FanPost

2011 Power Rankings (3 of 3)

Part one can be found here

Part two can be found here

21. Mets - At least the Yankees were #10; with a $125 million payroll, the Mets barely avoid being the worst team in their division. They can hit a little, with Carlos Beltran, David Wright, and Jose Reyes back for a full season, but unless Jason Bay finds himself again, they're going to be a below-average offensive team. The pitching is worse, with the Mets desperately hoping that R.A. Dickey is for real (quite a gamble, given the number of successful knuckleballers) and that Mike Pelfrey doesn't repeat his "I'm good every other year" bit. With Jonathan Niese as the fourth starter, and Mediocre-At-Best FA Acquisition the fifth starter, the Mets' rotation is fairly ugly. Francisco Rodriguez got himself into some legal trouble, and Hisanori Takahashi and Pedro Feliciano bolted for other teams. Meanwhile, they still owe Oliver Perez $12 million.

22. Cubs - More payroll/record disparities. The Cubs spent $150 million last year to win 75 games and take the coveted fifth spot in a division that finished with 60% of its teams below .500. Alfonso Soriano's contract isn't as bad as it looks, but it's still pretty bad, and they're probably wishing they didn't owe Carlos "Totally Crazy" Zambrano $20 million for each of the next two seasons. Carlos Silva was a bright spot, though how long that will continue is up in the air. It's pretty bad when one of three (good) highlights from your season - the others being Starlin Castro and Carlos Marmol - was the guy you only took to save some money and dump a player you hate. The Cubs have a few good players in Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto, Ryan Dempster, Marmol, and Castro, but they are surrounded by mediocrity or worse. I don't really understand why Jim Hendry thinks Carlos Pena will help them at one year and $10 million, but then again I don't really understand Jim Hendry.

23. Nationals - The Nationals made the biggest FA splash, until Philadelphia stole their thunder, when they signed Jayson Werth. He'll hopefully just about replace Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham. Still, the Nationals may be bad now, but they've got some exciting pieces to watch even during Stephen Strasburg's lost season (Ian Desmond, Wilson Ramos, Jordan Zimmermann, Danny Espinosa, and Drew Storen) and will probably be ready to contend before Werth's deal expires.

24. Diamondbacks - A better team than most give them credit for, the Diamondbacks' 65-97 2010 record ignores an excellent, balanced offense. The Dbacks suffered from a terrible bullpen and a strong division in 2010, but bullpens are fluky enough that this cannot be held against them. Despite trading Dan Haren, their rotation should be stronger next year with Ian Kennedy returning and a full season of Daniel Hudson. After that, things get funny (Barry Enright!), though Joe Saunders is probably a competent third starter. The bullpen is still a giant question mark despite the addition of JJ Putz (who is himself not particularly reliable), but the Diamondbacks possess a great offense and could find themselves in fourth place or even higher with some good years by pitchers and a disappointing season from the Rockies or Dodgers.

25. Indians - The Indians are the team I know the least about, which is odd considering Major League is one of my favorite movies. But they just don't do anything. They were damned good in 2007, which surprised me, because I was sure they had been awful since the early 2000's. But the last two years have been bad, during which time they've made a couple minor trades (Casey Blake for Carlos Santana obligatory mention, trading for and trading away Mark DeRosa) and dealt two big pitchers and Victor Martinez for rather underwhelming returns. The Indians don't have as much young talent in the majors as some other squads, but they get a lot of points for Santana, and have a very good outfielder in Shin-Soo Choo. It's kind of incredible how bland this team is; I don't know anyone in their rotation beyond Fausto Carmona. They're bad, I guess. Whatever.

26. Astros - The Astros are rather incredible to me. They managed to alternate good and bad seasons for a couple years, have some very good players and a lot of very bad ones, gave out a couple stupid looking free agent deals, some of which turned out to be all right, and traded franchise players for just about nothing a few months after their value went way down. I have no idea what they're going to do next, but it's probably not "win baseball games". To prove this, I will point to the fact that they signed Bill Hall to start, and their farm system. If they didn't have J.A. Happ (who I probably like more than most, and isn't that good anyway), this would be an uglier team, and that's both sad and amazing.

27. Royals - The Royals apparently have the best farm system in baseball. Little of that talent will be making an impact in 2011, and so they are a very bad team, especially without Zack Greinke. Going from Yuniesky Betancourt to Alcides Escobar was a great move both in the short-term and the long-term (that's how bad Betancourt is), but Billy Butler is still their best hitter until they finally give Alex Gordon a shot and he shows up. And outside of Joakim Soria, they have no pitching. Gil Meche + Luke Hochevar + Sean O'Sullivan = LOL

28. Pirates - Like the Nationals, the Pirates have some interesting pieces already up at the major league level in Andrew McCutchen (one of my favorite young outfielders), Neil Walker, and Pedro Alvarez. All three have shown they can hit major league pitching, but Ronny Cedeno was their shortstop last year. Lyle Overbay is their starting first baseman. Their pitching is the worst in baseball. They haven't had a winning season in 18 years. That doesn't really have any relevance to next year's squad, but it's certainly not helping. Once their pitching shows up, though, they might do something about that. Hey, it only took them a couple decades.

29. Orioles - I don't know why I thought Andy MacPhail was a good executive. Last year, he gave Garret Atkins $4.5 million in guaranteed money. Mike Gonzalez got a two year deal, and proceeded to immediately hurt himself. This year, he held on to Ty Wigginton for no reason despite significant demand, acquired Mark Reynolds to block Josh Bell at third base despite no long-term first baseman (I guess Luke Scott could work) and a serious need for starting pitching, and now they've signed Kevin Gregg to replace Gonzalez. I guess the JJ Hardy trade was okay. But while the AL East isn't doing them any favors, the Orioles are a legitimately awful team.

30. Mariners - Talent-wise, the Mariners are probably five spots up. But for some reason, they're much like the Diamondbacks in their complete inability to produce once on the field. They took a surprisingly successful 2009 and a bunch of moves that looked great and turned them into 101 losses. Milton Bradley is a good hitter that is apparently too insane to play baseball, which is pretty amazing. Felix Hernandez is one of the best pitchers in baseball, and he could only grab 13 wins because of his team's historically bad offense. The Mariners could be a 75-win team with bounceback years from Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, and Chone Figgins, and Justin Smoak showing up, but they really should be trading David Aardsma, Jack Wilson, Gutierrez, and Figgins (if they can do it) and aiming for 2012-2013. Instead they signed Miguel Olivo and Erik Bedard. I'm disappointed, Jack Z. (okay, I did like the Cust deal).

This FanPost is reader-generated, and it does not necessarily reflect the views of McCovey Chronicles. If the author uses filler to achieve the minimum word requirement, a moderator may edit the FanPost for his or her own amusement.

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