Preseason 2019 MLB Power Rankings
2019 MLB Preseason Power Rankings
Spring Training is underway, and you know what that means. It’s time for preseason power rankings.
These predictions are sure to look wrong in sixth months, as they always do. For now, though, they’re a good barometer for how teams are faring heading into an exciting 2019 season.
Baseball’s back! And now, so are the power rankings.
30. Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles lost 115 games last season, and that was with them trying to win games for the first two months of the season.
Now, they don’t have Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Adam Jones or Kevin Gausman, and they are willing to lose while rebuilding. What I’m saying is this season is going to be a long one in Birdland.
29. Kansas City Royals
The Royals were historically bad in 2018, though they missed out on the top pick in the 2019 draft thanks to the ineptitude in Baltimore.
This will be an exciting team to watch in 2019 as they have Whit Merrifield and acquired Billy Hamilton. They want to run, run, run on the basepaths and should easily lead the Majors in stolen bases.
28. Miami Marlins
It wouldn’t surprise anyone to see Miami fall to the bottom spot of the power rankings by year’s end, as they once again look completely overmatched in a strong NL East. The biggest lock in baseball this season is this team finishing last in their division.
Can the young talent flash with some signs of hope? That’s about all Marlins fans have to look forward to in 2019, much like it’s been the last several seasons.
27. Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks had their opportunity to win in 2018 but managed to miss the postseason. As a result, they’ve gone all in on the rebuilding process, losing AJ Pollock to the Dodgers in free agency and trading star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.
It’s going to be a few years until this team is ready to contend once again.
26. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers don’t have a whole lot going on for them, outside of any potential bounce back for Miguel Cabrera. Their focus remains on the future, though they still have a long, long way to go until their farm system is built back up. Nick Castellanos is a prime trade candidate at this year’s deadline.
25. Seattle Mariners
Seattle is another team that’s decided to rebuild instead of compete. Trading away Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz didn’t net the Mariners the greatest return, but it does save them some money and flexibility as they prepare to develop their prospects over the next couple of years.
24. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox are inching closer and closer to relevancy, and they clearly hoped to jumpstart their contention with the acquisition of either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. They missed out on both, but it was a sign to the rest of the league that Chicago views itself as ready to compete sooner rather than later.
23. Texas Rangers
The Rangers have some pop, especially when you remember they employ Joey Gallo. Rougned Odor has a ton of power as well, and the ballpark plays well into their strengths.
That said, while a surprise run to second or third in the division isn’t out of the question, there’s little to no chance of competing with the Astros. The pitching staff is particularly weak this season.
22. Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates are good enough to not be in last place in most divisions, but the NL Central isn’t most divisions, and unless the Reds just aren’t ready yet, this is clearly the worst team of the bunch.
That said, they’ll probably find some success, especially on the days when Chris Archer is on the mound.
21. San Francisco Giants
The Giants should consider themselves lucky they missed out on the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, and they can now hopefully embrace the rebuilding process. There’s still enough here for fans to hold on to, but in reality, this team has very little chance of winning anytime soon, and those pieces should probably be flipped for prospects as soon as possible.
20. San Diego Padres
This ranking could end up looking foolish in either direction. Does Manny Machado legitimize this young roster as a force to be reckoned with in the NL West? Or are they still a few years away?
It’s hard to tell, but one thing is for certain. The left side of the infield, with Machado and uber-prospect Fernando Tatis, Jr. is going to be incredibly fun to watch for the next several seasons.
19. Toronto Blue Jays
The story surrounding Toronto all season long is obvious: What will Vladimir Guerrero Jr. do next?
“Vladito” could have been last year’s Juan Soto if the Jays hadn’t elected to keep him in the minors for service time reasons. Now that he should be up around mid-April, or late-May at the absolute latest, Guerrero can finally show off why he’s maybe the best hitting prospect in the history of baseball, combining, power, contact skills, and a great eye all as a teenager.
18. Minnesota Twins
The Twins took an expected step back in 2018, but the talent is still there in 2019. Perennial breakout candidate Byron Buxton is still young enough to put it all together one year, and there’s no one else outside Cleveland with a chance of competing in the division right now.
Former Oriole Jonathan Schoop should provide some pop in the infield.
17. Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays consistently find ways to compete despite having the lowest payroll in baseball, and 2018 was no different. Can it continue this season?
The roster doesn’t look too exciting, but that hasn’t stopped them before. Still, it’s hard to imagine them competing for anything other than a distant third place in the AL East.
16. Cincinnati Reds
If things break right, the Reds could take a major step forward in 2019. They’ve certainly stacked themselves with young position player talent, and they played pretty well after a horrendous start to 2018.
If Yasiel Puig takes to Cincinnati like I think he can, this team will surprise in a loaded NL Central.
15. New York Mets
The Mets have decided to go in on winning in 2019, and it’s an admirable attitude, even if the division they play in now looks stacked at the top.
Adding Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz will help this team win some games, as will a return to form for young slugger Michael Conforto. If Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard stay healthy, this could be one of four NL East teams to contend for the postseason.
14. Oakland Athletics
The A’s were one of 2018’s most fun surprises, keeping Houston on its toes for most of the season. Matt Chapman is a more consistent bat away from full on stardom, but it’s reasonable to expect much of the team to regress back to the mean after a flukey strong year.
13. Los Angeles Angels
The question with the Angels, as it is seemingly every season, is what can they do to not waste another year of an inner-circle Hall of Famer in his prime?
Mike Trout has been the best player in baseball for more than half a decade, and the team has no postseason success (and very little regular season success) to show for it. Now, they’ll have to do it without Shohei Ohtani on the mound.
12. Colorado Rockies
The Rockies weren’t in danger of losing face of the franchise Nolan Arenado this season, but locking him up long term has to help them feel more comfortable with the future of the organization. Arenado is the type of homegrown talent every franchise should be aiming to keep for their entire career.
11. Atlanta Braves
The Braves could, and arguably should, be ranked higher. Boosted by a very, very young core, this team ran away with the NL East last season. Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna are another year older, and they added former MVP Josh Donaldson to solidify third base. Plus, this is one of the strongest farm systems in baseball, full of pitching prospects.
Teams that arrive a year early often falter the following season, but don’t be surprised if Atlanta once again competes in a brutal NL East.
10. Milwaukee Brewers
Everything about the Brewers just screams regression. They led the National League in wins last season, but no one looking at this roster seems to think they can repeat.
They haven’t lost much from last season’s surprise team, so I can’t justify dropping them out of the top 10, but this looks like the third-best team in their own division.
9. Washington Nationals
The Nationals lost Bryce Harper, but are of course uniquely suited to replace his production in the outfield with Victor Robles and a full season of Juan Soto.
The lineup and field have very few holes, and the 1-2-3 punch at the top of the rotation is as strong as any in baseball. With a little better luck than last season, this could easily be a major bounce back season.
8. Cleveland Indians
I want to love the Indians more, but they don’t even seem to fully believe in themselves. There were multiple rumors this season about Cleveland looking to trade Corey Kluber, which never made any sense. This is a roster ready to win now, so why trade your ace?
They held onto Kluber, and will almost certainly dominate the AL Central once again, but the injury to Francisco Lindor’s calf is a concern, especially with how reliant the Indians are on both Lindor and Jose Ramirez.
7. St. Louis Cardinals
It’s subject to change, but as of early March, this is maybe the team I’m most excited to see bounce back in 2019. The Cardinals are always decent, but this could be an especially great team.
Marcell Ozuna should have a stronger season at the plate, the young pitching will take another step forward, and Paul Goldschmidt gives the lineup a presence it hasn’t had since Albert Pujols. This could be your surprise NL champions.
6. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs still feel largely similar to their title-winning 2016 roster. The core guys are the same, and some have even stepped up into larger roles (Javy Baez, especially).
So why is there not more hype surrounding a proven winning core? They lost the NL Central last season and were jettisoned from the playoffs in a one-game elimination, but they haven’t lost their mojo just yet. Don’t be surprised at a “bounce back” season.
5. Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies were tricky to place. Their lineup is *loaded* after adding three All-Stars in Jean Segura, J.T. Realmuto, and of course, Bryce Harper. There’s not a weak spot one to eight.
They’ve got their ace in Aaron Nola, but he’s had durability concerns in the past, and it’s not clear who will step up behind him. Their hitting will keep them in every game though.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.
Los Angeles has finished as runner-ups to the Red Sox and Astros in the last two respective World Series. They didn’t retain Machado, which was expected with Corey Seager’s return, and they missed out on Harper. They could theoretically win the National League pennant again or miss the playoffs entirely, and it wouldn’t surprise me in a loaded Senior Circuit this season.
3. New York Yankees
The Yankees are clearly one of the upper-echelon teams in baseball, even without Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, or Patrick Corbin, but they’re not even the best team in the vaunted AL East.
Still, this is a team with ridiculous power, talented young position players, and an emerging ace in Luis Severino. His early shoulder problems are a concern, however.
2. Houston Astros
It would be pretty surprising if Houston didn’t end up at number one in these rankings at some point this season. This is a team that won 103 games in 2018 despite dealing with major injury problems.
If they can figure out their starting pitching depth, this team will certainly flirt with wins once again.
1. Boston Red Sox
This is pretty obvious. Standard operating procedure is for the defending champions to sit in the top spot of preseason power rankings.
This is especially true when that team won 108 games and returns their core, including the second-best player in baseball.