MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand, 2020 Mid-Spring Training Edition
Spring training is in full swing and Opening Day is fast approaching with the 2020 MLB season beginning in earnest March 26.
While wins and losses mean next to nothing during the preseason, spring training is still a time for teams to answer roster questions and address any holes that arise as a result of injuries.
As such, there has been some shuffling in our MLB power rankings since they were last updated at the start of spring training.
This time around we're shining some light on all 30 teams, with offseason notes, notable injuries and key spring decisions for each club.
Who takes the No. 1 spot at the midway point of spring training?
30. Baltimore Orioles
After posting an MLB-worst 5.59 ERA last year, the Orioles traded top starter Dylan Bundy. Little was done to address the pitching staff externally, leaving waiver claim Hector Velazquez and minor league free-agent signing Wade LeBlanc projected for rotation spots.
A third straight 100-loss season seems inevitable.
29. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers once again did a nice job bargain hunting on the free-agent market, adding catcher Austin Romine, first baseman C.J. Cron, second baseman Jonathan Schoop, center fielder Cameron Maybin and starting pitcher Ivan Nova on one-year deals for a combined $19.35 million.
Those players all represent veteran stopgaps as the team continues rebuilding. The arrival of top pitching prospects Casey Mize and Matt Manning could wind up being the biggest storyline of 2020.
28. Miami Marlins
After losing 105 games in 2019, the Marlins could surprise some people this season.
Another last-place finish in the NL East still seems likely, but there are a lot of solid young building blocks on the MLB roster in guys like Brian Anderson, Jorge Alfaro, Sandy Alcantara, Isan Diaz, Pablo Lopez and Jordan Yamamoto. More young talent is on the way, and while there will inevitably be growing pains, they are headed in the right direction.
27. Colorado Rockies
It's almost impossible to believe the Rockies are just a year removed from back-to-back postseason appearances. The pitching staff regressed significantly last season, and there is little reason to believe a turnaround is forthcoming.
The only player signed to an MLB deal during the offseason was right-hander Jose Mujica, who didn't pitch last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and has yet to make his MLB debut. It's not hard to see why star third baseman Nolan Arenado is frustrated with the franchise's direction.
26. Kansas City Royals
The Royals are still a few years away from making a push back toward contention, but they have some solid future building blocks on the roster.
Whit Merrifield is a steady presence, Jorge Soler finally broke out with a 48-homer season, Adalberto Mondesi has a ton of two-way potential at shortstop, and 2017 Rule 5 selection Brad Keller has been quietly excellent on the mound the past two years. A farm system on the rise serves as a light at the end of the rebuilding tunnel.
25. Pittsburgh Pirates
While the Pirates stopped short of a full-blown fire sale this offseason, the decision to trade Starling Marte and lack of impact additions make it clear the team is focused on rebuilding.
Young players like shortstop Kevin Newman, left fielder Bryan Reynolds and right-hander Mitch Keller have a chance to emerge as cornerstone pieces in 2020, while established veterans like Josh Bell, Chris Archer and Keone Kela could be the next trade chips. The NL Central appears to be four contenders and the Pirates.
24. Seattle Mariners
With a patchwork bullpen anchored by the unheralded trio of Matt Magill, Yoshihisa Hirano and Sam Tuivailala, and a starting rotation that is expected to feature reclamation projects Kendall Graveman and Taijuan Walker, the Mariners are clearly focused on the future.
Up-and-coming players like Evan White, Kyle Lewis, Shed Long and Jake Fraley should have a chance to establish themselves as everyday options, while top prospects Jarred Kelenic, Julio Rodriguez and Logan Gilbert are rapidly ascending the minor league ranks. A postseason drought that stretches back to 2001 is unlikely to be snapped, but the M's finally seem to have a clear direction.
23. San Francisco Giants
A summer hot streak convinced the Giants to hold on to top trade chips Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith, who then departed in free agency during the offseason.
The new-look front office seems committed to a full-scale rebuild, but it's going to take some time to get out from under the bloated contracts of guys like Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Evan Longoria, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Team president Farhan Zaidi has done a fantastic job building up the farm system, and that will continue to be the focal point in 2020.
22. Toronto Blue Jays
After welcoming Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio to the MLB roster last season, the Blue Jays are clearly a team on the rise.
The pitching side of things is vastly improved after the offseason additions of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Chase Anderson and Shun Yamaguchi, while top prospect Nate Pearson has turned heads this spring with nine strikeouts in five no-hit innings. The future is bright, but they are likely still at least a year away.
21. Los Angeles Angels
The Angels settled for Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran as the biggest additions to a starting rotation that ranked 29th in the majors with a 5.64 ERA last year. Is a staff fronted by those two and left-hander Andrew Heaney really good enough for them to contend?
The health of Griffin Canning is a major question mark as he deals with elbow inflammation, and Shohei Ohtani is expected to return to the mound by midseason. Still, even after the splash signing of Anthony Rendon, this team appears to be facing an uphill battle to reach the postseason.
20. Texas Rangers
Adding Corey Kluber, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles to flank the terrific one-two punch of Lance Lynn and Mike Minor in the starting rotation immediately makes the Rangers a team to watch in the AL wild-card picture.
However, questions abound on the offensive side and in the bullpen. They should improve on a 78-win season in 2019, but a lot of unexpected contributors will need to step forward if they are going to make a serious run at a postseason spot. Playing in a tough AL West doesn't help their cause.
19. San Diego Padres
Healthy seasons from Garrett Richards and Dinelson Lamet, along with the addition of Zach Davies, should allow the Padres' new-look starting rotation to improve on last year's 4.66 ERA. Add to that the impending arrival of top prospect MacKenzie Gore, and things are looking bright.
Meanwhile, newcomers Trent Grisham and Tommy Pham should bolster the MLB outfield, while veteran Wil Myers (9-for-25, 2 2B, 3B, 3 HR) is having an excellent spring and looking like an early bounce-back candidate. A significant improvement over last year's 70-92 record appears likely, though they might still be a year away.
18. Cincinnati Reds
A busy offseason saw the Reds add some bats in Nick Castellanos, Mike Moustakas and Shogo Akiyama, while starter Wade Miley and reliever Pedro Strop were also brought aboard.
The starting rotation of Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Trevor Bauer, Anthony DeSclafani and Miley has a chance to be one of the best in baseball, while the lineup does not have any glaring holes. The Reds are chasing their first winning season and first playoff appearance since 2013, and reaching that goal is not out of the question.
17. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox dove headfirst into the offseason, adding catcher Yasmani Grandal, outfielder Nomar Mazara, designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion, starting pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez, and reliever Steve Cishek.
They also locked up Jose Abreu (3/$50M), Luis Robert (6/$50M), Yoan Moncada (5/$70M) and Aaron Bummer (5/$16M) with extensions, while top prospects Nick Madrigal and Andrew Vaughn could debut at some point in 2020. If the starting rotation can pull its weight, they could make some serious noise in the AL Central race.
16. Boston Red Sox
With Mookie Betts traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers and ace Chris Sale battling a strained flexor tendon that could eventually lead to surgery, the Red Sox's outlook is cloudy at best.
That said, there is still a ton of talent on the roster, especially on offense, where the trio of J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers stacks up against any middle of the order in baseball. The trio of Nathan Eovaldi, Ryan Weber and Martin Perez in the starting rotation could be the deciding factor in whether they can hang around in the AL East race.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks
Thanks to a 31-22 record over the final two months of the 2019 season, the Diamondbacks finished second in the NL West race with an 85-77 record. Despite trading Paul Goldschmidt and Zack Greinke, this team still appears to be focused on contending, and a busy offseason reinforced that idea.
Madison Bumgarner was signed to a five-year, $85 million contract to replace Greinke as the veteran anchor atop the starting rotation, while outfielders Starling Marte and Kole Calhoun and reliever Junior Guerra were also added to the mix. With a solid roster in place and one of the best farm systems in baseball, the present and future look promising in the desert.
14. Chicago Cubs
Despite a quiet offseason beyond the addition of David Ross in the manager's chair, the Cubs still have enough talent to make a postseason push.
The battle for the second base job between David Bote, non-roster invitee Jason Kipnis and top prospect Nico Hoerner is one of the biggest storylines of the spring, while counting on Tyler Chatwood to replace Cole Hamels in the starting rotation is risky to say the least. If the offense can play up to its potential, the starting rotation can stay healthy and the pieces can fall into place in a patchwork bullpen, they could once again claim NL Central supremacy.
13. New York Mets
The Mets will go as far as the starting rotation of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Steven Matz and whoever wins the No. 5 starter spot between Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha can carry them in 2020.
They are capable of putting crooked numbers on the scoreboard, especially if Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil avoid significant regression, but a strong showing from the starting rotation will be the key to keeping pace in a stacked NL East race.
12. Cleveland Indians
While they missed the playoffs after winning three straight AL Central titles, the Indians still won 93 games last year.
The decision to trade Corey Kluber speaks to the team's confidence in young starters like Shane Bieber, Aaron Civale and Zach Plesac, who are expected to join Carlos Carrasco and Mike Clevinger in the starting rotation. Adding Cesar Hernandez and Domingo Santana to the lineup should also provide a boost, though the AL Central improved as a whole, and overtaking the Minnesota Twins will be no small task.
11. Oakland Athletics
The Athletics did not make any significant additions during the offseason, but there is a ton of potential for improvement with their own in-house talent, especially in terms of pitching.
A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo are both capable of emerging as frontline starters after debuting down the stretch, while Sean Manaea (29.2 IP) and Frankie Montas (96.0 IP) both pitched well in abridged seasons last year. If the pieces fall into place for the starting staff, a third straight trip to the playoffs for the small-market club is well within reach.
10. Milwaukee Brewers
Spring training performance should always be taken with a grain of salt, but rocky starts from Brett Anderson (5.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER) and Josh Lindblom (10.0 IP, 9 H, 6 ER) raise some questions about the Brewers' new-look starting rotation.
A full season of Keston Hiura and newcomers Justin Smoak, Avisail Garcia and Omar Narvaez give the offense plenty of upside, while the duo of Brandon Woodruff and Adrian Houser atop the rotation has a chance to surprise some people. This is a good Brewers team, but can it be great?
9. Philadelphia Phillies
In a recent article, I named the Phillies the 2019 non-playoff team most likely to reach the postseason in 2020.
The addition of Zack Wheeler gives the starting rotation a second ace-caliber arm alongside incumbent Aaron Nola, while top pitching prospect Spencer Howard could also be a factor by midseason. Fellow prospect Alec Bohm has a clear path to the third base job, and he could be hitting in the middle of a stacked lineup before the All-Star break as well. After last year's disappointing 81-81 finish, the Phillies could thrive post-hype.
8. St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals reached the NLCS last year after surging to the NL Central title with a 47-27 record after the All-Star break.
With Miles Mikolas battling an arm injury, Carlos Martinez will likely begin the year in the starting rotation, which in turn means Giovanny Gallegos is now the front-runner for the closer job. There's plenty of talent on the pitching staff, but it could take some time for the pieces to fall into place. Offensively, they have more than enough in-house talent to offset the departure of Marcell Ozuna.
7. Minnesota Twins
With only Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi and the currently suspended Michael Pineda back from last year's starting rotation, the Twins will now turn to some combination of Kenta Maeda, Homer Bailey, Randy Dobnak, Rich Hill and non-roster invitee Jhoulys Chacin to round out the starting staff.
Meanwhile, they also added slugger Josh Donaldson to the middle of a lineup that led the majors with 307 home runs. The biggest question mark is the bullpen, with the biggest moves to address a mediocre relief corps being the re-signing of Sergio Romo and addition of Tyler Clippard.
6. Washington Nationals
The loss of Anthony Rendon hurts—there's no ignoring that fact when it comes to the Nationals' outlook for the upcoming season. That said, top prospect Carter Kieboom and newcomer Starlin Castro could offset a lot of his lost production.
The starting rotation will be rock solid once again with the trio of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin leading the way, while the bullpen also looks stronger with the addition of Will Harris and re-signing of Daniel Hudson. Keep in mind, this team snuck into the playoffs as a wild card last year.
5. Atlanta Braves
Despite the departure of Josh Donaldson, the Braves still look like the team to beat in the NL East.
Marcell Ozuna was signed to fill his void in the middle of the lineup, while the in-house combination of Johan Camargo and Austin Riley will be entrusted with handling third base duties.
On the pitching side, free-agent signing Cole Hamels is expected to miss the start of the season with a shoulder discomfort, but he will eventually be a welcome veteran addition to a young rotation. In his absence, non-roster invitee Felix Hernandez (8.2 IP, 2 ER, 8 K) is battling with top prospect Kyle Wright (8.1 IP, 2 ER, 12 K) and a handful of others for the No. 5 starter job.
4. Houston Astros
It's going to be a long season for the Astros.
That said, there is no denying that there is still a ton of talent on their roster, and they remain the team to beat in the AL West and a clear contender for the AL pennant.
The offense returns intact and will have outfielder Kyle Tucker and designated hitter Yordan Alvarez for a full season. The uncertainty lies in the back end of the starting rotation, where a healthy Lance McCullers Jr. and up-and-comers Jose Urquidy and Josh James will be counted on for stability behind Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke.
3. Tampa Bay Rays
With the lowest payroll in baseball at $64.2 million last season, the Rays won 96 games and took the Astros to five games in the ALDS.
The health of Blake Snell, who received a cortisone shot in his elbow earlier this spring, remains to be seen. That said, a rotation of Charlie Morton, Tyler Glasnow, Yonny Chirinos, Ryan Yarbrough and perhaps an opener still has a chance to be the strength of the team.
Offensively, they added some pop with the additions of Yoshi Tsutsugo and Hunter Renfroe, but they remain a team that will go as far as their excellent pitching staff can carry them.
2. New York Yankees
The Yankees moved into the No. 1 spot in our offseason power rankings following the addition of Gerrit Cole, but a rash of injuries to key players this spring has knocked them down.
Luis Severino is lost for the season to Tommy John surgery, James Paxton will miss several months following a microscopic lumbar discectomy, Aaron Judge has a stress fracture in his rib, and Giancarlo Stanton is on the shelf with a calf strain.
They thrived with the next-man-up mentality last year, and potential rotation stand-in Jonathan Loaisiga (7.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 11 K) is already looking like the next key contributor to emerge out of necessity.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have a projected starting lineup of Mookie Betts, Max Muncy, Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Will Smith and Gavin Lux.
They also have a starting rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, David Price, Alex Wood and Julio Urias, with the likes of Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin and Ross Stripling waiting in the wings as alternative options.
If the bullpen can hold it together, with free-agent signing Blake Treinen serving as a key late-inning arm, this team has a chance to steamroll the competition. The roster is stacked, but it still needs to prove it on the field after several years of disappointing final results.