The On Deck Circle

Baseball History, Commentary and Analysis

Major League Teams – Best to Worst, By Run Differential

One way to list the 30 MLB teams from best to worst is by using run differential, that is, the difference between how many runs a team has scored minus the number of runs they’ve surrendered.  Although it’s still very early in the year, you will notice some real surprises on this list.

1)  Boston Red Sox   +34

2)  Atlanta Braves    +33

2)  Cincinnati Reds    +33

4)  Texas Rangers     +29

5)  Colorado Rockies  +28

6)  St. Louis Cardinals +23

7)  New York Mets      +18

8)  Oakland A’s            +17

9)  Arizona Diamondbacks   +15

10) Baltimore Orioles   +11

10) Kansas City Royals  +11

10) New York Yankees  +11

13) San Francisco Giants +8

14) Detroit Tigers             +6

15) Pittsburgh Pirates      +1

16) Tampa Bay Rays       -3

17) Milwaukee Brewers  -5

18) Cleveland Indians     -6

19) Chicago White Sox    -7

20) Minnesota Twins     -7

21) L. A. Angels              -10

22) Washington Nationals -15

23) Philadelphia Phillies   -17

24) Chicago Cubs             -18

24) L. A. Dodgers            -18

26) San Diego Padres      -28

27) Seattle Mariners      -29

28) Toronto Blue Jays    -29

29) Houston Astros          -40

30) Miami Marlins            -46

Starting at the top, certainly the Red Sox, Rockies, Mets and, to a certain extent, the Diamondbacks have to be counted as pleasant surprises.  Though many people had the Braves picked to at least win the Wild Card in their division, they have been playing perhaps even better than expected.  The A’s are the little engine that can, and does, always find a way to win.  Notice, too, that the expected collapse of either the Yankees and / or the Orioles hasn’t occurred to this point.  And the Rangers don’t appear to miss Josh Hamilton very much yet, either.

On the negative side of the ledger, Don Mattingly’s days as Dodgers’ manager may be short-lived if he can’t turn his team around before the All-Star break.  Like the Dodgers, the Blue Jays have gone all in this year, but have realized the same lack of success.  The Astros and the Marlins were both expected to be terrible, and they are working hard to deliver on that promise.

What’s with the Angels?  Although Pujols is playing well, they are seriously under-performing to date.

The Washington Nationals slow start, however, must rate as the most stunning in all of baseball to this point.  Many people picked them to win the N.L. pennant this year, but (with the exception of Bryce Harper) they are playing like a team that is trying not to lose, rather than as a confident team playing good baseball.  I think they will turn it around.

Another team that I think will play much better as the season progresses is the Tampa Bay Rays.  Currently, they are a mediocre 16th overall, but I have little doubt they will finish the season among the top half-dozen teams in baseball.

As a Mets fan, I would like the see the Mets finish among the top seven teams at the end of the season, but, barring some peculiarly astute, timely trade,  I see little chance of that happening.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see the Pirates finish at or above .500 this year?  I think they are capable of doing so.

Which teams do you think will improve, or implode, over the course of the rest of the season?


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22 thoughts on “Major League Teams – Best to Worst, By Run Differential

  1. I agree with you on Mattingly, I would think he is on a short leash. The clock is ticking on Donnie.

  2. Since reading this post yesterday morning, it’s been fun to check out the scores from the last couple days and see how radically these figures have changed in the early season with blowout losses by list-leading Boston and #5 Colorado. The Braves & As are looking good.

  3. YOU’D like to see the Pirates finish over .500?

  4. I know it’s still early, but my Oakland Athletics scored 106 runs so far, most in the AL. This is a surprise, since the knack on the A’s last year was they don’t score runs. The beating they took in Tampa over the weekend, almost negated their early advantage. We’ll see if they can turn it around and stop the bleeding.

    Thanks for a great post

    • Hi Jacqueline, Your A’s just always find a way to win. That offense of theirs is probably underrated, and I think the pitching will get even better as the season improves. Could be looking at another trip to the playoffs!
      Thanks for reading, Jacqueline. Always happy to hear from you.

  5. Also, when did you get Freshly Pressed? Congrats!

  6. Ugh. I didn’t need to be reminded that the Dodgers are digging themselves into a little hole early in the season. Some of these numbers are pretty surprising, particularly the big jumps between LA & SD and Toronto & Houston.

    You know how I know Houston is bad? It seems like every time I see a score from a Seattle Mariners game, that the M’s are losing. Unless they’re playing Houston.

    • Hey Smak, Great to hear from you. Yeah, those Dodgers might be in trouble. It sure didn’t help that Greinke got hurt in that brawl. And I guess Hanley’s out as well. I was surprised to see that Seattle rated so low. I thought they would improve this year.
      Hope all is well is Smak-Land, man.
      Cheers, Bill

    • My parting line becomes a little ironic in light of the M’s recent losses to Houston, including today’s blowout.

      • Losing to Houston is more than embarrassing. Other than the Marlins, I can’t think of another team more embarrassing to lose to.

      • Maybe the M’s.

      • Well, I guess they are on their way to joining that not-so-lofty company.

      • Losing to Houston is not as terrible as it might seem. It’s different when you watch the games( and follow the team on a regular) as opposed to looking at the Box Score. It doesn’t always tell the full story.

        The Athletics in 2 series against the Astros (out here they are called the Lastros) swept both series. The final game of the second series, the Astros mounted a comeback and almost took the lead in the 8th.

        The Astros do have 2 good pitchers (Bud Norris & Brad Peacock) Lots of former Athletics make up their roster. Chris Carter-leading the league in strikeouts – has HR power and Carlos Pena can hit a few. If you look at Jose Altuve, his numbers are respectable .353 Avg. .415 OBP and .459 SLG.

        This is a team you cannot take lightly as the Mariners found out losing 2 of 3 to the Astros. They have a rookie Manager, a young team consisting of players who would be in AAA if they were on any other team Let’s see how it plays out the rest of the way.

        The Astros might be the decider in who wins the AL WEST. The A’s have a jump on the rest of the division.

        Thanks always for your post.

      • You’re right, Jacqueline. In the end, the games have to be played on the field, where anything can happen.
        Thanks, as always,

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