MLB Power Rankings: Spring training edition

Welcome to the first edition of theScore's MLB Power Rankings for the 2019 season. Rankings will be published every second Monday throughout the regular season with the next installment coming March 27 ahead of Opening Day.

1. Boston Red Sox

2018 record Finish
108-54 1st in AL East (Won WS 4-1) 

After keeping most of the band together, the Red Sox will look to become the first repeat champions since the Yankees won three straight from 1998-2000. Despite having the highest payroll in baseball, Boston's considerable concerns in the bullpen could prove to be the difference-maker in the AL East.

2. New York Yankees

2018 record Finish
100-62 2nd in AL East (Lost ALDS 3-1) 

The Yankees are arguably under the most pressure to win the World Series in 2019. While the organization is set up for long-term success, New York hasn't won a championship in nearly a decade and last claimed a division title in 2012. With the Red Sox winning two championships over the last six seasons, anything less than a title will be viewed as a disappointment for the Yankees.

3. Houston Astros

2018 record Finish
103-59 1st in AL West (Lost ALCS 4-1)

Even at No. 3, it's possible we're sleeping on Houston. The Astros recorded a franchise-record 103 wins last season despite Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and George Springer combining to miss 99 games. Sure, the team lost Dallas Keuchel, Brian McCann, and Charlie Morton, but the rotation remains strong, and the addition of Michael Brantley further bolsters an already elite offense.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers

2018 record Finish
92-71 1st in NL West (Lost WS 4-1)

Not only have the Dodgers suffered back-to-back World Series losses at home, but the front office opted not to sign either Manny Machado or Bryce Harper this offseason. They're still the class of the NL West, and they managed to re-sign Clayton Kershaw and bring in A.J. Pollock. But whether they did enough to finally get over the hump remains in question.

The Washington Post / The Washington Post / Getty

5. Washington Nationals

2018 record Finish
82-80 2nd in NL East 

No Bryce Harper (presumably), no problem. The Nats are still projected as the team to beat in the NL East, and the outfield remains potent with Adam Eaton, Victor Robles, and 2018 breakout Juan Soto penciled in as the starters. This remains one of the most daunting rosters in the majors, especially after the Nationals upgraded the rotation by signing Patrick Corbin. Though perennially disappointing come the playoffs, Washington's contention window isn't closing just yet.

6. St. Louis Cardinals

2018 record Finish
88-74 3rd in NL Central

St. Louis looks poised to snap a three-year postseason drought following the additions of Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew Miller. Those two All-Stars, combined with the team's group of young players - including Alex Reyes, Jordan Hicks, Jack Flaherty, and Harrison Bader - should have the Cardinals challenging for a division title at the very least.

7. Milwaukee Brewers

2018 record Finish
96-67 1st in NL Central (Lost NLCS 4-3)

Can the surprise 2018 NL Central champions repeat a year later? Even if Christian Yelich regresses from his MVP season, the Brewers are poised to enter 2019 with a more complete roster, especially in the rotation. Erstwhile ace Jimmy Nelson should be close to full health, while young arms Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes could be in line to successfully transition into starters. Upgrading behind the dish with Yasmani Grandal and reuniting with Mike Moustakas ensures the lineup will still have plenty of pop.

8. Chicago Cubs

2018 record Finish
95-68 2nd in NL Central (Lost WC)

At first glance, the Cubs' offseason was disappointing. They made no big free-agent additions and enter the season with roughly the same roster as a year ago. However, the roster also happens to be very similar to the team that won the World Series in 2016. The key for Chicago will be the aging rotation and if Yu Darvish, in particular, can get healthy.

9. Atlanta Braves

2018 record Finish
90-72 1st in NL East (Lost NLDS 3-1)

The Braves added 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson to an already potent offense that features Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna Jr. Two areas that could inspire concern are the starting rotation - anchored by erratic arms like Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, and Julio Teheran - and young second baseman Ozzie Albies. Albies jumped out of the gate in a big way in 2018 but faded in the second half, where he hit only four of his 24 home runs and posted a paltry .624 OPS.

10. New York Mets

2018 record Finish
77-85 4th in NL East 

The Mets could sneak into the playoff race if everything breaks right. The additions of Edwin Diaz, Robinson Cano, Wilson Ramos, Jed Lowrie, and Keon Broxton make them intriguing, while their rotation, at its best, is among the most exciting in baseball. There's very little margin for error, but if the team's young guns - including Amed Rosario - continue to take strides forward, the Mets may finally be dangerous to teams other than themselves.

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11. Philadelphia Phillies

2018 record Finish
80-82 3rd in NL East 

A final assessment of the Phillies' position entering the season can't be made until Bryce Harper signs, either in Philadelphia or elsewhere. The Phillies cratered in September (8-20) to wreck an otherwise promising campaign, and while the additions of Jean Segura, J.T. Realmuto, David Robertson, and Andrew McCutchen are signs that they're serious about contending, it's likely not enough. Harper would put a nice bow on the Phillies' offseason and may be enough to turn the tide of the NL East.

12. Cleveland Indians

2018 record Finish
91-71 1st in AL Central (Lost ALDS 3-0)

Cleveland possesses one of the best - if not the best - rotations in baseball. The Indians will need their starters to stay healthy in order to capture a fourth straight AL Central crown, as the back end of their lineup is lacking despite having two elite players in Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor.

13. Colorado Rockies

2018 record Finish
91-72 2nd in NL West (Lost NLDS 3-0)

The Rockies should have no issue scoring runs and they have a pitching staff that is full of intriguing young arms. Daniel Murphy will further lengthen the lineup and complement a strong core of Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, and Trevor Story. Colorado was one game away from winning its first division crown last year; if everything goes right, the team might have enough to leap over the Dodgers this season.

14. Tampa Bay Rays

2018 record Finish
90-72 3rd in AL East 

The Rays were one of the biggest surprises in baseball by winning 90 games in 2018, but they won't catch anyone off guard this year. Blake Snell is coming off a Cy Young season, and Charlie Morton is a nice addition to the rotation. The emergence of Austin Meadows could provide an impact bat, while a full season of Tommy Pham should help alleviate the losses of C.J. Cron, Wilson Ramos, and Jake Bauers. The Rays are still the third-best team in their division, but nobody will want to face them.

15. Oakland Athletics

2018 record Finish
97-65 2nd in AL West (Lost WC)

It would be a shock if the Athletics were able to rattle off anywhere close to 97 wins this season, but the team should be in the mix for a wild-card spot. The starting pitching is once again a question mark, but the offense should pick up the slack with Khris Davis and Matt Chapman anchoring the middle of the order. Oakland's bullpen will be one of its strengths, with Blake Treinen, Joakim Soria, and Lou Trivino at the back end.

16. Minnesota Twins

2018 record Finish
78-84 2nd in AL Central 

Minnesota took a step back in 2018 after making it to the AL wild-card game in 2017. The Twins will look to shake off a lost season with new manager Rocco Baldelli, but will need franchise pillars Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton to be healthy and produce. Nelson Cruz should give the offense some additional power, and Jose Berrios is poised for a breakout year. If everything comes together, Minnesota has a real shot at winning its first division title since 2010.

17. Cincinnati Reds

2018 record Finish
67-95 5th in NL Central

To its credit, the Reds' brain trust has attempted to field a competitive roster in a very difficult NL Central, but adding Sonny Gray, Alex Wood, and Tanner Roark to a dismal rotation likely isn't enough. The club's ceiling seems to be competing for a wild-card spot, but the on-field product should at least be exciting.

18. Los Angeles Angels

2018 record Finish
80-82 4th in AL West 

The Angels were outspent this offseason by three teams in their division, including the famously frugal A's, which is a bit disappointing for a club trying to build a contender around Mike Trout. The signings of Matt Harvey, Trevor Cahill, Cody Allen, and Jonathan Lucroy are questionable at best, with no guarantee they'll make the Angels a better team in 2019.

19. Pittsburgh Pirates

2018 record Finish
82-79 4th in NL Central

The Pirates appear set to be the NL Central's basement dwellers with outfielder Gregory Polanco on the shelf to open the year and Lonnie Chisenhall representing their most notable addition this offseason. Still, their rotation is promising, as Mitch Keller could join Jameson Taillon and Chris Archer at the front end this year, while infielder Ke'Bryan Hayes could also be joining the big-league club in the near future. The big question mark is whether first baseman Josh Bell will be able to reassert his value as a key piece of the team's rebuild.

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

20. San Diego Padres

2018 record Finish
66-96 5th in NL West 

With one stroke of a pen, the Padres are back. San Diego reeled in Manny Machado on a reported $300-million megadeal that dramatically alters the future of the NL West. The Padres might struggle to make the playoffs this year, and they could still use another starting pitcher, but combined with the best farm system in baseball, Machado's signing has made their future far brighter.

21. Arizona Diamondbacks

2018 record Finish
82-80 3rd in NL West 

Enter the rebuild. Trading away franchise stalwart Paul Goldschmidt will sting, as will watching A.J. Pollock patrol the outfield for the division-rival Dodgers. The next domino to fall is presumably Zack Greinke, though he may stick around until the trade deadline, if not next offseason. Looking toward the future, 2019 could provide first glances at top pitching prospects Jon Duplantier and Taylor Widener, but a return ticket to October is highly unlikely.

22. Seattle Mariners

2018 record Finish
89-73 3rd in AL West 

It's been a wild ride on the Jerry Dipoto express this offseason, with the Mariners roster likely ending up worse off than the 89-game winner that missed the postseason last year. With Seattle looking toward the future, it might not be done trading players yet, with Edwin Encarnacion potentially the next piece to be moved.

23. San Francisco Giants

2018 record Finish
73-89 4th in NL West 

Bruce Bochy heads into his final season as a manager having led the Giants to three World Series titles, though his career likely won't end with a fourth. There are still some established pieces on the club, but San Francisco looks like the third- or fourth-best team in the NL West. Along with Bochy, this could be Madison Bumgarner's last turn with the Giants, as the ace's contract expires at season's end.

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24. Toronto Blue Jays

2018 record Finish
73-89 4th in AL East 

The arrival of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is nearing, though Blue Jays fans aren't expected to have much to cheer for until he's called up in mid-April. The team continues to transition through a rebuild and is still trying to see what it's got at the major-league level while its top prospects develop in the minors. If healthy, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Brandon Drury, Matt Shoemaker, and Ken Giles are all established players who are capable of having strong seasons.

25. Texas Rangers

2018 record Finish
67-95 5th in AL West

It's been an interesting offseason for a Rangers team that looked like it was heading toward a rebuild after Adrian Beltre retired. Rather than a complete teardown, the front office instead decided to add veterans like Lance Lynn, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jeff Mathis, Shelby Miller, and Hunter Pence. Even with all of the expenditures, the Rangers look destined for another last-place finish in a strong AL West.

26. Chicago White Sox

2018 record Finish
62-100 4th in AL Central 

Getting spurned by Manny Machado was a huge blow to Chicago's rebuilding plans. The anger on the South Side will only grow if the White Sox also whiff on Bryce Harper. Chicago's young core is still years away from reaching the majors, so the club will likely take another swing at the top group of free agents next winter while collecting a high draft pick courtesy another losing season.

27. Kansas City Royals

2018 record Finish
58-104 5th in AL Central 

The Royals' 2015 World Series win seems like it happened decades ago. Ned Yost's crew will once again be among baseball's bottom-feeders, though getting to watch the perennially underrated Whit Merrifield and promising youngster Adalberto Mondesi on an everyday basis should give Kansas City some enjoyment this summer.

28. Miami Marlins

2018 record Finish
63-98 5th in NL East 

Every NL East team not named the Marlins improved this winter, so it's going to be another long summer for Derek Jeter's club. If one of Miami's prospects takes a giant leap, the 2019 campaign will be a success. Also, at least the sculpture is gone.

29. Detroit Tigers

2018 record Finish
64-98 3rd in AL Central 

All eyes in TigerTown will be on Miguel Cabrera, who's looking to get his Hall of Fame career back on track after missing most of last season with a biceps injury. As Miggy goes, so do the Tigers ... and even that might not be enough. The progression of young starters Michael Fulmer and Daniel Norris will go a long way in determining Detroit's future success.

30. Baltimore Orioles

2018 record Finish
47-115 5th in AL East 

The Orioles lost 115 games last year. In 2019, a high bar for this team, which has changed little from last season, would be to lose fewer than 100. With a new front office and manager, things in Baltimore will look a lot different this year, but there's really nowhere to go but up.

MLB Power Rankings: Spring training edition
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