A day late and a dollar short, but here they are regardless. Like my basketball predictions, I used a scoring system where I ranked each starting player, rotation pitcher and top two bullpen arms. Add, divide, get the score listed next to each team name. It’s not perfect, and favors “on paper” rosters, but it’s interesting to see what results spit out.
MLB Team Rankings (Based on Predictions)
1. Boston Red Sox (146.38). The lineup is loaded with homegrown talent (Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Andrew Benentendi) and the rotation could be the best in the American League. The Red Sox should be back.
2. Washington Nationals (140.80). I did not include managers when conducting my scores. Dusty Baker is pretty terrible, and I’m a bit shocked he still has a job, but the Nationals are more talented and deep than the team that won 95 games in 2016.
3. Chicago Cubs (139.80). Everything broke right for the Cubs in 2016. While still perhaps the most talented team in the major league’s, they got a bit worse on paper. Young lineups are prone to slump, and hopefully the hitting can keep up with the pitching.
4. Cleveland Indians (139.44). It is so hard to repeat as league champions, but the Indians have gotten better this off season, with the addition of Edwin Encarnacion and the return of Michael Brantley. Should run away with this division by July.
5. Los Angeles Dodgers (123.33). The Dodgers are a flawed team, but few, if any, squads in baseball boast it’s star power. As evidenced by Clayton Kershaw and Corey Seager winning Cy Young and MVP in my predictions, respectively. The rotation behind Kershaw is a huge question mark and could keep the team from advancing.
6. New York Mets (166.07). Injuries have taken it’s toll on the MLB’s best rotation, but Noah Syndergaard has transformed into a legimiate beast. The lineup, while not amazing, is no longer a huge liability. With health the Mets could easily return to the World Series.
7. San Francisco Giants (113.00). The Giants quietly continue to go about their business, fielding one of the game’s best rotations and a veteran offense that does enough to keep the team in the game. Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto will keep the Giants around, and the veteran hitters will ensure San Francisco is in the playoff mix.
8. Detroit Tigers (101.69). The first surprise of the rankings, the Tigers are this high thanks to a solid, veteran lineup. Other than center field, they have veterans at each position. The return of Justin Verlander to elite status will help stabalize a young, inconsistent rotation.
9. St. Louis Cardinals (96.87). The Cardinals lack star power and have some questions in the rotation, but no one hangs around like St. Louis. As long as the coaching minor league pipeline remain intact, the Cardinals will always be playoff contenders.
10. Toronto Blue Jays (93.50). The Blue Jays will once again lean on it’s hitting to get back to the playoffs. However, I do not think the rotation is that bad. Marcus Stroman, JA Happ, Aaron Sanchez and Marco Estrada are an underrated quartet.
11. Houston Astros (92.06). The Astros chose to load up on veteran bats (Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Josh Reddick) to go with one of the best young cores in baseball. The rotation has serious issues, but Houston may have the best lineup in the majors.
12. Baltimore Orioles (88.56). Same story in Baltimore. The Orioles should slug a ton of homeruns and shut down teams with a great bullpen, but the rotation is worse than ever. It is puzzling how a team with the resources of Baltimore has failed to add decent starting pitching.
13. Miami Marlins (84.40). The most puzzling team in the top fifteen, my metrics must like the Marlins deep, solid lineup. Miami is gambling on bounce back years for Giancarlo Stanton and Dee Gordon. The rotation is in shambles, which is understandable following the tragic death of the most talented pitcher in club history.
14. Texas Rangers (83.13). The Rangers are one team that always seems to add talent as the regular season progresses, so what the roster looks like now is probably not what it will look like three months from now. Right now, the rotation does not look good enough to contend.
15. Colorado Rockies (75.80). Obviously, the offense will score a bunch of runs. The key always will be pitching. I am bullish on the potential this rotation offers, but they will likely struggle in 2017. Jon Gray has Cy Young potential, however.
16. Seattle Mariners (74.81). The Mariners always have talent sprinkled throughout the roster. Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz were great free agent signings. But Felix Hernandez regressed badly, the rotation is full of question marks and there are some huge holes on offense.
17. Tampa Bay Rays (73.06). Gone are Joe Maddon, Andrew Friedman and playoff appearances. Of course, it does not help that a super talented rotation had to deal with countless injuries. That is always the risk when building a team around pitching. With health, the Rays can compete for a Wild Card spot, even with a pathetic offense.
18. Los Angeles Angels (71.94). Well, at least the Angels have Mike Trout. The Los Angeles front office remains in the stone age when it comes to roster building. The Angels could compete for a Wild Card berth, but will not be a true threat until they build up a non existant farm system.
19. New York Yankees (69.63). If the Marlins are the most surprising team in these rankings, then New York is the most disappointing. The front office has placed a huge emphasis on building the farm system, and it could not be the league’s best. Will they really build the team around these young stars or simply wait to gear up for free agent runs at guys like Bryce Harper?
20. Kansas City Royals (69.13). I am happy that Kansas City fans got to experience a taste of championship champaign before the small market Royals came crashing back down to earth. The lineup remains solid, but the rotation is in big trouble. Other than Danny Duffy it’s composed of castoffs and vagabonds.
21. Chicago White Sox (68.43). The White Sox still have talented players, which is why they are ranked “this high”. Of course, Chicago will probably look to move anyone except Tim Anderson and Carlos Rodon, as they look to replicate the formula of the cross town Cubs.
22. Arizona Diamondbacks (61.40). It is baffling to me how a front office in 2016 could make a trade like the Shelby Miller deal with the Braves. I suppose that is what happens when you have fossilized has beens like Joe Torre running things. The Diamondbacks have Paul Goldschmidt and Zach Greinke, but are no where near contending.
23. Pittsburgh Pirates (60.20). The Pirate ship seems to have sailed in Pittsburgh. For years they had the misfortune of playing in the best division in baseball, and now the rotation is weak and the offense aging. If Jameson Taillon, Gerrit Cole and Tyler Glasnow can step up quickly, perhaps Pittsburgh may have some more post season runs in them.
24. Atlanta Braves (56.27). A new ball park will open in Atlanta this summer (again?), which means the Braves want to be more competitive, and have signed several short term options to hopefully boost wins. This is still a team that is a long way away, but trades like the Dansby Swanson addition really help.
25. Philadelphia Phillies (54.93). I am actually surprised Philadelphia finished this low. I think they can realistically push for a .500 record. I like the young rotation, though guys like Aaron Nola need to put an entire season of consistency together.
26. Cincinnati Reds (53.47). The Phillies, and now the Reds, show what happens when you sit idly by and let a core get old and evaporate. The Reds still have Joey Votto around, but the rotation is weak and the lineup is shallow. It will be a long rebuilding process in Cincinnati.
27. Oakland Athletics (46.81). Billy Beane is still in Oakland, right? The hype surrounding his style has long worn off. What Oakland is left with is a variety of role players and backups forced to field a professional team on a miniscule payroll.
28. Milwaukee Brewers (39.73). Like the Reds, the Brewers had some success early this decade, but a bad farm system could not fortify the big league club with reinforcements. Ryan Braun is basically the only thing worth watching in Milwaukee.
29. San Diego Padres (23.87). Ugh, I do not even want to type a blurb about the Padres. They never draft well, went all in and failed miserably, traded away a bunch of assets for little return, and now will field a patchwork rotation and lineup that will not score runs. At least they have the Chargers. Oh….
30. Minnesota Twins (20.25). So far the Twins vaunted farm system has not fielded results at the major league level. The lineup is weak and the rotation is terrible. Minnesota desperately needs Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano to develop. And for Joe Mauer’s contract to come off the books.
1. Washington Nationals
2. New York Mets
3. Miami Marlins
4. Atlanta Braves
5. Philadelphia Phillies
1. Chicago Cubs
2. St. Louis Cardinals
3. Pittsburgh Pirates
4. Cincinnati Reds
5. Milwaukee Brewers
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. San Francisco Giants
3. Colorado Rockies
4. Arizona Diamondbacks
5. San Diego Padres
1. Boston Red Sox
2. Toronto Blue Jays
3. Baltimore Orioles
4. Tampa Bay Rays
5. New York Yankees
1. Cleveland Indians
2. Detroit Tigers
3. Kansas City Royals
4. Chicago White Sox
5. Minnesota Twins
1. Houston Astros
2. Texas Rangers
3. Seattle Mariners
4. Los Angeles Angels
5. Oakland Athletics
1. Washington Nationals
2. Chicago Cubs
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. New York Mets
5. San Francisco Giants
Wild Card Game
New York Mets over San Francisco Giants
Washington Nationals over New York Mets
Chicago Cubs over Los Angeles Dodgers
Washington Nationals over Chicago Cubs
1. Boston Red Sox
2. Cleveland Indians
3. Houston Astros
4. Detroit Tigers
5. Toronto Blue Jays
Wild Card Game
Detroit Tigers over Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox over Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros over Cleveland Indians
Boston Red Sox over Houston Astros
2017 World Series
Boston Red Sox over Washington Nationals
National League MVP: Corey Seager, Dodgers
National League Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
National League Rookie of the Year: SS Dansby Swanson, Braves
American League MVP: Jose Altuve, Astros
American League Cy Young: Chris Sale, Red Sox
American League Rookie of the Year: Andrew Benentendi, Red Sox