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The Official 2016 OTBB MLB TV Rankings: Part 1, 30-15

The 2016 season is upon us! So far it has been fantastic, we’ve had late game heroics, incredible catches, unprecedented home run streaks, baseball in the snow, and the Braves still haven’t won a game. What more could you want?

If anything, 2016 has been a little bit overwhelming. With so many exciting teams and players it’s hard to know where to focus your attention. Do you watch Jose Fernandez after missing him last season or the Blue Jays’ murderers row? Do you flip over to Mike Trout vs Sonny Gray or Bryce Harper‘s near inevitable extra base hit when facing Tom Koehler? How can you possibly be expected to make these decisions?

Never fear! OTBB is here to help. Following our uber-successful annual series, here are the 2016 MLB TV rankings, the comprehensive way to determine which teams are the most fun to watch and which aren’t even worth the 2 minute Daily Recap on the MLB app the next morning.

There are a few things that make a team worth watching and talent is chief among them. If a team is really good or filled with really good players, it’s obviously going to be more fun to tune in to their games than a cellar dweller with few, if any, stars. That said, one transcendent player can make all the difference. The Angels aren’t very good but every single Mike Trout at bat is must see TV.

Other factors come into play as well. Great announcers, uniforms, or other interesting oddities are a plus. Hawk Harrelson is a minus. All things are factored in when making the definitive MLB TV rankings.

Below are the bottom half of the 30 teams ranked from least fun to watch to can’t turn off. Enjoy and feel free to tell us what you think in the comments below.


30.Philadelphia Phillies

This is a bad team without a real star. Jeremy Hellickson is the Ace and he’s good but you won’t go out of your way to see him, not anymore anyway. You certainly won’t turn the Phils on special to see Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz. Only true phans will be watching this team.

The one caveat may be the new and improved Charlie Morton. It looks like he could be in for a big year after his most recent start, which saw his stuff reach nearly unprecedented heights.


29. Milwaukee Brewers

Ryan Braun is a former MVP with a ton of talent and the stigma of being a drug user and a liar. He’s really good though and fun to watch. Jonathan Lucroy is a good catcher, I guess, but he probably won’t be on the team in 3 months. There are no pitchers here whose starts you need to tune in for. This is a pretty boring team that you’ll probably end up watching a lot because they play the Cardinals, Pirates, and Cubs a whole lot.

28. Atlanta Braves

The Braves have the same problems as the Brewers. Beyond Freddie Freeman I’m not sure who I’m excited to watch here. They’re certainly not going to win a lot of games this year either. Later in the season, we might get to see some interesting prospects but watching Mallex Smith and tuning in every now and then to check on Hector Olivera isn’t doing it for me. They get the benefit of the doubt over Milwaukee because their bullpen is so bad that there’s a high likelihood that some late Atlanta leads will be blown in spectacular fashion, and that’s always fun.

27. Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays are a whole step up from Atlanta and Milwaukee but they still don’t stack up well against the rest of the league. If Chris Archer, or maybe Matt Moore, isn’t pitching, I’m not watching. Evan Longoria is good and I’ll see a Kevin Kiermaier catch in the highlight reels every now and then but that’s good by me.

26. Colorado Rockies

Don’t be fooled by Trevor Story‘s red hot start and otherworldly power. There isn’t much to follow on this team. They’ll be battling it out for last place in the West all season long and will be even more unwatchable after the inevitable Carlos Gonzalez injury. On the bright side, you’ll probably tune into their games a lot to watch the road team have a chance to hit in Coors Field.

25. San Diego Padres

Brown is back! Well, at least on home Tuesdays anyway. The Padres are wearing brown jerseys regularly for the first time in years and that alone is a reason you might want to watch them play. Other reasons include Tyson Ross being good, Andrew Cashner‘s fastball, and the all around awesomeness that is Yangervis Solarte. Reasons you might not want to watch include the fact that they seem to be incapable of scoring any runs at all, and Melvin Upton Jr.

24. Oakland A’s

Sonny Gray is great. Rich Hill is a curiosity. Josh Reddick is good and hits some homers. They wear cool green jerseys. Moneyball. Sean Doolittle is fun and Mark  Rzepczynski made an unbelievable play covering first the other night. Those are about the only reasons I can think of to watch the A’s.

23. Minnesota Twins

I hesitated before putting the Twins this low on the list because Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano are two of the most exciting players in the game. Well, at least they’ll probably be in a few months. Unfortunately, until Sano starts mashing and Buxton hits his stride in the majors (assuming he stays healthy, a big assumption) all you have is perhaps the least interesting starting rotation in baseball, the corpse of Joe Mauer, and Trevor Plouffe.

22. Cincinnati Reds

The Reds are a bad team. They will not win very many games, though, like the Brewers, they will play interesting teams a lot as they play in the NL Central. The Reds also have Joey Votto and Billy Hamilton, two players who differ greatly in skill but are similar in excitement factor. Their pitching staff is the real wild card, so to speak. They have Alfredo Simon and a bunch of rookies and almost-rookies. Raisel Iglesias might be great. Brandon Finnegan has as much talent as anybody. If they’re really good, the team might be fun to watch. If not, nope.

21.Chicago White Sox

As mentioned in the opening, the Sox lose major points for Hawk Harrelson. Watching games on the White Sox broadcast is a form of enhanced interrogation. While MLB TV has shown fans all over the country that all announcers are homers, no one can come even close to Hawk. Its not just his active rooting for players and his weird noises when they succeed or fail, or the way the berates umpires when he disagrees with a call, it’s all his stupid little sayings like ‘He gone’ and ‘ducksnort’ that drive me crazy. I know White Sox fans say they find that stuff endearing, but I’m convinced they’re lying. Its not even like watching baseball. It’s like watching the incoherent ramblings of an old man played over Chris Sale striking out 10 Indians. Baaaaad.

But yet, the Sox still have Sale and his starts are ones you should go out of your way to see. They also have Carlos Rodon, who might be must-watch in a couple months if he dominates like he’s capable of, and Jose Abreu who is on that second tier of at bats you should see. Also, the Sox might be good and competing for division. This is one team you might want to tune in to every now and then, if you make sure to watch the other team’s broadcast.

20. Seattle Mariners

The Mariners are in the top 10 on this list when Felix Hernandez pitches, no matter what else is going on that day. Felix is a once in  a generation talent and the fact that he is so obviously being wasted on a perennially bad team kind of gives him that tortured artist vibe that makes his games even more interesting.

Besides him though, eh. Sure, there’s Robinson Cano but he doesn’t seem to be what he once was and nothing about Ketel Marte, Vidal Nuno, and Seth Smith screams to me. This team could move much higher up the list if they start to string together some wins, but if they’re a 75-80 win team, this ranking is about right.

19. San Francisco Giants

Yes, they have three top line starting pitchers. Yes, they have Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, and Joe Panik, whom I gave a home run up to in High School. But they’re so over exposed. They missed the playoffs last year but they’re in the World Series like every five minutes and it’s boring already. Also, with a huge ball park and less than powerful lineup, they play a lot of 5-2 type games. This is a team I’ll watch, but there 18 teams I might flip to first.

18. Miami Marlins

The good thing about this season is that there are so many teams that are worth following. The Marlins are 18th even though they have the game’s best pure power hitter and one of its top starters. When Jose Fernandez is on the mound, don’t watch anything else. When Giancarlo Stanton is on deck, sit and wait.

The problem here is that they don’t have a lot of MLB TV depth. I’m not interested in Chris Johnson and Martin Prado. There’s no one else in the starting rotation that keeps me around. Four out of five days the Marlins are mostly a pass, aside from Stanton’s 4 to 5 at bats. One out of five days though, when Fernandez starts, watch.

17. Cleveland Indians

The Indians have the opposite situation of the Marlins, they’re all depth and no top end MLB TV draw. Corey Kluber is in the Chris Sale category of starter, worth going out of your way to watch but not on the same level as Fernandez or Hernandez, and rest of the starting rotation is really talented too. On top of that, they have Francisco Lindor, a young shortstop with power and speed. They don’t have that super-duper star though. Michael Brantley could be if he could stay healthy, Lindor might be in a few weeks or months. Now this is just a pretty good team and a pretty good watch.

16. Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles have Manny Machado, an early contender for AL MVP and one of the best 5 or 10 players in the sport. They also have Chris Davis, who hits the ball very very far with some frequency; Adam Jones, who is good for a few spectacular plays and some solid pop; and Mark Trumbo, who occasionally hits it far. Also, they have Darren O’Day who always delights the crowd and i really interesting to watch with his funky delivery. What they don’t have is a starter worth singling out to watch, and in fact they have a few to avoid. So far in this young season, O’s starters have been fantastic, but that won’t last. And worse than just being mediocre, they’re boring to mediocre and significantly detract from the excitement on offense.

15. St. Louis Cardinals

Like the Giants, the Cards are over exposed. They play deep into October every season and every season we have to put up with a month or more of announcers fawning over them and explaining their greatness to a national TV audience. I’m over it.

On top of that, the Cards are missing some of their more interesting players, especially Jason Heyward, who is now with the Cubs. Watching Matt Holliday botch some routine fly balls every now and then is fun but usually what you get with St. Louis is strong pitching, fundamental defense, and consistent offense. In short, competence on a team level, and who wants to watch that?

Keep reading! Find the Top 14 MLB TV teams to watch right here.


-Max Frankel

Copyright © 2017 | Off The Bench Baseball

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