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MLB Power Rankings - Spring Training 2015
Nationals take top spot in the rankings
1. Washington Nationals - With a rotation made up of five starters with top of the rotation potential, the Nationals once again should challenge for the best record in baseball. Anthony Rendon has become more of a star than Bryce Harper with his on the field production, but is this the year that Bryce Harper starts to meet the expectations set forth by the hype?
2. Los Angeles Dodgers - The Dodgers now complement their elite top of the rotation with solid veterans on the back end of the rotation. Gonzales, Puig, Ethier and Kendrick take on the run producing duties in the lineup after the departure of Matt Kemp. Top prospect Joc Pederson should arrive sooner rather than later, to help in this area as well.
3. Los Angeles Angels - The return of Garrett Richards will be the key for the Angels to once again have a strong pitching rotation. With plenty of depth, his return will allow them to once again be among the best teams in baseball. Mike Trout, Albert Pujols will help lead what has been a strong Angel's offense the past few seasons.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates - The Pirates may not have the talent in their starting rotation that the Cardinals have, but with a rebuilt bullpen they are in position to move ahead of them this year. The big difference maker for the Pirates is their significant power advantage over the Cardinals. Pedro Alvarez had a down season last year, and new addition Jung-Ho Kang figures to help make that difference in power even more noteworthy.
5. Cleveland Indians - With upside all over the pitching staff behind the AL Cy Young award winner from a season ago, the Indians figure to have strong pitching in 2015. Brandon Moss takes over a middle of the order role, in a deep offense that features plenty of run producers. Moss's flexibility to play first base and outfield, will allow the Indians to put the best possible lineup on the field, on a day to day basis.
6. St. Louis Cardinals - The Cardinals strength is their pitching staff, with plenty of depth and five quality right handed starters in position to take each role to start the season. With a lineup deep with quality hitters, the Cardinals will take plenty of professional at bats throughout the season. Their ability to put the ball in play at a high rate, helps to make up for the lack of power overall throughout the lineup. Corner outfielders Jason Heyward and Matt Holliday should be the Cardinals best power threats in 2015.
7. Seattle Mariners - The Mariners have elite starting pitching led by ace Felix Hernandez, with talented youngsters rounding out their starting rotation. With Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager together in the same lineup, they should have enough run production to be one of the top teams in the American League this year. They still have to pass the Angels, but they might have enough talent to get the job done this season.
8. Miami Marlins - The Marlins are one of the most complete teams in baseball, especially after ace Jose Fernandez returns from the disabled list. Mat Latos will hold down that role for now as he leads a strong rotation. The Marlins offense is led by a strong outfield, but without a deep bench or much depth to turn to, their season could get tough if they experience any significant injuries in 2015.
9. Toronto Blue Jays - The Blue Jays are relying on second year pitcher Marcus Stroman to be their ace this year, but they have plenty of rotation depth behind him with top pitching prospects ready to fill out their rotation. Some concerns remain in the bullpen, but the Blue Jays have a very deep lineup going into 2015, that is loaded with offensive star power.
10. Detroit Tigers - David Price leads what could be a strong rotation for the Tigers in 2015, but gone are the days where the Tigers' rotation featured three or four aces. The Tigers offense should be as strong as ever in 2015 with stars such as Cespedes, Cabrera, Martinez and Kinsler throughout the lineup. This is a team that should definitely compete for an American League playoff spot in 2015.
11. Baltimore Orioles - The Orioles are in position to succeed because of their strong rotation. They turn to Chris Tillman to be the ace of the staff, but youngsters Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy could take over that role by season's end. They have lost offensive star power, but with Steve Pearce, Chris Davis, Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy, Matt Wieters and Manny Machado still on the team, they have enough impact talent offensively to make another division title run.
12. Boston Red Sox - There are question marks surrounding the top spot in the Red Sox rotation, but there is plenty of upside one through five throughout this rotation. The offensive talent on this club is what will give them a chance to win a division title in 2015. Star power in the form of Pablo Sandoval, David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts will lead the Red Sox into the 2015 pennant race.
13. San Diego Padres - The Padres strong rotation is led by ace James Shields. This time around though its not just a team that can pitch. With a strong group of hitters in the outfield, the Padres now have power that should provide them with the offense they have lacked in past seasons. The Padres are well positioned as they head into the 2015 National League pennant race.
14. Kansas City Royals - The Royals turn to Yordano Ventura to be their ace in 2015, with plenty of rotation depth in young starters ready to fill in if their veteran back end of the rotation falters. The Royals should continue their steady offensive approach that has them putting the ball in play at a high rate. This year they could have the breakout necessary to start producing more homeruns from the collection of young hitters they have offensively.
15. Chicago White Sox - The White Sox are in great position with Sale and Samardzija leading their pitching staff. With Abreu, LaRoche and others in the lineup capable of driving in runs, the White Sox enter a season in which they have the opportunity to contend for a playoff berth. The performance of their bullpen could be the deciding factor in whether or not the White Sox make the playoffs in 2015.
16. Milwaukee Brewers - Even without an ace starter, the Brewer's first five starters form a solid group of five, but they have little depth beyond that. Their pitching staff will be supported once again by a strong offense that has the power to take advantage of their hitter friendly park. Ryan Braun will look to bounce back after a season in which he dealt with thumb injuries last year. His performance will be the key to the Brewers' in the National League pennant race.
17. New York Mets - The New York Mets have one of the best young pitching staffs in the game, led by ace Matt Harvey as he makes his return from the disabled list. The Mets offense could improve after being below average last season, but they will need good contributions from Michael Cuddyer, David Wright and Curtis Granderson. A young bullpen has become one of the strengths for this team that should stay in the hunt for a National League playoff berth.
18. New York Yankees - The Yankees hopes for having an ace starting pitcher rest on Masahiro Tanaka as he makes his return from an elbow injury. A deep young rotation could lead this team in the American League pennant race if they stay healthy. For the Yankees offense, there are not high expectations, but Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann could change that.
19. Chicago Cubs - If the Chicago Cubs compete for a playoff spot in 2015, the charge will be led by their strong pitching staff. The Cubs do have some impact hitters offensively, but until Kris Bryant becomes a fixture in their lineup, the expectations for this group should not be very high. The Cubs have some impact talent among the young arms in their bullpen, who could help to make a difference if the Cubs stay in the National League pennant race this summer.
20. San Francisco Giants - The Giants rotation is strong at the top with Bumgarner, but the injury concerns surrounding Peavy and Cain prevent them from having the fantastic rotation they have had in the past. Kyle Crick could make an impact as a depth option for the team midseason. Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt and Angel Pagan will look to lead the offensive effort, but unless the Giants are able to transition to a speed game offensively, they may have trouble making up for lost power in their lineup.
21. Oakland Athletics - The Oakland Athletics are one of the more interesting teams in baseball heading into 2015. They appeared to have traded away or let go of most of their impact talent in the rotation, but they have impact starters returning from injury. After trading away Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Moss, they may be short on impact run producing bats, but with Ike Davis and Josh Reddick still with the team, they could make another surprising run.
22. Minnesota Twins - The Twins have done plenty to improve their rotation recently, and they have it led by ace Phil Hughes who is complemented by Ervin Santana at the top. Outfield defense is going to be an issue for the Twins this season, but the sooner that Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario arrive at the MLB level, the better the Twins season could get. Top pitching prospect Jose Berrios, could make an impact after a potential midseason debut this season.
23. Atlanta Braves - The Braves have a strong young rotation, and if they play good stretches of baseball in 2015, it will likely be led by their pitching staff. With Melvin Upton never living up to his contract with the Braves, the team is currently left with very little offensive talent beyond Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis. Craig Kimbrel continues to anchor what could be another strong bullpen for the Braves.
24. Texas Rangers - The Rangers rotation remains strong at the top with Darvish and Gallardo, but the bullpen is not what it once was. Prince Fielder's return could be a key for the Rangers returning to what they once were, but with age and injuries, this team no longer is loaded with offensive firepower. The Rangers do have the upside to join the pennant race if things go right for them in 2015.
25. Tampa Bay Rays - The Rays have a strong pitching staff even after trading David Price, but they have yet to see a starter step forward to emerge as their true ace. With the loss of cleanup hitter Wil Myers, the Rays will need Steven Souza to step up in order to fill that role. The Rays will need a bounce back effort from Evan Longoria if they hope to join the American League pennant race in 2015.
26. Cincinnati Reds - The Reds traded away two starting pitchers this offseason, but they still have ace starter Johnny Cueto on the team. Their rotation is not very deep and could fall victim to the good offenses they will have to face in the National League Central. The Reds could put a strong offense on the field in 2015, but with them hoping for bounce back efforts from Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips, it remains unlikely that enough will break in their favor for the team to compete in 2015.
27. Houston Astros - The Astros took a step forward in 2014, but that will need to continue if they hope to stay on pace to compete in the near future. Without the rotation depth necessary to compete in the American League, they could finish the season with the rotation that will make up their next playoff team, with Mark Appel scheduled to make his MLB debut. Strikeouts have plagued the offense in recent years, but with that comes plenty of raw power from impact players led by young outfielder George Springer.
28. Arizona Diamondbacks - The Diamondbacks might start to find their way in 2015, after lost season in 2014. As of right now they are currently lacking the rotation depth and offensive depth to compete at a high level over a full season. They have the upside to climb in the rankings throughout the 2015 season, but with three teams better positioned at the top of their division, they are not going to compete for a playoff spot in 2015.
29. Philadelphia Phillies - The Phillies still have Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee under contract with the team, after an offseason where they traded away multiple veterans from the 2014 last place team. Even with the two high profile left handed starters on the roster, they probably have the fifth best pitching staff in a pitching rich National League East. There is some offensive upside with Jordan Danks, Darin Ruf and Maikel Franco on the roster, but none of them have put it together for a long enough stretch to suggest they can help the Phillies compete in 2015.
30. Colorado Rockies - The Rockies rotation is led by their top starter in left hander Jorge De La Rosa, but they will start the season with what figures to be a very mediocre pitching staff. The Rockies have plenty of bats on the offensive side, but both Carlos Gonzales and Troy Tulowitzki have proved to be injury prone the last few seasons. With Michael Cuddyer now gone, Drew Stubbs, Corey Dickerson and Charlie Blackmon could continue to emerge with the increase in playing time they will all see in the coming season.