Power Ranking the MLB Divisions Heading into 2014 Season
Power Ranking the MLB Divisions
There is just over a month left until the cleats can be dusted off, the sunscreen can be applied and camps ready to open for Spring Training. With 2014 in full swing, projections are underway in examining the upcoming season. In looking at the six five-team divisions, how do they stack up compared to each other?
With the constant turnover in the league, certain teams figure to fall back while others make a run. Over the last three years, only two teams have made the playoffs in all three seasons in the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers. That just speaks to the parity within the league today. With the league now having an extra playoff spot and balanced divisions, it is making for a more competitive game all around.
Last season saw the National League Central get three teams into the postseason. Could there be a division out there this year that could do the same under the new playoff format? Based on offseason movement activity the AL East and AL West would be No. 1 and No. 2, but how will that translate on the field and in the standings? Two teams from those divisions that missed out on the playoffs last year but could make a run this season are the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers. Both added several pieces and will contribute to the depth of their divisions in the power rankings.
With just a few weeks until camps open here is a look at the divisional power rankings. How would your rankings look?
Nick Schaeflein is a sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.
6. National League Central
The defending NL Champion St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates figure to have winning seasons to pace the division. Although one thing that could hinder the Pirates is that their winter was not as active as others, and they could be exploited because of that. It could also be long seasons for the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers leaving the NL Central at the back of the pack going into Spring Training.
5. American League Central
The Detroit Tigers could be a dangerous team come October. They have made many moves but subtracted a lot as well. There are many questions surrounding the Tigers and the only thing that could save them is a potentially weak division. The Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox are improved but still unproven over the long haul. The Minnesota Twins were active, but do they have enough bats to compete? The Cleveland Indians were very quiet this winter and could struggle because of it.
4. National League East
Giving the Miami Marlins and New York Mets credit, they were able to bring in players to upgrade the rosters. The Philadelphia Phillies are a veteran club, but that also means that they will be on old, tired legs come summer time. The division race figures to be a two-team race between the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves. The Nats were a disappointment a season ago, but the rotation figures to carry them this year. The Braves lost a few pieces and have major questions in their daily lineup.
3. American League West
The AL West arguably has seen the most activity during the winter. The Houston Astros have even participated in making moves this offseason, but compared to the rest of the division, they are still a few years away from being serious contenders. The Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels have both added pieces and figure to improve from last year. The Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics figure to have a third consecutive battle at the top of the division, and if the Angels do show up this year it will make for a very entertaining three team race. This division could make for some good late-night baseball out on the west coast.
2. National League West
Much like the American League West, there could be some excellent late-season baseball within this division. With all due respect to the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres, the other three teams figure to put some distance in between the top half and bottom half of the race. The Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers will jockey all year for the title. All three teams look to be in the top half of the entire National League.
1. American League East
The "AL Beast" figures to be at the top again this season. The defending champion Boston Red Sox are primed for a repeat. The New York Yankees have rebuilt much of their roster. In addition to the favorites, the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles continue to compete with a solid core of players, and how will the Toronto Blue Jays respond after being one of the disappointments from a season ago? This is the deepest division in the league in terms of talent and could see a four-team race into September for the division crown.