MLB Power Rankings: Looking back at our preseason rankings to see how we did

Have I mentioned before that I'm a big accountability guy? Yes, yes I have. But I'll say it again: I'm a big accountability guy. Though my job isn't to nail every prediction like I'm a gambling site (that's SportsLine), knowing my material well enough in the spring to not look like a complete idiot come the fall is generally a good thing.

So, as per my annual tradition, we'll look back at my first power rankings of the year and see how things shook out. Sometimes missing wasn't my fault -- injuries and trades can't be predicted to accuracy in mid-February -- and sometimes it most certainly was (sigh, Arizona Diamondbacks , sigh).

We'll sort through my rankings from a few days before spring training below. My pre-preseason rankings, as I called them. If I was in the ballpark, I'm calling it a victory because, for example, having a team eighth preseason and then sixth now is essentially judging the team correctly.

At the top: The Chicago Cubs . Hey, that's a big win right off the bat. And I had the Atlanta Braves last. Very good work on the bookends, even if the Minnesota Twins have out-sucked the Braves this year. Alas, I can't drop the mic with those two. Those were easy and predictable. Onward.

Good slotting, Matt!

Cubs and Braves, obviously.

The Los Angeles Dodgers at six and Toronto Blue Jays at seven are very good. The St. Louis Cardinals at eight are a touch too high, but I did second guess myself and drop them to 14 in late March and if we split the difference, we're home. The Texas Rangers at 10 are too low, but it's not terrible.

The New York Yankees at 11, Detroit Tigers at 15 and Seattle Mariners at 18 are reasonable, as are the Los Angeles Angels at 19. The Tampa Bay Rays at 21 are fine. The Miami Marlins at 22 might be a bit low, but isn't bad.

These were also pretty good:

23. Chicago White Sox
24. A's
25. San Diego Padres
27. Milwaukee Brewers
28. Philadelphia Phillies
29. Cincinnati Reds

Was I OK with the Houston Astros at five? Ultimately I'm going to say yes. They obviously haven't been a top-five team, but I'm in the ballpark.

You stink and should be fired, Matt

The Kansas City Royals at two ended up being very bad. Did I over-adjust after not giving them enough credit heading into 2015? Can we blame injuries? Each possible, but I'm not going with any excuse. It was just bad.

The Pittsburgh Pirates at nine ended up being terrible as well.

With the Boston Red Sox at 12, for much of the season I was fine. I think they are firmly the second-best team in baseball right now, though, so I was way too low. That's now a miss.

Two other likely division champs at 13 ( Washington Nationals ) and 14 ( Cleveland Indians ) followed. Bad job, me.

Speaking of which, the Diamondbacks at 16 and Twins at 17 make me want to bang my head against the desk. How did I not see this coming? In hindsight, the awful season for both seems at least mildly predictable. This is bound to happen every season when tasked with evaluating 30 teams, but that doesn't mean I'm OK with it. These two make me angry at myself. Oh, let's add one to the list.

The Baltimore Orioles at 20 with that offense. Boo, Matt, boooooo!

Finally, at 26, the Colorado Rockies really proved me wrong. I thought they would be awful. This isn't included with the D-Backs, Twins and Orioles where I'm mad at myself. The Rockies looked really bad in the spring. They just weren't bad this season and now they are poised for a 2017 run at contention. Good for them.

In the middle

The New York Mets at three and San Francisco Giants at four aren't egregiously bad -- especially if you judge on the total body of work of the Giants and not rank them based upon how awful they've been in the second half as I do below -- but they aren't exactly stellar. Those are firmly in the middle for me. I'm not excited like I got them correct, but I'm not willing to call them bad misses, either. I'm fully understanding for those who want to ding me for the Giants one, though. Without context, four vs. 15 is a huge gap.

So I had 19 in the ballpark and two (or maybe one, depending upon your Giants' point of view) in the middle. Given how unpredictable baseball is, I'll take that, especially having nailed number one. You can still feel free to tell me I should be fired anyway, either on Twitter (@MattSnyderCBS) or via email ( Or you can flex your keyboard muscles in the comments. Your life, your choice.

Biggest Movers
3 Astros
5 Reds
1 Cubs Jason Heyward's season at the plate has long since been a lost cause. You never know what happens once everything resets to zero in the postseason, however, and he's hitting .471/.550/.765 with two doubles and home run in his last five games. If there's something meaningful that can come of these last two weeks for the Cubs, it's Heyward finding a groove at the plate. -- 103-58
2 Red Sox Boy, they're really hitting their stride at the right time. The Red Sox are all kinds of dangerous for this postseason. 1 93-69
3 Rangers Games remaining against teams above .500: Zero. Franchise record for wins in a season: 96. If they go 7-3 the rest of the way, that's 97 wins. 1 95-67
4 Nationals Four losses in a row, including a series loss to the Braves? Are they trying to give the Mets a false sense of hope before finishing them, Mortal Kombat style? 1 95-67
5 Indians I hate this for the great people of Cleveland, but the Carlos Carrasco injury on top of the Danny Salazar injury effectively buries them in October for me. 1 94-67
6 Dodgers With the Nats leaving the door open, the Dodgers actually have a shot at the second-best record in the NL. That gets home-field in the NLDS round. The Dodgers are 48-28 at home and 37-38 on the road. -- 91-71
7 Blue Jays Wins in four of six so far on their west-coast trip and an offensive explosion on Tuesday to boot. The Jays might have righted the ship. 1 89-73
8 Orioles Understatement alert: That series loss to the Rays while the Red Sox were taking the Yankees to the woodshed was a big deal. 1 89-73
9 Astros Hot finish time? That's wins in five of six with only the A's (one game), Angels (seven) and Mariners (three) remaining. 3 84-78
10 Mets In this very space, I said the Jay Bruce trade made very little sense the day after it was made. He's been awful since the deal and Eric Campbell pinch hit for him on Tuesday. 1 87-75
11 Cardinals Memo to Mike Matheny: Adam Wainwright has a .483 slugging percentage this season. That's better than Yadier Molina and Jhonny Peralta. Please stop asking him to bunt. 2 86-76
12 Tigers Their win Sunday over the Indians moved their record in head to heads against the first-place Tribe to 2-13. 2 86-75
13 Yankees So much for the unlikely postseason run, as the Yankees have lost seven of their last nine. 3 84-78
14 Giants Madison Bumgarner is one of the best pitchers on Earth. He's better at his job than I am at mine. He is also embarrassing himself with all these stare-down confrontations. You can try to justify each one individually, Giants fans, but you have to admit you know the common denominator when it comes to seeing everything collectively. 1 87-75
15 Mariners The tease theme continues. After an eight-game winning streak, the Mariners have now lost four of five. This series against the Blue Jays was the big one, too. 4 86-76
16 Royals I know things have changed with the back-to-back World Series trips and all, but the Royals are about to have their fourth-straight winning season. That hasn't happened since 1975-80 (when they did it six straight times). -- 81-81
17 Marlins The top five qualifying pitchers' seasons in strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) in MLB history: 2001 Randy Johnson (13.41), 1999 Pedro Martinez (13.2), 1998 Kerry Wood (12.58), 2000 Randy Johnson (12.56), 2016 Jose Fernandez (12.48). Aside: The next four are Randy Johnson seasons. Yowza. 1 79-82
18 Pirates They've gone 5-2 since last week when I said we could forget about them. Does that mean I was wrong? No, no it doesn't. Ignore. 1 78-83
19 Rockies Watch that Jon Gray-Tyler Anderson duo next season. The Rockies could be onto something there. 1 75-87
20 White Sox Surely they hoped Carlos Rodon would have made more progress this season. He's now made 49 MLB starts, after all. Still, he's only going to be 24 next year. There's plenty of time. 3 78-84
21 Athletics Despite some down years, the A's had never won fewer than 74 games in the Billy Beane era until last season's 68. They will likely fall short again. -- 69-93
22 Angels In their first six games of the season, they started six pitchers. Of those six, four suffered season-ending injuries and one got traded to the Twins. The survivor is Jered Weaver, for those curious. -- 74-88
23 Brewers Tyler Thornburg has a 1.58 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 83 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings this season. I'm sure many of you had him as one of the best relievers in 2016 back in March, right? 1 73-89
24 Rays Evan Longoria's home run totals the last four seasons: 32, 22, 21 and ... a career-high 35 and counting. 1 68-94
25 Phillies If they can go 7-4 the rest of the way, that would be 74 wins, which would be the most by the Phillies since the rotation was fronted by Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. 3 71-91
26 Padres What did the great people of San Diego do to deserve the A.J. Preller era? 1 68-94
27 Diamondbacks Senior Vice President of baseball ops De Jon Watson has been shown the door. Might I suggest the same fate for president Tony La Russa and general manager Dave Stewart? As I said last week, just gut the place. 1 69-93
28 Reds When you set a record for home runs allowed with two weeks left in the season, that's generally not a good thing. 5 68-94
29 Braves Julio Teheran has been one of the better pitchers in baseball when it comes to preventing baserunners and runs. His record is 6-10. I rest my case. (OK, so not really, but I've always wanted to just say 'I rest my case' all cool-sounding like that) -- 68-93
30 Twins The "race" for the top overall pick is just about over. The Twins are five wins behind the Braves with less than two weeks to play. -- 59-103
CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered the last five World Series beginning with the epic 2011 Fall Classic. The former Indiana University... Full Bio

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