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Poll: non-Diamondbacks Team of the Year

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I'm not going to say any more in terms of whether that means "best", "favorite" or whatever. The definition of "Team of the Year" is entirely up to you!

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Anaheim Angels - Most improved + best AL record

Behind the American League's Most Valuable Player, Mike Trout, the Angels powered their way to 98 wins, the most in the league since 2009 and twenty games more than in 2013, as former Diamondback exec Jerry DiPoto's plan came together (at least in the regular season). It was an all-around team effort, with every one of the top eight position players by PAs posting an OPS+ above 100, and the Angels led the league in scoring. Of course, it didn't help them in the post-season, as they were swept by the Royals: Anaheim are now 6-13 in the playoffs with a single series win since 2007.

Baltimore Orioles - First division title since 1997

It had been a long, dark winter for Orioles fans, with most of it spent in the lower half of the AL East, as the Yankees and Red Sox spent their way to the title - between 1998 and 2012, they finished higher than fourth only once. But the arrival of another former Diamondback, manager Buck Showalter, helped kick out of the funk. After making the wild card in 2012, the Orioles surged into first-place just before the break, and held it the rest of the way, posting the best record in the majors during the second half of the season, winning two out of three games. The 96 wins was the second-most by Baltimore in the past three decades.

Kansas City Royals - American League champions

Royals' fans, however, snort derisively at Baltimore's tenacity, having not seen any kind of play-off game since 1985, before most of this year's roster were even born. They were below .500 as late as July 21, but a 17-3 run powered them back into contention, and they held on to the second wild-card spot by one game over the Athletics. They then promptly won their first eight play-off games, sweeping their way through the wild-card game, the division series and the championship series, before eventually falling in the World Series - though that took seven games and a one-run defeat in the decider.

San Francisco Giants - World Series champions

The even-year bullshit continues to work its inexplicable magic by the bay, as the Giants became "the only team in the four major North American professional sports to win titles every other year for five years -- and miss the playoffs entirely in the other two seasons." The best thing about the Giants winning it all again this year, is that it probably pissed off Dodger fans more than it did us, and for that, we thank them. It also showed that it doesn't matter how you play over the first six months of the season, as long as you make the playoffs and then go 12-5. On the plus side, I'm pretty confident they will go back to sucking once more in 2015.

Washington Nationals - Best NL regular season record

The Nationals, under rookie manager and (this seems a common theme...) former Diamondback Matt Williams, reached the All-Star break in a virtual tie for the NL East. But the Braves imploded thereafter, and Washington cantered to the most emphatic division title by anyone this season, taking the crown by a 17-game margin and clinching with almost two weeks left. Their pitching was the key, with a 3.43 ERA that was the best in the National League, and that held up in the Division Series, as they posted a 1.23 ERA against the Giants. However, they hit only .164, and went out in four games.