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2024 Vendetta MLB Power Rankings: March/April

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Can the Atlanta Braves, our preseason No. 1 in our power rankings, wash the bad ending out of their mouths in 2024? (Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports)

2024 Vendetta MLB Power Rankings: March/April

The 2024 MLB Season is officially upon us! Opening day is here! That means it’s time to power rank every team in baseball! Similar to last year, we will do monthly MLB power rankings.

For our preseason power rankings, we had two voters: Jack Saban and I. For any tiebreakers, since we can’t do current season head-to-head, we elected to give it to the team with the best 2023 record.

Without further ado, let’s hop into it!

30. Colorado Rockies

(Matt Hanifan 30, Jack Sabin 30)

Average: 30

To begin our 2024 power rankings, the Rockies come in last. They are a directionless disaster and did not do anything meaningful this offseason to shake that tag.

29. Oakland Athletics

(Matt 29, Jack 28)

Average: 28.5

The Athletics still project to be the worst team in the American League, though they added a few veterans this offseason in Alex Wood, Ross Stripling and J.D. Davis. Last year marked the franchise’s first two-season stretch of finishing with 60 or fewer wins since 1964-1965, when it had 57 and 59 wins as the Kansas City Athletics, respectively. It was the only other time it did so in a 162-game sample–it will need to improve by 11 wins to avoid reaching that territory a third time.

28. Chicago White Sox

(Matt 28, Jack 29)

Average: 28.5

The White Sox, coming off their worst season of the 162-game era, did not bring back Tim Anderson, Yasmani Grandal or Liam Hendricks while trading ace Dylan Cease to San Diego earlier this month. Chicago is now in the midst of a rebuild spearheaded by Luis Robert Jr., Eloy Jimenez, Garrett Crochet and Michael Kopech, among others.

27. Washington Nationals

(Matt 27, Jack 27)

Average: 27

I don’t really think too much needs to be said about the Nationals. This is a team in the middle of the rebuild with some rough years ahead of them, 2024 included. They can only wait to move off the contracts of Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin, delaying the true start of this rebuild with how much money they take up. That doesn’t mean the Nationals didn’t start looking for that young talent. Guys like C.J Abrams, Keibert Ruiz and MacKenzie Gore make up a great core of young players that serve as the cornerstone for this franchise in the coming years. That won’t be for a few years, though, at the very least. Until then it will be a lot of losing for the Nationals — Sabin

26. Los Angeles Angels

(Matt 26, Jack 26)

Average: 26

The Angels have won just 74 or more games just once since 2018, when it reached 80. It’s been perpetually mediocrity for the Halos, and it’s not getting any better now without two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani. They weren’t particularly active surrounding talent around Mike Trout, who’s been less durable each of the last three seasons and is entering his age-32 season. Time is ticking, Los Angeles.

25. Pittsburgh Pirates

(Matt 23, Jack 25)

Average: 24

The Pirates extended top arm Mitch Keller and outfielder Bryan Reynolds this offseason and will have a healthy Oneal Cruz, who appeared in just nine games a year ago due to a fractured fibula. Pittsburgh also acquired veteran southpaws Martin Perez and Marco Gonzales to bolster their rotation plus Josh Fleming and Aroldis Chapman to their bullpen; I still don’t think they have enough to earn a wild card spot, but they do have an interesting mix of youth and veteran depth.

24. Boston Red Sox

(Matt 24, Jack 24)

Average: 24

You could argue that most Red Sox fans did not like their offseason. Boston added Lucas Giolito in free agency, but he tore his UCL at the start of spring. The Red Sox lack rotation depth, but the one bright spot this offseason was re-signing starter Brayan Bello to a team-friendly deal. They are projected to finish last in the AL East for the third straight season.

23. Miami Marlins

(Matt 25, Jack 23)

Average: 24

I feel like going into every season, I just don’t love what I see down in Miami with the Marlins. They never really spend big on free agents or make trades that bring in superstar-level players. More often than not, the Marlins end up surprising me and finding a way to put enough wins together to sneak into the playoffs. This year has the potential to be just that. They have a pretty complete lineup, especially after trading for Josh Bell and Jake Burger, giving them much-needed power towards the end of last year. The only thing that scares me is the pitching. It’s usually a strength for this team, but it seems a little more uncertain. If Sandy Alcantara can come back and be that ace again for this team, this team can once again shock people. — Sabin

22. Kansas City Royals

(Matt 21, Jack 22)

Average: 21.5

The Royals finished with the second-worst record in the American League last year, but they added to their rotation to compliment rising southpaw Cole Ragans, who pitched to a 2.64 ERA and a 2.49 FIP in 12 starts to close 2023. They also have a man possessed in Bobby Witt Jr., who recorded an MLB-most 11 triples with a 120 OPS+ in his second full season last year.  

21. Milwaukee Brewers

(Matt 22, Jack 20)

Average: 21

The Brewers had a peculiar offseason, highlighted by manager Craig Counsell flocking down I-94 to their intradivision rival Cubs. They should have a better offense with Christian Yelich and Rhys Hoskins with plenty of upside regarding rookie Jackson Chourio. But I still have plenty of questions regarding their rotation behind Freddy Peralta after trading away Corbin Burnes, though this roster still has the talent to put together a 75-80-win season.

20. Detroit Tigers

(Matt 19, Jack 21)

Average: 20

The Tigers have an influx of young talent and nearly had its first 80-win season since 2016. Colt Keith could be a strong rookie of the year candidate; Spencer Torkelson hits tanks and Tarik Skubal is a fun, albeit popular, breakout candidate (if he plays a full season) after posting a 2.80 ERA and a 2.0 FIP across 15 starts in 2023. They also bought low on Jack Flaherty, which is a reasonable gamble, as well as added veterans Kenta Maeda, Mark Canha and Gio Urshela. If they can assemble the pieces together, they can make noise in a weak AL Central.

19. Cincinnati Reds

(Matt 20, Jack 19)

Average: 19.5

Cincinnati surged to 82 wins last season behind breakouts from Elly De La Cruz, Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Matt McLain, among others. Unfortunately, the Reds will be without McLain to begin 2024 due to shoulder surgery, but there’s reason to continue to be optimistic about Cincinnati, should nobody drift into a dreaded sophomore slump.

18. New York Mets

(Matt 16, Jack 18)

Average: 17

The Mets were a very weird team last year. Cohen opened his wallet and then some all in hopes of bringing a championship to the Mets organization. We all remember how that went and the dumpster fire sale that soon followed as we got to the trade deadline. The Mets basically tore it all down and traded anyone who wasn’t going to serve a long-term purpose for them. But then something weird happened: The Mets didn’t play horribly. Sure, it wasn’t great, and they missed the playoffs. But it wasn’t very far off from the level they were playing at before the fire sale. In the process, the Mets were able to get some solid prospects and could be setting themselves up for a nice retooling in the next couple of years if they play their cards right. — Sabin

17. San Diego Padres

(Matt 17, Jack 17)

Average: 17

The Padres’ trade for Cease in the spring suggests they still want to be competitive in a very competitive NL West, where the Dodgers, Giants and Diamondbacks all improved. Despite the losses of Juan Soto and reigning NL Cy Young winner Blake Snell, this is still an incredibly talented squad that features 25-year-old superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. If he looks anything like he did pre-2022, the Padres are more than a threat to compete in the NL. 

16. Cleveland Guardians

(Matt 18, Jack 15)

Average: 16.5

Obviously, you can’t predict injuries, but there’s reason to believe that the Guardians could have one of the best rotations in the American League if Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie have a healthier 2024. You also hope for more productive offense outside of perennial AL MVP candidate Jose Ramirez, as well as sustained success in the back of their bullpen with newly acquired Scott Barlow and Emmanuel Clase. There’s a wide range of outcomes for this squad, though I believe they will compete for an AL Central title this time around.

15. Chicago Cubs

(Matt 15, Jack 16)

Average: 15.5

The Cubs snagged Craig Counsell from the Brewers and brought back Cody Bellinger, who broke out on a one-year prove-it deal in 2023. Chicago also brought in Shota Imanaga in addition to veteran reliever Hector Neris. Chicago performed seven wins below their Pythagorean expectation (90-72) last year. I don’t know if they will get to the 90-win mark this season, but never say never. The NL Central is theirs to grab.

14. St. Louis Cardinals

(Matt 14, Jack 14)

Average: 14

I was very high on the Cardinals entering 2023. Lo and behold, it was a season from heck; practically everything that could have possibly gone wrong, went wrong. They won 71 games, their fewest since 1995, but shuffled their rotation and re-united with Matt Carpenter (for the vibes?). I (blindly?) have faith in them again this season to make it out of the NL Central, even though there is a world where it topples on them once again.

13. San Francisco Giants

(Matt 13, Jack 12)

Average: 12.5

Of course, the Giants won’t catch all the offseason headlines because of Dodgers spending a billion dollars on two players. But there’s arguably no team this offseason that improved around the fringes more than San Francisco, who added Jung Hoo Lee, Blake Snell, Matt Chapman, Jorge Soler, Nick Ahmed and Jordan Hicks. All of their deficiencies–lack of a power bat, defense up the middle, rotation depth, etc.–were addressed. This was a big-time offseason winner, but now let’s see how they fare in the monster that is the NL West.

12. Minnesota Twins

(Matt 11, Jack 13)

Average: 12

The Twins have plenty of high-risk (injuries), high-reward options in their lineup with Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton and Royce Lewis, who tore the living cover off the baseball in the 58 regular season games he played a year ago. This rotation did lose Sonny Gray, though still possesses three quality arms at the top with Pablo Lopez, Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober

11. Toronto Blue Jays

(Matt 12, Jack 11)

Average: 11.5

The Blue Jays got swept out of the Wild Card for the third time in four years in 2023. They struck out on adding superstar Shohei Ohtani and lost Matt Chapman in free agency, though it acquired aging corner infielder Justin Turner and utilityman Isiah Kiner-Falefa. It wasn’t the prettiest offseason up north, but the hope is that they can keep their pitching staff afloat with added offensive production from their big boppers: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.–who under-performed relative to expectation–George Springer and Bo Bichette.

10. Arizona Diamondbacks

(Matt 8, Jack 10)

Average: 9

The Diamondbacks made the last big splash, acquiring free agent starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery earlier this week. The reigning NL champs barely crack our top-10 in this month’s rankings, adding veteran sluggers in Joc Pederson and Eugenio Suarez to lengthen a lineup that was a below-average group last year. 

9. Seattle Mariners

(Matt 9, Jack 9)

Average: 9

The Mariners attempted to bolster their offense this offseason with the additions of Jorge Polanco, Mitch Haniger and Mitch Garver–adding juice to a lineup led by phenom Julio Rodriguez. They have not cracked more than 91 wins since 2001, recording 90 in 2021 and 2022 and 88 last season. In a perfect world, they crack that threshold with a very good rotation and a decent bullpen. 

8. Tampa Bay Rays

(Matt 10, Jack 8)

Average: 9

The ever-so-feisty Rays crack the top-10 in our preseason power rankings. Tampa won 99 games last season after their monstrous 57-28 start. Though their rotation still leaves plenty to be desired with injuries to Shane Baz, Taj Bradley, Shane McClanahan, Drew Rasmussen and Jeffrey Springs. If they can tread water, they should be able to compete for the second Wild Card spot.

7. New York Yankees

(Matt 6, Jack 7)

Average: 6.5

The Yankees drastically improved their outfield with the additions of Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo, but took a hit in the rotation with Gerrit Cole suffering an elbow injury in the spring. Their rotation doesn’t have much depth attached to it, but they added Marcus Stroman and are banking on Luis Gil to mitigate those concerns. Can Nestor Cortes and Carlos Rodon stay healthy and put together better seasons? New York will be in a much better position if they can.

6. Texas Rangers

(Matt 7, Jack 4)

Average: 5.5

The defending champs completely mopped through the postseason last year in Bruce Bochy’s first year at the helm. They have two very intriguing outfielders in Evan Carter and Wyatt Langford, who’s completely fast-tracked his way through the minors after getting drafted last summer. They are going to have to tread water with its shorthanded rotation to begin 2024, but their offense alone should keep them in the postseason mix.

5. Philadelphia Phillies

(Matt 4, Jack 5)

Average: 4.5

The city of Philadelphia is starting to become really familiar with coming up just short. The Phillies are no exception, losing in the World Series and NLCS back-to-back years in which they had a real shot at winning both series. It’s been a mix of excitement and frustration but the time to win is now for the Phillies. They brought back the deadly one-two punch of Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, topping one of the best rotations in the league. The lineup continues to be deadly with names like Bryce Harper, Trea Turner and Kyle Schwarber leading the way–affording the Phillies the talent to make a deep run. We’ve seen that, they just have to be able to keep it together for the entirety of a run and not be as streaky. — Sabin

4. Baltimore Orioles

(Matt 3, Jack 6)

Average: 4.5

The Orioles are coming off one of the best seasons in their franchise history and have a slew of young talent in Gunnar Henderson, Adley Rutschman and rookie Jackson Holliday, even though the latter won’t begin the season at the MLB level due to service time manipulation (yawn). They also traded for Brewers ace Corbin Burnes, who will slot in as the Orioles’ new ace pushing them further into the World Series contender conversation.

3. Houston Astros

(Matt 5, Jack 3)

Average: 4

The Astros are the presumptive favorite to make it out of the AL again for the fifth time in eight years. The back of their rotation still has question marks, but it will be mitigated by a top-flight lineup in addition to one of the best bullpens in baseball, led by newly-acquired Josh Hader, Ryan Pressly and Bryan Abreu.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers

(Matt 2, Jack 2)

Average: 2

Shohei Ohtani may be wrapped up in a gambling scandal, but the two-way superstar landed in Los Angeles for $700 million followed by Japanese superstar pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto signing for an additional $300 million. Oh, and they also added Teoscar Hernandez, Tyler Glasnow and Joe Kelly (a reunion!), among others. Even though they don’t crack the No. 1 in our preseason rankings, they’re the World Series favorite. But you still have to play the games (including in October!).

1. Atlanta Braves

(Matt 1, Jack 1)

Average: 1

Last year, the Braves found themselves atop Vendetta’s Power Rankings for basically the entirety of last season. They easily were the best team in the league during the regular season, putting up historic numbers as an offense … only to, once again, be eliminated by the Phillies in the NLDS, putting a historic season to a bitter end. Heading into 2024, however, the Braves more or less still boast that historic offense led by the likes of Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Olson and Austin Riley. The only potential question mark is the pitching. Can guys like Chris Sale and Max Fried stay healthy? If they can, this Braves team can once again run the NL East and cruise into the playoffs. — Sabin

***

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