MLB Power Rankings: Our way-too-early 2019 outlook puts the champion Red Sox above all contenders
We know the Red Sox are No. 1, but what about after that?
The dust has settled on the 2018 Major League Baseball season. We witnessed the Boston Red Sox win the World Series, yes, but we also witnessed . They won 108 games in the regular season and went 11-3 in the postseason. They never even came close to an elimination game. The worst shape they were ever in was either when it was 1-1 in a best-of-five series or when they trailed 1-0 in a best-of-seven. That, my friends, is a squad.
Now, we look to the offseason. It's a big one. Two gigantic free agent names sit atop the list of things we'll be watching.
Also of note: I feel like the disappointing ends to the seasons of the Yankees and Cubs will lead to those front offices being aggressive. The Phillies will absolutely be aggressive as well. The Braves surely would like to keep the momentum moving forward. Same with the Athletics, though we know they won't spend huge.
Are the Red Sox satisfied? Surely at least a little, but they have some key free agents and won't roll over. Same with the 2017 champion Astros.
And then, there are the Dodgers. Six straight division titles. Two straight NL pennants. Zero World Series titles. They won't be reckless, but they can't afford to sit idly by while other teams improve themselves.
An awful lot is going to go down this offseason. Probably a lot more than we've seen in recent memory.
Still, our task is to rank teams right now in order of the likelihood that they can win the 2019 World Series based upon what we know now. There's plenty of unknown, so it's a bit of an educated guessing game. Let's rock.
|1||Red Sox||It feels like they need to retain Craig Kimbrel, but with the way Alex Cora used his bullpen in the playoffs, does it even seem urgent?||--||27-24|
|2||Astros||I'm very interested to see how hard they go in retaining Dallas Keuchel or in replacing him.||--||34-18|
|3||Yankees||100 wins and it was a disappointment. They didn't spend last offseason. Uh oh.||--||32-17|
|4||Dodgers||Perhaps the most fascinating team heading to the offseason.||3||33-18|
|5||Cubs||The list of things that went wrong in 2018 is quite long, and they still won 95 games. Don't expect a quiet offseason.||1||29-20|
|6||Braves||Now isn't the time to be passive. It's the time to capitalize.||3||29-23|
|7||Nationals||Even if they lose Bryce Harper, there's an excellent foundation here and lots of talent. The stink of 2018 could be washed away pretty quickly.||8||20-31|
|8||Indians||The rotation and position-playing core are still great, but can they build a bullpen in the post-Miller/Allen era? Brad Hand is a great start.||2||26-24|
|9||Phillies||This ranking might be too high, but I'm expecting a windfall in free agency.||9||30-21|
|10||Rays||I'm caught in the middle of not totally buying what we just saw and also not being able to dispute what we just saw.||1||29-19|
|11||Brewers||I just feel like we just saw "the year" and it didn't happen.||6||29-23|
|12||Cardinals||The fan base seems to want an aggressive offseason, but will the front office actually give it to them?||1||25-25|
|13||Athletics||The offense and bullpen are in good shape. Can they really survive with a patchwork rotation again, though? It's hard to rely on guys coming off major injuries.||9||26-25|
|14||Rockies||Major offensive upgrades are needed. Yes, seriously.||6||23-26|
|15||Angels||They have got to add some serious talent and depth to the pitching staff.||1||22-28|
|16||Twins||There's young talent here that should bounce back, but will it?||3||34-16|
|17||Blue Jays||A wave of young talent highlighted by the son of a Hall of Famer, but a lot of the upside here starts with bounce-backs from Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez.||4||20-31|
|18||Padres||2019 is likely the year before the year, but sometimes that's when the breakout happens. Keep an eye out.||5||27-24|
|19||Reds||They just hired a very good pitching coach, now it's time to add talent to the rotation. Dallas Keuchel, anyone?||6||23-27|
|20||White Sox||The White Sox felt like they'd be exciting and kinda bad heading to last year. Instead, they were just bad. Look for the excitement this time around.||9||23-27|
|21||Mets||I don't want to mock the hire of a GM before he does anything, but let's just say I'm not bullish.||1||24-26|
|22||Pirates||I'm looking forward to getting excited about Gregory Polanco's possible breakout season in mid-April. It's an annual tradition.||8||25-23|
|23||Diamondbacks||They're losing Patrick Corbin, A.J. Pollock and others in free agency and reports indicate a possible rebuild, otherwise they'd be a lot higher.||6||26-25|
|24||Giants||The Giants have an aging core, many of whom are locked up to longer-term deals, not much in the way of a farm system, a high payroll and haven't been very good for a few years. A rebuild is tricky, but so is contending. It's a tough situation for whatever new GM they hire.||2||21-29|
|25||Mariners||No idea where they go from here. They just went through their best-possible outcome season and they weren't even the best non-playoff team.||13||23-30|
|26||Rangers||Right now, their prospective rotation for next season is as ugly as a horror-movie villain.||2||25-23|
|27||Royals||Clinging to Whit Merrifield (he'll be 30 next season) like he's some 23-year-old prodigy tells you all you need to know about the direction here.||1||17-32|
|28||Tigers||It's a mess.||1||19-29|
|29||Marlins||It's going to get worse before it gets better.||3||16-32|
|30||Orioles||I'm finding it hard to see a winner here within the next five years.||--||15-36|
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