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June 16, 2014

Pebble Hunting

The 16 Hottest Teams in Baseball

by Sam Miller

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Kyle: “I was listening to today's podcast and it was mentioned that the Astros have the best record since ‘some arbitrary date.’ It got me wondering how many teams that statement could apply to if we just vary that endpoint. My blind guess is six.”

***

We had Rob McQuown check, and it turns out that, as of Saturday night, there were no fewer than 16 teams that had the best record in baseball since 'some arbitrary date.' The teams with a claim on some title:

The Tampa Bay Rays are the hottest team in baseball since June 15, 2014

Hot performer: Yunel Escobar (1.000/1.000/1.000, one game played)

Hot quote: “We’re just trying to take it one game at a time, as our recent success is literally just one game, and if we took it two or more games at a time then we’d be pretty disappointed in ourselves.”

(Note: We updated the query for this one. The teams below were "hottest" as of Saturday night.)

***

The Colorado Rockies are the hottest team in baseball since June 11, 2014

Hot performer: Justin Morneau (.529/.529/.765 with six RBIs)

Hot quote: “We’re just trying to take it four games at a time.”

***

The Boston Red Sox are the hottest team in baseball since June 8, 2014

Hot performer: Brock Holt (.414/.452/.552, one stolen base)

Hot quote: “Baseball’s a funny thing. Sometimes you just need to flip the page on the calendar, forget about what came before, and just like that everything can change and you’re free to be a whole new team. For some teams that means every month is a new start, but we have one of those daily tearaway calendars, so for us it’s like waking up in Dark City every day. June 8th, we woke up and it was a whole new life.”

***

The Anaheim Angels are the hottest team in baseball since June 6, 2014

Hot performer: Mike Trout (.323/.436/.677, one sacrifice fly)

Hot quote: /frantically searches under car seat for prospects to trade

***

The Kansas City Royals are the hottest team in baseball since June 1, 2014

Hot performer: Danny Duffy (2-0, 1.45 ERA, no hit batsmen)

Hot quote: “Wow. We didn’t expect to win this award. Hottest baseball team since June 1st? Amazing. It’s… really, it’s amazing even to be nominated in a group this talented. Milwaukee Brewers, Baltimore Orioles-- you guys were incredible. You deserve to be up here, not us. I see you out there, Colorado Rockies. You’ll win this someday, I promise. We’d like to thank everybody who helped us along the way. Especi—” /music plays, microphone cuts off

***

The Washington Nationals are the hottest team in baseball since May 30, 2014

Hot performer: Jordan Zimmermann (2-1, 0.36 ERA, no stolen bases against)

Hot quote: “But pretty soon Bryce Harper will be back, and we’ll overreact to some innocuous bullcrap he does. Have any idea how hard it is to win when errbody’s overreacting to some innocuous bullcrap?”

***

The Pittsburgh Pirates are the hottest team in baseball since May 29, 2014

Hot performer: Andrew McCutchen (.349/.431/.825, zero errors)

Hot quote: "Man cannot spend all his time doing evil, and even in the company of Pirates there must be some sweet moments on their sinister ship when you feel as if you were aboard a pleasure yacht."

***

The Cincinnati Reds are the hottest team in baseball since May 28, 2014

Hot performer: Aroldis Chapman (nine innings, 19 Ks, one hit, 11 percent pop-up rate)

Hot quote: “No. This is a stupid article.”

***

The Houston Astros are the hottest team in baseball since May 24, 2014

Hot performer: Dallas Keuchel (3-1, 1.24 ERA, one unearned run)

Hot quote: “When we set out to rebuild our organization into a club that would be a perennial contender, we knew there’d be some bumps in the road, and as anybody with eyes can see there have been. But we’ll get over this. We’ll get back to doing what we want to do. We’re fully confident this hot streak we’ll end. We’ll get back to our plan, and before the season is over we’re optimistic that we’ll once again be in a good position to get the no. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft. Even bad teams have to deal with unlucky stretches.”

***

The Toronto Blue Jays are the hottest team in baseball since April 30, 2014

Hot performer: Mark Buehrle (6-2, 2.35 ERA, 4.3 average days rest)

Hot quote: “We live in Canada, near Niagara falls. You wouldn’t know us.”

***

The San Francisco GIants are the hottest team in baseball since September 3, 2013

Hot performer: Tim Hudson (7-2, 1.81 ERA, two wild pitches)

Hot quote: “We’re driven right now. There are three-and-a-half-year-old kids in San Francisco right now who have only seen their hometown team win one World Series. Unacfreakingceptable.”

***

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the hottest team in baseball since May 30, 2013

Hot performer: Yasiel Puig (.319/.400/.541, two sacrifice bunts)

Hot quote: “Yes sir, ever since May 30, 2013, when we lost, starting a stretch of three weeks in which we would go just 8-13, we’ve been unstoppable.”

***

The Oakland A’s are the hottest team in baseball since July 9, 2011

Hot performer: Brandon Moss (.268/.349/.548, six plate appearances with the Phillies)

Hot quote: “Man, I see in Oakland the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.” —Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), The Moneyball

***

The Texas Rangers are the hottest team in baseball since April 21, 2010

Hot performer: Adrian Beltre (.312/.357/.537, 75 percent stolen base success rate)

Hot quote:

***

The Braves are the hottest team in baseball since April 1, 1991

Hot performer: Chipper Jones (.303/.401/.529, one near-30/30 season)

Hot quote: “We’re also the hottest team in baseball since June 9, 2011 and since April 24, 2010, which is probably more interesting and impressive in the context of this article. Never higher than 15th in team payroll in that five-season stretch. And hardly anybody ever talks about how smart we are!”

***

The Yankees are the hottest team in baseball since April 4, 1920

Hot performer: Glenallen Hill (.333/.378/.735, an ALDS hit)

Hot quote: “First you’re going to your friends’ birthday parties, then their weddings. Then baby showers, and then their kids’ birthdays, and then their kids’ weddings, and then retirement parties, and then one day it’s funerals. All the cards you send are condolences. The visits to the hospitals, the casseroles for widows, the ghostly phone numbers you flip past in your address book, numbers that no longer belong to anybody you know. You drive past your dearest friends’ yellow brick house and see the young mother who lives there now, watering tomato plants that will never produce like Mary’s tomato plants did, spraying the hose at her kids; the pencil marks on the wall showing how tall they’ve gotten, pencil marks on fresh paint that covers up the pencil marks showing how tall Mary’s kids had once been. It’s a new kind of loneliness, surviving this long. Everybody's gone, and I've been here for too long to face this on my own. Well, I guess this is growing up.”

Excessive thanks to Rob McQuown for research assistance.

Sam Miller is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Sam's other articles. You can contact Sam by clicking here

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