MLB power rankings: 2021 outlook for every team on Opening Day(3)

21. Miami Marlins

MLB power rankings: Boston Red Sox
Sep 18, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter watches the game between the Miami Marlins and the Washington Nationals from his suite at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Credit to Miami for blowing past everyone’s expectations in 2020. This team overcame a COVID-19 outbreak, with young players and MLB castoffs finding ways to help this team rack up victories. Of course, this team did fade down the stretch and we can’t help but wonder if that slide would have continued in a normal season. Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lòpez and Sixto Sánchez offer immense upside for an underrated starting rotation, but holes in the lineup will likely mean the Marlins finish lower in the standings.

22. Detroit Tigers

MLB power rankings: Detroit Tigers
Sep 17, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize (12) pitches during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Get hyped about Detroit’s future. Top pitching prospects Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal made their MLB debuts and while both experienced some bumps, they have front-line rotation potential and we’ll see them in rotation to begin the season. Oh, Matt Manning isn’t far behind either. Get that rotation trio together, and pair it with No. 1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson, who has MVP upside; this becomes a must-see team a year from now. As for 2021, the Tigers must learn to walk before they can run and that is especially true for this young rotation.

23. Kansas City Royals

MLB power rankings: Kansas City Royals
Sep 25, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Royals right fielder Whit Merrifield (15) flips his bat after striking out against the Detroit Tigers during the seventh inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

In a slow MLB offseason, the Kansas City Royals have quietly been making small additions to boost their team in 2021. Mike Minor is a nice piece for the rotation and reunions with Greg Holland and Wade Davis provide some depth for the bullpen. Kansas City’s lineup with Whit Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi, Carlos Santana and Jorge Soler shouldn’t have issues scoring runs. The acquisition of Andrew Benintendi is interesting, with Kansas City hopeful he returns to the 4.4 fWAR player from 2018.

Fans should be disappointed that Bobby Witt Jr. didn’t make the Opening Day roster, but his showing in spring training showed everyone that he can be a future star. Some were probably hoping he’d come up after Mondesi’s injury, but we likely won’t see Witt until the summer.

24. San Francisco Giants

MLB power rankings: San Francisco Giants
September 26, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; General view of Oracle Park during the fourth inning between the San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Credit to Farhan Zaidi for quickly turning one of MLB’s worst farm systems into one of the most underrated collections of prospects. San Francisco’s future is bright with Joey Bart, Marco Luciano and Heliot Ramos, but it will be a few years before they are all together. In 2021, there are still some intriguing pieces. Tommy La Stella was a great addition for the infield and should pair nicely with Donovan Solano and Brandon Belt to provide steady production. Mike Yastrzemski has become an unexpected star for the Giants, too. Keep an eye on the rotation, with Anthony DeSclafani and Aaron Sanchez both candidates to post some surprising stats this season.

25. Seattle Mariners

MLB power rankings: Seattle Mariners
Mar 6, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Seattle Mariners outfielder Jarred Kelenic against the Los Angeles Dodgers during a spring training game at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Excitement is brewing in Seattle. The Mariners might lack for marquee talent right now, but that will change in a matter of months. Mitch Haniger, who hasn’t played since rupturing a testicle in June 2019, will be back and is capable of hitting at an All-Star level. But the real reason for joy is the pending arrivals of outfielders Jarred Kelenic, a top-10 prospect in MLB, Taylor Trammell, a top-100 prospect- and starting pitcher Logan Gilbert. Plus, Julio Rodriguez and Emerson Hancock are likely just a year out.

Even the reunion with James Paxton could pay off nicely. If he returns to the version we saw in his first stint with Seattle, posting a 3.42 ERA and 1.18 WHIP across 582 innings, he’ll be a fantastic asset at the MLB trade deadline. This will be the last down year in Seattle before this team makes a leap. By this time next year, Seattle will have a top-18 spot in our MLB power rankings. We also have to give credit to Trammell, who surprised everyone by earning a spot in the Opening Day lineup.

26. Arizona Diamondbacks

MLB power rankings: Arizona Diamondbacks
Sep 23, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte against the Texas Rangers at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona waved the white flag late in the 2020 season, shipping off what assets it could for the best offers that came in. The massive contract given to Madison Bumgarner has already backfired and Caleb Smith’s arrival yielded some ugly numbers. There’s some intriguing, young talent like Daulton Varsho and Zac Gallen. Unfortunately, Varsho was sent down after a rough spring and Gallen suffered a hairline fracture in his elbow after swinging a bat. One thing is for certain, we need a universal DH.

27. Texas Rangers

MLB power rankings: Texas Rangers
Sep 27, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers right fielder Joey Gallo (13) celebrates with shortstop Anderson Tejeda (71) after scoring during the second inning against the Houston Astros at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Texas took some swings to improve its pitching last offseason and the moves backfired. Coming off another disappointing season, the Rangers seem on the brink of throwing in the towel. David Dahl and Nate Lowe are intriguing talents with breakout potential, but the Rangers have a below-average rotation and big concerns defensively. If this team starts to slip to the bottom of the MLB standings early in 2021, don’t be surprised if Joey Gallo is traded.

28. Colorado Rockies

MLB power rankings: Colorado Rockies
Sep 24, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (27) high fives teammates after scoring a run against the San Francisco Giants during the seventh inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a story as old as time. Colorado develops a hitter, watches him develop into a star and then trades him for an underwhelming return. Nolan Arenado is gone and Trevor Story, who is eligible for free agency next offseason, could be a trade target for contenders. Colorado will once again have one of MLB’s worst rotations this season and this lineup is getting worse by the year. It might be time for a full reset, but it’s also hard to trust this organization to identify and develop pitchers.

29. Baltimore Orioles

MLB power rankings: Baltimore Orioles: Worst MLB teams
Baltimore Orioles’ No. 1 overall pick Adley Rutschman eyes the bases during his Delmarva Shorebirds’ debut on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. Adley 6

Will the Baltimore Orioles call up Adley Rutschman in 2021? It’s the only real interesting storyline about this team, given they are in the early stages of their rebuild. Trey Mancini, Freddy Galvis and Anthony Santander look like MLB trade deadline candidates, especially since ownership doesn’t want to spend money. There is some talent in the farm system, including top prospect Grayson Rodriguez, but we’re likely two-plus seasons away from the Orioles being interesting.

30. Pittsburgh Pirates

MLB power rankings: Pittsburgh Pirates
Sep 19, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Mitch Keller (23) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The rebuild is underway. The Pittsburgh Pirates will have one of the lowest payrolls in baseball this year and easily one of the worst rosters. Josh Bell and Joe Musgrove are already gone, while Adam Frazier could be another trade candidate. This season is all about the development of Mitch Keller and Ke’Bryan Hayes. Given Nick Gonzales, O’Neil Cruz and Quinn Priester are at least a year away; there aren’t any Pirates’ prospects to get excited about for a 2021 MLB debut either. Lock the Pirates into the last spot of our MLB power rankings from now until…it will be a while. This will be the worst team in MLB for the next two years.

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