MCB’s MLB Power Rankings: 20-16
Mar 23, 2014; Sarasota, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielderAndrew McCutchen
(22) before the spring training exhibition game against Baltimore Orioles atEd Smith
Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
20. Arizona Diamondbacks
Mark Trumbo is going to hit a ton of home runs in the desert, but is he going to provide enough overall value to actually make the D-backs better (especially while playing the outfield)? Arizona hasn’t finished below .500 in the last three seasons, but I don’t sense that they’ve made themselves better with the moves they’ve made this offseason.
19. Cleveland Indians
The Indians surprised everyone by winning 92 games last year and reaching the AL Wild Card game. Could they repeat that? Sure, but they’ll have to do it without Ubaldo Jimemez and Scott Kazmir — two of the biggest pieces of their rotation.
18. Milwaukee Brewers
Want to know how to get a lot better, really quickly, for not a lot of money? Stop playing Yuniesky Betancourt at first base so often. Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay don’t look like anyone’s ideal first base situation, but they might be a three-win upgrade over Yuni. Add in the return of Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Braun, and we could be looking at a much improved Milwaukee squad. The race for second place in NL Central could be surprisingly tight between the Brewers, Reds, and Pirates.
17. Cincinnati Reds
Billy Hamilton could take the league by storm with his speed on the bases, but he’s going to have to do a lot of running to duplicate the value that Shin-Soo Choo provided the club last season. Losing Aroldis Chapman for the start of the season after his scary Spring Training incident with the line drive leaves a massive hole at the back of the bullpen. Cincinnati’s chances at third-straight postseason appearance appear thin.
16. Pittsburgh Pirates
Pirates fans would be disappointed with a .500 finish after making the postseason last year, but they could be heading that direction. They mostly stood pat this offseason and lost A.J. Burnett via free agency. They have some young players who could progress and make up some of the difference, but they have a fair bit of ground to make up to match last year’s 88-win pythagorean record. More if Andrew McCutchen can’t repeat with an 8+ WAR season.