MLB Power Rankings: B/R Columnists Rank All 30 Teams for the 2011 Season

Lewie PollisSenior Analyst IIIMarch 23, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: B/R Columnists Rank All 30 Teams for the 2011 Season

0 of 30

    SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 01:  Starting pitcher Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 1, 2011 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty I
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Most baseball predictions are relatively straightforward. Sure, you can argue over whether Joey Votto will be better than Albert Pujols or who will win the AL East, but as long as the focus is on just one outcome, it's at least easy to understand the train of thought.

    That's why, when one person decides to power rank all 30 MLB teams, things inevitably go awry.

    There's a general consensus about how the top and the bottom should look, but in between the two extremes, things can get pretty screwy. One man's top-three team is in another man's bottom five.

    Luckily, Bleacher Report's Featured Columnists have found a solution. Twenty-six of the site's most knowledgeable writers, representing 18 teams, all wrote in with their lists, which we combined into this—our composite power rankings, in which the group consensus outweighs our individual biases.

    For each team, you can see our average ranking, as well as the extreme highs and lows they reached on our ballots. The numbers are accompanied by commentary from 18 different writers, so you can read a whole range of different perspectives on how the 2011 season will shake out.

    Thank you to everyone who contributed to this survey—now let's see how we do!

No. 30: Pittsburgh Pirates

1 of 30

    PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 25:  Jose Tabata #31 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with teammates Andrew McCutchen #22 and Garrett Jones #46 after scoring against the St. Louis Cardinals during the game on August 25, 2010 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvani
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 6

    Average Rank: 29.3 (6.0)

    High: 25 (5)

    Low: 30 (6)

    The Bucs bumped up their free agent spending this winter, adding Kevin Correia, Lyle Overbay and Matt Diaz for new manager Clint Hurdle.

    They also took a chance on a boatload of players on minor-league contracts, with Joe Beimel and Jose Veras helping the bullpen without the team spending much.

    Still, this will be their 19th consecutive losing season, and it could spell of the end for GM Neal Huntington.

    Bob Warja

No. 29: Kansas City Royals

2 of 30

    NEW YORK - JULY 24: The Kansas City Royals celebrate the win against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 24, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 5

    Average Rank: 26.8 (4.7)

    High: 23 (4)

    Low: 30 (5)

    I see the Royals improving from last season with the free agent acquisitions of Melky Cabrera, Jeff Francoeur and Jeff Francis.

    Their rotation is still a big question mark, but their 'pen should be solid with rookie Tim Collins and All-Star closer Joakim Soria.

    Offensively, they will be counting on the likes of Alex Gordon, Billy Butler and Kila Ka'aihue to revive an offense that has been bad for years. 

    Bill Robbins

No. 28: Cleveland Indians

3 of 30

    ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 07:  (L-R) Trevor Crowe #4, Lou Marson #30 and Jason Donald #16 of the Cleveland Indians celebrate Marson's grand slam home run in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on September 7, 2010 in
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 4

    Average Rank: 26.2 (4.4)

    High: 20 (4)

    Low: 30 (5)

    Although Grady Sizemore has now seen spring action, I don't see the Indians getting out of the cellar.

    The good news is they have some pieces in place like Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana to go along with Sizemore, but their pitching staff isn't near what the other teams in the division have this year and that, ultimately, will be what keeps them at the bottom.

    Andy Vanfossan

No. 27: Seattle Mariners

4 of 30

    SEATTLE - JUNE 22:  Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates with Josh Wilson #16 after defeating the Chicago Cubs 2-0 on June 22, 2010 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 4

    Average Rank: 25.5 (3.9)

    High: 18 (2)

    Low: 29 (4)

    The Mariners have the talent to improve on last season’s 61-101 record. They are centered on pitching, with defending Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez leading the way, followed by Eric Bedard, and top prospect Michael Pineda.

    The offense is led by Ichiro Suzuki, Chone Figgins, Milton Bradley and free agent acquisition Jack Cust. Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley should play significant roles in the lineup this season as well.

    Brandon McClintock

No. 26: Arizona Diamondbacks

5 of 30

    ATLANTA - MAY 14:  Kelly Johnson #2 and Justin Upton #10 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate after scoring against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 14, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 5

    Average Rank: 24.7 (4.7)

    High: 13 (2)

    Low: 30 (5)

    Arizona was a terrible team last season; there is no reason to think things will change in 2011.

    Last year, the Diamondbacks won just 65 games, thanks in large part to their woeful pitching.

    Their team ERA was 5.16, third worst in the major leagues. The addition of Armando Galarraga is a good one, but their bullpen is still weak. 

    Adam MacDonald

No. 25: Washington Nationals

6 of 30

    PHOENIX - AUGUST 04:  Relief pitcher Tyler Clippard #36 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with catcher Ivan Rodriguez #7 after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on August 4, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizo
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 5

    Average Rank: 24.2 (4.6)

    High: 18 (3)

    Low: 30 (5)

    Yes, there is some tremendous talent in this organization—Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman, Drew Storen, and Bryce Harper should provide a great core for years to come.

    The problem is, the Nats have no pitching. With Stephen Strasburg out for most (if not all) of the season and no other exciting names in the rotation, folks in Washington will be spending 2011 looking ahead to 2012.

    Lewie Pollis

No. 24: Houston Astros

7 of 30

    LAKELAND, FL - MARCH 02: Oswaldo Navarro #26 celebrates with his teammates T. J Steele #92 Angel Sanchez #36 and Koby Clemens #91 after hitting an eight inning three run home run  during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium on Mar
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 5

    Average Rank: 23.8 (4.8)

    High: 17 (3)

    Low: 29 (6)

    The departure of Roy Oswalt meant Houston would need to find a new face for their franchise, as the days of Bagwell, Biggio, Berkman (and now Oswalt) are long gone and the ‘Stros are in full-on rebuild mode.

    With young talents J.A. Happ and Jason Castro spending 2011 growing and rehabbing, respectively, look for the Astros to compete with the Pirates until the bitter end…for last place.

    Reed Domer-Shank

No. 23: New York Mets

8 of 30

    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 14: Jose Reyes #7 of the of the New York Mets celebrates with temmate Angel Pagan #16 after running in a two-run double from Carlos Beltran #15 (not seen) of the Mets during the fourth inning against Pittsburgh Pirates on September 14
    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 4

    Average Rank: 21.4 (4.2)

    High: 9 (3)

    Low: 28 (5)

    The Mets need pitching. Their ace is out until July, and they have no other proven starters.

    The offense is good with Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran finally healthy, and David Wright as reliable as ever. Ike Davis should improve on his 19-HR rookie year.

    There is upside on this offense, but without consistent starters, the Mets’ ceiling maxes out around 80 wins.

    Nathan Palatsky

No. 22: Baltimore Orioles

9 of 30

    BALTIMORE - AUGUST 31:  Felix Pie #18 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates with Matt Wieters #32 after hitting a home run in the eighth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Camden Yards on August 31, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 5

    Average Rank: 21.0 (4.4)

    High: 13 (3)

    Low: 28 (5)

    The 2011 O’s are not a highly-improved team. Derrek Lee, JJ Hardy, Vladimir Guerrero and Justin Duchscherer are very good additions, and the team will have a full season under manager Buck Showalter, who rejuvenated the team when he took the job last year.

    However, the Orioles play in baseball’s toughest division, so despite the improvements, they are not going anywhere in 2011.

    Adam MacDonald

No. 21: San Diego Padres

10 of 30

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22:  (L-R) Ryan Ludwick #47, Miguel Tejada #10 and David Eckstein #22 of the San Diego Padres celebrate Tejada's two-run home run in the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on September 22, 2010 in Lo
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 4

    Average Rank: 20.0 (4.0)

    High: 11 (2)

    Low: 29 (5)

    What do you get when you trade your sole offensive weapon for pitching help? A team whose pitching and general run prevention are almost infuriatingly superior to their offense.

    Orlando Hudson and Jason Bartlett solved nothing. They will allow the fewest runs in the NL and still finish with 80 or fewer wins.

    Matt Trueblood

No. 20: Chicago Cubs

11 of 30

    CHICAGO - JULY 16: (L-R) Alfonso Soriano #12, Tyler Colvin #21 and Marlon Byrd #24 of the Chicago Cubs celebrate a win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field on July 16, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Phillies 4-3. (Photo by Jon
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 4

    Average Rank: 19.6 (3.9)

    High: 6 (1)

    Low: 27 (5)

    With the Brewers’ rotation makeover, the injury to the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright, and Cincinnati celebrating its first playoff appearance in 15 years, the goings-on in Chi-town have gone largely unnoticed.

    The Cubs added a top-of-rotation starter in Matt Garza and filled the Derrek Lee hole with Comeback Player of the Year candidate Carlos Pena at first, but improving upon a 75-87, fifth-place division finish in 2010 will not be an easy task.

    Reed Domer-Shank

No. 19: Toronto Blue Jays

12 of 30

    ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 13:  Vernon Wells #10, Edwin Encarnacion #12 Jose Bautista and Yunel Escobar #5 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrate a 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium on August 13, 2010 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 4

    Average Rank: 17.5 (3.9)

    High: 6 (2)

    Low: 27 (5)

    Even with the losses of Vernon Wells and Shaun Marcum, we could see the Blue Jays turn a few heads in 2011.

    With bounceback seasons likely on the way from Aaron Hill (.196 BABIP) and Adam Lind (.277 BABIP) to go along with a deep bullpen and a promising young rotation, the Jays could end up at the 80- to 85-win mark. The only problem is the division they play in.

    Dan Hartel

No. 18: Florida Marlins

13 of 30

    SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 29:  Anibal Sanchez #19 of the Florida Marlins celebrates with his catcher Ronny Paulino #29 after throwing a one-hitter against the San Francisco Giants during an MLB game at AT&T Park on July 29, 2010 in San Francisco, California.
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 3

    Average Rank: 17.4 (3.3)

    High: 13 (3)

    Low: 25 (5)

    The Marlins are too young to know they shouldn’t contend in 2011, so they will.

    Left fielder Logan Morrison is 23 years old, Chris Coghlan is 25, and Mike Stanton has 40 HR power at 21 years old.

    Add that to a legitimate ace in Josh Johnson and the best shortstop in the game in Hanley Ramirez, and the potential is there for 90-95 wins and an NL Wild Card.

    Nathan Palatskyfor

No. 17: Los Angeles Dodgers

14 of 30

    DENVER - SEPTEMBER 27:  Catcher A.J. Ellis #17 and relief pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo #56 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after the final out against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on September 25, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. Kuo earned the save as the
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 3

    Average Rank: 15.6 (3.0)

    High: 9 (2)

    Low: 24 (4)

    First-time manager Don Mattingly is inheriting a Los Angeles Dodgers team that is looking to get back to its winning ways.

    Led by youngsters Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers have a very deep rotation.

    And if Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and James Loney can play up to their talent level, the Boys in Blue should stand a very good chance in a fairly even division.

    Jason Lempert

No. 16: Tampa Bay Rays

15 of 30

    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 10:  Carlos Pena #23 and Ben Zobrist #18 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate with Matt Joyce #20 after a 5-2 win against the Texas Rangers during game 4 of the ALDS at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 10, 2010 in Arlington, Tex
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 3

    Average Rank: 15.2 (3.6)

    High: 3 (2)

    Low: 26 (5)

    True, the Rays did lose Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, and the majority of the best bullpen in the AL. But, they have arguably the best rotation in the AL and a solid offense built around Evan Longoria.

    The Rays have Desmond Jennings pushing for a job in the OF and a solid collection of misfits that could make for a very likeable (and good) team in 2011.

    Dan Hartel

No. 15: Oakland Athletics

16 of 30

    OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 19:  Coco Crisp #4 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays during an MLB game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 19, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 3

    Average Rank: 14.5 (2.4)

    High: 7 (1)

    Low: 24 (4)

    Young hurlers such as Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Braden blossomed in 2010 and led the A’s to an AL-best 3.56 team ERA and 103 quality starts–the best in baseball.

    Expect Oakland’s veteran presence along with its solid youth to be the biggest surprise for the 2011 baseball season, as the young A’s will grow and mature into a contending team.

    Christopher Howland

No. 14: St. Louis Cardinals

17 of 30

    ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 19: Brendan Ryan #13, Albert Pujols #5 and Pedro Feliz #77 all of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate a victory over the San Diego Padres at Busch Stadium on September 19, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cardinals beat the Padres 4-1
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 3

    Average Rank: 14.1 (2.7)

    High: 5 (1)

    Low: 23 (4)

    Before the end of February, St. Louis were looking like favorites to be toward the top of the NL Central; now, the Cardinals could be hard-pressed to finish third in the division.

    The Chicago Cubs made vast improvements, and the Cincinnati Reds are loaded with talent. With Albert Pujols set to become a free agent after the season, 2011 could be a rough year for the Redbirds.

    Jason Lempert

No. 13: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

18 of 30

    ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 20:  Peter Bourjos #25, Bobby Abreu #53 and Torii Hunter #48 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim celebrate a 7-4 win over the Texas Rangers during the ninth inning at Angel Stadium on September 20, 2010 in Anaheim, California.  (P
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 2

    Average Rank: 13.5 (2.4)

    High: 6 (1)

    Low: 23 (4)

    With their competition in the AL West improving and with the Angels unable to land the free agents they coveted the most, getting back to the playoffs in 2011 will be a tall task indeed.

    While there may not be an offensive explosion out of Anaheim this year, their pitching staff will limit damage and keep the Angels in the hunt for most of the season.

    Doug Mead

No. 12: Detroit Tigers

19 of 30

    NEW YORK - AUGUST 19:  Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates his first inning two run home run against the New York Yankees with teammates Johnny Damon #18 and Will Rhymes #28 on August 19, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 3

    Average Rank: 12.5 (2.5)

    High: 5 (1)

    Low: 19 (3)

    Detroit will vie for the AL Central crown this year. They added Joaquin Benoit and Victor Martinez to a team that already had a solid pitching staff and a line-up that included Austin Jackson, Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera.

    Justin Verlander is a solid No. 1 starter, and Jose Valverde will serve well as the closer.

    Expect the Twins and White Sox to challenge the Tigers for AL Central supremacy.

    Andy Vanfossan

No. 11: Colorado Rockies

20 of 30

    PHOENIX - SEPTEMBER 22:  Melvin Mora #6 of the Colorado Rockies celebrates with teammates Ryan Spilborghs #19, Jonathan Herrera #18 and Carlos Gonzalez #5 after Mora hit a three-run homerun against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of the M
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 2

    Average Rank: 11.9 (2.4)

    High: 5 (1)

    Low: 23 (4)

    I picked the Rockies to win the West last year, and I will pick them again this year. Tulowitzki is amazing, and the bullpen looks deeper given the addition of Lindstrom and assuming good health for Street.

    They spent their winter locking up six of their own players, including Tulo and CarGo. They also retained De La Rosa and brought in Wigginton and Paulino.

    Bob Warja

No. 10: Chicago White Sox

21 of 30

    CHICAGO - JULY 26: (L-R) Alex Rios #51, Andruw Jones #25 and Juan Pierre #1 of the Chicago White Sox celebrate a win over the Seattle Mariners at U.S. Cellular Field on July 26, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Mariners 6-1. (Photo by
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 2

    Average Rank: 11.2 (2.0)

    High: 3 (1)

    Low: 22 (3)

    Kenny Williams has put together a serious division contender for the South Side, as Ozzie Guillen has a solid roster.

    Newcomer Adam Dunn could have a big season in a potent lineup that’s anchored by underrated star Paul Konerko.

    The bullpen is strong and the rotation is deep, but Jake Peavy needs return to his old self or the White Sox will lack a true ace.

    Christopher Czar

No. 9: Milwaukee Brewers

22 of 30

    HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 15:  Carlos Gomez, center, Ryan Braun, left, and Corey Hart of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrate their win over the Houston Astros 8-6 in ten innings at Minute Maid Park on September 15, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 2

    Average Rank: 10.3 (2.0)

    High: 4 (1)

    Low: 20 (5)

    We all know this squad can hit. All it needed was to bolster the pitching staff, and they did just that this offseason.

    Bringing in Shaun Marcum and Cy Young winner Zack Greinke will take some of the load off Yovani Gallardo's shoulders.

    With the Cardinals losing Wainwright and the Reds not surprising anyone this year, watch out for the Brewers. 

    Shaun McPartlin

No. 8: Cincinnati Reds

23 of 30

    CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 28: The Cincinnati Reds celebrate Jay Bruce's walk off home run against the Houston Astros at Great American Ball Park on September 28, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 3-2 to clinch the NL Central Division title. (Photo b
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 1

    Average Rank: 8.9 (1.7)

    High: 3 (1)

    Low: 18 (3)

    Cincinnati has too much pitching and catching depth to fail in 2011, but that doesn't mean they will succeed.

    Joey Votto will be great, Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs will be good, but the overall defense and the lower half of the order are liabilities.

    Their competition got much stiffer this winter with the Cubs' and Brewers' improvements.

    Matt Trueblood

No. 7: Minnesota Twins

24 of 30

    BALTIMORE - JULY 22:  Carl Pavano #48 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates with Drew Butera #41 after pitching a complete game shutout against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards on July 22, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland.  The Twins won the game 5-0. (Photo
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 1

    Average Rank: 8.0 (1.5)

    High: 4 (1)

    Low: 14 (3)

    Another first-round playoff exit was disappointing, but this is still the best team in the division.

    Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau anchor the lineup, while the return of Joe Nathan should help offset the loss of four core bullpen pieces.

    The Twins still need a reliable starter behind Carl Pavano and Francisco Liriano, but the addition of Japanese import Tsuyoshi Nishioka to the infield could give the team a serious boost.

    Dmitriy Ioselevich

No. 6: Atlanta Braves

25 of 30

    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 18:  Derek Lee #27 of the Atlanta Braves jumps in celebration after beating the New York Mets 4 - 2 on September 18, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Gett
    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 2

    Average Rank: 7.7 (2.0)

    High: 2 (1)

    Low: 13 (2)

    The starting rotation hasn’t changed much, but the bullpen will have a different look with Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters expected to fill the roles left by Wagner and Takashi Saito.

    The acquisition of Uggla will only help Jason Heyward and the Braves as they attempt to make it to the postseason again.

    Will Brown

No. 5: Texas Rangers

26 of 30

    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 22:  The Texas Rangers celebrate on the field after defeating the New York Yankees 6-1 in Game Six of the ALCS to advance to the World Series during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2010 in Arli
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 1

    Average Rank: 7.5 (1.3)

    High: 2 (1)

    Low: 15 (3)

    The 2010 AL champs didn’t just rest on their laurels this offseason—instead, they upgraded with slick-gloved Adrian Beltre and slugging Mike Napoli.

    Full seasons from Nelson Cruz and Mitch Moreland, comebacks from Elvis Andrus and Julio Borbon, and the further development of their young rotation will take the Rangers far.

    Yes, they lost Cliff Lee. But last year, they got to first place without him. Why can’t they do it again?

    Lewie Pollis

No. 4: San Francisco Giants

27 of 30

    ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 01:  The San Francisco Giants including Mark DeRosa and Aubrey Huff celebrate their 3-1 victory to win the World Series over the Texas Rangers in Game Five of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on November
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 1

    Average Rank: 5.2 (1.2)

    High: 1 (1)

    Low: 13 (2)

    The 2010 World Series Champs enter 2011 with the majority of their Championship team intact.

    Pitching is the strength, behind two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathon Sanchez, Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito, who round out one of the league’s top rotations.

    The lineup should be better with a slimmer Pablo Sandoval and the eventual arrival of Brandon Belt.

    Brandon McClintock

No. 3: New York Yankees

28 of 30

    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 20:  Alex Rodriguez #13, Lance Berkman #17 and Jorge Posada #20 of the New York Yankees celebrate after the Yankees won 7-2 against the Texas Rangers in Game Five of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 20,
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 2

    Average Rank: 4.0 (2.0)

    High: 1 (1)

    Low: 11 (3)

    The Yankees had a disappointing offseason, headlined by missing out on signing Cliff Lee and the retirement of Andy Pettitte.

    This leaves a lot of question marks in New York's rotation, but strong springs by A.J. Burnett and Ivan Nova are a reason for some optimism.

    On the bright side, the heart of the order is still among the best in the game with Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.

    Jordan Schwartz

No. 2: Boston Red Sox

29 of 30

    BOSTON - APRIL 06:  Victor Martinez #41 celebrates his home run with Jacoby Ellsbury #2 and Kevin Youkilis #20, all of the Boston Red Sox against the New york Yankees attempts to field an errant at Fenway Park on April 6, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. (P
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 1

    Average Rank: 1.8 (1.2)

    High: 1 (1)

    Low: 4 (2)

    If Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, and Jacoby Ellsbury had come back healthy and the Red Sox simply stood pat this winter, dayenu—“it would have been enough.”

    But it wasn’t enough for GM Theo Epstein, who added five-tool man Carl Crawford and the powerful Adrian Gonzalez to Boston’s already imposing lineup, making them the easy favorites for the AL pennant.

    Even Phillies GM Ruben Amaro thinks this is the best team in baseball.

    Lewie Pollis

No. 1: Philadelphia Phillies

30 of 30

    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 20:  (L-R) Shane Victorino #8, Chase Utley #26, and Ryan Howard #6 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrate after Victorino and Utley scored on a double by Placido Polanco #27 against the San Francisco Giants in Game Four of the NLCS
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Division Rank: 1

    Average Rank: 1.7 (1.0)

    High: 1 (1)

    Low: 3 (2)

    Cliff Lee joins Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels to form one of the most fearsome foursomes in history.

    A lineup that includes Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez is almost a certain guarantee to score more than enough runs for their pitching staff.

    The Phillies have enough talent and depth in their organization to almost assure themselves of another playoff appearance in 2011

    Jason Lempert


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.