20. San Francisco Giants
The Giants finished last season with a 64-98 record. Not good. That stated, San Francisco is likely to rebound somewhat as everything that could go wrong last season pretty much did go wrong. Unfortunately, the lose of Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija will likely prevent the Giants from completely bouncing back early on in 2018. Regarding talent, this a team prime for a rebuild. Unfortunately, plenty of long-term contracts remain on the books for a few more years, which usually puts off a rebuild.
19. Texas Rangers
The Rangers will have some powerful hitters in the lineup. Joey Gallo and eventually Willie Calhoun should hit plenty of home runs. I am interested to see if Nomar Mazara takes the next step in his development. I am not as confident in the makeshift starting rotation. Side note: this is also the last season of Adrian Beltre’s current contract, and I tip my hat to the future Hall of Famer if this is his last rodeo.
18. Philadelphia Phillies
For a team with so much payroll to use in the coming years, Jake Arrieta and Carlos Santana were solid acquisitions. The lineup is young and full of promise. They could surprise as early as this season, but the NL East belongs to the Nationals for at least one more year.
17. Oakland Athletics
I like the Athletics’ roster for what it is on paper. The lineup should keep this team in games. The pitching staff needs help but could improve as the season wears on. A.J. Puk’s impending Tommy John is majorly disappointing.
16. Minnesota Twins
I am not sure how I should feel about the Twins in 2018. They exceeded their projections with a Wild Card berth last year. The front office improved the roster with Logan Morrison, Lance Lynn, and Jake Odorizzi. The team could probably contend for a Wild Card this year. It helps that outside of the Indians, the rest of the AL Central is projected to be quite dreadful.
15. New York Mets
The Mets could go either way in 2018. It is not outlandish to think they can overtake the Nationals in the NL East if everything mostly breaks their way. The starting rotation led be Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom will be paramount.
14. Seattle Mariners
There is talent on this Mariners’ roster. Sure, the roster is top-heavy. But this team has the potential to claim a Wild Card spot. The question likely comes down to their pitching staff, especially the health of James Paxton and Felix Hernandez.
13. Colorado Rockies
For the first time in ever(?), the Rockies’ offense may be the weakest link in the club. FanGraphs currently projects the offense to post a 14.5 fWAR. Only four teams have a lower projected fWAR for their offense. The pitching staff, and to a greater extent the bullpen, will be key in their pursuit of another Wild Card berth. This could be the last go-around of Charlie Blackmon in Denver.
12. Toronto Blue Jays
The Vladimir Guerrero Jr. clock starts now. Injuries were probably the biggest deterrent to a team that made the ALCS two years in a row (2015 to -16). This team has potential to make some noise if they clinch a Wild Card berth.
11. Arizona Diamondbacks
It was a bit of pipe dream to keep J.D. Martinez going forward. He always looked prime for Boston once it became clear that he would hit the open market. But I like the moves the front office made to the roster. Just not sure if they have enough to compete with the Dodgers in the NL West this season, especially if Steven Souza is out for a long period of time. A Wild Card berth is a possibility.