MLB Offense-Only Rankings

I'm stealing this idea from Corey Seidman at Phillies Nation (he wrote a piece titled Ranking the Offenses: 30-1). Here is how I see it (the number in parenthesis tells you how these rankings ended up in reference to Corey's list; I'll explain the ones with high variance.  If you need further explanation on the ones that I didn't highlight, check out Corey's post):

1.Texas Rangers (-2)
2. Detroit Tigers (+1)
3. Boston Red Sox (+1)

I shuffled the top three around a little bit.  Looking at the Rangers lineup, there aren't many holes, if any.  If Mike Napoli hits anything like he hit in 2011 and if Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz can stay healthy, there is really no arguing that this lineup is as good as it gets.  Carl Crawford being sidelined hurts the Red Sox lineup and losing Marco Scutaro will hurt them, too (it's only a matter of time before Mike Aviles is given the axe).  The Tigers boast two of the most feared hitters in baseball and I think they could easily crack the top of this list but a lot of things have to happen around Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera.  I like Brennan Boesch, Ryan Raburn and Delmon Young but I wouldn't label any those guys dependable.  

4. New York Yankees (E)
5. Cincinnati Reds (-4)
6. Colorado Rockies (-5)

Love the Rox bombers.  Carlos Gonzalez is going to have a better season and Michael Cuddyer is a guy that has a chance to hit 30 home runs at Coors.  But what really excites me about the Rockies is the talent they have around Car-Go, Tulo and Cuddyer.  Dexter Fowler, Todd Helton, Marco Scutaro and newcomer Jordan Pacheco are all high on-base guys that should create plenty of run scoring opportunities.  I also think that the Reds, who finished second in the NL in runs scored in 2011, are top 10 worthy.  You'll be hard pressed to find a better core than the Reds, who will be anchored by Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, Drew Stubbs and Scott Rolen.  If they get anything out of rookie Zack Cozart (who hit .324 in a big league call up in 2011 and .345 in spring) or Chris Heisey, they could easily be ranked higher than this.  The Yankees are getting older (all but one of their starters will turn 30 before the start of next seasons) but they still have a ton of fire power.  

7. St. Louis Cardinals (+2)
8. LA Angels (-7)
9. Arizona Diamondbacks (-1)
10. Milwaukee Brewers (+4)
11. Miami Marlins (+4)

I think that losing Tony LaRussa will present a major challenge for the Cardinals.  I like the young guys on their roster but they'll be relying on a lot of older guys to drive them in (and I think health could be an issue).  Plus, it's not easy to replace Albert Pujols, who will be anchoring the new look Angels roster.  Corey doesn't like that Angels squad but I do.  Mark Trumbo, Albert Pujols and Kendrys Morales all have +30 home run potential.  The key will be finding a spot for Trumbo but Mike Scioscia is a great manager that knows how to get the most out of his team.  This is a team that has been accustomed to playing small ball so guys like Alberto Callaspo, Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar should provide ample opportunities to drive in runs.  The Diamondbacks are loaded with talent; I've heard more than one analyst pick them to make it to the World Series.  I think the Brewers will struggle without Prince Fielder and if Corey Hart's knees don't hold up, it could be a long season in Milwaukee.  Mat Gamel is a guy that could hit a lot of home runs but there will be immense pressure to produce.  I like the individuals on the Marlins but I'm not in love with what they've done as a team and I think the pitching around the NL East will make it difficult for any team in that division to crack the top 10.  If last night's opener is any indication, the new ballpark will sap a lot of power out of this lineup (Stanton hit two +400 foot outs that seemed destined to light up that hideous/awesome thing in  center field).  They have a ton of speed but you still have to find someone to drive them in.  Hanley Ramirez will be the key to this whole experiment.  

12. Toronto Blue Jays (+4)
13. Kansas City Royals (-9)
14. Atlanta Braves (+2)
15. LA Dodgers (-1)

The Royals are oozing with young talent.  Like most, I love Eric Hosmer and I think he's going to be a really special player.  But besides Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas are two young kids that were great in spring training and Alcides Escobar, who is two years removed from being the 12th rated prospect in all of baseball.  If Alex Gordon has figured out whatever it is that was holding him back (maybe playing third, in the shadow of George Brett was too much), the Royals will have no problem scoring some runs (keeping runs off the board will be a problem).

16. Tampa Bay Rays (+3)
17. Philadelphia Phillies (+3)
18. Chicago White Sox (-10)
19. Minnesota Twins (+1)
20. Cleveland Indians (-1)
21. Baltimore Orioles (-2)
22. Washington Nationals (+3)
23. NY Mets (+4)

The big surprise here is the White Sox.  A lot depends on Alex Rios and Adam Dunn but you can't overlook what Paul Konerko has done without much help around him.  And Alexei Ramirez, despite his transgressions, is only one year removed from being the AL Silver Slugger at shortstop.  Lastly, Dayan Viciedo is a guy that the White Sox are really high on - he's got decent power and could be a breakout candidate.  The Phillies will struggle to score runs early on without Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.  Their opening day #5 hitter is Ty Wigginton... when all of the parts come together, they could end up much higher than this ranking but predicting when and if that will happen is a crap shoot.

24. Seattle Mariners (E)
25. San Francisco Giants (+9)
26. Pittsburgh Pirates (E)
27. Chicago Cubs (E)
28. San Diego Padres (+3)
29. Oakland Athletics (E)
30. Houston Astros (E)

I don't see why the Giants are all of the sudden reformed from last year, where they finished second to last in runs scored.  A full year of Buster Posey will help and Melky Cabrera is a nice player but it's a toss up everywhere else.  Unless Brandon Belt tears the cover off the ball, I just don't see enough guys in this lineup that can drive in runs.  The Athletics could finish much higher on this list if Brandon Allen and Yoenis Cespedes have breakout campaigns.  I don't see the Padres doing much offensively; Chase Headley and Jesus Guzman are nice players but they're both sort of limited (Jesus Guzman performed well in his call up but I'm thinking that was more smoke than fire).  Yonder Alonso is going to be good but he's being forced to play now and there is a lot of hype to live up to (as the heir apparent to Adrian Gonzalez).


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