RANK­INGS FOR ALL SIX DI­VI­SIONS OF MA­JOR LEAGUE BASE­BALL

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NL EAST

A look at ev­ery team in the NL East and their pre­dicted or­der of fin­ish:

1. Philadel­phia Phillies

2018 – 80-82, 3rd in East

Last year in play­offs – 2011 No team loaded up this winter like the Phillies. They broke records with their 13-year, $330-mil­lion con­tract for Bryce Harper. They won the sweep­stakes for catcher J.T. Real­muto. They also added short­stop Jean Se­gura, out­fielder An­drew McCutchen and re­liever David Robert­son. Kept out of the play­offs since 2011, they might be the fa­vorites to win the East.

2. Washington Na­tion­als

2018 – 82-80, 2nd in East

Last year in play­offs – 2017 The per­pet­ual un­der­achiev­ers, un­able to get past the first round of the play­offs since mov­ing to Washington, were un­daunted this winter when fac­ing Harper’s de­par­ture. The team re­sponded by dol­ing out $140 mil­lion to pitcher Pa­trick Corbin, while ac­quir­ing catch­ers Kurt Suzuki and Yan Gomes to shore up their catch­ing. They still boast phe­nom­e­nal ta­lent in pitcher Max Scherzer and bud­ding star out­fielder Juan Soto.

3. New York Mets

2018 – 77-85, 4th in East

Last year in play­offs – 2016 The ar­rival of new gen­eral man­ager Brodie Van Wa­ge­nen, a for­mer high-pow­ered agent, in­fused life into the way­ward fran­chise. Van Wa­ge­nen re­tooled the ros­ter over the winter, adding All-Star closer Ed­win Diaz and sec­ond base­man Robinson Cano in a trade with Seat­tle. With Ja­cob deGrom and Noah Syn­der­gaard head­lin­ing their ro­ta­tion, the Mets will try to ride their pitch­ing back into the play­offs.

4. At­lanta Braves

2018 – 90-72, 1st in East

Last year in play­offs – 2018 The Braves sur­prised the in­dus­try by win­ning 90 games and the NL East in 2018, buoyed to the top of the di­vi­sion by the emer­gence of NL Rookie of the Year Ron­ald Acuña Jr. De­spite the suc­cess, the team largely stood pat this off­sea­son as the rest of the East loaded up. Out­side of a one-year con­tract for for­mer most valu­able Josh Don­ald­son, the Braves are bank­ing on re­peat per­for­mances from their young play­ers.

5. Mi­ami Mar­lins

2018 – 63-98, 5th in East

Last year in play­offs – 2003 Un­der the lead­er­ship of Derek Jeter, the Mar­lins re­main in a per­pet­ual re­build. The lat­est star to be shipped out of town was catcher Real­muto, who joined an ex­o­dus be­gun the pre­vi­ous winter with the trades of out­fielder Gian­carlo Stan­ton and Chris­tian Yelich. For­mer Dodgers man­ager Don Mat­tingly must pre­pare for another sea­son in his di­vi­sion’s base­ment.

NL CEN­TRAL

A look at ev­ery team in the NL Cen­tral and their pre­dicted or­der of fin­ish.

1 – Chicago Cubs

2018 – 95-68, 2nd in Cen­tral Last year in play­offs – 2016 The lov­able, feel-good Cubs de­scended into a gloomy spring as they wel­comed back short­stop Ad­di­son Rus­sell from a sus­pen­sion for vi­o­lat­ing the sport’s do­mes­tic vi­o­lence pol­icy. Man­ager Joe Mad­don does not have a con­tract be­yond 2019. The team­won 95 games in 2018 but lost in the wild-card game. Pres­i­dent of base­ball op­er­a­tions Theo Ep­stein called this a “year of reck­on­ing” for a rea­son.

2 – St. Louis Car­di­nals

2018 – 88-74, 3rd in Cen­tral Last year in play­offs – 2015 Af­ter miss­ing the play­offs for three con­sec­u­tive sea­sons, the Car­di­nals made per­haps the most sig­nif­i­cant ad­di­tion for the 2019 sea­son, trad­ing for for­mer Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs first base­man Paul Gold­schmidt. He will join a lineup that al­ready fea­tured All-Star in­fielder Matt Car­pen­ter, and aid the de­fense be­hind tal­ented young pitch­ers such as Jack Fla­herty and John Gant. The Car­di­nals moved to ex­tend staff ace Miles Miko­las this spring, and did the same with Gold­schmidt over the week­end, guar­an­tee­ing him an ad­di­tional $130 mil­lion from 2020-24.

3 – Mil­wau­kee Brewers

2018 – 96-67, 1st in Cen­tral Last year in play­offs – 2018 The Brewers used an un­ortho­dox strat­egy in 2018, of­ten aban­don­ing the con­cept of start­ing pitch­ers en route to a berth in the NL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries. The of­fense was pow­ered by NL Most Valu­able Player Chris­tian Yelich. The team re­mains in­tact for 2019, with the ad­di­tion of for­mer Dodgers catcher Yas­mani Gran­dal.

4 – Cincin­nati Reds

2018 – 67-95, 5th in Cen­tral Last year in play­offs – 2013 The Reds zagged this winter, load­ing up on play­ers en­ter­ing free agency by ac­quir­ing out­field­ers Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp and pitcher Alex Wood from the Dodgers. The ad­di­tion of Puig should bol­ster a lineup that fea­tured a strong core of first base­man Joey Votto, third base­man Eu­ge­nio Suarez and sec­ond base­man Scooter Gen­nett. And Wood will im­prove a ro­ta­tion that also added Sonny Gray as the Reds aim to be com­pet­i­tive in 2019.

5 –Pitts­burgh Pi­rates

2018 – 82-79, 4th in Cen­tral Last year in play­offs – 2015 You think your team didn’t do much this winter? They prob­a­bly did more than the Pi­rates. Af­ter mak­ing a sur­pris­ing trade for pitcher Chris Archer last sum­mer, Pitts­burgh did not make ma­jor aug­men­ta­tions to its core for 2019. The Pi­rates will be com­pet­i­tive, but likely un­der­armed in the NL Cen­tral.

NL WEST

A look at ev­ery team in the NL West and their pre­dicted or­der of fin­ish.

1 – Los An­ge­les Dodgers

2018 – 92-71, 1st in West Last year in play­offs – 2018 You know the his­tory: The team has gone three full decades with­out win­ning a ti­tle. They’ve never been closer than they were in 2017 and 2018, when they fell in back-to-back World Se­ries. They won’t face much pres­sure from their di­vi­sion, even with left-han­der Clay­ton Ker­shaw nurs­ing a sore shoul­der. Will this be the year?

2 – Colorado Rock­ies

2018 – 91-72, 2nd in West Last year in play­offs – 2018 The Rock­ies came close to end­ing the Dodgers’ six-year reign atop the NL West last sea­son, only to fall in Game 163 at Dodger Sta­dium. Colorado has made the wild-card game in each of the pre­vi­ous two sea­sons, rid­ing pitch­ing rather than of­fense to get there. Can Kyle Free­land and Ger­man Mar­quez re­peat their per­for­mances on the mound in 2019? That will be the key ques­tion as they once more toil in the high al­ti­tude at Coors Field.

3 – San Diego Padres

2018 – 66-96, 5th in West Last year in play­offs – 2006 San Diego made a $300 mil­lion in­vest­ment in the prospect of con­tend­ing when they signed Manny Machado this spring. Machado, first base­man Eric Hos­mer and sec­ond base­man Ian Kinsler will be the vet­er­ans in a lineup of prospects. The team might not chal­lenge the Dodgers in 2019, but their fu­ture looks brighter. All it cost was $300 mil­lion.

4 – San Fran­cisco Giants

2018 – 73-89, 4th in West Last year in play­offs – 2016 The ar­rival of for­mer Dodgers gen­eral man­ager Farhan Zaidi in­sti­gated a winter of up­heaval for a fran­chise still show­ing off three cham­pi­onships from this decade. The Giants have fallen on hard times dur­ing re­cent years, but Zaidi wasted lit­tle time trans­form­ing the 40-man ros­ter, us­ing the tac­tics that aided the Dodgers dur­ing his ten­ure. More tu­mult is on the way: San Fran­cisco could trade fran­chise pil­lar Madi­son Bum­gar­ner by the July 31 dead­line.

5 – Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs

2018 – 103-59, 1st in West Last year in play­offs – 2017 The front of­fice of Mike Hazen ef­fec­tively let the team’s core dis­perse over the winter. He traded Paul Gold­schmidt to the Car­di­nals. He let Pa­trick Corbin sign with the Na­tion­als. A.J. Pol­lock de­fected to the Dodgers. The Di­a­mond­backs aren’t aim­ing for a lengthy re­build, but they aren’t likely to con­tend in 2019.

AL EAST

A look at ev­ery team in the AL East and their pre­dicted or­der of fin­ish.

1 – Bos­ton Red Sox

2018 – 108-54, 1st in East Last year in play­offs – 2018 The loss of 42-save closer Craig Kim­brel and hard-throw­ing set-up man Joe Kelly left holes in a bullpen that prob­a­bly is the only ques­tion mark on a de­fend­ing World Se­ries-cham­pion team that has one of the best ro­ta­tions in base­ball and a lethal lineup led by reign­ing AL Most Valu­able Player Mookie Betts, who had 32 homers and 80 RBIs last sea­son, and J.D. Martinez, who had 43 homers and a league-lead­ing 130 RBIs. The re­turn of gritty vet­eran sec­ond base­man Dustin Pe­droia from knee surgery should pro­vide an emo­tional boost.

2 – New York Yan­kees

2018 – 100-62, 2nd in East Last year in play­offs – 2018

In­juries to ace Luis Sev­erino, who will miss April be­cause of ro­ta­tor cuff sore­ness, and vet­eran CC Sa­bathia, who is re­cov­er­ing from right knee surgery, could force the Yan­kees to open with young­sters Jonathan Loaisiga and Domingo Ger­man, who have com­bined to make 18 big league starts, in the ro­ta­tion. Vet­eran short­stop Troy Tu­low­itzki, lim­ited by in­juries to 66 games the past two sea­sons, re­places the in­jured Didi Gre­go­ri­ous (el­bow surgery) in a po­tent Gian­carlo Stan­ton-led lineup that led the ma­jor leagues with 267 homers last sea­son.

3 – Tampa Bay Rays

2018 – 90-72, 3rd in East

Last year in play­offs – 2013 Man­ager Kevin Cash, who last sea­son made lib­eral use of the “opener,” a re­liever who starts the game, throws one or two in­nings and is re­placed by a long man, plans to be­gin the year with a ro­ta­tion of Blake Snell, Char­lie Mor­ton and Tyler Glas­now and two open­ers. He just might have the bullpen depth to pull it off again. Most of the lineup, with the ex­cep­tion of cen­ter fielder Kevin Kier­maier and in­fielder Daniel Robert­son, has turned over, but there are promis­ing young hit­ters in Austin Mead­ows and Yandy Diaz.

4 –Toronto Blue Jays

2018 – 73-89, 4th in East

Last year in play­offs – 2016 A rib cage strain will push the big league de­but of 20-year-old Vladimir Guer­rero, one of the top power-hit­ting prospects in base­ball, to at least late April, giv­ing the Blue Jays a con­ve­nient ex­cuse for de­lay­ing the slug­ger’s start date and push­ing his even­tual free agency back by a year. The lineup does not ap­pear po­tent, but if Toronto gets bounce-back years from in­jury plagued vet­eran righthanders Matt Shoe­maker and Clay Buch­holz, the ro­ta­tion could be good. Kevin Pil­lar is one of the game’s bet­ter de­fen­sive cen­ter field­ers.

5 –Bal­ti­more Ori­oles

2018 – 47-115, 5th in East

Last year in play­offs – 2016 Things can’t get much worse for the Ori­oles, who in 2018 posted the club’s worst record since it moved from St. Louis in 1954. Or can they? First base­man Chris Davis, who has four years and $92 mil­lion left on his con­tract, must re­bound from a rock-bot­tom sea­son in which he bat­ted .168 with 16 homers, 49 RBIs and 192 strike­outs. Slug­ger Mark Trumbo, who had sea­so­nend­ing knee surgery last Au­gust and is only three years re­moved from a 47-homer, 108-RBI sea­son in 2016, needs to stay healthy.

AL CEN­TRAL

A look at ev­ery team in the AL Cen­tral and their pre­dicted or­der of fin­ish.

1 – Cleveland In­di­ans

2018 – 91-71, 1st in Cen­tral Last year in play­offs – 2018 What is ar­guably base­ball’s best ro­ta­tion, a group headed by two-time AL Cy Young Award win­ner Corey Klu­ber and Trevor Bauer, will keep the In­di­ans in the hunt for their fourth straight di­vi­sion ti­tle, and a bullpen an­chored by Brad Hand looks stout de­spite the loss of closer Cody Allen and ver­sa­tile left­hander An­drew Miller. A topheavy lineup fea­tur­ing lead­off man Fran­cisco Lin­dor and Jose Ramirez, who com­bined for 163 ex­tra-base hits and 197 RBIs last sea­son, should ben­e­fit from the re­turn of Bradley Zim­mer from shoul­der surgery in July.

2 – Min­nesota Twins

2018 – 78-84, 2nd in Cen­tral Last year in play­offs – 2017 New man­ager Rocco Baldelli has an im­proved ros­ter. The ad­di­tion of right-handed slug­gers Nel­son Cruz, who has av­er­aged 40 homers and 104 RBIs over the past five sea­sons, and C.J. Cron, who had 30 homers and 74 RBIs in 140 game for Tampa Bay in 2018, helps bal­ance a lineup that in­cludes the left-handed-hit­ting Ed­die Rosario, Max Ke­pler and Ja­son Cas­tro and switch-hit­ters Jorge Polanco and Mar­win Gon­za­lez, who will play third base un­til Miguel Sano re­turns from leg surgery in May. The ro­ta­tion might lack an ace but is solid.

3 – Chicago White Sox

2018 – 62-100, 4th in Cen­tral Last year in play­offs – 2008 The White Sox have been stock­pil­ing prospects dur­ing a lengthy re­build­ing process in which they’ve av­er­aged 69 wins over the past six years. One of those play­ers–out­fielder Eloy Jimenez–should boost the lineup im­me­di­ately af­ter sign­ing a 6-year, $43 mil­lion con­tract March 20. The ro­ta­tion should ben­e­fit from a full sea­son from ace Car­los Rodon, who was lim­ited by shoul­der surgery to 20 starts in 2018.

4 – Detroit Tigers

2018 – 64-98, 3rd in Cen­tral Last year in play­offs – 2014 Two-time AL Most Valu­able Player Miguel Cabr­era ap­pears sound af­ter hav­ing sea­so­nend­ing surgery to re­pair a rup­tured left bi­ceps ten­don last June. The Tigers will need sig­nif­i­cant pro­duc­tion from the slug­ger, who has five years and $162 mil­lion left on his con­tract, to be com­pet­i­tive. Ace Michael Ful­mer, the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year, will have Tommy John surgery and be lost for the sea­son. Young­sters Christin Ste­wart and Jeimer Can­de­lario show prom­ise, but the Tigers ap­pear years away from con­tend­ing.

5 – Kansas City Roy­als

2018 – 58-104, 5th in Cen­tral Last year in play­offs – 2015 Three years af­ter win­ning the World Se­ries, the Roy­als had the sec­ond-worst record in base­ball in 2018, and they re­main in a re­build­ing phase. Kansas City did well to sign vet­eran catcher Martin Mal­don­ado, a ca­pa­ble de­fen­sive re­place­ment for Sal­vador Perez, who had sea­so­nend­ing el­bow surgery dur­ing early March. But Mal­don­ado is not a pro­duc­tive hit­ter and won’t match Perez’s 25-homer, 80-RBI power. The re­turn of cleanup bat­ter Jorge Soler, who missed the fi­nal three months of the 2018 sea­son be­cause of a foot in­jury, should bol­ster the lineup.

AL WEST

A look at ev­ery team in the AL West and their pre­dicted or­der of fin­ish.

1 – Hous­ton Astros

2018 – 103-59, 1st in West Last year in play­offs – 2018 The loss of vet­eran starters Dal­las Keuchel and Char­lie Mor­ton put a siz­able dent in the ro­ta­tion, but the Astros still have dom­i­nant starters in Justin Ver­lan­der and Ger­rit Cole. Hous­ton’s bullpen is as deep as any in base­ball. A lineup fea­tur­ing George Springer, Alex Breg­man, Jose Al­tuve and Car­los Cor­rea is strong, though just a shade less po­tent than the Red Sox and Yan­kees. The Astros might not be World Se­ries fa­vorites, but they have enough to win their third straight di­vi­sion ti­tle.

2 – Oak­land Ath­let­ics

2018 – 97-65, 2nd in West Last year in play­offs – 2018 The ro­ta­tion is a ma­jor ques­tion mark again, but the A’s won 97 games while go­ing through es­sen­tially two full ro­ta­tions last sea­son, and they ap­pear to have good depth again with 21-yearold left-han­der Je­sus Luzardo, who has the mak­ings of a star, and right-han­ders Daniel Meng­den and Paul Black­burn. A deep and ca­pa­ble bullpen that ranked sec­ond in the league with a 3.37 ERA in 2018 should be ter­rific. The de­fense – es­pe­cially at the cor­ner in­field spots – is ex­cel­lent, and a Khris Davis-pow­ered lineup should score plenty of runs.

3 – Los An­ge­les An­gels

2018 – 80-82, 4th in West Last year in play­offs – 2014 Mike Trout en­ters his eighth full sea­son in search of his first play­off vic­tory. It will take con­sid­er­able over­achieve­ment by a thin ro­ta­tion and re­lief corps for the best all-around player in base­ball to re­turn to the Oc­to­ber stage he craves. The An­gels made in­cre­men­tal up­grades to the ro­ta­tion with Matt Har­vey and Trevor Cahill, but An­drew Heaney (el­bow in­flam­ma­tion) will open the sea­son on the in­jured list. The bullpen has plenty of power arms but not much ex­pe­ri­ence. An ex­pected May re­turn of slug­ger Sho­hei Oh­tani will help.

4 – Texas Rangers

2018 – 67-95, 5th in West Last year in play­offs – 2016 The re­tire­ment of prob­a­ble Hall of Fame third base­man Adrian Bel­tre, a five-time Gold Glove Award win­ner, left huge voids in the lineup and the in­field, but there is good power with Joey Gallo, who hit 81 homers the past two sea­sons, and Rougned Odor, Shin-Soo Choo, No­mar Mazara and As­drubel Cabr­era, who each hit 20 homers or more last sea­son. The ro­ta­tion has been re­built with vet­er­ans, and while the bullpen lacks depth, the Rangers have one of the base­ball’s best young closers in Jose Le­clerc.

5 – Seat­tle Mariners

2018 – 89-73, 3rd in West Last year in play­offs – 2001 Jerry Dipoto didn’t think the Mariners were ready to com­pete with the Astros, so the GM dis­man­tled an 89-win team, trad­ing 57-save closer Ed­win Diaz, mid­dle in­field­ers Jean Se­gura and Robinson Cano, pitcher James Pax­ton and catcher Mike Zunino and al­low­ing slug­ger Nel­son Cruz to leave as a free agent. What’s left is a de­cent ro­ta­tion, a mish-mash of a bullpen, a patch­work lineup that will be with­out in­jured third base­man Kyle Sea­ger un­til May and five or six prospects that Seat­tle hopes will make it com­pet­i­tive by 2021.

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