The headline question is a much more difficult question to answer that it might appear on first glance. Indeed, given the nature of the sport, it might be impossible to know definitively which team is the best at any given time. Even after 162 games, we’re rarely certain which team was the best when you strip away the flukes, the schedules, and everything else that distracts from the true talent on the field.
So, then, maybe it’s not something you can answer with logic, reason, and/or statistics. Maybe it’s one of those rare instances where the gut take is the best you can offer.
Matt Snyder took up the question in the latest installment of the CBS power rankings, and he landed on the Cubs as the team at the top, right-now-here-as-we-sit-and-breathe.
You should read Snyder’s article for his rationale, which is actually quite solid.
Consider that, since August 1 – a not entirely arbitrary endpoint, since it is the first day after the Trade Deadline – the Cubs and Blue Jays have the best records in baseball, with the Blue Jays (33-14) slightly ahead of the Cubs (34-15).
Instinctually, you were already thinking that those are the best teams in baseball right now, weren’t you? I certainly was.
That’s not homerism, mind you; it’s an acknowledgement that, in the constant ebb and flow of a baseball season, teams are clicking and clunking at different times. The Blue Jays have been fantastic for a while now. So have the Cubs.
The Pirates have been great lately, too, and the Cardinals – slumping now – have been otherworldly over the course of the full season. Those two, together with the Cubs, have the best records in baseball, so, at a minimum, we’re zeroing in on the right group of teams. Throw in the Dodgers and Royals, and that’s probably the group.
What do you think? I could make an argument – mostly from my gut – that says the best team in true talent is the Dodgers. But the Cubs are inarguably outplaying them right now.