Every year around mid-February ESPN’s David Schoenfield has done his ultimate preseason power rankings. Last year I followed. Now over the entire February Break, starting today, I’m doing it again. So welcome to my 2nd annual preseason power rankings. We start with the easiest teams to rank, the bottom ones. Alright, now for #30.
30. Colorado Rockies
Welcome to the bottom Rockies. So, this team has focused their off season mainly on pitching, trying to fix a horrible rotation. The rotation still sucks real bad. The bullpen is what has improved. Signing guys like Jason Motte and Chad Qualls and trading for Jake McGee isn’t going to help the rotation much. They do however have some young guys in the rotation, which is a sign of an upcoming rebuild, which could be a good thing for the future.
But with some of the signings they made, they weren’t supporting that. Guys like Gerardo Parra and Mark Reynolds aren’t going to last as long as say, Jon Gray. Those were the biggest signings this off season, and a lot of the bullpen guys are a little washed up, too. This is still a very old team, and they are in serious need of a rebuild.
Even if they did snag a couple of good hitters, the guys in the Rockies lineup that are still young don’t know how to hit. Well, some of them pay off in the field, like DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado, even hard hitting Carlos Gonzalez is a stellar fielder. But in the end this team is still a washed up mess who’s starters are only going to last a few innings and even in a batter-favored ballpark, still lacks hitting in some parts of the lineup.
Projected Record: 67-95
29. Cleveland Indians
The Indians were a mediocre team in 2015. What happened? Three major things happened to this team. First, some guys like Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis are getting old and washed up. Signing Mike Napoli didn’t help much either, Santana’s only older by a few years. Also, they lost a few players to free agency and didn’t sign enough players to make up for it. Ryan Raburn, Jayson Aquino, Chris Johnson, Mike Aviles and Gavin Floyd were lost this off season. Their only signings, Mike Napoli and Rajai Davis. Third, injuries are really affecting the team. Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis are still recovering from their injuries. Trading away Michael Bourn, David Murphy and Nick Swisher last July also hurt.
But there are places I could be wrong. I am like the only person ranking the Indians this low, and I have good reasoning, but there’s a whole other side to it that I just don’t believe. Here’s some of it:
The Indians had a really good farm system going into last season, and they have some of those guys in their lineup, like Francisco Lindor, Abraham Almonte and Giovany Urshela. Losing Ryan Raburn hurt though, and they don’t have any more major prospects coming up soon to replace him.
Even though they didn’t sign many people, they traded for their fair share. They acquired both Kirby Yates and Joey Butler via trade, and they only had to give up cash considerations. That cash did however help the Rays sign Steve Pearce to replace Butler.
Even though those players are recovering from injuries, they’re the stars of this team, maybe they’ll pick up the pace and shine late in the season. But don’t be too too hopeful for the Indians, they need to get really lucky if they want a chance at anything.
Projected Record: 68-94
28. Milwaukee Brewers
This is another team that needs a lot of good luck if they want to do well. Even though in my projected standings, the Brewers are in dead last, worst in the MLB, they just have more of an opportunity to improve in the future, unlike the two teams below them in the ranks, that completely screwed themselves for the next few years likely. This is the point in the ranks where you’ll start to see some rebuilding teams that have room for improvement down the road. They’re the worst team this year. In the future, that could change.
They do have a decent, somewhat young lineup. Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun are very intriguing. Orlando Arcia could be a future star. But especially after trading Khris Davis, they have some serious holes. The outfield will have to work with Domingo Santana, Ramon Flores and Kirk Nieuwenhuis to fill the spots not taken up by Braun. Chris Carter and Scooter Gennett aren’t the most intriguing, and either Aaron Hill or Will Middlebrooks will have to step it up at third base. Don’t even get me started on the pitching.
Matt Garza and Wily Peralta will compete for the team ace, even though neither of them has any ace qualities. Then you have lately acquired Chase Anderson, followed by Taylor Jungmann, and then Jimmy Nelson. Alright, I’ll give them credit for the lower rotation. But the bullpen really sucks. After trading both K-Rod and Jonathan Broxton, they are left with Will Smith, Michael Blazek and Tyler Thornburg as closer options. Zach Davies or Tyler Cravy will be the long reliever, but the rest of the bullpen is out of place. So maybe this year will be a long year, but the Brewers actually could improve in the future. They have more prospects like Brett Phillips on the way after Arcia, and this team looks to be in full rebuild.
Projected Record: 65-97
27. Atlanta Braves
If the Braves want to succeed, they need some serious luck. Actually, even though they have future potential, that just won’t happen this year, it’s nearly impossible. Especially with the rotation they have. After trading Shelby Miller, the Braves are left with Julio Teheran as an ace, Bud Norris as an SP2, and they have to depend on Mike Foltynewicz, Matt Wisler, Williams Perez, Kyle Kendrick and David Holmberg to fill the other spots. The bullpen’s even more of a mess.
The lineup isn’t great either. Freddie Freeman is really the only major bat, even though Nick Markakis, Ender Inciarte and Erick Aybar have some power. Gordon Beckham and Emilio Bonifacio need a breakout year if they have any hopes of doing anything, and platooning outfielders Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn need a wake up call. they were once everyday starters.
Despite being owners to the #1 farm system in the MLB, signing all washed up veterans his making less room for these prospects who could one day make the Braves great again. The Braves need to stop stockpiling on older players and let the young minor league stars take over the lineup.
Projected Record: 66-96
26. Philadelphia Phillies
Alright, this team may be ready for a better year, but they kind of sabotaged their future. They were in a good rebuild exiting 2015 and might be a little better this year, but signing veterans to short-term contracts is not helping this team for when they could be good enough to win a pennant if the prospects live up to their name. For a couple of years, despite my much better predicted record for this team then the teams just above it in the rankings, they’ll be stuck in this position.
What they did this off season is fix their rotation by signing Jeremy Hellickson and Charlie Morton, and trading their young closer Ken Giles for Brett Oberholtzer and Vincent Velasquez. Okay, Velasquez could be a long-term solution, but not the other guys. They also snagged Peter Bourjos, Edward Mujica, Andrew Bailey and Ernesto Frieri, all somewhat close to retirement.
What should they have done this off season? Traded away all their older players for more prospects to support their farm system. Ryan Howard still is around. At least the rotation looks a lot better, but unless they get some more prospects, that won’t last very long. The only good thing that comes out of is a couple years where the Phillies get like 10 more wins.
Projected Record: 75-87
25. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The Halos have some big holes, and need a lot of luck if they want to even be in the playoff race at all. Their rotation is not very promising. Jered Weaver is going nowhere but down, I have a feeling Garrett Richards‘ performance in 2015 might have been a one time thing, I don’t know how well Tyler Skaggs and C.J. Wilson will come back, Andrew Heaney isn’t quite ready, and Hector Santiago and Matt Shoemaker are all washed up. They also have holes in left field and second base, unless Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry create an efficient platoon. Besides Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar, they don’t have much of a lineup. They are just a washed up team that needs to rebuild.
Projected Record: 71-91
So that’s all for today with my preseason power rankings. Be on the lookout tomorrow for Part Two, 24-19. I also will be releasing my NBA Midseason Report soon. So who will be in the next wave?