MLB Power Rankings: Pre-Spring Training Camp Edition

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IIFebruary 4, 2013

MLB Power Rankings: Pre-Spring Training Camp Edition

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    Pitchers and catchers are set to report in a week as spring training will soon be in full swing across MLB.

    So, where do the teams stand?

    Featured columnist Joel Reuter posted a power ranking in the middle of December after the peak of the free-agent season.

    Will this power ranking be any different? Let's see.


    Note: Rosters taken from

30. Houston Astros

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    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B Jose Altuve  
    2. RF Fernando Martinez
    3. DH Carlos Peña
    4. LF Chris Carter
    5. 1B Brett Wallace
    6. CF Justin Maxwell 
    7. C Jason Castro
    8. SS Tyler Greene
    9. 3B Matt Dominguez

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP Bud Norris
    2. RHP Lucas Harrell 
    3. RHP Jordan Lyles 
    4. RHP Phil Humber 
    5. LHP Erik Bedard

    Closer—RHP Jose Veras


    It's going to be a long year for the Houston Astros. Not only are they in rebuilding mode, but they are also in their first year in the American League.

    Houston still has a lot up in the air, but spring training will help provide some answers.

    The pitching looks decent with Norris and Harrell at the top of the rotation. But the bullpen will be the biggest question mark.

    At the plate, Pena has the ability to hit bombs each time at the plate. However, his .211 batting average is not exactly something you look for in your cleanup hitter.

29. Minnesota Twins

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    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Darin Mastroianni
    2. 2B Jamey Carroll
    3. C Joe Mauer
    4. LF Josh Willingham
    5. 1B Justin Morneau
    6. DH Ryan Doumit
    7. RF Chris Parmelee
    8. 3B Trevor Plouffe
    9. SS Pedro Florimon Jr.

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP Vance Worley
    2. LHP Scott Diamond
    3. RHP Kevin Correia
    4. RHP Liam Hendriks
    5. LHP Brian Duensing

    Closer—LHP Glen Perkins


    The Minnesota Twins traded two-thirds of their outfield this offseason and 2013 is looking like it will be tough. 

    Worley is a nice piece to have at the top of the rotation, but he's not exactly an ace.

    The heart of the order looks good with Mauer, Willingham and Morneau, but there are more question marks everywhere else.

28. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Projected Lineup

    1. RF Norichika Aoki
    2. 2B Rickie Weeks
    3. LF Ryan Braun
    4. 3B Aramis Ramirez
    5. C Jonathan Lucroy
    6. 1B Mat Gamel
    7. CF Carlos Gomez
    8. SS Jean Segura

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP Yovani Gallardo
    2. RHP Marco Estrada
    3. RHP Michael Fiers
    4. LHP Chris Narveson
    5. RHP Wily Peralta

    Closer—RHP John Axford


    Some may think this is too low of a ranking for the Milwaukee Brewers, but it's due to multiple issues, including Corey Hart being out until June. 

    The order looks good with Braun and Ramirez in the middle. However, the absence of Hart hurts and could put the Brewers in a huge hole by the time he returns. There's not much to be confident in with the lineup.

    Outside of Gallardo, there are issues in the starting rotation that are going to make it a tough year. None of the other four projected starters are much more than a No. 4 or 5 starter on any team.

27. Miami Marlins

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    Projected Lineup

    1. LF Juan Pierre
    2. 2B Placido Polanco
    3. 1B Logan Morrison
    4. RF Giancarlo Stanton
    5. CF Justin Ruggiano
    6. C Rob Brantly
    7. 2B Donovan Solano
    8. SS Adeiny Hechavarria

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP Ricky Nolasco
    2. RHP Henderson Alvarez
    3. LHP Wade LeBlanc
    4. RHP Nathan Eovaldi
    5. RHP Jacob Turner

    Closer—RHP Steve Cishek


    The Miami Marlins had a fire sale this offseason. With that in mind, don't expect them to do too much this year.

    The one thing that helps the Marlins is their rotation, which actually looks good.

    Alvarez, Eovaldi and Turner are pitchers who have all the potential in the world. Now, they just have to prove it on the field.

    Stanton is still in the lineup. It will be interesting to see how long he stays there.

26. Chicago White Sox

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    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Alejandro De Aza
    2. 3B Jeff Keppinger
    3. DH Adam Dunn
    4. 1B Paul Konerko
    5. RF Alex Rios
    6. LF Dayan Viciedo
    7. SS Alexei Ramirez
    8. C Tyler Flowers
    9. 2B Gordon Beckham

    Projected Rotation

    1. LHP Chris Sale
    2. RHP Jake Peavy
    3. LHP John Danks
    4. RHP Gavin Floyd
    5. LHP Jose Quintana

    Closer—RHP Addison Reed


    If it weren't for Sale and Peavy at the top of the rotation, the Chicago White Sox would be lower on this list. 

    The biggest question is if Keppinger (the biggest offseason acquisition) can justify his signing.

    With their power, Dunn and Konerko are nice pieces in the middle of the lineup. If the bottom of the order can get things going, the White Sox might have success.

25. Colorado Rockies

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    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Dexter Fowler
    2. 2B Josh Rutledge
    3. LF Carlos Gonzalez
    4. SS Troy Tulowitzki
    5. RF Michael Cuddyer
    6. 1B Todd Helton
    7. C Wilin Rosario
    8. 3B Chris Nelson

    Projected Rotation

    1. LHP Jorge De La Rosa
    2. RHP Jhoulys Chacin
    3. LHP Drew Pomeranz
    4. RHP Juan Nicasio
    5. LHP Jeff Francis

    Closer—RHP Rafael Betancourt


    The Colorado Rockies have a good offense behind Gonzalez, Tulowitzki and Cuddyer. Where the real problem lies is in their pitching.

    Playing in Coors Field is not good for the career of a pitcher. For the Colorado starters, having to pitch 82 games in the thin air doesn't help the ERA.

    Still, if the offense can stay healthy, the Rockies may do something this season.

24. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Adam Eaton
    2. 2B Aaron Hill
    3. C Miguel Montero
    4. LF Jason Kubel
    5. 3B Martin Prado
    6. 1B Paul Goldschmidt
    7. RF Cody Ross
    8. SS Cliff Pennington

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP Ian Kennedy
    2. RHP Brandon McCarthy
    3. RHP Trevor Cahill
    4. LHP Wade Miley
    5. LHP Tyler Skaggs

    Closer—RHP J.J. Putz


    The Arizona Diamondbacks made one of the biggest trades of the offseason when they sent outfielder Justin Upton to Atlanta. The Diamondbacks received Martin Prado and a bunch of prospects in return.

    However, losing Upton is not exactly the way to get better. Still, Prado brings a lot to the table and will be good wherever he hits in the lineup.

23. San Diego Padres

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    Projected Lineup

    1. SS Everth Cabrera
    2. 2B Logan Forsythe
    3. 3B Chase Headley
    4. LF Carlos Quentin
    5. 1B Yonder Alonso
    6. RF Will Venable
    7. CF Cameron Maybin
    8. C Nick Hundley

    Projected Rotation 

    1. RHP Edinson Volquez
    2. LHP Clayton Richard
    3. RHP Jason Marquis
    4. LHP Eric Stults
    5. RHP Freddy Garcia

    Closer—RHP Huston Street


    The San Diego Padres didn't make the moves some fans would have expected with new ownership. 

    With Yasmani Grandal out the first 50 games for performance-enhancing drug use, the Padres will be behind the eight-ball through the first one-third of the season.

    However, if the starting staff can stay healthy, good things can happen for San Diego.

22. Kansas City Royals

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    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Lorenzo Cain
    2. SS Alcides Escobar
    3. LF Alex Gordon
    4. DH Billy Butler
    5. 3B Mike Moustakas
    6. C Salador Perez
    7. 1B Eric Hosmer
    8. RF Jeff Francoeur
    9. 2B Chris Getz

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP James Shields
    2. RHP Jeremy Guthrie
    3. RHP Ervin Santana
    4. RHP Wade Davis
    5. LHP Bruce Chen

    Closer—Greg Holland


    The Kansas City Royals made many improvements to the starting rotation this offseason.

    For the first time since Zack Greinke left town, the Royals have a legitimate No. 1 starter in Shields. And, it's not just Shields. The Royals acquired Davis in the same deal and Santana in another deal.

    The starting staff looks good. Now, it's up to the offense to hold up its end of the bargain.

    Hosmer and Moustakas have been disappointing in the big leagues, while Gordon and Butler have largely carried the offense.

21. Chicago Cubs

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    Projected Lineup

    1. CF David DeJesus
    2. RF Nate Schierholtz
    3. 1B Anthony Rizzo
    4. LF Alfonso Soriano
    5. SS Starlin Castro
    6. 3B Ian Stewart
    7. C Welington Castillo
    8. 2B Darwin Barney

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP Matt Garza
    2. RHP Jeff Samardzija
    3. RHP Edwin Jackson
    4. RHP Scott Feldman
    5. RHP Carlos Villanueva

    Closer—Carlos Marmol


    The Chicago Cubs made a good signing in Jackson this offseason, but continue to make only small moves to get better.

    Most thought Soriano would be gone from Chicago by now, but he continues to be big at the plate.

    What should help Chicago is a full season in the big leagues for Rizzo. If he can hit the way he's capable, the Cubs could have a dangerous lineup.

20. Boston Red Sox

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    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
    2. RF Shane Victorino
    3. 2B Dustin Pedroia
    4. DH David Ortiz
    5. 1B Mike Napoli
    6. 3B Will Middlebrooks
    7. SS Stephen Drew
    8. LF Jonny Gomes
    9. C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

    Projected Rotation

    1. LHP Jon Lester
    2. RHP Ryan Dempster
    3. RHP Clay Buchholz
    4. LHP Felix Doubront
    5. RHP John Lackey

    Closer—RHP Joel Hanrahan


    The Boston Red Sox made a big trade in the middle of last season and signed Victorino, Napoli, Drew, Gomes and Dempster this offseason in hopes of having a winner again.

    Of course, the return of Big Papi will be good for the middle of the order as well.

    With Bobby Valentine now gone as manager, the players have no excuse with John Farrell in place.

19. New York Mets

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    Projected Lineup

    1. SS Ruben Tejada
    2. 2B Daniel Murphy
    3. 3B David Wright
    4. 1B Ike Davis
    5. LF Lucas Duda
    6. RF Mike Baxter
    7. C John Buck
    8. CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis

    Projected Rotation

    1. LHP Johan Santana
    2. LHP Jon Niese
    3. RHP Shaun Marcum
    4. RHP Matt Harvey
    5. RHP Dillon Gee

    Closer—RHP Frank Francisco


    The New York Mets made a huge move this offseason by trading 2012 NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. However, the Mets got a good return for the knuckleballer. 

    While it doesn't help them much this season, the Mets are set to have success over the next few years.

    Offensively, Buck is the only real addition to the offense, at least until Travis d'Arnaud gets the call.

    Marcum was one of the top free-agent pitchers on the market and should be a nice addition in the middle of the rotation.

    What's going to make it hard for the Mets is playing in the same division as the Nationals and Braves.

18. Cleveland Indians

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    Projected Lineup

    1. LF Michael Brantley
    2. 2B Jason Kipnis
    3. SS Asdrubal Cabrera
    4. RF Nick Swisher
    5. C Carlos Santana
    6. 1B Mark Reynolds
    7. 3B Lonnie Chisenhall
    8. CF Drew Stubbs
    9. DH Chris McGuiness

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez
    2. RHP Justin Masterson
    3. RHP Brett Myers
    4. RHP Zach McAllister
    5. RHP Trevor Bauer

    Closer—RHP Chris Perez


    The Cleveland Indians did a lot to help their offense this offseason by signing Reynolds and Swisher. 

    While losing Shin-Soo Choo does hurt, the Indians' offense is definitely better than a year ago.

    The rotation improved with the acquisition of Bauer and the signing of Myers.

    Playing in the weakest division in baseball will only help the Indians. Should a few things go their way, they could actually have a good season.

17. Seattle Mariners

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    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B Dustin Ackley
    2. CF Franlin Gutierrez
    3. 3B Kyle Seger
    4. LF Michael Morse
    5. DH Kendrys Morales
    6. C Jesus Montero
    7. 1B Justin Smoak
    8. RF Michael Saunders
    9. SS Brendan Ryan

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP Felix Hernandez
    2. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma
    3. RHP Erasmo Ramirez
    4. RHP Blake Beavan
    5. RHP Hector Noesi

    Closer—RHP Tom Wilhelmsen


    The Seattle Mariners almost pulled off a major trade for Justin Upton, but the star outfielder vetoed the deal.

    However, the Mariners still made good moves, acquiring Morse and Morales in separate trades.

    Now, the Mariners just have to figure out the rotation after Hernandez. Competing in a tough division, Seattle has the offensive pieces to have success.

    It's all going to come down to pitching.

16. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Projected Lineup

    1. SS Jimmy Rollins
    2. CF Ben Revere
    3. 2B Chase Utley
    4. 1B Ryan Howard
    5. 3B Michael Young
    6. RF Delmon Young
    7. LF Domonic Brown
    8. C Erik Kratz

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP Roy Halladay
    2. LHP Cliff Lee
    3. LHP Cole Hamels
    4. RHP Kyle Kendrick
    5. LHP John Lannan

    Closer—RHP Jonathan Papelbon


    How the mighty have fallen.

    The Philadelphia Phillies were thought to be one of the best teams in the National League in 2012.

    This year, the expectations aren't that high, but it wouldn't be surprising to see the Phillies return to prominence.

    The rotation is still one of the scariest in baseball with Halladay, Lee and Hamels at the top.

    Offensively, the Phillies look more balanced after trading for Revere and Michael Young, and signing Delmon Young.

    Add in a healthy Utley, Howard and Rollins and Philadelphia can be dangerous.

15. New York Yankees

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    Projected Lineup

    1. RF Ichiro Suzuki
    2. SS Derek Jeter
    3. 2B Robinson Cano
    4. 1B Mark Teixeira
    5. CF Curtis Granderson
    6. 3B Kevin Youkilis
    7. DH Travis Hafner
    8. LF Brett Gardner
    9. C Chris Stewart

    Projected Rotation

    1. LHP CC Sabathia
    2. RHP Hiroki Kuroda
    3. LHP Andy Pettitte
    4. RHP Phil Hughes
    5. RHP Ivan Nova

    Closer—RHP Mariano Rivera


    These aren't the New York Yankees of old. 

    Normally, the Yankees would bid on all the big-name free agents, as they continually had the highest payroll in baseball.

    This offseason has been different as the biggest signing was Youkilis.

    Alex Rodriguez may have played his last game in pinstripes, which may actually help the Yankees.

14. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Desmond Jennings
    2. SS Yunel Escobar
    3. RF Ben Zobrist
    4. 3B Evan Longoria
    5. LF Matt Joyce
    6. DH Luke Scott
    7. 2B Kelly Johnson
    8. 1B James Loney
    9. C Jose Molina

    Projected Rotation

    1. LHP David Price
    2. RHP Jeremy Hellickson
    3. LHP Matt Moore
    4. RHP Jeff Neimann
    5. RHP Alex Cobb

    Closer—RHP Fernando Rodney


    The Tampa Bay Rays may have lost James Shields and B.J. Upton, but they still have a solid starting rotation and batting order. 

    While the Rays didn't improve over the course of the offseason, neither did three other teams in their division.

    With that said, the Rays still find ways to win games, even without a large payroll. Don't be surprised if 2013 is the same.

13. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Projected Lineup

    1. LF Starling Marte
    2. 2B Neil Walker
    3. CF Andrew McCutchen
    4. 1B Garrett Jones
    5. 3B Pedro Alvarez
    6. C Russell Martin
    7. RF Travis Snider
    8. SS Clint Barmes

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP A.J. Burnett
    2. LHP Wandy Rodriguez
    3. RHP James McDonald
    4. LHP Francisco Lirano
    5. RHP Jeff Karstens

    Closer—RHP Jason Grilli


    The Pittsburgh Pirates started building for 2013 during the 2012 season.

    With the acquisition of Rodriguez, the Pirates acquired a top-of-the-rotation starter.

    In the offseason, the addition of Martin and Liriano was big as it gives the Pirates two more veterans for the clubhouse.

    Pittsburgh could make a run in the NL Central. While the Reds and Cardinals are still the favorites, the Pirates have the personnel to challenge for the division title.

12. Baltimore Orioles

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    Projected Lineup

    1. LF Nate McClouth
    2. SS JJ Hardy
    3. RF Nick Markakis
    4. CF Adam Jones
    5. C Matt Wieters
    6. 1B Chris Davis
    7. DH Wilson Betemit
    8. 3B Manny Machado
    9. 2B Brian Roberts

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP Jason Hammel
    2. LHP Wei-Yin Chen
    3. RHP Chris Tillman
    4. RHP Miguel Gonzalez
    5. RHP Jair Jurrjens

    Closer—RHP Jim Johnson


    The Baltimore Orioles surprised everyone last year by making the playoffs. 

    While the bullpen was the story last year, the starting rotation has to get better if the Orioles are going to take the next step.

    The signing of Jurrjens was good, especially if he can regain his form from the first half of 2011. If he does, the Orioles should have a good rotation.

    At the plate, the Orioles have a lot of pop, although the loss of Mark Reynolds will certainly hurt their home-run totals.

    Still, Baltimore should be in the thick of things.

11. Texas Rangers

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    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B Ian Kinsler
    2. SS Elvis Andrus
    3. DH Lance Berkman
    4. 3B Adrian Beltre
    5. RF Nelson Cruz
    6. LF David Murphy
    7. C A.J. Pierzynski
    8. 1B Mitch Moreland
    9. CF Leonys Martin

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP Yu Darvish
    2. LHP Derek Holland
    3. LHP Matt Harrison
    4. RHP Alexi Ogando
    5. LHP Martin Perez

    Closer—RHP Joe Nathan


    The Texas Rangers have lost Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Michael Young. And they've replaced them with Berkman and Pierzynski. 

    That's not exactly a better offense.

    What may be the key early on is the emergence of uber-prospect Jurickson Profar. How well he does once he's in the majors could well determine the success of the Rangers.

    The pitching staff remains solid with Darvish, Holland and Harrison at the top. It will be interesting to see how Ogando does in his return to the rotation.

10. Oakland Athletics

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    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Coco Crisp
    2. DH Seth Smith
    3. LF Yoenis Cespedes
    4. 1B Brandon Moss
    5. RF Josh Reddick 
    6. 3B Josh Donaldson 
    7. C John Jaso
    8. 2B Scott Sizemore 
    9. SS Hiroyuki Nakajima

    Projected Rotation

    1. LHP Brett Anderson
    2. RHP Jarrod Parker
    3. LHP Tom Milone
    4. RHP A.J. Griffin
    5. RHP Dan Straily

    Closer—RHP Grant Balfour


    The Oakland Athletics have the potential to have the scariest pitching staff in baseball. All five are 25 or younger and all have the potential to be dominant.

    Offensively, the A's have players who can flat-out hit the ball, but don't get the respect they deserve.

    Just because Oakland has a low payroll doesn't mean it can't compete again this year.

    Last year wasn't a fluke. This year will show that.

9. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Projected Lineup

    1. SS Rafael Furcal
    2. 1B Allen Craig
    3. LF Matt Holliday
    4. RF Carlos Beltran
    5. C Yadier Molina
    6. 3B David Freese
    7. CF Jon Jay
    8. 2B Daniel Descalso

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP Adam Wainwright
    2. LHP Jaime Garcia
    3. RHP Jake Westbrook
    4. RHP Lance Lynn
    5. RHP Shelby Miller

    Closer—RHP Jason Motte


    The St. Louis Cardinals didn't make many changes, They did lose Lance Berkman and Kyle Lohse, however. And let's not forget Chris Carpenter is likely done for the season...maybe longer.

    The lineup is still solid with Craig, Holliday, Beltran and Molina providing the power.

    Starting pitching should still be strong for the Cardinals still, with Wainwright at the top of the rotation.


    Note: The Cardinals were originally ranked at No. 5, but the loss of Carpenter hurts and moves them down to this spot.

8. Cincinnati Reds

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    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Shin-Soo Choo
    2. 2B Brandon Phillips
    3. 1B Joey Votto
    4. LF Ryan Ludwick
    5. RF Jay Bruce
    6. 3B Todd Frazier
    7. C Ryan Hanigan
    8. SS Zack Cozart

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP Johnny Cueto
    2. RHP Mat Latos
    3. RHP Bronson Arroyo
    4. RHP Homer Bailey
    5. LHP Aroldis Chapman

    Closer—RHP Jonathan Broxton


    The Cincinnati Reds acquired Choo this offseason to finally give them a legitimate leadoff hitter.

    In previous years, that's been a hindrance to the Reds.

    The most interesting player is going to be Chapman, who will move from the closer's role. If he can maintain his control deep into ballgames, the Reds will have a potentially dominant pitching staff from top to bottom.

7. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Projected Lineup

    1. SS Jose Reyes
    2. LF Melky Cabrera
    3. RF Jose Bautista
    4. 1B Edwin Encarnacion
    5. CF Colby Rasmus
    6. 3B Brett Lawrie
    7. DH Adam Lind
    8. C J.P. Arencibia
    9. 2B Emilio Bonifacio

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP R.A. Dickey
    2. RHP Josh Johnson
    3. LHP Mark Buehrle
    4. RHP Brandon Morrow
    5. LHP Ricky Romero

    Closer—RHP Casey Janssen


    The Toronto Blue Jays made the biggest improvement of any team this offseason. 

    In separate trades, the Blue Jays acquired a king's ransom of players. Reyes, Johnson, Buehrle and Bonifacio were acquired from the Marlins, while Dickey was acquired from the Mets.

    After all the moves, the Blue Jays are now considered one of the favorites in the American League.

6. San Francisco Giants

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    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Angel Pagan
    2. 2B Marco Scutaro
    3. 3B Pablo Sandoval
    4. C Buster Posey
    5. RF Hunter Pence
    6. 1B Brandon Belt
    7. SS Brandon Crawford
    8. LF Gregor Blanco

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP Matt Cain
    2. LHP Madison Bumgarner
    3. RHP Tim Lincecum
    4. RHP Ryan Vogelsong
    5. LHP Barry Zito

    Closer—RHP Sergio Romo


    The lineup may not look sexy, but the San Francisco Giants are the defending world champions. For that, they must be respected. 

    The Giants brought back key pieces from last year's run to the title in Scutaro and Pagan. However, they are getting up there in age.

    The key piece will be Lincecum, if he can overcome a bad 2012. If Zito also continues to look good, the Giants are going to be tough in 2013.

    However, their rivals to the south have improved, so the division title is no guarantee.

5. Detroit Tigers

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    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Austin Jackson
    2. RF Torii Hunter
    3. 3B Miguel Cabrera
    4. 1B Prince Fielder
    5. DH Victor Martinez
    6. LF Andy Dirks
    7. SS Jhonny Peralta
    8. C Alex Avila
    9. 2B Omar Infante

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP Justin Verlander
    2. RHP Doug Fister
    3. RHP Max Scherzer
    4. RHP Anibal Sanchez
    5. RHP Rick Porcello

    Closer—RHP Bruce Rondon


    The Detroit Tigers just couldn't put it together in the World Series.

    However, the team still looks good. And with the return of Martinez to the lineup, the Tigers should be even better.

    There's power throughout the lineup as Cabrera and Fielder will continue to provide a lot of pop in the middle of the lineup.

    The bullpen looks to be one of the strongest in the American League. Multiple players could close if Rondon doesn't work out.

4. Los Angeles Angels

27 of 30

    Projected Lineup

    1. LF Mike Trout
    2. SS Erick Aybar
    3. 1B Albert Pujols
    4. RF Josh Hamilton
    5. DH Mark Trumbo
    6. 2B Howie Kendrick
    7. 3B Alberto Callaspo
    8. C Chris Iannetta
    9. CF Peter Bourjos

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP Jered Weaver
    2. LHP C.J. Wilson
    3. RHP Tommy Hanson
    4. LHP Jason Vargas
    5. RHP Joe Blanton

    Closer—RHP Ryan Madson


    The Los Angeles Angels signed the biggest free agent of the offseason in Hamilton, giving them one of the best middle of the orders in baseball.

    With Pujol and Trumbo surrounding Hamilton in the order, he'll have a lot of RBI opportunities.

    Add in Trout at the top of the order and the lineup is really dangerous.

    After losing two starting pitchers from last year's team, the Angels acquired Hanson and Vargas, and signed Blanton. It's not as good of a rotation as it was last year, but it's still a good one.

3. Atlanta Braves

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    Projected Lineup

    1. SS Andrelton Simmons
    2. RF Jason Heyward
    3. LF Justin Upton
    4. 1B Freddie Freeman
    5. CF B.J. Upton
    6. C Brian McCann
    7. 2B Dan Uggla
    8. 3B Chris Johnson

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP Tim Hudson
    2. RHP Kris Medlen
    3. LHP Mike Minor
    4. LHP Paul Maholm
    5. RHP Julio Teheran

    Closer—RHP Craig Kimbrel


    The Atlanta Braves made a huge leap in the power rankings with the acquisition of Justin Upton from the Diamondbacks. 

    Throw him in the outfield with brother (B.J.) and Heyward, and you have an outfield that can really cover some ground.

    The biggest question may be at the top of the order where Simmons will be leading off in his sophomore campaign. With Michael Bourn now gone, the Braves need him to be the table-setter.

    The rotation still looks good, even with the loss of Tommy Hanson. Medlen showed he could be an ace and Minor came into his own in the second half of 2012.

2. Washington Nationals

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    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Denard Span
    2. LF Bryce Harper
    3. 3B Ryan Zimmerman
    4. 1B Adam LaRoche
    5. RF Jayson Werth
    6. SS Ian Desmond
    7. 2B Danny Espinosa
    8. C Kurt Suzuki

    Projected Rotation

    1. RHP Stephen Strasburg
    2. LHP Gio Gonzalez
    3. RHP Jordan Zimmermann
    4. RHP Dan Haren
    5. LHP Ross Detwiler

    Closer—RHP Rafael Soriano


    The Washington Nationals didn't have to do much this offseason, but trading for Span was a big move.

    It allows them to have a good leadoff hitter who will help set up a lineup that doesn't let up throughout.

    The rotation lost Edwin Jackson, but gained Haren, while the bullpen gained Soriano.

    There's nothing to dislike about what the Nationals did in the offseason. They should make it an exciting divisional race with the Braves.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B Mark Ellis
    2. LF Carl Crawford
    3. CF Matt Kemp
    4. 1B Adrian Gonzalez
    5. SS Hanley Ramirez
    6. RF Andre Ethier
    7. 3B Luis Cruz
    8. C A.J. Ellis

    Projected Rotation

    1. LHP Clayton Kershaw
    2. RHP Zack Greinke
    3. RHP Josh Beckett
    4. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu
    5. RHP Aaron Harang

    Closer—RHP Brandon League


    The Los Angeles Dodgers are the top team heading into spring training.

    Greinke and Ryu are the biggest changes in the rotation. They were two of the best pitchers available this offseason.

    The offense doesn't see much change from the end of last year, but the one difference is they have now had more time getting used to playing together.

    Ellis isn't exactly the guy you want leading off, so the Dodgers could with Dee Gordon if he struggles there. After that, it's a tough lineup. The Dodgers have five players who can absolutely crush the ball.


    Do you agree with my rankings? Explain in the comments. You can also follow me on Twitter @chris_stephens6.