As this season heads towards the finish line, we will likely see some top prospects make their MLB debuts. (Example: Aroldis Chapman) Some teams have been surprises this year (Example: Reds, Padres) and some have been dissapointments. (Example: Mariners) Which teams are on the rise and which are slowly aging and becoming worse? Let's take a look.
Teams that won't improve or get worse next year:
Basically, these are the teams that will stay the way they are this year, including future talent and aging talent.
Detroit Tigers: We'll see how the young talent develops and what moves they make, but they seem poised for another 2nd or 3rd place finish.
Kansas City Royals: Royals fans will probably disagree, but they need a couple more years for improvement.
Los Angeles Dodgers: I was very tempted to put them on the improving list, but considering I figured this year would be their improvement year, I won't make the same assumption.
New York Yankees: The Yankees are a consistently very good ballclub. That isn't about to change next year. Still, Derek Jeter will gain another year, Mariano Rivera (if re-signed....a very minor if) will continue to age (likely without any troubles) and Alex Rodriguez will continue to deal with his injury issues as well. The Yankees do have up and coming catcher Jesus Montero and starters Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova.
Philadelphia Phillies: Basically the same deal as the Yankees, especially with Domonic Brown due to get a full year in the majors.
Pittsburgh Pirates: It's the Pirates. C'mon!
St. Louis Cardinals: Once again, basically the same thing as the Yankees and Phillies. All around solid ballclub.
Washington Nationals: No Strasburg, likely no improvement.
Teams That Will Improve:
Arizona Diamondbacks: Was very close to putting them on either of the other two lists, but I expect the same with the Orioles to happen to the Diamondbacks. Mark Reynolds is a star and will improve, same goes for Chris Young. Dan Hudson is looking like an ace.
Atlanta Braves: They surprised with the major improvement over this year and Jason Heyward will be a two year MLB player. Tommy Hanson will be a Cy Young candidate pitcher next season. That's a prediction from me you can hold me to.
Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles are already improving under Buck Showalter and we will see more of that in 2011. Young pitching such as Brian Matusz will have another year to mature. The bullpen is always an issue, but if they can clear that up they can improve.
Chicago White Sox: Love the rotation consisting of Danks, Floyd, Buehrle, Jackson, and a 5th starter. (Garcia this year) Beckham can only improve and Rios is looking like an MVP candidate.
Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Aroldis Chapman, Edison Volquez, Travis Wood, etc. Enough said.
Cleveland Indians: Another tough team to place, but they can't really be this bad next year and they have Carlos Santana ready for a full year.
Colorado Rockies: A full year of Carlos Gonzalez is a monster. Troy Tulowitzki healthy, Huston Street healthy, they can only go up from here.
Florida Marlins: Nice crop of young talent including Logan Morrison, Mike Stanton, and Gaby Sanchez among others.
Houston Astros: Here's another prediction from me. The Astros will be an above .500 team next year. Chris Johnson, Brett Wallace, Hunter Pence, and a young crop of hitters, going along with Wandy Rodriguez and future ace J.A. Happ is a very good team.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Kendry Morales will be back. That's improvement enough.
Minnesota Twins: If Justin Morneau is healthy all of next year and if Joe Nathan is healthy those are two big pieces added to the already solid puzzle.
Oakland Athletics: One of the best rotations in baseball and they're all young. Add some young hitters and that's a team on the rise.
San Diego Padres: Read Oakland Athletics, just even better.
San Francisco Giants: Read San Diego Padres, just a little worse.
Tampa Bay Rays: I hate to say this but the Rays are just getting better and better. Desmond Jennings and Jeremy Helickson are on their way up, B.J. Upton can only get better.
Texas Rangers: Surprise team has a great group of young improving players. (Examples: Tommy Hunter, Neftali Feliz)
Teams That Will Get Worse:
Chicago Cubs: Dealing with a managerial change and some large contracts, expect another dissapointing year.
Milwaukee Brewers: Prince Fielder might leave in the offseason, Randy Wolf is still getting paid like an ace.
New York Mets: Yes, the Mets. Not saying this because I'm a Yankees fan, but because the team is just a mess all together. I'll say this much: fire Manuel and Minaya and they might even get a spot on the improvement list.
Remember, this is based on current talent and prospect. You never know what moves teams will make. I left the Red Sox out due to personal bias. Vote in the poll for them!