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TSN.ca MLB Power Rankings

Updated: Friday, March 21, 2014 5:16 PM

The Cardinals, Red Sox and Dodgers open the year on top of the MLB Power Rankings.

Follow Scott Cullen on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen and e-mail him at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca.

This Week1Last Week1St. Louis Cardinals97-65

The Cardinals improved their outfield defence with the addition of CF Peter Bourjos and their lineup will be better with a real bat (Jhonny Peralta) at shortstop and 1B Matt Adams moving into the lineup as a regular. Mix in a rotation that has Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly and the Cards will contend again.
Key Injuries: LHP Jaime Garcia (shoulder).

This Week2Last Week2Boston Red Sox97-65

Added veteran C A.J. Pierzynski and have rookies, SS Xander Bogaerts and CF Jackie Bradley ready to contribute. If Bradley gets nudged aside by one-time rising star Grady Sizemore, so be it, but the defending champs still look like they'll have a strong enough lineup so long as their starting pitching holds up.
Key Injuries: None.

This Week3Last Week3Los Angeles Dodgers92-70

Will phenom Yasiel Puig be able to carry over the production from his sensational debut? The Dodgers have spent enough on a lineup that they ought to be good, but need Puig, SS Hanley Ramirez or a healthy CF Matt Kemp to raise the team's offensive ceiling. The pitching staff, anchored by baseball's best Clayton Kershaw, is solid and could get better if Josh Beckett and/or Chad Billingsley get healthy.
Key Injuries: RHP Josh Beckett (shoulder), RHP Chad Billingsley (elbow), CF Matt Kemp (ankle).

This Week4Last Week4Tampa Bay Rays91-71

In deciding not to deal LHP David Price, the Rays ensure that they will have a pitching staff that is good enough to contend, so it will be a matter of whether they get enough offence. 3B Evan Longoria is great and RF Wil Myers is a promising power hitter, but it's the supporting cast that will need to be productive to give the Rays a chance.
Key Injuries: None.

This Week5Last Week5Pittsburgh Pirates94-68

No dramatic changes from last year's breakout season, but if it ain't broke, why fix it? Improved offence would ease some pressure on the pitching and defence and while it's reasonable to expect a promising youngster like RHP Gerrit Cole to keep improving, it's also fair to question what LHP Francisco Liriano will bring after last year's spectacular showing.
Key Injuries: None.

This Week6Last Week6Detroit Tigers93-69

There's a different look this year, with Brad Ausmas in as manager, 2B Ian Kinsler arriving in exchange for 1B Prince Fielder and rookie 3B Nick Castellanos taking over at third base for Miguel Cabrera, whose defence will now be hidden at first base. For all the changes, there is still a pitching staff full of power arms and enough offence to get back to the postseason.
Key Injuries: SS Jose Iglesias (shins), LF Andy Dirks (back).

This Week7Last Week7Washington Nationals86-76

A developing lineup, with a mix of veterans like RF Jayson Werth and 3B Ryan Zimmerman, combined with rising stars LF Bryce Harper and SS Ian Desmond, give the Nats enough offence and they could have a punishing pitching staff, particularly if RHP Doug Fister is healthy enough to hold down the No. 4 spot in the rotation behind Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez.
Key Injuries: None.

This Week8Last Week8Cincinnati Reds90-72

Could miss Shin-Soo Choo's ability to get on-base, but if Billy Hamilton can get on base at a decent rate, he will be a difference-maker with his speed. The biggest concern for the Reds, early in the year, is injuries to the pitching staff, that will put added pressure on those that aren't on the DL.
Key Injuries: RHP Mat Latos (knee), LHP Aroldis Chapman (face).

This Week9Last Week9San Francisco Giants76-86

Not a lot of changes in San Francisco, though they're taking a low-risk shot on LF Mike Morse, who could add some power, and veteran RHP Tim Hudson (in place of a departing Barry Zito) improves what has long been the team's strength -- their starting rotation.
Key Injuries: None.

This Week10Last Week10Atlanta Braves96-66

The Braves had every reason to think they could be World Series contenders coming into the year, but the spring has not been kind to the pitching staff, as RHP Brandon Beachy and RHP Kris Medlen both required Tommy John surgery and LHP Mike Minor, their top returning pitcher, has some shoulder trouble. Adding Ervin Santana isn't enough to make up for all those losses.
Key Injuries: RHP Kris Medlen (elbow), RHP Brandon Beachy (elbow).

This Week11Last Week11Cleveland Indians92-70

Not a lot of dramatic changes for a team that won 92 games last season, but more playing time for C Yan Gomes, and a regular turn in the rotation for rocket-armed RHP Danny Salazar are reasons to be optimistic about challenging for a playoff spot again.
Key Injuries: None.

This Week12Last Week12Milwaukee Brewers74-88

If a cleaned-up Ryan Braun hasn't lost too much, the Brewers could have a formidable lineup, as LF Khris Davis, CF Carlos Gomez, 3B Aramis Ramirez, SS Jean Segura, 2B Scooter Gennett and C Jonathan LuCroy can all hit. The challenge will be getting enough consistency out of a pitching staff that includes Matt Garza, Yovani Gallardo and Wily Peralta -- high ceiling, but low floor too.
Key Injuries:

This Week13Last Week13Kansas City Royals86-76

A decent lineup, with potential to be better given a full season for C Salvador Perez and further development from 3B Mike Moustakas, and a pitching staff that gets really interesting when the young arms -- LHP Danny Duffy and RHP Yordano Ventura -- are included.
Key Injuries: None.

This Week14Last Week14Texas Rangers91-71

There have been changes, but there's still lots to like with the Rangers bringing in 1B Prince Fielder and LF Shin-Soo Choo; combined with a full year for 2B Jurickson Profar, the Rangers' lineup ought to be fine. With injuries the pitching staff has question marks behind ace Yu Darvish, but it's easy enough to envision LHP Martin Perez, RHP Alexi Ogando, RHP Nick Tepesch and LHP Joe Saunders can hold the fort until the rotation is fully healthy.
Key Injuries: LHP Matt Harrison (back), LHP Derek Holland (knee).

This Week15Last Week15Oakland Athletics96-66

Not unlike Atlanta in that the A's also had legitimate hopes to contend, but losing RHP Jarrod Parker for the season and starting the year without RHP A.J. Griffin, well, it's a little more daunting. CF Craig Gentry ought to improve their outfield defence and RHP Sonny Gray had the looks of an ace last season, but there is little margin for error now.
Key Injuries: RHP A.J. Griffin (arm), RHP Jarrod Parker (elbow).

This Week16Last Week16New York Yankees85-77

Even after an offseason in which they added C Brian McCann, CF Jacoby Ellsbury, RF Carlos Beltran and RHP Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees are still going into the year with some underdog status in the AL East. However, if last year's walking wounded -- SS Derek Jeter, 1B Mark Teixeira and RHP Michale Pineda -- are healthy and contributing, maybe the Pinstripers will be right back in the playoff mix.
Key Injuries: None.

This Week17Last Week17Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim78-84

Having the best player on the planet, CF Mike Trout, is always nice, but the Angels need to give him some help. Something resembling past performance from 1B Albert Pujols and RF Josh Hamilton would be great and someone, perhaps RHP Tyler Skaggs and LHP Hector Santiago, will need to provide some depth for the starting rotation.
Key Injuries: None.

This Week18Last Week18Baltimore Orioles85-77

While the Orioles may not be keeping up with the best teams in the AL East, they didn't stand pat, either, bringing in LF Nelson Cruz and RHP Ubaldo Jimenez in an attempt to keep pace.
Key Injuries: 3B Manny Machado (knee).

This Week19Last Week19Arizona Diamondbacks81-81

Losing LHP Patrick Corbin is a huge blow to the Diamondbacks, who don't have overpowering options to begin with. If they can get solid work out of Wade Miley, Brandon McCarthy, Trevor Cahill, Bronson Arroyo and Randall Delgado, then that will be an accomplishment and will give them, with a lineup adding the power of LF Mark Trumbo, a chance to compete for a playoff spot. The downside, though, if those pitchers falter, is not pretty.
Key Injuries: LHP Patrick Corbin (elbow), RF Cody Ross (hip).

This Week20Last Week20Philadelphia Phillies73-89

The Phillies seem to be a mess, with injured pitchers and an aging lineup, but hope can't be abandoned altogther. If RHP A.J. Burnett and 27-year-old Cuban Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez can contribute to the rotation, then maybe the Phillies can hang around long enough to make it interesting in the NL East.
Key Injuries: LHP Cole Hamels (shoulder), RHP Jonathan Pettibone (shoulder), RHP Ethan Martin (shoulder).

This Week21Last Week21Seattle Mariners71-91

Made the big splash of the offseason when they landed 2B Robinson Cano and RF Logan Morrison could help too, but the real difference for the Mariners will have to come from young pitchers Taijuan Walker and James Paxton, who could help fill out the rotation behind Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma (who opens the year on the DL).
Key Injuries: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (finger), RHP Taijuan Walker (shoulder).

This Week22Last Week22Colorado Rockies74-88

A lot will have to break right for the Rockies to have a successful season, and it's not easy with their best pitcher hurt to start the year. Hard to imagine they have enough pitching unless LHP Brett Anderson stays healthy and reverts to the form of five years ago and it wouldn't hurt to have SS Troy Tulowitzki last a full season either.
Key Injuries: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (shoulder).

This Week23Last Week23New York Mets74-88

Patchwork is the kind way to describe the Mets' roster, and injuries to the starting rotation should preclude any real hopes for this season. The rotation of Bartolo Colon, Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee, Daisuke Matsuzaka and possibly Jenrry Mejia could be good enough to keep them competitive, but they need something like a huge bounceback year from RF Curtis Granderson to jolt the offence.
Key Injuries: RHP Matt Harvey (elbow), LHP Jonathon Niese (elbow).

This Week24Last Week24San Diego Padres76-86

The Padres have some upside, if C Yasmani Grandal and SS Everth Cabrera are productive coming back from suspension, and then 2B Jedd Gyorko and 3B Chase Headley provide enough pop, but if they're going to make noise in the NL West, they need pitching, which means Andrew Cashner and Josh Johnson staying healthy and Eric Stults, Ian Kennedy and Alex Torres delivering some measure of consistency too. Seem like a lot of room for variance.
Key Injuries: LHP Cory Luebke (elbow), CF Cameron Maybin (triceps).

This Week25Last Week25Toronto Blue Jays74-88

After making all the noise last offseason, the Blue Jays have been church-mouse quiet this time around, unelss you're excited about the new catching tandem of Dioner Navarro and Erik Kratz. They can hope for better health, expect better results from some pitchers, and maybe a little breakthrough from RHP Drew Hutchison, but it looks like a long way to climb from a 74-win season.
Key Injuries: None.

This Week26Last Week26Miami Marlins62-*

Does adding C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, 1B Garrett Jones and 2B Rafael Furcal suddenly make the Marlins contenders? Not exactly, but they have some promise based on a young pitching staff that will have to be great to keep them in games because the lineup has lots of holes.
Key Injuries: None.

This Week27Last Week27Minnesota Twins66-96

Attempted to improve their pitching staff, adding Ricky Nolasco, Mike Pelfrey and Phil Hughes but when those are the improvements, it doesn't say much. If C Josmil Pinto and RF Oswaldo Arcia can add more to the offence, then maybe the Twins will be moving in the right direction.
Key Injuries: None.

This Week28Last Week28Chicago Cubs66-96

There's a collection of young players -- 1B Anthony Rizzo, SS Starlin Castro, LF Junior Lake -- that have a chance to develop into something and a pitching staff that is a hot mess behind LHP Travis Wood and, possibly, RHP Jeff Samardzija, so it's likely to be another long year at Wrigley.
Key Injuries: RHP Jake Arrieta (shoulder).

This Week29Last Week29Chicago White Sox63-99

Their 598 runs scored ranked last in the American League, with DH Adam Dunn the only one to hit more than 17 home runs or drive in more than 62. Pitching was almost decent, with a staff ERA of 3.98, thanks largely to ace Chris Sale.

This Week30Last Week30Houston Astros51-*

The Astros are interesting, to see which of their young players stick long-term, but when C Jason Castro, 2B Jose Altuve and CF Dexter Fowler are the cornerstones of the team and the pitching staff is completely unproven, the Astros get to start at the bottom this year.
Key Injuries: None.

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