Spring Training is in full swing, and the start of the 2019 Major League Baseball season is just weeks away, with the first games being played on March 28. So, here is a definitive pre-season ranking of all 30 MLB teams.
#1- Boston Red Sox
This is no big surprise. The 2018 World Series Champions are an absolute powerhouse, with pitchers such as David Price and Chris Sale and great hitters such as Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. The Sox look very capable of winning their fifth World Series in the 21st century.
First game: 3-28 @ Seattle Mariners
#2- Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are probably the best team in the National League. They made the World Series in 2017 and lost to the Houston Astros. Then, they made the World Series in 2018 and lost to the Boston Red Sox. A win this year would save them from being the Buffalo Bills of baseball. But that remains to be seen.
First game: 3-28 vs Arizona Diamondbacks
#3- Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers are an exciting team. The 2018 National League Central Champions beat Colorado and their rival, the Chicago Cubs, but lost to the Dodgers in an epic playoff run. Re-signing Mike Moustakas helped a lot, and they also have Lorenzo Cain and 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich, so the Brew Crew are in a good spot and a definite playoff lock this year.
First game: 3-28 vs St. Louis Cardinals
#4- Houston Astros
The Astros are not out yet. They may have fallen to the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series last year, but they are still one of the best teams in the league. They have made some great strides this off season, signing Michael Brantley and Wade Davis. However, they lost Charlie Morton and Marwin Gonzalez, so that should hurt them a little. All in all, the ‘Stros are still great, and are the team to beat in the AL West.
First Game: 3-28 @ Tampa Bay Rays
#5- New York Yankees
The Yankees are the reason why the Red Sox are not a lock for the AL East. The Bronx Bombers made a great postseason run last year, but ultimately fell to their rivals in Beantown. They resigned Zach Britton (sorry, Zack Britton) and got Adam Ottavino from Colorado and James Paxton from Seattle, adding to their already strong rotation/bullpen. We are in for some epic Sox-Yanks games this year, that’s for sure.
First game: 3-28 vs Baltimore Orioles
#6- Atlanta Braves
The Braves did very well last year, beating out the Washington Nationals for the NL East before losing to the Dodgers in the National League Division Series. The Braves are a good team, and added to that by signing Josh Donaldson earlier in the offseason. Not only that, but they still have Nick Markakis, Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuña Jr. I don’t see this going poorly for them. Chop on, Braves.
First game: 3-28 @ Philadelphia Phillies
#7- Colorado Rockies
#Rocktober is coming back, guys. The Rox took the Wild Card last year, beating the Chicago Cubs, but then they got swept by Milwaukee. They made waves by signing Nolan Arenado to an extension, and adding Daniel Murphy. Along with great players like Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon, the Rockies team could be neck-and-neck with the Dodgers for NL West dominance.
First game: 3-28 @ Miami Marlins
#8- Minnesota Twins
That’s right. The Twins are suddenly in postseason contention. The AL Central is really between them and the Cleveland Indians. Did the Indians sign Marwin Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz? Didn’t think so. If the Twins play right, they could bring the playoffs back to the Twin Cities.
First game: 3-28 vs Cleveland Indians
#9- Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies made some great moves this offseason. They traded for Andrew McCutchen from the Yankees and J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins. And, oh yeah, they signed Bryce Harper for $330 MILLION OVER 13 YEARS! Harper will definitely bring a strong bat to this Phillies lineup, and their rotation is already pretty strong. The Phils will have to battle Atlanta for NL East dominance, but they have a good shot at the playoffs.
First game: 3-28 vs Atlanta Braves
#10- Cleveland Indians
Could the Indians win the AL Central for the fourth year in a row? Maybe, all they’d need to do is beat Minnesota. They may have lost Michael Brantley and Cody Allen, but they did make some good moves and are still a playoff team. I see a wild card spot in their future.
First game: 3-28 @ Minnesota Twins
#11- Chicago Cubs
For the first time since 2014, the Cubs may not make the playoffs. That sounds shocking, I know. Even after their 2016 World Series win, they failed and then failed again to repeat. The NL Central is tough right now, and the Cubbies need to step up their game to avoid another 100+ year World Series drought. They are playoff caliber, but it may be a long shot.
First game: 3-28 @ Texas Rangers
#12- St, Louis Cardinals
The biggest move the Cardinals made this offseason was definitely trading for Paul Goldschmidt. He should add another bat to this Cardinals team that was in playoff contention last year. Signing Andrew Miller was also a great move, and should help the Cards take a possible Wild Card spot. Again, they have to contend with their rivals, the Cubs, for this. That should prove to be exciting.
First game: 3-28 @ Milwaukee Brewers
#13- San Diego Padres
*Checks notes* Yup. The Padres are over here in playoff contention all of a sudden. And that is mainly due to their 10-year, $300 million contract for Manny Machado. He has been in the majors since 2012 with the Baltimore Orioles and the Los Angeles Dodgers, and only missed the playoff in 2013, 2015 and 2017. He should really help the Padres infield that already has Eric Hosmer and Ian Kinsler. The Swingin’ Friars could make Wild Card this year, but are looking forward to a division title in the future.
First game: 3-28 vs San Francisco Giants
#14- Tampa Bay Rays
After last year’s run which ended in a 90-win season, the Rays could be back in contention this year. Their success last year was due to an incredible performance by Kevin Kiermaier, as well as the use of the bullpen as the fifth starter. They lost Chris Archer, but signed Charlie Morton and still have 2018 AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell. Their rotation is good, and will be the center of this new-look Rays team.
First game: 3-28 vs Houston Astros
#15- Los Angeles Angels
The Angels need to be able to prove themselves. They missed playoffs last year, but they have some great players, namely Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Albert Pujols. The Angels are not bad, but are they good enough to make October baseball?
First game: 3-28 @ Oakland Athletics
#16- Washington Nationals
For the past few years, the Nationals have been a powerhouse in the NL East. They kept winning, but not in the playoffs. Notable great player and perennial all-star Bryce Harper left behind the Curly W, but the Nats have players like Juan Soto, Max Scherzer and new National Patrick Corbin. It’s probably safe to say that they’ll miss the playoffs.
First game: 3-28 vs New York Mets
#17- Oakland Athletics
The A’s had a good season last year, taking second place in the AL West and beating out Tampa Bay for the second Wild Card spot. They lost that game to the Yankees, however, ending their first postseason since 2014. They took a bit of a step back after wasting their draft pick on Kyler Murray, who will not be playing baseball. Of course, they still have Khris Davis in their lineup to mash dingers, and, ultimately, the possibility of a Wild Card run.
First game: 3-28 vs Los Angeles Angels
#18- Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates will not make the playoffs. Not much else to say. They did get Chris Archer from the Rays last year after an injury, so that should add to the Buc’s rotation. However, they will not be able to compete with Chicago, St. Louis and Milwaukee in a loaded NL Central. Maybe they can get fourth place.
First game: 3-28 @ Cincinnati Reds
#19- Chicago White Sox
A bit of a disappointing offseason for the White Sox. They acquired Yonder Alonso and Jon Jay in an effort to sign Machado (Alonso being Machado’s brother-in-law) but he went to San Diego instead. However, the White Sox are improving. So that’s something.
First game: 3-28 @ Kansas City Royals
#20- Arizona Diamondbacks
The D-backs are in a tight spot right now. The NL West has become a horse race, with possible contenders everywhere. Arizona looked like champions when they beat their rival Colorado in the 2017 NL Wild Card, but then fell to the Dodgers. Also, Paul Goldschmidt is no longer a D-back. Not great for them.
First game: 3-28 @ Los Angeles Dodgers
#21- New York Mets
The Mets’ spot could easily be interchangeable with the D-backs. They are definitely not the worst team in the NL East (see, Miami Marlins), but they are not good enough yet. They do, however, have 2018 NL Cy Young winner Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard in the rotation, and they brought Robinson Cano to Queens. They are not yet playoff caliber, however.
First game: 3-28 @ Washington Nationals
#22- Seattle Mariners
22 on down are the teams that are just going to be bad. So we start with the Seattle Mariners, who looked like they could take the AL West from the Astros last year, but instead they missed the playoffs, adding to the longest current playoff drought in the MLB (17 years). They also lost Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano, so no dice for the M’s.
First game: 3-28 vs Boston Red Sox
#23- San Francisco Giants
The Giants are on their way out, it seems. This will be manager Bruce Bochy’s last season, after winning the World Series for San Francisco in 2010, 2012 and 2014. However, they don’t have a lot going for them right now, other than Evan Longoria, Buster Posey and, of course, Madison Bumgarner. Expect a losing season, though.
First game: 3-28 @ San Diego Padres
#24- Toronto Blue Jays
Remember when the Blue Jays were good? Well, now they are not. The Jays were mediocre since they lost the 2016 ALCS to Cleveland. They do have top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr., though, so that’s good for them.
First game: 3-28 vs Detroit Tigers
#25- Cincinnati Reds
Will the Reds be good in a few years? It is very possible. They made some steps in the right direction, acquiring Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp from the Dodgers and Sonny Gray from the Yankees. They also still have Joey Votto and Scooter Gennett. Expect a good Reds team. In a few more years.
First game: 3-28 vs Pittsburgh Pirates
#26- Detroit Tigers
Here’s one notable move the Tigers made this offseason: trading for Josh Harrison from Pittsburgh. That’s about it. The Tigers are going to be in the basement of the AL Central for most of the year.
First game: 3-28 @ Toronto Blue Jays
#27- Texas Rangers
The Rangers weren’t good last year, and they won’t be good this year. They do have some good players like Rougned Odor, Joey Gallo and Shin-soo Choo. But they just can’t compete with the Astros. Or the Angels. Or the Athletics. Or even the Mariners.
First game: 3-28 vs Chicago Cubs
#28- Kansas City Royals
After taking Second Worst Team in MLB last year, the Royals have done…nothing. Well, okay, they got Billy Hamilton from the Reds, but that doesn’t make them good all of a sudden. A losing season is very likely, and they will battle the Tigers for fourth place of a weak AL Central all year.
First game: 3-28 vs Chicago White Sox
#29- Miami Marlins
Hey, look! The Marlins got a new logo! And it’s an improvement. But the Marlins still aren’t good. It’ll be a few more years before they can make the playoffs. But as they say on Earth, c’est la vie.
First game: 3-28 vs Colorado Rockies
#30- Baltimore Orioles
Oof. After a franchise worst 115 losses last season, the O’s decided to completely tank and rebuild, trading away their best players and rearranging their front office, including getting a new Manager and General Manager. They’re focusing on young talent, and could do very well down the road. But right now they are just plain bad. Like minor league baseball bad. Or little league. Or T-ball. Or…
First game: 3-28 @ New York Yankees
Division winners: Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers (NL). Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros (AL).
Wild Card: St. Louis Cardinals, Colorado Rockies (NL). Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees (AL)
World Series: Milwaukee Brewers @ Boston Red Sox
2019 World Series Champions: Milwaukee Brewers