We are in a golden age of 100-win teams. Last year we had three; in 2019 we had four; in '18 we had three and in '17 we also had three. Contrast that to the seven years previous, from 2010-16, when there were a total of three (the '11 Phillies, the '15 Cardinals and the '16 Cubs). And that’s not even accounting for 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? Right now there are seven teams on pace for 100 wins this year.
So let’s look at those seven teams, ranked by the likelihood they keep up this pace. Not all 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.)
All right, 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, particularly considering the competition they have in their division. But a hot start like this cannot be ignored. Put it this way: They need to go 77-54 the rest of the way to reach 100 wins, which is a .587 winning percentage, which comes out to a 95-win pace. That’s certainly not easy. The Yankees didn’t win more than 95 games in any season from 2012-17. But a hot start like this has earned them quite a bit of wiggle room. They’re 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 -- the NL West's last place team, the Rockies, is only one game out of a Wild Card spot. But this still feels sort of low for the Dodgers, doesn’t it? They’ve won 104 games or more three times in the last five full seasons, and were on pace for even more 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, winning 100 seems well within reach.
3. Mets (Record: 22-12. Pace: 105-57.)
The Mets have three big things going for them:
• They’re just about at a two-out-of-three win pace. Those wins are in the bank.
• They haven’t seen a single start from Jacob deGrom yet.
• Nobody else in the NL East has a winning record.
That last one is legitimately wild, and will certainly not last. The Braves will get it going 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 get it together, this could be a special year.
4. Brewers (Record: 21-12. Pace: 103-59.)
This might seem like a risky pick having them this high, considering the Brewers have never won more than 96 games in franchise history. But have you seen this division? It has two of the teams on a 100-loss pace, and you could argue the Pirates are actually playing a little over their heads right now. And it’s not like the Cardinals, the only other competitive team in the NL Central, are tearing it up at this moment either. The Brewers have fattened up a little on that division already -- they’re 13-5 against the Cubs, Pirates and Reds, and 7-7 against everybody else; the Cardinals are only 4-2 against that trio -- but they still get to play those teams 39 more times. And remember: Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta aren’t even pitching that 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 lap them. Funny how handy 11-game win 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 also, unlike other teams on this list, have won 100 games recently, three straight years from 2017-19. The division could be helpful here for them: The Rangers, and especially the A’s, aren’t going anywhere particularly interesting. But you’d think the Mariners have a few runs to make left in them, and, oh yes, there’s another 100-win pace team in the AL West. But the Astros, like they have done for nearly a decade now, just keep winning.
6. Padres (Record: 21-12. Pace: 103-59.)
There’s probably a big gap between those first five and these last two. Still: How can you not be impressed by the Padres right now? They’re missing their MVP candidate in Fernando Tatis Jr., so they’ve just gone ahead and had another one, with Manny Machado an early favorite to win his first trophy. Eric Hosmer has made it 2015 again. Joe Musgrove is the hometown kid who’s now a Cy Young contender. That bullpen looks terrific! But the Padres have a ton going against them too, from that tough division to some rotation issues to the 16 games they have left with the Dodgers to the fact that their run differential is more emblematic of a 17-15 team than a 20-12 one. The Padres have never had a 100-win season. This is unlikely to be their first.
7. Angels (Record: 22-12. Pace: 105-57.)
Look, I’m having as great a time watching the Angels as the rest of you are. They have become the team you always switch over to on MLB.TV at least once a night. They still have an awfully thin rotation and a scary injury history and, uh, haven’t had a winning record since 2015. 100 wins? Let’s concentrate on getting to the playoffs first, all right?