MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand Ahead of 2020 Opening Day
Opening Day is here.
When the first pitch of the 2020 MLB season is thrown Thursday, it will have been 271 days since the end of the 2019 World Series—but baseball will finally be back.
Among other things, that means finalizing our MLB power rankings for the start of the 2020 season.
The rankings were shuffled throughout the offseason as notable free agents signed and teams completed blockbuster trades. Then they were updated again once spring training resumed after the long layoff. Now, the time has come to set baselines for the upcoming season with one final set of tweaks.
Within the rankings, we've provided a quick outlook on each team for the 2020 season.
Off we go.
30. Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles are still in the early stages of rebuilding, and on the heels of a second straight 100-loss season, another year mired in the AL East cellar looks unavoidable.
At this point in the process, it's all about player development and trying to identify potential long-term contributors.
Austin Hays is one to watch after he hit .309/.373/.574 with 10 extra-base hits in 75 plate appearances as a September call-up last year. The 25-year-old has a firm hold on the starting center field job, and he could be the team's primary leadoff hitter.
29. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers did a nice job filling out the roster through the fringes of the free-agent market, signing slugger C.J. Cron and former All-Star Jonathan Schoop to shore up the right side of the infield and veteran workhorse Ivan Nova to eat up some innings in the rotation.
Big-picture, this team is still a few years away from any semblance of contention, but the future looks bright thanks to a farm system fronted by top-tier pitching prospect Casey Mize and Matt Manning along with 2020 No. 1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson.
Trade rumors will continue to center around Matthew Boyd, especially if he can rebound from a rocky finish to the 2019 season. The 29-year-old is controllable through the 2022 season, and he racked up 238 strikeouts in 185.1 innings last year.
28. Miami Marlins
There were plenty of bright spots on the 2019 Marlins, including another strong season from Brian Anderson and breakout performances from Sandy Alcantara and Caleb Smith in the starting rotation.
For now, this team is still building toward the future, and they are squarely at the bottom of a stacked NL East division.
The young trio of Alcantara, Smith and Pablo Lopez in the starting rotation has a chance to surprise some people. The additions of Jonathan Villar, Jesus Aguilar and Corey Dickerson give the lineup a boost, but an 11th straight losing season appears likely.
27. Kansas City Royals
The Royals have done a fantastic job replenishing their farm system in recent years, and they have assembled one of the most impressive collections of young pitching talent in baseball.
However, there is little to build around on the current MLB roster.
Whit Merrifield is a star, and guys like Jorge Soler, Hunter Dozier and Adalberto Mondesi provide further excitement offensively, but the pitching just isn't there yet for this team to be anything but an also-ran.
The impending debut of 2018 first-round pick Brady Singer could be the big story in 2020.
26. Colorado Rockies
The performance of the starting rotation behind German Marquez and Jon Gray will determine whether the Rockies can return to contention. They followed up back-to-back postseason appearances with a 71-91 finish last year.
With no significant outside additions made the staff, here are the leading candidates to fill out the rotation:
- Kyle Freeland: 104.1 IP, 6.73 ERA, 5.99 FIP
- Antonio Senzatela: 124.2 IP, 6.71 ERA, 5.44 FIP
- Jeff Hoffman: 70.0 IP, 6.56 ERA, 6.80 FIP
- Chi Chi Gonzalez: 63.0 IP 5.29 ERA, 5.64 FIP
Unless a couple of guys from that group do an extreme about-face, it's going to be another disappointing season.
25. San Francisco Giants
With Madison Bumgarner gone in free agency, Buster Posey opting out of the 2020 season and both Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria set to start the 2020 season on the injured list, the Giants roster is almost unrecognizable.
That's not the worst thing in the world for a team that has been delaying the inevitable and putting off rebuilding for years now.
Outfielder Mike Yastrzemski looks like a keeper and Johnny Cueto will be one to watch as he looks to return to form with a clean bill of health, but this season will be all about in-house evaluation. The front office is now focused on the future while they run out the clock on some less-than-favorable contracts.
24. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners exploded out the gates to a 13-2 record last season and then stumbled to a 55-92 mark the rest of the way.
There's legitimate reason for optimism in Seattle right now—despite a postseason drought that stretches back to 2001—thanks to a loaded farm system headlined by outfielders Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez as well as right-hander Logan Gilbert.
While those guys are still a few years away, the first wave of young talent has already arrived. Outfielder Kyle Lewis, first baseman Evan White, left-hander Justus Sheffield and right-hander Justin Dunn are ready to take the first steps toward solidifying their places in the team's long-term plans in 2020.
They're building something special, but there's still a lot of construction left to go.
23. Pittsburgh Pirates
What's next for a team that finished last season in shambles?
The Pirates entered the 2019 All-Star break with a 44-45 record, just 2.5 games behind the NL Central leader. They then went into a full-blown free fall during the second half, going 25-48 with a minus-117 run differential to close out the year 22 games back in the division cellar.
Ownership cleaned house from the general manager on down, and star center fielder Starling Marte was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks, paving the way for a likely rebuild in the years to come.
Right-hander Joe Musgrove, infielder Kevin Newman and outfielder Bryan Reynolds are among the potential long-term pieces to build around, while slugging first baseman Josh Bell could wind up being the next high-profile trade chip.
22. Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are the lowest-ranked team in these rankings that I would give better than a zero percent chance of reaching the postseason in 2020.
They spent the offseason retooling the pitching staff with the additions of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Chase Anderson and Shun Yamaguchi, and flame-throwing prospect Nate Pearson should get the call early on if the Blue Jays are serious about making a playoff push.
Meanwhile, the trio of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio is only going to get better, and there's more impact talent on the way in the years to come. They might not be ready to make a push in the AL East just yet, but a winning record is not out of reach.
21. Los Angeles Angels
The Angles were last in the AL and second-to-last in the majors last season in ERA from their starting rotation (5.64).
So they went out and spent $245 million on...a third baseman.
If they had managed to reel in Gerrit Cole to front the staff, we might be talking about the Angels as serious wild-card contenders. Instead, they settled on Julio Teheran and Dylan Bundy as the big additions to the starting staff.
Are those newcomers and a healthy Shohei Ohtani pitching once a week going to be enough to raise the staff up from the bottom of the heap to the middle of the pack, where it will need to be if they're going to contend?
It's not impossible—but pretty unlikely.
20. Texas Rangers
Lance Lynn and Mike Minor were one of the best starting pitching tandems in baseball last season; the problem was the other three spots in the starting rotation were a dumpster fire.
That issue was addressed with the additions of Corey Kluber, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles.
Kluber doesn't even need to return to his previous ace form—he just needs to be a solid No. 3 starter—and this staff has a chance to do a lot of the heavy lifting.
Joey Gallo looked like a legitimate MVP candidate last year before his season was derailed by injury, while young hitters Willie Calhoun and Nick Solak are also capable of making an impact.
A lot will have to break right, but don't sleep on the Rangers.
19. San Diego Padres
The Padres were an attractive pick to be a dark-horse contender last year, and while they did improve their win total, it was by just four from 66 to 70 and resulted in a second straight finish in the NL West cellar.
Despite that disappointment, they are squarely in the dark-horse category once again.
If Dinelson Lamet breaks out. If Garrett Richards stays healthy. If Tommy Pham and Trent Grisham shore up the outfield. If the bullpen trio of Drew Pomeranz, Emilio Pagan and Kirby Yates is as dominant as it looks on paper.
There are a lot of ifs, but the potential is there for them to make a surprise push.
18. Boston Red Sox
With David Price traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chris Sale out for the season following Tommy John surgery, the Red Sox rotation is one big question mark.
Nathan Eovaldi will need to live up to his contract, Martin Perez will need to pitch like he did during the first half last season, and Ryan Weber will need to deliver on his breakout potential.
Otherwise, this season could devolve into a complete disaster.
And while the offensive core of J.D. Martinez, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi and newcomer Alex Verdugo are capable of overcoming the loss of Mookie Betts, it won't matter if their pitching can't keep them in games.
17. Chicago White Sox
This could wind up being a comically low ranking for a team on the rise with some serious potential, but they still have a lot to prove after an 89-loss season in 2019.
While veterans Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez bring some welcome stability to the young pitching staff, they still need someone like Reynaldo Lopez or Dylan Cease to step up alongside budding ace Lucas Giolito.
Offensively, catcher Yasmani Grandal, designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and right fielder Nomar Mazara all represent upgrades at their positions, while Luis Robert is the odds-on favorite for AL Rookie of the Year honors.
Will that be enough to improve an offense that ranked 24th in runs and 24th in OPS last year? Especially considering Tim Anderson (.399 BABIP) and Yoan Moncada (.406 BABIP) both look like prime candidates for regression.
The South Siders' time is coming, but they might still be a year away.
16. Cincinnati Reds
"The goal for us now, all we're talking about is the postseason," Cincinnati Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams told reporters last October. "That's what matters. That's the goal next year. It's not taking incremental steps in a rebuild. It's about the postseason."
The front office then backed up that sentiment by signing Nick Castellanos (four years, $64 million), Mike Moustakas (four years, $64 million), Shogo Akiyama (three years, $21 million) and Wade Miley (two years, $15 million) in free agency.
There's a strong case to be made that Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, Trevor Bauer, Anthony DeSclafani and Miley is the best starting rotation in the NL Central and one of the best in all of baseball.
That pitching, along with the additions of Castellanos and Moustakas in the middle of the lineup and healthy seasons from Nick Senzel and Jesse Winker, could mean a drastic improvement over last year's 75-87 finish.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks finished 2019 on a roll, going 31-22 over the final two months of the season and 8-2 over their last 10 games to finish with an 85-77 record.
Then they went out and added workhorse starter Madison Bumgarner, slugging right fielder Kole Calhoun and do-it-all center fielder Starling Marte during the offseason.
If Luke Weaver can return to his pre-injury form and Zac Gallen can build off his strong debut, the starting rotation has a chance to be a real strength—and there's more than enough punch in the lineup.
People are excited about the Padres in the NL West, but don't overlook the D-backs.
14. Chicago Cubs
Even in a season that was disappointing by all accounts, the Cubs still won 84 games and finished just five games out of a playoff spot.
The transition from Joe Maddon to David Ross in the manager's seat might be just what the team needs to reset, and there's no question the roster is still extremely talented.
Offensively, they core pieces are still in place. The universal DH will allow the team to use Kyle Schwarber in that role, which could open the door for a breakout season from Ian Happ in left field.
It's the pitching staff that will determine whether they can return to the postseason. The starting rotation will need to pull its weight behind Kyle Hendricks and Yu Darvish, and the new-look bullpen will need to fall into place around closer Craig Kimbrel.
13. New York Mets
Did the Mets do enough to improve during the offseason?
A full season of Marcus Stroman will offset the loss of Zack Wheeler, but with Noah Syndergaard out of commission following Tommy John surgery, they are left to rely on Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha to hold down two rotation spots. That duo was available on one-year contracts for a reason.
Offensively, no significant additions were made to a team that ranked 13th in runs last year.
A potential breakout season from Amed Rosario and a healthy Yoenis Cespedes provide reasons for optimism, but it's still essentially the same cast of characters.
The Mets are a good team. Still, it's fair to question whether they did enough to close the gap in the NL East after finishing a distant third in the standings last year.
12. Cleveland Indians
The Indians will be counting on some combination of Aaron Civale, Adam Plutko and Zach Plesac to hold down the final two spots in the starting rotation after Corey Kluber was traded during the offseason.
That makes the health of Mike Clevinger and Carlos Carrasco that much more important as the Nos. 2 and 3 starters behind emerging ace Shane Bieber. If they wind up relying on all three of those pitchers to occupy rotation spots, that's a recipe for disaster.
Offensively, a full season of Franmil Reyes hitting in the middle of the lineup, along with newcomers Cesar Hernandez and Domingo Santana, should provide a boost. If Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor can perform up to their MVP-caliber potential, scoring runs won't be an issue.
It's easy to overlook the Indians after they were overtaken by the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central race last year, but they were still a 93-win team.
11. Milwaukee Brewers
Last season, the Brewers reached the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the 1981 and 1982 campaigns.
After they were ousted in the NL Wild Card Game, they set to work retooling the roster, and there are 11 newcomers on the projected 30-man roster, courtesy of FanGraphs.
That total does not include infielder Luis Urias and pitchers Eric Lauer and Brett Anderson, who are all currently sidelined. By the time the season kicks into full gear, it's not out of the question to think that half the active roster could be new faces.
Under the unique circumstances of a shortened season, it will be interesting to see how quickly all of those new pieces jell. The pitching staff could be the determining factor, and in-house guys like Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta are just as important as the offseason additions.
10. Philadelphia Phillies
A shaky starting rotation behind ace Aaron Nola sunk the Phillies' playoff hopes last year, and they ended up finishing 81-81 after starting the year with lofty expectations.
Zack Wheeler was signed to a five-year, $118 million contract in free agency, and he'll slot into the No. 2 spot in the rotation. If he can pitch up to his potential and Jake Arrieta can rebound, they have the makings of a solid rotation in place.
With Andrew McCutchen back healthy, Jay Bruce properly utilized in the DH role and Didi Gregorius out to prove something on a one-year deal, there's plenty of punch in the lineup around superstars Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto.
They did more to improve during the offseason than the Mets did, but they are still chasing the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals in the NL East.
9. Oakland Athletics
The Oakland Athletics won 97 games last season, and they did it with 11 different pitchers starting at least five games.
Even with a strained shoulder landing A.J. Puk on the injured list, they should have far more stability in the starting rotation this year.
Sean Manaea is healthy, Frankie Montas is back from suspension, Mike Fiers and Chris Bassitt are back after quietly productive 2019 seasons, and Jesus Luzardo is ready to show why he's considered one of the top pitching prospects in baseball.
Offensively, Sean Murphy should be an upgrade at the catcher position. It's hard to find a hole in the lineup, especially if Franklin Barreto can seize the opportunity at second base.
The A's have made back-to-back postseason appearances, and they're not going anywhere.
8. St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals had a quiet offseason, with KBO standout Kwang Hyun Kim and utility infielder Brad Miller ranking as their biggest additions.
However, by letting Marcell Ozuna walk and trading away Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena, they cleared a logjam in the outfield, opening a path for Tyler O'Neill to see everyday playing time to start the year and eventually for top prospect Dylan Carlson to be promoted.
With rising star Jack Flaherty leading a rock-solid rotation and plenty of depth in the bullpen even with Jordan Hicks opting out of the 2020 season, the Cardinals are more than capable of making another postseason run.
Their X-factor will be the middle of the lineup's ability to drive in runs. Paul Goldschmidt needs to return to form, and others will need to step up to offset the loss of Ozuna.
7. Minnesota Twins
The Twins set an MLB record with 307 home runs as a team last season.
So what did they do during the offseason? They went out and signed slugger Josh Donaldson, fresh off a 37-homer, 94-RBI season with the Braves, to a four-year, $92 million contract.
They should pile up runs again in 2020—the question is whether they have the pitching to hold off the Indians once again in the AL Central.
Veterans Rich Hill and Homer Bailey were signed in free agency and Kenta Maeda was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers, giving the starting rotation a new look behind Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi. The bullpen was largely unchanged besides the addition of Tyler Clippard.
They pieced together a productive bullpen last year, and if it holds up again in 2020, they look like the team to beat in the division once again.
6. Washington Nationals
The Nationals lost a significant member of their World Series-winning roster when Anthony Rendon inked a seven-year, $245 million contract with the Angels in free agency.
In the end, re-upping with Stephen Strasburg was the right decision, and it keeps intact what is arguably the best starting rotation in baseball. Even with Joe Ross opting out of the 2020 season, the staff is in great shape with Austin Voth filling the No. 5 starter role behind Max Scherzer, Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and a resurgent Anibal Sanchez.
Offensively, the low-cost addition of Starlin Castro will replace some of Rendon's production, while a step forward from Victor Robles and the eventual arrival of top prospect Carter Kieboom could also go a long way.
Bringing back veterans Howie Kendrick and Asdrubal Cabrera, along with the signing of Eric Thames, gives them one of the deepest rosters in baseball in terms of position players.
They're still chasing the Braves—remember they didn't win the division last year—but they should be right in the thick of things once again.
5. Houston Astros
Love them or hate them, the Houston Astros are not going away.
They finished third in the majors with an .819 OPS on the road last year. They were 47-34 with a plus-113 run differential away from Minute Maid Park. With or without the trash can, this team is going to be one of the most potent offensive teams in baseball.
If Kyle Tucker can push his way into the starting lineup and Carlos Correa can stay healthy, the lineup could be even more dangerous than it was a year ago.
The questions are on the pitching side of things.
Gerrit Cole and Wade Miley are gone and the team is counting on a healthy Lance McCullers Jr. and young pitchers like Josh James, Framber Valdez and Jose Urquidy to replace them. If the three guys pitching behind Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke can pull their weight, a fourth consecutive division title could be in the cards.
4. Atlanta Braves
The Braves are still a team on the rise, and that's a scary proposition for the rest of baseball considering they won 97 games and their second straight NL East title in 2019.
Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Mike Soroka and Max Fried have joined face of the franchise Freddie Freeman as core pieces, and there is more young talent on the way.
Kyle Wright looks like the favorite for the No. 5 starter job. Cristian Pache and Drew Waters both closed out the 2019 season at Triple-A. Austin Riley is still capable of being an impact player despite a shaky finish to his rookie season.
They also went out and spent on veteran starter Cole Hamels and slugger Marcell Ozuna in free agency while also adding All-Star closer Will Smith to the bullpen.
It's getting harder and harder to find a weakness in their roster, and they still have one of the best farm systems in baseball. This is a team built for long-term success.
3. Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays won 96 games last season while operating with the lowest payroll in baseball.
Their $64.2 million payroll was roughly 29 percent of what the New York Yankees paid their roster last year, and that gap has only widened following the Gerrit Cole signing.
It's a testament to their ability to develop in-house talent that they are able to succeed while operating with such tight purse strings, and that's exactly why they can't be counted out of the 2020 title picture.
They addressed their lack of over-the-fence power with the additions of Hunter Renfroe, Yoshi Tsutsugo and Jose Martinez while also adding defensive standout Manny Margot in the outfield.
On the pitching side, the biggest addition comes in the form of a healthy Tyler Glasnow, who has a chance to be a bona fide ace if he can pick up where he left off in 2019 before going down with a forearm strain.
The pitching staff will again be one of the best in baseball, and manager Kevin Cash has even more weapons at his disposal with expanded rosters. The Yankees might be the favorites in the AL pennant race, but the Rays are right there alongside them.
2. New York Yankees
The Yankees did such a phenomenal job dealing with injuries last season that it's hard to discount their chances in 2020 based on who's missing in action.
Still, it's hard not to be a bit squeamish about a starting rotation that is currently without Masahiro Tanaka and will be without Luis Severino for the duration of the season. Given the lengthy injury history of James Paxton, mediocrity of J.A. Happ last season and the overall lack of proven depth behind the current starters, they could run into some issues.
That may not be as big of an issue over a shortened 60-game season, but it's an issue nonetheless.
That's what keeps the Yankees out of the No. 1 spot in these rankings. The lineup is going to rake, the bullpen is rock-solid, and they added one of the game's elite pitchers to the top of the staff in Gerrit Cole.
This is the team to beat in the American League.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Is this the year the Dodgers finally make it over the hump?
They won 106 games and a seventh straight NL West title last year, only to fall to the wild-card Nationals in the NLDS.
Approaching the offseason with a sense of urgency, they pulled off a blockbuster trade for superstar Mookie Betts, adding him to an already potent lineup that included reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger, 30-homer slugger Max Muncy and an extremely productive left side of the infield of Corey Seager and Justin Turner.
The rotation has a new look after Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu departed in free agency and Kenta Maeda was traded, but that doesn't mean they've downgraded.
Julio Urias now has a clear path to a starting role, Ross Stripling is a former All-Star, and Alex Wood was one of the more appealing bounce-back candidates on the free-agent market. If anyone from that group falters, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin both pitched well in their first taste of MLB action last year.
The X-factor is once again the bullpen. If Blake Treinen can return to his 2018 form, that would go a long way in shoring up the late-inning situation.
On paper, which is all we can base these rankings off right now, the Dodgers are the most complete team in baseball and the team to beat in 2020.