Screenshot these American League Power Rankings after you read ‘em, since we’re pretty sure they’ll be spot on all season.
You’ll probably want to refer to them from Opening Day to the All-Star break, through the dog days of August to the pennant stretch, appreciating the nuance and candor within.
OK, we’re kidding. Things could get crazy in the Junior Circuit this season and shifts here could be seismic. Yes, there’s a traditional power (the Yankees) in the mix, but there’s young talent bursting around the league and maybe a recent heavyweight that’s underappreciated after a winter that saw two aces depart.
It’ll be a blast to see how it all shakes out, just like every year. For now, this is how we see the AL. Hey, it’s early…
1. Chicago White Sox
2. New York Yankees
If we could guarantee their players would stay on the field, the Yanks would be No. 1, easily. But we’re penalizing them for risk — for a team that has had such trouble staying healthy, they’re certainly gambling on Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon in the rotation, especially with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton — two sluggers whose best ability ain’t availability, so key.
3. Tampa Bay Rays
Blake Snell and Charlie Morton are gone, but the Rays always seem to figure it out. What can their big brains do with talented mound clay such as Rich Hill, Chris Archer and Collin McHugh? Plus, Randy Arozarena will be around the whole year and spectacular prospect Wander Franco should be up at some point.
4. Toronto Blue Jays
Adding George Springer and Marcus Semien to a talented kiddie core of Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. (he turns 22 in March!), among others, means the Jays will hit like crazy. But beyond Hyun-Jin Ryu, do they have enough pitching? Maybe Nate Pearson will soar.
5. Minnesota Twins
Talent-wise, we might have nudged them higher. But the last time they won a playoff game was 2004. They’ve lost a record 18 straight since. Can Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson, Andrelton Simmons, Kenta Maeda, et al get to October and push further?
6. Houston Astros
Sure, they’re annoying. But they have established stars such as Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, Michael Brantley and José Altuve, along with young talent such as Yordan Álvarez and Framber Valdez. They’re going to be around, even without Springer or Justin Verlander, who had Tommy John surgery.
7. Los Angeles Angels
Mike Trout (gasp!) turns 30 in August. Maybe that ticking clock, plus Anthony Rendon and Shohei Ohtani, pushes the Angels past their annual pitching woes and gives this transcendent player his second shot at October.
8. Oakland Athletics
No Hendriks and no Semien changes the Oakland landscape, but they churn out talent. Matt Chapman and Matt Olson are dynamite at the corners and their young starters could lift the A’s way out of the middle.
9. Boston Red Sox
Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez (assuming he’s back to form) is a nice offensive nucleus for new (old) manager Alex Cora. Eduardo Rodríguez is back from a COVID-wrecked 2020, but Chris Sale’s earliest return from Tommy John surgery is the summer.
10. Kansas City Royals
They’re actually trying to get better, a novel concept that not every MLB team attempts. Bravo. And we like the Andrew Benintendi move — adding him and Carlos Santana to an offense that already has Whit Merrifield, Jorge Soler and Adalberto Mondesi should help make a fun KC summer.
11. Cleveland Indians
No team that trades Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco gets better. Sorry. But Shane Bieber, who won the pitching Triple Crown last year, and José Ramirez are fun to watch.
12. Seattle Mariners
We’d feel great about putting them here if Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodríguez were both going to be on the big league roster. Let the service-time shenanigans begin! Their rotation could be solid after adding James Paxton to Marco Gonzalez, Yusei Kikuchi, and Justus Sheffield.
13. Baltimore Orioles
Trey Mancini is making an inspirational return after missing 2020 while being treated for colon cancer. He hammered 35 homers in 2019. It’ll be fascinating to see if they get anything from throwback signings Matt Harvey and Félix Hernández. When is Adley Rutschman, the catcher who makes the prospect lovers gush, getting here?
14. Detroit Tigers
Prospect power activate! The Tigers have five prospects in MLBPipeline’s top 25, including cornerman Spencer Torkelson and righty Casey Mize. Might we see a beautiful future begin to bloom this year under new manager A.J. Hinch?
15. Texas Rangers
They say everything’s bigger in Texas and that probably ought to include this rebuild. Come for a potential Joey Gallo revival and hope Mike Foltynewicz figures it out.