Look, MLB power rankings are stupid. I could broaden that and say that all power rankings are stupid, but:
- At least in football, one can take the time to smartly build a list, without having more data added to disrupt any evaluations.
- Other sports operate within wider margins. Team quality is less closely bunched, and makes itself clear more quickly, than in baseball.
- ‘Power Rankings’ is a decent term for search engine optimization. Coming soon: ‘NFL Mock Draft:’ in front of all my headlines!
That said, I find it difficult to really keep straight where I think teams stand, relative to one another, over the course of a long season. The unbalanced schedule really confounds any effort to make an objective, solid list, but worse, I often struggle to pay anything resembling equal attention to all 30 teams. It’s hard to keep up, unless you have a system.
From now on, therefore, this is my system. Each Thursday (and maybe, occasionally, on other days, too), I’ll rank all the MLB teams, 1-30, and give a blurb about their placement in as many words as they have played games, to this point.
Yes, this will make for comically incomplete assessments in the early going. That’s the point. We know almost nothing about these teams right now, so I intend to say almost nothing about them, and the order in which I rank them will be almost identical to the way I would have aligned them before the season began. As the year goes on, though, that will change. Slowly.
Without further ado:
30. Houston Astros (5-10): Hitting .189 as a team, averaging fewer than three runs per game, but George Springer!!!
29. Minnesota Twins (6-7): Respectable start fueled by some unsustainable offensive performances, not the rebuilt pitching staff.
28. Colorado Rockies (7-9): They keep trying to find perfect pitchers for Coors. Better bet would be finding better pitchers.
27. Philadelphia Phillies (6-8): Chase Utley belongs in Cooperstown. Once he cools, , though, things will get even uglier.
26. Chicago Cubs (4-10): Headed straight for cellar, but strong early returns from cornerstone players and trade candidates.
25. New York Mets (8-7): .644 team OPS, fifth-worst in MLB, yet have scored ninth-most runs. Unsustainable.
24. Miami Marlins (6-10): Giancarlo Stanton is playing his way out of Miami. Some great young talent beginning to congeal.
23. Chicago White Sox (8-7): Have both scored and allowed most runs in AL. Impressive rebuild. Could contend next year.
22. Pittsburgh Pirates (7-8): Remain a very strong run-prevention club. Need more length in lineup or rotation, though.
21. San Diego Padres (7-8): A high-variance team, plenty of upside, but in bad habit of finding downside lately.
20. Arizona Diamondbacks (4-14): Eighteen games in, if you thought this team could win 90 before season, you’d now expect just 84.
19. Baltimore Orioles (7-7): They need Machado back ASAP, but he can’t cure all their ills. Regression sucks.
18. Kansas City Royals (6-7): Didn’t homer until eighth game of season. Well-rounded team, though. Could contend.
17. Seattle Mariners (7-7): Weaknesses haven’t really shown up in early going. You have to love their depth.
16. Cincinnati Reds (6-9): An increasingly top-heavy big-league roster, but solid organizational depth. Need to get healthy.
15. Toronto Blue Jays (8-6): The wisdom of letting last year’s bad breaks even out is clear so far.
14. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (7-8): Badly imbalanced roster, but such a strong positional group that they may stay in contention.
13. New York Yankees (9-6): Remarkable for gulf between very good players and very bad ones. Easy team to upgrade.
12. Milwaukee Brewers (11-4): This is real, to an extent. Pitching probably won’t be this strong all year, though.
11. Texas Rangers (8-7): Injuries have them here; strong roster that has had awful luck. Top-five team eventually.
10. San Francisco Giants (10-5): Ballpark hides an offense that has been among the best in NL for years now.
9. Detroit Tigers (6-5): In danger of fast fall from the heights. Dependent on Cabrera.
8. Cleveland Indians (7-7): Depth, versatility, team approach. Love watching these guys wear out opponents. League’s biggest sleeper.
7. Boston Red Sox (6-9): Relentless organizational depth. Will be able to bolster roster easily, any time. Need veterans healthy.
6. Atlanta Braves (10-4): Rotation still feels thin, but they’ll have plenty of time to find an upgrade.
5. Washington Nationals (9-6): With Ryan Zimmerman hurt, Danny Espinosa becomes a crucial cog. Still very strong all-around team.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers (9-6): Kershaw injury exposes a few minor cracks in pitching staff, but they should be fine.
3. Tampa Bay Rays (7-8): Starters two, three and four all sidelined for extended period; still an elite team. Wow.
2. Oakland Athletics (10-5): Stunning positional depth. A joy to see roster spots used so well. Bullpen will recover.
1. St. Louis Cardinals (9-6): Only weaknesses are voluntary. Getting Pete Kozma off the roster is always a positive step.
Tune in next week, when I (might) try these in limerick form!Next post: Dribblers: Starlin Castro, The Next 300-Game Winner, Andrelton Strikes Out
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