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Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams

Posted: 12/10/2012 1:45 AM

Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 


With the James Shields trade I decided to rank all 30 major league teams with the following criteria

- Major league roster talent
- Minor league talent
- Ability to be competitive during the 2013 and 2014 seasons
- Ability to be competitive during the 2015-2017 seasons
- Long term contracts and salary breakdown that fit within the payroll budget for the next 5 seasons
- Strength of division

I'll also provided a best course of action for the franchise


30 - Colorado Rockies
The Rockies are in a lot of trouble.  They have a couple of stars in Tulowitzki and Gonzalez but after that the talent drops off.  What's worse is that both those players are starting to get expensive.  The team has no pitching and working with a limited budget it's hard to imagine this team being good anytime in the near future.

Best course of action:
Trade Tulowitzki and Gonzalez.  Get all the prospects you can and build for the 2015 season.  Those two are elite players so you can get a massive haul for each of them.  Without doing that they are likely destined to churn in mediocrity and waste the prime years of Tulowitzki while doing so.  A tough division does them no favours.

29 - Minnesota Twins
They are in a similar position to the Rockies.  Very little talent especially in the pitching department.  If this was done a week ago they would of ranked 30th however the trades of Denard Span and Ben Revere brought them some much needed young talent.  They should have listened about trading Joe Mauer when other teams were interested.  Although he is the only long term contract it is quite a big one and chances are by the time the Twins have the opportunity to be good again, Mauer won't be.

Best course of action:
Trade Mauer, Morneau and Willingham.  While they have some money they can use on free agents the main roster is seriously lacking and the top prospects are all in the lower levels.  If they trade the above three they could be competitive in a couple of seasons in a relatively easy division.

28 - Cleveland Indians
The Indians have the luxury of no really bad long term contracts.  They also don't have a lot of very good players and the few they do have such as Choo and Cabrera will be free agents after 2013 and 2014 respectively.  A poor minor league season puts this team in a bad spot looking forward.  It's one thing to be a ad team and have talent in the minors but to have neither is a combination that the Indians get to share with the Rockies and Twins.  Making the Ubaldo Jiminez trade was an awful decision that set the franchise back.

Best course of action:
It appears to be the course they are taking.  Trading Perez, Choo and Cabrera will help the team for the future because hanging onto them won't change much.  Valuable parts such as Vinnie Pestano, Carlos Santana and Justin Masterson should also be moved.  Santana would be especially attractive to a team like the Yankees who are having issues with payroll and he would fit nicely for them.  The Indians would likely get a lot in return for such a deal.  Build the team around Jason Kipnis.  The luxury of an easy division helps them considerably that a if they make moves now and struggle for a few seasons they could be a factor in a few seasons.

27. Miami Marlins
The Marlins really hurt themselves with the huge trade with the Blue Jays.  Not because it was the wrong thing to do but they just kissed any chance of acquiring and half decent free agent for the next couple of years.  The farm system was awful before the trade and at least now it has some respectable talent.  They don't have any contracts to worry about really but the fact is no player with other options will want to take their money anyway so that doesn't really help them.

Best course of action:
Stay status quo.  The team already traded everyone that made any money.  They're best to try and work things out with Giancarlo Stanton.  If the bad blood still exists after the 2013 season they need to trade Stanton as every team in baseball would be after him and he would net a huge prospect haul that can help the team in the future.  The fact they have some young talent in the minors and one of the most valuable roster players in Stanton puts them ahead of the previous three who's future looks very bleak. 

26. Chicago White Sox
An odd pick to be this low considering they just missed the playoffs in 2012 however it was also in the worst division in baseball.  How the White Sox got there though is what is really important.  Alex Rios is a maddening inconsistent player.  They had career seasons from Konerko and Pierzynski and chances are they won't be as good adding another year and that is assuming Pierzynski even resigns.  With a high payroll and not much of a farm system this team won't be as bad as the previous four teams will be in 2013 and they could be around the .500 mark but after that they have some bad contracts and not much talent to surround it with.

Best course of action:
This is a tough one because the team doesn't really have a lot of trade-able assets.  Moving guys like Rios, Dunn, Floyd and Danks won't bring anything meaningful back because of the contracts.  They're better off holding onto everyone and hoping they find lightning in a bottle and can make the playoffs in 2013.  After that they will be in for a tough rebuild.

25. Kansas City Royals
The Royals have a Jekyll and Hyde GM in Dayton Moore.  He makes a great move and then he makes a really awful one.  While the team has some nice contracts on young players thanks to favourable extensions to Salvador Perez and Alciedes Escobar.  They also signed terrible contract extensions for Jeremy Guthrie and Jeff Francouer.  Then they made the Wil Myers and prospects for James Shield trade which really hurt the future of the team.  The pitching staff is still a bad one even with Shields and they sold off years of the future for the chance to be a .500 team for a couple of years until Shields leaves as a free agent.

Best course of action:
Assuming that taking a time machine and going back in time and undoing everything that has happened after the Jeremy Guthrie extension is not an option the Royals really screwed themselves and it's a perfect example of what happens when you have a poor GM running the show.  The moves they made won't help them get over the hump and they're at the top of the payroll limit so improving the team really isn't an option.  Sadly the best thing they can do is fire the GM and trade away players like Shields, Butler and Gordon and hope to compete in the future.  They were in a much better position a day ago still having a major league ready Will Myers and Jake Odorizzi and almost ready Mike Montgomery.  Now they're all gone.  They do still have some good young pieces though it won't be enough to compete.  At least they would be valuable if they made them available in trades.

24. Philadelphia Phillies
An aging team with a high payroll.  No farm system.  While they could still be good in 2013 and possibly even 2014, after that it looks pretty bleak.  Considering the fact that the Nationals and Braves are loaded with young talent and the Mets have a lot of young pitching as well as some payroll room opening up prior to the 2014 season the Phillies are in some serious trouble because players such as Howard aren't movable.  With the exception of Hamles the pitching staff is old and the bullpen is pretty weak.  The loss of Ruiz for part of the season also hurts a team that is struggling to find offense.

Best course of action:
They should remain status quo.  They don't have much of a farm system so the future looks pretty bad.  They have players who although are aging have had some strong seasons in the past.  They should try and contend in 2013 but be realistic that if things don't work out that they need to hit the reset button and clear out as much payroll as possible and rebuild the farm system.  5 players in Lee, Hamels, Howard, Rollins and Papelbon chewing up almost 100 million in payroll.

23. Oakland A's
While they were a great story in 2012, the reality is the team just isn't that good.  They will always have a problem with a payroll ceiling.  At least until they can get the stadium issues resolved.  They will take a step back in 2013 and the reality is they don't have any impact prospects either that can help them either.  They also have huge holes at multiple positions on offense.  The division could be the toughest in baseball and the Astros and Mariners have the ability to work with much higher payrolls putting the division at four hundred million dollar payrolls and then the A's

Best course of action:
Do what they always do.  Keep on trading their best players for prospects and build on the cheap.  When everything breaks right as it did in 2012 they will have a shot to make the playoffs and hope for the best.  The roster is good enough to float around the .500 mark for a considerable amount of time but the odds of being a 90 plus win team very often in the future aren't very good.

22. Chicago Cubs
They will be bad again in 2013 but they are building a strong farm system and continue to get undervalued free agents and then flip them for more prospects.  With the ability to sign any big ticket free agents and financial flexibility also available even with Alfonso Soriano and his huge contract the Cubs should continue to be better down the line.  It's a slow and steady pace but it's the right way.  No point trying to rebuild just to become an average team.

Best course of action:
Keep doing what they're doing.  Trading Soriano, Marmol and Garza as well as mid tier players like Feldman and DeJesus at the deadline will continue to stockpile the system.  Now is not the time to dabble in free agency but next year they could be ready to flex their muscle once again.

21. Houston Astros
The Astros will be very bad in 2013.  Possibly the worst team in baseball.  However they have a lot of young talent that will start to reach the majors in a year or so.  They also have the enviable position of having no long term contracts.  With a team that has put up 100 million dollar payrolls in the past, when they choose to dabble in the free agency market again they can easily afford two or three marquee players to surround an impressive young core.  They could be what the Washington Nationals were a couple of years ago. 

Best course of action:
They really don't have many other options but to take their medicine for a year or two till the prospects start to show up.  They will continue to flip relievers and anything that can keep putting players into the farm system. Right now looks pretty bad but the future looks really bright.

20. Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers were the hardest team to rank.  In the last year they've lost both Cecil Fielder and Zach Greinke.  They had a lot of young pitchers perform well in 2012 but I'm not sure if they are quite for real.  The pitching will move this team up or down the rankings.  Either way the teams best days are behind them as they just don't have the horses to be a consistent playoff contending team year in and year out anymore.

Best course of action:
Let 2013 play it self out.  If the young pitching is for real they could be onto something in the future.  If it falls back though this team could be in some serious trouble and a flat out rebuild are in order.  Ryan Braun is still young enough that you can build around him. Hart, Ramirez, Weeks and Gallardo could be shopped to bring in some much needed prospects.  The system is a poor one but a lot of their young pitchers that played well in 2012 were under the radar players.

19. Baltimore Orioles
Like the A's this is a team that overachieved last year and will likely fall back down to earth in 2013.  However unlike the A's they have a pair of prospects in Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy that have superstar potential.  The problem is that they don't have very much else in the farm system behind them.  Still the worst days are over for them but in a really challenging division they could be a mid 80's win team in the future that doesn't make the playoffs.

Best course of action:
Trade players such as JJ Hardy as well as all of their relievers while they still have value.  The Orioles were a really lucky team last year with a ridiculous record in one run games.  If they move those players they can get 3 or 4 good prospects to add to Bundy, Machado and Jones.  They have a lot of young pitching as well that hasn't performed at the major league level.  Eventually some of those have to improve however as just not like every prospects hits, all of them are unlikely to miss as well.

18. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners have one of the best pitchers in the game in Felix Hernandez.  They also have a lot of talented pitching prospects as well as one of the best groups of catchers across all levels in Zunino, Montero and Jaso.  They lack in the offense department though however they have lots of payroll room and will likely be grabbing a few free agents if not this year then surely next.  Players such as Nick Swisher or Josh Hamilton could easily end up here.

Best course of action:
Sign some free agents.  The prospects will be arriving soon so adding free agents on offense makes sense.  They should also trade Jason Vargas for hitting help and to open up rotation spots.  2013 might not be the year but they are positioned well for the future.

17. New York Yankees
It's shocking to see them ranked so long but these guys aren't owned by George anymore and they to have a bottom line now.  Combine that with the fact that they have a roster that is ancient and a huge commitment in future payroll the Yankees could be in some serious trouble.  They will never be a bad team but the days of them being automatic for the playoffs look to be over.  They have a lot of overrated prospects.  The fact they have a huge payroll ceiling helps them significantly but unless they plan to go all Dodgers and spend just because they can it will be hard because of a core in Texiera, A-Rod and Sabathia that is getting old and makes and insane amount of money.  Derek Jeter also won't be around much longer.

Best course of action:
They plan to go for it in 2013 but I think that will end up being a huge mistake.  They will have a lot of holes on the roster and it won't look good for the future.  They have movable players though like Cano who would fetch a lot in return.  Texiera and Sabathia are also guys that can be traded as long as the Yankees pick up some money.  They should consider doing that, grabbing some prospects and copying the process that made them so successful in their first run.  A strong group of home grown players.  Having the ability to spend in free agency ensures that they can have a relatively quick rebuild.

16. New York Mets
They are similar to the Mariners in that they have a lot of young pitching.  They have a star in David Wright but can use some more offense around him.  After 2013 they have a lot of money available to get that offense though so consider them a team that is about a year away from being good.  The farm system isn't great but the majority of the top end guys are at or close to reaching the majors.

Best course of action:
Take their lumps in 2013.  Let Santana rebuild his value and eat as much of his salary as they can to get  better players in return.  Resign Dickey and a year from now buy some offense in free agency.

15. Arizona Diamondbacks
Like the Brewers this team could rise or fall in the rankings very easily.  The on again, off again Justin Upton trade rumors are maddening.  Sooner or later Upton will pretty much kill any leverage that Arizona thinks they have.  They either need to decide to trade him or keep him and be done with it.  The decision to shop Trevor Bauer is also puzzling.  Still this team has a deep farm system.  The decision to trade for Heath Bell was also a stupid one.  Signing Brandon McCarthy was a really good decision though.

Best course of action:
Keep Upton, keep Bauer and trade some prospects to fill in holes.  Asdrubal Cabrera would be a perfect fit.  This is a team that has  a nucleus in place to be very good.  I can't rank them higher because they could be at a nuclear stage and about to blow themselves up. 

14. San Diego Padres
A deep farm system but one that lacks impact players.  They are positioned well with contracts  and have enough good players to build a good core.  The pitching staff was destroyed by injury though in 2012 so 2013 should be much better.  They have a limited payroll budget which hurts them and outside of the Rockies the division is pretty tough.

Best course of action:
The plan is a good one and they should continue working on it.  This is a team that could probably trade away some prospects for an impact player to help out.  It also wouldn't hurt to dabble in the free agent market and sign some free agents looking to rebuild value on one year deals.  Could be a surprise team in 2013 but if not they should be a team that causes the rest of the division a lot of trouble

13. Boston Red Sox
2013 will be ugly for them.  They will either finish fourth or fifth in the division but this is the benefit of being a huge market team and rebuilding.  You can do it pretty fast.  They have a strong group of prospects coming up soon that will be impact players.  They were lucky they were able to pawn off all their horrible long term contracts on the Dodgers and even though the money to Napoli and Victorino was way too much at least the years are reasonable and it won't kill them in the future.  It's possible that Napoli and Victorino will be bench players in a couple of years but the Sox look to be in good shape long term and could easily add impact players in free agency.

Best course of action:
Wait for the kids like Bogaerts, Barnes and Bradley who should all arrive in 2014.  Trade Ellsbury now to a team like Texas and get some more prospects.  Spend responsibly in free agency.

12. Los Angeles Angels
The Angels have the best player in baseball in Mike Trout.  They also have a top pitcher in Weaver and Albert Pujols who should be productive for at least a few more years.  While they disappointed in 2012 chances are they will be better in 2013.  Expect a playoff team next year and in 2014 as well.  After that though things could get scary though.

Best course of action:
They were pretty disciplined this year and made some good signings.  In years past they always went for the name and this year they are building a team.  The bullpen looks strong and the offense will be good.  They should trade their prospects for an impact player that can put them over the top.  The window won't be open very long for this team but it is open at the moment.

11. Atlanta Braves
The Braves are on the top end of the always good but not quite great end of teams.  They've been passed by the Nationals as the best team in the division but they always build professional teams that will have a chance to make the playoffs in any year.  They get graded here because of consistency and outside of Dan Uggla they don't have any terrible contracts.  BJ Upton is overpaid but he at least is very young and won't cause the team to regret signing him.

Best course of action:
The farm system is the worst it's ever been.  The good thing is they have a lot of young pitching and young players like Simmons, Freemon and Heyward.  They should try and gut the farm system completely and add another outfielder to push the teams chances of winning.  Josh Willingham makes a lot of sense.

10. Cincinnati Reds
The Reds rank lower than a lot of people think they would but the reality is they are pretty much maxed out financially and they have players getting extremely expensive.  This is a team similar to the Angels that looks really good now but things can get ugly in a hurry as payroll continues to rise.  Still the next two years look really good.  If they win in the playoffs it could help them keep this team together.

Best course of action:
Move all in now.  Trade a guy like Billy Hamilton now while his value is sky high.  Get another impact player and try and win in the next couple of seasons.

9. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers look to be following the formula of the Texas Rangers.  The problem is it was the old Texas Rangers strategy of building the best fantasy baseball team possible.  Short term they're in good shape as they have the star power to win.  Kemp, Greinke, Kershaw, Ramirez, Gonzalez, Crawford.  It's like an all-star roster.  The problem is a lot of those guys are getting older and while money isn't the issue for this team so many of these guys are signed for so long that they aren't likely to still be productive a few years down the line.  Still this is a team for at least the next few years has a chance to win the World Series.  They have the worst farm system in baseball though so they wont have the luxury of making moves midseason.  So margin of error plays a role here.

Best course of action:
Keep spending money but sign short term.  Owners want to make money and while spending crazy amounts of cash sounds great it doesn't last forever.  If they keep signing these massive deals for a ridiculous amount of years they could be in massive trouble if they are forced to cut back spending.  At that point they could be forced to trade away the good players they have because the roster is full of players with awful trade value.

8. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers have a great core for the next couple of years.  They have Cabrera and Verlander who are both among the best at their positions.  The problem is the rest of the roster is full of holes.  The pitching is above average but the offense is old.  Prince Fielder doesn't have long left and two years of Torri Hunter could get ugly.  This team is built to win now and should take in one year at a time.  They lose money consistently so when the owner passes away it could change the dynamic of the team in a struggling economic city. Still they are legitimate contenders for the next few seasons.

Best course of action:
No team should be as all in as this one.  It's all about right now for this team.  Trade away the prospects and fill the holes at closer, second base and the outfield.

7. Pittsburgh Pirates
This is a team that has more talent in the minors than any other in baseball.  It's also quite underrated.  It has no awful long term contracts and the entire core of the team is under 30.  It has a MVP caliber player in McCutchen and lots of players that have yet to reach their potential.  This team is about where Washington was in 2011.  The roster doesn't have nearly as many holes as most think and the team should have legitimate staying power with all the youth as core players won't have the chance to  leave till after 2016 and each year should add one if not two impact players.  Hinderance to the team is they will never be able to have a huge payroll and at times will need to get creative.

Best course of action:
Fire the manager and hire someone who's strength is working with young players as that is how this team will win.  The high end pitchers in Cole and Taillon should both arrive in 2013.  If the team is in contention they should be in the market for an impact player that is made available in trade.  This is a team that has the quantity of prospects that could pull of a Troy Tulowitzki deal without giving up one of it's top two prospects.

6. Texas Rangers
This is a team that has disappointed for quite some time.  They've lost a lot of free agents recently and should Hamilton leave that could be a huge loss.  They also have payroll limitations after going huge the last couple of seasons and not getting it done.  They still have a young enough team and a good enough farm system that they can be very good for an extended period of time.

Best course of action:
Let Josh Hamilton go and use the money to fill multiple holes.  Swisher and LaRoche make more sense than Hamilton alone.  Trade excess prospects like Mike Olt and trade for R.A. Dickey and upgrade the catcher position.  It's a young enough team that if they do it right  they can contend for an extended period of time.

5. San Francisco Giants
The defending World Champions have a good pitching staff but only an average offense.  Buster Posey probably had his best season and this is a team that will likely struggle to score runs over the course of the season.  The fact that it is young core of key players makes it easier to compliment it over the long haul.  They will likely miss the playoffs in 2013 but are the type of team that can bounce back and make the playoffs the following year.

Best course of action:
Status quo.  Try and keep free agent contracts reasonable as the 2014 season has lots of money coming off the books to sign an impact player or two.

4. Toronto Blue Jays
A improved roster as well as a very strong farm system make this a very dangerous team.     Probably the favourite to win the division in 2013 it has the prospects in the system to land an impact player.  If a team like the Brewers ever wanted to trade a Ryan Braun then Toronto would be atop of the lists.  With a roster that is locked up for a fairly long time and impact prospects ready to help soon it could be a great combination for extended success.

Best course of action:
Trade away a catcher.  Go hard after R.A. Dickey as he could be the key piece to put this team over the top.  Toronto also matches up very well with the Mets needs as they're deep in outfielding and catching

3. Tampa Bay Rays
After fleecing the Royals this team just improved the farm system immensely and will likely still be very good in the pitching department.  Always creative this team consistently trades away players at the right time similar to the A's.  Getting Yunel Escobar improves the defense and a healthy Longoria should put this team in the playoffs.  It is a team that is not afraid to make the difficult decisions.

Best course of action:
By trading Shields the team has given itself lots of payroll room.  They should upgrade the catching position and with a young roster should be good for a very long time.  Some names will change over the years but the results should stay the same for a long time.

2. Washington Nationals
They have a roster ready to win.  The pitching staff is excellent and Strasburg in the playoffs changes everything.  This is a team without and holes after acquiring Span and Haren.  Laoche would be nice to have back but they could just as easily slide Morse to first base.  Anthony Rendon could make the majors at second base this year making the lineup even scarier.  Probably the favourite to win the World Series this year.

Best course of action:
Leave the team as is and fine tune things at the trade deadline.  The young players will all have another year under them and they will be adding Wilson Ramos back as well.  They have the potential to have an above average regular at every position.  After the meltdown last year though and losing Sean Burnett they could use some help in the bullpen.  Joel Hanrahan for Danny Espinosa makes sense for both sides as Espinosa can slide back over to shortstop.

1. St. Louis Cardinals
It's embarrassing really how good the Cardinals farm system is considering how good the major league roster is also.  They are weak in the middle infield but strong everywhere else.  Kolten Wong will likely solve the problems at second base so the teams worries will be at shortstop and the bullpen.  While the starting pitching is getting older they have plenty coming up through the system to lessen the load

Best course of action:
Trade for Asdrubal Cabrera and sign a bullpen arm or two.  Otherwise the teams biggest issues will be staying healthy because of the age of the roster but they have great depth and excellent roster management.  Opposite of the Pirates it seems that players that get called up from the minors look like 10 year veterans.
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Posted: 12/10/2012 5:25 AM

Re: Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 


Katoy... you have TOO MUCH spare time.  biggrin
#fringeprospect
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Posted: 12/10/2012 6:49 AM

Re: Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 


I'm going to say the Pirates are the 21st best team in baseball - this being the 21st consecutive losing season and all.
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Posted: 12/10/2012 7:25 AM

Re: Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 


Very well done Katoy... you obviously put alot of time and effort into this piece.

In saying that, I simply can't jump on board with the Pirates at Number 7. When I rank teams and admittedly I do it with much less data and effort than you put in, I do so based on what I see as potential to win a Championship mostly. I simply don't see the Pirates being anywhere near number 7 under that criteria. There is no way they have the 7th best chance at winning a championship in all of baseball.


Now in saying that, I know that is not what you solely ranked teams on so I am sort of comparing apples to oranges and jumping the gun so to speak.

But even factoring in everything, I simply can't put the Pirates at 7. No way, no how.

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Posted: 12/10/2012 7:38 AM

Re: Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 



panthers2533 wrote:

Very well done Katoy... you obviously put alot of time and effort into this piece.

In saying that, I simply can't jump on board with the Pirates at Number 7. When I rank teams and admittedly I do it with much less data and effort than you put in, I do so based on what I see as potential to win a Championship mostly. I simply don't see the Pirates being anywhere near number 7 under that criteria. There is no way they have the 7th best chance at winning a championship in all of baseball.


Now in saying that, I know that is not what you solely ranked teams on so I am sort of comparing apples to oranges and jumping the gun so to speak.

But even factoring in everything, I simply can't put the Pirates at 7. No way, no how.



Keep in mind, he's talking about a 5-year window, not 2013 alone.  That being said, I agree that I believe #7 is too high because he's putting too much faith in not only unproven talent, but talent that's not even in the majors yet.  I do however think there is some reason for optimism based on the the recent success of the minor league teams as well as the obvious improvements of certain players.  Ranked #7 is just a little too overly optimistic in my opinion.  I can see a optimistic possibility at them being ranked around 12-15.  My reasoning for that is simply finances.  Teams with financial benefits (being loaded), can rebuild in a year or 2.

While the Phillies have older players, higher payrolls, and a limited farm system... I can still see how over the next 5 years they have more wins and playoff appearances than the Pirates because they have the deep pockets to buy wins.  Worst case scenario for them is that they stink this season and they trade Halladay and/or Lee and get solid prospects.  They will get them too because there will most likely be a team who will pay for that caliber of pitcher to put them over the top.  I honestly think that if the Phillies wanted too, they could have practically gotten just about any player in their entire organization from the Angels for Halladay if he were healthy.
#fringeprospect
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Posted: 12/10/2012 9:02 AM

Re: Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 



Sangue wrote: I'm going to say the Pirates are the 21st best team in baseball - this being the 21st consecutive losing season and all.

Good call.  I think we should set out to play a season at .500 before we start claiming that we are better off than the Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox, etc.

___________

 

  

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Posted: 12/10/2012 9:32 AM

Re: Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 



TBayXXXVII wrote:
panthers2533 wrote:

Very well done Katoy... you obviously put alot of time and effort into this piece.

In saying that, I simply can't jump on board with the Pirates at Number 7. When I rank teams and admittedly I do it with much less data and effort than you put in, I do so based on what I see as potential to win a Championship mostly. I simply don't see the Pirates being anywhere near number 7 under that criteria. There is no way they have the 7th best chance at winning a championship in all of baseball.


Now in saying that, I know that is not what you solely ranked teams on so I am sort of comparing apples to oranges and jumping the gun so to speak.

But even factoring in everything, I simply can't put the Pirates at 7. No way, no how.



Keep in mind, he's talking about a 5-year window, not 2013 alone.  That being said, I agree that I believe #7 is too high because he's putting too much faith in not only unproven talent, but talent that's not even in the majors yet.  I do however think there is some reason for optimism based on the the recent success of the minor league teams as well as the obvious improvements of certain players.  Ranked #7 is just a little too overly optimistic in my opinion.  I can see a optimistic possibility at them being ranked around 12-15.  My reasoning for that is simply finances.  Teams with financial benefits (being loaded), can rebuild in a year or 2.

While the Phillies have older players, higher payrolls, and a limited farm system... I can still see how over the next 5 years they have more wins and playoff appearances than the Pirates because they have the deep pockets to buy wins.  Worst case scenario for them is that they stink this season and they trade Halladay and/or Lee and get solid prospects.  They will get them too because there will most likely be a team who will pay for that caliber of pitcher to put them over the top.  I honestly think that if the Phillies wanted too, they could have practically gotten just about any player in their entire organization from the Angels for Halladay if he were healthy.

Right agree with your post and I totally understand that which is why I mentioned I am sort of comparing apples to oranges.

 

But I still can't have a team at #7 with this ownership. Until they prove otherwise there is simply no way they can be listed ahead of big money spending teams.

Yes, while the Pirates farm system might be ahead of the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, etc... those teams will simply go out and buy what they need over the next 5 seasons whereas the Pirates need to hope Cole/Tallion become Aces, Polanco continues to develop, and so on. As you said, too much relying on unproven talent at the MLB level.

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Posted: 12/10/2012 10:09 AM

Re: Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 



panthers2533 wrote:
TBayXXXVII wrote:
panthers2533 wrote:

Very well done Katoy... you obviously put alot of time and effort into this piece.

In saying that, I simply can't jump on board with the Pirates at Number 7. When I rank teams and admittedly I do it with much less data and effort than you put in, I do so based on what I see as potential to win a Championship mostly. I simply don't see the Pirates being anywhere near number 7 under that criteria. There is no way they have the 7th best chance at winning a championship in all of baseball.


Now in saying that, I know that is not what you solely ranked teams on so I am sort of comparing apples to oranges and jumping the gun so to speak.

But even factoring in everything, I simply can't put the Pirates at 7. No way, no how.



Keep in mind, he's talking about a 5-year window, not 2013 alone.  That being said, I agree that I believe #7 is too high because he's putting too much faith in not only unproven talent, but talent that's not even in the majors yet.  I do however think there is some reason for optimism based on the the recent success of the minor league teams as well as the obvious improvements of certain players.  Ranked #7 is just a little too overly optimistic in my opinion.  I can see a optimistic possibility at them being ranked around 12-15.  My reasoning for that is simply finances.  Teams with financial benefits (being loaded), can rebuild in a year or 2.

While the Phillies have older players, higher payrolls, and a limited farm system... I can still see how over the next 5 years they have more wins and playoff appearances than the Pirates because they have the deep pockets to buy wins.  Worst case scenario for them is that they stink this season and they trade Halladay and/or Lee and get solid prospects.  They will get them too because there will most likely be a team who will pay for that caliber of pitcher to put them over the top.  I honestly think that if the Phillies wanted too, they could have practically gotten just about any player in their entire organization from the Angels for Halladay if he were healthy.

Right agree with your post and I totally understand that which is why I mentioned I am sort of comparing apples to oranges.

 

But I still can't have a team at #7 with this ownership. Until they prove otherwise there is simply no way they can be listed ahead of big money spending teams.

Yes, while the Pirates farm system might be ahead of the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, etc... those teams will simply go out and buy what they need over the next 5 seasons whereas the Pirates need to hope Cole/Tallion become Aces, Polanco continues to develop, and so on. As you said, too much relying on unproven talent at the MLB level.

Valid stance.
#fringeprospect
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Posted: 12/10/2012 10:55 AM

RE: Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 


I'll go into a little more detail into my rankings.

A team like the Pirates gets a huge boost because while they aren't a huge payroll team they also don't have to compete with any massive payroll teams in the division that are currently competitive. The Reds and Cardinals operate with budgets. While the Cubs do not they probably will be a couple of years away from being contenders. Now if the Pirates were in the AL East or the NL West they would be ranked lower because those divisions have teams that can blow others out of the water payroll wise and they will be competitive.

The Pirates have a relatively easy division as I'm not very high on the Brewers or Cubs.

I don't really see ownership as any kind of problem. They've spent money on players in free agency that made sense. They didn't all work out but the thought process was correct behind them.

In terms of wins I think the Pirates will be a consistent 88+ win team from 2014-2017 so they get a big boost. Winning a championship is tough to predict as in the playoffs anything can happen and the best team doesn't usually win. It's usually the luckiest and the hottest. The Giants are a good example of this as they had to play 6 elimination games before even making the World Series. I would say 95% of the time if you repeat that scenario they don't end up making the World Series.  They also have more prospects than they really need.  You will see some trades that will strengthen the roster as was done with the Wandy Rodriguez deal.

Free agency doesn't usually work, especially long term. So the fact that other teams have money isn't enough to get the job done. They need to have some kind of farm system in place. The Dodgers do not have anything in the system. I don't see ownership ok with just continuing to spend money and I think that will play a fact. The Yankees top prospects are a ways away so I can see them being in a tough spot from 2014-2016 especially if they follow through with the plan to get payroll below 189 million. They have a lot of dead weight contracts that will make putting together a championship roster. The teams best player in Robinson Cano is also a free agent after 2013 and it would be difficult to add another 25 million dollar contract.

Also a huge factor in the rankings is the time line of the players under contract. The Pirates really won't lose any key players till at least after the 2016 season. That is a huge benefit for them. They also seem to have a lot of room to grow payroll organically. A team like the Reds who appear to be at the top of their payroll ceiling will likely have to make some moves in a year or two because payroll will get too high. Plus they have a lot of holes.

Things can obviously change because of a key move. The Royals would of been ranked much higher a week ago but trading the farm system for a number two starter set them back big time.

Also rankings should be considered in a range. If you rank 1-5 you probably are a team that will spend the next 5 years as a championship contender. 6-12 are likely playoffs teams. Either team can win the championship though it's more about how the teams fit in all the factors. While the Dodgers get a boost for having a high payroll they also have the worst farm system in baseball. Teams ranked 30-25 likely have no chance of making the playoffs in the next 5 years. Teams in the 24-13 range are likely in positions where they could go up or down depending on moves that are made. Remember this is also done by how the teams are currently built. Teams like the Pirates, Nationals, Blue Jays and Cardinals get ranked high because the have a pretty well positioned roster if the season opened today. Teams like the Yankees have holes in the outfield, third base and catcher still at the moment and don't have internal options to fill them.

Last edited 12/10/2012 10:57 AM by katoy2j

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Posted: 12/10/2012 11:37 AM

Re: Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 


Using my crystal ball rather than yours, I would bet money that the Phillies, Yankees, Angels, Diamondbacks, and Braves all win more games than the Pirates every year over the next five years.  Afte 2013, I'd add the Red Sox to that list as well.

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Posted: 12/10/2012 12:17 PM

Re: Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 


The Pirates are #7?  While I wish this were true (or even almost true), this ranking is laughable.
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Posted: 12/10/2012 12:35 PM

Re: Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 



gr1111 wrote: Using my crystal ball rather than yours, I would bet money that the Phillies, Yankees, Angels, Diamondbacks, and Braves all win more games than the Pirates every year over the next five years.  Afte 2013, I'd add the Red Sox to that list as well.
I think you would lose that bet.  The NL and AL central are the easiest divisions in all of baseball.

I'm not sure the Diamondbacks really know what they're doing considering they've been trying to trade the teams best player about a billion times.

The Phillies are a very old team and have a lot of bad contracts.  They struggled to get to .500 last year and the roster is another year older

Both those teams won 2 more games than the Pirates did in 2012.  The Phillies really have nothing to look forward to farm system wise the Pirates will be adding significant pieces in the 2013 season.

The Yankees are in trouble because like the Phillies they are an old team with contracts that are impossible to move without eating huge portions of them.  Considering they play against Toronto, Tampa Bay and Baltimore the most not all those teams can win 88 plus games.  The Red Sox are in a similar boat.  

The Braves are a consistent team but I don't see them as a World Series contender.  I think the gap between them and the Nationals is way too big from a talent level.  The team also has a number of holes at catcher, second base and the outfield.  They also have no farm system and work within a budget.  I don't think they will be a team that finishes around 82-87 wins regularly but misses out on the playoffs a lot.  They are kind of plugging holes at this point and moving in the reverse direction.  Chipper Jones retired which is a loss.  They replaced Michael Bourn with BJ Upton so that is a downgrade and they sold pretty low on Tommy Hanson so I would say that is a downgrade as well.

The Angels will likely be better short term than the Pirates but Albert Pujols is getting pretty old.  From a talent for talent position they aren't much better than the Pirates.  Mike Trout will likely regress some so consider him even with McCutchen.  Howie Kendrick is the equivalent of Neil Walker.  Alvarez is a huge boost over Callapso.  Catching is pretty even.  Shortstop goes to the Angels and Marte and Jones are probably better than Trumbo and Vernon Wells.  Albert Pujols has been in a five year decline and the Pirates will be adding a lot more players than the Angels can.  While the Angels have the better top end starter in Weaver, overall rotation depth is clearly in the Pirates favour.

The reality is you can't build teams through free agency.  All those teams with the exception of the Diamondbacks have major issues with their farm system.  I rank the Diamondbacks lower than the Pirates because they have no sense of direction as an organization.  The Pirates on the other hand have a clear and determined goal.  They could of very easily made bolder trades last year would of gotten them Justin Upton at the expense of a Starling Marte and Jameson Taillon but they chose not to.  Instead of thinking short term at the trading deadline they took a long term approach.  That is how a team like Tampa Bay thinks.  By trading Shields the Rays are not as good of a team in 2013 however they are better for the years of 2014 and beyond.  The Pirates depth has gradually gotten better year after year.  Gaby Sanchez was an all-star a couple of seasons ago and now he is a bench player.  Also a number of prospects will be coming through the  system.  Remember last year the Pirates were about a middle of the league offense.  A full season of Marte, adding Martin and some improvement from Barmes as well as a better bench will likely take them from 651 runs they scored last year to around 700 runs.  The Pirates went with primarily defensive upgrades to the roster from 2011 to 2012.  They still  managed to upgrade the offense from 610 runs to 651.  A lot of that comes from the development of young players which is the key to winning.  It's productive, cheap and teams such as the Dodgers can't take your players until the reach free agency which isn't really a problem for the Pirates anytime soon.
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Posted: 12/10/2012 12:37 PM

RE: Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 


I love this type of stuff, keep it coming if you can find the time.

I have to disagree with at #7 as well. I don't think they are as far away as it seems to some. I think it's all about the young players that haven't done it yet, as others mentioned, "unproven" talent. If guys live up to the billing, this team is dangerous, but to rank them this high is premature and while the system is deep, most of it is 2 years away (though Cole and Taillon should be up this season and next), and maybe 3 or 4 years from those players reaching their potential. I would bump them back to at least 12 and I would also place San Fran and Texas ahead of Toronto, only because of their pitching and I think there is still some room for Texas' rotation to improve, but if Josh Johnson can stay healthy again, Toronto looks better (than at the moment). Romero didn't have a good season and Morrow was injured, too many question marks, but the talent is there.

Last edited 12/10/2012 12:41 PM by BAMSTEELERFAN

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Posted: 12/10/2012 12:57 PM

RE: Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 



BAMSTEELERFAN wrote: I love this type of stuff, keep it coming if you can find the time.

I have to disagree with at #7 as well. I don't think they are as far away as it seems to some. I think it's all about the young players that haven't done it yet, as others mentioned, "unproven" talent. If guys live up to the billing, this team is dangerous, but to rank them this high is premature and while the system is deep, most of it is 2 years away (though Cole and Taillon should be up this season and next), and maybe 3 or 4 years from those players reaching their potential. I would bump them back to at least 12 and I would also place San Fran and Texas ahead of Toronto, only because of their pitching and I think there is still some room for Texas' rotation to improve, but if Josh Johnson can stay healthy again, Toronto looks better (than at the moment). Romero didn't have a good season and Morrow was injured, too many question marks, but the talent is there.

With you 100% on this one.
#fringeprospect
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Posted: 12/10/2012 1:09 PM

RE: Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 


The perfect model for the Pirates is actually the Texas Rangers.

In 2007 the Rangers won 75 games which is a similar number to the Pirates in 2011
In 2008 the Rangers won 79 games which is the amount the Pirates won in 2012

The Rangers then went on to win 87, 90, 96 and 93 games the following years primarily from the fruits of the farm system.

Remember most assume well the Pirates have to wait for prospects but they really don't have a lot of prospects to wait on. The outfield is young and with McCucthen and Marte looking like locks for two of the tree spots you have Snider, Tabata and Presley for the final spot. You will see a lot of prospects traded to round out the roster. Texas was able to trade for players like Josh Hamilton, Cliff Lee and most of the bullpen with excess prospects. Primarily the team is home grown from the minor leagues either through trades or the draft. Andrus, Kinsler, Cruz, Holland, etc.

The Pirates are in a similar position with a very young core. McCucthen, Marte, Alvarez and Walker are all 27 or younger and above average players. Mix in Taillon, Cole and McDonald with the veterans around the roster such as Burnett, Rodriguez and Martin and you have a very good balanced team. The last outfield spot will likely work itself out and chances are you will get a league average producer or better out of one of those guys. First base is set up as a solid platoon although it will likely be a problem long term. Shortstop is fine as you just need to focus on defensive minded players as you have enough to get by in other spots. They also have plenty of prospects to fill in the holes.
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Posted: 12/10/2012 1:20 PM

Re: Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 



katoy2j wrote:
gr1111 wrote: Using my crystal ball rather than yours, I would bet money that the Phillies, Yankees, Angels, Diamondbacks, and Braves all win more games than the Pirates every year over the next five years.  Afte 2013, I'd add the Red Sox to that list as well.
I think you would lose that bet.  The NL and AL central are the easiest divisions in all of baseball.

I'm not sure the Diamondbacks really know what they're doing considering they've been trying to trade the teams best player about a billion times.

The Phillies are a very old team and have a lot of bad contracts.  They struggled to get to .500 last year and the roster is another year older

Both those teams won 2 more games than the Pirates did in 2012.  The Phillies really have nothing to look forward to farm system wise the Pirates will be adding significant pieces in the 2013 season.

The Yankees are in trouble because like the Phillies they are an old team with contracts that are impossible to move without eating huge portions of them.  Considering they play against Toronto, Tampa Bay and Baltimore the most not all those teams can win 88 plus games.  The Red Sox are in a similar boat.  

The Braves are a consistent team but I don't see them as a World Series contender.  I think the gap between them and the Nationals is way too big from a talent level.  The team also has a number of holes at catcher, second base and the outfield.  They also have no farm system and work within a budget.  I don't think they will be a team that finishes around 82-87 wins regularly but misses out on the playoffs a lot.  They are kind of plugging holes at this point and moving in the reverse direction.  Chipper Jones retired which is a loss.  They replaced Michael Bourn with BJ Upton so that is a downgrade and they sold pretty low on Tommy Hanson so I would say that is a downgrade as well.

The Angels will likely be better short term than the Pirates but Albert Pujols is getting pretty old.  From a talent for talent position they aren't much better than the Pirates.  Mike Trout will likely regress some so consider him even with McCutchen.  Howie Kendrick is the equivalent of Neil Walker.  Alvarez is a huge boost over Callapso.  Catching is pretty even.  Shortstop goes to the Angels and Marte and Jones are probably better than Trumbo and Vernon Wells.  Albert Pujols has been in a five year decline and the Pirates will be adding a lot more players than the Angels can.  While the Angels have the better top end starter in Weaver, overall rotation depth is clearly in the Pirates favour.

The reality is you can't build teams through free agency.  All those teams with the exception of the Diamondbacks have major issues with their farm system.  I rank the Diamondbacks lower than the Pirates because they have no sense of direction as an organization.  The Pirates on the other hand have a clear and determined goal.  They could of very easily made bolder trades last year would of gotten them Justin Upton at the expense of a Starling Marte and Jameson Taillon but they chose not to.  Instead of thinking short term at the trading deadline they took a long term approach.  That is how a team like Tampa Bay thinks.  By trading Shields the Rays are not as good of a team in 2013 however they are better for the years of 2014 and beyond.  The Pirates depth has gradually gotten better year after year.  Gaby Sanchez was an all-star a couple of seasons ago and now he is a bench player.  Also a number of prospects will be coming through the  system.  Remember last year the Pirates were about a middle of the league offense.  A full season of Marte, adding Martin and some improvement from Barmes as well as a better bench will likely take them from 651 runs they scored last year to around 700 runs.  The Pirates went with primarily defensive upgrades to the roster from 2011 to 2012.  They still  managed to upgrade the offense from 610 runs to 651.  A lot of that comes from the development of young players which is the key to winning.  It's productive, cheap and teams such as the Dodgers can't take your players until the reach free agency which isn't really a problem for the Pirates anytime soon.


I've read what you have to say about all those teams.  I'm just not buying it.  Without a lengthy response, I'd say that my prediction for those franchises vs. the Pirates is based upon 20 years of actual results. 

I also think you've bitten off more than anyone can possibly chew.  The type of analysis you've done might be ballpark accurate for the next year, or even the next two years.  But not five years.  Too many unknown variables.  What key players will get injured?  What grade C prospects will blossum, and what grade A can't-miss prospects will fail miserably?  What free agents will shine, and which won't?  A couple of currently unknown variables falling in its favor, or going against it, can make or break a franchise (relatively speaking in relation to the others). 

All that said, I completely respect the effort.  But it just isn't possible to predict the MLB landscape 3, 4, 5 years from now.  So my "bet" is based merely on a long prior experience.

___________

 

  

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Posted: 12/10/2012 1:22 PM

RE: Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 


For those that question the Pirates minor league system here is a quote from Baseball prospectus

Jason Parks wrote “No system in baseball can boast the one-two punch of Cole and Taillon, and with talented position prospects sitting on the next tier, the Pirates have one of the most impact-heavy systems in the game.”
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Posted: 12/10/2012 1:26 PM

RE: Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 


What happened the previous 20 years doesn't really have any impact on the future. The Yankees were a bad team for a long time and changed organizational direction and became good again. The Pirates have clearly showed a dedicated transformation in organizational philosophy as well and are starting to see the benefits of it now.
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Posted: 12/10/2012 1:29 PM

RE: Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 



katoy2j wrote: The perfect model for the Pirates is actually the Texas Rangers.

In 2007 the Rangers won 75 games which is a similar number to the Pirates in 2011
In 2008 the Rangers won 79 games which is the amount the Pirates won in 2012

The Rangers then went on to win 87, 90, 96 and 93 games the following years primarily from the fruits of the farm system.

Remember most assume well the Pirates have to wait for prospects but they really don't have a lot of prospects to wait on. The outfield is young and with McCucthen and Marte looking like locks for two of the tree spots you have Snider, Tabata and Presley for the final spot. You will see a lot of prospects traded to round out the roster. Texas was able to trade for players like Josh Hamilton, Cliff Lee and most of the bullpen with excess prospects. Primarily the team is home grown from the minor leagues either through trades or the draft. Andrus, Kinsler, Cruz, Holland, etc.

The Pirates are in a similar position with a very young core. McCucthen, Marte, Alvarez and Walker are all 27 or younger and above average players. Mix in Taillon, Cole and McDonald with the veterans around the roster such as Burnett, Rodriguez and Martin and you have a very good balanced team. The last outfield spot will likely work itself out and chances are you will get a league average producer or better out of one of those guys. First base is set up as a solid platoon although it will likely be a problem long term. Shortstop is fine as you just need to focus on defensive minded players as you have enough to get by in other spots. They also have plenty of prospects to fill in the holes.
There's definitely reason for optimism, but like most, 7 seems a bit too high.  You have a lot of valid points, but the thing is, you're putting a lot of stock in guys who haven't performed at the ML level... Marte, Snider, and the pitchers.  This is Burnetts last year here.  I like Cole, I think he's an Ace waiting to happen, but I don't think he'll hit his stride until 2015 (kind of like Cole Hamels - he had that great rookie season, stunk the following and came out like gangbusters the year after).  That's 60% of your timeline.  I think Taillon won't be here until 2014, so he probably won't hit his stride til 2016.  I'm not sold on McDonald as being any better than a flashy #4. That certainly can change, but I'll need to be shown before I put faith in him.  So, our top 3 rotation guys won't be in full force until about 80% through your timeline.  At that point, I think Alvarez is gone.  If he's here in 2016, I'll be shocked.  At that point, we're going to have to be hoping that the next crop (Dickerson, Polanco, or even Bell), one of those guys can rise to that spot.  So basically, there's a ton of wishful thinking / over-optimistic.  I can buy that to creep you up into the top 15... but not top 10.
#fringeprospect
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Posted: 12/10/2012 1:35 PM

Re: Ranking all 30 major league baseball teams 


I didn't say that the past has any IMPACT on the future.  I said it was the only predictor we have right now given the vast array of unknown variables at this point -- and that it is a poor predictor indeed.

For example, a few years ago the KC Royals farm system was touted as the best in baseball, brimming with MLB talent.  So far, nothing much has materialized from it.  Sometimes it works out, other times it doesn't.

And before I stop, I want to say again that I respect the effort put in the initial post.  If the past is any predictor of the future, I'll soon be accused by someone of disagreeing just to start an argument, which I'm clearly not.

___________

 

  

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