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WSL POWER RANKINGS

The WSL Pre-Season Power Rankings return with a bang (not to be confused with a bang bang, as that's stupid). As this is the first PR using WAR as a metric, a few notes:

- WAR is calculated based on the expected every-day lineup, 5-man rotation, and 5-man bullpen listed on the team pages. Teams that plan to platoon heavily will be understated.
- WAR does not factor closer ratings, so elite closers in the Kenley Jansen, Andrew Miller vein are arguably understated.
- Seth's a snake in the grass and the Chowds suck.


Team Name Total WAR (Rank) Hitter WAR (Rank) Starter WAR (Rank) Reliever WAR (Rank) Comment
New York NL 76.3 (1) 46.3 (1) 20.8 (1) 9.2 (1) Despite Justin Verlander being only the 10th best SP in WSL according to one scout, the reigning New York ACs feature a revamped rotation featuring JV, Rick Porcello, and Aaron Sanchez up top. The NYN bullpen also added a few new toys with the return of NYN-draftee Shawn Kelley and Dan Otero alonside mainstays Andrew Miller, Will Harris, and Pedro Strop. Of course, the AC lineup returns essentially everyone that made last year's World Series run exciting. League MVP Mike Trout is joined again by a bevy of all-star candidates in Freddie Freeman, Xander Bogaerts, Josh Donaldson, Nelson Cruz, and Christian Yelich. To make matters worse for opposing teams that went all in for 2016 (how ya doin ATL/BAL), the ACs also have as deep a trade war chest as ever with draftees Lucas Giolito, Manny Margot, Mitch Haniger, and plenty of WSL-ready SP depth. As always, the only thing potentially stopping the ACs are injuries and commissioner interference. FU SETH.
San Francisco 54.9 (2) 35.5 (2) 13.3 (11) 6.1 (7) Most league observers had San Francisco pegged as a sure thing to win the NL West in 2015. However, Seattle shocked the world by pitching their way to a division win, while Anaheim nearly pulled off the upset for the wildcard birth. With that in mind, SF ownership came out of the off-season with a roster that looks...remarkably the same. When it comes to top talent like Nolan Arenado and Carlos Correda, that's not a bad thing. The Road Warriors did focus on upgrading their bullpen in the draft and free agency by adding Ryan Dull, Derek Law, and Taylor Rogers. We can assume San Francisco will score their fair share of runs, but one has to wonder if Zach Greinke's grind in 2015 will cost him effectiveness in 2016. If he's not at his peak, the SF rotation looks extremely average. As always, SF's upside rests in whether they can endure a long season and not make other owners' skin crawl when they see a SF email.
Baltimore 54.6 (3) 32.2 (4) 20.4 (2) 2.0 (18) After surviving back-to-back lunatic owners in UGENT and alleged sex-offender big Gary B, league stewards stepped in to rebuild the Baltimore farm system. While that effort was successful, league officials missed the fine print that stated "Make room for Daddy." So with most of Baltimore's farm system now in Boston, what remains is perhaps the most Stars and Scrubs roster in recent memory. Up top, DJ LeMahieu, Francisco Lindor, and Manny Machado form an infield that is arguably WSL's best in any metric. Similarly, Jose Quintana, a revitalized Rich Hill, and carlos carrasco will be trouble in any playoff series. Unfortunately, the Tattlers also feature the worst OF situation in WSL and a bullpen that's not much better. Impatience in wanting to win NOW has left teams in WSL vulnerable as long as the league has existed. Will Baltimore come through with a wild card berth or will the lack of depth hurt them in a brutal NL race?
Chicago AL 54.5 (4) 29.9 (6) 19.2 (3) 5.4 (10) It seems entry into the AL Central race requires a big-time lefty SP. Madison Bumgarner is arguably the best of a bunch that features Clayton Kershaw in Milwaukee and Cole Hamels in Pittsburgh. He's flanked in the Pigeons rotation by top import Kenta Maeda and Carlos Martinez to form the AL's best rotation. Chicago's lineup, on the other hand, is heavily balanced to hit RH pitching; that's right, that point about the big lefties in the AL Central comes back. To hold off Pittsburgh and Milwaukee, Chicago will need to find some balance versus left-handed pitching.
Pittsburgh 53.2 (5) 33.3 (3) 16.2 (8) 3.7 (14) Pittsburgh's been in the Florida/St. Louis zone of WSL wastelands for the better part of a decade. Outside of the 2010 world series win, led by the league steward that wins rather than the one that just spouts catch phrases and talks about how smart he is, Pittsburgh has a single playoff berth...in 1999. New Ownership has certainly been more aggressive this off-season than the last few years of noted Super Genius Matt Powers' best work. Cole Hamels, Johnny Cueto, and Adrian Beltre head up a strong free agent class, along with imports in Steven Matz, Odubel Herrera, and Giancarlo Stanton. Few rosters ever go through this much upheavel in a single off-season. However, the achilles heel for the Yinzers may be their bullpen. While the rest of the Pittsburgh roster profiles well vs Chicago, a few too many games blown late could be the deciding factor in who wins the AL Central.
Atlanta 51.0 (6) 30.7 (5) 13.2 (12) 7.1 (4) Trade fever struck Atlanta this off-season, as new ownership seemingly had a new deal done every other day. The end result is a lineup featuring some real bite in holdovers Ian Kinsler, Anthony Rizzo and MVP candidate Kris Bryant. Hopefully the Argonauts have invested in their medical staff, as their lineup is a DL trip waiting to happen with Stephen Strasburg, Scott Kazmir, Jake deGrom, and Dylan Bundy expected to carry a big load. I just hope this article is posted before the whole roster is traded 8x over.
Chicago NL 50.4 (7) 27.6 (9) 18.2 (5) 4.6 (12) I have to admit that I was surprised at how well WAR rated the Juice. Ownership focused on bolstering their rotation and bullpen (You know, since that's how KC won last year) with a trade for Chris Sale and numerous free agent signings. Quality acquisitions for cheap in Hunter Pence, Melky Cabrera, and Jean Segura make the Chicago lineup more dangerous than at first glance. It's worth watching whether this roster can hold off Kansas City and Detroit for a full season or if their lack of depth will cripple them late as it did in 2015.
Brooklyn 50.1 (8) 23.7 (13) 18.8 (4) 7.6 (2) There are few firsts in WSL at this point. Yet, Brooklyn using a top 12 pick on a relief pitcher fits the bill. Few teams in WSL history have invested more resources in their bullpen as the Dodgers have, including most of their last two drafts and a re-signed Zach Britton. Even Derek said "Damn..." to that one. With that being said, Brooklyn features a lineup and rotation low on star power, but solid across the board. The WSL battleground is covered with the bodies of teams with better players that lost to teams that make every game a grind. In the AL East, it should be enough for Brooklyn to break up the Toronto/Boston circle jerk.
Kansas City 47.3 (9) 29.6 (8) 10.6 (14) 7.1 (5) Kansas City has always been a nightmare matchup for opposing owners; just ask San Fran in the NLDS last year. While they typically lack BIG NAME talent, the Monarchs play matchups and manage the hell out of their roster better than any team in WSL. As was key last year in their chase of Chicago NL, KC also features some trade chips in Jameson Taillon, Yuleski Gurriel, and others. Excuse me while I get off of Derek's johnson now.
San Diego 44.4 (10) 21.9 (16) 17.0 (7) 5.5 (8) The Madres have seemingly earned the nickname of The Bridesmaids in free agency forever. This time, San Diego found some real players that wanted some of that sweet, sweet SD cash in Kyle Seager and Jeurys Familia. The Madres' have traditionally pitched well, aided by the cavernous KipCo Park. Their season, as always, will be determined by how often San Diego can score runs. They're probably a few bats short, but ownership seems good for a blockbuster trade each season.
Anaheim 43.1 (11) 21.4 (18) 18.2 (6) 3.5 (15) Usually content to bring back their own players, Anaheim made a rare splash in free agency by adding CF Charlie Blackmon. He'll have his work cut out for him with Evan Gattis and Carlos Beltran flanking him in the corners. The rotation still features plenty of talent with David Price up top, followed by youngsters Zach Davies and Kyle Hendricks. Hopefully the OF defense, or lack there of, won't devalue some of that pitching.
Toronto 41.1 (12) 29.8 (7) 4.7 (22) 6.9 (6) After a long line of playoff and world series appearances, 2016 looks to be a retooling year for the Avengers. The Toronto lineup and bullpen still feature plenty of star power in Miguel Cabrera, Starling Marte, and Aroldis Chapman, however, so a run at the division is in play. Toronto's been arguably the most effective franchise at incrementally improving the roster through trades, so it's hard to bet against them if they're close to Brooklyn in July.
Detroit 39.2 (13) 27.1 (10) 7.1 (18) 5.0 (11) The Domos have been the kid brother to KC and the Juice for a few years now. Their offense is spry, the bullpen's a bit feisty...but holy hell is this rotation going to hold Detroit back. Ownership has been known to dumpster dive for upgrades before and this season should be no different. There's a lot of pressure on Trevor Bauer and rookie Michael Fulmer to carry the Domos' rotation. If they do, there's a wild card berth in their future.
Seattle 39.2 (14) 24.8 (11) 11.4 (13) 3.0 (16) Here we have the team that shocked WSL in taking the NL West from San Fran and Anaheim. Featuring mostly the same roster (minus their best hitter in Paul Goldschmidt), Seattle will look to upset teams with a combination of pitching and defense. Is the talent there? Probably not, but the Yeomen maximize their roster as well as anyone in WSL.
Milwaukee 39.1 (15) 16.2 (22) 15.5 (9) 7.4 (3) Has anyone seen Spivey in ten years? If so, let him know the Alchys feature a pitching staff with as much upside as any in the league. With a few breaks and a revitalized manager, Milwaukee could ride Kershaw and co. to a wildcard berth.
Boston 35.1 (16) 17.1 (20) 14.2 (10) 3.8 (13) Most every team has to rebuild at some point. Boston found themselves with few options, however, due to having a lot of money tied up in aging players, some with no-trade contracts. Luckily, the boss put league ethics off to the side and added Baltimore's farm system to their ranks. In a division with (briefly) China Mike, Toronto, and Brooklyn, the Chowds somehow became the biggest villains. A pox on the Chowderheads.
Arizona 31.5 (17) 22.4 (15) 7.4 (17) 1.7 (19) Somehow, this is the best team in the AL West by WAR. The Arizona rotation is awfully lefty-heavy featuring James Paxton, Dallas Keuchel, and CC Sabbathia. Good teams will take advantage there. The lineup and bullpen have their positives, but we may still have a team win less than 50% of their games and win the AL West.
St. Louis 30.9 (18) 23.4 (14) 6.3 (19) 1.2 (21) Once George left to chase shiny red balls and make macaroni pictures, St. Louis was as desperate for a talent infusion as any team in WSL. The team added Paul Goldschmidt, Brian McCann, Jake Arrieta and others to bolster the main team while adding Andrew Benintendi and Joe Musgrove for the future. However, the Series On Hold's focus on locking a ton of cap space into a few players has left them with very little depth in the OF, bullpen and elsewhere. In arguably the most competitive division in WSL, it's probably not enough. Few prospects could change the landscape in a trade quite like Benintendi though.
Philadelphia 29.0 (19) 14.3 (23) 9.2 (16) 5.5 (10) Another situation where a new owner came in without much to work with on the current roster. However, a strong draft featuring a pair of first round SP (Snell/Manaea) rounds out a roster that suddenly features a lot of solid players. There's some fat to trim here still, but Philly could be the 2nd best team in the NL East sooner rather than later.
So Cal 28.6 (20) 21.5 (17) 5.8 (20) 1.3 (20) Ownership's year-long exile in a Chipotle bathroom has ended and the Thrills are back to doing what they do best: Saying HELLO SJ HOW ARE YOU.A near-total lack of talent in the rotation holds back a lineup that has more talent than the WAR shows. With a trade or two, So Cal has a good shot of taking the AL West.
Florida 24.1 (21) 16.5 (20) 5.1 (10) 2.5 (17) Few franchises have been ran as poorly as Florida has for the better part of a decade. In going from Firesale Tim to the ghost of Charlie Majors to everyone's pal Bam Bam, the Gators have hurt for new blood. New ownership's first priority is likely moving Justin Upton and Adam Jones. Fortunately, Florida obtained a league steward to guide them through the off-season and ended up with a pretty nice draft. On the other hand, one can't help but wonder if the franchise would be better off had said steward not spent the post-draft portion of the off-season buttering himself up over what a genius he is instead of hitting the trade/free agent market.
Texas 23.2 (22) 24.3 (12) 1.4 (24) -2.5 (24) Let's give him this: Big James Klemz can draft with the best. Now, if only he could do anything else well, Texas would really have something. As it stands, they have one of the best OF situations in the league with Joc/Springer/Mookie. With most of WSL hurting for outfielders, the Honkballers could retool quickly with a few good breaks.
Colorado 22.8 (23) 19.6 (19) 2.2 (23) 1.0 (22) It's two years later and we're still waiting for Colorado ownership to resurface after they sold the farm off to steal a world series ring from the league's beloved ACs. The team is young all over, but they'll need bodies just to get through the year. What an embarassing situation.
Cleveland 20.5 (24) 10.7 (24) 10.5 (15) -.7 (23) Ol' PG was skeptical of Cleveland being able to pull itself out of past ownership's mess, but the new guy did okay. 2016 will be ugly, but there's plenty to be excited here. Jose Altuve and Julio Teheran probably should keep a suitcase packed just in case.
 


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