MLB power rankings for Opening Day 2013
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A look at how Major League Baseball teams rank heading into the 2013 season.
1. Tigers (0-0)
Detroit has assembled a modern day "Murderer's Row," adding a healthy Victor Martinez and free agent Torii Hunter to an already potent lineup fronted by Prince Fielder and AL MVP Miguel Cabrera. The starting rotation is deep and led by 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander. There's no anointed closer yet, but the bullpen is capable.
2. Nationals (0-0)
The world finally gets to see what a full season from staff ace Stephen Strasburg and young star Bryce Harper looks like. The bullpen is an embarrassment of riches with free-agent closer Rafael Soriano added to a mix that includes incumbent closer Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard.
3. Dodgers (0-0)
It's a star-studded cast in L.A. The rotation features two of the best pitchers in baseball (Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw) and the Dodgers have more starters than they know what to do with. The lineup is loaded with a 3-4-5 of Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.
4. Braves (0-0)
The outfield of Justin and B.J. Upton and Jason Heyward is one of the best young trios in the game. Chipper Jones may be gone, but the lineup is powerful, deep and balanced. Kris Medlen and Tim Hudson lead the rotation, and when Brandon Beachy returns during the summer, this group could be nearly as good as the Nationals. The bullpen, headed by strikeout artist Craig Kimbrel might be tops in MLB.
5. Angels (0-0)
Mike Trout was AL Rookie of the Year and almost won the MVP award. After a molasses-like start, Albert Pujols returned to form. Mark Trumbo has one of the most powerful swings in the AL. And to this group, the Angels added Josh Hamilton. The rotation is top heavy (Jered Weaver), bu veteran. The bullpen is a work in progress but has lots of potential.
6. Rangers (0-1)
Adrian Beltre may be perhaps the best third baseman in the game, and is one of the most complete hitters in the majors. Along with Ian Kinsler and the underrated David Murphy, the Rangers' offense will weather the loss of Josh Hamilton. The bullpen, headed by Joe Nathan, is strong. The rotation features two breakout candidates in Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish.
7. Giants (0-0)
Tim Lincecum got his mojo back during San Francisco's 2012 World Series run. Along with Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, the Giants' rotation is plain scary and the team's defense should be sterling. But the offense is subpar, NL MVP Buster Posey not withstanding, and the bullpen is worrisome. Closer Sergio Romo hasn't looked great this spring.
8. Cardinals (0-0)
The rotation, headed by Adam Wainwright, is very good. The key word for this team is "depth." Bullpen, rotation and lineup. There are quality backups for the quality backups. Everyone can hit for average, power and get on base. There's no one person this team relies on.
9. Reds (0-0)
The bullpen is a strength, with Aroldis Chapman back as closer and Jonathan Broxton setting up. Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos form a superb 1-2 punch. The lineup is loaded with new addition Shin-Soo Choo added to Joey Votto, Ryan Ludwick, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce. But how will Choo handle center field after previously being a right fielder?
10. Diamondbacks (0-0)
Adding Martin Prado to a group that includes Jason Kubel, Paul Goldschmidt, Aaron Hill and Cody Ross makes for an incredibly balanced and stout lineup. The defense should be very good, particularly when top prospect and centerfielder Adam Eaton returns from injury. A deep rotation features Ian Kennedy and Brandon McCarthy. The bullpen is diverse, veteran and reliable.
11. Blue Jays (0-0)
How will Josh Johnson, R.A. Dickey and Jose Reyes transition to the AL? If they're successful, then the Blue Jays will be a team to be reckoned with. If they struggle, then the team could crumble. The bullpen is somewhat concerning, but the lineup is stacked. The best member of the starting five might be Brandon Morrow and his upper-90s fastball.
12. Rays (0-0)
Evan Longoria is one of the best infielders in baseball. Ben Zobrist is a Swiss Army Knife, versatile, dependable and a major weapon. New additions James Loney, Kelly Johnson and Yunel Escobar are big improvements. The rotation, headed by AL Cy Young Award winner David Price, Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore is fearsome. Closer Fernando Rodney put together a season for the ages in 2012, with a 0.60 ERA and 48 saves. And no one wears a baseball cap better.
13. Athletics (0-0)
The top six starters posted ERAs of 3.86 or less in 2012. And that doesn't factor in ace Brett Anderson, who was injured, or up-and-comer Dan Straily. Grant Balfour took the closer's role and ran with it. Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss finally showed their promise and power. Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes might have won Rookie of the Year if not for Mike Trout. Coco Crisp led a solid defensive effort.
14. Brewers (0-0)
Adding Kyle Lohse late in the spring instantly upgraded a rotation anchored by Yovani Gallardo. Ryan Braun already has one MVP award and posted even better numbers in 2012. Rickie Weeks, Carlos Gomez and Alex Gonzalez all have power. Rookie infielder Jean Segura (acquired from the Angels for Zack Greinke) is projected to do big things with the bat and the glove. Will closer John Axford (4.67 ERA) and the rest of the bullpen do right by this group?
15. Phillies (0-0)
Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are healthy, and Utley is entering his walk year. Michael Young doesn't have the store of good will he built in Texas and will have to perform to be appreciated. Ben Revere showed good tools with the Twins in 2012, but it was only one season. Can he do it again? The rotation is still a work of art (Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels), but Roy Halladay struggled mightily during the spring.
16. Yankees (0-0)
Lost to free agency are the home runs of Nick Swisher, Russell Martin and Eric Chavez. Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Derek Jeter are injured. But the lineup is more balanced than it has been in years. Ichiro Suzuki, Eduardo Nunez and Brett Gardner provide speed and contact. Robinson Cano, Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells have power. Kevin Youkilis brings patience. The defense is versatile and steady (outside of Nunez). The starting rotation, fronted by CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda, is excellent. The bullpen features the most prolific closer in the history of baseball, Mariano Rivera.
17. Indians (0-0)
Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jiminez have shown flashes of ace-like potential, but the starting staff has struggled. Adding Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn and Drew Stubbs should improve the team defensively -- helping the pitching. The offense should also benefit greatly from the free-agent signings.
18. Mariners (0-0)
The lineup has more power than in past years with the additions of Mike Morse, Kendrys Morales, Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay. Felix Hernandez and Joe Saunders lead a young rotation. But the talent is likely too top heavy to seriously bid for contention.
19. White Sox (0-0)
A year after nearly winning the AL Central, the White Sox look to be taking a step back. While the other teams in the division improved, Chicago did little except shed A.J. Pierzynski, who hit a career-high 27 homers in 2012. The rotation, bullpen and lineup are slightly better than average. But there's little depth and the Tigers look to be a juggernaut in the division.
20. Royals (0-0)
Getting James Shields and Wade Davis will certainly improve a horrid rotation. But Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie likely won't be much better than average arms. The bullpen is intriguing and the lineup is coming together. But this team is still lacking a few impact pieces in order to contend.
21. Orioles (0-0)
Full seasons of Brian Roberts and Manny Machado will help an above-average lineup. The rotation is steady but unspectacular. The bullpen is quite good. But it's unrealistic to expect a repeat of 2012 -- the Orioles were 29-9 in one-run games, 16-2 in extra-inning contests.
22. Red Sox (0-0)
Will Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino rebound? When will David Ortiz be healthy? Can Jacoby Ellsbury stay on the field? Will Ryan Dempster have a better performance in the AL this time? Too many questions surround a revamped Red Sox squad. You can't expect all answers to be positive after an awful 2012.
23. Mets (0-0)
The Mets are headed in the right direction. But they aren't there yet. Bright spots abound: David Wright, Matt Harvey, Jon Niese, Ike Davis. But the bullpen had more holes than a Connect-4 board in 2012, and new names don't automatically equal improvement. Shallow depth in the rotation and the bench, and one of New York's thinnest outfields ever should keep the Mets near the bottom of the division.
24. Pirates (0-0)
The pitching fruits of the Pirates' recent drafts aren't ready to blossom just yet. A disappointing rotation and bullpen downgraded with the trade of Joel Hanrahan will likely fail to support a promising, but incomplete lineup. Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones will continue to star as the Pirates sail rough waters.
25. Cubs (0-0)
Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson will lead a promising rotation, as Matt Garza gets healthy. The lineup features a revitalized Alfonso Soriano and young stars Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro. There are plenty of veteran, complementary pieces (David DeJesus, Nate Schierholtz, Scott Hairston). But the bullpen is worrisome, and rebuilding continues.
26. Twins (0-0)
Vance Worley was excellent for the Phillies in 2012. Mike Pelfrey is a worthwhile rehab project after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The lineup has maybe the last season with the M&M boys, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Josh Willingham can hit a ball very, very far. But not even manager Ron Gardenhire and a healthy dose of "Twins baseball" can keep this team from finishing near the bottom of the American League during a rebuilding season.
27. Padres (0-0)
Chase Headley is injured and Carlos Quentin is a power bat that can't field. Those are the brighter spots for the Padres. They'll pitch well because Petco Park is a pitcher's paradise. They'll hit like they're batting with wet noodles because Petco Park is a pitcher's paradise. The Padres showed some life during the second half of 2012, but don't have the reserve of talent or the minor league prospects to make you think they can turn that surge into contention.
28. Marlins (0-0)
Miami looked to be all-in last season, but, after a slow start, sold off their expensive assets for prospects. Those prospects coupled with veteran pickups (Juan Pierre, Placido Polanco) and holdover stars (Logan Morrison, Giancarlo Stanton) could see the Fish turn into a respectable bottom feeder.
29. Astros (1-0)
They have some hitting talent: Jose Altuve, Justin Maxwell, Rick Ankiel, Carlos Pena, Chris Carter. Bud Norris and Lucas Harrell are above-average starting pitchers. But most of their players are 26 or older, meaning they're a cheap, bad team that's not even developing their own future stars this season. The future of the Astros is lower in the minor leagues -- or soon-to-come-to-the-organization after Houston trades any player on their roster that show signs of helping a contender.
30. Rockies (0-0)
Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler are excellent hitters and defenders. There is some hitting depth beyond them. That's it for the Rocky Mountain highs. The pitching is horrid and shows no signs of improvement any time soon.