I am a sports and music fanatic from Farmington, CT, currently attending Saint Joseph's University in Connecticut. I am mainly interested in College Basketball, CIAC High School Basketball, and Major League Baseball, though I follow just about all sports closely.

Monday, April 5, 2010

MLB Power Rankings: 4/5/2010

After just about every team playing in the past two days I think I have a grip on my preliminary power rankings. What a great opening day it was in baseball. Dominant pitchers looked dominant (Lincecum, Halladay, Santana, Bueherle), while dominant hitters looked dominant (Howard, Pujolks, Youkilis). Mark Buehrle also made a play that should go down as one of the best of the year when everything's all said and done.

Not only all of that, but the Sox won. That's always a plus.

Here we go:

1. Philadelphia Phillies
I don't think many people realize just how good Roy Halladay is. He is not on the same level as Cliff Lee. His is about two levels ahead of Cliff Lee, and every other pitcher in baseball. He has been the best pitcher in baseball for more than half a decade, pitching for a crappy team in the best offensive division in baseball. Now with the best team in the National League, there's nothing stopping Halladay from a 25 win season.

2. Boston Red Sox
Okay, maybe it's a little premature to put them ahead of the 2009 World Series Champion New York Yankees, but the Sox are definately improved from last year. Mike Cameron, Adrian Beltre and Marco Scutaro are all plus defensive players, who proved last night they could hit a little as well. Not only that but Cameron should work wonders on the already solid clubhouse.

3. New York Yankees
Sure, I don't think the Yankees really improved much from last year, but they didn't get any worse either. Javier Vazquez will be a huge pick-up in the back of the rotation, while Curtis Granderson has potential to be a star. Moving Phil Hughes to the bullpen, though, may turn out to be a bad decision unless Joba returns to the form he had as a set-up man back when he was a rookie.
Alright, so there you have it. My first edition of the 2010 MLB power rankings. Oh wait, there's more teams in the league. I completely forgot about that. In all honesty though, the top three are miles away from the pack. No one else throws all-stars around at every position like Boston, Philadelphia and the bombers. That being said, you can't count out the other teams quite yet seeing as the season has barely started. Here are "the rest"
4. St. Louis Cardinals
It's always a good sign when you have the best hitter in baseball and two of the better pitchers in your league, 
and that's just what the Cardinals have. Albert Pujols is unstoppable, and Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, Ryan Ludwick and Colby Rasmus should surround him well. Losing Joel Piniero could be a roadblock for the pitching staff, but they still retain 2009 Cy Young candidates Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter.

5. Colorado Rockies
There's just something about this club that's been magical the past couple of years, and despite the fact they've been to the playoffs two of the past three years they still may slip under some people's radar. But this offense is dynamic, led by modern day stars like Troy Tulowitzki and Brad Hawpe, as well as veteran presences like Todd Helton and Jason Giambi. Newcomer Greg Smith who hasn't pitched in the majors since 2008, needs to show that he can be a solid back of the rotation starter.

6. Atlanta Braves
If Jason Heyward is as good as people say he is, there's no saying just how good Atlanta could be this year. Already in a line-up with proven hitters like Chipper Jones and Brian McCann, Heyward could be a key piece in bringing the Braves to the next level. They already have a loaded rotation with Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson, and Derek Lowe, but it would be very key for them if someone steps up as a bonafide ace.

7. Minnesota Twins
I don't think (with the exception of MAYBE Pujols), you can associate one player with a franchise as well as you do Joe Mauer with the Twins, and this could be his year to try and get a title. Unless playing in the Metrodome really was that big of a home-field advantage, there's no reason why Minnesota doesn't win more games this year at Target Field, especially with the additions of J.J. Hardy, Orlando Hudson and Jim Thome.

8. Tampa Bay Rays
I know, I know. Three teams in the same division, before some divisions even have one. But the Rays really are an excellent young baseball team. The Sox and Yankees aren't necessarily guaranteed the playoffs because of the boys from Tampa lurking behind them. Evan Longoria is a superstar, while Ben Zobrist and Jason Bartlett are two of the most underrated players in baseball. Zobrist deserved serious MVP consideration last year.

9. Seattle Mariners
No one in baseball throws out a 1,2 punch as good as Cliff Lee and King Felix, but the Mariners are going to need a couple other things to click before they're a true playoff contender. Casey Kotchman was the back-up first baseman for the Red Sox last year, and is now the Mariners #3 hitter. David Aardsma was a scrub long reliever for the Sox a few years back and is now their closer. Are the Sox really that much better than everyone else?

10. San Francisco Giants
This may be biased because I've been hearing for the past few months about how good the Giants are going to be, but I'm not sure if that makes me have them higher or lower than they should be. Lincecum is a flat out stud, but like last year they're going to need some people to step up and get some runs. Aubrey Huff should at leaset help a bit with that.

11. Texas Rangers
It's almost scary just how much pure talent Texas has, it's just that they haven't really channeled all of it quite yet. This especially appies to their young pitching staff, with future studs like Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter, and Neftali Feliz. Holland and Hunter are starting in the minors, so look for them to be out to prove something when they get the call in a few months. Both are just oozing with raw talent.

12. Detroit Tigers
Jose Valverde joining the Tigers is one of the most underrated offseason acquisitions of the year. Detroit has been missing that go-to closer in the past, and Valverde is that option. Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera have proven themselves as stars and will lead the pitching and hitting respectively, but youngsters like Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello may be poised to join that all-star type category as well this year.

13. Los Angeles Dodgers
Joe Torre and his guys in blue were the best team in the National League for most of last year, but anytime Vincente Padilla is your opening day started you have to be a bit skeptical. Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley form a solid 1,2, but it's not as dominant as many of the other contenders, and that could be a problem down the line.

14. Arizona Diamondbacks
Arizona could be the surprise team of the year this year, especially if Brandon Webb can come back off the DL as effective as he usually is, although they do play in a very, very tough division. Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson are both dominant top of the rotation guys as it is, but adding Webb back should bring them to another level. Young superstars Mark Reynolds, Stephen Drew and Justin Upton need to improve on their solid 2009 campaigns for the D'Backs to hold a chance in the NL West.

15. New York Mets
God knows when Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes will be on the field together again, but when they both return the Mets will put out a pretty solid team. Until then, they're going to need to survive in a division with Atlanta and Philadelphia, but having Johan Santana at the top of the rotation will help.

16. Chicago Cubs
Ouch! Zambrano didn't look too hot today. Now usually you really shouldn't have to worry when your #1 struggles a bit on opening day (Ex. a, Josh Beckett), but 8 runs after not getting out of the 2nd is worth losing sleep over. I may be being a bit generous here, could be a tough season on the South Side.

17. Los Angeles Angels
I really do think the Angels will drop this far, and may not even finish over .500. Anytime you lose Chone Figgins, Vladimir Guerrero and John Lackey in the same year, you're bound to have an off season. But, Mike Scioscia's just too good of a manager, and the Angels front office has been steadily brilliant over the past decade and they should be back at the top in no time.

18. Chicago White Sox
Ozzie Guillen has to go, plain and simple. He gives absolutely nothing positive to this franchise, in my opinion. Except for the fact that they lack a true #1 starter (though Buehrle looked like one today, and Peavy has been one in the past), the White Sox have all the pieces to be a playoff team. I still don't see them challenging Minnesota or Detroit.

19. Cincinnati Reds
Reds fans have good reason to be optimistic. Aroldis Chapman is supposed to be a special talent, and by signing him Cincinnati puts themselves on the map as a contender. Reds fans just need to be patient. They won't make the playoffs this year, but they're on the right direction to go back to the glory days they had in the past.

20. Florida Marlins
Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson form a solid nucleus, but they may not have the other components to compete in a strong NL East division.

21. Houston Astros
With Lance Berkman on the DL to start the season, Houston's offense really is quite weak. They have a solid front of their rotation with Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez, but they may not have enough to get back to the playoffs.

22. Milwaukee Brewers
Ryan Braun's just about the only bright spot left after the CC Sabathia debacle of 2007 didn't quite pay off.

23. Baltimore Orioles
Good young offense led by Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, and Nick Markakis should lead the Orioles to some victories, but their pitching staff may be too inexpierenced to give them any shot in the toughest division in the MLB.

24. Kansas City Royals
Zach Grienke is one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. End of story.

25. Oakland Athletics
Billy Beane's "Moneyball" technique either doesn't work, or isn't effective anymore because everybody knows about it, because Oakland now has very few encouraging pieces on their roster.

26. Toronto Blue Jays
They were below average with Roy Halladay. Now it should be an adventure without the best pitcher in baseball.

27. Washington Nationals
I don't care if Stephen Strasburg is as effective as Roy Halladay when he gets called up, the Nationals are still a bad team. But at least they're kind of headed in the right direction.

28. Cleveland Indians
They were so bad last year that they didn't even have a Cy Young winner to trade away midseason this year. Not much to be excited for in Cleveland this season.

29. Pittsburgh Pirates
When you trade away most of you're starting line-up in midseason of one year and you're already bad, you're probably not going to be too good the next season.

30. San Diego Padres
Worst major league team in baseball, worst minor league system in baseball. Good luck Jed Hoyer, it's gonna be a rough couple years!

There you have it. All 30 teams ranked in order, and it should be interesting to see how this pans out throughout the rest of the season. I'll be posting power rankings weekly throughout the season so keep reading! 

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