MLB Preseason power rankings- 4-10.

Posted: 02/21/2012 by levcohen in Baseball

Today will be 4-10 teams in the power rankings.

10.  Atlanta Braves:

Notable additions: IF Jack Wilson
Notable subtractions: SP Derek Lowe, SS Alex Gonzalez

The Braves didn’t do much this offseason, except dump 2 players (Lowe and Gonzalez) to make room for two prospects (Julio Teheran [top prospect] or Randall Delgado in place of Lowe, and Tyler Pastornicky at SS). Their team is immensely talented, and they will have superb pitching for many years to come.  They have mostly young, talented SP in: Tim Hudson (only exception), Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens, Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor, Teheran, Delgado, Vizcaino… The list goes on and on. However, their pitchers have had injury problems. Hudson will miss the first month of 2012, and Hanson has had many surgeries recently. Jurrjens is also somewhat injury prone. On the offensive side, the Braves need a big bounce back from talented Jason Hayward. After he had a superb rookie year, he had trouble in his second year. The Braves have many talented players, including Brian McCann at C, and Freddie Freeman at 1B. However, if they want to win the NL East, they will need more from their offense. If Heyward and Martin Prado bounce back, they could have a huge year.

9. Boston Red Sox:

Notable additions: RP Andrew Bailey, RP Mark Melancon, OF Ryan Sweeney, OF Cody Ross, IF Nick Punto, C Kelly Shoppach
Notable subtractions: RP Jonathan Papelbon, IF Marco Scutaro, IF Jed Lowrie, OF Josh Reddick, SP Erik Bedard, OF J.D. Drew*

This team is extremely talented. With a strong lineup, they have the talent to go all the way. At first base they have powerful Adrian Gonzalez. Dustin Pedroia mans second base, and Kevin Youkillis plays the hot corner. In the outfield, the Sox have Carl Crawford (he needs a bounce back year), and 30/30 hitter Jacoby Ellsbury. Their pitching is worse than the two AL East teams above them. They have Jon Lester and Josh Beckett, and Clay Bucholtz is a good #3 starter, but they don’t have much else. Josh Bard may try to start this year, but who knows how he will do. The Sox lost closer Jonathan Paplebon, but responded by trading for talented but injury prone Andrew Bailey. For them to get to the postseason, they will need to stay healthy, and must get improved efforts from the catcher and shortstop positions.

8. Arizona Diamondbacks:

Notable additions: SP Trevor Cahill, OF Jason Kubel, RP Craig Breslow, RP Takashi Saito
Notable subtractions: SP Jarrod Parker

The Diamondbacks surprisingly made the playoffs last season, and should get back to it. They improved their already solid roster, but need some more offensive efforts from someone not named Justin Upton. They have Miguel Montero behind the plate, and promising Paul Goldschmidt playing first. Aaron Hill and Ryan Roberts provide ample power at 2B and 3B, and Stephen Drew should be close to 100% following his gruesome injury last season. In the outfield, they have Upton, Chris Young, and newly acquired Jason Kubel. The acquisition of Trevor Cahill bolsters an already solid pitching staff. He brings them into the top 10 of pitching staffs. Their bullpen should also be improved with Breslow and Saito. Overall, a very solid team. The D-backs should easily win the weak NL West.

7. Detroit Tigers:

Notable additions: 1B Prince Fielder, RP Octavio Dotel
Notable subtractions: RP Joel Zumaya

Yes, the Tigers are improved, and yes, they are the clear cut AL Central leader. But I’m not ready to automatically make them World Series favorites just because they added Prince Fielder. Here is why:
1. The signing of Fielder means Miguel Cabrera is moving to 3B. You do not want to see Miguel Cabrera at third base. What is he, 500 pounds?

2. Victor Martinez, last year’s DH, is out for the season. He was the Tigers second best hitter last year.

3. The Tigers outfield is below average. Delmon Young (injury prone), Austin Jackson (fast but below average hitter), and Brandon Boesch (very streaky) will not cut it against the best teams.

4. The new DH, Ryan Raburn, is nothing special.

5. The starting pitching is not on par with the best teams in the AL, even with Justin Verlander. Doug Fister and Max Scherzer are fine, but any rotation with Rick Porcello in it is pretty sad. On the bright side, top prospect Justin Turner should be the #5 pitcher.

6. They have no relieving depth. Outside of Jose Valverde, Jonaqin Benoit, and Octavio Dotel, I don’t see anyone who I would feel comfortable with.

All that aside, they still do have Cabrera and Fielder in the heart of the order, which should by itself make them a contender. Add Verlander and you have a team that other teams are scared of.

6. Tampa Bay Rays:

Notable additions: 1B Carlos Peña, DH Luke Scott, RP Fernando Rodney, IF Jeff Keppinger, C Jose Molina, RP Burke Badenhop, RP Josh Lueke
Notable subtractions: C John Jaso, C Kelly Shoppach, 1B Casey Kotchman*, OF Johnny Damon*

The Rays keep on doing it. Even with less money than the big teams, they are great drafters and continue to have contending teams. They have great building blocks with Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, and BJ Upton. On the mound they are led by David Price and James Shields. They also have up and comers in Jeremy Hellickson, and the guy everyone should get excited about; Matt Moore. He arguably has better stuff than Stephen Strasburg, and doesn’t rely on his very fast fastball. This would be the perfect team, but they have some holes in their lineup. The SS is less than stellar Sean Rodgriguez, and they have Jose Molina at C (he can’t hit). Matt Joyce isn’t a great outfielder either. Look for their pitching to carry them to a lot of wins.

5. Cincinnati Reds:

Notable additions: SP Mat Latos, OF Ryan Ludwick, RP Ryan Madson, RP Sean Marshall, IF Wilson Valdez, UT Willie Harris, SP Jeff Francis
Notable subtractions: SP Edinson Volquez, RP Francisco Cordero, SP Travis Wood, 1B Yonder Alonso

The Reds are now the obvious favorites in the NL Central, if not the National League. They got much better this offseason, as they upgraded starting pitching, relief, and added depth. Mat Latos joins a rotation that might be below average. He will be the ace on a team that also has Johnny Cueto. The back of the rotation is a little suspect. They have Mike Leake, Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey. However, Aroldis Chapman (he threw the fastest pitch ever recorded) should be ready to take over a SP spot, probably in place of Arroyo. The bullpen is fantastic. Led by new closer Ryan Madson, it is very deep and has everything you would have asked for from a bullpen. The Reds have Joey Votto at 1B. He is obviously the best 1B in the NL. At second base, they have Brandon Phillips and at third they have the aging Scott Rolen. Playing SS is young Zack Cozart. At C, they have Ryan Hanigan, but he will probably be benched for the more talented Devin Mesoraco. In the outfield, the Reds have Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs and a platoon of Ludwick and Chad Heisey. This is a very good team that should make a run for the pennant.

4. Philadelphia Phillies:

Notable additions: RP Jonathan Papelbon, IF Ty Wigginton, 1B Jim Thome, RP Chad Qualls, RP Dontrelle Willis
Notable subtractions: RP Ryan Madson, SP Roy Oswalt, OF Raul Ibañez

The Phillies core continues to age. They didn’t do a whole lot to improve their offense, and, with Ryan Howard missing the first month or two, they desperately need bounce back seasons from Chase Utley and Placido Polanco. A breakout season from Dominic Brown would work, too. However, they are still the NL favorites because of their pitching. Three aces is extremely hard to beat. Roy Halladay is (still) the best pitcher in the MLB, in my opinion. He is definitely the most consistent. Cliff Lee also may well be the best lefty in the majors. Cole Hamels remains the Phils best young player (Hunter Pence is a close second). They need to lock him up to a long term deal. Vance Worley is also a tremendous 4 starter. The Phillies window on this core is slowly closing, but they still have one or two elite years left in them.

 

The top 3 will be tomorrow

 

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