In 11 days, on February 28th, Spring Training will be upon us. In this article, I’ll provide my Pre-Spring Training Power Rankings for each MLB team.
With the start of each season, fans around the league are excited and hopeful that their team will be the last one standing in October. Below, you can see who will be hanging around for playoff baseball.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Choosing the number one team in the league was the easiest decision to make in these power rankings. The Dodgers have kept the core that brought them a championship last year while adding highly-coveted free agent Trevor Bauer.
Players like Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts will continue to be elite this season and lead their team deep in the playoffs.
2. San Diego Padres
The Padres are best equipped to dethrone the Dodgers as the best team in baseball this season. Star Manny Machado is entering the third year of his lucrative ten-year contract and will look to be the focal point of the Padres offense.
Chris Paddack, Blake Snell, and Yu Darvish will lead a stellar rotation this season. This talented roster certainly proves why they belong at #2 in these power rankings.
3. Atlanta Braves
While the NL East is packed with playoff potential teams from top to bottom, the Braves are poised to be the best. The Braves have an excellent combination of young stars in Ronald Acuna Jr. and Mike Soroka, and proven veterans like Freddie Freeman and Travis d’Arnaud. With elite pitchers and firepower at the plate, the Braves should compete for the pennant this year.
4. New York Yankees
A perennial contender, don’t expect the Yankees to go anywhere soon. The depth of their playoff success will have a lot to do with their ability to stay healthy, as stars Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez have struggled with injuries.
However, even with potential injuries, the Yankees will have help with some elite pitchers. Starter Gerrit Cole and closer Aroldis Chapman are elite at their respective positions, as is Gleyber Torres. These Yankees are a well-rounded team, landing them the fourth spot on these power rankings.
5. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox emerged last year as one of the best teams in baseball. Liam Hendriks, Yasmani Grandal, and Tim Anderson are all excellent players at their position. Starting pitching could potentially be an issue for the White Sox this year. Expect a splash at the trade deadline for a starting pitcher as the White Sox will be looking to solidify themselves as a World Series contender.
6. New York Mets
The New York Mets probably had the most active offseason in the MLB. From Steve Cohen’s acquisition of the team to the Francisco Lindor trade, the Mets made some moves. With that active offseason, the Mets have a roster talented enough to make a run.
Jacob deGrom will lead a deadly rotation for the Mets as Lindor leads the group at the plate. Expect Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto to have a significant impact this season if the Mets want to compete for the NL East crown.
7. Minnesota Twins
The Twins find themselves at number 7 on these rankings because of their top to bottom talent. They have solid bats in players like Andrelton Simmons, Miguel Sano, and Mitch Garver. Pitcher Kenta Maeda is coming off a season in which he finished second in Cy Young voting, and will look to spend the 2021 campaign proving he is an elite starter.
Players like Byron Buxton and Max Kepler will need to produce at the plate in order for the Twins to make an impact this season.
8. Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are another primed for a breakout year thanks to an elite offseason. The big signing of George Springer, trade for Steven Matz, and addition of Marcus Semien were huge for the Jays. However, players like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will need to play very well for the Jays to make a playoff run.
9. Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays finished the 2020 campaign on the losing end of a Dodgers World Series, and are undoubtedly hungry to defend the pennant. The team has a plethora of veteran pitchers who will provide a solid presence on the mound all year. Then with rising stars at the plate in Randy Arozarena and Ji-Man Choi, the Rays are primed for a good season.
However, pitchers like Tyler Glasnow and Chris Archer will need to produce this season, or the Rays will find in high-scoring matches all year. The Rays hungry to repeat last year’s success, and I don’t expect them to waver this season.
10. St. Louis Cardinals
In a previous article, I stated that the Cardinals are going to be a top-five sleeper team this season. The roster alone goes to prove this theory, as the Cardinals have All-Star talent from top to bottom. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are premier players at their positions and will put on a show this year. While they have some concerns with an inexperienced outfield, the infield and pitching more than make up for it.
Jack Flaherty and Adam Wainwright are going to be a one-two punch to watch this season on the mound. Overall, the Cardinals have tremendous talent and the ability to play into October.