Anything can happen in baseball during the course of one season, but true trends emerge over the course of time.
One of those are the teams who have given fans the most wins over the past 10 years.
Not surprisingly, the American League Old Guard teams have posted some of the best records over the course of the decade. The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers continue to contend in almost every season.
But when it comes to winning the American League pennant, new teams have risen to claim the title. The winner the last three seasons has come from the Central division, not the mighty East or West. Both the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals have given Middle America something to cheer about.
This past decade also has seen the unexpected rise of small market teams like the Royals, Indians and Tampa Bay Rays, as well as excellence from the Detroit Tigers. And the Yankees have only won the pennant once. Imagine that.
American League Best Teams
Here is a look at the last decade in the American League, with teams ranked by division based on total wins.
New York Yankees – 913
Not only are the Yankees the only club in either league to win more than 900 games the past decade, they also have won the division three times and won the American League pennant and World Series in 2009. But by Yankees standards, that’s pretty disappointing.
Boston Red Sox – 873
The Red Sox have only been below .500 in three of the past 10 seasons. Unfortunately, two of those came in the last three years. However, they roared back to win the AL East in 2016. And they won the World Series in 2007 and 2013. They’ve been a great combination of winning seasons and winning championships this past decade.
Tampa Bay Rays- 841
After nothing but futility between 1998 and 2007, the Rays blossomed between 2008 and 2013 under manager Joe Maddon and general manager Andrew Friedman, including two division championships and the American League Pennant in 2008. But since that pair departed in 2014, they are back to sub -.500 baseball.
Toronto Blue Jays – 822
The Blue Jays have played perfectly, slightly above average baseball the last 10 years. They are never out of it, but they never win it. They have one division crown in the last 10 years, in 2015.
Baltimore Orioles – 780
Between 2007 and 2011, the Orioles never reached 70 wins in any one season. The past five years, they have been much improved, including a division crown in 2014.
Detroit Tigers – 855
The Tigers now have the Texas Rangers feel about them. They won the division four straight years between 2011 and 2014, but won the American League pennant just once. Of course, three fourths of the league would take that record. And they also knocked the Yankees out of the playoffs in 2011 and 2012, which is always fun.
Cleveland Indians – 811
The Tribe won the division in 2007 and 2016, going on to win the pennant in 2016. What’s good for Cleveland fans is the trend is going up, with the team playing .500 or better in each of the past four seasons.
Chicago White Sox – 782
Not a pretty decade for White Sox fans. Other than winning the division in 2008, the team has put together some disastrous seasons, winning more than 80 games only once in the past six years.
Kansas City Royals – 770
What are the Royals doing all the way down here? Because they have swung from the very low to the very high. After six straight seasons of winning no more than 75 games, they have spent the last four seasons on a tear, winning the division twice, the American League pennant twice and the World Series in 2015.
Minnesota Twins – 755
The Twins won the division in 2009 and 2010, losing both years in the playoffs to the Yankees. Since then, the team has reached .500 only once in six years, including a 59-win season in 2016.
American League West
Los Angeles Angels – 881
A fantastic win total, and they have won the division four times in 10 years. But it’s the total number of World Series championships and American League pennants the past decade that fans likely focus on. Because that number is “zero.” More bad news: the Angels have played sub-.500 ball two of the last four seasons.
Texas Rangers – 861
They play like champions during the regular season, winning more than 90 games five times in the last 10 years. And while they won the American League pennant in 2010 and 2011, they have yet to win a World Series.
Oakland Athletics – 796
The Athletics won the division in 2012 and 2013, but have reached .500 only twice out of the other eight years. The recent trend is not good, either, with the team winning 68 and 69 games in each of the last two years.
Seattle Mariners – 757
A forgettable decade for the Mariners. They have no division titles in the past 10 years and have not reached the playoffs since 2001. Ouch.
Houston Astros – 711
The Astros did not join the American League until 2013, but that did immediately change their fortunes. They won 51 games that year. However, the trend has been up lately, with the team playing above .500 in each of the last two years. They made the playoffs in 2015, beating the Yankees before losing to the Royals.
So that’s a look at the last decade for all the American League teams. Fans of the big money teams know they will be in it most years, but there is hope in places like Houston and Baltimore. For fans in Seattle, Minnesota and Chicago – well, hopefully your team has hit rock bottom. Nowhere to go but up.