MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand Heading into 2020 Spring Training
Pitchers and catchers have officially begun reporting to spring training, and among other things, that means it's time for an updated version of our MLB power rankings.
Most of the top remaining dominoes on the free-agent market have toppled since these rankings were last updated on Jan. 6, which has led to more shuffling of the MLB landscape.
As with any offseason power rankings, these take into account how complete a roster is entering the new season and the direction each franchise is headed in 2020.
Here are the updated rankings:
B/R's MLB Power Rankings
1. New York Yankees
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
3. Washington Nationals
4. Houston Astros
5. Atlanta Braves
6. Tampa Bay Rays
7. Minnesota Twins
8. St. Louis Cardinals
9. Philadelphia Phillies
10. Oakland Athletics
11. Milwaukee Brewers
12. New York Mets
13. Cleveland Indians
14. Chicago Cubs
15. Arizona Diamondbacks
16. Texas Rangers
17. Boston Red Sox
18. Los Angeles Angels
19. Chicago White Sox
20. Cincinnati Reds
21. San Diego Padres
22. Toronto Blue Jays
23. San Francisco Giants
24. Seattle Mariners
25. Pittsburgh Pirates
26. Kansas City Royals
27. Colorado Rockies
28. Miami Marlins
29. Detroit Tigers
30. Baltimore Orioles
Now, let's take a closer look at some of the notable movers since our last update.
The moment the New York Yankees inked Gerrit Cole to a record-setting nine-year, $324 million deal, they became the World Series favorites for the 2020 season.
After winning 103 games last season amid a flurry of injuries to key contributors, they already seemed poised to receive an in-house boost with a stroke of luck in the health department. Adding one of the game's truly elite pitchers to the top of the rotation makes their outlook that much brighter.
With James Paxton sidelined to start the season and Domingo German suspended, there are some questions as to who will round out the starting staff to begin the year, but top to bottom, the Yankees have as much talent as any team in baseball.
Meanwhile, the addition of Mookie Betts has elevated the Los Angeles Dodgers to the top spot among NL teams, as they continue to chase their first World Series title since 1988 while working on a run of seven straight NL West titles.
There are some decisions to make about the starting rotation behind the locked-in trio of Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and David Price. There is no shortage of options, though, with Julio Urias, Ross Stripling, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin and veteran free-agent signings Alex Wood and Jimmy Nelson all in the mix.
The Washington Nationals and Houston Astros also belong in the favorites conversation despite losing key contributors to free agency following their showdown in the World Series.
The Nationals locked up Stephen Strasburg with a long-term deal but will still need to replace All-Star third baseman Anthony Rendon. Some combination of top prospect Carter Kieboom, free-agent addition Starlin Castro and versatile veteran Asdrubal Cabrera should be up to the task.
As for the Astros, aside from the work they will need to do to rebuild their public image, replacing Gerrit Cole and Wade Miley without any outside additions could prove difficult. That said, they still have Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke fronting the staff, a healthy Lance McCullers Jr. back in the mix and a stacked lineup doing a lot of the heavy lifting.
The Clear Contenders
Fresh off a second straight NL East title, the Atlanta Braves are here to stay with an exciting young core, more dynamic prospect talent on the way and some solid outside veteran additions in the form of Cole Hamels, Marcell Ozuna, Will Smith and Travis d'Arnaud.
However, they have their work cut out for them as they try to hold off not only the World Series champion Nationals but also the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets, who both look like viable contenders as well.
The Phillies inked Zack Wheeler to a five-year, $118 million deal to bolster a starting rotation that was a major weakness a year ago while also adding Didi Gregorius on a low-risk, high-reward one-year contract. The Mets added Rick Porcello, Michael Wacha and Dellin Betances to the pitching staff, and they will also have a full season of deadline-pickup Marcus Stroman.
The NL Central should be an all-out battle once again with the St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs all capable of claiming the division title.
The Cardinals won the division and reached the NLCS last season, and they return largely the same roster. The Brewers added Brett Anderson, Josh Lindblom and Eric Lauer to a revamped starting rotation and should once again have a high-powered offense. The Cubs sat on their hands for most of the offseason, most notably failing to find a replacement for Cole Hamels, but they still have more than enough talent to make a run.
On the AL side, the Minnesota Twins snapped the Cleveland Indians' run of three consecutive division titles, and it could be those two battling it out for AL Central supremacy once again in 2020.
The Twins signed Josh Donaldson to join a lineup that led the majors with 307 home runs a year ago and also bolstered the pitching staff with the additions of Kenta Maeda, Homer Bailey, Rich Hill and Tyler Clippard. The Indians have had a quieter offseason, with the most notable move being the trade of Corey Kluber, but the one-two punch of Shane Bieber and Mike Clevinger is more than capable of anchoring the staff, and this team is still good enough overall to contend.
The Oakland Athletics ($93.4 million, 25th) and Tampa Bay Rays ($64.2 million, 30th) both made the playoffs last year despite working with two of the lowest payrolls in baseball.
The Rays made several solid moves along the margins this offseason to improve their overall depth, adding some pop in the form of Hunter Renfroe, Jose Martinez and Yoshi Tsutsugo, and they still boast one of the league's best pitching staffs. Meanwhile, the Athletics will benefit greatly from fully healthy seasons from Sean Manaea, Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk.
The Fringe Teams
The Arizona Diamondbacks quietly won 85 games last season, thanks in part to a 31-22 finish over the final two months of the season, and they used that as a springboard into a busy offseason.
Veteran starter Madison Bumgarner (five years, $85 million), right fielder Kole Calhoun (two years, $16 million) and setup man Junior Guerra (one year, $2.65 million) were added in free agency, while Starling Marte was acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh. Will those additions be enough to push them over the top in the NL wild-card race?
The Texas Rangers rounded out the starting rotation behind Lance Lynn and Mike Minor with the additions of Corey Kluber, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles while also adding veteran Todd Frazier to fill a hole at third base. They have a long way to go from last year's 78-84 finish to climb into the AL playoff picture, but there is no question they have improved.
Can the Boston Red Sox still contend after seemingly taking a step backward after the Mookie Betts trade? The offense is still loaded with talent, but questions abound on the pitching staff behind starters Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez and reliever Brandon Workman.
The splash signing of Anthony Rendon thrust the Los Angeles Angels into the headlines, and Jason Castro should be a significant upgrade at catcher. The starting rotation remains a concern, though, after finishing 29th in the majors with a 5.64 ERA last year. Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran are not the frontline starters the team needed, but the staff is still improved.
That brings us to the Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres, three teams looking to make the leap back to contention.
The White Sox added Yasmani Grandal, Dallas Keuchel, Edwin Encarnacion, Gio Gonzalez, Nomar Mazara and Steve Cishek, and they will also welcome top prospect Luis Robert to the majors at some point early in 2020.
The Reds picked up Nick Castellanos, Mike Moustakas and Shogo Akiyama to bolster the offense, while a starting rotation of Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, Trevor Bauer, Anthony DeSclafani and newcomer Wade Miley could quietly be one of the best in baseball.
The Padres now have Emilio Pagan and Drew Pomeranz penciled into setup roles ahead of closer Kirby Yates, while Tommy Pham, Trent Grisham and Jurickson Profar give the lineup a new look and Zach Davies gives the young rotation an experienced arm.
The arrow is clearly pointing up for the Toronto Blue Jays thanks to an exciting young offensive core led by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Cavan Biggio.
The additions of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Chase Anderson and Shun Yamaguchi should vastly improve the pitching staff, while infielder Travis Shaw could be one of the best buy-low acquisitions of the offseason on a one-year, $4 million deal. They still have a ways to go to catch up to the rest of the AL East, though, so the 2021 season might be a more realistic time frame to take a step forward.
The Seattle Mariners (No. 4 farm system) and San Francisco Giants (No. 11 farm system) are still building toward the future and unlikely to finish the upcoming season with a winning record, but they have quickly assembled two of the better farm systems in baseball over the past calendar year.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Colorado Rockies have yet to begin full-scale rebuilds, but the writing is on the wall. The Pirates already shipped off star center fielder Starling Marte, while the biggest headline of the offseason for the Rockies was their decision to shop Nolan Arenado and the subsequent backlash from the player himself.
The Detroit Tigers (114 losses), Baltimore Orioles (108 losses), Miami Marlins (105 losses) and Kansas City Royals (103 losses) each lost 100 games last year, and all signs point to more of the same in 2020 as they continue to rebuild.
Top Remaining Free Agents
The 2019-20 MLB free-agent market has been picked clean for the most part, but there are still a handful of potential contributors searching for a new home.
Here's a look at some of the notable remaining free agents:
- C: Jonathan Lucroy, Russell Martin
- 1B: Lucas Duda, Hanley Ramirez
- 2B: Brian Dozier, Scooter Gennett, Devon Travis
- SS: Tim Beckham, Addison Russell
- 3B: Jung Ho Kang
- OF: Yasiel Puig, Melky Cabrera, Lonnie Chisenhall, Rajai Davis, Jarrod Dyson, Jacoby Ellsbury, Cameron Maybin, Kevin Pillar
- UT: Brock Holt, Brad Miller, Ben Zobrist
- SP: Taijuan Walker, Clay Buchholz, Andrew Cashner, Matt Harvey, Jeremy Hellickson, Aaron Sanchez, Jason Vargas
- RP: Matt Albers, Ryan Buchter, Zach Duke, Luke Gregerson, Jared Hughes, Collin McHugh, Fernando Rodney, Josh Tomlin, Arodys Vizcaino
For some of the older players on this list, retirement could be the next move. For others, spring training injuries will create opportunities. Who will be the next to sign?