2016 MLB Preseason Power Rankings

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Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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With just 5 weeks to the regular season – and all of the important Free Agents finally being locked up with Ian Desmond signing with the Rangers, it is time to see where all 30 MLB clubs stack up.

We are going to be running weekly power rankings once the year starts on Apr.3, 2016.

The way I compile the Power Rankings is best on confidence to win the World Series.  Some clubs may be more talented (or playing better) than a squad they are behind in the rankings,  but the Division (and strength of opponents) plays a massive factor.

It is the reason why teams like the Royals or Astros will be selected above a team like the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Pittsburgh Pirates might win 90 games (which may only see one AL club join them), but because they have to contend with the Cards and Cubs in the NL Central, it will be tough for them to receive a great ranking (at least until games are played).

Pittsburgh is one of the best teams in the Majors, so it is unfortunate that they play in a Division that features both the Cubs and Cardinals. This club should win 90 games, but their Division placement costs them about 5 rankings spots.

Pittsburgh is one of the best teams in the Majors, so it is unfortunate that they play in a Division that features both the Cubs and Cardinals. This club should win 90 games, but their Division placement costs them about 5 rankings spots.  I have them slotted 3rd in the NL Central,  but still fighting for the 2nd Wild Card spot all year.

MLB Rankings:

(1) Chicago Cubs:  This club has the highest ceiling over the next few years.  Despite sophomore campaigns for Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell, Jorge Soler and Javier Baez coming, this team also brought in veteran backups with Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist.  This squad should challenge 100 wins on the year.

(2) NY Mets:  The Mets are going to pummel the NL East clubs, and their Pitching Staff should also keep them in all games (inter-Division) and in Interleague.

Yoenis Cespedes will still be motivated to post awesome numbers to activate his Free Agency again.  A full year from Michael Conforto is going to help.  Neil Walker was a great move to replace Daniel Murphy.

(3) KC Royals:  Perhaps the easiest division for (Strength of Schedule).  KC jumped out to a massive lead – and cruised to a 95 win season in 2015 – before reeling in their title.

Cleveland missing Michael Brantley will hurt them in April – with them being slow starters already the last few years.  Detroit’s age will play a factor. 

Both the Indians and Tigers should be competitive, but KC is still the #1 force in the AL Central.

(4) Houston Astros:  These folks claiming that Texas is just as good as Houston are not looking at the side of youth – and internal improvement. 

Houston is a lot like the Cubs – where their young talent could improve so much in the coming year.  This team won 85 games last year and George Springer and Carlos Correa were not there for a 1/3rd of the year each. 

Add in a stronger Bullpen with the addition of Ken Giles – and look the hell out.  Houston has 10 guys who hit 10+ HRs last year, and a rotation that is the best in the division.

(5) SF Giants:  I have the Giants winning the West in a tight race against the Dodgers all year.  Their 1 – 8 lineup is great, as is their top 3 Starting Pitchers.

Adding Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija ensures 3 guys who will top 200+ IP with Madison BumgarnerDenard Span was a great addition for the leadoff spot.

All of their best Relief core guys are in contract years (Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo) – which should bode well in nailing down games.

(6) Toronto Blue Jays:  Best offense in the Major Leagues.  They also went for depth in the rotation by re-signing Marco Estrada, inking J.A. Happ, trading for Jesse Chavez – and adding Bullpen pieces like Drew Storen.

Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion are in contract years, and they (combined with Josh Donaldson), cracked 120 HRs last year.

This team is primed for the regular season.  Still think they need to trade for a #2 Starter in the summer, and use Devon Travis and the Minor League system for bait.

(7) St. Louis Cardinals:  Winning 100 games last year, and holding several young OF stars like Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty for a full year helps.  Adam Wainwright bouncing back is crucial to their season.

So much depth helps out their cause.  Look for them to shore themselves up with a trade for the playoffs.  This team always knows how to win the close games, and that Starting Staff and Relief Core will secure plenty of victories for them.

(8) Washington Nationals:  Playing in the NL East is a huge factor in their ranking here.  90+ wins is definitely ascertainable.  Stephen Strasburg in walk year may be a factor, (could be a darkhorse CY Young candidate). 

SO many injuries curbed the 2015 year.

Bryce Harper is the best player in the National League.  He will help carry this club.  Washington beats up on Miami routinely, and they have the Braves and Phillies to rack up wins too.

I think they play .600 ball versus those 3 teams (coupled with games against the Reds, Brewers, Rockies and Padres) – and they should still go slightly above .500 versus the rest of the league and American League.

(9) LA Dodgers:  They have won the NL West 3 years in a row heading into 2016.  The loss of Zack Greinke will sting something fierce.

The emergence of Corey Seager – and a better season for Yasiel Puig could be the difference in winning the Division or not.  Rotation is a concern (health-wise) after Clayton Kershaw.

(10) Boston Red Sox:  Acquiring David Price, while adding the premiere Closer in the MLB right now in ‘Craig Kimbrel’– is worth a half a dozen wins already.

Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval need to improve on suspect 2015 campaigns.  Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts are young studs.

Dustin Pedroia is quickly aging.  Hope David Ortiz can continue his usual production in his last year.

(11) Texas Rangers:  Signing Ian Desmond was brilliant.  This one deal could be the defining factor on whether the club makes the playoffs or not.  Hate banking on Yu Darvish so much after Tommy John Surgery.

Health will play a role with this team.  Strong bench if Josh Hamilton can provide anything, with Joey Gallo and Jurickson Profar waiting in the weeds.

(12) Detroit Tigers:  Even with age being a concern with the “Motown Boys” – adding a Justin Upton, while having healthy Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez to start the year should help.

The Bullpen is also much improved.  If everything breaks right, and KC shows some regression – the AL Central may be in sight for them to win.  They should contend all year for a playoff spot regardless.

(13) Pittsburgh Pirates:  Tough sledding playing in the NL Central.  Will probably take another 98 win season to make the playoffs again in 2016 – and that may just net them 2nd in the Division.

The Bucs have rotated out Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker and Charlie Morton, while A.J. Burnett retired.  The last guy mentioned there may be the most missed after an ALL – star campaign in 2015.

Pittsburgh needs Gregory Polanco and one of Jamieson Taillon or Tyler Glasnow to emerge at some point to take the reins as a #3 pitcher.

(14) NY Yankees:  Brett Gardner‘s ailing injury could be sign of bad things coming down the pike.  Masahiro Tanaka has health questions, as does CC Sabathia, and the club lost Greg Bird for depth behind Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez.

Throw in a pending suspension looming for Aroldis Chapman, and the year may start slow – where they can ill afford to break Memorial Day Weekend that far behind in the Division or AL playoff race.

(15) Cleveland Indians:  The OF production will be horrible until Michael Brantley arrives.  Carlos Santana and Mike Napoli are also on the wrong side of 30 and slowing down.

Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis, along with the incredible Starting Staff – need to hold the fort down until Brantley returns.  I say they start out April badly – and play catch up the rest of the year.

(16) Seattle Mariners:  Had Seattle marginally better than Texas until the Desmond signing (Seattle should have been in on him to upgrade over Ketel Marte.  Love Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager to have great years).

James Paxton and Taijuan Walker need healthy and productive years.  This club could win 85+ games and end the longest AL Playoff drought if that happens.

(17) Arizona Diamondbacks:  Great acquisitions with Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller.  Tough to overtake the Giants and the Dodgers in the same division.  They are kind of in the same boat as the Pirates.

David Peralta and A.J. Pollock have joined Paul Goldschmidt as ALL – Star caliber players.  They need a few more positional player upgrades to take the next step.

(18) Baltimore Orioles:  Losing the Dexter Fowler sweepstakes causes them to stress about the leadoff spot.  Mark Trumbo and J.J. Hardy time warping back a few years to power hitters could have them inch up the standings.

Should challenge for most HRs in the Major Leagues – but it will be Starting Pitching that may be their unraveling in 2016.  Losing Wei-Yin Chen – and replacing him with Yovani Gallardo is not enough.  Tough AL East schedule hurts them too.

(19) Miami Marlins:  Can Giancarlo Stanton and/or Jose Fernandez stay on the field the whole year?  Starters past Chen and Fernandez are really shaky.  Smells of a .500 team at best.

(20) LA Angels:  Not addressing their 2015 weaknesses by signing anyone is a bad model to recoup from a non-playoff season.  Albert Pujols is not 100% to start – after clubbing 40 jacks last year.

Mike Trout will see another MVP type like year go by the wayside.  Maybe it is better for the franchise post 2016 – if they tank the 1st half of 2016 – then trade all veterans they can for a re-tool.

(21) TB Rays:  Don’t give me this club could win the Division nonsense.  The offense is not there at all.  Chris Archer is an awesome display of a chucker, but losing Alex Cobb ttill summer kills.

Matt Moore is coming off a shaky 2015, and Drew Smyly is a nice LHP, but may have seen his best production in St. Petersburg prior to 2016.

(22) Chicago White Sox:  Maybe fell 1 move short of securing a great lineup.  This club is going to whiff a ton with adding Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie

The pitching will need to exceed expectations everywhere for them to contend.  A .500 record should be considered a good season.

(23) Minnesota Twins:  Can’t understate how much they will miss Torii Hunter.  Starting Staff will cost them a chance to improve on their 83 win season in 2015.  The hope is still there with the emergences of Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton.

(24) Oakland A’s:  In a parity filled American League the A’s are probably at the bottom of the league.  This may not be for long.

They could stand to improve even more by trading guys half way through the year like Josh Reddick, Jed Lowrie, and many pitchers.

(25) SD Padres:  Never bought into their 2015 plan.  2016 should see them trade everything not nailed down, but they haven’t dealt any starter yet.  Maybe after the ALL – Star Game hosted at Petco Park?

(26) Colorado Rockies:  Will they trade Carlos Gonzalez before he gets hurt?  All the offense in the world can’t make up for the pitching staff.  90 losses in their future years for many years to come. 17 out of 23 losing seasons as a franchise since inception.

(27) Milwaukee Brewers:  There is a chance to trade Jonathan Lucroy – and hopefully Chris Carter + Aaron Hill (if they can be productive in the 1st half). Going to be a long year in Wisconsin.

(28) Atlanta Braves:  This club is still looking forward to 2017.  Would behoove them to keep drafting high.  Trade Erick Aybar and anybody else in the last year of their contract midway through the season.

(29) Philadelphia Phillies:  I think it will be a tough year, but youngsters should help the Phillies fans patience out.  Top Starter had 7 wins last year.  2016 won’t be much better for the rotation.  Help coming in the Minors at least.

(30) Cincinnati Reds:  Jay Bruce is next on the trade docket.  Hopefully Brandon Phillips will waive his 10/5 rights and be dealt as well.  Starting Rotation looks bleak to begin the year.

Joey Votto had an OPS of 1.000 in 2015 - and the club still lost 98 contests. Take away Todd Frazier, following the losses of Mike Leake and Johnny Cueto already last year, and the 2016 campaign looks to be a bad year to be a Reds fan.

Joey Votto had an OPS of 1.000 in 2015 – and the club still lost 98 contests. Take away Todd Frazier, following the losses of Mike Leake and Johnny Cueto already last year, and the 2016 campaign looks to be a bad year to be a Reds fan.  Add 57 games against the Cubs/Cards and Pirates (all teams that could win 90+ games again) – and I would be stunned if this team doesn’t lose 100 games.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of bbba.work and their other members***

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A big thanks goes out to our featured writer Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s post.

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About hunterstokes21

I Played NCAA Baseball at Liberty University in the 90's with Sid Bream's kid Sheldon. Once Hit a Home Run by hitting a hot air balloon that was coming over 2nd base (It was agreed that if a balloon was hit before game by the umpires and coaches - even though they were setting up in LF/CF Bleachers). I believe in the "Church Of Baseball". Come in for worship anytime.

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