We are in a golden age of 100-win teams. Last year we had three; in 2019, we had four; in 2018 we had three and in 2017 we also had three. Compare that to the previous seven years, from 2010 to 2016, when there were three in total (the ’11 Phillies, ’15 Cardinals and ’16 Cubs). And that’s not even taking into account the 2020 season, when three teams (the Dodgers, Rays and Padres) played at a 100-win pace — and there were eight teams that played at a 94-win pace.
Further proof? Currently, seven teams are in contention for 100 wins this year.
So let’s take a look at these seven teams, ranked by how likely they are to maintain that pace. Not all of these teams will make it. But as recent history tells us…there may be more than you think.
1. Yankees (Record: 24-8. Pace: 122-40.)
Okay, obviously the Yankees aren’t going to win 122 games: that would be the most wins in Major League history. Their .750 winning percentage would be the second-highest in baseball history, behind the 1906 Cubs, who went 116-36-3 – a .763 winning percentage. The Yanks are going to cool down at some point, especially given the competition they have in their division. But a hot start like this cannot be ignored. In other words: They need to go 77-54 the rest of the way to reach 100 wins, or a .587 winning percentage, which is a 95-win pace. It is certainly not easy. The Yankees won no more than 95 games in a 2012-2017 season. But a hot start like this gave them plenty of breathing room. They are the best bet at this point.
2. Dodgers (Record: 20-11. Pace: 104-58.)
The Dodgers are in the toughest division in baseball, a division that, absurdly, still has no teams under .500 – NL West’s last-place team, the Rockies, is only a a one-place Wild Card match. But that still seems a bit low for the Dodgers, doesn’t it? They’ve won 104 or more games three times in the last five full seasons, and were even faster than that in 2020, the year they won the World Series. The Dodgers look stacked up and down their roster, and even in a division with five winning teams, earning 100 seems well within reach.
3. Mets (Record: 22-12. Pace: 105-57.)
The Mets have three big things going for them:
• They are at about a two out of three win rate. These winnings are in the bank.
• They have yet to see a single departure from Jacob deGrom.
• No one else in East NL. has no winning record.
The latter is legitimately wild and certainly won’t last. The Braves will get him started at some point, and the Phillies and Marlins have their fair share of ambition as well. Plus, you know, it’s the Mets: they haven’t won 100 games since 1988. But if they stay hot and this division doesn’t do well, it could be a special year.
4. Brewers (Record: 21-12. Pace: 103-59.)
It might seem like a risky move to have them that high, considering the Brewers have never won more than 96 games in franchise history. But have you seen this division? He has two of the teams on a 100-game losing streak, and you could tell the Pirates are actually playing a bit over their heads right now. And it’s not like the Cardinals, the only other competitive team in NL Central, are tearing it up right now, either. The Brewers have already grown quite a bit in this division – they are 13-5 against the Cubs, Pirates and Reds, and 7-7 against everyone else; the Cardinals are just 4-2 against this trio – but they can still face these teams 39 more times. And remember: Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta aren’t even pitching very well yet.
5. Astros (Record: 22-11. Pace: 108-54.)
A week and a half ago, the Astros were at .500 and wondering if the Angels were going to overtake them. It’s funny how useful 11-game winning streaks can be. They’re not as good as they look right now — no team could be — but the Astros seem built for the long haul. They have also, unlike the other teams on this list, won 100 games recently, three consecutive years from 2017 to 2019. The division could come in handy here: Rangers, and especially the A’s, aren’t going anywhere particularly interesting. But you’d think the Mariners still have a few more points to go and, oh yes, there’s another 100-win team in the AL West. But the Astros, as they have for nearly a decade now, continue to win.
6. Padres (Record: 21-12. Pace: 103-59.)
There’s probably a big gap between those top five and those bottom two. Always: How can you not be impressed with the Padres right now? They’re missing their MVP contender in Fernando Tatis Jr., so they just went ahead and got another one, with Manny Machado an early favorite to win his first trophy. Eric Hosmer was successful again in 2015. Joe Musgrove is the hometown kid who is now a Cy Young contestant. This enclosure looks awesome! But the Padres also have a lot to do against them, from this tough division to some rotational issues, to the 16 games they have left with the Dodgers, to the fact that their point differential is more emblematic of the game. a 17-15 team than a 20-12. a. The Padres have never had a 100-win season. It is unlikely to be their first.
7. Angels (Record: 22-12. Pace: 105-57.)
Listen, I’m having as good a time watching the angels as the rest of you. They have become the team you always switch to on MLB.TV at least once a night. They still have an awfully thin rotation and a frightening injury history and, uh, haven’t had a winning record since 2015. 100 wins? Let’s focus on the playoffs first, okay?