12. Los Angeles Angels – The team with a once in a generation talent doesn’t really have too many supporting players around him to make a dominant team. They have the worst farm system in the MLB and I can’t see them making anymore trades; so no reinforcements are coming, this is the team they’ll have all season. After Trout the two best hitters on this team are Albert Pujols, a first ballot hall of fame career but with his best years behind him, and Kole Calhoun, only an above average hitter and a name spelling nightmare. This team doesn’t have any depth and I have trouble seeing anyone on the current lineup breaking out or improving too much on their previous year, but the rotation is where I see the most room for growth. Garrett Richards wasn’t 100% percent last year and he was worth double the WAR just the year prior, I still see ace potential in him. Andrew Heaney has the pedigree and showed enough promise last year that it wouldn’t surprise me to see him as a top of the rotation starter soon. Jumble together the rest of the potential starters the Angels have available and I see something resembling a strong rotation. It should help that they have one of the best defensive shortstops now in Simmons. Mike Trout hasn’t been talented enough to carry this team to the playoffs every year, but he should be good enough to carry them within shooting distance, again. If he ever got injured this team would be in hell.
Playoffs Teams of the MLB Rankings (Ranking at Half) (Preseason Ranking)
1. St. Louis Cardinals (1) (3) – I don’t know how they keep doing it – they just win. Their best pitcher went down for the year after a handful of starts, but will somehow miraculously return to the team in a relief role for playoffs! As a Mets fan having Wainwright in the bullpen is scarier than seeing him as a starter. Their star veteran OF didn’t play for most of the year and when he did play he was subpar. They gave up winless wonder Shelby Miller for a RF that never broke out offensively, but his defense remained among the best in the game. They keep pulling these random OF prospects out of nowhere who produce! Piscotty was their #1 ranked prospect heading into the season, but who the heck are Pham and Gruchck? They’re doing just as well! Jon Lackey, really?!! He’s never been this good ever and now he’s their Game 1 starter. A winning season, sure, playoffs, a stretch, but to win 100 games in the toughest division amid a sea of crucial injuries! Black devil magic is the only explanation! They lost Yadier Molina and Carlos Martinez right before the playoffs, and every baseball fan outside of St. Louis should be rooting for the Cubs, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see them go deep into the playoffs, again. Somehow. I can’t think of a single candidate for MVP, Cy Young, or ROY on the MLB leading 100 win team…how is this even possible.
Final Record: 100-62
9. Toronto Blue Jays
I’m sorry. I want to rate them as the best team in the AL, but they’re the Blue Jays. As sure as Canadian maple syrup will be deliciously sticky this team will disappoint. Last year the Red Sox and Rays were neutered, the Yankee pitchers were dropping like flies, the Orioles lost “star” players Wieters and Machado, and this Jays team still blew it. I’ll give them one more chance though. Edwin Encarnacion is capable of hitting 16 HRs in a month and he’s reliably productive even through injuries. I could almost say the exact same thing about Bautista except his defense is better, he never earned a lovable error based nickname. Dickey isn’t the Cy Young guy he was in Queens, but him and Buehrle are reliable innings eaters. Shorty Marcus Stroman impressed last year, apparently Doc Halladay taught him a sinker and he was unhittable after that. Drew Hutcherson looks like a promising young flamethrower in the icy city of Toronto. This offense is nasty, they were in the top 5 in most offensive categories last year and now they added Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin, if everyone stays relatively healthy, they should be the best offense in the league. How did the Blue Jays not win the Donaldson trade again? “So you’re telling me you guys only want Brett Lawrie and a handful of our midlevel prospects?” Moneyball failed here. Jose Reyes is still toiling around as one of the best SS in the league, offensively at least, but 2B and the OF outside of Bautista are weaknesses. Good thing they signed oft injured Michael Saunders… Yeah this team is good, please don’t blow this Canada.
Instead of doing the more traditional rain dance, Bautista does the HR dance to help teammates.
So thankfully we all held on to George Springer after those 2 dreadful weeks right? Can you believe experts actually believed he was going to get sent back to the minors? The Astros were working with guys like LJ Hoes and Alex Presley, he was never going to lose his full-time gig. Springer strikes out more than Mark Reynolds did in his prime, but at least when he does make contact it goes deep, like Mark Reynolds in his prime! The speed isn’t where I thought it would be and I’m not confident the Astros are going to let him run as aggressively as we hoped. I mean when the guy almost ruins himself getting picked off at 1st base. I don’t want to say he looks like Mike Trout, but he could have that sort of impact on your fantasy team considering the low price tag in the preseason. Springer is pulling his best Encarnacion impression, and Encarnacion is doing his best Barry Bonds impression without all the steroids. With Springer and Altuve at the top of the order we may actually get some helpful runs and RBIs between the 2 of them. I also love how Jose Altuve is able to get those sweet stolen bases before getting hit in by Springer, it’s like they care about our fantasy teams! Jonathan Singleton getting called up soon could make this dynamic duo a trio. He’s sure to add on the strike outs, but Houston’s starting to get interesting again. Really interesting. Continue reading
21. Arizona Diamondbacks
I mean it’s not like they can get a third .500 season in a row right?! This teams pitching is raw…but I’m sure another rookie pitcher will be amazing for this team again, see Kennedy, Miley, Corbin. So Archie Bradley, come on up. The Diamondbacks struck gold (diamonds?) when they signed Goldschmidt to a 5 year $32 million extension. They make a brilliant move like this, but then make a bunch of perplexing ones. They gave up on Ian Kennedy and traded him for journeyman RP Dale Thatcher and change. They got so little for Kennedy that DALE THAYER is the biggest name they got back from the Padres. Kennedy came 4th in the Cy Young voting 2 years ago, so did his elbow secretly implode? I know he wasn’t having the best year, but they literally just gave up on him. Did he sleep with GM Kevin Tower’s wife? Not to be outdone, earlier in the year Kevin Towers opted to trade players Justin Upton and Trevor Bauer at their seemingly lowest value. Upton is 26 and although I’m not sold on Upton, surely he could convince others that he’ll be a star?! I think the Braves got a bargain on Upton. And Bauer was the top SP prospect for this team and in the entire MLB just a year ago. Did they sleep with Kevin’s wife too? They must have done this before Ian Kennedy, why didn’t you learn Ian! Maybe I’m missing something here, maybe it’s maybelline…it’s not maybelline.