Spring training continues to grind on in Arizona and Florida, and now we suddenly begin to find ourselves in the meat of the spring training schedule. Decisions are starting to be made, pitchers are being stretched out for more than 30 pitches an appearance, and lineups are starting to get closer to resembling major league lineups rather than a mixture of hopeful minor league prospects. As the season draws closer, we’re going to give you a preseason set of power rankings to get you up to speed for April 4th.
1. Los Angeles Angels: It’s hard to not put the two time defending AL champion Rangers in the top spot for the new season, but the Angel’s went total ninja in the offseason and pulled off a couple of the biggest moves of the winter. Add Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson to a team that won 86 games last year, and they have to be the favorites out west to start the year.
2. Texas Rangers: As stated above, they are the 2 time defending AL champions and sport the most well rounded lineup in all of baseball. If Yu Darvish can step in and fill CJ Wilson’s void and Derek Holland can take the next step in his career, the Rangers will be in shape for another deep post season run.
3. Oakland Athletics: Billy Beane’s moneyball antics haven’t worked in almost a decade, and they hit the reset button again this offseason, trading away rotation anchors Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzales. They did sign Cuban hitting phenom Yeonis Cespedes in the offseason to help carry the offense, which will help put people in the seats for the first few months. Manny Ramirez is gearing up for his return to the bigs as well, but the A’s will continue their irrelevance in 2012.
4. Seattle Mariners: They still have King Felix, which will make them a tough draw every five days, but these guys have an absolutely anemic offense in a ballpark that does absolutely nothing to cater to that, and are almost an absolute lock to come in dead last in the AL West for the third year straight.