We’ll get to watch actual major leaguers play this week!
The lockout is over! And, now, the sprint to April 7 begins, as teams have three weeks to finish signing free agents, make their trades and get the dust settled in time for Opening Day.
We expect the movement to come fast and furious this week on the free agent front. But, for now, here are our re-tooled power rankings to officially start the 2022 season.
30. Pittsburgh Pirates
Ke’Bryan Hayes is the real deal at third. But the rest of their lineup is suspect, and their rotation is trash. There’s a lot of need still in Pittsburgh and not many reinforcements coming.
29. Arizona Diamondbacks
They were bad last year and haven’t improved their big league lineup much yet. So some youngsters are going to need to step up. We hope to see a full season of an improved Geraldo Perdomo at short.
28. Cincinnati Reds
They traded Sonny Gray to the Twins on Sunday for Minnesota’s first-round pick in 2021. So the white flag is up and the rebuild has begun. Luis Castillo could be the next pitcher on his way out.
27. Colorado Rockies
Trevor Story is still on the market but once Carlos Correa signs we expect him to be the top shelf consolation prize for the team(s) who are interested in Correa. Are the Rockies willing to pay him to come back? And does he even want to be there?
26. Washington Nationals
Juan Soto can’t do it all, but he might have to this season. They haven’t made any significant additions to their lineup yet and the health of Stephen Strasburg is still a huge — expensive — question mark.
25. Cleveland Guardians
Yup, commit that one to memory. They’re the Guardians. And, while they still have a strong pitching staff and Jose Ramirez in the lineup, their outfield feels like a little league roster. They need to add to keep up with the rest of their division.
24. Oakland A’s
Chris Bassit has already been dealt. Now we wait for Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea and others to see how deep the cuts go. It’s rebuild season in Oakland; even their manager is gone (to San Diego).
23. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs have actually had an intriguing offseason thus far. They’ve added Marcus Stroman, Yan Gomes, Clint Frazier and now Andrelton Simmons to their infield. And… they’re reportedly in the mix for Correa. We’ll see how much money they spend in the coming days.
22. Baltimore Orioles
Cedric Mullins is worth the price of admission, and their reinforcements are coming. Keep an eye out for the promotion of top prospect Adley Rutschman, who could be the new face of the franchise.
21. Minnesota Twins
We’re really not sure what’s going on in Minnesota. They traded Mitch Garver for Isaiah Kiner-Falefa — who they then traded with Josh Donaldson to the Yankees for Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela. They also acquired Gray from the Reds. With Byron Buxton signed, it looks like they’re going to pivot to retool instead of a rebuild.
20. Kansas City Royals
The new rules that give a full year of service time to Rookie of the Year finalists could mean Bobby Witt, Jr. is on the Opening Day roster, which would be huge because he looks like a generational talent. Their young pitching is deep and good, too.
19. San Francisco Giants
Yes, they had the best record in baseball last year. But… they’re looking at potentially replacing Buster Posey, Kevin Gausman and Kris Bryant with Carlos Rodon and Joey Bart. Was last year lightning in a bottle or will they hang around the top of the division?
18. Texas Rangers
They’ve added Jon Gray, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and, most recently, Garver to their lineup. We still have questions about their pitching but we expected them to spend big and they haven’t disappointed.
17. Los Angeles Angels
Will we get 162 games of Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon this season? If we do, and some of their young players continue to make strong contributions, this feels low. But… we haven’t seen a full season from their two best players in some time.
16. Detroit Tigers
The additions of Javier Baez and Eduardo Rodriguez via free agency are headline-grabbers. But the likely promotions of Riley Green and Spencer Torkelson, their top two offensive prospects, gives a lineup that was interesting at the end of last year some thump and depth. They might be a sleeper in the AL Central.
15. Miami Marlins
They have pitching for days. And the acquisition of catcher Jacob Stallings gives them an exceptional receiver to lead the young pitching staff. We’d like to see them add a bat or two but there are so many variables in the NL East right now they could be sneaky.
14. Milwaukee Brewers
They haven’t done anything this winter. Which, when you have the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner and the best closer in the game, might not feel bad. But there are issues with their lineup and pitching staff that could use a little help.
13. Philadelphia Phillies
Another team that hasn’t done much in the offseason to help their lineup — yet. Bryce Harper is campaigning for Kris Bryant, but we’ll have to wait and see what the Phillies do to catch the defending champs in Atlanta and the new look Mets.
12. Toronto Blue Jays
They’ve added Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi to their rotation, but lost Robbie Ray. Their lineup is loaded and their pitching is still very good. They’ll be in the mix the entire season in the AL East.
11. Seattle Mariners
We love the addition of Ray to the top of their rotation, and the promotion of Julio Rodriguez and return of 2020 AL Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis to full health (hopefully) makes their outfield exceptionally deep and talented. Keep an eye on them to make another big splash (or two) in the free agent market, too.
10. Los Angeles Dodgers
They’re going to start this season without Seager, Max Scherzer, Joe Kelly and potentially Kenley Jansen. While they’ll be able to slide Trea Turner to short and, in theory, Trevor Bauer could replace Scherzer in the rotation, there are lots of questions in LA.
9. Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox haven’t done much yet, but they’re lurking in the free agent rumors. When will they go for it? And which position will they look to add? Chris Sale should be back for a full season but the departure of Eduardo Rodriguez removes a reliable arm from their rotation.
8. Atlanta Braves
If they get a deal done with Freddie Freeman, this changes. But the longer he’s a free agent, and the more rumors have him heading elsewhere, the more we wonder what they’ll do at first base. But the return of Ronald Acuna, Jr., to a World Series-winning roster cannot be underestimated.
7. San Diego Padres
They’ll get Mike Clevinger back from injury this year, making their rotation quietly lethal. But the change in the manager’s office to Bob Melvin might be the biggest addition of the entire winter.
6. Houston Astros
If Correa leaves, that’s an enormous blow to their lineup and clubhouse. But Kyle Tucker has emerged as a legit All-Star and Alex Bregman missed a lot of last year. The return of Justin Verlander is also a big help to their rotation if he’s ready to go.
5. Tampa Bay Rays
Wander Franco could be an MVP-caliber force in their lineup for the next decade. And they somehow find a way to insert young players all over the field and compete while allowing veterans to leave every year.
4. New York Yankees
We absolutely love the additions of Josh Donaldson and Isaiah Kiner-Falefa. It adds a power bat at third and solves the shortstop hole. They need a healthy Luis Severino for their rotation to look good.
3. St. Louis Cardinals
If they add a big at (Nelson Cruz?) as their designated hitter, the Cardinals are a legit World Series contender. Their pitching staff has some questions, but they’re the best defensive team in baseball.
2. New York Mets
Max Scherzer, Chris Bassit and now Adam Ottavino added to a pitching staff that’s completely right-handed. Eduardo Escobar, Starlng Marte and Mark Canha added to a lineup that has a surplus of pieces but still needs to answer second base and right field. This is a great team — potentially. But not a finished product.
1. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox were already primed to be dangerous this season. But they’ve added Kendall Graveman and Joe Kelly to an already lights-out bullpen and Josh Harrison to their infield. Second base is still a question (even with Harrison) and we’ll be watching to see how Michael Kopech looks taking Carlos Rodon’s spot in the rotation. But the White Sox look like the class of the American League right now.