The power rankings are out for the first time this year. Some spring training injuries knocked some teams down, especially the Yankees, but things are sure to change a lot in the coming months.
1. San Francisco Giants – The Giants begin their World Series defense hoping Tim Lincecum’s 2012 season was an aberration and not the beginning of a sharp decline.
2. Detroit Tigers – It seems like this could be a make-or-break year for Rick Porcello, who is getting a lot of hype heading into the 2013 season.
3. Los Angeles Angels – Mike Trout’s ballooning weight is a concern, as is Albert Pujols’ sore knee.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers – Carl Crawford is once again dealing with injuries, and the Dodgers have to be second-guessing themselves by taking on so much salary for a player who may never be the same again.
5. Washington Nationals – Unless Stephen Strasburg has another injury crop up, there will be no excuses this time around for the Nationals.
6. St. Louis Cardinals – Expecting a big year out of Adam Wainwright, but Chris Carpenter’s arm woes really hurt, especially when it comes down to playoff pitching matchups.
7. Cincinnati Reds – I’ve never been a big Shin Soo Choo fan, but I think he was one of the better under-the-radar offseason signings.
8. Toronto Blue Jays – There are very high hopes for the Blue Jays heading into the season, but let’s not forget what happened to those high expectations heaped on the Marlins heading into 2012. Ironically, a big offseason trade with Miami is a big reason for all the optimism in Toronto.
9. Texas Rangers – Without Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Mike Napoli, it will be a much different offense in Texas this season.
10. Tampa Bay Rays – The Rays always seem to have more young pitching to replace guys like James Shields, but what they can’t afford is missing Evan Longoria for extended periods of time.
11. New York Yankees – Age seems to be catching up to the Yankees with Mark Teixeria, Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson all sidelined to start the season.
12. Atlanta Braves – It will be weird starting a baseball season without Chipper Jones somewhere on the diamond in Atlanta.
13. Baltimore Orioles – I think O’s fans were more excited to see Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman in action than anything else, but a good spring training from Brian Roberts has been a pleasant surprise.
14. Philadelphia Phillies – With guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, as well as Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay, it’s hard to imagine the Phillies don’t have any leaders.
15. Oakland Athletics – Yoenis Cespedes had an impressive rookie season, but if he can stay healthy, even bigger things are expected from him in 2013.
16. Milwaukee Brewers – The rumors of performance-enhancing drugs continue to follow Ryan Braun, but all he can do is continue to put up big numbers and hope his play speaks for itself.
17. Kansas City Royals – Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas both looked great in spring training, and the Royals finally have a true ace in James Shields.
18. Arizona Diamondbacks – With Justin Upton traded and all of the rumors/distractions finally gone, maybe the Diamondbacks will respond by contending for a postseason berth.
19. Seattle Mariners – It will be interesting to see what, if any, difference moving the fences in at Safeco Field will have on the Mariners this season.
20. Boston Red Sox – Jon Lester looked good in spring training, but he is just one piece to the puzzle if the Red Sox want to rebound from a disastrous season.
21. Chicago White Sox – Paul Konerko looks really good in spring training. His injury was a big reason Chicago faded down the stretch in 2012.
22. Pittsburgh Pirates – After hanging around in the NL Central race for more than half the season, there is actually some level of excitement and expectation surrounding the Pirates.
23. New York Mets – There isn’t too much to get excited about if you are a Mets fan, but at least there is some hope for bragging rights with the cross-town rival Yankees limping into the season.
24. San Diego Padres – One of the more interesting players to follow this year with be Chase Headley, who saw his power number surge in 2012 and the fences at Petco moved closer during the offseason.
25. Miami Marlins – There is a much different feeling about this club heading into 2013 than there was going into 2012. It’s hard to build a fanbase when you don’t give them any hope or reason to be excited about the organization.
26. Cleveland Indians – The Indians hung around much longer than expected in 2012 and now have added Terry Francona and Nick Swisher to the mix. Will their winning ways rub off on the Tribe?
27. Chicago Cubs – Year two of the Cubs rebuilding project is underway, but don’t expect results to be much different than year one.
28. Minnesota Twins – Ron Gardenhire is not used to losing a lot of games, so it’s hard to believe it might happen two seasons in a row.
29. Colorado Rockies – Can Troy Tulowitzki actually stay healthy for an entire season? If so, he and Carlos Gonzalez should put up some pretty impressive numbers in the middle of that lineup.
30. Houston Astros – Life in the AL West won’t be much fun for the Astros, who will be the worst team by far in the majors.