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MLB Power Rankings: How the Signing of Yu Darvish Impacts Who Falls at No. 1

Josh ToyofukuContributor IIIJanuary 23, 2012

MLB Power Rankings: How the Signing of Yu Darvish Impacts Who Falls at No. 1

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    With 15 minutes to go in the 30-day negotiating period, Yu Darvish has officially signed a contract with the Texas Rangers worth $60 million over six years.

    Obviously, that is a huge and needed addition to the Rangers after their former ace, C.J. Wilson signed a lucrative deal with their division rival, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

    But how does that and other recent moves shake up the power rankings in MLB? Read on to find out.

30. Houston Astros

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    Last season: 30th, 56-106, .346 winning percentage 

    Pitching: 796 runs allowed (28th in the league), 4.51 ERA (28), 560 walks (29), two complete games (T-25), six shutouts (T-25)

    Offense: 615 runs (26), .258 (10), 95 HR (29), 1,164 strikeouts (17), 401 walks (30), 118 stolen bases (T-12)

    Game-changers: added INF Jed Lowrie (from Boston), .252 BA; lost RHP Mark Melancon (to Boston),
    8-4 with a 2.78 ERA in 2011

    The Astros lost most of their best pieces at the 2011 trade deadline in order to get younger. Unfortunately, that youth won't be 100 percent ready in 2012, making them the worst team in baseball.

29. Oakland Athletics

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    Last season: 20th, 74-88, .457 

    Pitching: 679 runs allowed (14), 3.71 ERA (10), 519 walks (18), six complete games (T-11), 12 shutouts (T-10)

    Offense: 645 runs (20), .244 (T-24), 114 HR (24), 1,094 strikeouts (11), 509 walks (13), 117 stolen bases (14)

    Game-changers: traded LHP Gio Gonzalez (to Washington), 16-12, 3.12 ERA and 2011 All-Star; traded RHP Trevor Cahill (to Arizona), 4.16 ERA, promising young pitcher, an All-Star in 2010; traded RHP Andrew Bailey (to Boston), 24 saves last year and two-time All-Star; lost LF Josh Willingham (free agency), .246 BA, 98 RBI and 29 HR; added RF Josh Reddick (from Boston), .280 BA

    The A's struggled in 2011 because of injuries and a lack of offense. They've traded their three best pitchers for a load of prospects but they won't have a big enough impact in 2012 to help the team.

28. Seattle Mariners

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    Last season: 28th, 67-95, .414 

    Pitching: 675 runs allowed (12), 3.90 ERA (15), 436 walks (2), 12 complete games (T-3), 10 shutouts (T-16)

    Offense: 556 runs (30), .233 BA (30), 109 HR (25), 1,280 strikeouts (27), 435 walks (28), 125 stolen bases (11)

    Game-changers: added C Jesus Montero (from NY Yankees), .328 BA, 12 RBI and four HR in 18 games; traded RHP Michael Pineda, 9-10, 3.74 ERA and 173 K as a rookie

    The Mariners are yet again in a state of rebuilding and need a serious boost in the offense. Jesus Montero will help, but one man can't solve all their problems.

27. Baltimore Orioles

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    Last season: 27th, 69-93, .426

    Pitching: 860 runs allowed (30), 4.89 ERA (30), 535 walks (T-22), three complete games (T-21), seven shutouts (T-24) 

    Offense: 708 runs (14), .257 (T-11), 191 HR (4), 1,120 strikeouts (13), 452 walks (32), 81 stolen bases (T-25)

    Game-changers: added CF Endy Chavez (free agency), .301 BA, 37 runs and 27 RBI

    Endy Chavez should give the O's some flexibility but at the end of the day, they have terrible pitching and are stuck in the toughest division in baseball, the AL East.

26. New York Mets

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    Last season: 19th, 77-85  .475 

    Pitching: 742 runs allowed (22), 4.19 ERA (21), 514 walks (17), six complete games (T-11), nine shutouts (T-20)

    Offense: 721 runs (12), .264 (6), 108 HR (26), 1,085 strikeouts (8), 571 walks (T-3), 130 stolen bases (9)

    Game-changers: lost SS Jose Reyes (free agency), .337 BA, 44 RBI and 101 runs

    The Mets don't have good pitching and lost their best player on offense, Jose Reyes, to the Miami Marlins. They are also in a terrible financial situation. 2012 won't be a fun one for the Mets.

25. San Diego Padres

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    Last season: 26th, 71-91, .438 

    Pitching: 611 runs allowed (4), 3.42 ERA (3), 521 walks (T-19), zero complete games (30), 10 shutouts (T-16)

    Offense: 593 runs (28), .237 BA (29), 91 HR (30), 1,320 strikeouts (29), 501 walks (15), 170 stolen bases (1), 1,320 K (29)  

    Game-changers: added 1B Yonder Alonso (from Cincinnati), .330 BA, 15 RBI and 5 HR; added LF Carlos Quentin (from Chicago White Sox), .254 BA, 77 RBI and 24 HR; traded RHP Mat Latos (to San Diego), 9-14, 3.47 ERA and 185 strikeouts; lost RHP Heath Bell (free agency), 2.44 ERA and 43 saves

24. Chicago Cubs

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    Last season: 25th, 71-91, .438 

    Pitching: 756 runs allowed (23), 4.33 ERA (25), 580 walks (30), four complete games (T-18), five shutouts (28T)

    Offense: 654 (T-18), .256 (T-13), 148 HR (20), 1,202 strikeouts (21), 425 walks (29), 69 stolen bases (28)

    Game-changers: lost 1B Carlos Pena (free agency), 28 HR and 80 RBI; lost 3B Aramis Ramirez (free agency), .306 BA, 26 HR and 93 RBI 

    Losing their two best hitters and starting corner infielders will be a big blow for the Cubs offense in 2012. 

23. Chicago White Sox

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    Last season: T-17th, 79-83, .488

    Pitching: 706 runs allowed (17), 4.10 ERA (19), 439 walks (3), six complete games (T-11), 14 shutouts (T-5)

    Offense: 654 (T-18), .252 BA (17), 154 HR (T-15), 989 strikeouts (3), 475 walks (T-20), 81 stolen bases (T-25)

    Game-changers: traded LF Carlos Quentin (to San Diego), .254 BA, 77 RBI and 24 HR; lost LHP Mark Buehrle (free agency), 13-9 and 3.59 ERA 

    The White Sox took a big step towards rebuilding mode by letting Mark Buehrle walk and trading Carlos Quentin. 

22. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Last season: T-22nd, 72-90, .444

    Pitching: 712 runs allowed (19), 4.04 ERA (T-17), 535 walks (T-22), five complete games (T-14), 11 shutouts (T-13)

    Offense: 610 runs (27), .244 batting average (23), 107 HR (27), 1,308 strikeouts (28), 489 walks (18), 108 stolen bases (15)

    Game-changers: added 3B/1B Casey McGehee (from Milwaukee), .223 BA, 67 RBI and 13 HR

    The Pirates made a surprise run into first place at midseason in 2011 but without adding any significant pieces, it will be tough for them to improve much in 2012.

21. Colorado Rockies

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    Last season: T-21st, 73-89, .451 

    Pitching: 774 runs allowed (27), 4.43 ERA (26), 522 walks (21), five complete games (T-14), seven shutouts (T-24) 

    Offense: 735 runs (T-7), .258 batting average (9), 163 HR (12), 1,201 strikeouts (20), 555 walks (5), 118 stolen bases (T-12)

    Game-changers: traded RHP Huston Street (to San Diego), 3.86 ERA and 29 saves; added OF Michael Cuddyer (free agency), .284 BA, 70 RBI and 20 HR; added 2B Marco Scutaro (from Boston), .299 BA and 59 runs

    The Rockies added some nice offense with Cuddyer and a good double-play partner for Troy Tulowitzki with Scutaro, but their lack of pitching will hold them back next season.

20. Kansas City Royals

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    Last season: 24th, 71-91, .438

    Pitching: 762 runs allowed (26), 4.44 ERA (27), 557 walks (27), two complete games (T-25), six shutouts (T-25)

    Offense: 730 runs (10), .275 (4), 129 HR (21), 1,006 strikeouts (4), 442 walks (T-25), 153 stolen bases (3)

    Game-changers: traded CF Melky Cabrera (to San Francisco), .305 BA, 87 RBI and 18 HR; added LHP Jonathan Sanchez (from San Francisco), 4.26 ERA and 4-7 

    The Kansas City Royals have a great young core, especially on the offensive end. But will their young pitching with the addition of Jonathan Sanchez step up? If it can, they can be even better in 2012.

19. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Last season: T-3rd, 96-66, .593

    Pitching: 638 runs allowed (8), 3.63 ERA (9), 440 walks (4), one complete games (29), 13 shutouts (T-7)

    Offense: 721 runs (11), .261 (8), 185 HR (6), 1,083 strikeouts (7), 481 walks (19), 94 stolen bases (21)

    Game-changers: possibly lost 1B Prince Fielder (free agency), .299 BA, 38 HR and 120 RBI; traded 3B Casey McGehee (to Pittsburgh), .223 BA, 13 HR and 67 RBI; added 3B Aramis Ramirez (free agency), .306 BA, 26 HR and 93 RBI; added SS Alex Gonzalez (free agency), .241 BA, 15 HR, 56 RBI last year for the Braves; lost LF Ryan Braun (50-game suspension), .332 BA, 111 RBI and 33 HR

    How do you replace Prince Fielder’s production and the loss of Ryan Braun for nearly one-third of the season? I don’t think you do. Look for them to score a lot less in 2012.

18. Cleveland Indians

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    Last season: T-15th, 80-82, .494

    Pitching: 760 runs allowed (24), 4.23 ERA (23), 463 walks (8), two complete games (T-25), four shutouts (30)

    Offense: 704 runs (16), .250 (T-18), 154 HR (T-15), 1,269 strikeouts (26), 494 walks (17), 89 stolen bases (23)

    Game-changers: none of note

    The Cleveland Indians didn't do much to improve their roster for next season and that will hold them back in 2012.

17. Cincinnati Reds

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    Last season: T-17th, 79-83, .488

    Pitching: 720 runs allowed (20), 4.16 ERA (20), 539 walks (24), four complete games (T-18), five shutouts (T-28)

    Offense: 735 runs (T-7), .256 (T-13), 183 HR (7), 1,250 strikeouts (24), 535 walks (9), 97 stolen bases (18)

    Game-changers: added RHP Ryan Madson (free agency), 2.37 ERA and 32 saves; added RHP Mat Latos (from San Diego), 9-14, 3.47 ERA and 185 strikeouts; traded 1B/LF Yonder Alonso (to San Diego), .330 BA, 15 RBI and five HR

    The Reds suffered from bad pitching but adding Mat Latos should help. He only won nine games last year but that was on a bad Padres team when he was injured. But the fact that he's moving from a pitcher's ballpark to a hitter's ballpark could hurt him. 

16. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Last season: 14th, 81-81, .500 

    Pitching: 761 runs allowed (25), 4.32 ERA (24), 540 walks (T-25), seven complete games (T-6), 10 shutouts (T-16)

    Offense: 743 runs (6), .249 (20), 186 HR (5), 1,184 strikeouts (18), 525 walks (11), 131 stolen bases (8)

    Game-changers: none of note

    The Blue Jays have put together a solid team that is one piece away from contending for an AL East title. Could they splurge on Prince Fielder?  Probably not.  Because of that, they're the fourth team in the East.

15. Miami Marlins

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    Last season: T-22nd, 72-90, .444 

    Pitching: 702 runs allowed (15), 3.95 ERA (16), 500 walks (13), seven complete games (T-6), 11 shutouts (T-13)

    Offense: 625 runs (23), .247 (T-21), 149 HR (19), 1,244 strikeouts (22), 542 walks (T-6), 95 stolen bases (20)

    Game-changers: added SS Jose Reyes (free agency), .337 BA, 44 RBI and 101 runs; added RHP Heath Bell (free agency), 2.44 ERA and 43 saves; added LHP Mark Buehrle (free agency), 13-9 and 3.59 ERA 

    With a new ballpark and a new shortstop, Miami should be much improved in the coming year.

14. Washington Nationals

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    Last season: T-15th, 80-81, .497

    Pitching: 643 runs allowed (9), 3.58 ERA (T-7), 477 walks (10), three complete games (T-21), 10 shutouts (T-16)

    Offense: 624 runs (24), .242 BA (T-27), 154 HR (T-15), 1,323 strikeouts (30), 470 walks (22), 106 stolen bases (16)

    Game-changers: added LHP Gio Gonzalez (from Oakland), 16-12, 3.12 ERA

    The addition of Gio Gonzalez should make a difference and help the club, but their biggest issues remain on offense. Luckily, budding superstar Bryce Harper is expected to make his debut in 2012.  

13. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Last season: 13th, 82-79, .509

    Pitching: 612 runs allowed (5), 3.54 ERA (5), 507 walks (T-15), seven complete games (T-6), 17 shutouts (3)

    Offense: 644 runs (21), .257 (T-11), 117 HR (23), 1,087 strikeouts (10), 498 walks (16), 126 stolen bases (10)

    Game-changers: none of note 

    Even if Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw drop off a little bit in 2012, they will still be elite players and two of the best in all of MLB. Plus, with more experience, Dee Gordon could blossom into a star.

12. Minnesota Twins

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    Last season: 29th, 63-99, .389

    Pitching: 804 runs allowed (29), 4.58 ERA (29), 480 walks (11), seven complete games (T-6), eight shutouts (T-22)

    Offense: 619 runs (25), .247 (T-21), 103 HR (28), 1,048 strikeouts (6), 440 walks (27), 92 stolen bases (22)

    Game-changers: added LF Josh Willingham (free agency), .246 BA, 98 RBI and 29 HR; added SS Jamey Carroll (free agency), .290 BA, 52 runs and 17 RBI; lost OF Michael Cuddyer (free agency), .284 BA, 70 RBI and 20 HR; lost OF Jason Kubel (free agency), .273 BA and 58 RBI in 99 games 

    Their health was a big part of their horrible record last year; if Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and Company can stay healthy, they can be competing for the AL Central title.

11. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Last season: T-8th, 90-72, .556 

    Pitching: 692 runs allowed (15), 3.74 ERA (12), 448 walks (6), seven complete games (T-6), nine shutouts (T-20)

    Offense: 762 runs (5), .273 BA (5), 162 HR (13), 978 strikeouts (2), 542 walks (T-6), 57 stolen bases (29)

    Game-changers: added RF Carlos Beltran (free agency), .300 BA, 84 RBI and 22 HR; lost 1BAlbert Pujols (free agency), .299 BA, 99 RBI and 37 HR

    The loss of Pujols is going to sting—not just in lost production, but in lack of morale.

10. Atlanta Braves

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    Last season: 10th, 89-73, .549 

    Pitching: 605 runs allowed (3), 3.48 ERA (4), 521 walks (T-19), three complete games (T-21), 16 shutouts (4)

    Offense: 641 runs (22), .243 BA (26), 173 HR (8), 1,260 strikeouts (25), 504 walks (14), 77 stolen bases (27)

    Game-changers: none of note

    The Braves were just a win away from making the postseason in 2011. They can be even better in 2012 with the likely emergence of Julio Teheran and the return of Dan Uggla.

9. Boston Red Sox

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    Last season: T-8th, 90-72, .556 

    Pitching: 737 runs allowed (21), 4.20 ERA (22), 540 walks (T-25), two complete games (T-25), 13 shutouts (T-7) 

    Offense: 875 runs (1), .280 BA (2), 203 HR (3), 1,108 strikeouts (12), 578 walks (2), 102 stolen bases (17), 1,108 K (12)  

     Game-changers: added RHP Mark Melancon (from Houston), 8-4 last year, 2.78 ERA; added RHP Andrew Bailey (from Oakland), 24 saves last year; traded RF Josh Reddick (to Oakland), .280 BA; traded 2B Marco Scutaro (to Colorado), .299 BA, 59 runs

    Boston has made a lot of changes in the offseason. Will it result in a better record? They still haven’t addressed the problems with the pitching staff, so probably not.

8. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Last season: 7th, 91-71, .562 

    Pitching: 614 runs allowed (6), 3.58 ERA (T-7), 504 walks (14), 15 complete games (2), 13 shutouts (T-7)

    Offense: 707 runs (15), .244 (T-24), 172 HR (T-9), 1,193 strikeouts (19), 571 walks (T-3), 155 stolen bases (2)

    Game-changers: none of note

    The Rays put together a good 2011 and can do the same in 2012 thanks to what should be an improved pitching staff.

7. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Last season: 6th, 94-68, .580 

    Pitching: 662 runs allowed (11), 3.80 ERA (14), 442 walks (5), five complete games (T-14), 12 shutouts (T-10)

    Offense: 731 runs (9), .250 (T-18), 172 HR (T-9), 1,249 strikeouts (23), 531 walks (10), 133 stolen bases (7)

    Game-changers: added RHP Trevor Cahill (from Oakland), 4.16 ERA and 2010 All-Star; added OF Jason Kubel (free agency), .273 BA and 58 RBI in 99 games  

    The Diamondbacks put together a great 2011 thanks to the emergence of Ian Kennedy and Justin Upton. Both are young and hitting their primes, which will put them in a great position to contend for an NL West title again.

6. San Francisco Giants

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    Last season: T-11th, 86-76, .531 

    Pitching: 578 runs allowed (2), 3.20 ERA (2), 559 walks (28), three complete games (T-21), 12 shutouts (T-10)

    Offense: 570 runs (29), .242 (27T), 121 HR (22), 1,122 strikeouts (14), 448 walks (24), 85 stolen bases (24)

    Game-changers: added CF Melky Cabrera (from Kansas City), .305 BA, 87 RBI and 18 HR; traded LHP Jonathan Sanchez (to Kansas City), 4.26 ERA, 4-7

    Losing Buster Posey early in the season cost them tremendously in leadership and runs scored. With their great pitching staff and a healthy Posey, they will contend for the National League West title.

5. Detroit Tigers

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    Last season: 5th, 95-67, .586 

    Pitching: 711 runs allowed (18), 4.04 ERA (T-17), 492 walks (12), four complete games (T-18), 14 shutouts (T-5) 

    Offense: 783 runs (4), .277 BA (3), 169 HR (11), 1,143 strikeouts (16), 521 walks (12), 49 stolen bases (30)

    Game-changers: lost DH Victor Martinez (torn ACL), .330 BA and 103 RBI

    While losing Victor Martinez to an ACL injury for the entire season is a huge blow to the Tigers' championship hopes, they still have the best pitcher in the game, Justin Verlander, and an MVP candidate in first baseman Miguel Cabrera.

4. New York Yankees

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    Last season: 2nd, 97-65, .599 

    Pitching: 657 runs allowed (10), 3.73 ERA (11), 507 walks (T-15), five complete games (T-14), eight shutouts (T-22)

    Offense: 867 runs (2), .263 BA (7), 627 walks (1), 1,138 strikeouts (15), 222 HR (1), 147 stolen bases (4), 1,138 K (15)

    Game-changers: added RHP Michael Pineda (from Seattle), 9-10, 3.74 ERA and 173 K as a rookie 

    The addition of Michael Pineda will do wonders for a Yankees pitching staff that was in dire need of another top-of-the-line starter. 

3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    Last season: 11th, 86-76, .531

    Pitching: 633 runs allowed (7), 3.57 ERA (6), 476 walks (9), 12 complete games (T-3), 11 shutouts (T-13)

    Offense: 667 runs (17), .253 (15T), 155 HR (14), 1,086 strikeouts (9), 442 walks (T-25), 135 stolen bases (6)

    Game-changers: added 1B Albert Pujols (free agency), .299 BA, 99 RBI and 37 HR; added LHP C.J. Wilson (free agency), 16-7, 2.94 ERA and 206 K; re-signed 1B Kendry Morales (back from injury), .306 BA, 34 HR and 108 RBI in 2009

    The addition of C.J. Wilson to the staff and both Albert Pujols and a healthy Kendry Morales to the batting order means that the Angels are competing for the best record in baseball.

2. Texas Rangers

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    Last season: T-3rd, 96-66, .593

    Pitching: 677 runs allowed (13), 3.79 ERA (13), 461 walks (7), 10 complete games (5), 19 shutouts (2)

    Offense: 855 runs (3), .283 BA (1), 210 HR (2), 930 strikeouts (1), 475 (T-20), 143 stolen bases (5)

    Game-changers: added RHP Yu Darvish (free agency), added RHP Joe Nathan (free agency)
    .484 ERA and 14 saves; lost LHP C.J. Wilson (free agency), 16-7, 2.94 ERA and 206 K; lost CF Endy Chavez (free agency), .301 BA, 37 runs and 27 RBI

    The Rangers already have one of the best offenses in baseball, so for 2012, the focus is on pitching. Essentially Yu Darvish comes in as a better C.J. Wilson. Although highly touted Japanese pitchers have frequently failed to live up to the hype (see Hideki Irabu and Daisuke Matzusaka), if Darvish can live up to at least some of  his billing, he could best Wilson’s record and add several wins.

    Plus, with the signing of Joe Nathan, Neftali Feliz will bolster the Rangers rotation.

1. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Last year: 1st, 102-60, .630

    Pitching: 529 runs allowed (1), 3.02 ERA (1), 404 walks (1), 18 complete games (1), 21 shutouts (1) 

    Offense: 713 runs (13), .253 BA (15T), 153 HR (18), 1,006 strikeouts (5), 539 walks (8), 96 stolen bases (19), 1,024 K (5)

    Game-changers: added RHP Jonathan Papelbon (free agency), 2.94 ERA and 31 saves; lost RHP Ryan Madson (free agency), 2.37 ERA, 32 saves

    Last year, the Phillies had the best pitching and defense in the league. They only gave up only 529 runs, which bested the second-best team, the San Francisco Giants, by 49 runs. Look for them to continue their winning ways on the backs of their great pitching staff.

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