On what is officially being considered as Opening Day across Major League Baseball, where do we think the teams will finish? Welcome to our initial MLB Power Rankings for the season.
Today, the season truly begins. While there were three games yesterday, today, most of the MLB gets started. It is Opening Day, a day that should be a national holiday. Spring is officially here, regardless of what the six inches of snow on my lawn may say.
It is a time of hope around the game as well. Virtually every team heads into the season expecting to compete, even if those beliefs are unrealistic. The fanbases are energized, either to watch the younger players come up and hopefully start the next run of contention, or to hope for a return trip to the playoffs.
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Where do the 30 MLB teams rank heading into the 2017 campaign? While these rankings will change over the course of the season, we all have to start somewhere. And so, as we celebrate Opening Day, let us take a look at the initial Power Rankings for the coming season.
Disagree with your team’s rankings? Feel that a team should be ranked higher or lower? Let us know in the comments!
The Pawtucket Red Sox, a AAA team, will have an Opening Day payroll higher than the Padres actual Opening Day roster. Essentially a AAA team themselves, the Padres most interesting player may be Christian Bethancourt, who will be slotted as a catcher/outfielder/reliever.
The Reds are not likely to be much better than the Padres, but at least they have Joey Votto. At least, until he comes to his senses and demands to be moved to someplace that does not involve Marty Brenneman’s insane hatred.
Chicago White Sox
The biggest story around the White Sox will be whether or not Jose Quintana is traded. The future appears to be bright, with top prospects like Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, and Michael Kopech, but that time will be in another couple of years.
Of the teams in the bottom five, the Minnesota Twins might have the most potential to move out of the cellar. They were a disaster last season, but with several promising young players, the Twins could find themselves back in contention again this year.
The biggest question with the Brewers will be if they trade Ryan Braun. He was on the trade block all offseason, but remained in Milwaukee to start the season. A repeat of last year’s performance could result in quite the return at the trade deadline.
If Billy Beane were alive, the Athletics inability to commit to a rebuild would kill him. Oh wait, he’s still running the A’s? Are we sure? Billy, if you’re being held against your will be a rival team, give us a sign and we’ll call for help!
The Diamondbacks slogan for 2017 is #OurSeason. If Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller, and Patrick Corbin can return to form, they could get back to respectability. However, is anyone really banking on that happening?
Are the Braves improved from last year? Yes. But this is a bridge season for the Braves, as the trio of Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey, and Jamie Garcia are here for 2017 only. Success will not be determined by wins and losses.
Los Angeles Angels
There is optimism surrounding the Angels this year. However, they still play in one of the hardest divisions in the game, with three teams that could be considered legitimate playoff threats. With a questionable rotation and an offense that is still the Mike Trout Show, the Angels are set for mediocrity.
The Orioles appear to be a team at a crossroads. Yes, they have Manny Machado, but there are a lot of questions in the rotation and the lineup. If Baltimore can have a lead after six, they should win, but can they hold an advantage that long?
The Phillies are an interesting team, with a plethora of young talent on the cusp of the Majors. Even if they hang around the periphery of the postseason, it may be possible that a few of those players come up in June and July.
The Rockies finally appear to have a pitching staff, but now there are questions about their offense. With injuries all over their lineup, the typically formidable Colorado lineup is not quite what it has been in the past.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays have a chance to come back to contention this season. With a greatly improved outfield defense, and some help in the lineup for Evan Longoria, they should be able to score more runs. If the pitching holds up, the Rays are a dark horse playoff team.
The Marlins approached the offseason with the unenviable task of trying to find a way to replace Jose Fernandez. Instead of overpaying for a starter, they addressed the bullpen, giving Miami what might be the best bullpen in the National League.
Kansas City Royals
If they played in almost any other division, the Royals would likely be ranked lower. However, in a relatively weak division, Kansas City should be able to hover around the .500 mark. If they struggle at the start of the season, the fire sale could be very interesting to watch.
In some ways, the Tigers are a lot like the Royals. The difference is that Detroit is saddled with an aging roster, and quite a few question marks in their rotation and bullpen. Can Detroit overcome those issues?
New York Yankees
The Baby Bombers should be exciting to watch, but the starting rotation could be an issue all season. The Yankees may have to win a lot of 7-5 games if they are going to reach the playoffs. If they are close at the deadline, do not be surprised if they bring in a starter.
Pittsburgh’s outfield defense should be improved with their new alignment, but there are questions about the rotation. Even ace Gerrit Cole is not as much of a given as one would hope for. And will Jung-Ho Kang ever play another game with the Pirates?
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are considered to be a possible playoff team, but they will miss Edwin Encarnacion in the lineup. Jose Bautista showed signs of slowing down, and the starting rotation is not as solid as one would think. They may have one last run left, but this could be the Blue Jays’ last stand.
Of all the teams on the periphery of the postseason, the Texas Rangers may have the widest variation of where they could end up. Cole Hamels is not the same pitcher he has been in the past, and there are holes in the lineup. Joey Gallo is getting another chance because of Adrian Beltre’s injury, but this may be his last one.
Every year, the Cardinals find a way to be on the edge of the postseason. After missing the playoffs for the first time since 2010, and with the loss of their top prospect, the Cardinals will still contend. Don’t be surprised when they return to the postseason.
The last time the Mariners made the postseason, Ichiro was a rookie and A-Rod wasn’t completely reviled. With a completely overhauled roster, jerry DiPoto has done everything possible to change that. This could be the year they return to the playoffs
I feel like I’m the only person that is going to miss Tal’s Hill. While I’m sure that Shake Shack is a fine eating establishment, having that little quirk in the outfield gave Minute Maid Park a sense of uniqueness. Bring back Tal’s Hill!
San Francisco Giants
The Giants issues showed up yesterday. The bullpen is still going to be a problem, and the starting rotation is still the Madison Bumgarner show. It has been enough to make the playoffs in the past, but will that continue in 2017?
New York Mets
The Mets are bringing back the same team from last year, but the same questions are going to apply. Can the starting rotation be healthy? Will David Wright play in more than ten games? Can the bullpen hold up? And what is Yoenis Cespedes driving today?
If any team is going to surpass the Cubs in the National League, it could be the Nationals. They have one of the deepest starting rotations in the game, and Bryce Harper was on fire during the Spring. With the franchise still looking for their first World Series appearance, this may be their best chance.
After coming so agonizing close to winning their first World Series since 1948, the Indians brought in Edwin Encarnacion to improve their lineup. However, their chances this season will rest upon their starting rotation, which may not be as solid as one would think.
los angeles dodgers
One of these years, Clayton Kershaw will dominate in the postseason. When that happens, the Dodgers will return to the World Series. It is coming – he is far too talented of a pitcher not to go on a playoff run.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox may be the best team in the game, let alone the American League. If Rick Porcello can replicate last season, and David Price can be even somewhat useful this year, Boston could be making a return to the World Series.
Let’s face it, the Chicago Cubs look like a dynasty in the making. With two of the best young hitters in the game, and a stellar pitching staff, the present is bright. Add in one of the best farm systems in the game, and the Cubs look destined to repeat in 2017.