1. Boston Red Sox– The Red Sox were the only team to eclipse 800 runs. This offense also had the highest OBP and wRC+ in the MLB. Probably most well-rounded offense in the MLB, as they were 6th in HR’s and 4th in SB‘s.
2. Detroit Tigers– This offense was a little flat heading into the playoffs, but they still managed to score 796 runs, good for 2nd most in the MLB. This may also be the deepest lineup in the Playoffs, with the MLB’s best hitter, in Miguel Cabrera.
3. St. Louis Cardinals– Easily the best offense in the National League, as the only NL Playoff team that was in the top 10 in the MLB in runs scored. The only question is whether their MLB record .330 batting average with Runners In Scoring Position will persist through the Playoffs.
4. Oakland Athletics– As has been the case for many Athletics’ playoff teams, they rely heavily on the long ball, as they ranked 3rd in the MLB in HR’s, which contributed to their 4th best run production in the MLB.
5. Cleveland Indians– This offense has a good combination of speed and power, as they ranked in the top 10 in both SB’s and HR’s. They also scored the 6th most runs in the MLB.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers– The Dodgers’ offensive numbers are not overwhelmingly impressive, but they have been on a tear since the end of June. They would be higher on this list, except that Matt Kemp will miss the Playoffs, which will force the Dodgers to start Skip Schumaker in CF.
7. Cincinnati Reds– They ranked 6th in OBP and if their pitching can keep the games close, then there is always the threat of Billy Hamilton pinch running off the bench.
8. Tampa Bay Rays– It will be interesting to see how Joe Maddon configures his lineup throughout the Playoffs because he used so many different lineups throughout the season. No matter the lineup this team seems to perform well in the clutch, as they ranked 4th in wRC+ in what Fangraphs deemed “High Leverage” situations.
9. Atlanta Braves– This team exemplifies the term “Hit and Miss”. They ranked 3rd highest in K% in the MLB, but were also able to rank 5th in HR’s. The challenge for them will be to keep the HR’s coming throughout the Postseason.
10. Pittsburgh Pirates– This team was built almost entirely on pitching and that is evidenced by the fact that they have scored the least amount of runs of any Playoff team. Among Playoff teams, the Pirates rank last in Batting Average and OBP.
You can also check out the Top Playoff Rotations here:
And the Top Playoff Bullpens here:
1. Atlanta Braves– Easily the best Bullpen in baseball, with baseball’s best closer, Craig Kimbrel. The Braves also have great setup men to get to Kimbrel, as evidenced by their MLB leading 2.46 bullpen ERA.
2. St. Louis Cardinals– The Cardinals may not know who their closer is going into the Postseason, but it is not because they lack options. They can turn to flame-throwers in Trevor Rosenthal and Kevin Siegrest. The Cardinals can also match up as well as anyone, possibly carrying three reliable lefties and a double play machine, in Seth Maness.
3. Pittsburgh Pirates– Known as “The Shark Tank”, Pittsburgh’s bullpen has been outstanding all season, even when they lost their closer, Jason Grilli. They had the 3rd best bullpen ERA in the Majors and 6th best FIP.
4. Oakland Athletics– As is fitting for the Athletics, there are no big name players in their bullpen. However, they still managed the 6th best bullpen ERA in the MLB.
5. Tampa Bay Rays– The Rays’ bullpen had the 5th best FIP in the MLB, and more importantly they had the 4th best K/9. Having a bullpen that is able to get strikeouts is incredibly important in the Playoffs, as relievers will likely be leaned on to get teams out of jams.
6. Boston Red Sox– The Red Sox bullpen ranked 19th in ERA, but was able to strike out 8.90 batters per 9 innings, which was good enough for 7th in the MLB. They also have a surprisingly dominant closer, Koji Uehara, who had a 12.27 K/9 and 1.10 ERA.
7. Cincinnati Reds– The Reds have an electric closer, with Aroldis Chapman, and the 3rd best K/9. However, their FIP ranked 19th in the MLB, in large part due to their 1.04 HR/9, which was the 3rd highest in the MLB.
8. Los Angeles Dodgers– The Dodgers were in the middle of most bullpen statistics, but they still have plenty of options to turn to out of the pen. With their rotation, fans may not see much of the Dodgers’ bullpen.
9. Detroit Tigers– The Tigers seem to have found their closer with Joaguin Benoit, who racked up 24 saves during the season. However, the overall bullpen ranked 23rd in ERA, at 4.02.
10. Cleveland Indians– The Indians do not have a set closer going into the Playoffs, but unlike the Cardinals, their options are not as inspiring. The overall Indians bullpen ranked 20th in ERA and 21st in FIP.
You can also read the Top Playoff Rotations here:
And the Top Playoff Lineups here:
1. Detroit Tigers– Led by Max Scherzer, this rotation led the Majors with a 8.63 K/9 and a 3.12 FIP, which are good statistics to predict future performance. This may also be the deepest rotation in the postseason, with 4 experienced starters.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers– Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke lead the NL’s best rotation. The rotation led the entire MLB with an impressive 3.13 ERA. Much like the Tigers, the Dodgers have a very formidable 4-man playoff rotation.
3. Pittsburgh Pirates– With AJ Burnett and Francisco Liriano anchoring the rotation, Pittsburgh’s rotation finished the season with the 3rd best FIP in the MLB. If Gerrit Cole can continue his dominance, it would go a long way to improving the Pirates’ chances of a deep run in the postseason.
4. St. Louis Cardinals– It is unclear how the Cardinals will configure their Playoff rotation, but no matter how they do, it will have plenty of youth. Even with many young starters having to come up from the Minor Leagues this season, the Cardinals rotation had the 3rd best ERA in the MLB.
5. Atlanta Braves– Despite an inexperienced group of starters, the Braves should be confident in their young rotation, which had the 5th best ERA in the MLB.
6. Oakland Athletics– Bartolo Colon led this otherwise young rotation all year long. It does not seem anything will change in the Postseason, as Colon had a 1.16 ERA in his last 5 starts.
7. Boston Red Sox– The Red Sox’ overall rotation was ranked 11th in ERA and 16th in FIP, but the pitchers that will make up their Playoff rotation are much stronger. Clay Buchholz had been dominant all season, even after returning from the DL.
8. Cleveland Indians– The Indians’ advanced statistics suggest that this rotation is even better than their 15th ranked ERA, as their FIP was ranked 9th and their K/9 was 2nd.
9. Tampa Bay Rays– The Rays barely made the Playoffs, and they had to burn their #1 starter to do it, but if they go beyond the Wild Card play-in game, they will have some quality starters to lean on. David Price, Alex Cobb and Matt Moore could carry this team deep into the Playoffs.
10. Cincinnati Reds– The Reds’ rotation had the 2nd best ERA in the MLB, but their FIP ranks them 8th. They would definitely be higher on this list if it were not for concern over Latos’s pitching elbow, which Manager Dusty Baker said was “barking”.
You can also read the Top Playoff Bullpens here:
And the Top Playoff Lineups here: