Tigers No. 1 in my one and only power rankings; AL sweeps top 5
Here are my preseason rankings, one through 30.
With the beautiful words "Play ball!'' only a few hours away, I am inspired to do my one and only power rankings of the year. Feel free to save, post or republish for potential ridicule later.
Here goes, 1 through 30 ...
1. Detroit Tigers . Jim Leyland's team has a first four in the rotation to match anyone (except maybe the Los Angeles Angels and Philadelphia Phillies ) and probably the best one-two lineup punch in the game in Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder , and you know octagenarian owner Mike Ilitch will do whatever's necessary when the time comes.
2. Angels. When Ervin Santana is your No. 4 starter and Mark Trumbo (29 home runs as a rookie) can't crack the lineup, how bad can you be?
3. Texas Rangers . Someone claimed they detected a bit of a World Series hangover in their clubhouse, but even if there was a trace of it in spring training, I can't see it going into the season for this ultra-talented and normally very focused bunch.
4. Tampa Bay Rays . One through five, the best rotation in the game. Manager, defense also top shelf.
5. New York Yankees . A lot of talent, but a little bit of age brings concern.
6. St. Louis Cardinals . Defending champs ovelooked without Albert, Tony and Dunc. But still plenty good.
7. Arizona Diamondbacks . Of all the playoff teams, they had the most productive winter ( Trevor Cahill , Jason Kubel , Takashi Saito , etc.)
8. Washington Nationals . If John Lannan can't make the rotation, that's a good sign.
9. Phillies. Still the only team with three legit aces (and their fourth starter ain't bad either). Yet, a fair amount of uncertainty in the field, especially regarding stars Chase Utley and Ryan Howard .
10. Los Angeles Dodgers . As D-Backs GM Kevin Towers said, they have the best pitcher ( Clayton Kershaw ) and best player ( Matt Kemp ) in the National League. Not a bad start.
11. Milwaukee Brewers . The Matt Gamel- Aramis Ramirez combo may come close to approximating Prince Fielder's production. Zack Greinke looks primed for a monster year.
12. Miami Marlins . Could go either way, but the upside is tremendous. Very exciting and talented group; will be interesting to see if it comes together.
13. Boston Red Sox . Andrew Bailey injury adds to pitching concerns.
14. Toronto Blue Jays . Coming on strong. Would not be shocked to see them finish third, or even second, in almost impossibe A.L. East. GM Alex Anthopoulos continues gathering talent.
15. Cincinnati Reds . Supremely talented, but wonder a bit about the rotation. Ryan Madson injury a blow.
16. Colorado Rockies . Did nice job of adding some veteran presence ( Michael Cuddyer , Marco Scutaro , Jeremy Guthrie ) and really veteran presence ( Jamie Moyer ). Still a bit too much youth in the rotation to think they're a playoff team.
17. San Francisco Giants . Return of Buster Posey and expected emergence of Brandon Belt makes them a threat with that great pitching.
18. Atlanta Braves . Had unusually rough spring following late-season collapse, lowering expectations
19. Chicago White Sox . Assuming Adam Dunn has re-emerged from one-year hibernation (and it looks like he has), they should be better than last year.
20. Kansas City Royals . Love the track they are on, but they suffered bad luck this spring (two catchers going down while squatting in the bullpen); need young starters Luke Hochevar and Danny Duffy to come through.
21. San Diego Padres . Plenty of young talent on the way, maybe more than anyone.
22. Minnesota Twins . They underachieved for the first time last year, but don't be shocked if they get back to their usual overachieving. Stars Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau remain the biggest keys.
23. New York Mets . While they were annoyed by a spate of injuries this spring, Johan Santana looks like he's ready to be a star again, and Ike Davis and Lucas Duda may step forward.
24. Pittsburgh Pirates . Recent efforts may start to pay off soon. Probably a year away from first winning season since 1992, however.
25. Cleveland Indians . They need Ubaldo Jimenez and Derek Lowe to rebound and Roberto Hernandez (Fausto Carmona) to appear.
26. Seattle Mariners . Look for them to be great sometime soon with a special quartet of young pitchers coming -- Danny Hultzen , Taijuan Walker , James Paxton and Erasmo Ramirez . But not this year.
27. Baltimore Orioles . They're getting better but the division ain't getting any easier.
28. Chicago Cubs . The plan may take awhile.
29. A's. They look like they are playing for 2014, but Yoenis Cespedes and Manny Ramirez (48 games from now) should keep things fairly interesting.
30. Houston Astros . Major, major rebuilding job.