2016 MLB Preseason Power Rankings
Posted by hunterstokes21
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With just 5 weeks to the regular season – and all of the important Free Agents finally being locked up with Ian Desmond signing with the Rangers, it is time to see where all 30 MLB clubs stack up.
We are going to be running weekly power rankings once the year starts on Apr.3, 2016.
The way I compile the Power Rankings is best on confidence to win the World Series. Some clubs may be more talented (or playing better) than a squad they are behind in the rankings, but the Division (and strength of opponents) plays a massive factor.
It is the reason why teams like the Royals or Astros will be selected above a team like the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Pittsburgh Pirates might win 90 games (which may only see one AL club join them), but because they have to contend with the Cards and Cubs in the NL Central, it will be tough for them to receive a great ranking (at least until games are played).
(1) Chicago Cubs: This club has the highest ceiling over the next few years. Despite sophomore campaigns for Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell, Jorge Soler and Javier Baez coming, this team also brought in veteran backups with Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist. This squad should challenge 100 wins on the year.
(2) NY Mets: The Mets are going to pummel the NL East clubs, and their Pitching Staff should also keep them in all games (inter-Division) and in Interleague.
Yoenis Cespedes will still be motivated to post awesome numbers to activate his Free Agency again. A full year from Michael Conforto is going to help. Neil Walker was a great move to replace Daniel Murphy.
(3) KC Royals: Perhaps the easiest division for (Strength of Schedule). KC jumped out to a massive lead – and cruised to a 95 win season in 2015 – before reeling in their title.
Cleveland missing Michael Brantley will hurt them in April – with them being slow starters already the last few years. Detroit’s age will play a factor.
Both the Indians and Tigers should be competitive, but KC is still the #1 force in the AL Central.
(4) Houston Astros: These folks claiming that Texas is just as good as Houston are not looking at the side of youth – and internal improvement.
Houston is a lot like the Cubs – where their young talent could improve so much in the coming year. This team won 85 games last year and George Springer and Carlos Correa were not there for a 1/3rd of the year each.
Add in a stronger Bullpen with the addition of Ken Giles – and look the hell out. Houston has 10 guys who hit 10+ HRs last year, and a rotation that is the best in the division.
(5) SF Giants: I have the Giants winning the West in a tight race against the Dodgers all year. Their 1 – 8 lineup is great, as is their top 3 Starting Pitchers.
(6) Toronto Blue Jays: Best offense in the Major Leagues. They also went for depth in the rotation by re-signing Marco Estrada, inking J.A. Happ, trading for Jesse Chavez – and adding Bullpen pieces like Drew Storen.
This team is primed for the regular season. Still think they need to trade for a #2 Starter in the summer, and use Devon Travis and the Minor League system for bait.
(7) St. Louis Cardinals: Winning 100 games last year, and holding several young OF stars like Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty for a full year helps. Adam Wainwright bouncing back is crucial to their season.
So much depth helps out their cause. Look for them to shore themselves up with a trade for the playoffs. This team always knows how to win the close games, and that Starting Staff and Relief Core will secure plenty of victories for them.
(8) Washington Nationals: Playing in the NL East is a huge factor in their ranking here. 90+ wins is definitely ascertainable. Stephen Strasburg in walk year may be a factor, (could be a darkhorse CY Young candidate).
SO many injuries curbed the 2015 year.
Bryce Harper is the best player in the National League. He will help carry this club. Washington beats up on Miami routinely, and they have the Braves and Phillies to rack up wins too.
I think they play .600 ball versus those 3 teams (coupled with games against the Reds, Brewers, Rockies and Padres) – and they should still go slightly above .500 versus the rest of the league and American League.
(9) LA Dodgers: They have won the NL West 3 years in a row heading into 2016. The loss of Zack Greinke will sting something fierce.
(11) Texas Rangers: Signing Ian Desmond was brilliant. This one deal could be the defining factor on whether the club makes the playoffs or not. Hate banking on Yu Darvish so much after Tommy John Surgery.
(12) Detroit Tigers: Even with age being a concern with the “Motown Boys” – adding a Justin Upton, while having healthy Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez to start the year should help.
The Bullpen is also much improved. If everything breaks right, and KC shows some regression – the AL Central may be in sight for them to win. They should contend all year for a playoff spot regardless.
(13) Pittsburgh Pirates: Tough sledding playing in the NL Central. Will probably take another 98 win season to make the playoffs again in 2016 – and that may just net them 2nd in the Division.
(14) NY Yankees: Brett Gardner‘s ailing injury could be sign of bad things coming down the pike. Masahiro Tanaka has health questions, as does CC Sabathia, and the club lost Greg Bird for depth behind Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez.
Throw in a pending suspension looming for Aroldis Chapman, and the year may start slow – where they can ill afford to break Memorial Day Weekend that far behind in the Division or AL playoff race.
Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis, along with the incredible Starting Staff – need to hold the fort down until Brantley returns. I say they start out April badly – and play catch up the rest of the year.
(16) Seattle Mariners: Had Seattle marginally better than Texas until the Desmond signing (Seattle should have been in on him to upgrade over Ketel Marte. Love Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager to have great years).
(17) Arizona Diamondbacks: Great acquisitions with Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller. Tough to overtake the Giants and the Dodgers in the same division. They are kind of in the same boat as the Pirates.
(18) Baltimore Orioles: Losing the Dexter Fowler sweepstakes causes them to stress about the leadoff spot. Mark Trumbo and J.J. Hardy time warping back a few years to power hitters could have them inch up the standings.
Should challenge for most HRs in the Major Leagues – but it will be Starting Pitching that may be their unraveling in 2016. Losing Wei-Yin Chen – and replacing him with Yovani Gallardo is not enough. Tough AL East schedule hurts them too.
(20) LA Angels: Not addressing their 2015 weaknesses by signing anyone is a bad model to recoup from a non-playoff season. Albert Pujols is not 100% to start – after clubbing 40 jacks last year.
Mike Trout will see another MVP type like year go by the wayside. Maybe it is better for the franchise post 2016 – if they tank the 1st half of 2016 – then trade all veterans they can for a re-tool.
The pitching will need to exceed expectations everywhere for them to contend. A .500 record should be considered a good season.
(23) Minnesota Twins: Can’t understate how much they will miss Torii Hunter. Starting Staff will cost them a chance to improve on their 83 win season in 2015. The hope is still there with the emergences of Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton.
(24) Oakland A’s: In a parity filled American League the A’s are probably at the bottom of the league. This may not be for long.
(25) SD Padres: Never bought into their 2015 plan. 2016 should see them trade everything not nailed down, but they haven’t dealt any starter yet. Maybe after the ALL – Star Game hosted at Petco Park?
(26) Colorado Rockies: Will they trade Carlos Gonzalez before he gets hurt? All the offense in the world can’t make up for the pitching staff. 90 losses in their future years for many years to come. 17 out of 23 losing seasons as a franchise since inception.
(28) Atlanta Braves: This club is still looking forward to 2017. Would behoove them to keep drafting high. Trade Erick Aybar and anybody else in the last year of their contract midway through the season.
(29) Philadelphia Phillies: I think it will be a tough year, but youngsters should help the Phillies fans patience out. Top Starter had 7 wins last year. 2016 won’t be much better for the rotation. Help coming in the Minors at least.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
A Big thanks goes out to our chief writer Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s feature post.
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About hunterstokes21I Played NCAA Baseball at Liberty University in the 90's with Sid Bream's kid Sheldon. Once Hit a Home Run by hitting a hot air balloon that was coming over 2nd base (It was agreed that if a balloon was hit before game by the umpires and coaches - even though they were setting up in LF/CF Bleachers). I believe in the "Church Of Baseball". Come in for worship anytime.
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