Apologies for no September rankings, Place to Be Nation. Real life got in the way a bit there.
Regardless, though, the curtain has fallen on the 2016 regular season. All of the postseason tables are set and we settle in for the buffet known as the playoffs.
The last few days of this season were emotion-packed, for better and for worse, with the tragic death of young Miami ace Jose Fernandez, the retirement of Dodgers’ broadcasting icon Vin Scully, and the excitement of October playoff spots.
Here we go in the final 2016 Place to Be Nation MLB Power Rankings!
A postseason playoff primer will be here shortly, too, so check back for that later this week, as well as a comprehensive season wrap once the new champs are crowned.
All standings and stats final.
|1||Chicago Cubs (1)||103-58||The sport’s lone 100-win team is home to the likely NL MVP in Kris Bryant, but the starting pitching played a huge part in the Cubs’ 2016 success. Could this be the end of the Billy Goat Curse???|
|2||Texas Rangers (2)||95-66||A ton of things clicked for the injury-prone Texas squad this season, as Adrian Beltre cemented his Cooperstown case, and Ian Desmond was the best signing of the off-season.|
|3||Washington Nationals (7)||95-67||Bryce Harper was not Superman this year, but Daniel Murphy did just fine, as did rookie sensation Trea Turner, as well as Mad Max on the mound.|
|4||Boston Red Sox (10)||93-69||Mookie Betts might win the AL MVP, while Big Papi had a final season for all-time. The pitching was good enough to get them in the Big Dance, but can it get them another title?|
|5||Cleveland Indians (3)||94-67||The Tribe would rank higher if not for the injuries to pitchers Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco. Still, the Indians played well all year and deserve their division crown.|
|6||Los Angeles Dodgers (8)||91-71||I’m not a big Dodgers’ fan, although their A-ball team is in my (former) backyard. That being said, a World Series ring for Vin Scully’s final year would be fantastic.|
|7||New York Mets (14)||87-75||The Amazin’s are going to the playoffs again, despite just 34 wins from the heralded rotation arms of Thor, deGrom, Harvey, and Matz. Terry Collins deserves some Manager of the Year love. I cannot believe I just typed that, but I did.|
|8||Toronto Blue Jays (9)||89-73||Young gun Aaron Sanchez (3.06) claimed an ERA title, while former castoff J.A. Happ won 20 games with a 3.18 ERA. Josh Donaldson followed his 2015 MVP with another strong season, while Jose Bautista’s pre-season contract demands took a steep hit.|
|9||Baltimore Orioles (5)||89-73||Mark Trumbo may have crushed an MLB-best 47 homers in a perfect ballpark for him, but I doubt he bests Nelson Cruz’s current 5-year, $70-million pact with Seattle after his Baltimore-bashfest in 2014.|
|10||San Francisco Giants (4)||87-75||At the All-Star break, the G-Men were riding high with the game’s best record at 57-33. Since then, they backed into the playoffs as the second Wild Card, posting a 30-42 mark along the way.|
|11||Detroit Tigers (6)||86-75||The resurgent season of possible Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, along with the promising development of hurlers Michael Fulmer, Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd, and Bruce Rondon open the Tigers’ contention window just a little wider.|
|12||Houston Astros (12)||84-78||Reverse the garbage first month (7-17) and the ‘Stros would’ve posted at 94-68, one game behind Texas and an easy Wild Card fit. A shame that every month counts sometimes.|
|13||New York Yankees (15)||84-78||To remain in contention until the last few days of the season is remarkable considering all of the question marks swirling around the Yankees in 2016.|
|14||St. Louis Cardinals (13)||86-76||The Cards were competitive, as they always are, thanks to a strong offense (5th in MLB with a .768 OPS). It was the pitching (4.08 ERA) that doomed the Redbirds.|
|15||Seattle Mariners (16)||86-76||Given the M’s overall performance, one has to give GM Jerry DiPoto good first-year marks, right?|
|16||Pittsburgh Pirates (17)||78-83||A down year for the pitching staff, as well as franchise face Andrew McCutchen, coupled with ownership’s refusal to spend on improvements, crushed the Buccos.|
|17||Miami Marlins (11)||79-82||Nothing to say here in the wake of Fernandez’s passing. Just watch this.|
|18||Kansas City Royals (21)||81-81||After consecutive World Series appearances, the sun set on KC’s contention early this year. Injuries to key cogs, bad pitching (4.21 staff ERA), a poor offense (.712 OPS), and surprisingly sloppy fielding (.689 DER) did the Royals in.|
|19||Colorado Rockies (18)||75-87||D.J. LeMahieu (.348) won a batting title, and Nolan Arenado led the NL in homers (41) and RBIs (133) for the second straight year, but until the team can win both at home (42-39) and on the road (33-48) it won’t really matter.|
|20||Chicago White Sox (19)||78-84||At April’s end, the ChiSox were 17-8 and people were dreaming of an all-Chicago World Series. The Cubs went 86-53 the rest of the way, while the Sox went 61-76 and got their manager canned.|
|21||Philadelphia Phillies (23)||71-91||Freddy Galvis did, in fact, hit 20 home runs this year, despite a slash line of .241/.274/.399. I somehow doubt he’ll be part of the next great Phillies team, but it’s closer than you might think.|
|22||Milwaukee Brewers (20)||73-89||The Brew Crew made out well in the big Lucroy-to-Texas blockbuster, now they have to hope GM David Stearns can pull in another big haul in for Ryan Braun.|
|23||Atlanta Braves (29)||68-93||Boy, does Dansby Swanson look good! The Braves posted the third-best team OPS in the second half at .774, while Freddie Freeman (43 doubles, 34 homers) had a career year. The team has a long way to go, but they showed more life than many (myself included) thought they would.|
|24||Los Angeles Angels (25)||74-88||While Albert Pujols put up a respectable campaign (31 homers, .780 OPS), Mike Trout (.315/.441/.550) was the best (and only) thing truly worth your time in Anaheim.|
|25||Tampa Bay Rays (24)||67-94||Evan Longoria popped a career-high 36 homers, but overall, this team stunk. Woof.|
|26||Oakland A’s (26)||69-93||Khris Davis blasted 42 home runs, and Marcus Semien launched 27, but those two posted respective on-base percentages of .307 and .300. Billy Beane used to say his @#$% did not work in the playoffs. Now that everyone’s caught up to him, it doesn’t work in the regular season either.|
|27||Arizona Diamondbacks (30)||69-93||The season totals of Zack Grienke (13-7, 4.37 ERA) and Shelby Miller (3-12, 6.15 ERA) are perfect microcosms of the D-Backs’ 2016. So is this. Or this.|
|28||Cincinnati Reds (27)||68-94||Joey Votto is amazing, while the rest of the team was not good. Oh, and there was this.|
|29||San Diego Padres (22)||68-94||It didn’t grab as many headlines as Vin Scully, but longtime Padres’ play-by-play guy Dick Enberg also called it a career on Sunday. Oh, and A.J. Preller should be fired.|
|30||Minnesota Twins (28)||59-103||Brian Dozier killed the ball (42 homers) while Byron Buxton finally got a legit chance (10 homers, 10 steals). Nothing else was remotely good for the Twins this year.|
And so, another season has come to a close, at least for 20 teams. But, fret not, baseball fans! There are still plenty of great games to be played as October rolls forward and a (Howard Finkel voice) NEW WORLD SERIES CHAMPION will be crowned!
Play on, Place to be Nation!