On Sunday, MLB dot com released their power rankings heading into spring training. The expected Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and New York Yankees topped the list, but two other National League teams slipped into the top five: Atlanta Braves and New York Mets, who have made substantial upgrades this offseason but not as much as a team like the Padres. Seeing the Mets in the top five made me ponder where the Houston Astros would’ve fallen to.
After the top five are broken down, the rest of the teams are listed with no detail on their selected spot. Six through eight holds the Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays, who all have made significant upgrades and are contenders in their respected divisions. Then come the Tampa Bay Rays at nine right before the Astros at 10, which is a confusing take.
The Houston Astros ranked one spot too low on MLB.com’s power rankings.
To start, power rankings do not mean anything other than respect or disrespect solely on opinion of the person grouping the teams. These rankings don’t define the team, but they do hold a sense of ability by these baseball writers. The Astros have received their deserved hate for the sign-stealing scandal, but it’s been over a year since it broke and it is time to move on. Other teams have been reported with the same level of tampering with the game, but this shouldn’t affect the opinion of non-biased reporting.
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It has been thought before that the Astros have been ranked low due to opinion of preceding issue with the team, but things like farm system and prospects are something worth dissecting at a later time. For now, seeing a team like the Rays who did not have a great offseason be ranked higher than an Astros team that has Yordan Alvarez and others returning to full health is foolish.
It is only one spot, but there is an argument to be made that their are two teams behind the Astros that could also be better than the Rays. Tampa Bay lost Blake Snell, Charlie Morton, among other supporting cast members, for prospects and signing former talent to their rotation and bullpen. While one of the most analytical teams in baseball, they have done well, but they might not even be the second best team in their division this year.
The Astros aren’t the pitching power house in recent years, but they still have All-Stars in their infield and outfield; something Tampa Bay isn’t accustomed to. This is just the start of true power rankings, and they could fluctuate before the start of the season. While being seen as a level of disrespect, Astros players might not even look at the media’s opinion and will go out there and bash home runs like they used to.
The team looks to contend for another AL pennant for the fifth year in a row, although being down George Springer and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander. Houston will have to rely on youthful depth in pursuit of another World Series ring, but above all else, they are a better team than the Rays and could make an argument to be better than the Blue Jays, and that’s my two cents you didn’t ask for.