The 2017 season was extraordinary for many reasons, including this one: The Dodgers, Indians and Astros all won 100 games -- 104, 102 and 101 to be exact. It was the first season with at least two 100-win teams since 2004 and the first with three since 2003. Since the divisional era in 1969, the only other seasons with three 100-win teams were 2002, 1998 and 1977. What made those inflated win totals even more interesting, however, was that the Dodgers, Indians and Astros didn't take wins from the bottom of the league, but rather from the middle. No team lost 100 games in 2017; the Tigers and Giants led the way with 98. In 2016, for example, the Twins lost 103 games and there were eight 90-loss teams, just like 2017. In 2017, only four teams finished above .500 but failed to win 90 games; in 2016, there was one .500 team and nine that won between 84 and 89. What makes our three powerhouses so scary to the rest of baseball is that all three could be even better in 2018. That probably won't happen -- when you win 100 games, a lot obviously goes right, which is why we haven't had a team win 100 games in consecutive seasons since the 2004-05 Cardinals. Plus, those teams in the middle are going to try to get better. It's much easier for a mediocre team to improve than for a great team to improve. Still, it wouldn't surprise me if all three won 100 games or more again. Let's examine why. Houston Astros (FanGraphs projected record: 98-64) According to the numbers, the Astros were neither an old team nor a young team in 2017. According to Baseball Reference's average batting and pitching age -- which uses a formula based on playing time -- the Astros were essentially league average in both areas. Except the Astros weren't really that old. Carlos Beltran, 40, batted 509 times, wasn't very good and is now retired. Nori Aoki, 35, was the left fielder for part of the season. Brian McCann was 33 and had a solid season but isn't a key part of the lineup. If the Astros get better production at DH -- easily possible with a low-cost free-agent signing like Yonder Alonso or Lucas Duda -- and improvement from Carlos Correa (23 in 2018) and Alex Bregman (24 in 2018 and coming off an excellent second half), their historically great offense could be even better.
Why the 100-win Indians, Astros and Dodgers could be even better in 2018
ESPN | Nov 25