2017 Major League Baseball Power Rankings
The defending champs are the best team on paper again this year. Even with the loss of Dexter Fowler, the Cubs still have a star-studded team. With Kris Bryant, Jason Hayward, Kyle Schwarber and World Series MVP Ben Zobrist, the lineup is stacked. Combine that offense with the best pitching staff in the league (Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, John Lackey) and Chicago will have a chance to repeat.
The Tribe look to avenge last season’s 3-1 blown lead in the World Series. Although they lost Mike Napoli, Coco Crisp and Rajai Davis, their lineup is still dangerous. The addition of free agents Edward Encarnacion and Austin Jackson boost the lineup. With the 1-2-3 punch of Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco and a great bullpen, Cleveland could wind up the back in the World Series.
3. Red Sox
The Sox will repeat as the AL East Champs this year. They have to move on from the retirement of David Ortiz, who led the offense, but the talent of veterans Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia, alongside young stars of Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi, the team’s offense will be fine. Pablo Sandoval can be a difference maker if he performs like he should. The addition of Chris Sale this offseason boosts the rotation.
The Giants are an infield heavy team. They have an All-Star catcher in Buster Posey along with Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford as proven game-changers. The outfield is a possible issue with both Hunter Pence and Denard Span entering their mid-30’s. The team can rely on the best 1-2 pitching combination in the league with Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto, and an improved bullpen should help.
Houston improved this offseason by acquiring veterans Carlos Beltron and Brian McCann, who should als help in the locker room. Their presence should take some pressure off Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, both MVP candidates. The bullpen is the deepest in baseball. The only question is if the starting rotation is good enough to consistently get to the pen.
The Nats have one of the best in the game in Bryce Harper. The lineup is stacked from top to bottom with Harper Daniel Murphy, Jason Werth and Ryan Zimmerman, and rookie of the year runner up Trea Turner. Cy Young candidates Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg are returning from injury and, if healthy, their rotation is solid top to bottom.
LA’s success relies on pitcher Clayton Kershaw. The most dominant pitcher in the game needs to stay healthy if the Dodgers want to make the next step. Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill and a healthy Scott Kazmir are great compliments to Kershaw. On offense, Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Turner will lead the way, along with rookie of the year Corey Seager. Yasiel Puig needs a bounce-back year.
The Mets have a power-filled lineup. Curtis Granderson, Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce and Neil Walker should account for at least 100 home runs. They are just as good on defense as they are on offense. The starting rotation could be one of the best in the MLB if they can remain healthy. Noah Syndergaard is the only one who didn’t have surgery last season. If Jacob DeGrom, Steven Matz and Matt Harvey can rebound, this is a team with World Series potential.
Texas has a solid lineup from top to bottom. Adrian Beltre, Rougned Odor and Jonathon Lucroy are all dangerous hitters. The addition of Mike Napoli will help boost the offense. The defense is sold. The biggest question mark is the pitching rotation. The Rangers have aces in Yu Darvis and Cole Hamels, but they don’t have much behind them. They will need to find a solid back end better performance from the bullpen to make a playoff run.
10. Blue Jays
The Jays lost their best player, Edwin Encarnacion, to free agency. Although there is no way to replace his production, the team still has great hitters in Jose Batista, Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki. Russell Martin still provides a bat in the lineup along with his defense behind the plate. The starting five led the AL in ERA last year and they will need a performance like that again to take pressure off the bullpen.
This could be your surprise team. The signing of Ian Desmond will be a big factor once he joins the likes of Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado. A quality pitching rotation carried by Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson should build off last season. The loss of Chad Bettis does hurt the team, but they can still contend.
The Cards were aggressive this offseason in signing Dexter Fowler from the Cubs. Fowler helps boost the offense after coming off his best season. Although they had to say goodbye to Matt Holiday, they still have stars such as Yadier Molina, Chris Carpenter and Stephen Piscotty. Kolten Wong needs to improve this season to help the Cardinals contend. The 1-2-3 punch of Carlos Martinez, Mike Leake and Adam Wainwright will keep them from too many slumps. The Cards won’t take out the Cubs, but they could make it closer.
Seattle has the core make a run. “King” Felix Hernandez is regressing some, but he’s still one of the best in the league. Hisashi Iawakuma showed signs of age last year. Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager helped lead Seattle to third AL runs last year and they should do it again with some help from Mitch Haniger. The aging rotation is the deciding factor for this team as their playoff window i closing.
The Bucs will go as far as Andrew McCutchen leads them. The former MVP had a rough year last year, but a bounce-back season will spark a young lineup that includes Josh Bell, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco. If Jung-Ho Kang gets his visa problems cleared up, he'll add a legitimate power threat to the middle of the lineup. Gerrit Cole must return to All-Star level and get help from a young rotation if the team is to have a possible wildcard run. If they aren’t in contention around the trade deadline, changes will be made.
This could go either way. The lineup is full of stars, including Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, J.D Martinez, Ian Kinsler and surprising production from Justin Upton. Justin Verlander, Michael Fulmer and Jordan Zimmerman must perform to keep them in the race.
Baltimore has the best power-hitting lineup in the league. Between Chris Davis, Manny Machado, Mark Trumbo and Adam Jones, they can change the game on one swing. Is the pitching good enough?
Mike Trout is as good as they come, but he can’t do it all. Albert Pujols and Danny Espinosa need to produce in a major way to make the team a contender.
How can they replace Jose Fernandez? Newcomer Edinson Volquez will have to rebound from a rough season last year. Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich make them fun to watch.
With new management in place, the D-backs look to improve their NL-worst pitching staff but the defense needs to improve for that to happen. Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller must be better.
This is an in-between team, with too much talent and too few wins. They added Matt Holiday but their offense still lacks efficiency. The rotation has a lot of questions behind Masahiro Tanaka.
KC has fallen quite a bit since their World Series season two years ago. Eric Hosmer with Kendrys Morales are gone. Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas need to bounce back.
The Rays were predicted to make the playoffs last year, but underachieved significantly. When Wilson Ramos returns from injury, they’ll be more impactful, and the pitching should improve, but there is a long way to go.
Atlanta brought in Matt Kemp and Brandon Phillips to go along with Freddie Freeman. Kemp can still produce, but Phillips is on the downside. The big additions were Bartolo Colon, R.A Dicky and Jamie Garcia.
The Brewers are a young team looking to grow their talent. Ryan Braun is still the face of the franchise for now, but look for him to be moved at some point.
Minnesota is lacking in pitching this year. Ervin Santana and Kyle Gibson are solid, but their depth is lacking.
Philly is in the rebuilding process. Their offense has power to offer in Tommy Joseph and Maikiel Franco, but they are still growing as players.
27. White Sox
The ChiSox offense has some talent between Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu, but the arms are hurting without Chris Sale.
The A's were a playoff team not too long ago, but now have fallen to the bottom.
The Reds have a young star on the rise in Adam Duvall, who had a breakout season last year, alongside veterans Joey Votto and Billy Hamilton. But the inexperienced pitching staff is not ready.
There is a lot of rebuilding left to make this team relevant again.