2022 MLB Power Rankings


By Cooper Woodward, Reporter

As of writing this (2/1/22), we are still in a lockout and only a few months away from the 2022 MLB season. But with a solid two months of MLB free agency in the books before the last CBA (collective bargaining agreement) expired, I believe it’s an appropriate time to rank all 30 MLB teams. 

30. Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates have become the laughing stock of both the NL Central Divison and the MLB in general. They finished with more than 100 losses for the 3rd time since 2001, finishing on pace for 100 losses in 2020 with 41 due to the shortened Covid season. With some of the teams on this list, I feel some stuff to look forward to. That’s not the case for the Pirates, as I believe they’ll be the dumpster fire of the MLB for years to come. 

29. Arizona Diamondbacks 

Despite 2021’s dismal 110 losses and just 20 wins on the road, there is reason to believe the Diamondbacks will be noticeably improved this season. Now, I’m not talking winning-record good, but more consistently competitive. Why? Versatile rookie Pavin Smith, infielder Josh Rojas, and Daulton Varsho each clubbed 11 home runs in 2021. There is evident work to be done on the mound, but the signing of Mark Melancon, and his 2021-leading 39 saves, are rather intriguing

28. Washington Nationals

The Nationals have Juan Soto, a 2021 MVP candidate and a man who will probably be in the conversation for MVP for years and years to come. And that’s just about it. Unfortunately, the Nationals don’t have guys like Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani who by themselves cant make a mediocre team into a playoff team. Washington may improve from their 97 losses in 2022, but they won’t be competing for the playoffs any time soon. 

27. Baltimore Orioles

The American League East division is too tough for the Orioles to be a factor, with 4/5 teams finishing with over 90 wins. While they have some bright spots at offense with Cedric Mullins, Ryan Mountcasle, and Trey Mancini all hitting 18+ Homeruns, their pitching is where they struggle most, with a combined 5.84 ERA pitchers (the worst in the entire MLB).

26. Colorado Rockies

The most significant plotline involving the Rockies is star shortstop Trevor Story. I’m curious to see where Story will land, but sure it won’t be back in Colorado. This means the Rockies seem destined for a fourth straight losing season. It’s not sure what Colorado’s rebuild will look like, but hitting the 70-win mark might be a tall order if the club doesn’t make even some marginally solid offseason moves. Despite having a couple of talented pieces, this roster isn’t ready to contend.

25. Kansas City Royals

Kansas City won 74 games in 2021, which is progress after failing to reach 60 in 2018 and 2019. Can the Royals be even better in 2022? Maybe not, because of a pitching staff that ranked in the bottom half of the majors with a 4.64 ERA in 2021 and is likely to lose long-time stalwart Danny Duffy. That said, star Salvador Perez (48 homers, 121 RBIs) and Whit Merrifield are as good as it gets. Nicky Lopez brings back his slick glove at short, and recently-converted 3B Adalberto Mondesi finished last year strong. Also, is this the year prized prospect Bobby Witt Jr. gets his major-league shot?

24. Cincinnati Reds

The Reds showed some promise in 2021, finishing with an 83-79 record but missing out on the playoffs. That record doesn’t show the 12-20 record the Reds had going down the stretch, losing the 2nd wild card spot to the Cardinals. Jesse Winker (.305 BA, 24 homers, 72 RBIs) and Jonathan India (21 homers, 69 RBIs) are the offensive building blocks for the future, but Nick Castellanos more than likely will not be back. Tyler Mahle (13-6, 3.75 ERA) is undoubtedly one to watch when it comes to the next great arm in the NL, but beyond him, Cincinnati’s pitching staff has its questions — especially if you believe the trade rumors surrounding Luis Castillo are true.

23. Minnesota Twins 

As you will see later in this list, the AL Central as a collective is starting to improve. However, The Twins may not be a part of that Resurgence. Following two straight postseason appearances, Minnesota won 73 games in 2021. A step back was expected, but it might take a little longer for any giant ones to be brought forward. Perhaps most puzzling about the current state of the Twins is their decision to give talented but oft-injured outfielder Byron Buxton a seven-year, $100-million deal.

22. Texas Rangers

No doubt, the Rangers were the talk of the pre-lockout free-agent surge. They gave shortstop Corey Seager $325 million over ten years and fellow infielder Marcus Semien a seven-year contract worth $175. Not to mention, Texas signed veteran outfielder Kole Calhoun and starter Jon Gray. Yet, they play in a division with a clear favorite and two other teams expected to still be better than them. Regardless, all eyes will be on the Rangers and whether or not these huge payouts will pay immediate dividends. $500 million to lock up the best middle infield in baseball? There are worse ways to spend money.

21. Cleaveland Guardians 

It’s hard to tell where recently re-named Guardians are headed. Are they contending? Are they rebuilding? Regardless, Jose Ramirez (36 homers, 103 RBIs) remains one of baseball’s best. 2020 Cy Young winner Shane Bieber enters the season healthy following an injury-plagued ’21 campaign. And fans should keep an eye on starter Triston McKenzie (5-9, 4.95 ERA), who had his moments in 2021, despite a rough start and overall poor record.

20. Oakland Athletics 

Oakland is one of the more confusing teams in baseball. Oakland won 86 games in 2021 but again failed to make the postseason. This offseason, they appear to be sellers — all the while searching for a new manager. One-year rental Starling Marte signed a deal with the New York Mets, while Chris Bassit, Sean Manaea, Matt Olson, and Matt Chapman are soon to be gone in short order. Oakland should be receiving an excellent young package in return for those pieces and could do what Billy Beane and Co. would have done: turn them into effective major leaguers while saving a bunch of cash. Along with all of these issues, they still need a new stadium. 

19. Chicago Cubs 

A dynasty that never came to be in the North Side. With the core of Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant gone, the Cubs are still sort of in an identity crisis. There are a lot of reasons to rebuild, but there is a ton of money they can use to contend, especially after signing guys like Marcus Stroman (10-13, 3.02 ERA, 158 Ks) to a three-year, $71 million deal. Meanwhile, Patrick Wisdom (28 homers, 61 RBIs) and Frank Schwindel (.342, 14 homers, 40 RBIs in 56 games) were 2021 surprises but aren’t guys to seriously build a team around.

18Detroit Tigers

A 77-85 finish in 2021 was good enough for the Tigers to finish third in the AL Central. The belief is that Detroit will be even better in ’22, and the signing of electrifying shortstop Javier Baez likely won’t hurt. Perhaps more important, though, was bringing LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (13-8, 4.74 ERA) on board. It will be tough for the Tigers to make the playoffs and certainly tougher to win the division, but with these two acquisitions and some budding young talent, this is a club worth watching.

17. Los Angeles Angels

The Angels came up short in the Max Scherzer pursuit but have Mike Trout (the best player in baseball) and reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani (9-2, 3.18 ERA, 156 strikeouts; 46 home runs and 100 RBIs). However, that’s still not enough (apparently) to consistently compete in the AL West. It will be interesting to see what Los Angeles does post-lockout to add players. The money is there, though, and that’s always been the case. LA has never shied away from paying the big bucks, but it hasn’t led to much success in recent years. The Angels haven’t reached the postseason since 2014.

16. Miami Marlins 

Miami was a playoff team in 2020, then managed just 67 wins last season. Miami auctioned off several key players during last year’s trade deadline. The team has spent the offseason trying to piece together a major league club. Picking up free-agent catcher Jacob Stallings (17 homers, 85 RBIs over 249 career games) and veteran outfielder Avisail Garcia should be strong moves. The key for the Marlins could be whether its starters can be more serviceable. Not a single Miami pitcher won 10 games, and only three made 20 or more starts in 2021. How much will the team get out of the exciting 23-year-old Sixto Sanchez, who missed all of last season?

15. Philadelphia Phillies

The good news for the Phillies is that they’re coming off their second winning season in three years. The bad news is that Philadelphia still hasn’t reached the postseason since 2011. Sure, Bryce Harper won his second NL MVP after batting .309 with 35 home runs and 84 RBIs, but the Phillies are still as frustrating as they can be to their fans. A couple of minor free-agent moves (reliever Corey Knebel and utility man Johan Camargo) pre-lockout won’t do anything to excite that fan base, either. Another consistent bat next to Harper in the lineup would do wonders.

14. San Diego Padres

The Padres were many people’s dark horse pick to win it all (myself included). They were 49-33 on June 1st but then went 30-50 the rest of the season. Now, any club with Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado – combined 70 home runs and 203 RBIs – should be competitive. But, if Yu Darvish (8-11, 4.22 ERA) can rebound and Blake Snell (7-6, 4.20 ERA) stay healthy, then maybe the Padres will live up to expectations they’ve set for themselves. Of course, that’s still a big “if,” even with Bob Melvin as manager.

13. San Francisco Giants 

With an MLB-best 107 victories, the Giants were the biggest surprise of the 2021 regular season. Yet, San Francisco lost to the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in five games. It would be unfair to think the Giants will be as good in 2020, especially with Buster Posey retired and Kevin Gausman gone. However, there is still enough talent to challenge for the NL West title once again. The Giants rely on their depth and versatility. The front office will find a way to fill in the gaps despite losing a future Hall of Fame catcher and a Cy Young candidate.

12. Toronto Blue Jays

Yes, the Blue Jays are expected to be in the mix for an AL East title. But, the losses of Marcus Semien and Robbie Ray are a big deal. Young boppers like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (.311 BA, 48 homers, 111 RBIs), Bo Bichette (.298 BA, 29 homers, 102 RBIs), and Teoscar Hernandez (32 homers, 116 RBIs) comprise one of the majors’ most potent lineups, but will it all be enough to handle the strong pitching in the division? Signing Kevin Gausman (finished sixth in Cy Young voting) certainly helps ease the loss of Ray.

11. Seattle Mariners

Somewhat surprising is that the Mariners are not getting much offseason love from MLB analysts and pundits. Seattle was a rather pleasant story in 2021, winning 90 games and finishing second in the AL West. Then, the Mariners went out and got AL Cy Young Award-winner Robbie Ray (13-7, 2.84 ERA) and All-Star second baseman Adam Frazier. The future is certainly bright in Seattle, especially since a wild-card spot could come out of the AL West.

10. Los Angeles Dodgers

Has the Dodgers’ window for another World Series title officially closed? Let’s not go there just yet. Sure, Corey Seager and Max Scherzer are gone, but those moves were expected. Aging Clayton Kershaw is 15 wins shy of 200, but will he achieve it in Dodger blue? There’s obviously still enough offensive talent (Betts, Turner, Muncy) for Los Angeles to remain a favorite in the NL West. It also helps that I’m not sold on San Francisco and San Diego at the moment.

9. Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee won 95 games to take the NL Central in 2021. The Brewers did it with a pitching staff that topped the majors in strikeouts (1,618) and ranked third in ERA (3.50). Corbin Burnes (11-5, 2.43 ERA, 234 strikeouts) is the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, Adrian Houser and Freddy Peralta also won 10 games, and Brandon Woodruff posted a 2.56 ERA with a career-high 211 strikeouts. The losses of Avisail Garcia and Eduardo Escobar are a serious hit to an already shallow lineup, though. And, I’m not sure what kind of season Christian Yelich is headed for after batting .248 with nine homers in 117 games from 2021.

8. New York Yankees

The Yankees did nothing pre-lockout, and fans are rattled. That said, it’s not like New York was in a hurry to make a splash when it came to adding players. Whether Anthony Rizzo returns is a big question surrounding the club, but the result won’t be earth-shattering either way. At the moment, Gerrit Cole (16-8, 3.23 ERA), as much as Yankee fans want to rag on him, Aaron Judge (39 home runs, 98 RBIs), and Giancarlo Stanton (35 homers, 97 RBIs) will keep them in World Series contention – if healthy. Health is always a concern with this group.

7Boston Red Sox

I can pretty much interchange the Yankees and Red Sox at this point. Boston is gambling a bit by bringing in Michael Wacha and James Paxton, but there’s not much money on the line. Chris Sale (5-1, 3.16 ERA) pitched well enough in his 2021 return to believe he will be the staff ace. Xander Bogaerts (.295 BA) and Rafael Devers (38 homers, 113 RBIs) lead a talented offense that continues to overachieve. Last season’s run to the ALCS should motivate for 2022.

6St. Louis Cardinals 

A 19-3 finish got the Cardinals into the playoffs and set the stage for a potential NL Central title in 2022. Offensively, St. Louis is more than Paul Goldschmidt (31 homers, 99 RBIs) and Nolan Arenado (34 homers, 105 RBIs). There are plenty of young, talented hitters on the roster – especially in the outfield comprised of Harrison Bader, Tyler O’Neill, and Dylan Carlson. On the mound, Jack Flaherty (9-2, 3.22 ERA) has Cy Young potential. Meanwhile, the addition of Steven Matz (14-7, 3.82 ERA) bolsters a staff that is good enough to compete for an NL pennant.

5. Chicago White Sox

Once again, the White Sox are getting a lot of preseason love. No doubt, this is a talented young group, with the likes of Luis Robert (.338 BA), Tim Anderson (.309), and Eloy Jimenez. However, the offense was inconsistent in 2021, and the bullpen faltered while Chicago went 50-44 over the final 94 games. The team was only moderately competitive while being eliminated in four by Houston during the postseason. But, with Michael Kopech’s expected move to a rotation that includes 2021 Cy Young contender Lance Lynn (11-6, 2.69 ERA) and Lucas Giolito (11-9, 3.53 ERA), and with the addition of reliever Kendall Graveman, the White Sox remain the class of the AL Central.

4. Tampa Bay Rays

The story of the Rays’ pre-lockout offseason was Wander Franco’s 11-year, $182-million contract. That was a huge moment for the franchise and a building block for the team’s bright future. For the time being, the reigning AL East champions have a young offensive core (Randy Arozerana, Brandon Lowe, Austin Meadows) that continues to shine and a pitching staff that only cares about getting outs and not self-promotion. Oh yeah, and Kevin Cash might be the best manager in baseball.

3. New York Mets

Honestly, I’m doing my best not to once again buy into the preseason hype surrounding the Mets. Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar, and Mark Canha are all in the mix, joining the likes of Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso (37 homers, 94 RBIs), and Jacob deGrom (7-2, 1.08 ERA, 146 strikeouts in 15 starts). Who wouldn’t think New York is destined for greatness in 2022? Plenty. These are the Mets, after all. They’ve had one winning season in the last five and last made the postseason in 2016. I need to see it to believe it

2. Houston Astros 

The Carlos Correa saga remains in full force, but there is enough talent on the Astros’ roster for them to contend for a second straight AL pennant without the star shortstop. Most of the rest of the major players return from a 2021 squad that led the majors in batting (.267), on-base percentage (.339), and was third in slugging (.444). The return of Justin Verlander to a stellar young rotation led by Lance McCullers Jr. (13-5, 3.16 ERA) is a bonus. Did I mention the Astros also have plenty of money to spend when they see fit?

1. Atlanta Braves

This ranking is dependent on whether the Braves bring back Freddie Freeman (.300 BA, 31 homers, 83 RBIs). The smart move would be yes, which would certainly leave the reigning world champions a favorite to repeat. However, the return of Ronald Acuna Jr. from a knee injury will obviously provide a boost either way. Max Fried (14-7, 3.04 ERA) is among the best in the game, and Ian Anderson (9-5, 3.58 ERA) is not too far behind. If there’s one team to keep an eye on post-lockout and before Opening Day, it’s Atlanta.