With the regular season fast approaching I decided I wanted to do a first week Power ranking installment of all 30 MLB teams, being a bit inspired by Fangraphs 2012 Organizational Rankings I will do just a MLB level arrangement. Hopefully I will come out with a new installment every month throughout the regular season.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — #48 Torii Hunter beats Napoli's throw as Andrus (right) could not come up with the hop.
1. Los Angeles Angels of Anahiem, AL West
Bringing in Albert Pujols, and C.J. Wilson will surely make a big impact, but it isn't just the Overloaded richness of the starting rotation and the 25-man roster...its also the minor leaguers who are major league ready.... guys like CF Mike Trout, SP Garrett Richards, and even SS Jean Segura could help out if things get dicey at the MLB level. Kendrys Morales is still an Angel too.
2. Texas Rangers, AL West
Also residing in the small sized but hugely talented AL West, is the team thats been to the world series two consecutive years only to have no rings to show for yet. Josh Hamilton's situation may be a bit dyer, but bringing in Japaneese Sensation Yu Darvish and having the youthful Leonys Martin as insurance in the OF will undoubtedly help keep Texas in contention all year long. Throw in Joe Nathan in the bullpen mix and Neftali Feliz in the rotation and look out!
3. New York Yankees, AL East
America's most recognizable team, always in the top 5 or 10 in pre-season rankings, will surely be a contender yet again. Yawn, stop me if you've heard that before. On the positive side within the next 2 seasons management has said they will get the cap down to $ 189 Million to avoid losing more revenue sharing money, and a luxury tax hit. Currently sitting at about $ 212 Million means some of those aging veteran stars may not be Yankees much longer.
4. Detroit Tigers, AL Central
Prepare yourself Twins fans for some drudgings at the Hands of the Kitty Cats, this potent lineup will score tons of runs and probably put some whompings on Twins pitching. Delmon Young, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Brennan Boesch, Ryan Raburn, Alex Avila, Jonny Perlata. Victor who? They're pitching is also strong with Verlander, Schzurer, Fister and they have this guy in AAA named Jacob Turner who could be last years Jeremy Hellickson.
5. Cincinnati Reds, NL Central
Just two seasons removed from greatness, the Reds re-upped a bit acquiring Padres starter Mat Latos for a slough of young talent, quite frankly the Reds didn't need. As long as this team stays healthy and has Joey Votto batting they'll be solid, and if the pitching is as good as It can be and i think it will be, they'll win the Central.
6. Colorado Rockies, NL West
Their biggest off-season move was acquiring Twins legend Michael Cuddyer to play RF, 3B, 1B, and maybe even some LF. He'll start in Right and hopefully not move around that much, but even without Cuddyer this team was going upwords. They're trending in all the right directions, they've also acquired a decent mid-rotation starter in Jeremy Guthrie from the hapless Orioles for two relievers. Plus pried Slowey from the Twins for a schmuck only to turn around and ship Slowey to the Indians for Zach Putnam, a guy who i think has some good potential in the Rox bullpen this year.
7. Tampa Bay Rays, AL East
Maybe the most depth in all of the majors, the Rays are one of the few teams in this league who can afford injuries to key players withstand them, and continue to compete while they're stars are recovering or are in a slump. This team has the best YOUNG rotation in baseball...headlined by Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore, throw in David Price, James Shields, Jeff Niemann, and Wade Davis and suddenly they can pitch their way into post-season even if they're scoring less than 3 runs a game.
8. Washington Nationals, NL East
Maybe one of the most productive off-seasons of any team, they quitely went out and Massively upgraded their rotation that already featured the likes of Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, John Lannan. Now with Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson on board to go along with that sick bullpen of Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard...they can suprise and make the playoffs in 2012 I believe. Yes, not 2013 or 2014 right now, ohhhhh... and did i mention they have arguably the TOP/ Best minor league player in OF Bryce Harper, who happens to be about major league ready?
9. Boston Red Sox, AL East
After a largely laughably embarrasing debacle last season the nations team, prepares to go forward with Bobby Valentine at the helm citing no alcholol in the teams club house, Fried Chicken only on Friday's and Clam Chowder soup as a pre-game meal ritual. They're team is loaded, but they sort of took a step backwards not only with Front office managment and coaching but also the players as well on the roster.
10. St. Louis Cardinals, NL Central
Freshly coming off a grand 2011 season and world seires rings glistening in the sun on their shiny little hands, the Cardinals have a new skipper and have a new 1B men. Throw in the fact Adam Wainright and Chris Carpenter can't seem to pitch healthy at the same time together, they could be in for a tough year. Also the magic unicorn has left as Nick Punto is in Boston. Beltran signed on to play OF and provide some punch + Their Farm system ranks inside the top 10 however, so they'll continue to churn out competitive teams for a while in my opinion.
11. San Francisco Giants, NL West
Its no secret pitching pitching pitching is San Fran's model for success and it may be as strong or stronger as ever in 2012. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Erik Surkamp, Ryan Vogelsong, Zito and the Beard, with solid bullpen death has teams like the Astros, Pirates, and Twins salivating at their Spring Training cutt list. (for pitchers) C Buster Posey is back healthy, and Brandon Belt, The Panda Bear and Melky could keep them in the hunt.
12. Arizona Diamondbacks, NL West
Already a very solid ML team. They probably have the best pitching in the Minors. Led by Ace Trevor Bauer the Diamondbacks could be a force for years to come, Jason Kubel is now in their OF, as well as Bloomquist and Goldshmidt on the Infield. Justin Upton is a pure hitter and Miguel Montero is a top 10 catcher in the league.
13. Toronto Blue Jays, AL East
Maybe the #1 proponet for a geographical change or divisional re-alignment in all of baseball. This Jay's team may be the best little known team in the league. Jose Bautista is one of the 2 or 3 most dangerous hitters in baseball. And GM Alex Anthropolous has drafted, developed and dealt for some INCREDIBLE young pitching depth. This team may be a year or two away from really breaking out but when they do the rest of the AL East better not blink. Rookie 3B Brett Lawrie, Canadian, is one of my favorite players in baseball and The Twins took OF Aaron Hicks over him in the 2008 draft class. Stands to reason even more incentive will be placed on Hicks' 2012 campaign for me, He B-E-T-T-E-R S-T-A-R-T playing w-e-l-l-l-l.
14. Philadelphia Phillies, NL East
No, do not adjust you're computer screen or monitor. This is where I have the Phillies checking in and it may be a bit generous. Sure Halladay, Lee, and Hamels are dynamic but the back end of the roation could be in flux, and Ryan Howard and Chase Utley will likely start the year hurt, again. Howard may not be back untill late mid-season. I don't see the Phills making the playoffs this year at all. Jimmy Rollins and Polly Polanco is an awfully old left side of the infield as well.
15. Miami Marlins, NL East
Wow. I guess it can be done, the little engine that could can play with the big boys now. Annually a small market team sooo small that they've had years Alex Rodriguez's salary would equal they're entire teams salaries combined. They're usually down in the Pirates, Royals, Indians, Athletics group for teams that like to spend money on NO players and can usually NOT afford to keep their own home-grown talent. Well boy have things changed down their in Florida... Ozzie Guillen is now the Manager and Jose Reyes, Mark Buerhle and Heath Bell are all in the Miami clubhouse. Unreal, I guess i'm being a bit low on them for now, but i think they might only go up from here. You gotta love Giancarlo, Matt Domino, Lo Mo, Hanley and Christian Yelich to go along with Josh Johnson, Nolasco, and Sanchez.
16. Minnesota Twins, AL Central
Ahhh, finally. Finally came the placement of where I didn't feel too sheepish about placing my team. My home grown minor league developing, fundamentally sound, Gardenhire screaming team. Terry Ryan is now back in charge, where he should have always been. And despite a plethera of questionable roster decisions over the last couple of years, the team may remain semi-competitive in 2012 and a few years beyond. Liriano is in an even year and also a contract year so you can bet he'll be better. Mauer and Span should be back to form. Morneau is the big wild-card. The bullpen may be historically bad, but the rest of the team seems to be about ready. This June will come a huge amatuer draft for the Twins selecting 6 times in the top 100 picks.
17. Atlanta Braves, NL East
Freddie Freeman may end up being the best 1B in all-time Brave History and then some, but with that era out goes another. HOF'er Chipper Jones is in his final Season and C Brian McCann, 2B Dan Uggla and SP Tim Hudson arn't getting any younger. The Best bullpen in Baseball.... Kimbrel, Venters, O' Flaherty, Medlan is nasty. But that young rotation may be a bit overrated and Top Prospect Arodys Vizcaino is done for the season with Tommy John. Look for Jason Heyward to bounce back however.
18. Kansas City Royals, AL Central
Could have ranked a little higher, this youthful roster is poised to make a big time splash eventually. With a good amount of qualitly pitching in the upper minors the Team could finally assemble a rotation that garners respectability amongst the American League. Already a solid offense.... Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Jeff Francour, Mike Moustakakas and Lorenzo Cain will lead charge. Tough break losing C Salvado Perez for the year already though.
19. Los Angeles Dodgers, NL West
Every year they seem like a disapointment, maybe its the always pleasant weather, the crummy fan-base, the owner less leadership, the financial hardships, the Bloody near death experience of a rival Giants fan in the teams parking lot. Or just simply the fact theres toooo many distractions in Hollywood... but This team is long out of excuses OF Matt Kemp may be the best 5 tool player in baseball and Young Sandy Koufax Left-Hander Clayton Kershaw is so good that if you watch him pitch you forget you're actually watching a baseball game and not a batter trying to made look like he's hacking at hacky sacks when Kershaw seems to be playing bag-toss with them. They should be much higher than this come May.
20. Oakland Athletics, AL West
First things first, last year was a disapointment but i think they've done a fairly good job at turning the roster over without really re-building the whole thing...its only a partial re-build... Cespedes, Reddick, Crisp, Smith could combine to form a solid outfield. With young guys like Grant Green, Jemile Weeks, Chris Carter, Collin Cowgill, and Derek Norris could provide more than a child's play punch on offense. And LHP Brett Anderson is recovering from injury and may return to be a dominate left-handed option in the rotation.
21. Cleveland Indians - I think of this entire list they could suprise the most relative to where they are.
22. Seattle Mariners - Really good farm system led by pitchers Hultzen, Walker, Paxton, and Noessi.
23. San Diego Padres - #1 farm system in the game for me. Unreal.
24. Milwaukee Brewers - I don't believe Ryan Braun at all.
25. Chicago Cubs - GM is now Theo Epstein they'll improve over time.
26. Pittsburgh Pirates - All those high draft picks are starting to pay off.
27. Chicago White Sox - Kenny Williams is GM, he's the father of the 49ers fallout WR.
28. New York Mets - Well hey Johan is back and Wright is still there butttt....ahhh well they have a solid farm.
29. Houston Astros - Pick #1 this June.
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* SHS"s pre-season World Series prediction: Arizona Diamondbacks against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tigers, Twins, Angels, Yanks all losing in post-season
Rockies, Reds, Nationals, Marlins all defeated.
We can all dream can't we?