Baseball season is upon us. Camps are getting underway. We’re not far from seeing spring training games and not that far from the regular season. Of course, some teams have high expectations, while others look like they’re in for long summers. Our MLB power rankings will clue us in on which teams fit which category.
One thing that’s important to note. Power rankings are always subject to some change. But that’s a particularly relevant notice this year. Several of the year’s top free agents remain unsigned. Their potential signings can significantly sway our rankings.
With that noted, what can we expect? The Miami Marlins seemed to trade everyone but the hot dog vendors (hopefully that doesn’t give them any ideas). Certainly, that has a significant impact on where the Marlins find themselves. But on the other side, their old players like Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, Dee Gordon, and of course, Giancarlo Stanton impact the placement of their new teams.
The 2017 season offered some surprises, as well. We’ll find out what to expect from teams like the Minnesota Twins, Colorado Rockies, and Arizona Diamondbacks. Of course, we’ll also see what to expect from 2017’s last two teams standing, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros.
30. Miami Marlins (2017: 77-85, 2nd place, NL East)
As we enter the 2018 season, MLB has a handful of teams that could lose 100 games. But it would be downright surprising if the Marlins didn’t. We can’t say that about anyone else. And honestly, we’re not sure that the new Marlins owners would have it any other way — at least as far as 2018 is concerned.
Miami has unloaded most of its top talent from 2017’s team (which wasn’t very good to begin with). We wouldn’t be surprised to see players like Justin Bour and especially J.T. Realmuto follow the likes of Stanton, Ozuna, Yelich, and Gordon out during the season, if not before.
29. Detroit Tigers (2017: 64-98, 5th place, AL Central)
The situation in Detroit is better than the one in Miami. But that’s about all we can say for the Tigers. Detroit entered a full rebuild in 2017, unloading players like J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton and Justin Verlander. Ian Kinsler was moved to the Los Angeles Angels in the offseason. While they both have no-trade protection, we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see players like Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez moved, as well.
The early years of a rebuild are tough, and that’s precisely what Detroit is going through. If these Tigers can find a way to 70-92, they deserve a parade.
28. Pittsburgh Pirates (2017: 75-87, 4th place, NL Central)
While not quite as drastic, the Pirates’ offseason was similar to the Marlins’. Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen were traded in moves that seemed more about clearing money than anything else. So, like Miami, Pittsburgh traded some of the best players from a team that wasn’t that good to begin with.
The fans of the Steel City still have the Steelers and Penguins competing for championships. We’re not sure that we’ll be able to say that about the baseball team for a while.
27. Tampa Bay Rays (2017: 80-82, 3rd place, AL East)
We like Tampa’s top pitchers reasonably well. Still, we can’t get past the lingering issue of the Rays’ offense. Where in the world are the runs going to come from? We can guess that Corey Dickerson will bat in the middle of the order. But it just feels like we can make up the rest of the order by drawing names from a hat.
That’s just not going to work in the modern game, especially in the offense heavy American League East. At this point, a fifth straight losing season seems in the works for the Rays.