5 Oakland A's
This was truly a remarkable team. They were expected to be one of the worst teams in baseball but managed to win the AL West over the Angels and Texas Rangers. Billy Beane and his "Moneyball" schemes worked to perfection with a roster full of youngsters and dominated by rookies. They had the second lowest opening day payroll and still had the second best record in the AL at 94-68. They lost to the Tigers three games to two in the first round of the playoffs. The Yankees were swept 4-0 by those same Tigers. Compare the A's $55,372,500 payroll to the Yankees $197,962,289 plus the results on the field and that shows you who is most deserving of this #5 spot.
4 Yes, the freaking Tigers
What a disappointment. Their lineup just was not deep enough and that was exposed by a superior Giants pitching staff. Beyond Cabrera and Justin Verlander, there is not much depth. Alex Avila and Fielder were not much of a factor in the postseason. In the NL they would not have gotten past the Cardinals or the Nationals. They will back in 2013.
3 Washington Nationals
Shutting down Stephen Strausberg was the right move for the future, but in 2012 it ended their season prematurely. They clearly had the best pitching in baseball, which is why they finished with the best record at 98-64. But when you take away the best pitcher in the staff (arguably the best in baseball) right before the playoffs you will suffer. With Strausberg pitching they would have easily eliminated the Cardinals and faced the Giants in the NLCS. That series would have been a toss-up. So you can argue that with Strausberg pitching, these Nationals could have been the World Series champions. We will never know though! Well maybe we will find out next season.
2 St. Louis Cardinals
The defending champs were up 3-1 on the Giants and needed only one win to advance. But they just couldn't match the Giants' pitching and failed to get the big hit. They looked prime to win it after eliminating the Nationals in dramatic fashion, but the Giants were just too much.
1 San Francisco Giants
What did you expect? They had the pitching to win it all with Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong, Sergio Romo, Tim Lincecum and a resurgent Barry Zito. The Giants also had plenty of hitting when it mattered most. Led by World Series MVP Pablo "Kung Fu Panda" Sandoval the offense flourished in the postseason. Marco Scutaro was always clutch and Buster Posey was the anchor in the meat of the lineup. This was a classic case of getting hot at the right time as the Giants won the final seven games of 2012.
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