MLB
April 22, 2020
BY Bryan Zarpentine

MLB Power Rankings

The 2020 MLB season didn’t start on time, but there are reasons to be optimistic that we will have baseball this year. After all, it'd be a shame if there wasn't a sequel to last year's World Series between the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals. Plus, with stars like Gerrit Cole, Mookie Betts, Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson changing teams, baseball got a serious shake-up this winter.

When that day finally comes and we're ready to get back to baseball, we need to be ready. To help you prepare, let’s break down all 30 teams with our first official power rankings of the 2020 season.

30. Baltimore Orioles

The silver lining for the Orioles is that there’s nowhere to go but up. Somehow, things could get even worse for Baltimore after winning just 54 games last year. Dylan Bundy looked like one of the leaders of the rotation, but he was traded during the winter. The Orioles also know that Trey Mancini could miss the entire season after having a malignant tumor removed from his colon in March. Mancini was one of the few bright spots last season, leaving the Orioles with little to look forward to in 2020.

29. Detroit Tigers

Detroit is coming off a pitiful 47-win season in 2019, so even if they get a little better this year, they’ll still be one of the worst teams in baseball. The Tigers have some decent young position players, but there are some serious holes in their lineup, even if the aging Miguel Cabrera has a decent year. The pitching staff has even more concerns, especially the bullpen. In other words, they have a long road back to the top of the AL Central.

28. Seattle Mariners

To their credit, the Mariners tried to get better with a series of trades a few years ago. They just didn’t work out and now Seattle has to start from scratch. Unless Kendall Graveman and Taijuan Walker can both come back from Tommy John surgery and be frontline starters, the Seattle rotation is in bad shape and the bullpen could be even worse.

Offensively, the Mariners have a few nice pieces, but not enough to make up for such a thin pitching staff. It might take a minor miracle to avoid a last-place finish in the AL West.

27. San Francisco Giants

With three World Series titles, the Giants were arguably the best team of the last decade. But they’ll kick off the 20s as one of the worst teams in baseball. San Francisco’s stars, both on the mound and in the field, are aging fast. The Giants simply don’t have the youngsters to keep pace and could be looking at a long season when things get underway.

26. Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates have tried to deny it publicly, but there’s no doubt they are trying to rebuild from the bottom up, starting this season. In fairness, Pittsburgh has some promising talent offensively and a slew of starting pitchers who underperformed last season. But trading Starling Marte over the winter was a sign that they aren’t serious about contending in 2020 and will likely finish last in the NL Central.

25. Miami Marlins

It’ll be a shock to see the Marlins finish anywhere other than last in the NL East this year. That being said, this could be the year that Miami finally starts to make some progress. Miami actually spent some money this offseason to bring in veterans such as Corey Dickerson, Jonathan Villar and Jesus Aguilar who can help supplement some of their younger players. The Marlins won’t make a ton of noise this season, but they won’t be the laughing stock of the league.

24. Kansas City Royals

Things might be slowly starting to turn around in Kansas City. The Royals haven’t traded Whit Merrifield and they got breakout campaigns last year from Hunter Dozier and Jorge Soler. There are a few other promising youngsters, not to mention Maikel Franco coming over to play third base. However, Kansas City’s pitching staff is still a year or two away from competing for a Wild Card spot.

23. Colorado Rockies

It’s hard to believe that the Rockies were a playoff team just two years ago. Colorado’s rotation self-destructed last season, and while that group was successful in 2018, it’s hard to assume they’ll get back on track this year. Of course, we don’t doubt that the Rockies will score runs. The trio of Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story can still do some damage. But the Rockies need either their young players or their aging veterans to give that trio a little support if they’re going to make any noise this season.

22. Texas Rangers

With Mike Minor and Lance Lynn coming off outstanding seasons in 2019 and Corey Kluber coming over in a trade, the Texas rotation is suddenly one of the most intriguing in baseball. The problem is that the Rangers don’t have much else going for them right now. The bullpen lacks depth and their lineup is relying on a lot of past-their-prime veterans to carry the load. Texas won’t be as bad as some teams, but it’s not wise for Rangers fans to enter the season with big expectations.

21. Toronto Blue Jays

️Out of all of the teams in the bottom third of our power rankings, the Blue Jays have the biggest upside in 2020. The amount of young talent Toronto has is second to none in the majors right now. The question is how fast players like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette will grow up. If those guys can turn into impact players and carry the Toronto offense, the Blue Jays have a pitching staff that could make them a contender. Hyun-jin Ryu will lead a rotation that also includes Chase Anderson, Tanner Roark, and Matt Shoemaker, not to mention some young, promising arms in the minors. The Blue Jays aren’t there yet, but they’ll be interesting to watch in 2020.

20. Milwaukee Brewers

Just two years ago, the Brewers were painfully close to reaching the World Series. However, that team wasn’t exactly set up for sustained success. Several of the heavy hitters who supported Christian Yelich during that run in 2018 are no longer in Milwaukee. The veterans who are left like Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun appear to be well beyond their prime. The Brewers are also relying on some new faces on their pitching staff. With some good fortune, making a run at a Wild Card spot in 2020 isn’t impossible, but the Brew Crew shouldn’t be counting on it.

19. Chicago White Sox

Unfortunately for the White Sox, the shortened season is likely to hurt them. The South Siders are hoping that their young players can start to develop into bonafide stars, which is less likely with the season starting late. In fairness, the White Sox have enough proven veterans to at least flirt with a .500 record this season. However, this is a team that’s probably a year or two away from being a serious contender and a late start in 2020 could push that timeline back.

18. San Diego Padres

The Padres are another team that will be fascinating to watch in 2020. They have a ton of young talent, so it might be only a matter of time until they become serious contenders in the NL West. But the starting rotation still has some questions, even after adding Zach Davies and Garrett Richards. Plus, Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer didn’t live up to their massive contracts last season. Unless that changes, it’s important to temper expectations in sunny San Diego.

17. Boston Red Sox

It’s amazing how far the Red Sox have fallen since winning the 2018 World Series. With Chris Sale out for the season and David Price being traded, Boston’s rotation is thin. Keep in mind Nathan Eovaldi isn’t exactly the most reliable pitcher health-wise. In fairness, the Red Sox still have J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Andrew Benintendi to lead the offense. But trading away Mookie Betts was a huge blow to Boston’s 2020 hopes.

16. Los Angeles Angels

The Angels are one of the most intriguing teams in the majors heading into 2020. But that doesn’t mean they’re one of the better teams. The Halos added Anthony Rendon over the winter to provide support to Mike Trout and Justin Upton in the middle of the lineup. However, injuries to their rotation have held back the Halos in recent years. The additions of Julio Teheran and Dylan Bundy to the back end of the rotation will help. However, the Angels are still relying on the injury-prone Andrew Heaney and Shohei Ohtani, who’s returning from Tommy John surgery, to lead their rotation. Along with some issues with their bullpen, the Angels have plenty of questions ahead of the 2020 season.

15. Arizona Diamondbacks

People forget that the Diamondbacks remained on the periphery of the Wild Card race well into last September, even after trading away Zack Greinke. Arizona’s rotation still has plenty of depth, especially after signing Madison Bumgarner. The D’Backs also have a fair amount of upside offensively. They added Kole Calhoun and hope to get David Peralta and Jake Lamb back healthy. After Ketel Marte and Eduardo Escobar had breakout seasons in 2019, the Diamondbacks will be one of the more intriguing teams in the majors this season, even if they also have plenty of question marks as well.

14. Cleveland Indians

The Indians are playing a difficult balancing game between trying to save money while remaining competitive. The good news is that Cleveland’s rotation is in good shape despite trading away Corey Kluber. The Indians also have Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez to carry the offense with help from Carlos Santana. But the bullpen depth and veteran role players who helped the Indians reach the World Series a few years ago are no longer there. In short, the Indians need everything to fall perfectly in place to be a serious contender in the American League.

13. Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies were a disappointment last season and they’re at risk of doing the same in 2020. Offensively, there shouldn’t be too many concerns with the likes of Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto being joined by Didi Gregorius. But the pitching staff may not measure up to the rest of the NL East, especially in the bullpen. There is also some uncertainty with Jake Arrieta’s health, which could hinder the back half of Philadelphia’s rotation behind the duo of Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, who also may not match the elite starters in the rest of the division.

12. Chicago Cubs

With a new manager, the Cubs will surely be hungry to put a disappointing finish in 2019 behind them. While it’s been a few years since the Cubs won the World Series, the core of the team is largely the same, especially among position players such as Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and others. The question in Chicago is whether the starting pitchers, who are slowly starting to age, can perform at a high level. There is even more uncertainty in the bullpen, which could hold the Cubs back in 2020.

11. St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals may have reached the NLCS last year, but they remain a flawed team. Scoring runs was a struggle for St. Louis in 2019, and it won’t get easier without Marcell Ozuna. The Cardinals will rely on their emerging young players as regular contributors and some of their aging veterans having resurgent seasons. Even Paul Goldschmidt could be starting to decline. The good news is that Jake Flaherty and Dakota Hudson lead a promising rotation that could be good enough to keep St. Louis in the playoff race.

10. Oakland Athletics

Not enough fans realize that the A's have won 97 games in each of the last two seasons. With Matt Chapman, Matt Olson and Marcus Semien, the A’s can mash, especially if Khris Davis can get back on track. The biggest question for the A’s is their starting rotation. Granted, Oakland’s rotation has massive upside. But given the inexperience of A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo, Sean Manaea coming back from a shoulder injury, and Frankie Montas missing the second half of 2019 because of a PED suspension, there are just enough reasons to be a little skeptical of the A’s in 2020.

9. Cincinnati Reds

Believing in the Reds this season requires a leap of faith, but there is a lot to like about Cincinnati heading into 2020. For starters, the rotation has a chance to be one of the best in the game. Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray were both outstanding last season, and don’t forget about Trevor Bauer and Wade Miley. If the Reds get all four of those pitchers performing anywhere close to their potential, they’ll be dangerous. Cincinnati also upgraded its lineup, adding Mike Moustakas and Nicholas Castellanos to provide added depth behind Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez. From top to bottom, there aren’t a lot of weaknesses on the roster if the Reds are able to play up to their potential.

8. New York Mets

Losing Noah Syndergaard for 2020 was a huge blow to the Mets. But they still have a two-time Cy Young winner leading one of the deepest rotations in baseball. Offensively, New York is also in decent shape with emerging stars like Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil. They might even get Yoenis Cespedes back in 2020. In the end, it’ll come down to whether the Mets have fixed the disaster that was their bullpen. If the Mets can avoid blowing leads late in games, they can be a playoff team.

7. Washington Nationals

Granted, the Nationals won the World Series last year, but they also barely made the playoffs as a Wild Card. Washington was fine without Bryce Harper, but now they have to replace Anthony Rendon, putting a lot more pressure on Juan Soto. In fairness, the delay in the start of the season should give their rotation trio of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin more time to recover from the heavy lifting they did last fall and put them in a better position to defend their crown in 2020.

6. Atlanta Braves

After winning the last two NL East titles, the Braves have to be considered slight favorites to win it again. Atlanta’s young rotation looks promising and the bullpen issues that plagued them for most of 2019 appear to be fixed with Mark Melancon and Will Smith, not to mention Shane Greene and Chris Martin staying around. Offensively, they still have Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna Jr. to anchor the lineup with Marcell Ozuna helping fill the void left by Josh Donaldson. The Braves slightly improved this season and remain a little better than the rest of the NL East, at least on paper.

5. Tampa Bay Rays

With Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow, the Rays have one of the best starting pitcher tandems in baseball. Tampa didn’t get a full season out of either last year and still won 96 games. The Rays also worked to add some much-needed power to their lineup this winter, acquiring Jose Martinez and Hunter Renfroe. They also have one of the best young hitters in baseball in Austin Meadows. To be fair, health will be critical to Tampa’s success, but if Snell and Glasnow stay healthy, the Rays can be a serious contender.

4. Minnesota Twins

The Twins hit the most home runs in baseball last season, launching one more long ball than the Yankees during the regular season. Naturally, they added Josh Donaldson to give them another power boost. More importantly, they added Kenta Maeda and Homer Bailey to round out a rotation that also includes Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi. The Twins are also poised to add Michael Pineda and Rich Hill late in the season after they return from suspension and injury, respectively. Even if Minnesota’s bats don’t match last year’s production, the Twins have the kind of rotation that can measure up to almost any in baseball.

3. Houston Astros

Most fans would love nothing more than to see the Astros lose every game this season, but they’re still one of the best teams in baseball. Even without Gerrit Cole, the Astros have Zack Greinke to lead the rotation alongside Justin Verlander. Houston’s lineup is also as deep as any in baseball. The Astros may have cheated to give their hitters an advantage, but they still have great offensive players, including young sluggers such as Yordan Alvarez, who wasn’t around when they cheated but made a huge impact last season. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Astros still have the pieces to be a championship contender.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers

It was a quiet offseason for the Dodgers, at least until they traded for Mookie Betts and David Price. With Betts and Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles has the two best position players in the National League. The rest of the lineup isn’t bad either. Plus, Price is at best the No. 3 starter in Los Angeles' rotation behind Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler. Granted, the bullpen might be average and there are questions about the back end of the rotation. But the Dodgers have won seven straight NL West crowns and been to the World Series in two of the last three seasons. They look every bit as good heading into 2020 and remain the clear favorites in the National League.

1. New York Yankees

Consider all of the runs the Yankees scored last year while winning 103 games. Then think about the barrage of injuries they suffered during the season. Given everything that wrong, the Bronx Bombers still won 103 games and comfortably won the AL East. If they stay reasonably healthy in 2020, they have a chance to be even better. New York also has Gerrit Cole leading the starting rotation, which should help them even more. On paper, the Yankees have the most potential heading into 2020.

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