MLB Power Rankings at the Start of 2017 Spring Training

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2017

MLB Power Rankings at the Start of 2017 Spring Training

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    Expectations are high for Chris Sale and the Boston Red Sox.
    Expectations are high for Chris Sale and the Boston Red Sox.Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    Spring training is finally underway, and among other things, that means it's time for an updated version of our MLB power rankings.

    These rankings were last updated Jan. 18, so any transactions or injuries that have taken place between then and now factored into any changes in the rankings this time around. 

    Notable additions and re-signings during that time include: 2B Logan Forsythe (LAD), 2B Brandon Phillips (ATL), RF Mark Trumbo (BAL), OF Michael Saunders (PHI), OF Colby Rasmus (TB) DH Brandon Moss (KC), SP Jason Hammel (KC), SP Travis Wood (KC), SP Dan Straily (MIA), SP Brett Anderson (CHC), SP Trevor Cahill (SD), SP Tyson Ross (TEX), RP Greg Holland (COL), RP Neftali Feliz (MIL), RP Boone Logan (CLE), RP Santiago Casilla (OAK), RP J.P. Howell (TOR), RP Joe Smith (TOR), RP Fernando Salas (NYM) and RP Jerry Blevins (NYM).

    As with any offseason power rankings, these are not simply meant to be predictions for the year ahead, but instead a look at how teams would stack up with the rosters they currently have if the season were to start today.

    Keep that in mind, as a lot can still change between now and Opening Day.


    Note: Players listed in bold on projected rosters indicate newcomers. An (R) next to a player indicates his rookie status is intact.

30. San Diego Padres (Previous: 30)

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    Manuel Margot /
    Manuel Margot /Andy Hayt/Getty Images

    Spring Outlook

    Just how many rookies will break camp with the San Diego Padres?

    Top prospects Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe are both slated for starting outfield jobs, a trio of Rule 5 picks are in camp and several other young arms will be vying for spots in the pen as the youth movement will be in full swing.

    Meanwhile, the team could still add another low-cost starter before the start of the season after already inking Jhoulys Chacin, Clayton Richard and Trevor Cahill to one-year deals.

    Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported the team remains interested in Jered Weaver, while former Padres standout Jake Peavy is a less likely candidate.

    That rotation should speak for itself; it's a rebuilding year, and player development will trump win-loss record in 2017.


    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Feb. 15)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    LF Travis Jankowski RHP Jhoulys Chacin
    CF Manuel Margot (R)LHP Clayton Richard
    1B Wil MyersRHP Trevor Cahill
    3B Yangervis Solarte LHP Christian Friedrich
    RF Hunter Renfroe (R) RHP Paul Clemens
    2B Ryan Schimpf Bullpen
    C Austin Hedges RHP Jarred Cosart
    SS Luis Sardinas RHP Miguel Diaz (R)
    Bench RHP Phil Maton (R)
    C Luis Torrens (R) RHP Kevin Quackenbush
    C/OF Christian Bethancourt LHP Ryan Buchter
    1B/OF Alex Dickerson LHP Brad Hand
    IF Erick Aybar RHP Brandon Maurer
    IF Cory Spangenberg  


    Projected DL: RP Carter Capps (Tommy John surgery), SP Colin Rea (TJ surgery), SP Robbie Erlin (TJ surgery)

29. Minnesota Twins (Previous: 29)

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    Byron Buxton /
    Byron Buxton /Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Spring Outlook

    The Minnesota Twins looked like a team on the rise when Baseball America awarded them the No. 4 spot in its organizational talent rankings heading into the 2015 season.

    Now it's time for the top three prospects from that group—Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Jose Berrios—to live up to the hype, and they could play a big role in helping the team rebound from a 103-loss campaign.

    Pitch-framing whiz Jason Castro and well-traveled reliever Matt Belisle were the only notable additions, and the team is still without a traditional lockdown ninth-inning option.

    Still, there's enough young talent on the roster for the Twins to take a step forward, and the starting rotation couldn't possibly be any worse than the group that posted an MLB-worst 5.39 ERA a year ago.


    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Feb. 15)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Brian Dozier RHP Ervin Santana
    SS Jorge Polanco RHP Kyle Gibson
    1B Joe Mauer LHP Hector Santiago
    3B Miguel Sano RHP Phil Hughes
    RF Max Kepler RHP Jose Berrios
    DH Kennys VargasBullpen
    C Jason CastroRHP Justin Haley (R)
    LF Eddie RosarioLHP Taylor Rogers
    CF Byron Buxton RHP Michael Tonkin
    BenchRHP Matt Belisle
    C John Ryan Murphy RHP Ryan Pressly
    IF Eduardo Escobar RHP Trevor May
    IF/OF Danny Santana RHP Brandon Kintzler
    OF Robbie Grossman 


    Projected DL: RP Glen Perkins (shoulder)

28. Cincinnati Reds (Previous: 25)

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    Jose Peraza /
    Jose Peraza /Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Spring Outlook

    Earlier this offseason I wrote how the Cincinnati Reds had a starting rotation that could surprise some people in 2017.

    A late offseason trade of Dan Straily and another elbow surgery for Homer Bailey leaves it looking more like a question mark.

    Top prospects Robert Stephenson and Amir Garrett will both get a long look for the final two spots in the rotation along with Tim Adleman, Cody Reed and a potentially healthy Bronson Arroyo.

    "I think I learned a lot about myself, confidence-wise," Stephenson told Mark Sheldon of "I just need to be more relaxed and stay positive. There were times I tried to do too much and impress everyone. That's when I really struggled. I pitched tight. I wasn't relaxed and loose. I pitched a lot better when I was more free."

    Meanwhile, unloading Brandon Phillips on the Atlanta Braves saved the team $1 million, but more importantly, it opened up an everyday gig for 22-year-old Jose Peraza.


    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Feb. 15)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Billy HamiltonRHP Anthony DeSclafani
    SS Zack Cozart LHP Brandon Finnegan
    1B Joey Votto RHP Scott Feldman
    LF Adam Duvall RHP Tim Adleman
    RF Scott Schebler RHP Robert Stephenson (R)
    C Devin Mesoraco Bullpen
    3B Eugenio SuarezRHP Louis Coleman
    2B Jose Peraza RHP Blake Wood
    Bench RHP Jumbo Diaz
    C Tucker Barnhart RHP Drew Storen
    IF/OF Arismendy Alcantara LHP Tony Cingrani
    IF/OF Patrick Kivlehan (R) RHP Michael Lorenzen
    IF/OF Tony Renda RHP Raisel Iglesias
    OF Desmond Jennings 


    Projected DL: SP Homer Bailey (elbow surgery, bone spurs)

27. Milwaukee Brewers (Previous: 28)

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    Zach Davies /
    Zach Davies /Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    Spring Outlook

    The Milwaukee Brewers are not short on starting rotation options, that's for sure.

    Wily Peralta, Junior Guerra, Zach Davies, Matt Garza, Chase Anderson, Taylor Jungmann, Tommy Milone and prospects Josh Hader, Jorge Lopez and Brandon Woodruff all appear to be potential candidates to break camp as part of the starting staff.

    "We’ve kind of purposely gone into spring with some depth and that’s a really comfortable place to be for the organization," manager Craig Counsell told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "At some point, we’re going to have some decisions (to make) there."

    The group will be backed by a new-look bullpen after Will Smith and Jeremy Jeffress were jettisoned at the trade deadline and Tyler Thornburg was traded this offseason. Former AL Rookie of the Year Neftali Feliz will get an opportunity to close games once again.

    The Brewers are still in the early stages of rebuilding, but with one of the best farm systems in baseball, there should be a steady stream of exciting young talent arriving over the next few years.


    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Feb. 15)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Jonathan Villar RHP Junior Guerra
    CF Keon Broxton RHP Jimmy Nelson
    LF Ryan Braun RHP Matt Garza
    1B Eric Thames RHP Zach Davies
    3B Travis Shaw RHP Chase Anderson
    RF Domingo SantanaBullpen
    SS Orlando Arcia RHP Wily Peralta
    C Andrew Susac LHP Tommy Milone
    BenchRHP Jacob Barnes
    C Jett BandyRHP Jhan Marinez
    1B Jesus AguilarRHP Carlos Torres
    IF Scooter GennettRHP Corey Knebel
    IF/OF Hernan PerezRHP Neftali Feliz
    OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis  

26. Oakland Athletics (Previous: 27)

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    Sonny Gray /
    Sonny Gray /Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

    Spring Outlook

    The $33.25 million that the Oakland Athletics spent to sign Trevor Plouffe, Rajai Davis, Matt Joyce and Santiago Casilla this offseason qualifies as a spending spree for the perennially thrifty front office.

    Will it be enough to start heading back in the right direction after a 93-loss season?

    Sonny Gray will be under a microscope this spring as he looks to return to ace form, and the final two spots in the rotation will be up for grabs.

    "There's a lot for the starters to accomplish this year, and it's going to be one of the most important, if not the most important, aspects of the team," Gray told Jane Lee of "The starting rotation really needs to get deep in games, and if we can consistently hand the ball over to our bullpen tied or with the lead, then we're going to win a lot of games."

    Unfortunately, the Astros, Mariners and Rangers all look like legitimate contenders this season, and the Angels are undoubtedly better, so even with an improved staff, the A's could have a tough time climbing out of the cellar.


    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Feb. 15)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Rajai Davis RHP Sonny Gray
    C Stephen Vogt RHP Kendall Graveman
    DH Ryon Healy LHP Sean Manaea
    LF Khris Davis RHP Jharel Cotton (R)
    RF Matt Joyce RHP Andrew Triggs
    SS Marcus Semien Bullpen
    3B Trevor Plouffe RHP Raul Alcantara
    1B Yonder Alonso RHP Liam Hendriks
    2B Jed Lowrie RHP John Axford
    Bench RHP Ryan Dull
    C Bruce MaxwellRHP Santiago Casilla
    1B/OF Mark Canha LHP Sean Doolittle
    IF Adam Rosales RHP Ryan Madson
    OF Jake Smolinski  


    Projected DL: SP Chris Bassitt (TJ surgery)

25. Chicago White Sox (Previous: 26)

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    Todd Frazier /
    Todd Frazier /Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Spring Outlook

    There's no stopping the rebuild now.

    After shipping out Chris Sale and Adam Eaton earlier this offseason, it's only a matter of time before Jose Quintana, David Robertson, Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera and others are also headed elsewhere as well.

    General manager Rick Hahn discussed the Chicago White Sox' current trade talks with Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune:

    "We expect them to continue. We are going to keep an open mind and where there's conversations to be had, we will pursue them. At this point, we have had extensive conversations on various fronts and as we sit here today there's nothing that's gnawing at us or appealing enough to make us move. We are certainly going to keep an open mind, but now the focus tends to shift a little bit to getting ready for the season as opposed to any potential trades."

    One of the more interesting decisions to make this spring will be who the next man up in the rotation is among a trio of top prospectsLucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Carson Fulmer.

    All three will be part of the first wave of prospect talent to arrive.


    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Feb. 15)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    SS Tim Anderson LHP Jose Quintana
    2B Brett Lawrie RHP Miguel Gonzalez
    LF Melky Cabrera LHP Carlos Rodon
    1B Jose Abreu RHP James Shields
    3B Todd FrazierLHP Derek Holland
    RF Avisail GarciaBullpen
    DH Cody AscheRHP Dylan Covey (R)
    C Geovany Soto RHP Michael Ynoa
      RHP Jake Petricka
    Bench RHP Zach Putnam
    C Omar Narvaez (R) LHP Dan Jennings
    IF Carlos Sanchez RHP Nate Jones
    IF/OF Tyler Saladino RHP David Robertson
    OF Peter Bourjos 

24. Atlanta Braves (Previous: 23)

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    Matt Kemp /
    Matt Kemp /Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

    Spring Outlook

    The Atlanta Braves might not be ready to contend in 2017, but an improvement over last year's 68-93 record seems like money in the bank.

    Adding Bartolo Colon, Jaime Garcia and R.A. Dickey to the rotation should help take some pressure off of a young bullpen and will also allow the up-and-coming young starters further time to develop.

    As for the offense, full seasons of deadline-addition Matt Kemp and rookie Dansby Swanson along with the addition of Brandon Phillips will help the club improve on the 4.03 runs per game (29th in MLB) it put up a year ago.

    There's no question this team is still a work in progress as the rebuilding efforts continue.

    The Braves will usher in their new stadium with a considerably more competitive squad, though, and could make a run at a .500 record if everything breaks right.


    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Feb. 15)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Ender Inciarte RHP Julio Teheran
    SS Dansby Swanson (R)RHP Bartolo Colon
    1B Freddie FreemanLHP Jaime Garcia
    LF Matt KempRHP R.A. Dickey
    RF Nick Markakis RHP Mike Foltynewicz
    2B Brandon PhillipsBullpen
    3B Adonis Garcia RHP Josh Collmenter
    C Tyler FlowersRHP Armando Rivero (R)
    Bench RHP Dan Winkler (R)
    C Kurt SuzukiRHP Jose Ramirez
    IF Jace PetersonLHP Ian Krol
    IF/OF Chase d'ArnaudRHP Mauricio Cabrera
    OF Adam Brett Walker (R)RHP Arodys Vizcaino
      RHP Jim Johnson


    Projected DL: IF Sean Rodriguez (shoulder surgery), RP Paco Rodriguez (TJ surgery), RP Jacob Lindgren (TJ surgery)

23. Philadelphia Phillies (Previous: 22)

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    Hector Neris /
    Hector Neris /Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    Spring Outlook

    Philadelphia sports fans are well acquainted with cries of "Trust the Process" on the NBA side of things, and the same applies to the MLB squad.

    It's now been five years since the last time the Phillies posted a winning record, and the departure of Ryan Howard this offseason wiped away the last remnant of the 2008 World Series-winning roster.

    The future looks bright, though.

    Aaron Nola, Vincent Velasquez and Jerad Eickhoff give the team a trio of starting pitchers to build around, while Rule 5 success story Odubel Herrea and slugger Maikel Franco look like keepers on the position-player side.

    The youth movement will continue this season as J.P. Crawford, Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Jake Thompson and others look to push their way into significant roles.

    Just keep trusting the process, Philly.


    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Feb. 15)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Cesar Hernandez RHP Jeremy Hellickson
    LF Howie Kendrick RHP Jerad Eickhoff
    CF Odubel Herrera RHP Aaron Nola
    3B Maikel Franco RHP Vincent Velasquez
    RF Michael SaundersRHP Clay Buchholz
    1B Tommy JosephBullpen
    C Cameron RuppRHP Cesar Ramos
    SS Freddy Galvis RHP Edubray Ramos
    Bench LHP Joely Rodriguez (R)
    C Ryan HaniganRHP Pat Neshek
    1B/OF Daniel Nava RHP Hector Neris
    IF Andres Blanco RHP Jeanmar Gomez
    IF/OF Chris CoghlanRHP Joaquin Benoit
    OF Aaron Altherr 

22. Los Angeles Angels (Previous: 24)

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    Garrett Richards /
    Garrett Richards /Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Spring Outlook

    The Los Angeles Angels went to work this offseason shoring up an offense that was lacking any real punch beyond the trio of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun.

    Luis Valbuena, Cameron Maybin, Ben Revere and Danny Espinosa are not exactly marquee additions, but they'll be welcome additions, and there are no longer black holes at second base and in left field.

    That said, it's the trio of Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker and Tyler Skaggs atop the rotation that could ultimately determine if this team has a chance to contend.

    Richards underwent stem cell treatment on a partially torn UCL last season, avoiding Tommy John surgery, at least for the time being.

    "When I take the mound now, I'm going to take the mound just like I did even if I didn't get hurt," Richards told Maria Guardado of "Mentally and physically, I feel like I'm just ready to go. I don't have doubts in my mind or anything."


    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Feb. 15)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    3B Yunel Escobar RHP Garrett Richards
    RF Kole CalhounRHP Matt Shoemaker
    CF Mike TroutLHP Tyler Skaggs
    DH Albert Pujols RHP Ricky Nolasco
    1B Luis ValbuenaRHP Jesse Chavez
    LF Cameron MaybinBullpen
    2B Danny EspinosaRHP Yusmeiro Petit
    SS Andrelton SimmonsRHP J.C. Ramirez
    C Martin MaldonadoRHP Kirby Yates
    Bench LHP Jose Alvarez
    C Carlos Perez RHP Andrew Bailey
    1B C.J. Cron RHP Cam Bedrosian
    IF Cliff Pennington RHP Huston Street
    OF Ben Revere 


    Projected DL: SP Andrew Heaney (TJ surgery), SP Nick Tropeano (TJ surgery)

21. Tampa Bay Rays (Previous: 20)

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    Matt Andriese /
    Matt Andriese /Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Spring Outlook

    The 68-94 record the Tampa Bay Rays posted last season was the franchise's worst showing since the 2007 season, and it's first last-place finish since the same year.

    The AL East figures to be tough once again, but there is some reason for optimism.

    When the Rays are good, it's because their starting rotation is shouldering the load, and if Chris Archer can return to ace form and Blake Snell can take another step forward, there's reason to believe the rotation can be a strength once again.

    Offensively, the additions of Wilson Ramos and Colby Rasmus on the cheap will add some pop to the lineup, and a full season of Matt Duffy should help as well.

    This organization has a knack for squeezing the most out of the talent it has, and a nice uptick in win total seems very possible.


    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Feb. 15)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Kevin Kiermaier RHP Chris Archer
    SS Matt Duffy RHP Jake Odorizzi
    3B Evan Longoria RHP Alex Cobb
    2B Brad MillerLHP Blake Snell
    DH Corey DickersonRHP Matt Andriese
    LF Colby RasmusBullpen
    RF Steven Souza RHP Erasmo Ramirez
    1B Logan MorrisonRHP Kevin Gadea (R)
    C Curt Casali RHP Shawn Tolleson
    Bench RHP Danny Farquhar
    C Luke Maile LHP Xavier Cedeno
    IF Tim Beckham RHP Brad Boxberger
    IF/OF Nick Franklin RHP Alex Colome
    OF Rickie Weeks Jr. 


    Projected DL: C Wilson Ramos (knee surgery), SP Nathan Eovaldi (TJ surgery)

20. Arizona Diamondbacks (Previous: 19)

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    Brandon Drury /
    Brandon Drury /Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Spring Outlook

    A top prospect who develops more slowly than expected but eventually turns into the player he was expected to become is often referred to as a "post-hype sleeper" when speaking in fantasy baseball terms.

    The Arizona Diamondbacks could be the "post-hype sleeper" team of 2017.

    After adding Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller last offseason, there were legitimate postseason hopes heading into 2016, but instead, the team went 69-93, which represented a 10-win decline over the previous year.

    So what's the cause for optimism?

    Healthy seasons from A.J. Pollock and David Peralta and a deep crop of starting pitchers that includes newcomer Taijuan Walker and breakout candidate Robbie Ray could give be enough for this team to push for a wild-card spot.


    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Feb. 15)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF A.J. Pollock RHP Zack Greinke
    SS Chris Owings LHP Robbie Ray
    1B Paul Goldschmidt RHP Taijuan Walker
    RF David Peralta RHP Shelby Miller
    LF Yasmany Tomas LHP Patrick Corbin
    3B Jake LambBullpen
    2B Brandon DruryRHP Tyler Jones (R)
    C Chris IannettaRHP Kevin Jepsen
    BenchRHP Tom Wilhelmsen
    C Jeff Mathis LHP Andrew Chafin
    C/OF Chris Herrmann RHP Randall Delgado
    IF Nick Ahmed RHP Jake Barrett
    IF/OF Daniel DescalsoRHP Fernando Rodney
    OF Gregor Blanco 

19. Baltimore Orioles (Previous: 18)

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    Dylan Bundy /
    Dylan Bundy /Matthew Hazlett/Getty Images

    Spring Outlook

    For better or worse, it looks like the Baltimore Orioles are finished making moves this offseason.

    They've essentially swapped out Pedro Alvarez and Matt Wieters for Seth Smith and Welington Castillo on the offensive side of things, while swingman Logan Verrett has been the most notable addition on the pitching side.

    Is that going to be enough to keep pace i