With the Major League regular season just around the corner, Locker Room Update takes a look at some of the top teams in the form of pre-season power rankings. Without further ado….
1. San Francisco Giants
After winning the World Series in 2012, they had to top the pre-season power rankings for this year as well. The Giants simply have the will to win, as they showed last year down 2-0 in the playoff series against Cincinnati. That’s really all that can be said: The San Francisco Giants win baseball games.
2. Cincinnati Reds
This team is actually my favorite to win it all in 2013. They have everything going for them. A very strong pitching staff, a very potent offense, and arguably the most dominant closer in the game. This is a team that went 32-16 last year in a stretch without star first baseman Joey Votto. That’s just scary.
3. Baltimore Orioles
Despite the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays all being in their division, the Orioles should be a sexy pick to win the AL East in 2013. Baltimore came off a 2012 season that baffled many baseball fans, much like the Athletics. There are two stats that stand out from last season. The first is that at one point during the year, the Orioles were 76-0 when leading after seven innings. The second is their incredible record in games that go into extra innings. Guys, as Jerry Crasnick of ESPN MLB says, “Once they get a lead, they hold onto it with the tenacity of Boog Powell clinging to a rib.”
4. Detroit Tigers
The reigning AL champions will look for another strong year. They have the power numbers on offense, and Justin Verlander heads a dangerous pitching staff when everyone is pitching at full potential. The one key item missing is a dominant closer, as they sent 22 year-old Rondon to the minors and Jose Valverde became a free agent following a sub-par postseason performance.
5. Oakland Athletics:
The feel-good story of last year as they came out of nowhere to claim the AL West from the Texas Rangers, don’t count the Athletics out this year as well. Their dominant pitching staff last year surprised many baseball fans, the only reason being that no one outside of Oakland had every heard of them. Those strong ERA’s were backed by a consistent offense that has the ability to score a lot of runs playing small ball.
And one last thing is my pick for the Dark Horse this year: The Seattle Mariners.
I know. What? But believe me, the Mariners have one of the best pitching staffs in the league, and an offense that began to show sparks in the latter half of last season. I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but they got on a nice roll in the last stretch. Don’t look now, but Seattle could actually be more than relevant in 2013.