The MLB playoff teams all have one thing in common this year, “all-star like” lineups on every lineup card. Some have more depth than others, true. Yet, only one thing matters come October. That one thing is productivity. Which team has the top lineup going into the playoffs?
I am going to break down the teams in the playoffs at the time of writing this article. Although some things are subject to change, most of these teams are set in stone.
The Break Down: MLB Playoffs Edition:
I took all 12 playoff teams and picked the stats that I refer to when trying to see what a team is all about. Wrote them all down on paper, compared the stats and this is what I found out.
Out of the 12 teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers are first in 5 of these categories and tied for first in another. On the other end of that, the Cleveland Guardians are last in 5 of these categories.
Even with this information, we still need to dive a little deeper into each specific category. Could being middle of the pack in all categories and having more balance behoove a franchise? Which statistics truly matter? Is baseball not about just being hot at the right time?
Old Fashion Slash Line: (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS)
I know I am showing my age with this one, however to me there is nothing more telling of how a team is producing offensively, average per 9 innings than these 4 statistics. The new stats are too precise for my liking; the old fashion slash line gives you a broader look at a team.
The Dodgers with a slash line of (.261/.337/.454/.791) are first in all of these categories. The Toronto Blue Jays tie them for first in AVG, (.261/.327/.428/.755) as well as being closer to the top than the bottom of other categories.
The Atlanta Braves are right behind the Dodgers and rank 2nd in SLG and OPS, (.253/.318/.445/.763). The New York Yankees (.239/.323/.423/.746), St. Louis Cardinals (.257/.328/.430/.758), Houston Astros (.246/.320/.419/.739), Philadelphia Phillies (.256/.318/.426/.758), and the New York Mets (.259/.330/.411/.741) are all the teams with SLG over .400 and OPS over .700.
Towards the bottom of the old fashion slash line are the Cleveland Guardians, (.250/.313/.379/.691) who are last place in SLG and OPS. The Tampa Bay Rays (.242/.311/.382/.693) are last in OBP. While the Seattle Mariners (.230/.313/.389/.702) are last in AVG.
The San Diego Padres are middle of the pack, not too high or low in any statistic to stand out. Up to this point in the season slashing (.240/.319/.381/.700).
Walks and Strikeouts:
Although these two statistics are incorporated into the slash line, I always like to just take a look at them individually. In a weird turn of events, the Guardians are in first with the fewest strikeouts (955) as well as the last team in walks taken (383).
They are so below other teams in both of these numbers that it is strange. The only team with less than 400 walks taken on the season, and the only team with under 1,000 strike outs. They simply put the wood on the ball.
At the top of the list on walks taken are the New York Yankees (536). While Atlanta surprisingly has struck out the most (1,301).
Teams such as the Cardinals (1,068 K’s 464 BB), Astros (1,046 K’s 478 BB), Mets (1,064 K’s 438 BB), and Blue Jays (1,074 K’s 432 BB) rarely strike out. While Dodgers (1,177 K’s 524 BB), Padres (1,149 K’s 508 BB), and the Mariners (1,193 K’s 509 BB) take advantage of base runners via the walk.
RBI’s, Home Runs, and Total Bases:
Now to my 3 favorite stats besides “Runners LOB” which for some reason is not tracked publicly besides in single game stats or per player. How many RBI’s, Home Runs, and Total Bases do teams attain over the course of a year? After all, to win games in the MLB playoffs you gotta score.
The Guardians again come in last in both RBI’s (554) and Home Runs (108). Eight of these teams have over 600 RBI’s. Only two of them also have over 200 Home Runs. Only one has over 700 RBI’s.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (729 RBI, 191 HR)
- New York Yankees (663 RBI, 221 HR)
- Atlanta Braves (668 RBI, 214 HR)
- St. Louis Cardinals (665 RBI, 179 HR)
- Toronto Blue Jays (641 RBI, 170 HR)
- Philadelphia Phillies (635 RBI, 178 HR)
- Houston Astros (619 RBI, 183 HR)
- New York Mets (635 RBI, 146 HR)
That leaves three teams in the bottom of the pack with the Guardians in these categories. The San Diego Padres (599 RBI, 133 HR), Tampa Bay Rays (559 RBI, 122 HR), and the Seattle Mariners (564 RBI, 169 HR).
My favorite statistic even though it does not mean much are total bases acquired. Exactly half of the playoffs teams have over 2,000 bases on the season. Dodgers (2,172), Yankees (2,001), Cardinals (2,064), Braves (2,138), Blue Jays (2,054), and the Phillies (2,028).
Who has the Top Lineup Going into the MLB Playoffs?
With every person you ask and every stat you look at, the answer will change. That is the beauty of this game is that any given night that two teams take the diamond, anything can happen. All 12 of these teams have produced enough offense to get them here. Now almost time for the MLB playoffs.
What will happen next, a mystery. According to regular season stats, the Dodgers and Yankees are prolific in some areas. The Guardians are bottom of the barrel in some areas. Everybody else is some where in between.
Teams like the Braves, Cardinals, Astros, and Blue Jays stand out on paper as top tier in this 12 team ranking system. This game is not played on paper however, we will have to watch and see who comes out on top!
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Rowan Donaghey is a Sports and Betting Insider for Fantom Sports Industries. Follow him on twitter for daily content via @RowanDonaghey
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