MLB in 2010: Early Power Rankings
With 2010 in full-swing and the MLB hot stove burning, it's definitely time to come out with an early Power Ranking.
Teams like the Yankees, Phillies, Mariners, Rangers and Red Sox have kept busy so far this offseason via big-time trades and big free agent signings. These teams are definitely on the rise, and with the 2010 season on the horizon, they're beginning to pull away from their much inactive rivals.
Although it's still early in the year, here's a quick analysis on all 30 MLB teams, including their rank in this early Power Ranking. Enjoy.
No. 1: New York Yankees
2009 Season Record: 103-59
Most Notable Offseason Acquisitions: Javier Vasquez, Curtis Granderson and Nick Johnson
It's really hard to imagine the Yankees failing to miss the postseason in 2010, especially after a season where they hit .283/.362/.478 and scored 915 runs.
And with their very talented pitching rotation that includes CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Petite, Javier Vasquez, and Joba Chamberlain, the Yanks should be favorites to repeat.
The Yankees really have the best of both worlds. They've got the big-time offense to go along with the solid pitching that is needed to win multiple championships in the coming years.
Although the Red Sox bolstered their already dangerous rotation with the addition of John Lackey, anything other than a first place finish in the AL East for the Yankees would be disappointing.
After all, they are the best team money can buy.
No. 2: Philadelphia Phillies
2009 Season Record: 93-69
Notable Acquisitions: Roy Halladay
A good 1-2 punch? Check. An aggressive offense? Check. A reliable bullpen? Um...Can I get a rain check?
The Phillies should be a good team heading into the 2010 season, especially if Cole Hamels can return to his former-dominating, lights-out, self. Roy Halladay and Hamels is an intriguing pair of aces, especially when they've got the support of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez, Jason Werth, Jimmy Rollins, and Shane Victorino.
As a group, the Phillies managed to score 820 runs and swipe 119 bases, which was good enough for second in the National League. They also ranked first in the NL in SLG (.447) and second in OPS (.781). The team, offensively, should be nearly as good heading into the 2010 season.
The Phillies, however, did have trouble with their bullpen last season.
Brad Lidge did save 31 games, but his ERA sky-rocketed to 7.21, and he blew 11 save opportunities. And with the news that he may not be ready by the start of the season due to surgery, the Phillies' bullpen woes could continue.
Other than that, however, the Phillies' addition of Roy Halladay solidifies the team's ranking as the No. 2 team in baseball. Pitching will be key for the Phillies, but if they're rolling, they'll be tough to beat—especially in a short series.
No. 3: Boston Red Sox
2009 Season Record: 95-67
Notable Acquisitions: John Lackey, Mike Cameron, Adrian Beltre and Marco Scutaro.
Pitching wins championships.
The old adage will be true if Boston manages to stay atop or near the top in the AL East. No one, I repeat no one, would want to see Boston in a short series, especially now that they've added ace John Lackey.
Imagine a five-game series in which you have to face Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey. Yikes. No thank you.
Offense will be key for Boston, though. If David Ortiz can somehow make a comeback, and if Adrian Beltre has a resurgence in the power department, watch out. Although Boston's attack isn't as scary as the Yankees or Phillies, if you don't watch out, they could end up jumping all over you.
No. 4: St. Louis Cardinals
2009 Season Record: 91-71
Notable Acquisitions: Re-signing of Matt Holliday
Was Matt Holliday overpaid? Yeah, probably. But that doesn't change the fact that the Cardinals still remain a top five team heading into the 2010 season.
With Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter the Cardinals have one of the best 1-2 punches in the big leagues. In fact, I'd put them pretty close to the top of the list of best duos.
Another good 1-2 punch comes in the form of Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday. When Matt Holliday arrived in St. Louis last July, the team really took off. Now that Holliday is set to stay for seven years, the Cardinals finally have a dangerous middle-of-the-order lineup.
The Cardinals have a legitimate shot at a championship, especially if Carpenter stays healthy and Pujols has another typical monster-like season.
No. 5: Seattle Mariners,
2009 Season Record: 85-77
Notable Acquisitions: Cliff Lee, Milton Bradley, Chone Figgins and Casey Kotchman
This is my one bold prediction.
Look, the Mariners might be the most improved team heading into 2010. I mean, when you add a speedy guy like Figgins who can make things happen with his speed along with an absolute ace like Lee, good things are bound to happen.
It may seem silly to some of you that Seattle is in the top 5, but make no mistake, this is a very dangerous team.
With "King" Felix Hernandez pairing up with another ace in Cliff Lee (14-13, 3.22 ERA), Seattle now becomes the favorite in the AL West. The Angels have lost too much talent, Texas is a few more pieces away from serious contention, and Oakland is stuck in a rebuilding phase.
Adding Chone Figgins (.298/.395/.393), Milton Bradley and Casey Kotchman really improves this team's offensive capabilities. If Bradley can somehow overcome his problems, he'll be a very good player for Seattle. But, if he snaps, he could jeopardize the good chemistry Seattle has had recently.
I say this to all serious doubters with utmost confidence: "Beware the Mariner."
No. 6: Los Angeles Dodgers
2009 Season Record: 95-67
Notable Acquisitions: None, really.
Heading into the 2010 season, the Dodgers really have no worries in the NL West other than those pesky Colorado Rockies, who for a second, threatened to take away the West Crown from them.
Despite losing Randy Wolff, a reliable starter last year, the Dodgers should have enough left in the tank to at least compete for the top spot in the West.
Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw are continuing their growing process and should only get better through time.
With Manny Ramirez, Andre Either and Matt Kemp leading the offensive attack, the Dodgers should be decent enough to make it in the West, considering they owned the NL's best team ERA (3.41) and the NL's best batting average (.270).
No. 7: Colorado Rockies
2009 Season Record: 92-70
Notable Acquisitions: Nothing to report, except that this team is on the rise.
The Colorado Rockies were an interesting team last season. They reminded me very much of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One minute they're trapped in the cellar of the NL West, and the next they're competing for the Division Crown.
Guys like Troy Tulowitzki (.297 BA, 32 HR, 92 RBI), Todd Helton (86 RBI), and young stud Carlos Gonzalez (.284 BA, 13 HR) will continue to help this team moving into this season. I see Gonzalez as a 5-tool guy, with sky-high potential and Tulowitzki as a premier short-stop in the game today.
Despite losing Marquis to the Nationals via free agency, the Rockies pitching staff, which had the eighth best ERA in the NL (4.22) and the most saves (45) should still be good enough to keep pace with the Dodgers.
No. 8: Los Angeles Angels
2009 Season Record: 97-65
Notable Acquisitions: Re-signing Bobby Abreu, adding Hideki Matsui and Fernando Rodney
In 2009, the Angels offense is what carried them to the postseason. They led the league with a .285 team batting average, and were second in runs scored with 883. The Angels had a very potent attack, especially when the speedy Figgins helped the team collect 148 stolen bases.
But heading into 2010, the Angels are without Chone Figgins and have watched their former monster of a hitter, Vladimir Guerrero, go to the Texas Rangers.
Yes, make no mistake that these Angels will have a tougher time winning the AL West in 2010.
The Seattle Mariners are on the rise, and the Angels are in decline. Sure, they've added Matsui, but they've lost John Lackey to free agency.
The Angels now must find a new ace to lead their team. One thing to expect, however, is that despite these losses, a Mike Scioscia team will still be competitive.
No. 9: Chicago Cubs
2009 Season Record: 83-78
Notable Acquisitions: Marlon Byrd, Carlos Silva, Jeff Grey (plus the departure of Milton Bradley)
The Cubs were quite the disappointment last season, weren't they?
But that was last year, and it's time to finally move on. But, with the Cardinals' recent re-signing of Matt Holliday, can the Cubbies keep up with their Red Bird rivals?
It'll be a tough challenge, but the Cardinals will be a low-90s win team, so it's not impossible.
In order to compete with St. Louis, the Cubs' pitching will have to continue its solid performance (fifth in NL with 3.84 ERA and second in QS with 94). And in order to seriously make some noise in the NL Central, the offense will have to step it up a notch or two.
The Cubs offense was definitely not worth writing home about last season, but I'm positive that the Cubs will be right there in the mix of things come playoff time.
No. 10: Minnesota Twins
2009 Season Record: 87-76
Notable Acquisitions: JJ Hardy
The Twins continue to be dangerous in the very competitive AL Central. It seems like every season that the Twins, Tigers, and White Sox are vying for the division crown and bragging rights.
But it was Minnesota that clinched the division last season and are definitely capable of repeating as division champs.
The Twins as a team had a .274/.345/.429 season. They also finished fourth in the AL for runs scored with 817.
So, by simply looking at these numbers compared to their pitching statistics, one could say that Minnesota relies heavily on its offense.
Pitching was a bit of a problem for Minnesota last season as they had a team ERA of 4.50. Opponents also hit .278 against them. So, in order for Minnesota to repeat as division champs, the pitching staff will need to pick it up.
No. 11: Atlanta Braves
2009 Season Record: 86-76
In 2009, the Braves were without Tim Hudson for much of the season, but once he returned he solidified a rotation that ended up with the NL's third best team ERA (3.57). Hudson finished the year 2-1 with a 3.61 ERA in 7 starts.
Although Javier Vasquez, a big part of the Braves rotation, is now in New York, the Braves should still be good enough to compete in the NL East.
Offensively, the Braves outscored opponents 735 to 641, giving them a +94 run differential. The Braves as a team managed to bat .263/.339/.405. And by adding Troy Glaus, who is still a powerful hitter when healthy, they should only get better.
Even though they finished seven games behind the Phillies and one game behind Florida, I see the Braves finishing near the top of the NL East.
No. 12: Texas Rangers
2009 Season Record: 87-75
Texas was quite the surprise last season. They finished 87-75 and were in contention for awhile, but ultimately fell apart the last month of the season. But with their recent moves, Texas is closing the gap between themselves and the Angels.
Adding Rich Harden, who had an off year, really helps the team's rotation. Historically known for the past decade or so for their offense, in 2009 the pitching staff managed to maintain an ERA of 4.38. With a rotation that includes Feldman, Harden, Holland, Hunter and McCarthy, the Rangers are positioning themselves to take the top spot in the AL West.
And with Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young and the rest of the Rangers offense hitting their strides, there's absolutely no reason why the Rangers shouldn't finish close or at the top of the AL West in 2010.
No. 13: Chicago White Sox
2009 Season Record: 79-83
The White Sox finished 7.5 games behind the division champion Minnesota Twins, but they shouldn't finish too far behind this season.
The White Sox have been particularly busy this offseason, as they've added underrated Juan Pierre, Mark Teahan and Andruw Jones in the hopes of improving their lack-luster offensive attack.
Last season the ChiSox hit .258/.329/.411 and managed to score 724 runs. Sadly, they were outscored by their opponents, 724 to 732, resulting in a -8 run differential.
One bright spot for the ChiSox is their very solid pitching staff. Jake Peavy, who arrived last season via trade, should continue to help a staff that had a 4.14 ERA. The rotation includes Peavy, Buehrle, Floyd, Danks and Garcia.
Looking ahead, I'd say that the Chicago White Sox will give the Twins a run for their money.
No. 14: Detroit Tigers
2009 Season Record: 86-77
Sorry, Tigers fans. I have to say with some of the moves the White Sox have been making, you're the odd-man out.
Not to say that the Tigers won't be in contention, because in the Central anything is possible, I just don't see them finishing first or ahead of Chicago.
The Tigers offense in 2009 wasn't that good—they managed to hit .260/.331/.416 and score 743 runs. And losing Granderson doesn't help their cause, either. The Tigers don't have as "potent" an offense as some seem to think.
The Tigers' strength comes in their pretty good pitching staff that includes Verlander, Porcello, Scherzer and Bonderman. The team's ERA was fifth best in the AL at 4.29. And with Porcello looking like a young stud, the Tigers should have a pretty strong rotation in 2010.
Sure, they may not have that "potent" offense everybody thinks they do, but they've got pitching. Will it be enough? Who knows? One thing is for sure: in the AL Central, anything is possible.
No. 15: San Francisco Giants
2009 Season Record: 88-74
The Giants have the pitching. We all know that. With the reigning NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum along with Matt Cain and former Cy Young winner Barry Zito heading the rotation, all the Giants need now is some offense.
In 2009, the Giants boasted a team ERA of 3.55 and held their opponents to a low .236 batting average. The only problem, however, is the fact that the Giants only hit .257/.309/.389 themselves and scored only 657 runs.
And although the offense does get a boost from the addition of Mark DeRosa, they still need another bat or two. The Giants are close to losing Benjie Molina to free agency and are in desperate need of some offensive assistance.
If the Giants fail to get another bat, I would see it extremely difficult for them to keep pace with the Dodgers and Rockies in the NL West. They definitely have the pitching—they just need some offense.
No. 16: Florida Marlins
2009 Season Record: 87-75
The Florida Marlins are ranked No. 16 but do have the potential to move up in the rankings if their pitching can improve just a little more.
Make no mistake, if they had some money to work with, they'd own the NL East. They finished just six games behind the NL Champion Philadelphia Phillies.
Florida was a top five offensive team in the NL last season, as they hit .268/.340/.416 and scored 772 runs. Hanley Ramirez led the team with a .342 batting average and 106 RBI. Ramirez is one of the most exciting players to watch and is highly talented at the young age of 26.
Florida's pitching staff wasn't too bad, either. On the year the staff managed to maintain a 4.29 ERA. Josh Johnson, the team's ace, finished 2009 with a 15-5 record and a 3.23 ERA. If the Marlins can upgrade their pitching staff just a bit or improve upon last season, they could have a shot this year.
No. 17: Tampa Bay Rays
2009 Season Record: 84-78
It's not fun being in the AL East. The Rays finished 19 games behind the Yankees in 2009 and failed to reach the postseason a year after their remarkable 2008 season.
With the Red Sox and Yankees only getting stronger, I don't see the Rays finishing atop the AL East. I do see, however, a team that is young and highly competitive.
The Rays as a team hit .263/.343/.439 and scored 803 runs (fifth in AL) last season. So it's no secret that they can hit the ball pretty well. On the pitching side of things, a rotation led by James Shields had a 4.33 ERA and held opponents to a .257 batting average.
If Shields and Garza can rebound from a mediocre 2009 campaign, then the Rays have a shot at remaining in contention. This team is good, make no mistake, but if they were in any other division, they'd be really good.
No. 18: New York Mets
2009 Season Record: 70-92
No. 18? Really?
Let's face it, the Mets had terrible luck last season. They were an injury-prone team that struggled for most of the season. Losing Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran didn't help. But if the Mets can stay healthy, the addition of Jason Bay should make a difference.
They finished 23 games out of first place and were outscored by opponents, 671 to 757. In order to crack the top 10 again, they're going to have to stay healthy. And David Wright needs to start hitting for power again. In fact, as a team, the Mets need to start hitting for power again.
Last season the Mets managed to hit .270/.335/.394 collectively as a team. They hit only 95 home runs.
Pitching wise, they weren't much better. The team ERA was 4.45 (12th in NL) and opponents managed to hit .264 off them. Team ace Johan Santana had 13 wins and an ERA of 3.13. Other than Santana, the Mets weren't too exciting to watch.
I'm no Mets expert, but I say that they'll be better this year than last—if they stay healthy that is. If everything turns around for the best, look for the Mets to creep their way back into the top 10 once again.
No. 19: Milwaukee Brewers
2009 Season Record: 80-82
The Milwaukee Brewers in 2009 were absolutely horrible at throwing the ball. The Brewers' pitching staff had a team ERA of 4.83 and opponents had a .268 BAA and a .795 OPS.
The Brewers staff is led by Yovani Gallardo, who managed to win 13 games and had an ERA of 3.73. Gallardo gets help, however, with the arrival of veteran Randy Wolf.
Wolf, who left the Dodgers via free agency, comes into 2010 off a season where he won 11 games and had a 3.23 ERA. Wolf adds a much needed veteran presence to a staff who struggled in 2009.
On offense, the Brewers are lead by the likes of Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. Fielder hit .299/.412/.602 with 46 long-balls and 141 RBI. Braun, an elite outfielder, hit .320/.386/.551 with 32 HR and 114 RBI. Collectively, the Brewers hit .263/.341/.426 and scored 785 runs. The Brewers can hit but have a hard time throwing the ball well.
If the Brewers are to rise in the NL Central, their pitching is going to have to come together.
No. 20: Cincinnati Reds
2009 Season Record: 78-84
The Cincinnati Reds come into 2010 off a season where they won 78 despite their performance on the mound.
The Reds' rotation, which includes Aaron Harang (6-14, 4.18 ERA), Edison Volquez (4-2, 4.35 ERA), Bronson Arroyo (15-13, 3.84 ERA), Johnny Cueto (11-11, 4.41), and youngster Homer Bailey (8-5, 4.53), disappointed in 2009.
Volquez, who just a year before won 17 games and had 3.21 ERA, was limited by an elbow injury. If Volquez can return close to his 2008 self, the Reds could see brighter days.
If Homer Bailey matures a bit more and reaches his potential, the Reds could make some noise and might give Milwaukee and Chicago a run for their money.
Also, if and when highly-touted Cuban prospect, Aroldis Chapman comes up, the Reds' rotation could be solidified.
On offense, the Reds were led by Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and gold-glover, Scott Rolen.
Votto hit .322/.414/.567 with 25 HR and 84 RBI for the year. Phillips hit .276/.329/.447 and 20 HR along with 98 RBI. Rolen, who's known for his defensive prowess, hit .305/.368/.455 with 11 HR and 67 RBI.
Collectively as a team, however, the Reds hit .247/.318/.394 and managed to swipe 98 bases. As a team, they ranked 15th in BAA, 10th in OPS and 13th in SLG.
If the Reds hope to improve in 2010, their entire team has to step it up a notch or two. The pitching has to come together, and the offense needs to hit the ball better.
#21: Oakland Athletics
2009 Season Record: 75-87
Maybe it's because I'm an A's fan, but I fully believe that this team has a bright future. Oakland is slowly becoming more aggressive on the basepaths and are stockpiling on highly-regarded talent.
Oakland's 2009 season was one to forget, as the additions of Matt Holliday, Jason Giambi, Orlando Cabrera and Nomar Garciaparra were mostly flops. The A's learned their lesson and have now moved on to greener pastures.
The A's young pitching staff had its ups and downs, but in 2009, two guys emerged as potential stars—AL Rookie of the Year Andrew Bailey (1.84 ERA, 26 Saves) and ROY candidate Brett Anderson (4.04 ERA, 11 wins).
The A's recently added OF Coco Crisp and were able to re-sign both Justin Duchscherer and Jack Cust for the 2010 season. Duchscherer adds the much needed veteran leadership to a young but talented staff that includes Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Vin Mazzaro, and Gio Gonzalez.
The A's pitching staff managed to put together a 4.26 ERA, and as a team the A's batted .262/.328/.397 and scored 759 runs in 2009.
Oakland's aggressive second half led to their stealing 133 bases, which was good for fourth most in the American League.
Although the A's lack big-time power right now, they've got talented young studs waiting in the wings.
The A's biggest strength heading into the 2010 season is their bullpen. It's led by Bailey, followed by Michael Wuertz, Joey Devine, Brad Ziegler, and Craig Breslow.
The A's may not be in contention for the AL West Division crown in 2010, but as soon as their big-time hitters reach the majors, watch out. The A's have a very bright future ahead of them.
No. 22: Houston Astros
2009 Season Record: 74-88
The Astros have a lot of work ahead of them if they have any shot at postseason.
In 2009, the Astros were led offensively by Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee, Hunter Pence and Miguel Tejada. Berkman hit .274/.399/.509 with 25 HR, Lee hit .300/.343/.489 with 26 HR, Tejada hit .313/.340/.455, and Pence followed suit by hitting .282/.346/.472.
As a team, the Astros ranked in the bottom of all major offensive categories. They ranked 13th in the NL in OBP. (.319), 11th in SLG. (.400), and 12th in OPS (.719). They did, however, manage to hit .260 as a team (eighth in NL).
Their biggest problems are in the pitching department. Wandy Rodriguez and Roy Oswalt man a rotation that saw its team ERA balloon up to 4.54 (13th in NL), and its opponent's BAA skyrocket to .275 (14th in NL).
If the Astros want to stay competitive in 2010, they're going to need to step it up both defensively and offensively.
No. 23: San Diego Padres
2009 Season Record: 75-87
The San Diego Padres in 2009 were absolutely terrible on offense. If they want to improve in 2010, the offense somehow has to come alive.
In 2009 the Padres were led offensively by Adrian Gonzalez (.277/.407/.551, 40 HR, 99 RBI), Kevin Kouzmanoff (.255/.302/.420, 18 HR, 88 RBI), and Chase Headley (.262/.342/.392). As a team, the Padres hit a horrid .242/.321/.381. They were outscored by opponents 638 to 769, resulting in a -131 run differential.
Pitching wasn't much better for the Padres, who had the 10th best ERA in the NL at 4.37. Now that Jake Peavy is a member of the White Sox, Kevin Correia leads the rotation. Correia was 12-11 with a 3.91 ERA in 2009. The bullpen is headed by Heath Bell, who was 6-4 with a 2.71 ERA and 42 saves.
And considering that the Padres finished 18-11 in their final 29 games, they should be able to build on that heading into the 2010 season. How much they improve depends on how the offense performs early in the season.
No. 24: Toronto Blue Jays
2009 Season Record: 75-87
The Toronto Blue Jays in 2009 were a disappointment considering they regressed from the 86-76 2008 campaign.
With Roy Halladay long gone, the Blue Jays really don't stand a chance in the powerhouse that is the AL East. At least not until their young talent matures into something big.
The Blue Jays have the hitting, because in 2009 they hit .266/.333/.440 and scored 798 runs. They were led by Adam Lind (.305/.370/.562, 35 HR, 114 RBI) and Aaron Hill (.286/.330/.499, 36 HR, 108 RBI). And with the Jays acquiring top-prospect Brett Wallace via trade with the A's, they only solidify the future of their offensive presence.
Pitching, however, is another matter. Without Roy Halladay, the rotation just seems depleted.
In 2009 the Jays posted a 4.47 ERA, and opponents were able to hit .270 against them. So without "Doc", the Jays' rotation isn't worth writing home about.
Is there talent on the way? Yes. But until it arrives, Toronto and its fans are going to have to endure a couple years of waiting until they're back in contention again.
No. 25: Arizona Diamondbacks
2009 Season Record: 70-92
In 2009 the Arizona Diamondbacks looked like a team that could hang around with the rest in the West.
But ultimately, they were not much of a factor in the NL West at all. They finished 25 games behind the first-place Dodgers and weren't very good on offense.
Offensively, the Diamondbacks were led by Justin Upton (.300/.366/.532, 26 HR, 86 RBI), Mark Reynolds (.260/.349/.543, 44 HR, 102 RBI), and Miguel Montero (.294/.355/.478, 16 HR, 59 RBI).
As a team, Arizona hit .253/.324/.418, scored 720 runs, and swiped 102 bases (sixth in NL). If a healthy Eric Byrnes returns, and if Mark Reynolds and Justin Upton continue their solid hitting, Arizona should be decent enough on offense.
Although 2009 was a bit of a setback for the pitching staff, 2010 seems much more promising. With Dan Haren (14-10, 3.14 ERA) leading a rotation that includes Brandon Webb, Edwin Jackson (13-9, 3.62 ERA), Billy Buckner, and Ian Kennedy, the D-backs should be a better team in 2010.
No. 26: Cleveland Indians
2009 Season Record: 65-97
2009 wasn't pretty for Indians' fans, as they saw their team lose 97 games and get outscored by opponents 773 to 865.
The Indians' offense wasn't too bad in 2009, as they were pretty much right in the middle of most offensive statistics. They as a team hit .264/.339/.417 and scored 773 runs (eighth in AL). They were led by Shin-Soo Choo (.300/.394/.489, 20 HR, 86 RBI), Grady Sizemore (.248/.343/.445, 18 HR, 64 RBI), and Travis Hafner (.272/.355/.470, 16 HR, 49 RBI).
Pitching in Cleveland for the 2009 season was downright hideous. The team's ERA was 5.06 (13th in AL) and opponents hit .280 (13th in AL) against them.
But that was 2009. This is 2010, and Cleveland, under new manager Manny Acta, would like to move on.
The Indians in 2010 will sport a rotation that includes David Huff, Aaron Laffey, Fausto Carmona, Justin Masterson, and Anthony Reyes. If the Indians are to rise in the standings this season, they've got to move on from last year's pitching woes.
No. 27: Baltimore Orioles
2009 Season Record: 64-98
The Baltimore Orioles rank No. 27 for a reason: they had the worst pitching in the American League in 2009.
Sorry Orioles fans, including my AP U.S. History teacher Mr. Tozzie, but the birds really didn't do much last year.
The Orioles were led offensively by the likes of Adam Jones (.277/.335/.457, 19 HR, 70 RBI), Nick Markakis (.293/.347/.453, 18 HR, 101 RBI), Luke Scott (.258/.340/.488, 25 HR, 77 RBI), and Brian Roberts (.283/.356/.451, 16 HR, 79 RBI). As a team they hit .268/.332/.415 and scored 741 runs. As a result of being in the AL East, they had a -135 run differential.
The Orioles pitching staff was horrific, as they gave up 876 runs and saw their ERA swell up to 5.15. In 2009 opponents hit .288 against the Orioles, which was the highest opponent BAA in the AL.
This offseason, the Orioles added veteran Kevin Millwood in the hopes that he could provide some stability in a horrible rotation. The Orioles are also interested in bringing back Eric Bedard, who could help the team greatly.
Orioles fans have one thing to at least look forward to in 2010: potential superstar catcher Matt Wieters' first full season. Wieters has great power potential that could make him one of the best catchers in the game.
No. 28: Kansas City Royals
2009 Season Record: 65-97
In 2009 the Kansas City Royals had one bright spot—Zach Greinke.
Greinke won the 2009 AL Cy Young Award, with his 16-8 record and 2.16 ERA.
Heading into 2010, the Royals have some problems to address. In 2009 they hit .259 (12th in AL) and were ranked 13th in OBP. with .318, 12th in SLG. with .405 and last in OPS. with .724.
Offensively they were led by Billy Butler (.301/.362/.492, 21 HR, 71 RBI), David DeJesus (.281/.347/.434, 71 RBI), Miguel Olvio (.249/.292/.490, 23 HR, 65 RBI), and Mike Jacobs (.228/.297/.401). With Alex Gordon still maturing, the Royals will have to settle with their anemic offense until someone revamps it or breathes some life into it.
Aside from Greinke, the Royals didn't have a stellar rotation. The team ERA was 4.83 (12th in AL), and opponents hit them hard with a .269 BAA (9th in AL). In 2010, the Royals would like Greinke, Brian Bannister, Luke Hochevar, Kyle Davies, and Robinson Tejada to improve things as a whole.
No. 29: Pittsburgh Pirates
2009 Season Record: 62-99
The Pittsburgh Pirates had one of the most miserable seasons in 2009, and for that I offer my condolences to all Pirates fans.
As a team, the Pirates hit .252/.318/.387 and scored only 636 runs. Led by Andy LeRoche (.258/.330/.401, 12 HR, 64 RBI) and Garret Jones (.293/.372/.567, 21 HR, 44 RBI), this band of cheap, affordable players managed to win only 62 games all season long.
Pittsburgh's pitching was down right atrocious in 2009. The team ERA was 14th in the NL at 4.59, and opponents hit .276 against them. In the end, Pittsburgh was outscored by its' opponents, 636 to 768, resulting in a -132 run differential—ouch.
No. 30: Washington Nationals
2009 Season Record: 59-103
Well, coming in at No. 30 are the Washington Nationals.
They had a season to forget in 2009, as they lost 103 games and finished 34 games out of first place.
Offensively in 2009 the Nationals scored 710 runs and collectively hit .258/.337/.406. They were led by Adam Dunn (.267/.398/.529, 38 HR, 105 RBI) and Ryan Zimmerman (.292/.364/.525, 33 HR, 106 RBI).
The Nationals pitching staff can only get better with the acquisition of Jason Marquis and the upcoming future of prospect Stephen Strasburg because it certainly can't get any worse than it was in 2009. The Nationals had the worst pitching the NL with an ERA of 5.00 and an opponent OPS of .802.
The Nationals will be headed for another long season in 2010 but should be better than the 59-win team they were last season.