On-paper National League Power Rankings for the 2013 MLB season
National League Power Rankings on paper
Now that the preseason has officially started, I believe it is the right time to finish my power rankings for the fast-approaching 2013 season.
Last week I made a slideshow on the American League power rankings. Now its time for the National League. As in the American League, the National League had teams that really improved this off-season, such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, who brought in Zack Grienke through free agency. But there are also teams who have done nothing, such as the New York Mets, who added exactly zero dollars to their payroll through free agency.
As I said last week, this is completely based on how I see the lineup on paper. I try as hard as I can to not be biased in ranking how I believe the teams will do. These rankings are completely based on talent.
Unlike in the American League, I shouldn’t have a big bias toward any team like I did with the Seattle Mariners. But I do admit that I am a St. Louis Cardinals fan. I don’t doubt that I will be argued with about this, but the list will be as unbiased as I can make it.
This does not at all determine how I feel the National League will end up at the end of the season, but it is my opinion about the on-paper talent of each team.
#15 Miami Marlins
Last season I would have called the Miami Marlins one of the top five in the National League but with their fire-sale this off-season, the team has unloaded all of their valuable players other than Giancarlo Stanton.
That list includes Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell, Hanley Ramirez, Gaby Sanchez, Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, John Buck, Emilio Bonifacio and Josh Johnson.
That's a lot of talent that will no longer be in that still brand new ballpark in Miami.
#14 Colorado Rockies
Take out Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, and what do the Colorado Rockies have? Nothing.
This team will always have trouble with pitching but this past season was excruciating. It got bad enough that they tried to go to a four man rotation. Do you know how bad something has to be to get to the point where you try to change the game?
It was awful. There was no excuse. Tulowitzki is injury-prone, and Gonzalez cannot carry this team by himself.
#13 Chicago Cubs
Sorry to all those loyal Chicago Cubs fans out there, but your team is bad.
Starlin Castro is very good. He will be a perennial all-star. Darwin Barney had a very good season. Alfonso Soriano had a resurgent season. But what else is there?
Three players does not a baseball team make. If Jeff Samardzija is your projected opening day starter, there is an issue. Pitching wins in this game. And if you have a No. 3 starter as your No. 1, you're not going to win.
#12 Philadelphia Phillies
I am going to get a lot of arguments here, and I understand that. Just hear me out before you start coming after my head.
I reward guys for having experience, when they are 29 or 30. Not when every player in your lineup is 35 or above. I wrote an article just last week saying the Philadelphia Phillies are a couple years away from being the Houston Astros.
Look around this team, Ryan Howard is 34, Chase Utley is 35, Jimmy Rollins is 35, Michael Young is 36, Carlos Ruiz is 34. I understand they have great pitching, but Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are both above 35.
Almost everyone on this team is an injury risk. There is no way the Phillies are as good as many people are saying.
#11 New York Mets
When you win 74 games and your biggest move of the off-season is trading your best pitcher, you have some issues.
This team doesn’t have much but David Wright is the type of player that can carry a team, and Ike Davis and Lucas Duda have both shown that they have power. But other than those three, this team doesn’t look to good.
You need pitching to win, and the New York Mets don’t have much. But, I believe they may be able to recreate the start they had last year and just glide into third place in the NL East.
#10 San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres have a slight advantage in my eyes. I have said you need pitching to win, and it's not hard to pitch well in San Diego.
Chase Headley showed last year that he can be a 30 homer guy while playing in spacious San Diego. Now imagine what he can do with that confidence. The pitching will be fine, and Headley, mixed with Carlos Quentin and Cameron Maybin, can keep this team out of the NL West cellar.
#9 Arizona Diamondbacks
This team has the ability to be good, but losing Justin Upton and Chris Young makes me wary of ranking them to high.
With a pitching staff led by Ian Kennedy and Wade Miley, this team will have good pitching. The offense will now be led by Martin Prado and Paul Goldschmidt. I love Goldschmit's power, but I am worried that this offense won't be able to produce in hitter-friendly Arizona.
#8 Milwaukee Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers have a lot of offense being led by Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Cory Hart and Aramis Ramirez.
The defense isn't bad either, with Carlos Gomez and Norichika Aoki as the best examples, but this team will definitely base any success on the offense.
This pitching staff worries me. You have a verified ace in Yovani Gallardo, but you have four big question marks following him. If you only have one guy in your rotation that can win you games, it won't matter how many runs you score.
#7 Pittsburgh Pirates
I love the Pittsburgh Pirates, I really do.
I root for them to finally end their 20-year losing streak. And this is the year I think they do it. Led by Andrew McCutchen, this team is finally going to finish the season off right. They have started the last couple of seasons well but haven't been able to finish. They have young players like Pedro Alvarez and Starling Marte, with good veterans like recently added Russell Martin and Neil Walker.
Good young pitchers will mix with A.J. Burnett, Francisco Liriano, James McDonald and Wandy Rodriguez to lead this team to their first winning season in 20 years. Sadly that is still only good third in the NL Central.
#6 Atlanta Braves
I do not look nearly as highly on the Atlanta Braves as most people, and you know why? The starting pitching is very shaky. Kris Medlen was very good for the final month of last season but other than him, Tim Hudson, Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy and Paul Maholm do not make up a good rotation.
They are still number six because of the additions of the Upton brothers filling what should be one of the best outfields in the league with Jason Heyward.
Brian McCann is one of the best catchers in the game, and this bullpen is amazing, but this starting rotation is what keeps me from ranking them higher.
#5 San Francisco Giants
Here is where my rankings really differ from my opinion. I believe in the end the San Francisco Giants will win the NL West, but you may notice one more team remaining from that division.
The Giants are good everywhere on the field but never great (other than Buster Posey). This pitching rotation is fantastic, this bullpen is fantastic. The only thing holding them back is that they only have one star position player, and this offense faces real struggles every season.
#4 St. Louis Cardinals
This St. Louis Cardinals team is going to be very good. Yadier Molina is one of the best offensive catchers in the league, is the unquestioned king of defense behind the plate and when calling a game. He stops the running game like no one else.
Matt Holliday and Allen Craig help Molina lead this offense, while Adam Wainwright leads this pitching rotation. They do take a hit by (probably) losing Kyle Lohse but the three young pitchers, Trevor Rosenthal, Joe Kelly, and Shelby Miller will lead this rotation by the end of the year.
#3 Cincinnati Reds
The number one team in the NL Central. Offensively, the team is led by Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, while the pitching rotation is led by Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos and Aroldis Chapman. This team is ridiculous.
The only loss the Cincinnati Reds have faced this off-season is losing Scott Rolen. He was excellent defensively, supporting the offense while Votto was hurt last season.
No question they are the most talented team in the NL Central. Todd Frazier has a year of experience, and this team easily has the talent and ability to win 90 games.
#2 Washington Nationals
The best team in baseball last year comes in at number two. What can you say - this rotation is amazing, and now Stephen Strasburg will have a full season, with Gio Gonzalez, Ross Detwiler and now Dan Haren to follow him up. Offensively, they are led by Adam Laroche, Jason Werth and obviously the now 20-year old Bryce Harper.
After adding Denard Span, they have answered the center field question, and by adding Rafael Soriano, the Nationals give themselves three viable options at closer. No question, this is one of the best teams in baseball.
#1 Los Angeles Dodgers
My number one team based on paper. Look at how much talent there is here: Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier. And that's just position players.
Two of the best pitchers in baseball headline this rotation in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Grienke. The bullpen is the only question here. But everything else is solid.
They have made a lot of moves this off-season and last season to bring in more talent, and they are definitely built for this season.
You probably disagree, but I think the Los Angeles Dodgers won't live up to their hype. But this is how I see it on paper.