Let’s play ball! The 2013 Major League Baseball season officially started Sunday night with the Texas Rangers at the Houston Astros. Many at Breitbart Sports previewed individual teams, but here are the power rankings for the National League going into the season. Every Sunday I will bring you an updated list.
- Washington Nationals
The Nationals will repeat as the best team in Major League Baseball and could win 100+ games. Stephen Strasberg was stellar his first full year after Tommy John surgery and is expected to be better this year. The Nationals will not guard his arm as much as last year and it is scary to think how he will be at 100% and no restrictions. Jordan Zimmerman was hurt last season and still put up incredible numbers. He had arthroscopic shoulder surgery during the offseason and will not have any problems with the shoulder this season.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez, who is on the disabled list to start the season,are playing their first full year with the team. This makes the Dodgers dangerous from day one. The biggest addition is starting pitcher Zack Greinke, who will start behind superstar Clayton Kershaw. Other starters Josh Beckett, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Aaron Harang give the Dodgers the starting depth needed to dominate the NL West.
3. San Francisco Giants
I realize some may think I’m insane, but I think the Dodgers barely beat them with the rotation and depth. Tim Lincecum did not have a good year and history shows Zito will not repeat his great stats. Plus, if any of the starters get injured they do not have a mature pitcher to promote. They have the young talent, but many are not expected to be starter quality until next season. What they might lack in pitching they make up in their bats. They re-signed Marco Scutaro, Angel Pagan, and Jeremy Affeldt and gave Buster Posey a new lucrative contract. Hunter Pence can easily hit 20-30 HRs.
4. Cincinnati Reds
The starting rotation is extremely young, but they will be better in 2013. Johnny Cueto’s 2.31 ERA was second only to Clayton Kershaw. He missed the beginning of 2012 due to an injury, but is entering 2013 healthy. The Reds needed a center fielder and found one in Shin-Soo Choo. He hit .310 and will get on base for Brandon Philips and Joey Votto. But it is Jay Bruce that keeps getting better for the Reds. If he can avoid his 2012 slumps he will top his 34 HRs and 99 RBIs.
5. Atlanta Braves
What will it be like without #10 at third base? A team cannot replace Chipper Jones, but they can build on it and that is what the Braves did this winter. B.J. Upton. Justin Upton. Jason Heyward. That is Atlanta’s outfield and it should send shivers down the spine of the opposition. Heyward and Freddie Freeman are still maturing and could break out in 2013. Their starter Kris Medlen has what it takes to be and stay the top pitcher. The ones behind him like Tim Hudson and Mike Minor are not quite where a team wants a starter, but they have the potential. It will be interesting to watch them mature.
Let me know if you agree or disagree. You can follow me on Twitter and share your thoughts.