2019 MLB Preseason Power Rankings

Boston Red Sox

2018 Record: 108-54

Boston will be looking to repeat as champions, which has Alex Bregman already ready for a postseason rematch. There is one glaring weak spot within the Boston roster, which is the bullpen. They have let Craig Kimbrel walk, although you can find rumors still linking them to signing him, but it seems unlikely unless it is a one-year deal. This is a bit worrisome, and likely will be the reason they don’t repeat. It isn’t quite enough to weigh them down a few spots, but after a few weeks we shouldn’t be surprised if Boston slips a few spots. The staff also registers as one of the better ones in baseball, and resigning Nathan Eovaldi was huge for their depth. Eduardo Rodriguez staying healthy and taking another step would be a major plus.

New York Yankees

2018 Record: 100-62

The Bronx Bombers lived up to the name last season, hitting 267 home runs as a team. Both them and Boston are World Series favorites heading into the season. New York has usually been a team to splash the cash, but they made smart under the radar moves that might end up being better than spending $300 million for Manny Machado. Adding DJ LeMahieu and Adam Ottavino provides infield depth and adds to an already impressive bullpen. Trading for James Paxton also adds another above average arm to the rotation, which they needed last season. New York has been on the rise for a while, but have been doing things a bit differently from the 1990s and 2000s.

Houston Astros

2018 Record: 103-59

Houston fell short in the ALCS last season, but their time is now. We can look at Houston losing some starting pitchers as a potential drop in wins, but starting out your rotation with Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander is going to be a plus. Lance McCullers, Charlie Morton, and Dallas Keuchel have either moved on or are out for the year, leaving three opening spots for Houston. They have some younger talent to fill in, and still a pretty good bullpen. This won’t knock them off of the AL West mountain just yet. The offense will look to get healthy versions of Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa this season, but adding Michael Brantley wasn’t a highlight, yet underrated move.

Los Angeles Dodgers

2018 Record: 92-71

Is there some concern with Clayton Kershaw? Sure, but the Dodgers are more than Kershaw. They had a top ten offense, which missed Corey Seager, until Manny Machado showed up for half a season. Los Angeles did trade Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, but this was more trimming fat in my opinion. The emergence of Walker Buehler adds to a strong rotation, even with some of their aging arms. With a strong bullpen, and some younger depth, the Dodgers still have a quality rotation. Mixing it in with an above average offense, the Dodgers will be in the hunt to return to the World Series, but still seem a step behind the American League elite.

Chicago Cubs

2018 Record: 95-68

The Cubs caught some flack for not spending money on an over-performing and teetering rotation, which means they will hope for strong performances out of aging arms. The Cubs core is already so strong with their infield, and maybe we forget this was a World Series winning team just a few years ago. 2019 is going to be a telling year for what the Cubs need to address moving forward, mainly because the age of their pitching staff, and paying certain players. If some of the National League East teams make the step as expected, the Cubs will slip down the rankings a bit. The NL Central also is going to be a tough won to win this season.

St. Louis Cardinals

2018 Record: 88-74

St. Louis went out and added one of the better right-handed hitters in baseball, Paul Goldschmidt. He will walk into a good lineup, but it did need a big power bat from the right side. Adding Goldy into Matt Carpenter and Marcell Ozuna at the top of the lineup, the offense should take a step forward. The rotation doesn’t have a household ace, but top to bottom has above average arms. Jack Flaherty has the stuff of a future ace of the rotation, while Miles Mikolas became a strong innings eater that limits damage. The Cardinals might end up being back on top of the NL Central, which has been a few years.

Atlanta Braves

2018 Record: 90-72

The National League East is looking extremely talented this season, and there is going to be some movement from four of the teams throughout the seasons on the rankings page. Atlanta added Josh Donaldson on a one-year deal, which is a great prove it deal for both clubs at his age and with his health. Combining seasoned vets with the young core they have, this is going to be a very good Braves team. The staff is what needs some work. They have young arms climbing the system, but are still unseasoned at this stage. If they get above average production out of the staff, the Braves will be in the thick of it come October.

Cleveland Indians

2018 Record: 91-71

Despite losing a lot of quality bats, the rotation is what keeps them in the top ten heading into the season. They led the league in strikeouts as a staff, and one-through-five they are a top three staff in baseball. They added Carlos Santana back, but after the first four hitters this lineup does not look good on paper. Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez might be able to carry this offense, but I would expect them to slide in the rankings once the season gets going. This has a lot to do with Philly, Washington, and Milwaukee right behind them. An outfield of Greg Allen, Tyler Naquin, and Leonys Martin is the downside here.

Philadelphia Phillies

2018 Record: 80-82

The Phillies went out and traded for J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura, all on top of signing Andrew McCutchen. We are still waiting for the Bryce Harper signing, which seems likely at this point. With Rhys Hoskins sitting in the middle of the lineup, this offense is going to have power for days. This will help negate what should be an average to above average rotation depending on the outcomes of arms not named Aaron Nola. I still think Philly needs to add an arm at some point during the year, but overall they have the capability of making a deep October run. They will be part of a potential 3-4 horse race in the National League East.

Washington Nationals

2018 Record: 82-80

Washington is out on Bryce Harper, and that isn’t going to drop them down a ton. The Nationals should be in the heart of the playoff hunt this season, especially with the staff they have. Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg both are one of the best one-two guys in the game, and then Washington added Patrick Corbin on top of it. The Nats have had strong rotations, and this is another one. Offensively they signed Brian Dozier and will look to the emergence of Victor Robles to take over in the outfield. Juan Soto and Trea Turner are the faces of this offense right now, which is a good balance of power and speed.

Milwaukee Brewers

2018 Record: 96-67

Following up a 96-win season for the Brewers is going to be tough, but they have the offense and bullpen to do it. The Brewers continue to dodge signing an elite arm, which they are missing from their staff. If the staff fails to even provide relief to the bullpen, the Brewers could be in some trouble. Adding Yasmani Grandal is a bump to their offense, and resigning Mike Moustakas gives them another power bat in the lineup. The recipe from 2018 is going to try and be duplicated in 2019 and it will be an interesting follow.

New York Mets

2018 Record: 77-85

I am not sure the other teams in the division expected the Mets to go out and make some underrated moves that puts them in a spot to contend. This is already a very good staff with Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard leading the way. The trade for Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano upgrades both positions for them. The signing of Wilson Ramos and Jed Lowrie is also a plus at the positions as long as they can stay healthy. If Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto can continue their stride, we shouldn’t be surprised to see them in the hunt come October. Health is going to be the biggest factor, which is usually not on the Mets side.

Tampa Bay Rays

2018 Record: 90-72

Winning 90 games was a huge surprise for Tampa Bay, who just tend to sneak up despite having one of the lower payrolls in baseball. Having two juggernauts within the division is going to be tough again, and duplicating success is something I can’t see happening. They were wheeling and dealing in the offseason, signing Charlie Morton, trading for Mike Zunino, and landing Avisail Garcia. All three are quality moves, but it likely won’t be enough to get them over the hump.

Cincinnati Reds

2018 Record: 67-95

The trade with Los Angeles is going to shakeup the Reds roster for the better. They get two solid bats in Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, but also get a quality arm in Alex Wood. Jesse Winker playing 140+ games will be huge, as his on-base skills were one of the best in the league. This rotation last season was one of the worst in baseball, and within one offseason they have improved. Wood, Tanner Roark, and Sonny Gray are not tier one or tier two arms, but they are improvements from what they had. They should change their 67 win season from last year, and be a tough out within the division.

Colorado Rockies

2018 Record: 91-72

Colorado has been on the cusp of advancing in the playoffs the last few seasons, but have fallen short. They didn’t do much in the offseason, but adding Daniel Murphy gives them a big upgrade at first base. If David Dahl can stay healthy, he will be another strong addition to the offense. The rotation always has the biggest task of pitching in Coors for half their games, but they have some very good arms up top. If they can find some consistency, Colorado should be able to hover around 90 wins and compete in the National League West.

Minnesota Twins

2018 Record: 78-84

It was a down year after being a surprise Wild Card team, but this offseason they made much smarter signings than the prior. They signed Marwin Gonzalez, C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop, and Nelson Cruz. This offense should be in the top half in production this season, and they will hope it can mask some of the pitching issues they have. Jose Berrios is the ace of the staff, but after then things get a bit rocky. We need to see which Michael Pineda shows up and if Kyle Gibson can keep missing bats. In a weak AL Central, the Twins should rival the Indians for the top of the division.

Los Angeles Angels

2018 Record: 80-82

The Angels always seem to hover around the middle of the rankings, despite having the best player in baseball. That will likely be the case this season, despite some of the name power they have like Justin Upton, and an over the hill Albert Pujols. The staff is filled with names that have potential, but we will need to see it first. Getting Zack Cozart back into the lineup this year is going to be a plus, and the addition of Justin Bour wasn’t the worst move in the world as they break up a heavy right-handed lineup. The division is a bit weaker this season, which should help them in the Wild Card race.

Pittsburgh Pirates

2018 Record: 82-79

Pittsburgh has a rag tag team of guys trying to prove their worth, which served them well last season. They made a move for Chris Archer, and the rotation actually looks to have potential. Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams both took high strides, and Joe Musgrove’s peripheral stats showed he could have improving numbers. The offense lacks big power, and PNC Park also helps drop that down. They will be a pesky team that could derail some of the other elite teams in the National League. They will be a competitive team, but hard to see them making a real run at the playoffs.

Oakland Athletics

2018 Record: 97-65

Oakland slipped in the rankings for me, and it has a lot to do with the staff. Only one starter has a projected ERA under 4.50. They are battered with long term injuries, and didn’t reach out to make a move. They replaced Jed Lowrie with Jurickson Profar, who will take the same role. The A’s have big power bats in the middle of the lineup, but they are going to be boom or bust. The 2018 success is going to be tough to follow, and Oakland is an easy regression candidate to bet on. While we love the way these scrappy teams compete, Oakland is looking to take a big step backwards.

San Diego Padres

2018 Record: 66-96

We are a year away from San Diego pushing the envelope. They signed Eric Hosmer last season, and Manny Machado this year. That is a start, however the rotation is still a big issue. They don’t have above average arms, which means they will be struggling once again this season. Expect San Diego to be active around the deadline if they are close to being in a playoff race, mainly because they have the prospects to land a pitcher or two. 96 losses seems steep for this year, so expect an improvement.

Seattle Mariners

2018 Record: 89-73

We are looking at an entirely new roster outside of names like Kyle Seager and Mitch Haniger. The Mariners are making some changes trying to adjust for the future. They aren’t bad, but they aren’t good either. This roster should expect to change around the middle of the year, as teams will be interested in names like Edwin Encarnacion and Jay Bruce. The Mariners have no intentions of holding onto them. The departure of James Paxton leaves a rotation that held on by a thread last season in real trouble. You have a lot of pitch to contact arms now that will rely on some positive batted ball stats and a little luck.

Arizona Diamondbacks

2018 Record: 82-80

The star power in Arizona is now gone, and it leaves a pretty mediocre lineup behind. There are names like Eduardo Escobar and David Peralta still around, but we are going to see a slide in the rankings for Arizona this season. They do still have the chance of having a plus rotation, as Zack Greinkie, Robbie Ray, and Zack Godley headline. Luke Weaver is a wild card right-hander that came over in the Goldschmidt deal. The Diamondbacks are closer to San Francisco and San Diego compared to Los Angeles and Colorado.

Chicago White Sox

2018 Record: 62-100

The White Sox missed out on advancing their rebuild, as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will not be playing ball on the south side. This leaves their roster very similar to where it was last season, which was a 100 loss team. They are a part of the reason why the American League Central is so bad. The rotation was going to be a disaster either way with them not linked to any pitchers, and they will likely hold one of the poorer ERAs in the majors when all is said and done. Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez, and Lucas Giolito were all top prospects at one point or another, but consistency has been a big problem.

Toronto Blue Jays

2018 Record: 73-89

The only thing exciting about Toronto’s upcoming season is that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is going to make his debut at some point this season. The Jays will bring back a lot of the same names on the offensive side, which wasn’t a bad one last season.  The rotation has names like Matt Shoemaker and Clayton Richard added, which isn’t a positive for where they came from. The Blue Jays have some young prospects that put them ahead of a team like the Giants or Rangers, despite having similar projected outcomes and previous records.

San Francisco Giants

2018 Record: 73-89

San Francisco boasts one of the most mundane teams in baseball right now, and don’t offer up any young talent to get us excited about the future. Madison Bumgarner was a trade rumor in the offseason, and it would be a surprise to see him in SF come August. The core of Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey, and Brandon Belt still sits in the middle of the rotation, and unless you are one for nostalgia, this isn’t a good thing. It is going to be a tough year for the Giants as they try and transition into the future.

Texas Rangers

2018 Record: 67-95

We need to start seeing some of the younger talent pan out and become a bit more consistent in 2019, otherwise things are going to go further south. Texas’ rotation is filled with prove it names like Shelby Miller, Edinson Volquez, and Drew Smyly. They are all coming off major injuries within the last few seasons. The offense has potential, and the ballpark helps the power numbers, but they lack getting on base. They signed Asdrubal Cabrera, which was more of a signing to fill a spot. It was a surprise no other team picked him up. Texas has a lot of holes to fill, and it is going to take some time before we see them push for first in the division.

Kansas City Royals

2018 Record: 58-104

We are now moving into the worst in the league spots, and it starts with Kansas City. They are part of a poor American League Central, and they don’t show signs of improving just yet. The name hyped up around Kansas City is Adalberto Mondesi, who is a building block for the future. This isn’t a recognizable roster, but they have some power bats and speed that are more fantasy value than real life value. Kansas City is staying in tune with some of the teams down here in having a very poor rotation. Danny Duffy was a notable name, but has fallen off. He is still headlining a lot of blowup prone arms.

Detroit Tigers

2018 Record: 64-98

I might as well just copy the Royals write up here, as the Tigers have similar issues. They get Miguel Cabrera back, but how healthy is he, and what can he bring to the lineup. Nick Castellanos demanded a trade before the season, who is their most proven hitter that is in their prime. Michael Fulmer started to look like a potential number two or three in a rotation, but injuries and inconsistency have plagued him the last season. The signing of Josh Harrison will give Detroit a utility infielder that can offer up some runs in front of the power bats. Detroit will be fighting to stay out of the basement.

Miami Marlins

2018 Record: 63-98

Despite having new uniforms and a logo, it can’t mask how bad this Miami team is and will be for the foreseeable future. They have gotten questionable returns on their recent trades, which doesn’t help for the future outlook of the team. With the rest of the National League East improving, I don’t expect 60+ wins here this year with a team of bats that are over the age of 35 or are struggling to crack the other 29 team’s rosters.

Baltimore Orioles

2018 Record: 47-115

Nothing to see here, move on. Baltimore has nowhere to go but up, but getting back to even being a league average team is going to take some time. Given they are not a big market team, it is tough to see them spending money in free agency. That would be fine if their farm system had some top 100 prospects, but this is not a promising aspect of the organization either. It is going to be a tough stretch for the O’s.

Jason Guilbault has been writing and podcasting in the fantasy sports world for over five years. You can find his work at The Fake Baseball and Daily Fantasy Cafe. He is an avid Tottenham fan, and follows the Boston sports teams. When he isn’t diving into stats, he is enjoying the outdoors or down at the local brewery.