American League Power Rankings (On Paper)
American League Power Rankings
With the preseason about to start, I have been looking back over the entire offseason. Many teams have made big moves, such as the Los Angeles Angels bringing in Josh Hamilton through free agency, and many have done absolutely nothing, such as the Texas Rangers. This list will be strictly about how a team looks on paper, not how I think they will play during the quickly approaching 2013 season. A good example would be that I think the San Francisco Giants will do better during the season than the Los Angeles Dodgers, but if this list was my National League power rankings then I would have the Dodgers far ahead (I may be doing the National League next week so try to forget I said that if you read that list when it comes out).
I will try to be as unbiased as possible, but I admit that I am an avid Seattle Mariners fan so my substantial love for the Mariners may or may not come into these rankings. I will try as hard as I can to withhold it, but sometimes even I don’t notice when I’m not giving teams a fair ranking.
Some of these rankings are pretty obvious, but I may surprise you a little. So with no further ado lets begin with the American League power rankings (on paper) looking into the 2013 season.
#15 Houston Astros
What can you say about the Houston Astros? They lost 107 games last season, 106 the year before. This will be their first year in the American League, and the A.L. West is a much stronger division than the N.L.Central. Now they will play nineteen games a year against the Rangers, Angeles, Mariners and Oakland Athletics instead of the Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers. Granted last year they had to play the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds, but two out of five tough teams is much easier than three and a half out of four.
#14 Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins did not have a great season last year by any stretch of the imagination. 66 wins with 96 losses placed them in last place in the A.L. Central. Sadly for the Twins, everyone else in this division has improved this offseason while Minnesota added some very young pitchers who probably wont be in the majors this season, and got older.
Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer are both another year older. Mauer will be playing even more time at first base, which pushes Morneau into the DH role, meaning they will have to play Josh Willingham out in left again where his defensive metrics (which I understand are far from perfect) all point in the wrong direction.
#13 Chicago White Sox
My first surprise, right?
Looking around this team, they have downgraded in a couple of positions and gotten older everywhere else. Its hard for me to say this because I love how he plays, but Paul Konerko is 37-years-old, and that means something in this league. Now, he could produce the same way he has ever since people started calling him old, but your body does slow down at some point and I think Konerko has entered his large physical decline.
They do have Adam Dunn, who had an amazing bounce back season last year and will probably hit 40 home runs again. My problem with this White Sox team is that they didn’t really get better anywhere after a huge collapse last September.
#12 Boston Red Sox
This team was awful last season as every baseball fan should know. Granted they had an incredible amount of injury problems last year with basically their entire outfield going down at the same time, David Ortiz went down for an extended amount of time and up-and-coming rookie Will Middlebrooks got hurt with over a month left in last season.
They made some good additions this offseason like Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli but there are questions surrounding all three as to whether or not they can be everyday players. If everyone in this pitching rotation have career seasons this team could go pretty far, but if last year is any indicator for any of the Red Sox pitchers than they will not end very well in John Farrell’s first season.
#11 Oakland Athletics
Wow! Really? The team that had an amazing cinderella run last year to win the A.L. West on the final day of the season is ranking fourth in that division the coming season?
I agree last years Oakland Athletics were amazing. They figured out a way to win late in games seemingly every day. But look at this roster. This outfield is good with Yoenis Cespedes in left, Coco Crisp in center and Josh Reddick in right. But everything else on this team looks terrible.
Josh Donaldson at third, if there is a single non A’s fan reading this and you knew who Josh Donaldson was before last September please leave a comment. Hiroyuki Nakajima was brought in to play shortstop, we know how he did in Japan but there have recently been very good Japanese players who come to America and play terrible (Twins fans know Tsuyoshi Nishioka). Adam Rosales at second and Brandon Moss at first. John Jaso was brought in from the Mariners to catch but he has never played one hundred twenty games in a season.
The strength of this team is the pitching but you can’t expect Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone and A.J. Griffin will be even close to as good as they were last year. In fact if I had to guess I would say they will each go into sophomore slumps, its a real thing people.
#10 Kansas City Royals
This team brought in a great pitcher in James Shields to lead their rotation but other than him, Ervin Santana and Wade Davis were brought in. Can those three pitchers really lead a team from seventy two wins to even just eighty one to become a five hundred ball club? I don’t think so.
#9 Seattle Mariners
Alright if you want to give me crap for how high they are then go for it. But this is the best offense the Mariners have had in many years. And with the fences at Safeco Field coming in a large amount, new additions like Mike Morse, Kendrys Morales, Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez will really add some pop to the progressing players like Kyle Seager (twenty home runs in his first full season), Dustin Ackley (who will be back to the just below three hundred average with home runs in the teens) and Jesus Montero (fifteen home runs in a part time role).
And you can never forget one of the best pitchers in baseball, Felix Hernandez, is anchoring this pitching rotation.
The Mariners have been one of the main laughing stocks in the league for about a decade, this is the year they start to bring it back.
#8 Baltimore Orioles
Another team that had an incredibly surprising 2012 but unlike the A’s, the Baltimore Orioles based their success off offense and bullpen. In 2012 the Orioles bullpen was amazing. They have to be for you to win sixteen straight extra inning games.
But this team does not have any starting pitching. Jason Hammel is going to start opening day, Hammel wouldn’t be a three starter in any other rotation. We have seen that pitching wins championships and bullpens are inconsistent. You need go starters to win and this bullpen doesn’t have a chance to be as good as last year.
#7 Cleveland Indians
This team has made a lot of good looking additions this offseason like Nick Swisher, Mark Reynolds or Michael Bourn. There are three center fielders covering this outfield in Bourn, Michael Brantley and Drew Stubbs. This pitching staff isn’t great but it has a very high ceiling potential with guys like Justin Masterson and Trevor Bauer.
The bullpen though is what impresses me most, whenever you can be called the bullpen mafia you are doing something right. With Chris Perez closing down games and Matt Albers getting the ball to him, this bullpen can easily make any game six or seven innings before its all over.
#6 New York Yankees
There is legitimately one starting position play who will be under thirty this entire year on this roster and thats new starting catcher Francisco Cervelli (who was recently connected to performance enhancing drugs). Cervelli has never been a starter before and he is definitely a down grade from Russell Martin. This team did not get better anywhere this offseason other than adding Kevin Youkilis to take Alex Rodriguez’s place.
They are old and everyone is starting to deteriorate. But they are the Yankees and will win games.
#5 Texas Rangers
The only quality addition the Texas Rangers made this offseason was signing A.J. Pierzynski to catch. Other than that this team that had a massive collapse to lose the A.L. West on the final day last season has lost Hamilton, Napoli and Michael Young. This team needs to find a new leader and has lost a lot of talent.
They still have enough talent that they are the final team in the playoffs but they lost all of the player leadership from the past decade and they will suffer because of it.
#4 Tampa Bay Rays
This is where it gets really difficult. I love this Tampa Bay Rays team mostly because of their pitching. David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, Jeff Niemann and Chris Archer.
The rest of this team is really good too. Especially with Evan Longoria back from injury to lead this team. They lost B.J. Upton but Desmon Jennings will take his place in center while Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist will be starting in the corner outfield spots.
#3 Detroit Tigers
These top three were incredibly difficult for me but the Detroit Tigers are the bottom of the top. The best right handed pitcher in the game and the best hitter we have seen in a while between Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera, add in Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez to this offense and they are amazing.
The rotation and bullpen are pretty solid too. Being third this season isn’t a bad thing, this Tigers team is amazing. Just not amazing enough to jump my top two.
#2 Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim
Another of these tough decisions for me. After adding Josh Hamilton this team has arguably the best outfield in baseball (possibly second only to the Atlanta Braves) but it is definitely a good debate to have. With Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson as the frontrunners in this rotation and Jason Vargas to eat innings, this rotation has a lot of talent.
Adding Ryan Madson gave this team three viable closer options between him. Sean Burnett and Ernesto Frieri.
And finally who can forget Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo as the big power guys in this lineup along with Hamilton and super-athlete Mike Trout who has put on some muscle weight this offseason (maybe to hit more bombs?).
#1 Toronto Blue Jays
This is proof that this list is about how teams look on paper because I don’t believe the Toronto Blue Jays will actually live up to the hype this season. But there is no denying that they are the best team in baseball on paper. The additions of Melky Cabrera, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and most importantly R.A. Dickey. Adding three viable number one starters to a team that already has two guys with number one type stuff (Brandon Morrow and Rickey Romero) will solidify this rotation.
And all the offensive additions added to returning Blue Jays Brett Lawrie, Edwin Encarnacion and who can forget Jose Bautista make this team look almost unbeatable.
These rankings are based on paper and in no way indicate how I think these teams will end up at the end of the 2013 season.