Up until yesterday, this was a post with a ton of question marks.
I started this draft on Thursday, and that was when there was only like 2 sure things in the wild card races, and a lot of teams that I wasn't sure whether or not were out yet. And then yesterday happened, all the elimination outcomes happened and now we have a playoff picture, including a Game 162 that honestly doesn't mean much other than...happy last day of the season everybody. One or two people might hang it up after today, who knows.
But with that suspense gone, that means it's clear who's in, and it's clear who's out. Which means what once was a very live 'Best of the Rest' post is now tamed and ready to be dissected. Because boy do we have some interesting losers to dissect. Boy howdy do we.
As per usual, I use this post to highlight the other 18 teams that did not make the playoffs and won't finish with any title or achievement, and give them high school-esque superlatives, in the same vein as 'most improved' or 'best personality' or 'most likely to work here after graduation, ya failure'. Some of these will have an undercurrent or promise, others an undercurrent of misery. All in all, every season needs to be remembered for something.
So, without further ado, here are the eighteen teams that were still standing when the music stopped, and how they'll be remembered:
Most Likely to Succeed [According to the Sportswriters in January]: TIE: New York Yankees & New York Mets
Team That Did Pretty Much Exactly What Everyone Expected: Colorado Rockies
Team That Peaked Too Early: Pittsburgh Pirates
Team That Peaked Far Too Late: San Diego Padres
Most Confused Youth Movement: Kansas City Royals
Best Squanderer of Hopes Their Fans Had in 2022: In a squeaker, the Cleveland Guardians. Narrowly defeating San Diego.
Best Squanderer of Hopes Their Fans Had in July: Los Angeles Angels
Most Blatantly Incomplete Team: San Francisco Giants
Best Pitching Staff for a Team That Didn't Make the Playoffs: Seattle Mariners
Worst Pitching: Oakland Athletics
Most Inexplicably Incredible Bullpen: Detroit Tigers
Most Likely to Toy With Its Fans' Emotions: Cincinnati Reds
Worst Trade Deadline Luck: Los Angeles Angels
Most Depressing Team to Talk About Every Few Weeks: Chicago White Sox
Biggest Anticlimax: Seattle Mariners
Most Comically-Timed Injuries: New York Yankees
Most Shakespearean Collapse: Chicago Cubs
Most Fun Last Place Team: Washington Nationals. No way I was putting Boston here.
Most Unwilling to Recapture the Lightning in the Bottle: TIE: Boston Red Sox & Chicago White Sox
Most Likely to Not End Up on This List in 2024: San Diego Padres & Seattle Mariners
It was a hard fought season, and these 18 teams should hopefully be alright with coming away with some of these. Hopefully they'll have a little more to show for themselves next year.