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Why 2017 was a great season: the superteams

There were no Golden State Warriors-esque seasons this year, but the Dodgers, Astros and Indians all went on some insane runs.

Detroit Tigers v Cleveland Indians
The Indians won 22 straight games, but they weren’t the only impressive regular season team.
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Now that the 2017 regular season has come to a close, we can look back on it and appreciate it fully. While we wait for the playoffs, some of our writers will be breaking down their favorite things from this year, and telling you why they made 2017 a great season.

It’s hard to win 100 games. From 1892 to 2016, a stretch spanning 125 seasons, just 99 teams reached the 100-win threshold, making it a relatively common occurrence but something that only happened once per year, if that.

Seasons that included two 100-win teams are rarer; there have been just 23 of these in MLB history. In 2017, though, there have been three 100-win teams, a truly amazing feat. When the Astros won their 100th game on Friday, this season became just the sixth in Major League history to include three 100-win teams.

Seasons with three 100-win teams

Year Team #1 Team #2 Team #3
Year Team #1 Team #2 Team #3
2017 Dodgers, 102-58 Indians, 101-59 Astros, 100-60
2003 Yankees, 101-61 Braves, 101-61 Giants, 100-61
2002 Yankees, 103-58 Athletics, 103-59 Braves, 101-59
1998 Yankees, 114-48 Braves, 106-56 Astros, 102-60
1977 Royals, 102-60 Phillies, 101-61 Yankees, 100-62
1942 Cardinals, 106-48 Dodgers, 104-50 Yankees, 103-51

In every season before, the Yankees were amongst the three teams. Unfortunately, this interesting streak was broken as the Bronx Bombers "only" have 90 wins this year (but will still make the playoffs anyway).

As for the three teams that did reach the century mark, this is the seventh time in Dodgers’ franchise history that they’ve won 100 games. They made the playoffs in four of those seasons, including 2017. (The Dodgers won 100 in a season once pre-World Series, and finished second in their respective league the other two times.) In their three prior appearances, they won the NL pennant but did not go on to win the World Series. The best regular season team in Dodgers’ history to win the World Series was their 1963 squad that won "just" 99 games.

This is the third time in Indians’ franchise history that they’ve won 100 games, doing so previously in 1995 and in 1954. Like the Dodgers, Cleveland did not win the World Series in either of those seasons. They haven’t won the World Series as a team since 1948, when they went 97-58-1 in the regular season.

And, for the Astros, they actually have more 100-loss seasons since 2011 (three) than they now have 100-win seasons in franchise history (two). The 1998 Astros went 102-60 but were defeated by the San Diego Padres in four games in the National League Division Series. Unlike Los Angeles or Cleveland, though, the Astros have only even been a franchise since 1962, so it is a bit surprising that they already have another 100-win season.

These teams also accounted for two of the twenty best 50-game stretches in Major League history this season.

50-Game Stretches

Team Best 50 G Stretch Started On Ended On
Team Best 50 G Stretch Started On Ended On
Dodgers 43-7 June 9 August 6
Indians 40-10 August 6 September 27
Astros 38-12 April 11 June 5

The Dodgers had the best 50-game stretch since 1912 with their 43-7 midsummer blitz. The Indians weren’t too far behind either, as 40 wins in 50 games puts them in the top 20. And while the Astros didn’t break the 40-win mark, they too had a phenomenal .750+ winning percentage from April 11 to June 5.

What’s even more amazing is that as soon as one stretch ended, another began. The Astros opened the season on fire, but they have cruised the rest of the way. Then, the Dodgers took over, tearing the league apart in June and July. And then the Indians stepped up and took care of business the rest of the way. The league was never without at least one ultra-hot team.

And, of course, the Indians’ 22-game win streak — the longest in baseball in 100 years — from late-August to mid-September set an American League record. (Some may argue that they set an MLB record too.) That was fun.

What’s more, these teams are being led by some of the best young players in the Major Leagues. The Dodgers’ young tandem of Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager has been phenomenal. Jose Ramirez has broken out and Francisco Lindor has lived up to the hype in Cleveland. And, George Springer and Carlos Correa have continued to crush for the Astros.

None of these teams were Warriors-esque; while the Dodgers flirted with 110-wins for some time, they cooled off significantly and didn’t set any records. Still, though, the dominance from the top tier of teams across the league has been something that has made 2017 unique. It’s been so entertaining to watch.

Devan Fink is a Featured Writer for Beyond The Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter @DevanFink.