<
>
Insider

Ranking defenses of MLB playoff teams

Houston's George Springer slides into second base as Boston's Dustin Pedroia throws to first. Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire

Defense wins championships.

It's something we've all heard at one time or another, ingrained in our heads by our coaches when we were just kids or by that one person at every Super Bowl party. The phrase hasn't traditionally been associated with baseball as often as it has with other sports, but with the modern improvements being made in defensive analytics, that is already changing. We can quantify how many runs players are saving their teams and measure that against the number of runs they are creating on offense, allowing for a more complete evaluation of how a player is providing value to his team.

So, on a team level, we can add up those totals to see which teams are helping themselves the most with their defense. Unsurprisingly, most of the teams playing in October this year are the ones with the best defenses, with three of the top four defensive teams having already punched their ticket to the postseason. Teams can win in different ways, though, and there are also a couple who have clinched their division despite being below average defensively. To give you a sense of where each team is at, I've ranked the defenses of each of the teams who still have a shot at the playoffs, considering their defensive runs saved totals in conjunction with injuries and other playing time changes.