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Major League Baseball Power Rankings - 2016 Opening Day Edition
Major League Baseball 2016
1. New York Mets - Everyone is aware of how good the Mets' starting rotation is, but its their offense that will surprise people this season. Michael Conforto should blossom into a complementary star to David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes this season. All of that adds up to the Mets having the most well rounded team in the game right now.
2. Chicago Cubs - With all the hype surrounding the offseason that the Cubs just put together, they are the top team on most early season Power Rankings. Strikeouts are the Achilles heel of this team though, even with veterans Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward added to the lineup. A deep pitching rotation and plenty of power will have the Chicago Cubs among the top teams in the game for 2016.
3. Detroit Tigers - The last two seasons, the Detroit Tigers have underachieved as favorites in the American League Central. This season things will be different though, as Justin Verlander and Jordan Zimmermann lead the most complete Tigers' team to take the field in the past decade. With relief pitching issues squared away, the Detroit Tigers should be free to meet their potential in 2016.
4. San Francisco Giants - Much is made of the Giants' recent trend of winning a championship in every even year so far this decade. That is not the reason why the Giants are top five on this list though. A deep starting rotation and young offensive depth will give the Giants to continue the trend that they started in 2010. Matt Duffy and Brandon Crawford should act as great complements to the dynamic offensive firepower provided by Brandon Belt and Buster Posey.
5. Toronto Blue Jays - Strong pitching has been the early theme at the top of this list, but the Blue Jays are in the top five mostly due to their offensive firepower. Marcus Stroman gives the Blue Jays a legitimate top of the rotation starter, even though the rest of their rotation does not stack up well against the teams ahead of them on this list. Having four hitters (Donaldson, Bautista, Encarnacion and Tulowitzki) with the opportunity to produce a combined 160 homeruns, should allow the Blue Jays to easily surpass the 90 win total for a second straight season.
6. Texas Rangers - The health of Yu Darvish this season, could be the difference between the Rangers being a playoff contender and the team having a legitimate chance to compete for a title. Adrian Beltre and Prince Fielder lead what will be a powerful offense throughout the 2016 season, but concerns at the back end of the Texas bullpen could threaten their chances to compete for a title this season.
7. Pittsburgh Pirates - The Pirates take the field with a team that many believe lacks power, but over the past three seasons, they have shown they have what it takes to get it done. Ace pitcher Gerrit Cole will look to build on his breakout season last year, while both Andrew McCutchen and Jung-Ho Kang could make a push for 30 homeruns this season. The best bullpen in the game, will allow the Pirates to hold enough leads this season to finish top ten in wins.
8. Kansas City Royals - For a second straight offseason, the Royals have watched their ace pitcher from the previous season walk away. Great defense, limiting strikeouts and protecting late inning leads, is the Royals' recipe for success. That success will likely continue in 2016, as they turn to Yordano Ventura and Ian Kennedy to lead their pitching staff. Retaining Alex Gordon this offseason, will go a long way towards giving the Royals the opportunity to win back to back titles.
9. Houston Astros - Will Dallas Keuchel back up his Cy Young award winning campaign with a third straight strong season? If he does, the Astros will once again be in contention for the American League West crown. Even though they have issues making contact on the offensive side, the Astros have enough veteran depth to get it done. Young superstar, Carlos Correa will lead the Astros to a second straight playoff berth in 2016.
10. Washington Nationals - The Nationals feature a deep rotation once again, and with Bryce Harper leading the world in just about every hitting category, its tough to pick against them. Uncertainty in their bullpen and question marks surrounding Stephen Strasburg, prevent them from being higher on this list. The performance of the Nationals role players and complementary stars to Harper, will go a long way towards determining what this team is able to accomplish this season.
11. St. Louis Cardinals - The days of the Cardinals winning because they are the Cardinals, are over. They have a great pitching staff and they play great team defense. There is not a single terrible hitter in their starting lineup, but Matt Carpenter is the closest to being a hitter that the opposition fears. The Cardinals best offensive player is the fifth best, when ranking each National League Central team's best offensive player. This could result in the Cardinals missing the postseason for the first time since 2010.
12. Los Angeles Dodgers - The Dodgers lost Greinke, but should still feature a strong pitching staff when healthy. Clayton Kershaw remains the top pitcher in the National League, but who will step up as the top complementary ace behind him? The Dodgers' offense has enough legitimate threats to earn a playoff berth this season, with rookie Corey Seager having the ability to emerge as their best offensive player. Adrian Gonzalez will continue to be one of the game's top run producers, and Yasiel Puig should have a bounce back season for Los Angeles.
13. Tampa Bay Rays - Tampa Bay will compete for a playoff berth in 2016 because of their rotation depth. Behind the Mets, they have one of the deepest pitching rotations in the game right now. Matt Moore returning to full health, would go a long way towards boosting the Rays' playoff hopes. Logan Forsythe backing up his breakout 2015 season with another strong campaign, could be just what the Rays need to complement Evan Longoria and Corey Dickerson as the Rays' offensive stars.
14. Chicago White Sox - The Chicago White Sox feature one of the most complete and powerful offenses in the game right now, but lack of depth in their starting rotation could prevent them from reaching their potential in the 2016. If Carlos Rodon emerges as a second top of the rotation starter behind Chris Sale, the White Sox will likely earn a playoff berth in 2016. Anything short of a strong season for the White Sox young lefty, could allow for shortcomings in the bullpen to derail their season.
15. Boston Red Sox - The Red Sox have been a popular pick to make some noise this season after finishing last place in 2015. The addition of David Price, does allow them to compete for a playoff berth this season, but by no means does it make them a favorite for anything. Hanley Ramirez returning to his career norms offensively, could go a long way towards boosting Boston's chances, but going with Travis Shaw over Pablo Sandoval at third base, could prove to be a costly mistake.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks - Arizona may have found their ace on the free agent market, but it remains to be seen whether Zack Greinke can be the stopper on a competitive baseball team. He will be complemented by two quality young starters, in Patrick Corbin and Shelby Miller, but this Diamondbacks team does not have experience in a pennant race. Ninth inning issues may arise with the team's current closer situation, however they have a great offense/defense combination around the diamond once centerfielder A.J. Pollock returns from injury.
17. New York Yankees - Masahiro Tanaka will make his second straight opening day start, as he tries to regain the form that took the American League by storm as a rookie. Due to Michael Pineda's uncertain health, the New York Yankees do not have a starting pitching staff that strikes fear into the opposition. In a ballpark where they score plenty of runs, the Yankees will compete for a playoff spot by holding late inning leads on a consistent basis. The trio of Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman, could give New York the best bullpen in the game for the 2016 season.
18. Los Angeles Angels - Despite the outstanding talent that Mike Trout possesses, he has had very little opportunity to put that talent on display in the postseason. With C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver aging poorly, the Angels will likely have to lean on Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney to lead their pitching staff in 2016. If Yunel Escobar is not able to build on his strong 2015 season, the Angels may end up regretting not retaining David Freese this past offseason.
19. Cleveland Indians - The Cleveland Indians have a strong pitching staff from top to bottom. Their starting rotation led by Corey Kluber, is among the best in the game. Cody Allen rounds out what is a solid bullpen, but offensive issues may plague this team in 2016. Michael Brantley is a star, but he is not likely to get much help from his teammates. Jason Kipnis may be the Indians second best offensive player to start the season, but he will quickly be overtaken by Francisco Lindor for the Tribes best complement to Brantley.
20. Baltimore Orioles - The Orioles have a chance to lead all of baseball in homeruns hit this season, but on a team where the best pitcher is a middle of the rotation starter, the ceiling is not very high for Baltimore in 2016. Orioles fans continue to wait for Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy to develop into a top of rotation starters for the team, but unless that happens in 2016, the Orioles will most likely miss the postseason. Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo, Chris Davis and Pedro Alvarez, should provide Baltimore fans with some fun moments following tape measure homeruns.
21. Minnesota Twins - The Twins roster construction closely mirrors that of the Baltimore Orioles. Phil Hughes, Ervin Santana and Kyle Gibson are all likely to perform like middle of the rotation starters in 2016. Top prospect Jose Berrios is probably the teams' best chance at producing a top of the rotation starter in the near future. Miguel Sano, Byung-ho Park, Brian Dozier, Trevor Plouffe and Oswaldo Arcia are all likely to hit a handful of tape measure shots this season.
22. Seattle Mariners - The Mariners are the toughest team in all of baseball to figure out. They have one of the top ace starters in the game, and they have plenty of raw talent behind Hernandez in their rotation. A leaky bullpen and an inconsistent offense, threatens to derail the Mariners' season before it even begins. If everything comes together for the Mariners in 2016, they will earn a playoff berth. For now, questions remain about who will pick up the slack offensively behind Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager.
23. Miami Marlins - The Miami Marlins have two franchise players in Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton. They have great role players in Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. They do not have the rotation depth of a contender however, even after signing Wei-Yin Chen to a large contract in the offseason. Chen opens the season as the team's number two starter, but by season's end, Jarred Cosart may reclaim that role. Dee Gordon may reach star status if he is able to back up his breakout 2015 season with another similar performance.
24. San Diego Padres - The Padres still have some noteworthy talent in their rotation with Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner and James Shields at the top, but without a true number one starter, they likely will not factor into the National League West race this season. With Matt Kemp likely to be the team's offensive star, it could be another long season for the Padres' offense.
25. Cincinnati Reds - The Reds still have Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips, but Votto is the only one of this trio that has remained consistent. With a very young pitching staff, the Reds are not expected to compete in 2016. They could take a step forward if Robert Stephenson is able to live up to expectations in his rookie season as a member of the Cincinnati rotation.
26. Oakland Athletics - The Athletics have some noteworthy offensive talent, with Josh Reddick, Billy Butler and Khris Davis in their opening day lineup, but behind ace pitcher Sonny Gray, there is not much talent worth speaking of. Injuries to Henderson Alvarez and Jarrod Parker have the Athletics starting the season with a very thin starting rotation. Their bullpen is not much better, as it figures to be a rebuilding year for Oakland.
27. Philadelphia Phillies - The Phillies will likely see Maikel Franco hit 30 homeruns this season, and Aaron Nola will probably win 15 games in his second year with the team. Those two marks are going to lead the Phillies in 2016 however. Another rebuilding year in Philadelphia could bring some signs of promise, but unless Jared Eickhoff and Vincent Velazquez have surprising breakouts, this team will likely struggle to win more 70 games in 2016.
28. Colorado Rockies - Another year and another poor pitching staff for the Colorado Rockies. Jon Gray should continue to develop into the team's best starting pitcher, but most of the Rockies 2016 highlights will come from Carlos Gonzales and Nolan Arenado. It is tough to develop or bring in great pitching talent at Coors field, however another high draft pick for the Rockies could help to continue that process.
29. Milwaukee Brewers - Ryan Braun is the only noteworthy veteran who remains from the years where the Milwaukee Brewers competed for playoff berths. With a young pitching staff and a collection of young offensive talent, the Brewers' rebuild is in full swing. Orlando Arcia's arrival, and significant progress by the Brewers' collection of young pitching, could help to accelerate their rebuild.
30. Atlanta Braves - The Atlanta Braves head into 2016 with Julio Teheran and Freddy Freeman as the only noteworthy veterans on their club. Nick Markakis still plays for the team, but not even his best efforts will be enough to prevent the Braves from finishing last in the National League East this season. The Braves' farm system is the top in all of baseball, so don't expect them to hold this place in the rankings beyond 2016.