Well, well, well. March is almost here and that means Opening Day 2020 will arrive before you know it. Thus, it is time to examine the power balance across baseball.
These power rankings will come out on a weekly basis during the regular season and will take into consideration injuries, transactions, and recent success. While they should remain somewhat consistent, there will be occasions where teams rise or fall at an excessive clip.
Without further ado (after extremely diligent and high-quality deliberation), the inaugural edition:
The Los Angeles Dodgers haven’t won a World Series in nearly three dozen years, but despite their recent woes on the big stage, they enter 2020 as the favorites to take home the title. Cody Bellinger is the reigning MVP while Mookie Betts and David Price are also in town. This team’s fate in the World Series is to be determined, but their success is a near lock.
Gerrit Cole. Big money. While James Paxton and Luis Severino are out for the year and Domingo German has been suspended, New York’s American League club has immense talent to surround the potentially-depleted rotation. The Yankees are still the favorites to win the American League.
The reigning World Series champions brought back Stephen Strasburg this offseason, which is certainly a big signing, but they lost superb infielder Anthony Rendon to the Angels. Washington made some moves to solidify their roster and should still win the National League East, but a bid for a second straight title seems unlikely.
Marcell Ozuna and Will Smith have been added to a roster that saw Josh Donaldson walk. While the loss of Atlanta’s favorite meteorologist hurts, the team arguably got better this offseason. They are due for a huge season but whether or not they can surpass the Nats remains to be seen.
Everyone’s enemy is still strong. The ramifications of being stripped of four draft picks won’t be visible for a few years, and the Astros are still a dominant team in the short-term. Gerrit Cole is gone, but Lance McCullers, Jr. has returned and the lineup is still stacked. Much to the displeasure of the majority of baseball fans, the Astros will continue to be good.
The Rays should finish in second in the AL East and lock up a Wild Card spot, but it is possible that they surprise the world and leapfrog the Yankees. The Rays have the best pitching staff in baseball, much like last year, but also added Hunter Renfroe, Jose Martinez and Yoshi Tsutsugo to the lineup. Keep an eye on this team in 2020.
The Twins added Josh Donaldson, Kenta Maeda, Homer Bailey, Rich Hill and Tyler Clippard and are now on pace for a huge 2020 season. It’s hard to tell if they can surpass their impressive 2019 clip, but they should still run away with the AL Central title.
Much like the Rays, Oakland has some really strong spots despite not spending loads of money. Health will be crucial for the A’s in 2020, but assuming the injury bug stays away, the Athletics are looking at another playoff berth.
The Brewers took a hit when they lost Yasmani Grandal, but they did add Brett Anderson, Josh Lindblom and Eric Lauer to a decent pitching staff while bringing in Brock Holt to rejuvenate a lineup that will welcome back Christian Yelich. The NL Central race will come down to four teams, and Milwaukee is one of them.
The Cardinals lost Marcell Ozuna, Jose Martinez, and Michael Wacha while adding Matthew Liberatore and bringing back Adam Wainwright. 2020 should be more of the same for the Cardinals, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing considering they made the playoffs last season.
11. Cincinnati Reds
The Reds are in a tough division but had a really strong offseason. In fact, putting them at No. 11 could be too harsh, as it is quite possible they win their division and perhaps even likely that they appear in the postseason. This team made some huge additions in preparation for a contending 2020 season.
Another team in a similar position as the Reds is the White Sox. Chicago made several good additions by reeling in Yasmani Grandal, Dallas Keuchel, Edwin Encarnacion, Gio Gonzalez, Nomar Mazara and Steve Cishek, as well as extending promising young stars Luis Robert and Aaron Bummer. Chicago can’t compete with the Twins but they could contend for a Wild Card spot.
The Halos have struggled to find success despite the presence of Shohei Ohtani and MVP Mike Trout. The Angels’ offseason goals consisted of adding a star, improving the catcher position, and solidifying their rotation, and they did just that with Anthony Rendon, Jason Castro, Julio Teheran, and Dylan Bundy. But while they accomplished their goals, their playoff fate remains up in the air.
The Diamondbacks could be an under-the-radar team in 2020 after signing ace Madison Bumgarner, outfielder Kole Calhoun, and setup man Junior Guerra. Now, with Starling Marte added to the mix, Arizona is a strong contender for a playoff berth.
15. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs were dead for most of the offseason and haven’t improved their squad much. Meanwhile, they have lost Cole Hamels and could be hurting from that in 2020. It could be wise for them to enter a brief rebuild—or rather, a solidification—for a year or two by trading away Kris Bryant and structuring a roster that can make it to the World Series in four or five years, rather than trying to sneak into the playoffs once or twice.
16. Texas Rangers
The Rangers entered the offseason in a position where they could be big spenders, as players such as Josh Donaldson, Anthony Rendon, J.D. Martinez, and even Nolan Arenado were linked to the Arlington club. Instead, they will welcome back Mike Minor and Lance Lynn to a pitching-dominant team that also landed Corey Kluber, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles. Those additions are decent, but 2020 won’t be their year.
The Phillies made a pair of solid additions this offseason by stealing Zack Wheeler from the Mets on a five-year deal worth nine figures as well as bringing in Didi Gregorius on a one-year prove-it deal that should end up being beneficial for the Philadelphia club. Still, 2020 could be a tough one for Philly, but the future remains bright.
The Indians went from being American League champions to near the bottom third of the league in just a few years, and the decline appeared to be quite painful. The team traded away Corey Kluber, leaving Shane Bieber and Mike Clevinger as the top pitchers and Francisco Lindor (who could be traded soon) as the flashy star in the infield. 2020 could be worse than many expect for the Indians.
19. New York Mets
It was impossible to rank the Mets in the top half of the league due to the inept ownership group that refused to make an effort to bring back Zack Wheeler. While the team will welcome back Marcus Stroman after signing Rick Porcello, Michael Wacha and Dellin Betances, they will still struggle.
20. Boston Red Sox
Brock Holt and Mookie Betts, the two biggest fan-favorites in Boston, are now gone. While the Red Sox will benefit from the woes of other teams (such as the Yankees’ loss of two dominant pitchers and the Orioles’ overall failures), they have their own struggles and weak roster to worry about. Expect them to unload their costly veterans as the season progresses and Chaim Bloom turns the organization around.
The Blue Jays and their fans seem to be the only ones really hyped up about the moves their team made this offseason. While they did bring in Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Chase Anderson, Shun Yamaguchi and Travis Shaw to mingle with youngsters Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio, 2020 will still be tough for this team.
22. San Diego Padres
At this time in 2019, the Padres were welcoming Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis, Jr. to the big stage. However, 2019 showed the world that the team is still struggling, so much so that they ended up shaking up their coaching staff by firing manager Andy Green. Drew Pomeranz is back while Tommy Pham and Jurickson Profar are in town; those disappointing moves round out the offseason for the Padres ahead of another woeful season.
23. Colorado Rockies
Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, Brendan Rogers and Trevor Story play baseball in the league’s most hitter-friendly park and this team is still the eighth-worst. They have done nothing this offseason, their pitching staff hurts, and Arenado and Jon Gray could be on their way out. A rebuild is coming.
The Royals lost 103 games last year and came into this offseason knowing it would be a quiet one for them. Jorge Soler and Whit Merrifield get the fans to the ballpark, but the rest of the squad doesn’t move the needle. Kansas City will struggle again this year.
Clint Hurdle and Neal Huntington were fired, signifying a fresh start for the organization. However, fans are still mad at ownership and were dealt a blow when Starling Marte was shipped off to Arizona. 2020 will be another down year for the Pirates in a challenging NL Central division.
The Giants have an underrated farm system and a bright future. However, their big-league squad isn’t as exciting. Madison Bumgarner walked and the team failed to do much. The Giants are glad that they get media attention in a big market, but that won’t translate to wins.
27. Miami Marlins
The Marlins made some moves that are quite refreshing to baseball fans. Despite rebuilding, they spent money and made an effort to be somewhat competitive. However, they play in a challenging division. Fans will come out to the ballpark, but again, that doesn’t translate to dubs.
28. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers were the worst team in baseball in 2019 and will see much of the same in 2020. They made a couple neat signings in Jonathan Schoop, C.J. Cron, and Ivan Nova, but they will still finish in the basement.
29. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners have a solid farm system and just locked up Evan White long-term. However, the Mariners are still declining. Last offseason, Jerry Dipoto just couldn’t stop training and there was some faith in the team entering 2019. Now, entering 2020, Dipoto’s job security is thin. Gulp.
In the wise words of The Athletic’s Grant Brisbee, “No.”