Alright, welcome to Part 3 of my preseason power rankings. Most of the bad teams have been mentioned, but there are 18 teams left. The rest of these teams are playoff contenders, but what teams have unclear weaknesses that will cause them to just miss the playoffs?
18. San Francisco Giants
So, the Giants did all this stuff in the off season to improve their team and attempt to win their fourth straight even year world series, but what happened? They have holes. The rotation has really improved between Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija.
However, the bullpen is short on people and the lineup has some missing aspects. They have a solid closer and set-up crew but beyond that, what is there? Especially after losing Yusmeiro Petit the Giants are short on extra bullpen insurance.
The lineup also has some issues. The lineup has some really bold players, like Hunter Pence, Buster Posey and Denard Span, but the rest of the lineup lacks power. Sure, Matt Duffy, Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford are all right, and they make up for it on defense, but in the lineup, they aren’t major contributors. They needed to sign some powerful hitters if they wanted to win another World Series. So, the Giants may look good on paper, but when it comes to game-time scenarios, they are somewhat deprived.
Projected Record: 84-78
17. Houston Astros
I know what you’re thinking. “The Astros?” “They’re stacked, and they’re going to be a contender”. Yes, the rebuild helped this team escape insanely bad times but sometimes there’s such thing as too young. They don’t have enough veterans. I think that the young, short duo of Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa are overrated. Some aspects of the lineup are short on power. Sure, they have a very strong outfield, but the infield players are overrated hitters and don’t contribute as much of the lineup.
The rotation is mixed between very good veteran pitchers and young new guys to the rotation, The rotation is really good but they do have their weaknesses. The bullpen needs depth and the lineup is lacking power. This team looks similar to the Giants, but younger, and some of these once prospects aren’t paying off. causing them to be worse.
Projected Record: 79-83
16. New York Yankees
The Yankees had a decent 2015, but besides a few trades, they haven’t changed or improved much. The pitching staff is stacked. After adding closer Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances will serve as strong set-up men. The rotation is also really good but it lacks an ace. Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda, maybe even CC Sabathia may have to share the role.
The lineup is a bit of an issue. First things first, it again lacks power, they don’t have any all star players to lead the lineup. Also, the lineup has no youth to it. It is made of a bunch of washed-up older players. This whole team is a very old team, the players, even the franchise itself. Unless they rebuild, working with their strong farm system, it looks like the Yanks will be stuck in this position for a while.
Projected Record: 85-77
15. Arizona Diamondbacks
The D-Backs were very bold in the off season. They went from one of the most horrible teams just after a rebuild to a middle ground team that could potentially be a playoff contender. They now have some foundation to their pitching staff, a good front three starters, and a good closer and set-up man. New additions to the Diamondbacks pitching staff include Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller and Tyler Clippard. They already had a strong closer in Brad Ziegler who will now take the spot of A.J. Schugel, helping Evan Marshall in the 8th inning. The rotation is looking a lot better, with Greinke, Miller and Patrick Corbin taking the top, and young pitchers with lots of potential, Robbie Ray and Rubby De La Rosa, in the back end. However the lineup still lacks power.
They might have Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock, with David Peralta and Yasmany Tomas making some contributions but there are no solid hitters besides that. Neither Jean Segura nor Chris Owings have learned to hit much.
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, I’ve never been fond of young D-Backs stars Jake Lamb and Chris Owings, and I might be underrating them. I might be underrating this team. If you D-Backs fans and players think I am, show me what your team can do and I’ll give them more credit mid-season. Could the D-Backs be world series champs of the future, and playoff, even division contenders now?
Projected Record: 88-74
14. Seattle Mariners
The Seattle Mariners were a very sucky, disappointing 2015 team. But, they made a bunch of off season moves that made them look a whole lot better. The lineup still doesn’t have enough strength in it between Kyle Seager, Nelson Cruz, newcomer Norichika Aoki and others, but they really improved their pitching.
Their bullpen looks a lot better, now led by Steve Cishek and Joaquin Benoit. Justin De Fratus is another contributing factor along with Charlie Furbush. The rotation looks better too. The Mariners re-signed Hisashi Iwakuma and acquired Wade Miley and Nathan Karns to help. Taijuan Walker also has a lot of room to grow and develop into a high level pitcher.
Between a mediocre lineup with a new look and a completely revamped pitching staff it looks like the Mariners could be contenders. Their not necessarily going to dominate the postseason, but they could snag a wild card for their first playoff appearance in ages.
Projected Record: 87-75
13. Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays had the best lineup in baseball going into 2015 but didn’t really have much pitching until the trade deadline. They lost their ace David Price but have a strong back end to the rotation and an acceptable bullpen. But the Blue Jays lost more than just their ace this off season. They lost outfielder Ben Revere, and some reserves in their lineup.
Their bullpen still lacks back of the bullpen pitchers and is mostly filled with middle relievers and long relievers who missed the rotation. Their lineup is a little too old despite a decent farm system ready to take over some of the team and their rotation has no clear SP1 or ace that can be a leader in the pitching staff. This team has some good players, but what they have doesn’t quite fit their specific needs. It’s a great team if they have other players to fill the holes and all a stars have a position to play.
Projected Record: 89-73
So, that’s all for this portion of my preseason power rankings. Who will be in Part 4?