 100 win season and AL West championship. Their offense was no slouch either, with Alex Bregman, George Springer, Yuli Gurriel and Jose Altuve each connecting for at least 30 home runs and Yordan Alvarez hitting 27 in just 87 games. The addition of Zack Greinke further strengthened their pitching staff, which led them to a second World Series in three years. They would fall in seven games to the Nationals, going winless at home in a seven-game series.
Total record: 105-72, 12-5 postseason
The 2019 Nationals overcame steeper odds to reach the summit of the sport than any other in history. They rallied from a 19-31 record on May 23 to win 93 games and capture the NL wild card. In October they proceeded to defeat the 106-win Dodgers (the franchise’s first-ever postseason series victory), before sweeping the Cardinals in the NLCS. In claiming the World Series over the Astros in seven games, they became the only team in history to win all its World Series games on the road. Also, they became the first team to ever win less than 100 games but then defeat two teams with 105-plus wins, both of whom led their respective leagues in victories.
Total record: 107-64, 4-4 postseason
Astros pitchers set a single-season strikeout record, with 1,687. Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole finished second and fifth, respectively, in Cy Young voting. At the plate, Alex Bregman became the second player of the decade to have a 50 double/30 homer season. Houston won the AL West by six games and swept the Cleveland Indians in an ALDS matchup. However, the Astros ran into a juggernaut Red Sox team in the ALCS, who dethroned the defending World Series champions, avenging an ALDS loss at the hands of Houston the year prior.
Total record: 108-70, 11-5 postseason
"Boston Strong" was the rallying cry for the 2013 Red Sox, as the city built itself back up around its baseball team in the wake of the tragic Boston Marathon bombing in April. The Red Sox became a source of strength for the city, as they became the first team in 22 years to go from last place to World Series champions. David Ortiz capped the season with one of the greatest World Series performances of all time, hitting .688 with six RBI.
Total record: 114-63, 10-5 postseason
With breakout rookie Cody Bellinger (39 home runs) and a league-best pitching staff, the Dodgers went 60-19 from May through July, en route to winning the NL West crown by a 10-game margin. In the postseason, the Dodgers lost one game against NL foes, including a dispatching of the defending champion Cubs in five games. They pushed the Astros the distance in the World Series, before falling in seven games. Overall, no team won more games in a season in the decade without winning the World Series than the 2017 Dodgers.
Total Record: 112-68, 11-7 postseason
2017 represented the year the prolonged rebuilding effort all paid off in Houston. Jose Altuve won AL MVP, hitting .346 with 204 hits and 32 stolen bases. Justin Verlander joined the team on Aug. 31 and subsequently won his first nine starts with the team, capping with an ALCS MVP nod. In an action-packed World Series vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers, a record 25 home runs were connected as George Springer took center stage, homering a Series-record four straight games and tying Reggie Jackson’s overall record of five. The Astros won their first title in history in seven games.
Total Record: 114-64, 11-6 postseason
Joe Maddon’s club was the best in the game from opening day until the end of Game 7 of the World Series, clinching a playoff berth by Sept. 14, before winning the NL Central by 17.5 games. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo both hit 30-plus home runs and topped 100 RBI, while four Cubs pitchers won 15 or more games. They captured the pennant in dramatic fashion, with a 10th-inning double from World Series MVP Ben Zobrist putting them ahead for good and bringing a championship to Wrigley Field for the first time in 108 years.
Total Record: 119-57, 11-3 postseason
The 2018 Red Sox were the most dominant team of the decade, with their 119 total wins the third-highest total in history. Led by a devastating duo of AL MVP Mookie Betts and designated hitter J.D. Martinez, Boston won the AL East by eight games. The Red Sox became the only team in history to defeat two 100-win teams in the playoffs, when they downed the Yankees in the ALDS, followed by the Astros in the ALCS. They beat the Dodgers in five games to claim their second World Series of the decade.
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