Official 2013 MLB Power Rankings

Ah, it’s back. The sweet game of baseball begins Easter Sunday and I, along with many others are nostalgically ecstatic that the season is less than a week away. So, without further ado, here are my 2013 preseason power rankings:

  1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim- With the three-headed monster of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Josh Hamilton along with a solid rotation, the Halos are looking to bring a World Series title back to Anaheim for the first time since 2002.
  2. Washington Nationals- The Nationals owned the best record in baseball a year ago with 98 wins and 64 losses and made more transactions for the better. Look for the Nats to win over ninety-five games once again.
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers- After several large moves made last trade deadline and this past offseason, Dodger Blue has a squad capable of going the distance.
  4. Toronto Blue Jays- The Jays basically bought the Marlins’ one-year dream, among other moves,  and finally have a chance in the AL East.
  5. Cincinnati Reds- Undoubtedly the best team in their respective division, the Redlegs have a powerful lineup equipped with a top-notch pitching staff.
  6. Detroit Tigers- The Tigers have the best hitter and pitcher in the game paired with several other stars. There’s no reason that this team cannot repeat as AL pennant winners.
  7. Atlanta Braves- Atlanta’ll have another playoff team in 2013, especially after signing OF’s Justin and B.J. Upton.
  8. San Francisco Giants- The Bay Bombers can always pitch, can always be well coached, can’t always hit for power. If the Giants can find a consistent power stroke, then they will trump the almighty Dodgers.
  9. St. Louis Cardinals- Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina, Lance Lynn, Matt Holliday… The list goes on and on of under-the-radar Cardinals that find a way to win.
  10. Tampa Bay Rays- You just can’t bet against the Rays. They’ve got a superb manager, fantastic front office, and players with a ton of heart.
  11. Oakland Athletics- Yet another team that finds a way to win, the A’s are well managed by Bob Melvin. Platoons, unique rotation patterns, pretty much all strategies that will help his team win, Melvin uses.
  12. Texas Rangers- The word departure defines the Texas winter: Josh Hamilton gone. Micheal Young, adios. Mike Napoli, see ya. And all of these losses were pretty ugly. If the Lone Stars can pitch well and stick to the tremendous hitters that they do still have, they can compete for a wild card spot.
  13. Boston Red Sox- Now that cancer Bobby Valentine’s gone, the Red Sox are able to actually have fun playing baseball. No teenage-like drama in the clubhouse. Boston should be ecstatic with manager John Farrell at the helm.
  14. New York Yankees- Even though injuries are aplenty, the Bronx Bombers have the experience to compete in the toughest division in baseball. A wild card berth is within reach.
  15. Pittsburgh Pirates- Is this the year that the Buccos get over the hump? They’ve got most of the same guys across the diamond, and additions such as catcher Russell Martin and southpaw Francisco Liriano ought to help
  16. Arizona Diamondbacks- A difficult team to predict, the D-Backs have an altered roster after dealing away star outfielder Justin Upton. They now have Martin Prado to handle the hot corner along with young gun Paul Goldschmidt at first to carry the offensive load. If a decent rotation can pitch like an all-star rotation, Arizona could clinch a wild card berth.
  17. Philadelphia Phillies- As much as I like the Phils, I’m not sure what to expect. The word is that Chase Utley is completely healthy, but the word is that Roy Halladay had a poor spring. There are definitely question marks in Philly, but you’ve got to hope that 2012 was an illegitimate omen and that they can win the division once again.
  18.  Cleveland Indians- The Tribe is another unique team. They’ve made a few big transactions with the signings of Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, and Brett Myers and the trades for young pitcher Trevor Bauer and Drew Stubbs are bound to make a difference.
  19. Baltimore Orioles- Last year’s Cinderella, the O’s must compete in, what I’ve written before, the most difficult division in the sport. Hopefully super-manager Buck Showalter can lead this team back into the playoffs in consecutive season for the first time since 1997-98 in spite of a weak rotation.
  20. Kansas City Royals- A popular pick to make the postseason for the first time in a while, the Royals’ young starters on offense must pick up the newly acquired pitchers Jeremy Guthrie, Ervin Santana, Wade Davis, and James Shields.
  21. Milwaukee Brewers- As long as Ryan Braun continues his MVP-like success and isn’t suspended for his convicted PED use, the Brew Crew have a shot at the playoffs. But with a young rotation and 1B Corey Hart out until June, it’s hard to see Milwaukee contending.
  22. Chicago White Sox- The South-siders had the AL Central in the bag until Detroit came out of no where. Can this squad get it together and topple the Motor City Kitties? No chance. Last year was their only year in the next decade that they could have made the playoffs given the Tigers’ future and the White Sox’s aging stars.
  23. New York Mets- The Mets’ pride and joy last year, Cy-Young winner R.A. Dickey, is out the door. I have a hard time taking the The Kings of Queens’ playoff chances seriously.
  24. Seattle Mariners- When you’re in a division that owns not one, not two, but three potential playoff teams, the losses will pile up quite rapidly.
  25. San Diego Padres- Hey, maybe the friars won’t finish in last place if 3B chase Headley leads the NL in RBI again. (115 in 2012)
  26. Chicago Cubs- Well, the Cubs are the unanimous last-place pick now that the Astros have switched leagues. although it’ll be a long year at Wrigley, things are moving in the right direction on the north side.
  27. Colorado Rockies- On paper, the Rox contain one of the most powerful lineups with perennial MVP candidates SS Troy Tulowitzki and OF Carlos Gonzalez. But then when you take a glance at their rotation, you know why they’re not taken with a straight face.
  28. Minnesota Twins- The Twinkies dealt two young stars in OF’s Ben Revere and Denard Span. Although they got veteran arms in return, their lineup needs more than Joe Mauer.
  29. Miami Marlins- Even though they didn’t total 100 losses last season, doesn’t keep the Marlins from being categorized as the laughing stock of the league. The Fish bartered all of the guys they’d just signed and are easily projected to have the lowest attendance in the MLB.
  30. Houston Astros- As much as I desire a winning record for my hometown team, the ‘Stros will finish at the basement of their respective division, once again.

Well thanks for reading folks! Comment with your predictions and let’s look forward to a remarkable season!

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NFL Week 1 Power Rankings

Sorry about not posting this in time but this was my list right before the Giants-Cowboys game:

32. St. Louis Rams (2-14 last season) A few standout players on offense and defense, but this team is rebuilding this year with a new coach, Jeff Fisher.

31. Cleveland Browns (4-12) With a shaky rookie quarterback and not much of a defense, you’re probably going to have some trouble winning games.

30. Indianapolis Colts (2-14)  Obviously they drafted their guy with QB Andrew Luck out of Stanford. Other than that, they’re isn’t much left.

29. Minnesota Vikings (3-13) The Vikes have two mega-stars with RB Adrian Peterson and DE Jared Allen, and then there’s….. A cool mascot?

28. Miami Dolphins (6-10) A new face of the franchise for Miami, as Ryan Tannehill will have to carry the team on his shoulders.

27. Oakland Raiders (8-8) There are valid reasons to like and dislike this squad, but Carson Palmer still scares me behind a sloppy O-Line.

26. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11) Rumor is that Blaine Gabbert improved a lot, but MJD may not be in football shape. We shall see.

25. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) I’m not sure Kevin Kolb is the best option even after paying big bucks for him, but hey, I’m not the GM in Tempe.

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12) QB Josh Freeman better pick up the team after the front office spent a lot of dough on receiver Vincent Jackson.

23. Seattle Seahawks (7-9) Just because you got new uniforms doesn’t mean you’ll play better…

22. Carolina Panthers (6-10) Having the most explosive quarterback in the league always helps, but a mediocre defense doesn’t.

21. Washington Redskins (5-11) The Redskins drafted the best collegiate quarterback in my young lifespan, and they also have a decent D.

20. Tennessee Titans (9-7) Chris Johnson has to run for 2,000+ yards again if the Titans want to make the playoffs.

19. New York Jets (8-8) The NY Jets have an elite defense, but a undistinguished tailback and two pretty-boy quarterbacks can’t get you too far.

18. San Diego Chargers (8-8) It seems like Norv Turner has been on the hot seat for a few decades now, so it’s playoffs or bust again in Silicon Beach.

17. Buffalo Bills (6-10) Not sure why everyone wants to blow this all out of proportion, the Bills now have a good D, but their offense is inferior.

16. Dallas Cowboys (8-8) Overrated yet another year, the ‘Boys should contend for the wild card and division, but I see them coming up just short.

15. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9) The Chiefs are my surprise team, with a sneaky good defense and a good 1-2 punch with Peyton Hillis and Jamaal Charles.

14. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7) After a surprising year, the Bengals have to hope QB Andy Dalton and WR AJ Green don’t go through sophomore slumps.

13. New Orleans Saints (13-3) The Chiefs were my surprise team and the Saints are the other way around, as they won’t have their inspirational coach.

12. Denver Broncos (8-8) If Peyton Manning was that good without a defense, imagine how he’ll perform with a D that subjugated last year.

11. Atlanta Falcons (10-6) The offense is always overpowering, but can the defense ensure a win in big games?

10. Chicago Bears (8-8) If Jay Cutler can stay healthy, then the Bears will make some serious noise in the NFC.

9. Detroit Lions (10-6) That transcendental defense and the Stafford-Johnson air raid is so much fun to watch and not-so-fun to play against.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) I keep thinking that the Steel Curtain is too aged to compete, but I’ve been wrong. The offensive line just has to step up.

7. Baltimore Ravens (12-4) Let’s see if Ray Lewis and Ed Reed can find the fountain of youth again with Terrell Suggs out for a while.

6. New York Giants (9-7) The defending Super Bowl champs are always overlooked but always find a way to win.

5. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8) If Michael Vick stays healthy, the Eagles will be uncontrollably powerful on both sides of the ball.

4. Houston Texans (10-6) My AFC favorite is so balanced, so poised, and ready to raise some eyebrows this year in the NFL.

3. San Francisco 49ers (13-3) Another balanced team, San Fran needs a solid year from QB Alex Smith in order to get deeper into the playoffs.

2. Green Bay Packers (15-1) A 16-0 season isn’t too crazy of a goal after a 15-1 last season. It’s all in the defense’s hands.

1. New England Patriots (13-1) Tom Brady will have to carry the Pats once again, and it won’t be too big of a task for him.

Don’t agree? Comment!

2012 Opening Day Power Rankings- MLB Week 1

In the first series for each team, everybody’s 0-0. But some teams are better than others…

30. Houston Astros- The Astros were the worst team last year, and not much has changed on paper. They added Jed Lowrie at shortstop, but the youth is not there yet. Another 100 loss year in southeast Texas.

29. San Diego Padres- With a disappointing year last season, the Padres have made a few moves in the last two years, but nothing too notable that will affect their record too much. The trade giving away Mat Latos was nice for the club, but losing closer and face of the franchise Heath Bell won’t help.

28. Baltimore Orioles– Last season the O’s were the worst team in the American League. I don’t see a change as they must rely on premature pitching.

27. Chicago Cubs- After 104 year World Series win drought for the Cubbies, this is…. Not the year. Shaky pitching,bad hitting, bad team. They will lose north of 95 ames.

26. Minnesota Twins- Former MVP Justin Morneau is not the same, and that’s who this team has to lean on. In addition, their rotation isn’t exactly playoff caliber.

25. New York Mets- It may not look as bad in Queens, as injuries aren’t plaguing the Mets yet. However, I can’t trust their lineup even with the shorter fence dimensions in the outfield.

24. Oakland Athletics- I highly doubt all of the losses in the rotation helps this rebuilding team. And Manny won’t be a factor as the A’s won’t be able to sell tickets again.

23. Chicago White Sox- Another bad team from Chicago, the White Sox don’t have a true ace or a true run producer.

22. Seattle Mariners- Ichiro is no longer an all-star, and they still do not have big bat in their lineup. Still, we can’t forget bright spots Dustin Ackley at second, and their ace pitcher, Felix Hernandez.

21. Los Angeles Dodgers- The Dodgers made headlines with their buyout of a group including Magic Johnson. They have young superstars Clayton Kershaw and Mat Kemp, but not much else.

20. Pittsburgh Pirates- Though many think this is the Bucs’ year, they’ll have to wait one more year for a .500 season. Another hitter and the Pirates are better than a 81-81 record.

19. Colorado Rockies- I like this squad, but I have trouble seeing past Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Give me a pitcher to match up with their talented offense, and the Rockies are legitimate contenders.

18. Kansas City Royals- The wait is almost over as the Royals are almost there with Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler, and Alex Gordon finally sprouting. With one more solid starter, the Royals could be wild-card predators.

17. Milwaukee Brewers- The Brew Crew could be in the NL Central race for a while, but after the depature of Prince Fielder, the Brewers lack a power bat, even with the pick-up of Aramis Ramirez.

16. Cleveland Indians- The Tribe had a magical year until the fallout in the dog days of last season. Without a healthy Sizemore all year, they could have trouble repeating 2011’s run.

15. Washington Nationals- The Nats have a good shot at a wild-card spot this season, something the nation’s capital hasn’t been able to say since 1933. Let’s hope mega-prospect Bryce Harper comes in and makes a huge impact, or the Nats are just short of October.

14. Toronto Blue Jays- The Blue Jays have gone retro with a new take on their logo, one they used during the glory days in Toronto. Hopefully, they can live up to the unworldly expectations, taking down one of the big three in the AL East.

13. Atlanta Braves- The Braves lost it on the last day of the season. They had locked up the wild-card, but had gotten sloppy and fell to the Cardinals in the long run. This year is just about the same team, besides a rookie shortstop in Tyler Pastornicky. Also, it being Chipper’s last year, makes 2012 that much more sentimental.

12. San Francisco Giants- After a disappointing year, the Giants are looking to bounce back with new offensive addition Melky Cabrera. He’s a guy they’re hoping will help pick up the run support, a problem for the Giants’ pitchers in 2011.

11. Miami Marlins- I like this team, but I’m afraid of the hoopla that comes with a new uniform, stadium, and their new out of control manager. They’ve got a great rotation with a heap of guys who know how to get on base.

10. St. Louis Cardinals- Of course the hole of Pujols will be a blow, but the Cards’ blue-collar offensive game plan and superior pitching may surprise many under a first-year coach who doesn’t own any managerial experience.

9. Cincinnati Reds- The Reds are the favorite in the NL Central after the Brewers lost Prince Fielder and the Cardinals, Albert Pujols. This group of ballplayers has a very powerful lineup and a sneaky good rotation. Don’t be surprised to see a pretty swell run in October.

8. Tampa Bay Rays- Though there are high expectations for this club, I don’t see the Rays topping the Red Sox or Yankees. They have the fresh arms, yes, but at the same time they don’t have the experience. I guess we’ll have to see what happens down in Tampa.

7. Boston Red Sox- The BoSox have way too much on the line this season with the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, and a high demand for winning after last year’s collapse. These guys are too talented to not perform well in 2012.

6. Arizona Diamondbacks- This year, the D-Backs are riding high after a dream of a season last year. If they can carry their success and the pitching can out-duel the division foe’s Giants pitchers, then get ready for a playoff run in Phoenix.

5. New York Yankees- I’m faithful of the Yankees this year, my World Series winner prediction. They have the exact same lineup as last year plus better depth in a hitter’s ballpark. Add a solid rotation with the new Michael Pineda? The Yanks look like the Yanks.

4. Detroit Tigers- The Tigers are poised for the World Series. They’ve got Verlander at the top of the rotation, and of course the new Bash Brothers in Mo-Town in Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.

3. Texas Rangers- Yu Darvish was the huge foreign deal of the year, as the Asian phenom gives Texas a solid starter. The Rangers have the best lineup in all of baseball and are looking to finally win a World Series this year after two straight appearances.

2. Philadelphia Phillies- Even with the health a question, the Phillies’ pitching will keep them in ballgames. First baseman Ryan Howard will be out until May and second baseman Chase Utley’s knees become a huge question mark. But again the Phils can pitch and win.

1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim- The Halos made the second biggest deal in MLB history with the 10-year deal of first baseman Albert Pujols. This will give their rotation ample run support, marked by aces CJ Wilson, Jered Weaver, and Dan Haren.

Don’t agree? Comment!

NBA Western Conference Predictions

Everybody knows the NBA is having money trouble with this year’s lockout, put I’d like to have a little fun with it, and make playoff picks. So, here’s my crack at the Western Conference:

 

 

1. Oklahoma City Thunder; 63-19- If playing, I would be believers in the Thunder this year. Durant would be a top MVP candidate once again. Kendrick Perkins thoroughly learns this system under the four year head coach Scott Brooks. They play in the easiest division in the west in my mind, and they would’ve pulled it out early.

2. Dallas Mavericks; 59-23- The Mavs are poised for a projected impossible back-to-back championship run, and I think they’ll try harder than most in games that have no importance (teams like Toronto and Sacramento). After the peak of his career, I think Dirk declines a pretty good amount. For instance, about 5-7 points per game less than last year. All in all, I like the team, but they need a young guard.

3. San Antonio Spurs; 56-26- Though they are aging, the Spurs have up and coming talent including DeJuan Blair and Cory Joseph. They play in the toughest division in the west put can compete, with their, again, veterans’ leadership. Everybody knows they are capable, it’s just the “doing” part of a great season.

4. Los Angeles Lakers; 55- 27- Look, Kobe is, well, older, so I think he’ll continue drop off. But, hoping Andrew Bynum doesn’t get injured, the Lakers’ depth could pick up the slack. Guys like Metta World Peace (haha), Shannon Brown, and Lamar Odom must go in and do their job and more if the Lakers want another championship.

5. Portland Trial Blazers; 51-31- Last year, Brandon Roy made an improbable comeback, making clutch shots in the postseason versus Dallas. Also, a wingman LaMarcus Aldridge had a breakout season last year, averaging 21.8 PPG during the regular season, and 20.8 in the postseason. This year, I think Nate McMillan can be regarded as a consistent coach and move into the plkayoffs at #5 once again.

6. Memphis Grizzlies; 48-34- Last year, the Rudy Gay-led Grizzlies made a lot of headlines, making the playoffs for a change. Unlikely contributors such as Zach Randolph and Tony Allen led Memphis to a #8 spot, and I think they can greatly improve from last year. I believe this will be a true breakout season for OJ Mayo.

7. Houston Rockets; 47-35- Following the departure of the man who I think should be in the Hall of Fame, Yao Ming, the Rockets are in need of another big man. I believe they filled that void with the drafting of forward Marcus Morris. They had the 3rd best offense last season, and with more efforts from players like Kyle Lowry, the 6’6 center, Chuck Hayes, and Luis Scola, the Rockets are a lock this year in the west.

8. Utah Jazz; 45-37- The Melo-less Nuggets and the declining Hornets will open up spots for the team above, and the Utah Jazz. Though they do not have Jerry Sloan court side, they do have fresh new players in Salt Lake including Devin Harris and Derrick Favors; both from the Deron Williams trade. They also have what I think is the best home court advantage of any team.

My Week 5 NFL Top 10 Teams

1. Green Bay Packers- 4-0; Dude, they’re the NFL champs, they dominate, own the best QB in the game, Aaron Rodgers, and they will win today’s SNF game at Atlanta.

2. Detroit Lions- 4-0; The numbers don’t lie. They are the only other team undefeated in the NFL. They have a legitimate passing attack, and a top pass rush.

3. New Orleans Saints- 3-1; With a true ace under center in Drew Brees, an empowering defense, and an honorable coach in Sean Payton, they’ve beaten the Bears and Texans, respectively.

4. Baltimore Ravens- 3-1; I had a hard time picking this aging squad, but with a point differential of +62, they have the ability to dominate week-in and week-out. The only room for improvement? The falling QB of Joe Flacco.

5. New England Patriots- 3-1; With a splendid offense we all know of, they’ve beaten pesky teams such as the Chargers and the Raiders. They do need a lot of advancement in their rock bottom pass defense.

6. Houston Texans- 3-1; My team has done pretty well beating the Steelers and Dolphins. They just need to beat a play-off level team to collect more believers.

7. Tennessee Titans- 3-1; Hey, why not? They’ve had excellent defense, and, wait for it… Pass offense. Ha, and the worst run offense in the league with the top paid running back. They’ve beaten Baltimore and a decent team in Cleveland.

8. Buffalo Bills- 3-1; Many judged them as the worst of the NFL, but they’ve been the Cinderellas beating the Pats, and having a sound offense all-around.

9. Washington Redskins- 3-1; “We’re going to win the NFC East,” says Rex Grossman. And the jokes come flying in. Now, who’s joking? They have a top defense and a ground attack no one was expecting.

10. San Diego Chargers- 3-1; Like I’ve said before, they give gamblers heart attacks to betters around the country. Rivers has been Rivers, but the defense is spanking teams for the first time in a while.