1998 Was A Very Good Year

Nate Silver, the brains behind Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA player projection system, has a fun piece up at BP (Subscription Required) about the greatest teams since 1960. He ranks the best teams of the last 45 years using his version of an Elo rating system. The results? You guessed it: The 1998 Yankees top the list. In fact, three of the top five teams played in the Bronx. The 1961 Yanks rank at #3 and the 1999 version at #5. Interestingly, the 1998 and 1999 teams are the only Torre-managed teams ranked in the top 30. The only Red Sox team to make the list? Again, you guessed it: The 2004 miracle workers who are the eighth best team according to Elo. Here’s a question: Based on your experience watching baseball, what team tops your list?

5 comments… add one
  • I’ve always firmly believed that the 2003 Sox would have won it all had Little taken Pedro out. It didn’t have the dual aces of 2004, but it did have crazy offense. It’s hard to call a team the best if they couldn’t even get to the World Series, but they had it all — except the timely hook in Game 7.

    Paul SF July 5, 2006, 3:39 pm
  • Recognizing the “Sawx” bent of the readership, I suspect that the 1975 (and 1976) Big Red machine might be over-looked, but clearly that was one of the best of the past half century.
    That being said, I don’t imagine there’d be much support for the Oakland A’s of ’72-’74.
    Boston fans never have been praised for their objectivity!!

    CK July 5, 2006, 6:04 pm
  • The problem with the 2003 Sox was the pitching, especially the bullpen. Brandon Lyon, anybody? How about Byung-Hyun Kim?

    airk July 5, 2006, 6:09 pm
  • and yet Brandon Lyon somehow was one of the prospects Arizona demanded in the Schilling deal.

    Nick-YF July 5, 2006, 6:11 pm
  • Without rehashing too much of the article, I’d tend to agree that the ’98 Yanks were the greatest of all time. I can’t find one real weakness on the team.
    All eight everyday position players had OBP of at least .350, with Bernie at .422. All hit at least 10 homers, and except for Chad Curtis, all slugged .400 or better. Those are just the starters.
    Among the rest of the roster, Strawberry hit 24 homers, Raines had an OBP of .395, and of course Shane Spencer had his 10-homer September fluke-o-mania. Even among the stiffs (and not counting the non-factors like Sveum), only Luis Sojo’s OBP was under .300. Just a very productive offense.
    Then take a look at the 6 pitchers who started at least 10 games; Cone won 20 games and struck out 200 batters (did he win the Cy Young that year?) Wells pitched a perfect game and had a better ERA than Cone. El Duque was fantastic, with the best ERA of them all. Pettite and Mendoza were adequate. Even Irabu didn’t suck too much.
    And, of course the bullpen, led by Rivera, Nelson, Lloyd, and Stanton. One of the better bullpen quartets I can ever remember.
    Put it all together and you have, almost literally, a flawless team. There’s a reason they won 114 games.

    Anonymous July 5, 2006, 7:08 pm

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