Welcome back to official Major League Baseball power rankings. I'm very pleased to be actually ranking the teams this time around, because there's a deal in place for a 60-game season. Embrace the madness!
Now, heading toward the season, one might wonder why the rankings would be any different here than they were back in March. That's a totally fair question. There might be some differences. Here is why:
While we might have had to dock teams in the spring because a player was going to be out for a few weeks or even months, at this point, only the players with season-ending injuries (such as Chris Sale and Noah Syndergaard) are definitely going to miss Opening Day. Anyone else with a malady in the spring has had more than enough time to recover and rehab back into shape.?
It's a sprint, not a marathon
As outlined in my "embrace the madness" post, with such a short season, teams are going to operate differently. We'll see a lot fewer mentalities of "just win the series" and a lot more emphasis on winning each game. Regular players won't sit quite as often. This means position-player depth isn't as big a deal. Who gets a bump? Someone like the Angels with Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and Shohei Ohtani.?
Increased emphasis on bullpens
With such a short second spring training, the starting pitchers won't have as much time to stretch out before the regular season starts. That means deep bullpens and teams used to employing bullpen games and/or openers get a bump (hello Rays and A's).?
The Easts, Centrals and Wests only will be playing each other. As such, AL Central contenders have to deal with the NL Central, which figured to have four contenders and even the Pirates aren't awful (unlike the Royals and Tigers). The Wests only figured to have three surefire contenders in the Dodgers, Astros and A's. We can throw in the Angels, Diamondbacks and even the Padres and Rangers if we're being generous. Still, the takeaway here is we're looking to rank based upon how we think the regular season is going to shake out and lesser competition means more wins. ?
In the NL, we're now ranking teams based upon lineups that include a DH. We weren't doing that before.?
Let's get to it!?
|Yes, they are still the best team. In fact, the pandemic has -- as relative to the sports-only world as we can be here -- helped the Bronx Bombers. Now the likes of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton will be healthy to start camp and the increased emphasis on the bullpen is good.||--||0-0|
|The position-player depth doesn't quite matter as much, but this team is still ridiculously stacked. The negative takeaway here? With a shorter season, the Dodgers have a lot of different ways to fluke into a loss before the World Series. Again. On the positive side, at least the playoffs aren't expanded.||1||0-0|
|Not only are the A's adept at planning with heavy bullpen usage, but they were set to possibly have workload issues with Sean Manaea, Frankie Montas, Jesus Luzardo and/or A.J. Puk in their rotation. From being concerned about the innings of 80 percent of the rotation to zero percent is pretty nice.||1||0-0|
|Few teams, if any, are better equipped, data-wise, to rule this short season.||15||0-0|
|Was the power last year a fluke? I'm inclined to think it was, but we've got a short season coming with Josh Donaldson now added to the fray.||3||0-0|
|I think they were likely to be just fine -- MLB players are incredibly mentally tough -- but the element of the Astros being booed out of every opposing ballpark this coming season has been removed. It might matter.||1||0-0|
|Double-plus with the decreased starter workload here due to young stud (Mike Soroka) and two older guys with arms that might not have held up all year in Cole Hamels and Felix Hernandez.||--||0-0|
|Joe Maddon being gone likely saves the Cubs from giving increased playing time to Albert Almora with the DH and that's a good thing. More David Bote instead, please.||2||0-0|
|Decreased emphasis on starters early? Uh oh.||4||0-0|
|Here's a possible pick for best rotation in baseball, especially with the short season benefitting Carlos Martinez (moving back from the bullpen) and Adam Wainwright (38 years old).||14||0-0|
|There's an awful lot to like here, especially now having the DH option with Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas on board. Now they need to show us they can win.||3||0-0|
|A returning Yoenis Cespedes to slot as a 60-game DH? Yes please.||4||0-0|
|We deserve a deep Mike Trout playoff run almost as much as he does.||3||0-0|
|The Indians went from having tons of games against two awful teams and one question mark to playing stiff competition.||2||0-0|
|I'm not sure about how the White Sox would've been in a 162-game season. They might've been one of those year-before-the-year teams. In a sprint that is going to be prone to flukes, however, their chances of getting hot at the right time are decent. They legitimately could make a deep playoff run.||4||0-0|
|Is the answer to a hypothetical trivia question the 2020 D-Backs? The best top-two duo in a batting order ever with the same last name ...||4||0-0|
|At least they only tanked for 60 games instead of 162? The timing with this after the Mookie Betts trade really couldn't have been any better.||8||0-0|
|Here's my NL deep sleeper. Chris Paddack and MacKenzie Gore in a short playoff series? Yes please.||4||0-0|
|A shorter season means much higher likelihood that Corey Kluber pitches well. You want a sneaky sleeper that few others are picking (for example, the White Sox and Reds are popular sleeper picks), take the Rangers.||2||0-0|
|It's definitely a plus to be able to DH Ryan Braun at this point in his career, as is having Christian Yelich. Keston Hiura will rake and Brandon Woodruff has great upside as the ace. I'm sure Josh Hader will do his thing. Past those guys, there are a lot of questions.||5||0-0|
|A fully-functional Andrew McCutchen from the get-go is a big plus, but they could sure use a big bounce-back from Rhys Hoskins.||1||0-0|
|There are few teams I'm more excited to watch than the Jays with their young core.||4||0-0|
|They had a stretch last season where they went 24-9. I guess a run is possible?||4||0-0|
|There isn't much to like about an increased importance of bullpen depth early on here.||3||0-0|
|It's tough to get a read here on how much an impact the new organizational philosophy on pitching will play.||--||0-0|
|I like the veteran additions of Jonathan Villar, Corey Dickerson and Jesus Aguilar, but they still aren't good.||--||0-0|
|The longest playoff drought in baseball to be snapped in 2020? You never know!||4||0-0|
|Can Whit Merrifield lead the majors in hits for the third straight year?||1||0-0|
|Bring both Casey Mize and Spencer Torkelson to The Show. Do it!||1||0-0|
|Still awful, even in a short, fluky season.||2||0-0|