MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand in Offense, Pitching and More
Before the 2016 MLB season officially gets underway next week and we roll out one last version of our preseason power rankings, we've decided to stack up all 30 teams a bit differently.
This time the focus is on three key areas and how each team ranks compared to the rest of the league: offense, starting pitching and relief pitching.
We ranked all 30 teams in those three areas and averaged the rankings to position each club among the other 29.
Of course, there is more to winning games than pitching and offense.
Team chemistry, coaching, defense, baserunning, overall organizational depth and eventual prospect arrivals will all make a significant impact on how a team performs this coming season.
However, being strong in the three key areas is usually a good sign a team will at least be competitive, so think of this exercise as a way of sort of separating the contenders from the pretenders.
Note: In the case of a tie in an average, which did happen more than once, the team with the highest rank in its lowest category was given the higher spot in the rankings. The logic for this is that you never want one area to be a major weakness.
A Look at How Things Played out in 2015
For some perspective, here's a look at where all 30 teams ranked last season.
We've taken runs scored, starters' ERA and bullpen ERA as the three categories to gauge how well a team fared in offense, starting pitching and relief pitching in 2015.
As you can see, most of the playoff teams ranked near the top, but grading out well in those three areas was clearly not a guarantee of success in the win-loss department.
1. Pittsburgh Pirates (5.7)
2. Houston Astros (6.7)
3. Toronto Blue Jays (8.3)
4. Chicago Cubs (8.7)
5. Washington Nationals (9.0)
6. St. Louis Cardinals (9.3)
7. San Francisco Giants (10.0)
8. Kansas City Royals (10.3)
9. Cleveland Indians (10.7)
9. New York Mets (10.7)
11. New York Yankees (11.7)
12. Baltimore Orioles (13.0)
13. Los Angeles Dodgers (13.3)
14. Arizona Diamondbacks (14.7)
15. Texas Rangers (16.0)
16. Minnesota Twins (16.3)
17. Los Angeles Angels (17.0)
17. Oakland Athletics (17.0)
17. Tampa Bay Rays (17.0)
20. Boston Red Sox (18.0)
21. Chicago White Sox (19.3)
22. Milwaukee Brewers (19.7)
23. San Diego Padres (20.3)
24. Miami Marlins (20.7)
25. Seattle Mariners (21.0)
26. Colorado Rockies (21.7)
27. Detroit Tigers (23.0)
28. Philadelphia Phillies (24.3)
29. Cincinnati Reds (24.7)
30. Atlanta Braves (26.3)
30. Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies appear to have a potential star on their hands in third baseman Maikel Franco, but much of the rest of the lineup is currently made up of place holders while the team waits on more of its high-profile prospect talent to reach the majors.
Keep an eye on Rule 5 pick Tyler Goeddel, who should see significant playing time after a rash of injuries to outfielders. He'll be looking to follow in the footsteps of Odubel Herrera, who made a significant contributions as a Rule 5 guy last year.
Starting Pitching: 30
Similar to the lineup, the Phillies rotation has a pair of potential long-term pieces in Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff but also some place holders in Jeremy Hellickson and Charlie Morton.
Vincent Velasquez appears to be the front-runner for the final spot, and the 23-year-old flashed plus stuff as a rookie with the Astros last year. The jury is still out on whether he'll stick as a starter, though, so this will be a big evaluation year for him.
After trading away Jonathan Papelbon and Ken Giles since the start of last season, the Phillies went into spring training with a wide-open battle for the closer's job.
It appears former All-Star Andrew Bailey will be the guy, and he'll be joined by fellow newcomers David Hernandez and Edward Mujica as short-term answers in the relief corps.
29. Atlanta Braves
Freddie Freeman is one of the few holdovers in the lineup since the Braves have begun rebuilding, and he remains one of the best offensive first basemen in the league. It's simply a matter of whether he'll get anything to hit.
Veterans Erick Aybar, Nick Markakis and A.J. Pierzynski will be asked to help Freeman shoulder the offensive load, while Ender Inciarte steps into the leadoff spot after being acquired as part of the Shelby Miller deal. Keep an eye on Hector Olivera, who will be given every chance to prove he can be an impact run producer.
Starting Pitching: 28
The 2015 season was a rough one for Julio Teheran, as he saw his ERA climb from 2.89 to 4.04, but he remains in the role of staff ace for the Braves as he looks to rebound.
Veterans Bud Norris and Jhoulys Chacin will fill two of the remaining rotation spots, at least to start the year, and they'll be joined by a pair of promising young arms in Matt Wisler and Mike Foltynewicz.
Veterans Jason Grilli and Jim Johnson will anchor the Braves relief corps alongside hard-throwing Arodys Vizcaino and a pair of non-roster invitees from the left side in Alex Torres and Eric O'Flaherty.
Depending on how he does as a starter this season, Foltynewicz could eventually settle in as a key late-inning reliever. His power stuff would certainly play in that role, but for now the team will give him every chance to prove he can start.
28. Cincinnati Reds
The Reds still have one of the best hitters in the game in Joey Votto, and he's joined by veterans Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips, who are both still capable of being solid producers.
Zack Cozart and Devin Mesoraco are looking to return strong from injury, Eugenio Suarez is trying to build off of a surprisingly productive season and Billy Hamilton is still trying to prove he can hit enough to put his blazing speed to use.
Starting Pitching: 25
Anthony DeSclafani and Raisel Iglesias both showed enough last season to be viewed as potential long-term pieces for the rebuilding Reds, and they'll front a rotation that figures to have plenty of moving parts this year.
Alfredo Simon was re-signed to eat some innings, while Homer Bailey, John Lamb and Michael Lorenzen all open the season on the disabled list. Brandon Finnegan and Jon Moscot will fill out the rotation for the time being, but both could wind up back in Triple-A or in the bullpen once everyone is healthy.
Trading Aroldis Chapman obviously gives the Reds bullpen a much different outlook, and they are now significantly lacking in late-inning experience, as J.J. Hoover, Jumbo Diaz and Tony Cingrani will handle late-inning duties.
Veterans Ross Ohlendorf and Blake Wood, former starter Keyvius Sampson and Rule 5 pick Chris O'Grady appear to be the likely winners of the final bullpen spots, and it could be a rough season for this relief corps as a whole.
27. Milwaukee Brewers
With Carlos Gomez traded at the deadline and Adam Lind, Jean Segura and Khris Davis all shipped off this winter, the Brewers offense looks considerably different than it did a year ago.
Ryan Braun is still capable of making an impact, and Jonathan Lucroy is looking to rebound after an injury-plagued 2015 season. Meanwhile, the team added slugger Chris Carter in free agency and opened up an everyday job in the outfield for Domingo Santana with the trade of Davis, so those two will be counted on to help support Braun in the middle of the order.
Starting Pitching: 27
There's potential for the Brewers to finish significantly better than this No. 27 ranking in the starting pitching department, but there are enough question marks for them to earn that relatively low mark for now.
Jimmy Nelson and Wily Peralta will lead the staff once again, while veteran Matt Garza follows them as he searches to get his career back on track. Taylor Jungmann and Chase Anderson won the final two rotation spots, but they'll be looking over their shoulders with plenty of young arms in Triple-A ready to make an impact.
Trading away Francisco Rodriguez set up a two-man battle for the closer's role between Will Smith and Jeremy Jeffress, but that battle came to an abrupt end when Smith tore a knee ligament in a freak off-field accident.
That leaves Jeffress and his one career save to anchor a relief corps that also features flame thrower Corey Knebel and veterans Franklin Morales, Blaine Boyer and Chris Capuano as the rebuilding franchise relies on short-term answers.
26. San Diego Padres
Even after an offseason overhauling the roster, the Padres still finished 23rd in the majors in scoring last year, and now they'll be without Justin Upton since he bolted in free agency.
Matt Kemp quietly had a 100-RBI season last year, and Derek Norris remains one of the better offensive catchers in the game. They'll be joined by newcomers Jon Jay and Alexei Ramirez as well as a healthy Wil Myers, who is moving to first base and looking to get his career back on track.
Starting Pitching: 17
Despite the all the trade talks, Tyson Ross, James Shields and Andrew Cashner stayed put this offseason, and they'll be back to once again front a rotation that has a chance to be a strength for the Padres.
A pair of 25-year-olds in Robbie Erlin and Colin Rea are looking to hold off Brandon Morrow for the final rotation spot, and Rea is one to watch after a standout season in the minors last year followed by a 4.26 ERA in six starts in the big leagues.
Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit were both traded off this winter, leaving the Padres to count on free-agent signing Fernando Rodney in the closer's role. The 39-year-old flamed out in Seattle last year but pitched to a 0.75 ERA in 14 appearances with the Cubs down the stretch.
Matt Thornton, Drew Pomeranz and Carlos Villanueva are also new in the bullpen, joining holdovers Brandon Maurer and Kevin Quackenbush to form a relief corps with plenty of potential but a shaky enough late-inning situation to rank relatively low.
25. Colorado Rockies
The Rockies have not finished outside of the top 10 in the league in scoring since the 2008 season, and with Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon back to lead the attack, they should pile up runs once again.
Gerardo Parra and Mark Reynolds are the new faces on the roster, but it's rookie shortstop Trevor Story who could make the biggest impact among newcomers as he steps in for the suspended Jose Reyes and looks to make the most of the opportunity.
Starting Pitching: 29
It's the starting rotation that is once again the big question mark for the Rockies, though Jorge De La Rosa and Chad Bettis are both coming off of strong seasons.
Former top prospect Jon Gray is still trying to break through as a front-line starter, while Tyler Chatwood and Jordan Lyles had injury-plagued seasons in 2015. Christian Bergman will hold down the final rotation spot for now, as Gray will start the year on the disabled list with an abdominal strain.
Jake McGee, Jason Motte and Chad Qualls were added to the mix this offseason to improve what was the worst bullpen in baseball, with McGee coming over in the deal that sent Corey Dickerson to the Rays.
Justin Miller and Boone Logan are the notable holdovers, while left-hander Jason Gurka is a name to watch, as he's fanned 15 hitters with zero walks in eight innings of work this spring as a non-roster invitee.
24. Miami Marlins
The Marlins ranked 29th in the majors in scoring last year at 3.78 runs per game, but a healthy Giancarlo Stanton should go a long way toward improving that mark after the slugger played just 74 games in 2015.
While there were no notable additions to the starting lineup, a healthy season from Martin Prado, breakout performance from second-year catcher J.T. Realmuto and return to being an impact bat by Marcell Ozuna could mean a vastly improved Marlins offense in 2016.
Starting Pitching: 23
Jose Fernandez is one of the game's best pitchers, and having him back for a full season immediately makes the Marlins a better team. So too does the addition of Wei-Yin Chen in free agency, as he's been a consistent starter for the Orioles the past few seasons.
Jarred Cosart has the potential to be a quality starter, but he's coming off of a rough season, while Tom Koehler is a useful middle-of-the-rotation arm but doesn't offer much in the way of upside. It appears Adam Conley will break camp as the No. 5 starter, but there are more than a few young arms who could see time in the rotation this year.
Losing Carter Capps for the season to Tommy John surgery was a huge blow to the Marlins bullpen, as he was one of the most overpowering relievers in baseball when healthy last season.
A.J. Ramos does return in the closer's role, and he's joined by fellow holdovers Mike Dunn, Bryan Morris and David Phelps, but it's a different-looking bullpen with Capps penciled into the eighth-inning role. Someone else will need to fill that role as a result.
23. Minnesota Twins
The Twins quietly had 12th-highest scoring offense in baseball last season, and they should have a quality attack once again this season with a full season of Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton and the addition of Korean slugger Byung Ho Park.
Brian Dozier remains one of the most underrated players in baseball, and the same can be said about third baseman Trevor Plouffe, who will be counted on as one of the team's primary run producers. They may have played over their heads a bit as a unit last season, but this is still a solid offense.
Starting Pitching: 26
The big-money deals Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes and Ervin Santana received over the past few years have not paid off for the Twins to this point, but that trio will be back as part of the rotation once again.
Kyle Gibson has been the team's best starter over the past two seasons, and the 28-year-old will look to take another step forward this coming year. Tommy Milone rounds out the staff to start the year, while second-half standout Tyler Duffey gives the team a solid option as the next man up.
Glen Perkins has been a consistent presence at the back of the Twins bullpen with three straight 30-plus save seasons, but the revolving door continues around him in the late innings after Blaine Boyer and Brian Duensing departed in free agency.
Deadline addition Kevin Jepsen will be back for a full season, and Trevor May proved to be a reliable option last year as well, while Casey Fien and non-roster invitee Fernando Abad are also capable of providing quality innings.
22. Los Angeles Angels
The Angels plummeted from first in the majors in scoring in 2014 (4.77 runs per game) to 20th in the league last year (4.08 runs per game), and that was despite a bounce-back season from Albert Pujols.
With Yunel Escobar, Andrelton Simmons, Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry headlining the team's offseason additions and Pujols now entering his age-36 season, it's a group that could again struggle to consistently put runs on the board and provide enough support for superstar Mike Trout.
Starting Pitching: 18
Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney should give the Angels a solid one-two punch moving forward, but for now the staff is counting on the veteran duo of Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson to make an impact in the rotation.
Hector Santiago was an All-Star in 2015 but pitched to a 5.47 ERA in 15 second-half starts, while Matt Shoemaker, Tyler Skaggs and Nick Tropeano give the team quality starting depth. It will come down to whether Richards and Heaney can shoulder the load at the top.
After converting 97 of 103 save chances with a 1.97 ERA from 2012 to 2014, Huston Street blew five saves and pitched to a 3.18 ERA for the Los Angeles Angels last season. Just something worth noting for a guy who had been one of the most effective closers in baseball.
Joe Smith is one of the better setup men in the league and capable of closing if Street hits a rough patch, while Fernando Salas and Jose Alvarez are quality options as well. Al Albuquerque also joined in free agency.
21. Oakland Athletics
It was another busy offseason of under-the-radar additions for the A's, as the team added Yonder Alonso, Jed Lowrie, Khris Davis and Chris Coghlan to the offense via trade.
Josh Reddick and Stephen Vogt are both back after strong seasons last year, as well as surprise rookie contributors Billy Burns and Mark Canha. Throw in a full season of Danny Valencia and the fact that Billy Butler can't be any worse in his second year with the club, and the A's could sneak up on some people with their offense.
Starting Pitching: 22
The A's rotation is anchored by one of the best young pitchers in the game in Sonny Gray, but the rest of the staff is a question mark.
Rich Hill was signed to a one-year, $6 million deal on the strength of four September starts with the Red Sox, and he's been shelled so far this spring. He's followed by Jesse Hahn, Chris Bassitt and Kendall Graveman, who have all pitched well at times but are still trying to establish themselves at the big league level.
The A's bullpen was the worst in the American League last season with a 4.63 ERA, as they converted just 28 of 53 save chances and the team went 19-35 in one-run games.
Sean Doolittle is back healthy in the closer's role, while Ryan Madson, Liam Hendriks, John Axford and Marc Rzepczynski were all acquired this offseason. Madson comes with some risk given his injury history, but as long as he can stay healthy as the primary setup man, this has a chance to be a solid relief corps.
20. Seattle Mariners
Even with the addition of Nelson Cruz and his 44 home runs, the Mariners were still 21st in the league in scoring last year at 4.05 runs per game.
No one quite that high profile was added this winter, but it was a busy offseason, as Adam Lind, Nori Aoki, Chris Iannetta and Leonys Martin were all added to the starting lineup. Those four should help, but it will be up to the high-priced trio of Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Cruz to lead the way.
Starting Pitching: 16
Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma are back to once again front the Mariners rotation this year, through the team is still hoping Taijuan Walker can take a step forward and join King Felix as another front-line arm.
Wade Miley and Nate Karns were acquired via trade, and it appears those two will round out the staff, which means James Paxton is headed to Triple-A to open the year. He still has legitimate No. 2/3-starter potential and gives the team quality depth. Mike Montgomery is also capable of starting, though he'll begin the year as the bullpen's primary southpaw.
The Mariners bullpen went from first (2.59) to 25th (4.15) in ERA in a year, so it was no big surprise when the front office blew things up this offseason.
Steve Cishek and Joaquin Benoit were added to fill the late-inning void, though the decision to trade Carson Smith for Miley is one they may wind up regretting. Tony Zych showed solid potential as a rookie, while Joel Peralta appears to have won a job as a non-roster invitee.
19. Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays will never be a team that breaks the bank to add a big bat in free agency, but they did make some solid additions to the offense this winter when they acquired Corey Dickerson, Logan Morrison and Brad Miller in a pair of trades.
Evan Longoria is still their biggest threat offensively, and with some added protection, he could be in for a strong season. Logan Forsythe and Kevin Kiermaier were among the biggest surprises of 2015, and they'll be counted on to set the table atop the lineup this year.
Starting Pitching: 6
Even with a number of key starters missing significant time, the Rays still finished second in the AL and seventh in the league with a 3.48 ERA from their starters last year.
Chris Archer emerged as a bona fide ace, while Jake Odorizzi, Drew Smyly and Erasmo Ramirez all threw the ball well. They'll be joined by a healthy Matt Moore, who is looking to return to his previous All-Star form, and at some point Alex Cobb will return from Tommy John surgery as well.
No one is better at cobbling together a bullpen than the Rays, and they'll look to do that once again this season as Jake McGee was traded to the Rockies and Brad Boxberger is expected to begin the year on the disabled list.
That leaves Alex Colome and newcomer Danny Farquhar as the top relief arms to start the season, while someone from the group of Steve Geltz, Xavier Cedeno, Ryan Webb and Enny Romero is also capable of pitching his way into a bigger role.
18. Chicago White Sox
It didn't look bad on paper heading into the year, but when the 2015 season came to a close, the White Sox had finished with the lowest-scoring offense in the American League at 3.84 runs per game.
Adding Brett Lawrie and Todd Frazier should help, as second and third base were black holes from a production standpoint last season. Austin Jackson, Jimmy Rollins, Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro were also added to the mix, giving standout returners Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu a better supporting cast.
Starting Pitching: 12
Chris Sale is obviously the focal point of the White Sox rotation, and for good reason, but fellow lefties Jose Quintana and Carlos Rodon deserve attention as well. Rodon is capable of taking a huge step forward after finishing 2015 strong.
Veterans John Danks and Mat Latos round out the staff, and both pitchers are coming off of poor 2015 seasons. There's not much in the way of starting pitching depth in the organization, so those two will both need to hold down their spots if the rotation is going to live up to its No. 12 ranking here.
The White Sox spent big to add David Robertson last offseason, inking the former Yankees closer to a four-year, $46 million deal. His first season on the South Side was not a great one, though, as he posted a 3.41 ERA and blew seven saves.
There may not have been any significant additions made outside of the organization, but getting hard-throwing Nate Jones back healthy after he made just 21 appearances the past two seasons is big as he'll likely be the team's primary setup option.
17. Los Angeles Dodgers
If the Dodgers are going to improve on their 19th-ranked offense from a year ago, they're going to first need to get healthy, and they're not off to a great start in that department. Andre Ethier and Yasmani Grandal are both ticketed for the disabled list, while Corey Seager and Howie Kendrick have also been hobbled this spring.
Getting those guys healthy and Yasiel Puig back on track will be the key for this team to reach its offensive potential, and with questions on the pitching side of things, L.A. will be even more reliant on scoring runs.
Starting Pitching: 15
The Dodgers essentially replaced Zack Greinke with Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda this offseason, hoping a deeper pool of starting pitching options would help offset losing one of their aces.
That depth has quickly been put to the test this spring as Brett Anderson, Hyun Jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy and Mike Bolsinger are all headed for the disabled list, leaving Alex Wood and Carlos Frias to fill the final two spots in the rotation.
After ranking 19th in the league with a 3.91 ERA from the bullpen last year, the Dodgers' only notable additions to the relief corps were Joe Blanton and Louis Coleman.
Kenley Jansen is still one of the game's elite closers, and J.P. Howell has proved to be a reliable setup option. But in the big picture, this still looks like a middle-of-the-road bullpen, and it's one that could see plenty of action as a result of the diminished rotation.
16. Detroit Tigers
Adding Justin Upton to a lineup that already featured the likes of Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez, Victor Martinez and Ian Kinsler gives the Tigers one of the best offenses in all of baseball.
Nick Castellanos also looks like a potential breakout candidate after a strong second half last year, while an improved bench also can't be understated, as Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mike Aviles and Cameron Maybin should also see significant action.
Starting Pitching: 21
Signing Jordan Zimmermann and Mike Pelfrey gives the Tigers a more balanced rotation, but they are still set to rely heavily on Justin Verlander pitching like a front-line starter and Anibal Sanchez staying healthy.
If those two things happen, this has a chance to be a very good staff, but it's a big enough question mark to bump them down in the rankings. The X-factor here will be the No. 5 starter spot, which will likely go to Shane Greene to start the year but figures to be occupied by Daniel Norris once he's healthy.
After trotting out one of the worst bullpens in baseball for several years running, the Tigers finally made that a focus this offseason and added Francisco Rodriguez, Justin Wilson and Mark Lowe.
Those three join hard-throwing Bruce Rondon and 2015 standout Alex Wilson, giving the team a bullpen that could legitimately emerge as a strength after being such a glaring weakness the past several seasons and the past two in particular.
15. Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles ranked third in the majors with 217 home runs last season, and after adding Pedro Alvarez and Mark Trumbo in the offseason, they look poised to make a run at the No. 1 spot this year.
Manny Machado, Adam Jones and Chris Davis all return as stars at their respective positions, Matt Wieters is another year removed from Tommy John surgery and could be a rebound candidate, and second baseman Jonathan Schoop has flashed big-time offensive potential and could be headed for a breakout campaign.
Starting Pitching: 24
Despite the fact that the rotation was a glaring weakness last season when the Orioles ranked 25th in the league with a 4.53 starter's ERA, the real change to the rotation was downgrading from Wei-Yin Chen to Yovani Gallardo in free agency.
We're still waiting on that breakout season from Kevin Gausman, but even if it comes this year, it still looks like the Orioles would be trotting out a below-average staff.
They didn't spend to improve the rotation, but the Orioles did open their wallets to keep one of the best setup relievers in the game when they re-signed Darren O'Day to a four-year, $31 million deal.
Closer Zach Britton, Brad Brach, Mychal Givens and Brian Matusz (once he's healthy) are also back from what was the fifth-best bullpen in the league last season, and former top prospect Dylan Bundy will be joining them, as he's out of minor league options and looking to build his arm back up after missing significant time to injury.
14. Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks had the second-highest scoring offense in the National League last season, with Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock and David Peralta all turning in terrific seasons to lead the way.
While those three should once again give opposing pitchers fits, there are enough questions to think they may not be able to repeat that ranking this year. The infield outside of Goldschmidt at first base consists of below-average producers, and Yasmany Tomas will now be counted on as an everyday option after a disappointing rookie season.
Starting Pitching: 10
Adding Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller to the mix this offseason made it clear the Diamondbacks were serious about pushing toward contention, as the staff was sorely lacking that top-of-the-rotation presence last season.
That being said, keep an eye on Patrick Corbin in his second year back from Tommy John surgery. Rubby De La Rosa and Robbie Ray will fill out the final rotation spots, and Ray is also worth watching as a potential breakout candidate.
The Diamondbacks mulled the idea of adding a closer this offseason but eventually stuck with Brad Ziegler in that role after his impressive 2015 performance. However, they did add Tyler Clippard in a setup role, and he has closer experience, so there's valuable insurance there.
Daniel Hudson, Andrew Chafin, Randall Delgado and Josh Collmenter all return, while Jake Barrett and Silvino Bracho could emerge as impact bullpen options as well.
13. Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays scored 127 more runs than any other team in baseball last season, and with a full season of Troy Tulowitzki and the return of Michael Saunders, there's reason to believe they could be just as good if not better this year.
Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion make up the most dangerous middle-of-the-order trio in baseball after combining for 120 home runs and 348 RBI last season, while Russell Martin is still one of the best offensive catchers in the game. Chris Colabello, Justin Smoak and Kevin Pillar also made their presence felt.
Starting Pitching: 19
There's no question David Price was a hugely important addition to the Blue Jays last season, but replacing him with a full season of Marcus Stroman and the addition of J.A. Happ should give the Blue Jays a good enough staff to contend thanks to their offense.
R.A. Dickey and Marco Estrada are both solid middle-of-the-rotation arms, but the X-factor here is Aaron Sanchez, who began last season in the rotation but eventually wound up serving as the team's top setup man. He's got the inside track on Drew Hutchison and Gavin Floyd for the No. 5 starter job, and he could join Stroman atop the rotation if he pitches up to his potential.
Adding Drew Storen gives the Blue Jays a proven late-inning arm and allows them to move Roberto Osuna to a more flexible role as setup man where he's capable of going multiple innings.
Jesse Chavez and Randy Choate were also acquired this offseason, as they'll likely join Brett Cecil, Steve Delabar and whoever loses out on the No. 5 starter job to round out the pen. They're not quite up to the level of the late-inning trio the Yankees have assembled, but Cecil-Osuna-Storen has a chance to be awfully good.
12. Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates offense has a slightly different look this season, as Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez both departed in the offseason and were replaced by John Jaso and David Freese. Jaso is a former catcher with 15 career steals, but thanks to his .361 career on-base percentage, he looks like the favorite to hit leadoff.
Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte give the lineup a pair of stars, and once he's healthy again, Jung Ho Kang is capable of making a huge impact as well. It will be guys like Francisco Cervelli trying to duplicate his big 2015 season and Gregory Polanco trying to take the next step who will prove to be the difference-makers.
Starting Pitching: 13
With A.J. Burnett and J.A. Happ gone, the Pirates turned to Jon Niese and reclamation projects Ryan Vogelsong and Juan Nicasio to address the starting rotation behind Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano.
That's a risky proposition, but in the big picture, it's a temporary move, as top prospects Tyler Glasnow and Jameson Taillon are both expected to arrive in the majors at some point in 2016. The team also still has former All-Star Jeff Locke in the bullpen as usable depth if needed.
The Pirates had the best bullpen in baseball last season, but they lost some key pieces when Joakim Soria, Antonio Bastardo and Joe Blanton left in free agency.
The one-two punch of Mark Melancon and Tony Watson will be back, though, as well as hard-throwing Arquimedes Caminero and Jared Hughes. Former closer Neftali Feliz and former starter Cory Luebke appear to be the choices for the final two bullpen spots as pitching coach Ray Searage looks to work his magic once again.
11. Cleveland Indians
The Indians ranked 18th in the league in scoring last year at 4.13 runs per game, and it wound up costing them a playoff spot, as their pitching staff was one of the best in baseball.
As always, they avoided big-money options in free agency, but they did make some solid veteran additions in Mike Napoli, Juan Uribe, Marlon Byrd and Rajai Davis, which should help plug some holes. Getting Michael Brantley back to 100 percent will be key, as he's their best hitter by a long shot, and Francisco Lindor will also need to avoid significant regression after a surprise rookie season.
Starting Pitching: 3
Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar give the Indians as good a starting pitching trio as any in baseball, but it will be up to Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin to determine whether their rotation is truly elite.
Carrasco and Salazar remain among the most underrated pitchers in all of baseball, while Bauer still has the big-time potential that made him the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 draft, and Tomlin showed the organization enough to earn a two-year, $5.5 million extension with an option for 2018 this offseason.
Much like Carrasco and Salazar, closer Cody Allen rarely gets the attention he deserves as one of the best closers in the game. The 27-year-old converted 34 of 38 saves with a 2.99 ERA and 12.9 K/9 last season.
Bryan Shaw and Zach McAllister are back as setup options, while non-roster invitees Joba Chamberlain and Ross Detwiler will likely join them as well as free-agent signing Dan Otero in what has a chance to be one of the AL's best bullpens once again.
10. Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox had the fourth-highest scoring offense in the league last year, and there's no reason to think they won't be among the league's best once again this season.
Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts are budding stars, while veterans like David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia are still capable of star-level production in their own right. There is no shortage of wild cards on the roster in Jackie Bradley Jr., Rusney Castillo and the high-priced duo of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, but this still looks like a top-five offense.
Starting Pitching: 14
The lack of a true ace was one of the main causes of the Red Sox's struggles in 2015, and they quickly rectified that problem with the addition of David Price in free agency.
The rest of the staff is still far from a sure thing, though, and Eduardo Rodriguez landing on the disabled list with a knee injury is a big blow, as he has No. 2-starter potential. Rick Porcello and Joe Kelly both pitched well in the second half last year, and they'll be joined by a healthy Clay Buchholz and probably knuckleballer Steven Wright to start the year.
For as much as was made of the lack of an ace, the bullpen was an equally big issue last season, and the Red Sox added two electric arms to the mix there in Craig Kimbrel and Carson Smith.
However, Smith appears to be headed for the DL as well with a flexor strain, so the incumbents Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa will be filling important roles once again. Robbie Ross and Tommy Layne are also holdovers from last year, while Matt Barnes and Noe Ramirez look to break through and establish themselves this year.
9. Kansas City Royals
Despite finishing 24th in the league with 139 home runs, the Royals ended with a top-10 offense last season, as good team speed and a .281 average with runners in scoring position fueled their attack.
Kendrys Morales was a huge addition as a consistent run producer, and while they didn't make any notable pickups this winter, bringing back Alex Gordon when most assumed he was headed for greener pastures was a huge win for the organization.
Starting Pitching: 20
There's a good chance the starting rotation will determine whether the Royals can make a serious run at defending their World Series title.
Yordano Ventura, Edinson Volquez, Chris Young and Kris Medlen are all back, while the team essentially replaced Johnny Cueto with Ian Kennedy in free agency. Dillon Gee takes over the swingman role previously filled by Young, and he'll be the next man up if a starter goes down.
Despite losing Greg Holland, Ryan Madson and Franklin Morales, the Royals still earn the title of best bullpen in baseball.
Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera are back to slam the door in the late innings, and they'll be joined by Joakim Soria, who was signed to replace Madson. Luke Hochevar and Danny Duffy are also still around, while former starter Chien-Ming Wang has been one of the big surprises of the spring and could be the team's latest scrapheap hit.
8. Washington Nationals
Despite myriad injuries to several key players, including what was basically a lost year from Anthony Rendon, the Nationals still finished 10th in the league at 4.34 runs per game last season.
Ben Revere replaces Denard Span in center field and atop the lineup, and Daniel Murphy was added at second base, but a full season of production from Rendon could wind up being the biggest addition. Oh, and they've still got that Bryce Harper fella. He's pretty good.
Starting Pitching: 5
This ranking may be a bit bullish, but we're banking on Joe Ross duplicating his impressive rookie performance over a full season and Stephen Strasburg staying healthy and on top of his game in a contract year.
Strasburg is a bona fide ace, Gio Gonzalez is bound to improve after recording an MLB-worst .341 BABIP last year and Tanner Roark is a capable No. 5 starter until top prospect Lucas Giolito is ready.
Despite finishing 10th in the league with a 3.46 bullpen ERA, the Nationals clearly needed change in the pen this offseason, and change they got.
Drew Storen was shipped to Toronto to bring some clarity to the messy closer situation, while Shawn Kelley, Oliver Perez and Yusmeiro Petit were signed in free agency and Trevor Gott was acquired via trade.
7. New York Mets
The Mets offense was a mess last season before Yoenis Cespedes arrived at the trade deadline, but the team paced the National League at 5.39 runs per game following that trade. Finding a way to re-sign him this offseason was one of the biggest moves of the winter.
Keeping David Wright and Travis d'Arnaud healthy will be key, and the same goes for getting a big sophomore performance out of Michael Conforto as he takes over as the everyday left fielder. This lineup has the potential to finish in the top 10, but it could also finish outside the top 20 if injury strikes.
Starting Pitching: 1
Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom were two of the best pitchers in baseball last season, but they may not even be the best pitchers in the Mets rotation by the time the 2016 season comes to an end as Noah Syndergaard still has the highest ceiling of anyone on their staff.
Throw in left-hander Steven Matz, ageless wonder Bartolo Colon and the eventual return of Zack Wheeler from Tommy John surgery, and there's little question the Mets deserve the title of top starting rotation in the league.
Closer Jeurys Familia was a stud last season, but the Mets had trouble consistently bridging the gap to him in the ninth inning.
A full season of Addison Reed and the addition of Antonio Bastardo in free agency should help, while former Brewers closer Jim Henderson could also make an impact, as he'll likely earn a spot as a non-roster invitee. Don't rule out someone like Rafael Montero emerging as a key relief arm as well.
6. San Francisco Giants
When everyone is healthy, the Giants lineup is as deep as any in the National League. Consider the fact that Brandon Belt is currently projected to open the season hitting in the No. 7 spot, after posting an .834 OPS with 33 doubles and 18 home runs a year ago.
Keeping Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan and newcomer Denard Span healthy will be the key given their respective injury histories, but that homegrown infield and alongside the best catcher in baseball in Buster Posey gives them a wealth of talented hitters.
Starting Pitching: 9
Outside of ace Madison Bumgarner and rookie standout Chris Heston, the Giants rotation was an absolute mess last season.
Adding Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija in free agency should go a long way toward fixing that problem. And while it's still unclear if the team can expect anything out of Matt Cain or exactly how much Jake Peavy has left in the tank, there's enough depth now that this still looks like a top-10 rotation with the potential to be great.
The late-inning trio of Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez is not quite as dominant as it was a few years ago, but it's still among the best in baseball and has been a staple of the Giants' recent success.
George Kontos has also emerged as a reliable middle-relief option, while Hunter Strickland and Josh Osich turned in strong performances as rookies last season and could be ready to take on an even bigger role this year.
5. St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals won the NL Central on the strength of their terrific pitching staff last season, as the offense finished 24th in the league at 3.99 runs per game.
With organization staples like Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday no longer the impact players they once were and shortstop Jhonny Peralta sidelined until midseason, it will be up to Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty to take on bigger roles in the offense this season, and they certainly have the potential to do that.
Starting Pitching: 2
The Cardinals starting rotation was historically good last season, accounting for 72 wins and a 2.99 ERA en route to a 100-win season for the team.
John Lackey walked in free agency and Lance Lynn is out for the year following Tommy John surgery, but the team signed Mike Leake and will be counting on healthy seasons from Adam Wainwright and Jaime Garcia alongside the promising young duo of Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha.
The bullpen was an equally valuable weapon for the Cardinals last year, as it finished third in the majors with a 2.82 bullpen ERA and converted an impressive 62 of 77 save chances.
Kevin Siegrist and Trevor Rosenthal will again anchor the late innings, while a healthy Jordan Walden will be looking to join them after missing the bulk of 2015. Seth Maness, Jonathan Broxton and Tyler Lyons are also back, and they'll be joined by former KBO and Japanese League closer Seung Hwan Oh.
4. New York Yankees
The Yankees ranked second to the Blue Jays last year at 4.72 runs per game, and as long as their aging core can avoid the disabled list, they should be able to put plenty of runs on the board once again this year.
Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury all struggled after the All-Star break last year, and Mark Teixeira saw his season end early with a fractured leg, so getting those four guys on track and healthy will be key for them to once again be a top-10 offense.
Starting Pitching: 11
No rotation in baseball has more boom-or-bust potential than the Yankees.
Masahiro Tanaka is an ongoing injury question with his partially torn UCL, but he's capable of pitching like an ace. Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi and Luis Severino all have a ton of untapped potential as they search for consistency at the big league level, while CC Sabathia is simply trying to prove he still belongs on an MLB roster.
Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman has a chance to be historically good, and they're going to shorten an awful lot of games if Yankees starters can just go six innings.
However, the rest of the bullpen is far from established after Justin Wilson and Adam Warren were both traded in the offseason. Chasen Shreve showed flashes last season before struggling down the stretch, and Bryan Mitchell is capable of stepping into the swingman role that Warren filled last year, but there's enough uncertainty beyond those three studs that they start the year behind the Royals in the bullpen pecking order.
3. Texas Rangers
The Rangers were the third-highest scoring offense in baseball last year, and with Ian Desmond added to the mix and Adrian Beltre back to 100 percent after playing most of last year with a significant thumb injury, they have a chance to be even better in 2016.
Second baseman Rougned Odor still has plenty of room to improve even after a breakout season, as he's still just 22 years old, and the same goes for Delino DeShields Jr., who didn't establish himself as the everyday starter until the second half. The catcher position is the one weakness, but even there the platoon of Robinson Chirinos and Chris Gimenez combined for 15 home runs and 49 RBI last year.
Starting Pitching: 8
Once Yu Darvish returns from his Tommy John recovery and joins Cole Hamels atop the rotation, the Rangers should have one of the best rotations in all of baseball.
Martin Perez, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis will fill the other three spots in the rotation, but the team has solid depth beyond that with A.J. Griffin, Nick Martinez and Chi Chi Gonzalez all capable MLB starters. If nothing else, they appear far more prepared for the inevitable injury than in years past.
After acquiring Jake Diekman and Sam Dyson in July, the Rangers bullpen emerged as one of the best in all of baseball down the stretch.
Shawn Tolleson was a huge surprise as a lights-out closer in his first season filling that role, and hard-throwing rookie Keone Kela can make a major impact as well. Tom Wilhelmsen and Tony Barnette were added to the pen this offseason, and this is a group that could legitimately make a push for a top-five ranking.
2. Houston Astros
The Astros may not have made any significant additions on the offensive side of things, but a full season of deadline addition Carlos Gomez, a healthy year from George Springer, who missed time with a fractured hand, and two extra months of Carlos Correa, who didn't debut until June, should make for an improved attack.
Watch to see how the first base position is handled throughout the course of the season. It appears that Tyler White is the likely starter to begin the season, but at some point, top prospect A.J. Reed could get the call, and Jonathan Singleton has torn up Triple-A pitching in the past, so he could earn another look as well.
Starting Pitching: 7
The one-two punch of Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh might be the most underrated duo in all of baseball, and the Astros have plenty of depth behind them with a full season of deadline pickup Mike Fiers and free-agent signing Doug Fister joining Scott Feldman and Lance McCullers.
McCullers will start the season on the disabled list with a sore shoulder, but he flashed serious potential as a rookie last season and could be a real difference-maker alongside Keuchel and McHugh if he can get healthy and avoid further issues.
The Astros relief corps was vastly improved last season, as it went from 30th (4.80) to sixth (3.27) in bullpen ERA, but it was still lacking a true shutdown closer with Luke Gregerson filling the role by default.
That changed with the addition of Ken Giles in an offseason trade with the Phillies, and that pickup, along with the decision to re-sign Tony Sipp, should give the Astros one of the best bullpens in the American League this season.
1. Chicago Cubs
Adding Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist to a lineup that already featured the high-powered duo of Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant—as well as promising young bats in Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell and Jorge Soler—gives the Cubs an offense that appears to be the best in the National League.
Re-signing Dexter Fowler gives them added flexibility and depth in the outfield that will allow them to play matchups, while introducing Javier Baez to the outfield this offseason gives them another Zobrist-type player off the bench who can play all over the field and make an impact with the bat.
Starting Pitching: 4
The glaring hole for the Cubs last season when the playoffs rolled around was the lack of a proven No. 3 starter to turn to behind Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester, and that was addressed with the addition of John Lackey.
That's not to knock Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks, though, as they both threw the ball well at times last season and are capable of more than they showed down the stretch. Hendricks has some legitimate upside, and Hammel is very good back-end starter.
Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon return as the late-inning duo for the Cubs, and Rondon was brilliant in the closer's role last season with a 1.67 ERA and 30 saves in 34 chances.
Beyond those two, the bullpen also returns Justin Grimm and Neil Ramirez, who has flashed late-inning potential, and converted starter Travis Wood, who made a smooth transition to relief work last year. Trevor Cahill was re-signed after impressing down the stretch, and Adam Warren was acquired in the Starlin Castro trade. Both pitchers are capable of going multiple innings or even starting if needed.
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