MLB Power Rankings: Rating each team's slugging prowess, with Yankees and Twins at the top
A look at which teams have the most extra-base power heading into the (shortened) 2020 season
Given that this is a Monday, I would usually be doing the internet's Official MLB Power Rankings -- often imitated, never surpassed -- but instead we don't have baseball. We don't have a lot of things right now as many aspects of life have been halted due to the spread of the coronavirus. What we do have is the ability to provide sports content that'll make people mull over what their favorite team might look like in 2020 -- if we ever do get to watch meaningful baseball this year.
Until we do get our sports back, I'll be ranking something weekly. Let's start with slugging.
When it comes to examining which teams have the most extra-base power for 2020, there are multiple things to consider. We have to adjust for ballpark, somehow. The Rockies are always toward the top of the league in slugging percentage thanks to the thin air and spacious ballpark, for example. Just looking at raw extra-base hits and slugging percentage doesn't truly tell how good they are at offense, though. On the opposite end, the Giants' 2019 stats need an upward adjustment ( ).
And then we have the Astros and Red Sox. What in the world do I do with them? Focusing in on the Astros, we know they have lots of talent. We also have a pretty good feel that they have been cheating with sign-stealing extensively for at least parts of two seasons. It had to help. Most players say it's way more helpful than any PED would be. I also think they'll still be a great offensive team. Houston is a tough one to rank.
Since all the players are getting lots of time off, we're going to assume full health for those with lingering injuries but exclude anyone who is out for the season.
As such, the Yankees are on top for me. Only three teams slugged over .472 last season:
- Astros: .495
- Twins: .494
- Yankees: .490
Injuries ravaged the Yankees, too. Gary Sanchez played in 106 games. Luke Voit in just 118. Aaron Judge was on the field for only 102. Giancarlo Stanton had just 72 plate appearances in 18 games. I'm to the point where I won't trust in Stanton for a full season anymore, but surely he'll be able to play a lot more and there's no reason to think the rest of those guys will keep getting hurt to this extent.
I have to downgrade the Astros a bit due to the cheating scandal, so they're out of the running for the top spot.
The Twins are right there, though. They added Josh Donaldson to last year's . They are a fine number two. Just as long as they don't have to face the number one in a playoff series.
As always, these are entirely subjective. You can tell me how perfect they were on Twitter.
|Gio Urshela had 34 doubles, 21 homers and a .534 SLG last season. He's projected to bat ninth for the Bronx Bombers.|
|How much longer can Nelson Cruz do this? How real was Mitch Garver's outburst (31 HR, .630 SLG in 359 plate appearances when in 511 minor-league games he had 51 homers and a .428 SLG)?|
|The Dodgers were fourth in SLG last season and added Mookie Betts. The ballpark change hurts him a bit, but he's an all-fields, extra-base machine. He's had more than 40 doubles each of the last five years, he always has multiple triples (I bet he swaps some doubles for triples going from the Green Monster to Dodger Stadium and the NL West) and is generally around 30 homers. He's a career .519 slugger.|
|Oakland Coliseum suppresses home runs and triples. The A's were still 10th in slugging and have nearly everyone coming back. They can thump.|
|They'll have less bang this year.|
|The Cubs were ninth in SLG last year if you drop the 51 games from Nick Castellanos. Still, six players who slugged at least .520 last year (the league average is .435) figure to be regulars while Javier Baez and Kris Bryant were playing through injuries and Willson Contreras only managed 105 games. They can hit.|
|Swap out Donaldson for Marcell Ozuna and that's a bit of a loss. Can Ronald Acuna keep getting better? How about Ozzie Albies? Maybe Austin Riley can stick this time?|
|The longer the season is delayed, the more of a wild card Yoenis Cespedes becomes. What will Pete Alonso do for his encore? There's some thump here.|
|Can Alex Verdugo soften the blow of Betts' departure? Maybe a little, but we can't be sure. Also, J.D. Martinez's slugging the last three years: .690, .629, .557. Uh oh.|
|Isolated power is slugging minus batting average in order to see who gets the most value (power) on his hits. Color me shocked at last year's leader. Mr. Mike Trout. The Angels also added Anthony Rendon and might get a full season of Shohei Ohtani. Justin Upton might not be done, either. Bump them up!|
|The Sox were 25th in slugging last year, but they get a nice bump due to the additions of Yasmani Grandal, Edwin Encarnacion, and Nomar Mazara along with the promotion of Luis Robert and expected growth from Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jimenez. Oh and Tim Anderson missed time, too. This might be too low, but we need to see it from some of these guys.|
|Adding Starling Marte to an already-underrated group here. Kole Calhoun has some pop, too.|
|The loss of Anthony Rendon is a huge deal. He led the league in doubles each of the last two seasons and slugged .598 last year.|
|The Reds were 21st in slugging last year, but added Mike Moustakas and Nick Castellanos and play in a homer-friendly park. Bump!|
|They were 12th in slugging last year and now they get a full season from the powerful Keston Hiura. They do lose Mike Moustakas, but does Justin Smoak have a bounce-back in him with the league switch?|
|Full seasons from Francisco Lindor and Franmil Reyes help, and it looks like Jose Ramirez is back.|
|Bring me a full season of Joey Gallo!|
|One of the tougher teams to rank. How are Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. gonna grow their power? Travis Shaw, Randal Grichuk and Teoscar Hernandez seem unpredictable, too. There's great potential to move either way.|
|Tommy Pham is out, but full seasons from Austin Meadows, Yandy Diaz and Brandon Lowe mitigate that. Hunter Renfroe has plenty of pop, too.|
|They ranked 18th in slugging last season in a good park for hitters. They should be better than this. Lots of people want to blame Bryce Harper, but might I present Rhys Hoskins? Among qualified hitters, he ranked 83rd in slugging percentage. That's unacceptable.|
|The Rockies slugged .522 at home and .388 on the road. Our task here is a difficult one. They have studs like Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado but the back end of their lineup isn't scaring anyone and age is a factor with Daniel Murphy. They were sixth in raw slugging last year, but we have to downgrade them rather heavily due to the context. Among regulars, they only had *three* above-average hitters last year via OPS+ and four with wRC+.|
|We know their park suppresses power. They've added Pham and a full season of Fernando Tatis will help matters.|
|Dan Vogelbach did a ton of work for them early last year, but slugged a feeble .294 in his last 50 games. It was .357 in his last 103 games.|
|They were 23rd in slugging last year and lost Ozuna without adding from outside the organization. At least they can pitch!|
|Maybe a fully healthy Gregory Polanco helps ease some of the loss of Marte, but Josh Bell's second half is worrisome.|
|The Marlins were last in slugging last season, but they added some thump in Jonathan Villar (33 2B, 5 3B, 24 HR last year), Corey Dickerson and it's possible Jesus Aguilar bounces back.|
|I know their home park suppresses homers, but how many above-average power hitters would they have elsewhere? Buster Posey's power is gone. Evan Longoria is coming up on his 35th birthday. Mike Yastrzemski and maybe Brandon Belt?|
|Did you know Renato Nunez hit 31 homers last year? My concern with not having them higher is that Trey Mancini could get traded during the season. They also lost Villar.|
|Jorge Soler and Hunter Dozier are doing a ton of work holding this thing up.|
|It's gonna be another long year.|
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