30 MLB Team Power Rankings FEB 2014

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Not withstanding the last few signings in the MLB, noteworthy is Bronson Arroyo to the Diamondbacks, and Paul Maholm to the Los Angeles Dodgers, these will not effect the grand scheme for the rankings of all clubs.

Nelson Cruz is still available, and I would be very surprised if he doesn’t ink a deal with the Mariners.  This would put them slightly ahead of the Angels if done, as oppose to a dead heat right now.

There are no real surprises to be had here.

The Orioles, Blue Jays and Pirates have had the worst offseasons, while the Rangers, Royals, Rays, Giants, Yankees, Cardinals and Dodgers have helped out their causes for the upcoming campaign.

30 MLB Team Power Rankings MAR 2014

So here are the rankings.  Keep in mind, having a division without much competition will pole vault your ranking.  For this reason alone, I am placing Detroit a lot higher than I naturally would have.

Also, the AL East and AL West will have the toughest tasks in terms of strength of schedule in 2014.

Team Rankings.

1.  Washington Nationals:  They picked up Doug Fister, and had literally everything go wrong for the 1st 20 weeks of last year.  A big run at the end of the year is more in tune of what they are capable of.

This should be breakout years for Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, and their team depth features a lot stronger of a bench.

This ranking is also contrived because I believe the Braves have not been active on the Free Agency market, while losing Brian McCann and Tim Hudson this off year.

2.  Los Angeles Dodgers:  I love this team to win the World Series, however I can’t call them the clear cut favorites because there is too much risk of injury.

The club is 5 deep on the rotation, have 4 capable OF, yet somehow I think they are going to struggle at 2B, 3B and Catcher. the good news is the management may be buyers for more guys at the Trade Deadline.

3.  Detroit Tigers:  I don’t like their winter, since I believe they rolled the dice too soon on blowing up last years squad of Prince Fielder.

I believe the team will not re-sign Max Scherzer long-term, with already doling out $44 MIL a year for Justin Verlander and Anibal  Sanchez already on staff.

Joe Nathan is an upgrade on the Closer spot, however losing the Innings eaten up by Joaquin Benoit will be felt.

I also believe Drew Smyly replacing Fister in the rotation is a saw off, but Ian Krol is not as good as Drew Smyly as the main LHP arm out of the relievers.

Jose Iglesias and Nick Castellanos will provide better defense, although bid farewell to Jhonny Peralta and Omar Infante‘s solid BA contributions.

Ian Kinsler doesn’t equal full value for Fielder either.  The Motown Boys have the least path of resistance in their Division, and I like them to take the AL Central crown again in 2014.

4.  St. Louis Cardinals:  St. Louis just keeps trucking along.  They upgraded the offense at SS with Peralta, while adding to depth with Peter Bourjos, opening up the 2B for Kolten Wong.

Oscar Taveras should still bring the club a Rookie Of the Year candidate.  Michael Wacha will wear in the #2 slot well with the retirement of Chris Carpenter.

Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have dipped a little in the rankings, and so St. Louis should be heavy favorites to reel in the NL Central yet again.

5.  Texas Rangers:  They could still add Kendrys Morales for the DH, and trade Mitch Moreland to an NL teams who covets a 1B.

This team has the talent to pull off a blockbuster trade for a #1 or #2 Starting Pitcher.  Prince Fielder should compete for the Hank Aaron Award in the AL, and Shin-Soo Choo‘s huge OBP, will set the table for big years from the middle of the lineup.

The AL West is a beast of a Division, but they will still cherry pick on the Houston Astros.

6. Tampa Bay Rays:  Keeping David Price is a smart move for the franchise.  In my opinion, they should also keep the LHP former Cy Young Winner next year too.

The only way they should trade Price is if they have a sub-par .500 start by the 2014 or 2015 ALL – Star Break.

Wil Myers, Chris Archer for a full year, and a deeper roster all around should help aid them in a tough AL East.

7.  New York Yankees:  The only reason why I have them higher than the Red Sox, is that I believe the Bronx Bombers will spend upwards of $50 more MILLION on player contracts in 2014.

On the taxi squad will be Adam Dunn, Chase Headley, Justin Masterson, Jesse Crain, Tom Gorzelanny and many of the other Minnesota Twins players will be on the hitlist for the Pinstripers.

If someone has a contract just though the end of the 2014 campaign, look for the New York Yankees to try to pick them up after the ALL – Star Break.

8.  Boston Red Sox:  This team has 9 expiring contracts in 2014 – which should mean guys are motivated to play well.

This club is also entrusting Will Middlebrooks, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley JR. too heavily, will trying to squeeze out all remaining good play from their Pitching Staff – all north of 30 years old.

The Yankees are old on offense, and the Red Sox are banking on a lot of old pitching.

David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia must keep up their numbers from last year.  I think they may even be ahead of the Division near the ALL – Star Break – and kind of fade in the second half.

9.  Oakland Athletics:  I am not sure the A’s will make the playoffs this year with a stronger showing potentially from the Angels and Mariners, but they still have the depth to give it a shot.

10. Cincinnati Reds:  With Pittsburgh probably taking a step back, the Reds still have Joey Votto and Jay Bruce to put up NL MVP type numbers.

The NL Central has the Brewers and Cubs to beat up on as well.  Although look for the “Brew Crew” to be slightly better in 2014.

11:  Kansas City Royals:  Love their chances to win close to 90 games with powder puffs: Twins, White Sox and a regression likely from the Indians coming.

12.  Atlanta Braves:  I hate their winter so far – other than the news of the Freddie Freeman signing.  Losing Brian McCann will hurt this franchise more than they realize.

Atlanta can’t have any passengers this year if they wish to win the Division.  I don’t like them against the Nationals though, which hurts their ranking, as they may not win the Wild Card play in game either without an ace.

13.  San Francisco Giants:  They brought back the majority of their core the last few years, added Mike Morse, and are hoping Pablo Sandoval, Marco Scutaro, Angel Pagan and Buster Posey hit one of their torrid hitting streaks.

The NL Bay area team also has the Rockies and Padres to speedbag on.

14.  Arizona Diamondbacks:  Love the Mark Trumbo acquisition.  He and Paul Goldschmidt could both club 40+ HRs this year.  Love the pitching staff, and have underrated players in their outfield and infield.

Could catch a big break if the Dodgers have injury issues.

T15.  Los Angeles Angels:  I will give them the slight edge on the Mariners right now – pending on what happens for the rest of their off years.

Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols could go off, and Mike Trout will likely elevate his play again in 2014.  The Relief Core is suspect, and the starters are not proven after the 1st two pivots Jared Weaver and C.J. Wilson.

This AL West is now a toughly pitched Division – and they will have their hands full with the M’s, A’s and Rangers staffs.

If all breaks right, these guys could make the playoffs.

T15: Seattle Mariners: They did lock up Fernando Rodney, however they must pull off another signing for the middle of the lineup.  The strength of this team is their Starting Pitchers.

James Paxton could win 15 games and take home the AL Rookie Of The Year Award.  Taijuan Walker may also impress. 

Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma may be the best 1/2 combination in the Junior Circuit after Verlander and Scherzer.

Robinson Cano will not have a career year, but he will help the PAC NW club for a winning season.  If the A’s and Angels have off-years, maybe they could sneak a playoff berth too.

17.  Pittsburgh Pirates:  This club will miss A.J. Burnett, and good luck on Francisco Liriano duplicating last years totals.

One guy who will continue to be the guy is Andrew McCutchen.  Not spending money on this roster is pure crap after the season the team put forth last year.

This ranking could change if they spend some dough.

18. Toronto Blue Jays:  Toronto needs Brett Lawrie to live up to his billing, and keep the rest of the offense healthy – all hitting for the Career OPS totals to make a push in 2014.

The pitching should be better, and I think the team will be in the 82 – 85 win range.

19.  Baltimore Orioles:  All 5 teams in the AL East are in the top 19.  The O’s have spent the offseason flunking guys on their physicals – instead of bringing in Free Agents.

Chris Davis will hit 40+ HRs, but I can’t see him putting up 53 HRs and 138 RBI again.  Manny Machado will take some time to get right after his leg injury.

Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy will probably have to see 2015 be their breakout year.

20. Philadelphia Phillies:  They have a fighting chance if Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley go circa 2008 – 2009 NL Pennant winners.

Bringing back Bobby Abreu and Marlon Byrd is not enough either.

Darin Ruf could have a breakout year.

21. Cleveland Indians:  Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir leaving hurts.  Danny Salazar could have been the AL Rookie Of The Year in 2014, but he threw 2 Innings more than the limit, to keep his eligibility.

Could make up some ground with the White Sox and Twins in the same division.

22. Colorado Rockies:  .500 should be attainable with the health of Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki aboard for the whole season in 2014.  They may be asking too much.

Nice Bullpen assembly, and love the moves they made in the winter, just is a tough division to plow through.

23. Milwaukee Brewers:  Not even a great 1B option, despite the rest of the lineup being decent can be eradicated through a trade.  Tough battle in the NL Central.

They went 74 – 88, and could be a decent year.  Ryan Braun back for the full year helps.  Aramis Ramirez is the Wild Card.  Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez must keep up their 2013 output.

24.  Chicago White Sox:  Rich Hahn has done a great job picking up 4 potential positional players in the last 7 months (Matt Davidson, Avisail Garcia, Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu for Jake Peavy, Addison Reed, Hector Santiago – and a handful of prospects and cash in return.

The ‘Southsiders’ should challenge the Indians for 3rd in the Division – and are better on paper than Minnesota.  This team should trade Adam Dunn near the Deadline for further the rebuild.

25.  Minnesota Twins: The Twinkes brought back Ron Gardenhire, have assembled a better Starting Rotation, and will be leaning on a lot of young players in 2014.

This club is bound to be good in a few years, like they were from 2002 – 2009, after struggling from 1993 – 2001.

The management and coaching staff knows how to cultivate young talent.  This is just the evolution of a new team being constructed.

26.  Miami Marlins:  Giancarlo Stanton should go crazy with HRs in 2014.  Jose Fernandez should be vying for the NL Cy Young Award too.  The team could compete early, but will try to trade every veteran by the Trade Deadline.

27.  San Diego Padres:  This team is going to be trounced by every other National League West club.

28.  New York Mets:  Matt Harvey is hurt for the year, signing Bartolo Colon is not the answer.  Curtis Granderson will hit about 25 HRs and hit .220.  Poor David Wright.

29.  Chicago Cubs: It is going to be a long year at Wrigley Field.

30.  Houston Astros:  Should be better than 51 wins in 2014, just not much more in a tough AL West.

30 MLB Team Power Rankings MAR 2014

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com ***

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A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Chief WriterHunter Stokes for preparing today’s featured article.  Hunter is a Baseball Writer for MLB reports.

Hunter grew up in Lynchburg, Virginia and played baseball with Sheldon Bream (Sid Bream‘s son) at Liberty University in the NCAA.

His favorite player is Brian Wilson (how could you guess?), and he hates when people can’t think outside the box!

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Posted on February 8, 2014, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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