2020 MLB Preseason Power Rankings, Part 2: 25-21

  1. Kansas City Royals 

The 2014 A.L Champions and 2015 World Series Champions, have certainly fallen off their throne over the past few years. Kansas City enters the 2020 season coming off back to back 100+ loss seasons, and the outlook doesn’t look like it will improve much during this shortened season. The pitching is going to be the problem for the Royals this season as the rotation is incredibly thin and lacks a true #1 or #2 option to headline the group. The rotation is made up of a few “inning filler” arms with low potential, such as Danny Duffy and Mike Montgomery along with some younger guys who have not yet shown that they’re ready to take that step to the next level, one example being Jakob Junis. With that being said they do have a very intriguing arm in Brady Singer, a top 100 prospect who could be a rookie of the candidate and future ace of the rotation if he can play up to his predicted potential during 2020 which will be his rookie season. The batting lineup is lackluster and is in need of a full rebuild, despite there being a few bright spots in the top half of it. Whit Merrifield, who may be the most underrated player in all of baseball, has led the A.L in hits the past two years, will be the cornerstone of the offense and will look to generate offense from the leadoff spot. Guys like Jorge Soler and Hunter Dozier will also look to build off strong 2019 seasons where they smashed the ball out of Kauffman Stadium. Salvador Perez is still a solid catcher who will look to bounce back after missing the entire 2019 season due to injury, but I think the key to the Royals future success would benefit from trading guys like Perez and Alex Gordon. They were strong in 2015 but are beginning to decline and if the team could swap them for young prospects then the Royals could finally move forward with this rebuild. It’s going to be another long season for Royals fans and the only thing they’ll be paying attention to in 2020, is the race to not finish last in the A.L Central between them and the Tigers. 

(Picture Credit: Forbes.com)

  1. San Francisco Giants 

The Giants are a really interesting team who are in a state of limbo right now. They won three championships between 2010-2014 and over the last few years have been trying to acquire veteran players to continue that past success but it has not been working. The Giants need to completely unload all the pieces they have and start a rebuild of the team so they can go back to being competitive within the next three to five years. The team is coming off three straight rather mediocre losing seasons where they have been far from being the worst team in the league, but nowhere close to competitive as well. Overhauling the rotation is where it starts for this team as the organization is currently relying on a 34-year old Johnny Cueto who has only made 13 starts over the past two years, to be the ace of the team after longtime ace Madison Bumgarner left in free agency. The team is also looking for a solid season from the #2 guy, 35-year old Jeff Samardzija, who actually had a good 2019 season, but is getting up there in age. If I were the GM I would trade both of these guys for prospects because the team still has some other guys like Drew Smyly and Kevin Gausman who could keep the rotation afloat if they’re trying to start a rebuild. The lineup isn’t horrible but it lacks a big bat in the middle of the lineup. Buster Posey, Evan Longoria, and Brandon Crawford are also starting to reach into their mid thirties and they’re not going to be long term solutions for the team. The Giants just need to decide what direction they want to go in, and I think a rebuild would be the best bet for them. The organization has five top 100 prospects, so if they could acquire some additional younger prospects for their older veterans, I think the team could be in better shape heading into 2022 or 2023. As for right now I think it will be another long year for Giants fans.

(Picture Credit: The Mercury News) 

  1. Toronto Blue Jays 

The Blue Jays showed a ton of potential in 2019 after they called up a bunch of young prospects who are expected to lead the team over the next few years. The team isn’t ready to contend yet, but the team is making strides in the right direction during this rebuild. The top of the lineup is headlined by kids of some MLB greats such as Bo Bichette, son of Dante Bichette, Cavan Biggio, son of Craig Biggio, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. who’s father needs no introduction. The remainder of the lineup is also incredibly young and holds a lot of promise for the future. The rotation is decent, and I really like the signing of Hyun-Jin Ryu this off-season, as I think he will really improve this rotation. Other than him the team has Tanner Roark and Chase Anderson, two very dependable arms. The bullpen could use some improving but Ken Giles is a good option at closer. I really don’t have a lot to say about Toronto, as they’re starting to turn a corner in their rebuild after three straight losing seasons. It’s not the Blue Jays time to be competitive just yet, but give it a year or two and they could be one of the best teams in the A.L. 

(Picture Credit: Pinstripe Alley)

  1. Colorado Rockies 

2019 was a major step back for the Rockies after it looked like they were cementing themselves as one of the top N.L teams after strong 2017 and 2018 campaigns. Colorado is an interesting team because they have the majority of their roster from 2017 and 2018 still intact, but they have some undeniable holes on their roster. The lineup is definitely one of the strongest in the N.L, as it sports one of the best 1-2-3 trios in Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story, and Nolan Arenado. They also have some great support guys in the lineup such as David Dahl, Daniel Murphy, and Ian Desmond so hitting is definitely not a problem for the team. The pitching rotation is the complete opposite for the team, as they have one of the weakest rotations in the entire league. The Rockies have always had trouble attracting solid starting pitchers in the free agent market because of how well batters do at the high elevation of Coors Field. Because of this they usually have lackluster pitchers and this year will be no different. The rotation is headlined by Jon Gray, who is a solid pitcher, but after that there are some major gaps that need improving on the team. Kyle Freeland, the #2 guy had a horrendous 2019 season where he had an ERA close to 7.00 in 22 starts so the team will need him to improve his performance for 2020. The team lacks true #4 and #5 starters and German Márquez will be tasked to hold down the middle of the rotation, after a decent 2019 season. Overall I think there are a lot of questions that are left unanswered when you look at Colorado, especially after the many off-season trade rumors that surrounded Nolan Arenado. The pitching would have to be stellar if they wanted to compete this year, but I think the odds favor the latter of that, where they will not be as successful, finishing near the bottom of the N.L West. 

(Picture Credit: Denver Post) 

  1. Texas Rangers 

The Rangers are coming off three straight losing seasons and will be looking to bounce back in 2020. The pitching rotation has a lot of potential to be good, especially after they acquired former Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber in the off-season. The team also has Lance Lynn and Mike Minor, two veteran guys who had great 2019 seasons, and will look to repeat their performance again this year. The bottom half of the rotation isn’t bad, as Jordan Lyles and Kyle Gibson are solid options who have proven that they can handle themselves on a big league roster. The one thing I really like about this rotation is their ability to eat innings. Minor and Lynn each threw 200+ innings this past season and Kluber has completed the feat every since 2014, except for 2019 where he was injured for the majority of the year. The bullpen is average so they will definitely be relying on the starters to carry the majority of the load for the pitching staff. The lineup also looks dependable despite there not being a true superstar in it. There are a lot of guys who are known to produce and get hits, so the Rangers will really rely on them. These players include Danny Santana, Elvis Andrus, Joey Gallo, Shin-Soo Choo, and newly acquired third baseman Todd Frazier, among others. I think the Rangers could be an underdog to grab a wild card this year, especially with a shortened season, but my gut is telling me that they will be around or just below .500 this season.

(Picture Credit: Lone Star Ball)

-Andrew Gardner, UNH '23 

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