Sometimes a "Team of Destiny" wins the World Series, like the 83-win Cardinals did in 2006. Sometimes the champion is a "Team of Manifest Destiny," like the Yankees in the Derek Jeter era and the Giants on their every-other-year run.But most recently, the title has belonged to a "Team With
Sometimes a "Team of Destiny" wins the World Series, like the 83-win Cardinals did in 2006. Sometimes the champion is a "Team of Manifest Destiny," like the Yankees in the Derek Jeter era and the Giants on their every-other-year run.
But most recently, the title has belonged to a "Team With a Sense of Urgency."
The Cubs certainly felt it in breaking their 108-year drought last fall, and the 2015 Royals made it their civic mission to win it all after dropping Game 7 of the Fall Classic to the Giants the year before.
So who is feeling the greatest sense of urgency this time around?
Here's a ranking of the 10 teams currently lined up for the postseason, with sense of urgency (aka SOU) rated on the 1-10 scale:
The key ingredient here is lingering disappointment from the 10-inning loss to the Cubs in Game 7 last October. This feels like the time to roll through October, led by a Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and a pitching staff that is finally as healthy as it is talented-- not to mention supremely confident from a 27-1 run since Aug. 24. The Tribe's roster situation is good (Carlos Santana is the only significant free agent), but you wonder when a franchise that last won the World Series in 1948 will ever have a better chance. SOU: 9.5.
The Nats are headed to the National League Division Series for the fourth time in six seasons, but they'll be looking to advance for the first time in Washington. This club was expected to have won before now behind Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, and Harper can be a free agent after next season. SOU: 9.
The loss to the Cubs in the NL Championship Series last season followed NLCS losses to the Cardinals (2013) and Phillies (twice, in '09 and '08). That's a frustrating pattern for a franchise with the best pitcher in the game and a proud history. While this team is built to last, it paid heavily to import Yu Darvish as a rental, and as much as we want him to, Clayton Kershaw isn't going to last forever. SOU: 8.
These guys are the Cubs of the American League -- loaded with young talent that has elevated everyone's expectations, including the players themselves. The Astros should get more cracks at the postseason in future seasons, as Carlos Beltran is the only significant free agent, but will Justin Verlander remain as effective as he has been this season? He joins Dallas Keuchel to give Houston a strong 1-2 punch, offsetting uncertainty around the health of Lance McCullers Like the Nationals (who have never won a pennant), this is one of the eight teams that has never won a World Series. SOU: 7.
Arizona has captured lightning in a bottle this year, and in large part that's because general manager Mike Hazen added J.D. Martinez in July. Keeping Martinez is going to be awfully difficult given his huge offensive season heading into free agency. Zack Greinke is rolling, as is arrow-shooting closer Fernando Rodney. SOU: 6.
Bud Black has worked wonders with his pitching staff this season, and one-third of Colorado's lineup (Carlos Gonzalez, Jonathan Lucroy and Mark Reynolds) is headed toward free agency. Charlie Blackmon is only one year away from free agency, and Nolan Arenado can hit the market after the 2019 campaign. It's asking a lot for any Wild Card team to reach the World Series, but will the Rockies have better chances? SOU: 5.5
Video: Castrovince on teams no one wants to face in playoffs
Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino give the Yanks young stars to win with now and in the future. Their bullpen is loaded with controllable arms, and they should have at least two more seasons with Didi Gregorius at shortstop. But Severino and Sonny Gray are the only rotation pieces set for next season, with Carsten Sabathia and Michael Pineda eligible for free agency, and Masahiro Tanaka weighing his opt-out clause. SOU: 5
The North Side would be at DEFCOM 5 levels now had the Cubs lost Game 7 in Cleveland last fall, but instead the fans can rest a little easy knowing the drought is no more. This season has been a challenge, but the Cubs are on track to join the 2009 Phillies as only the second team since '02 to win a division title the year after winning the World Series. SOU: 4.5
9. Red Sox
Based on the recent past, it's about time for Boston to add onto the World Series championships won in 2004, '07 and '13. But Chris Sale is only 28 and is signed for two more seasons, and the core of players around him is young and controllable. As great of a season as Sale has had, David Price's injuries and Rick Porcello's downturn have been season-long storylines. There could be better times ahead. SOU: 4.0
Who thought Minnesota might be in the postseason this year? The Twins have one of the most talented young lineups in baseball, with Bartolo Colon and Hector Santiago the most significant players in line for free agency. They even have Ervin Santana locked up for a while (signed through 2018, with an option for '19), and a future ace in place in Jose Berrios. Minnesota could pose a real challenge to Cleveland in the foreseeable future. SOU: 3.0.
Among contenders closest in Wild Card races:
The Halos haven't won a postseason game since 2009, which wasn't what anybody had in mind when Jose Pujols was imported to hit behind Michael Trout. SOU: 7.
Texas came so close in 2010 and '11, but it still has the talent base to challenge for playoff spots the next few years.. SOU: 6.0
St. Louis won it all in 2006 and '11, and the Cards have been an October mainstay, so the desperation isn't the same as it might be elsewhere. SOU: 5.5
Milwaukee has been playing with house money since a 19-9 run in June and July. Like the Twins, the Brewers seem to be arriving a year early, and the good times are just getting started. SOU: 2.0.
Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com.