The 2020 MLB offseason will go down as the most memorable in years. Between star free agents finding new teams and a scandal that rocked baseball, it’s been an eventful few months of changes across the league. As the 2020 season arrives, there’s plenty of shakeup in the first MLB power rankings of 2020.
Of course, the biggest splash of the offseason came early when the New York Yankees signed Gerrit Cole . In a market where perennial contenders like the Chicago Cubs hibernate this offseason, teams on the cusp took advantage with game-changing moves.
The Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks are on the rise after being aggressive this winter. Meanwhile, the fallout from MLB’s sign-stealing investigation could have lasting impacts on the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros.
Now with spring training just around the corner, we present our initial MLB power rankings for the 2020 season.
It will be ugly in Baltimore for a few years. The organization gave away its best player this offseason and traded its best starting pitcher. Simply put, the Orioles are committing the next two years to be an absolute eyesore for baseball fans. There is good news. Adley Rutschman, the No. 1 overall pick, already looks like a stud and the Orioles have the No. 2 pick in a strong 2020 MLB Draft class. But if you’re an Orioles fan, find a hobby this season.
Frankly, we’re still in shock that general manager “Trader Jerry” Dipoto didn’t make many trades this offseason. Admittedly, Dipoto said he wanted to slow it down and the team views 2020 as a transition year. It’s going to be rough for the Mariners next season, especially if they trade Mitch Haniger and Kyle Seager during the year.
The future is exceptionally bright with outfielders Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez, two of the best prospects in baseball, along with some intriguing arms. They won’t be ready early in the season, though, making 2020 another year to trade veterans and strengthen the farm system.
The Tigers lost 100-plus games in 2019 for the first time since ’03. It’s been rough in Detroit the past few years and things probably won’t be much better this season. The Tigers deserve some credit for adding this offseason. Ivan Nova, C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop will all contribute nicely this season. It just won’t be enough to avoid 90-plus losses.
Fortunately, years of struggle could be nearing an end. Casey Mize and Matt Manning, two elite pitching prospects, could make their MLB debuts in 2020. Furthermore, the team has southpaw Tarik Skubal on the way and holds the No. 1 pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. It will get better, Tigers fans, we promise.
Change is coming to Pittsburgh. New general manager Ben Cherington‘s roots are in scouting and he’s open to moving anyone on the MLB roster . All-Stars Josh Bell and Starling Marte could easily be gone in July, moves that would sink the Pirates even further in 2020.
The Pirates can still enjoy success this coming season. If Mitch Keller lives up to his potential and Cherington bolsters the farm system with blockbuster trades, Pittsburgh’s fans can at least appreciate that the team’s future is improving.
Derek Jeter is confident that things will get better soon for the Marlins. We’re not going to take his word for it, especially given the state of this team. The additions of Jesus Aguilar, Corey Dickerson and Jonathan Villar show a willingness to improve this team. Unfortunately for Miami, the rotation is almost certain to be one of MLB’s worst once again. So, while this team might avoid a 100-loss season in 2020, it’s unlikely we see the Marlins win 65-plus games.
The Giants made a mistake during the 2017 offseason when they tried to extend their window by acquiring Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria. Farhan Zaidi has done an excellent job turning things around since joining the Giants, but an aging and expensive roster carries consequences.
San Francisco will be one of the worst teams in baseball once again. The one-year additions on buy-low targets represent potential opportunities to flip the pitchers for prospects. This team’s future is bright with Joey Bart just a few months away and top prospect Marco Luciano offering elite upside. For 2020, though, it will be a year of struggle for the Giants.
While the Royals were never expected to be a contender in 2020, Salvador Perez’s season-long absence was a devastating blow. He’ll be back this season, though spending more time away from catching, which will be a nice boost for Kansas City.
There are some nice pieces in the Royals’ lineup. Whit Merrifield is a dangerous leadoff hitter, while Adalberto Mondesi and Jorge Soler offer All-Star potential. It makes this a fun team, but there just isn’t enough pitching or surrounding talent to compete for the division in 2020.
Everything can change quickly in a year. Coming off a 91-win season in 2018, the Rockies extended Nolan Arenado with hopes for a great future. Now, their relationship is deteriorating and the star third baseman could be traded. It’s a troubling turn coming off a 71-win season.
While the lineup won’t struggle to score runs, at least until Arenado is traded, the Rockies’ pitching staff remains a problem. It posted the second-worst ERA (5.56) in MLB last season and brought the same group back. At this point, trading Arenado for pitching is in the team’s best interest.
The Blue Jays recognized they were in perfect position to spend this offseason with their young lineup on team-friendly deals. So, they went out and added Hyun-Jin Ryu , Tanner Roark and Chase Anderson. The trio of moves will bolster the depth and stability of this rotation, supporting a young lineup that will be streaky.
There will be stretches when this team plays like one of the best in baseball. However, its weakness is the bottom of its lineup and the back-end of the rotation. Pitching prospect Nate Pearson will solve the latter at some point during the year, but the streakiness of this team keeps it from realistically contending.
The Angels made big changes this offseason with the addition of Anthony Rendon and manager Joe Maddon. Both are quality additions that, when paired with the acquisitions of Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran, should help this club finish above. 500 for the first time since 2015.
Unfortunately, it still won’t be enough to realistically fight for a playoff spot. Shohei Ohtani will be limited this season in his return from Tommy John Surgery. A rotation headlined by Teheran, Andrew Heaney and Bundy cap this as an average rotation in a best-case scenario. In an offseason rich with free-agent pitching, the Angels struck out on front-line starters.
Texas did an excellent job addressing the holes in its rotation this winter. While Corey Kluber is unlikely to reach his previous heights, he still fits in nicely as a top-three starter to join Mike Minor and Lance Lynn. The trio will be joined by Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles, turning Texas’ weakness last year into a strength.
The Rangers finished 12th in runs scored (810) and 16th in OPS (.750) this past season. While they added Todd Frazier, this team would benefit far more by dealing for Arenado. If Texas sticks to its current lineup, it could be a fringe contender for a wild-card spot. If it adds Arenado, this team can make an even bigger leap in 2020.
Shakeup came to Cleveland this offseason with the Kluber trade. The organization’s decision to shed salary rather than address areas of need is concerning. While César Hernández is a solid addition, the outfield in Cleveland remains a glaring concern. When combined with the weakness at the back of this rotation, along with improvements by the White Sox and Twins, it’s more than likely we see Cleveland become sellers at the trade deadline.
It could be an underwhelming season for the Brewers in 2020. While the front office made small additions – Justin Smoak, Omar Narváez, Eric Sogard, Jedd Gyorko – none of them signal real improvements are coming for this team. It’s especially problematic given the team’s (+3) run differential in 2019 indicated it overachieved last season. Christian Yelich will be healthy and likely playing at an MVP-caliber level. However, a lack of impact talent around him and an average rotation will keep this team from serious contention this season.
San Diego continued its trend of being active in the offseason and took another step forward to contention. The addition of Tommy Pham adds an All-Star caliber bat to pair with Fernando Tatís Jr. and Manny Machado. Behind them, Trent Grisham and Francisco Mejia offer the upside to make this lineup even deeper.
In terms of pitching, the Padres can feel confident in their bullpen stepping up to become one of the NL’s best. The rotation should be better than last season with Garrett Richards and Dinelson Lamet healthy to join Chris Paddack. Ultimately, San Diego is probably an ace away from becoming a playoff team.
The Mets suffered a blow recently when Carlos Beltran became the third manager to lose his job in the sign-stealing fallout. It overshadowed a productive offseason in New York that saw the Mets strengthen their bullpen and solidify the back of their rotation.
Pitching will carry this team in 2020 and we expect the Mets to post one of the best ERAs in baseball. However, New York’s lineup remains a bit concerning. This team needs someone like Starling Marte and the club is revisiting talks for the All-Star outfielder. As currently constructed, the Mets will compete for a wild-card spot in 2020.
The Red Sox came into the offseason looking to significantly trim payroll, trade a star or two and provide manager Alex Cora with a better team for the future. As the winter comes to a close, Boston is now without its manager and will likely go over MLB’s luxury tax once again.
The Red Sox went 84-78 last season with basically the same roster that won the World Series in 2018. Injuries and regression hit this team hard in 2019. Given the same group is returning, it’s hard to see fortune being on Boston’s side. This team heads into spring training with questions in its bullpen, at second base and the back of its rotation. Oh, punishment from the league is also likely coming for the team allegedly stealing signs in 2018.
After missing out on Manny Machado last offseason, Chicago made sure it wouldn’t come up short this winter. The White Sox needed to address glaring holes at catcher, designated hitter, outfield and in the rotation. Credit to general manager Rick Hahn for hitting on them all.
Yasmani Grandal is perhaps the best catcher in baseball with an All-Star bat and elite pitch framing. He’s joined by 2020 All-Star candidates José Abreu, Yoán Moncada, Edwin Encarnación, Tim Anderson and Eloy Jiménez. This lineup will also have Luis Robert, an early favorite to win Rookie of the Year. If Chicago’s rotation can pitch effectively, the White Sox will contend for the AL Central crown in 2020.
The Cubs are in a similar position as the Red Sox. Chicago wanted to trim payroll before the season and as a result stayed quiet in free agency. The Cubs don’t just look like a team that will struggle to win the division, but one that could be an outright disappointment in 2020.
Of greater concern, this team will be even worse if it trades Kris Bryant. The back of Chicago’s rotation is a liability. Meanwhile, second base and center field could be black holes for this lineup. We thought a few years ago that the Cubs would become a dynasty, but ownership’s desire to focus on profits will likely result in more years of disappointment.
The Diamondbacks operated from the shadows this offseason to find the pieces their team needed to compete in the upcoming season. They waited for the right moment to strike, then signed Madison Bumgarner to lead their rotation.
It puts Arizona in a position to compete with an intriguing rotation. Bumgarner is a reliable No. 1 starter and Robbie Ray has shown he can be a front-line starter at his peak form. Paired with Zac Gallen and Luke Weaver behind them, this rotation pairs well with a solid lineup. Overall, the Diamondbacks are a good team that can stay in the playoff hunt all year.
The Reds have been aggressive for more than a year now with a focus on turning this club into a contender. It made excellent strides in 2019, landing Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer, but Cincinnati needed to add more to its lineup this offseason.
Mission accomplished. The Reds signed three-time All-Star Mike Moustakas to provide them with a big bat in the middle of the lineup alongside Eugenio Suarez. Cincinnati also addressed its need for a leadoff hitter with outfielder Shogo Akiyama. Now, paired with one of MLB’s best rotations, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the Reds win the division this season.
Philadelphia failed to live up to its expectations after signing Bryce Harper. So, the front office brought in Joe Girardi as manager and added even more talent this offseason. Now, as we look at this lineup and rotation, it’s clear this team has all the pieces to contend.
A lineup boasting J.T. Realmuto, Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins gives the middle of this lineup an All-Star core. Of course, Philadelphia will also get back Andrew McCutchen this season and the addition of Didi Gregorius adds another dangerous bat to the lineup. The Phillies also have a 1-2 punch now to lead their rotation in Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler. It’s time for this team to prove it can turn all of its talent into wins.
The Cardinals had a relatively quiet offseason; of course, we’ve learned how quickly that can change. St. Louis pulled off a stunner last offseason by acquiring Paul Goldschmidt and could do it again this year with Nolan Arenado. Until the Cardinals land the star third baseman, we’ll keep them right here.
This isn’t a team that is loaded with MLB talent. The lineup will likely finish in the middle of the pack and the pitching staff will carry the Cardinals once again. The division is winnable, which makes the path to the playoffs without Arenado easier. However, this isn’t a World Series contender without a deal for the star third baseman.
This is one of the teams we’re most excited about. While Oakland didn’t make a significant addition this winter, the growth of its young stars is the headliner. The Athletics will potentially get full seasons from Sean Manaea, Jesús Luzardo, A.J. Puk and Sean Murphy in 2020.
Oakland’s fans should also feel confident in the lineup for the upcoming season. Marcus Semien is coming off an MVP-caliber season and will be supported with outstanding help behind him from Ramon Laureano, Matt Chapman and Matt Olson. It’s also a deep lineup, which will complement an excellent rotation that should limit opponents’ run-scoring chances. The Athletics can compete for the division and might be one piece away from a World Series.
The Astros will play with a target on their back this season. The clubhouse and team also won’t be the same without A.J. Hinch, who was one of MLB’s best managers. Those two factors alone are concerning, but we also have significant questions about the Astros’ rotation.
Justin Verlander remains one of MLB’s best pitchers and Zack Greinke should be solid even with his velocity declining rapidly. However, everything behind them is a concern. Lance McCullers Jr. is talented, but he will be limited in his first season back from TJS. Meanwhile, Josê Urquidy faces the tall task of needing to repeat his unexpected success as a rookie. When 60% of your rotation is shaky over an entire season, the team is at serious risk of disappointing.
After setting MLB’s single-season record for home runs in 2019, Minnesota added another All-Star slugger at third base. This lineup is going to be scary good in 2020 and it could even set more records if Byron Buxton and Luis Arráez make significant strides.
It’s the pitching that keeps them outside the top-five teams. José Berríos declined in the second half of the season and Minnesota’s two additions to the rotation come with red flags. The rotation will get stronger when Michael Pineda returns from his suspension, but this team needed an ace and it failed to acquire one. Currently, the ALCS is the Twins’ ceiling for 2020.
The reigning World Series champions will be looking to prove themselves once again. While one might assume the defending champions have the target on their back, the Nationals seem to have fallen off the national radar.
Losing Anthony Rendon is a significant blow for this lineup. However, the organization is very confident in top prospect Carter Kieboom at third base. The Nationals upgraded at first base and second base this offseason, too. Of course, Washington’s dominant pitching staff will be the workhorse for this team. The biggest concern and potential downfall for this team – will a heavy workload in October on Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin have consequences late in 2020?
The Rays will once again operate with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball. Despite ownership being tight with their wallets, the front office has built a perennial contender that will compete for a championship once again.
Tampa Bay came within one game of knocking off the Astros in the ALDS in October. Since then, Houston got worse and the Rays will be even healthier. The trio of Charlie Morton, Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow will be on of the best in baseball. The Rays also have even more pitching depth behind them. While we’d love to see the Rays add another star bat, this team will be able to compete with the best in baseball all year.
Atlanta didn’t land a big fish this offseason, but it hauled in more than enough to come away happy. The Braves prioritized improving the bullpen early and will now head into the season with a core of relievers that can shut teams down the moment the phone rings.
The Braves also replaced Josh Donaldson’s bat with Marcell Ozuna, who has a history of coming up clutch in October. Atlanta also added Cole Hamels, a veteran with postseason experience that rounds out an excellent rotation. Oh, fans will get to enjoy a potential MVP season from Ronald Acuña Jr. too. Yeah, this is going to be a fun team to watch in 2020.
Blake Treinen and Jimmy Nelson – the Dodgers’ lone additions in free agency. The front office set out to land impact talent on the open market and whiffed on every star. Fortunately, the Dodgers already have a whole lot of talent. A lineup that finished fifth in runs (886) and fourth in OPS (.810) returns with a chip on its shoulder after a first-round exit in the playoffs.
On the pitching side, the Dodgers will hope that Nelson, Kenta Maeda or Alex Wood can stay healthy and live up to their former glory. A trade for Mike Clevinger or Mookie Betts would put this team over the top, but they still look like one of the best teams right now. As the Dodgers continue to show, though, success in the regular season means little if you lose in October.
The Evil Empire is back. New York needed to add a front-line starter this offseason and they signed the best pitcher in the world. Cole achieved historic dominance during the 2019 season and now joins James Paxton, Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka. It’s quite simply the best rotation in baseball.
Oh, there’s also the dominant lineup. Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge and DJ LeMahieu can be MVP candidates in 2020. Meanwhile, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez will be healthy. Don’t forget, the bullpen is excellent and the front office still might pursue a trade for All-Star closer Josh Hader. Until it's proven otherwise, the Yankees are easily the favorite to win the World Series.
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