April 20, 2014

Pre-Spring Training MLB Power Rankings

Is everyone getting the itch?

With the Mariners reporting for pitchers and catchers this past weekend, spring training is officially underway. I have already begun crunching numbers and messing around with pointless predictions because that is how I cope with the anticipation.

That being said – here is how I currently have the 30 MLB teams ranked. Keep in mind I did not do this solely subjectively – rather I took the rosters for each team, looked at the 25-man roster’s 2011 WAR, adjusted for each player how I think they will do in 2012, made other adjustments (schedule toughness, etc…) and came up with a predicted win total for each team. I’m not quite ready to share the win totals yet, but I will share the rankings…

1. New York Yankees 

Pains me to say it. They won 97 games last year without a solid pitching staff and made two shrewd moves in the off-season by acquiring Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda. Now they are suddenly 4-deep in the rotation to go along with their killer line-up.

2. Los Angeles Angels

Believe the hype. Getting C.J. Wilson was almost overlooked a midst the Pujols drama, but now the Angels boast a top-3 of Weaver, Haren and Wilson that rivals (almost) everyone in baseball. Add the leagues best hitter, and baseball’s top prospect in Mike Trout, and this team is stacked.

3. Philadelphia Phillies

Provided Halladay, Lee and Hamels stay healthy, the regular season shouldn’t be a problem. But with so many questions on offense, and a much improved NL East, there might at least be some drama this year before October.

4. Boston Red Sox

Carl Crawford can’t be that bad again, right? And taking Lackey and Wakefield out the rotation should help by default. With a new manager, it’s unlikely the affects of their collapse will linger in 2012, and remember, they still won 91 games with everything that went wrong.

5. Texas Rangers

Lost CJ Wilson, but replaced him in the rotation with Yu Darvish and Neftali Feliz. Their line-up can mash, and they have a very deep bullpen to hold their leads.

6. Tampa Bay Rays

If Matt Moore is as good as advertised, their rotation is probably the best in the majors from 1-5. Getting Carlos Pena back and a full year of Desmond Jennings should boost the offense a bit.

7. Atlanta Braves

A full year of Michael Bourn and an improved Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward will help the offense. But that will likely be off-set by a not-as-good rotation and a CAN’T-be-AS-good bullpen.

8. Detroit Tigers

Prince Fielder is a big name, but his production will really just be slightly better than Victor Martinez, who is lost for the year. Can Alex Avila, Jhonny Peralta and Justin Verlander all repeat their career years again? Not likely.

9. Miami Marlins

If Hanley Ramirez returns to form and Josh Johnson stays healthy, they shoot up this list. I’m looking forward to playing them this year, they will make good villains.

10. Arizona Diamondbacks

Trevor Cahill was a great addition to their already solid rotation. They still lack a big offensive threat to compliment Justin Upton.

11. Cincinnati Reds

Which Mat Latos did they trade for? The one who looked like a star two years ago, or the one who seemed to be held back by attitude problems last year? How much money will Joey Votto get next year, and from who?

12. St. Louis Cardinals

Lost Pujols, Edwin Jackson and LaRussa, but replaced them with Wainwright, Beltran and Matheny. Main reason for the drop is I just don’t think Lance Berkman can be that good again.

13. San Francisco Giants

Buster Posey is back, presumably. But other than that, they did little to help their anemic offense except hope that Melky Cabrera is as good as he showed last year.

14. Washington Nationals

Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson added to the rotation, but will they have enough offense? A not-absolutely-horrible Jayson Werth might help.

15. Milwaukee Brewers

Replaced Prince Fielder with Aramis Ramirez, so that’s a downgrade, but not a HUGE one if Ramirez is healthy. Still have a solid rotation and bullpen, but real question is how Ryan Braun will react to PED test and how they will do without him for 50 games.

16. Colorado Rockies

Upgraded the offense with Michael Cuddyer, Ramon Hernandez and Marco Scutaro. Starting pitching is definitely a concern though.

17. Cleveland Indians

A darkhorse partially because they play in such a bad division. They quietly won 80 games without their best player (Shin Soo-Choo) last year and with only a small bit of Ubaldo Jimenez.

18. Los Angeles Dodgers

No pair of players in baseball were better last year than Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp. It’s the rest of the team that is the problem. With Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano, they look poised to win the 2002 World Series.

19. Toronto Blue Jays

A great farm system gives them hope for the future, and Jose Bautista and Ricky Romero give them hope right now.

20. Kansas City Royals

A lot of their heralded farm system is up. The question is whether or not Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Billy Butler and Alex Gordon can carry a team on their backs.

21. San Diego Padres

They are playing for the future, but were very active in the off-season, grabbing Carlos Quentin, Huston Street, Yonder Alonso, Andrew Cashner and Edinson Volquez.

22. Seattle Mariners

It will be very interesting to see how the Michael Pineda for Jesus Montero deal works out. Usually deals like this favor the hitter in the end.

23. Baltimore Orioles

Looked like they were the next Tampa Bay Rays a couple years back. Now it’s looking more like the Devil Rays with many prospects falling short of expectations.

24. Chicago White Sox

Adam Dunn had one of the worst years in baseball history last year. This year, he’ll try to comeback with a lot of his teammates gone.

25. Pittsburgh Pirates

Since 2000, the Pirates have had 3 starting pitchers with a WAR above 4. In that same time period, Roy Halladay has done it 8 times. They hope their last two top picks (Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole) will change that, but they aren’t ready yet.

26. Minnesota Twins

Mauer and Morneau can’t stay on the field, if you could guarantee me they could, they would move considerably up this list.

27. New York Mets


28. Oakland Athletics

Another strange off-season for Oakland. Traded Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez and then signed Yoenis Cespedes to a 4-year deal. Not sure what the end game is here.

29. Chicago Cubs

Theo Epstein will get this team competitive again, but not with this current squad.

30. Houston Astros

The worst team in baseball by a lot in 2011, they did little to improve in 2012.


So that’s how I see it for now – I’m sure this will change as Spring Training gets going.

How do you see things shaping up?

If you liked this post...Help Spread the Word:
  • YardBarker
  • BallHype
  • StumbleUpon
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google
  • Mixx
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo! Buzz


  1. Ken Bland says:

    I might be inclined to put Texas and Tampa where the Phils and Red Sox are, and drop them below those 2.  Luke Scott improves the Rays offense as well.  Angels/Rangers, at this time, 6 of one half dozen of the other.  NY at the top is hard to disagree with off Pineda, Kuroda pick ups.  I could see Tigers playing out to about the 8 slot, but for now, probably worth more respect, giving their defense some bennie of the doubt.  To me, biggest question is Valverde after a great year.  Well, aside from Miggy at 3rd.  I kinda like the Jays higher, with pen additions, but tough division/League will do nothing to swell their record to make it anything close to obvious.  

  2. Stu says:

    Enjoying all the talent in the AL…really iike the parity of the top 20 teams.


  3. Josh says:

    Hey look at that, someone who doesn’t overvalue the cardinals! 

  4. Mike Donnelly says:

    would love see last year’s payroll number and this year’s payroll number for every team, I think the Mets dropped payroll by about 70 million with Oliver Perez & Luis Castillo (combined 18 mill),  Frank Rodriguez (12mill) Carlos Beltran (18mill), these four numbers were given by Mets GM Sandy Alderson  and signing Reyes (~20-25mill) gone

  5. phillyfan says:

    I generally agree with these rankings and what jumps out to me is only one NAtional League team in the top 6.  And I think we are being very genreous in putting the Braves at 7, the perennial wanna-bes.  Talk about bark and no bite! Phillies could easily be alone in top 8.  I would put San Fran as the #2 team in the NL due to their dominant pithcing.  They are the only team that “scares” me to face in the playoffs.

    This just further demonstrates the pressure this team is under to reach the WS.  They were better than the last two WS winners, which came out of the NL.  Major pressure due to major underachievement.  And I don’t like the way this team looks in that role of favorite.  They need a “Pete Rose” presence to focus and loosen them up a bit.  Who is that vet with ability and championship moxie that we can get at mid-season to put us over the hump?  That is the question!

  6. Ken Bland says:

    First of all, heartfelt congrats to Raul Ibanez, who for the last several days, not to be confused with few, or couple, was reported to be in serious negotiations with interlocking NY for a lefty DH gig.  Those watching Raul last year know how poorly he can look at times on either offense or defense, but awfully nice guy he’s reported to be, you can’t help but feel terrific for the chance he gets, particularly with a pretty likely playoff club.  I hope those that have tried to offend the Yankee mentality by stating the Yanks like him because he can occasionally play the field remember the ignorance of that view that would only be offset by the once in a great while good throw or catch.  But this is truly an exciting day for a Phillie alum, and if his winter sessions with Rudy Jarmillo translate to a more consistent offensive year, it’s a potentially terrific sign.


    Today, if my info is right, and in fact pretty shortly, Cole Hamels plays Meet The Press, in a format similar to what Jonathan Papelbon did Saturday.  It brings up my first prediction of the year.  Hamels is of course a marketing delight.  Good looker, articulate, successful on the field, ad infanitum.  And it’s silly to think of long ago crimes as linked to fo life, but that now 4 or 5 year old interview he did with Joe and Evan on The Fan, where he got lured into calling the Mets chokers comes to mind today.  Papelbon seemed extremely in command of his press conference, giving pensive answers.  Cole, in a live setting, with enough pressing has never struck me with quite the degree of poise that shows the same level of control.  What I’m saying is that I guarantee you that everyone wants to walk away from this feeling warm vibes that he really wants to stay in Philly long term.  And he probably does.  But don’t be surprised if he provides fodder for talk radio and bloggers to feed the Phillie paranoia mentality, even if it’s a result of overthinking.  I suppose it’s more expectation that prediction, and likely extremely significant in the overall scheme.     

    Freaking Raul.  Gotta feel really good for a guy living the charmed life.  Go get em. 

  7. Chris McC. says:

    I’m glad Raul got a deal somewhere, I’m glad said team in a true contender and will give him another shot at a title and I’m glad we’re getting a draft pick out of the whole thing but I HATE that there is a Yankee I will want to actively root for. Going to stay positive though, more good than bad. Good for you, Raul.

    • Ken Bland says:

      I sank to the absolute depths of humaity and devoted about 3 minutes to try to come up with a Raul HR call for John Sterling today.  I failed miserably.  Not even a weak suggestion. 

  8. Dude says:

    I had to buy a new phillies hat… Clearly the one I’ve been wearing for the last couple years has been unlucky. Currently on the fence as to whether I should have it exorcised, blessed by a couple of chanting Buddhist monks, relegated to use in beer- league softball, or just trashed. At any rate, if complete victory is achieved this year, I’m preemptively claiming all the credit. :)

Speak Your Mind