Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Mookie Betts, Josh Donaldson, Yasmani Grandal, Hyun-jin Ryu, Corey Kluber, Zack Wheeler, Didi Gregorius, Cole Hamels, Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas were among baseball's stars that changed teams this offseason.
Though the New York Yankees appear to be the World Series favorites after adding Cole, fans of all teams feel excited around this time of year as pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training ahead of a new MLB season. After so much turnover this winter, the chance to see players in their new threads will be especially exciting this spring.
As teams begin to open their camps this week, here are RADIO.COM's first 2020 MLB Power Rankings:
1. New York Yankees
A season ago, Gerrit Cole cemented himself as baseball’s best pitcher, and perhaps the best player in the sport outside of Mike Trout. Adding him onto a team that’s already reached the ALCS twice in the last three years makes the Yankees the favorites to win the 2020 World Series.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Losing National League Cy Young runner-up Hyun-jin Ryu in free agency hurts, but landing Mookie Betts, a generational talent, makes that relatively easy to forget about. Under Andrew Friedman’s regime, the Dodgers have continued to develop talent with a high success rate, meaning they are in position to make a major trade for another starting pitcher if they choose to do so this summer.
3. Tampa Bay Rays
Even though they play in the same division as the Yankees, the Rays are a legitimate World Series contender. The trio of Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow and Charlie Morton makes them set up well for a postseason series. Of course, winning the American League East - and not having to play in the one-game Wild Card playoff - would set the Rays up with a much better chance to win their first World Series title in franchise history.
4. Atlanta Braves
Sure, they lost Josh Donaldson, but their lineup still includes Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies. They added Marcell Ozuna on a one-year prove-it deal, the same type they had success with Donaldson on last year. Ditto for former World Series MVP Cole Hamels. Over the past year, the Braves have built what may be baseball’s best bullpen, including signing Will Smith to a lucrative free-agent deal this past winter. What’s more, the Braves have a farm system capable of competing in just about any trade sweepstakes this summer. They are set up to have prolonged success, and are the favorites to win their third consecutive National League East title.
5. Houston Astros
It’s crazy to think that losing Gerrit Cole has become an afterthought heading into the 2020 season, but here we are. After one of the biggest scandals in baseball history, new manager Dusty Baker will be left to pick of the pieces this season. Fortunately for him, those pieces are still pretty impressive, as the Astros still employ Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers Jr., George Springer, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Michael Brantley. Whether the cloud that’s going to loom over them the whole season ultimately proves to be too much to overcome remains to be seen, but the Astros still have an elite roster.
6. Minnesota Twins
In 2019, the Twins had five players - Nelson Cruz, Mitch Garver, Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler - hit over 30 home runs. They rode that power to 101 regular season wins. All they did this winter was add former American League MVP Josh Donaldson to an already loaded lineup. We’ll see if they have enough pitching to compete for a World Series, but it’s hard not to view a team that added Donaldson after winning over 100 games last season as a World Series contender.
7. Oakland Athletics
No team is better positioned to capitalize on a potential scandal hangover from the Houston Astros than the A’s, who have won 97 games in each of the past two seasons. Marcus Semien and Matt Chapman headline an impressive lineup, one that could become even scarier if Khris Davis is able to bounce back in 2020.
8. New York Mets
Something always seems to go wrong for the Mets, but at a minimum they should win one of the two Wild Cards in the National League in 2020. Two-time defending National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom headlines a deep rotation. Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil emerged as cornerstones for the Mets in 2019. And with the addition of Dellin Betances - and the hope for a bounce-back season from at least one of Edwin Diaz or Jeurys Familia - the bullpen can’t possibly be worse than it was a season ago. The Mets, quietly, won 86 games in 2019. They should win 90 plus in 2020.