I know it’s early, and there are a few things still up in the air for this season. But I felt like most of the needle moving Free Agents have signed, so it was a good time to get the first edition of Power Rankings out.
1. New York Yankees
- The question of the last decade with these great Yankees teams is if they can stay healthy for a full season. Coming into the 2021 season, and on paper, this roster is loaded from top to bottom. Their line up is extremely right hand hitter heavy but these guys have proven they can slug it out with the best of em. Will this be the year they get rid of the elephant in the room and get back to the World Series?
- Player to Watch: Deivi Garcia – He was impressive last year, but this year we will need to watch if he can consistently put together quality starts.
2. Chicago White Sox
- This team is loaded with young talent and has the reigning AL MVP back for another postseason run. An under the radar signing of the veteran Lance Lynn should pay huge dividends with young flamethrowers Dylan Cease and Micheal Kopech. If those young guys can solidify the back end of the rotation, this team can be dangerous. They also added arguably one of the best closers in baseball in Liam Hendricks. Will Tony La Russa be able to bring his championship pedigree to a young unestablished roster?
- Player To Watch: Yasmani Grandal – He is a switch hitting catcher who can add a dynamic level to this line up. Will he have a bounce back year and sure up the defense behind the plate?
3. Toronto Blue Jays
- Toronto made some big splashes this offseason with the acquisition of Geroge Springer and Marcus Seimen. Both of those proven All-Stars should help the young trio of Bichette-Guerrero Jr.-Biggio take their games to the next level. Starting pitching will be a big thing to watch with this team as they don’t have many quality frontline rotation guys. I see them getting into a bunch of slugfest in the potent AL East division. Is this the year the prospects prosper and lead them back to the promise land?
- Player to Watch: Cavan Biggio – It will be interesting to see how the rising star fits into the loaded infield for the Jays. It would be very hard to keep a developing young bat like that out of the line up.
4. Houston Astros
- Losing Verlander really hurts this team but they proved last year that they have young guys that can step up. Getting Micheal Brantley back was huge as well as he is the glue that keeps everything together. If Kyle Tucker can continue to hit at a high level, they still have the pieces to do some damage this season. Their backend of their bullpen will be something to watch for this year. If Pressly can lock down that role, I see this team being right back in the thick of things in the AL.
- Player to Watch: Myles Straw – This young kid is going to need all the Straws he can get to fill the gaping hole left in Center Field by this offseason departure of George Springer.
5. Tampa Bay Rays
- Taking Blake Snell out of the pivotal World Series game might be a turning point for this franchise. With Snell now in San Diego, the Rays are back to the drawing board as far as squeezing the most out of their players. This time it is a reunion with Chris Archer, and a fresh start with Micheal Wacha. If both of those guys can turn things around, this team will be a thorn in everyone’s side in the AL. Can the Rays continue to get more out of their roster than anyone else, or will this be the year they break down?
- Player to Watch: Brandon Lowe – We saw how dangerous this team can be when he is on his game. This team needs him to get his swagger back.
6. Minnesota Twins
- Not much has changed on this Twins roster from years past, which means it will feature a potent lineup that will rely heavily on them scoring runs. Nelson Cruz continues to tear apart the league at the DH role, and he will continue to mentor the young talent for the Twins. The big question for this team will be if their pitching can match the offense. Jose Berrios took a step back last year and JA Happ isn’t a great option at the back end. They do have a solid bullpen, but finding a bridge to them is going to be an issue.
- Player to Watch: Randy Doubnak – He had somewhat of a breakout rookie season. It will be something to watch to see if he takes a step forward, or if the league figures him out.
7. Oakland Athletics
- It will be tough for the A’s to fill the gaps left by the offseason departures of Marcus Siemen and Liam Hendricks. If we have learned anything over the years about this A’s team, it is to never count them out. They play a pesky style of baseball and do the little things right. Their pitching staff is still solid, and they still have a really good defensive team. Scoring runs might be this team’s downfall.
- Player to watch: Chris Bassitt – CBass has electric stuff, but this year will be all about finding consistency and throwing strikes. If he can do so, he gives this rotation a solid front line starter.
8. Cleveland Indians
- Losing the face of your franchise is always going to take you a step back. They did get a nice haul of prospects but it will be a while before we see them make the show. This team has a ton of speed both in the outfield and infield. If Karinchak can solidify the closer role this team might sneak up on people in the AL Central.
- Player to Watch: James Karinchak – He has a devastating breaking pitch, but has full on conversations with himself when the pressure is on. If he can figure it out and slam the door in the 9th, this team got a good one.
9. Boston Red Sox
- This is a team that led the league in hits last year with 9.20 hits per game. So the offense is there. It’s the other side of the ball with a lot of question marks. Sale won’t be back to 100% by the start of the season after elbow surgery and E-Rod almost died due to Covid and Myocarditis in 2020. Nathan Eovaldi is a solid starter but far from a staff ace which he will have to be to start the year. The guys they got this offseason should fill the back of the rotation roles, but don’t expect more than that.
- Player to Watch: Alex Verdugo – I think this guy can have a breakout year in a big way for this team. He was the undoubted MVP last year for the Sox and figures to play a big role again.
10. Los Angeles Angels
- Is this the year that Mike Trout can take the Angles back to playoff glory? Unless the face of baseball can get on the bump and pitch himself, this team will continue to struggle. Dylan Bundy had a great bounce back year but they didn’t add much to help him out. Ohtani is coming off Tommy John and I don’t think the front office is looking to blow out his arm again. So unless Trout can put the team on his back and slug their way to a win, this team isn’t going far.
- Player to Watch: David Fletcher – I love how this guy plays the game and competes. Watch out for this guy to break out hitting in front of Trout.
11. Baltimore Orioles
- I really struggled trying to figure out where this Baltimore Orioles team should rank. They really impressed me with what they did in 2020, but sustaining that over a long season might be a different story. It seems like as long as Chris Davis and that massive contract are on the roster, this team is cursed. But make no mistake, this team is on the rise and should continue to shake things up in the tough AL East.
- Player to Watch: Ryan Mountcastle – This young guy proved he can swing it at a high level in the majors. Can he replicate that success and add more pop?
12. Kansas City Royals
- The Royals have some young pieces that I really like, but there are simply too many holes for this team to be competitive day in and day out. Brady Singer has front line stuff but we will see how much of a lease the front office gives him for being so young. I also like the Carlos Santana signing as he should be a double machine in that ballpark. But a lack of depth in both the pitching staff and position players will continue to handcuff this team.
- Player to Watch: Kris Bubic – He showed flashes of brilliance last season. But after a few times through the order he really struggled. Can he command his secondary pitches to make the next step?
13. Seattle Mariners
- There is a lot of great young talent on this roster, but that doesn’t translate to major league wins. I think this team is realistically two years away from being a contender. With that said, I think they can find production in some of their young guys and continue to develop them into something special. I don’t see their starting rotation giving them an advantage in any games.
- Player to Watch: Justus Sheffield – This team desperately needs him to find his groove in the majors. Can this year be the year he makes the leap?
14. Detroit Tigers
- The young talent the Tigers have been stockpiling for all the years in the basement of the AL is finally starting to see the MLB level. I still think they are a few years away from being relevant, but this year should add valuable experience. Spencer Turnbull is a young gun I like, but relying on him to be your #1 tells you everything about where this team is at currently. It will be interesting to see if their young starting pitching can take the next step and get this team out of the AL dumpster.
- Player to Watch: Casey Mize – Will the former #1 overall pick finally make an impact at the Major League Level?
15. Texas Rangers
- I truly don’t see the Rangers going anywhere anytime soon. This roster is BAD when you look at it on paper. The already abysmal pitching staff somehow got worse, and they lost their best hitter in Elvis Andrus. This is not exactly a recipe for success. This team clearly has its eyes on the future and are committed to a rebuild. I’d be shocked if they finished anywhere but the basement in the AL this year.
- Player to Watch: Joey Gallo – The only thing the Rangers have that is worth watching is Joey Gallo try to hit a baseball to the moon.
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