The National League, much like the American League, has certain teams that always contend and expect to win championships. We are looking at you, St. Louis.
Generally, you can split fans into three basic groups:
- Those who follow a really good team and are disappointed when they don’t win pennants
- Those who follow a sometimes good team and hope they go on a tear and win it all (like the Kansas City Royals did in the American League)
- Those who wish their team would just not finish last
Best National League Teams
So who has suffered and celebrated the most over the past decade? It’s easier to see trends when looking at a larger set of numbers, not to mention more fun, so we ranked the teams by division based on wins over the past decade.
If nothing else, it shows the up-and-down nature of sporting franchises. Unless you live in San Francisco, where times have been good.
Philadelphia Phillies – 834
The Phillies have had a great run the past decade, winning the NL East every year between 2007 and 2011. They won two National League pennants and the World Series in 2008. While they’ve slipped below .500 the past four season, most teams would take that for their last decade.
Atlanta – 826
After a very long period of dominance, the Braves won the division just once the past decade, in 2013. Since that year, they haven’t reached 80 wins in any season. That’s the team’s longest bad streak in decades.
New York Mets – 807
The Mets won the division and the National League pennant in 2015. But before that they didn’t reach 80 wins in six straight seasons. The trend has been up the last two years, with 90 and 87 wins.
Washington Nationals – 798
After forgettable seasons from 2007 to 2011, the Nationals have been on a tear in recent years, playing above .500 baseball in each of the last five seasons. However, despite three division championships, they have yet to win the NL pennant.
Miami Marlins – 752
As usual, it’s all or nothing for the strangest team in baseball. And for the past decade, it’s been mostly nothing. The Marlins have played above .500 only twice in the past 10 years. This team has been to the playoffs just twice, in 1997 and 2003. Both times, they won the World Series. See? All or nothing.
St. Louis Cardinals – 892
The Yankees of the National League, the Cardinals have collected four division championships, two NL pennants and won the World Series in 2011. That’s great by almost every team’s standard, but almost disappointing by Cardinals’ standards.
Chicago Cubs – 811
Nothing about the Cubs matters except they won the World Series in 2016, the first time since 1908. Think about that. And the future looks bright.
Milwaukee Brewers – 806
Like the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League, the Brewers sometimes hang around contention but never do much. They’ve compiled a good record, won the division once in 2011 and have been to the playoffs twice. However, they’ve played .500 baseball only once in the last four years. And they haven’t been to a championship game since 1982, back when they played in the American League.
Cincinnati Reds – 789
The once mighty Reds fell on hard times in much of the last decade, however they did win the division in both 2010 and 2012 and made the playoffs in 2013. They have been sub-.500 in each of the last three seasons.
Pittsburgh Pirates – 763
The Pirates only rank this low because of a dismal run between 2007 and 2012. But while they slipped in 2016, the previous three seasons saw them win 94, 88 and 98 games. They made the playoffs in each of those seasons, but thanks to the Cardinals and Cubs, they never won the division.
Los Angeles Dodgers – 878
The Dodgers have dominated during the regular season, winning the division six times and winning more than 90 games in each of the last four seasons. But they have never won the pennant, putting them in that group of underachieving good teams such as the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers in the American League.
San Francisco Giants – 840
Nothing underachieving about the Giants. In the past 10 years, they’ve won two division championships, two NL pennants and two World Series. It’s an embarrassment of riches for Giants fans, who have had it better than anyone in the league the past decade. Yes, even better than Yankees and Cardinals fans.
Arizona Diamondbacks – 775
The Diamondbacks won the division in 2007 and 2011. But they’ve had a rough run since, slipping below .500 in each of the past three seasons.
Colorado Rockies – 759
The Rockies won the NL pennant in 2007, but that seems a long time ago to fans in the Rocky Mountain State. They’ve had only two seasons above .500 since then, including six seasons in a row of a losing record since 2010.
San Diego Padres – 759
The Padres have had just two winning seasons in the past 10 years. They haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006 and haven’t won a pennant since 1998. It’s been a long, long rough streak in San Diego.
So that’s a look at the National League over the past decade. Certain teams are always in it, while fans in places such as Milwaukee can only hope they become the next Pirates or (even better) Cubs. For the folks in San Diego and Miami, the good news is it can only get better.