MLBBlogBuzz is compiling a preseason power rankings by asking all members to submit their lists. I enjoy reading weekly power rankings on sites such as CBS Sportsline, and SI.com but have never actually sat down to write my own.
So I figured I’d participate. I wasn’t expecting it would be as hard as it was, but let me tell you – trying to rank 30 teams in order is challenging. Since it is so challenging I don’t plan to write another power rankings column until the All-Star break, to see how much things have changed.
Anyways, here are my preseason power rankings based on expectations (as of today) for the 2011 season.
1. Boston– Crawford and Gonzalez more than make up for the losses of Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre. I hope the injury bug strikes again or the Jays will have little chance to beat them.
2. Philadelphia – Cliff Lee is a number two starter. Enough said.
3. Texas– They lost Lee but he only went 4-6 with a 3.98 ERA for them last year, so it’s not like he carried them to the playoffs. Brought in Beltre to join reigning MVP Josh Hamilton and breakout candidate Nelson Cruz, and also signed Brandon Webb to a risk/reward contract (a la Rich Harden last year). They’ll be fine.
4. New York Yankees– Lost out on Lee, lost out on Adrian Gonzalez, lost out on Victor Martinez, lost out on Crawford, lost out on Werth, likely lost Pettitte, and still have A.J. Burnett. But they also still have 850 bajillion dollars…
5. Colorado– Might be a bit high, but Tulowitzki, CarGo, Ubaldo, De La Rosa, and Dexter Fowler are good.
6. Atlanta– They can pitch well, Heyward is another year older, and Uggla should be able to NOT let as many balls through his legs at 2B as poor, poor Brooks Conrad. Plus they re-signed playoff magnet Eric “Effing” Hinske.
7. Detroit– Overpaid for Benoit, but adding him with Victor Martinez, along with re-signing Magglio has them as AL Central favourites.
8. Milwaukee– New rotation (Greinke, Marcum) + final chance for Prince as a Brewer = Playoffs (maybe).
9. Chicago White Sox– Adam Dunn will mash, Konerko is back, and they got rid of 575 lb Bobby Jenks. All good. Plus Ozzie Guillen is still there, so entertainment level will be high at the very least.
10. San Francisco– Defending champs might be too low, especially with the rotation back. But Bumgarner and Posey could be regression candidates, and Kung Fu Panda is still fat. Danger ahead.
11. Cincinnati– Votto is the man and Chapman can throw really, really hard. But Renteria? Yikes.
12. Minnesota– Pretty quiet offseason, but never count out Mauer and Morneau. And their stadium is nice.
13. St. Louis– Will the Pujols contract situation be a distraction? Doesn’t really matter cause they won’t win anyways – they signed Brian Tallet.
14. Tampa Bay– Won’t be as bad as many think because they are still stacked in the minors, but losing Crawford, Bartlett, Pena, Choate, Soriano, Benoit, and Wheeler has to hurt.
15. Oakland– Willingham, Matsui, and DeJesus are in, and they can pitch. But I still don’t like them, and I hate their ballpark.
16. NY Mets – They still have an outstanding core of players, but they are aging rapidly and Luis Castillo stills plays 2B. Not good.
17. LA Angels– Yes they will be getting Kendry “I Broke My Leg While Celebrating” Morales back. Yes they signed Scott Downs. But they missed out on EVERY big name free agent, and still have Jeff Mathis and Brandon Wood on the team (combined .169 average in 431 AB).
18. Toronto– Drabek and Arencibia replacing Marcum and Buck is good for the team in the long run. Maybe not in 2011.
19. LA Dodgers – Nothing excites me about this team. Nothing.
20. Chicago Cubs – The Garza trade might help this year, but does anybody actually, really, honestly, see them in the playoff race? Didn’t think so…
21. Florida– They’ll be good again just in time to move into their new stadium. Gave up on Cameron Maybin kind of fast didn’t they?
22. Washington– Werth is in, as is Adam LaRoche, but it won’t matter this year. If Strasburg is healthy for 2012 however…watch out.
23. Arizona– Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell are coaches, but this team is FAR from the 1984 Tigers. Justin Upton is good though.
24. San Diego– A long, hard fall. At least they have O-Dawg to lighten the mood.
25. Baltimore– Mark Reynolds + JJ Hardy + Jeremy Accardo + Derek Lee = meh. I’m not convinced.
26. Seattle– King Felix might win every Cy Young for the rest of his life, but will it matter? Figgins can’t be as bad as last year though, so things are looking up.
27. Houston– I can’t stand the Astros. Never could, never will.
28. Kansas City– What’s the best way to improve after a 95-loss season? The Royals decided to get rid of their best outfielder (DeJesus) and best pitcher (Greinke). Uh oh.
29. Cleveland– Over/Under on Grady Sizemore games in 2011 is set at 32.5.
30. Pittsburgh – I don’t care if the Pirates made a plethora of incredible signings, trades, and personnel moves. They will never leave this spot until they can prove they are able to win half of their games. What a disgrace.