The Best Team Of The 2010s
Posted January 2, 2020
The last ten seasons in the Powerline Baseball League have been some of the best yet. The league saw an increase in teams participating from the previous decade and a continued commitment to increasing the level of organization of the league. The end of the 2010’s marks the ninth different decade of operation of the Powerline Baseball League, dating back to the start of the league in 1933.
But one question that is on the top of the minds of baseball fans across the league, who was the best team of the last decade? Hopefully we can look at some stats and standings to help fans make up their mind.
2010 - 2019 In The PBL
From 2010 through 2019, a span of ten seasons, there has been a total of thirteen different teams to play a season in the league. However, only three teams have played all ten seasons of the past decade. The Armena Royals, Holden Blue Jays and Leduc Milleteers are those three teams and each team has had a decent level of success in the league over that time span. The Camrose Roadrunners, which started in 2011 after the Tofield Lakers moved to Camrose to restart the franchise, are the next in line for the longest tenured active team with nine seasons in the past decade. After that, there is a handful of teams that are considered fairly new with the Rosalind Athletics playing five seasons, the Sherwood Park Athletics and Tofield Braves playing three seasons in the 2010s and the newcomers, the Camrose Axemen and Edmonton Expos with two seasons.
In the last ten seasons the PBL did lose the Bardo Athletics, Beaumont Angels and Ryley Rebels after the 2016 season as well as the Tofield Lakers played in the 2010 season only before heading to Camrose for 2011.
So for the argument of the best team of the decade we will be limited to the Blue Jays, Milleteers and Royals with the remaining teams left as ‘what if’ they had a full ten seasons under their belt.
PBL Regular Season
The Leduc Milleteers finished the decade with a 87-54-2 record, slightly ahead of the 85-58-2 Holden Blue Jays who had one of the best regular seasons in PBL History in 2019 finishing 14-1-1. The Armena Royals, hampered by a couple of tough seasons early on in the decade finished with a 72-70-1 record. The Royals however did run the best offence of the group, scoring 958 runs over the decade ahead of the Milleteers 937 runs and well ahead of the 830 runs scored by the Blue Jays. The three teams see a reversal in defensive proficiency as the Blue Jays allowed only 646 runs to score, well ahead of the Milleteers 709 runs against and the 899 runs allowed by the Royals. Only three teams have allowed an average of 70 runs or less over their time in the last decade. The Rosalind Athletics from 2015-2019 allowed an average of 63 runs against, the Blue Jays at 65 runs against and from 2010-2016 the Ryley Rebels averaged 69 runs against a season.
The Leduc Milleteers found themselves with a total of three PBL Pennants in the last decade while the Armena Royals and Holden Blue Jays each sat atop the standings twice. In 2018 the Armena Royals pennant win allowed them to face a Wild Card winner while last season the Holden Blue Jays were the recipient of the pennant and series against the Wild Card winner.
When looking at the regular season, it is hard not to give the nod to the Leduc Milleteers as their 87 wins tops the list as well as their 937 runs scored is also at the top of the teams in contention. For much of the beginning of the decade the Milleteers pitching and defence was in a class all its own while the Blue Jays have really become a defensive minded team in the last half of the decade. Both teams are so hard to score runs against that in the five best defensive seasons in the last decade, the Milleteers and Blue Jays lay claim to four of them (two each), all under 45 runs against or less.
All three of the teams up for the nod of team of the decade have participated in the playoffs a total of seven times in the decade. The Milleteers claimed a total of four PBL Championships early in the 2010s while the Royals have won three PBL Championships in the later half of the decade. The two teams even played each other in two of the PBL Championships with Leduc winning in 2012 and the Royals winning in 2018.
While the Blue Jays have yet to win a PBL Championship, they did play in five PBL Championship Series in the past ten seasons. Holden has played in two different PBL Wild Card Games, their first in 2015 during the dreaded five way tie for first place was against the Beaumont Angels and their last being in 2018 when they hosted the Edmonton Expos.
Again, it is difficult to not give the Leduc Milleteers the nod as winner of this group, although again it is close, this time over the Armena Royals. From 2010-2013 the Milleteers won four PBL Championships in a row (as part of their five peat beginning in 2009) to dominate the first half of the decade. The Royals on the other hand have built their own dynasty, although it is in the later half of the decade with PBL Championships in 2015, 2018 and 2019 along with a PBL Championship Series appearance in 2016 as well. Both teams have played in five PBL Championship Series in the past ten years, the Milleteers winners of four and the Royals the winners of three.
The Milleteers Atop The 2010s
A slight edge in the regular season has to be given to the Milleteers over the Blue Jays due to more wins and more runs scored and being close to the Jays in terms of runs allowed. In the postseason the success of the Milleteers is seen in their four PBL Championships and five PBL Championship Series appearances. The Royals became a big playoff team in recent years, but a tough 2017 season that saw them win only three games might have been the difference maker when comparing the two dynasties in the playoffs. If anything, it showed how hard it is to produce a winner year in and year out like the Milleteers did at the start of the decade.
The What If’s
After looking at the only three teams to play in all ten seasons of the 2010s, it might be fun to look at teams that had success, but in a smaller time frame. Specifically the Beaumont Angels, Rosalind Athletics and Ryley Rebels.
Beaumont started slowly in the PBL but turned into a tough competitor that put up big regular season total but never could figure out the playoffs. In their inaugural season Beaumont could only muster four wins but would eventually climb to a twelve win season in 2015. The Angels averaged nine wins a season during their four seasons and nine wins is often good enough to slide into the PBL Playoffs. Beaumont had pitching, were young/fast enough to play solid defence and had a potent offence (at times) that could hang double digits on a team and producing 100+ runs scored twice during their four seasons. Coming together in the playoffs was always a challenge as the Angels would make the playoffs in three of their four seasons but would lose in the Semi-Final Series twice and the PBL Wild Card Game once.
Speaking of coming together in the playoffs as being a challenge, the Ryley Rebels probably should have had more PBL Championships to their name from 2010-2016. Their only championship would come in 2014 against the Holden Blue Jays after the team failed to make the playoffs for the first and only time in the new franchises history the previous season. The Rebels were another regular season team as they would average nine wins a season while averaging 107 runs for (tied for the most in the 2010s) and 69 runs against (third fewest in the 2010s). They would struggle in the playoffs though, often due to player availability. In the seven seasons they played in the 2010s the Rebels would only make the PBL Championship twice winning once. Only the Leduc Milleteers owned more PBL Pennants than the Rebels despite playing three more seasons and the 7.5 runs per game from the Rebels is the highest amongst the thirteen teams to play in the 2010s.
That leaves the Rosalind Athletics, and probably the best of the teams to not have played the full decade. The A’s joined the PBL in 2015 after a lengthy stint in the Battle River Baseball League. In the five seasons in the PBL they would amass a total of 50 wins, averaging 10 wins a season which is the highest of the 2010s, two PBL Championships, a PBL Pennant and three trips to the PBL Championship Series. The A’s would be up there in the conversation with the top teams of the decade if they had played more seasons in the league. But their on field success over five seasons seems to lead us to call them the best of the rest of the league during the 2010s.
Some Of The Best Stories From The Last Decade
Here is a list of some of the most popular stories that were featured on the PBL website over the last ten years based on reader engagement. It seems like people were highly engaged prior to the season and early in the season when most of these stories were produced:
Stories and Opinion Pieces From The Last Ten Seasons