Aaron’s take: Opening Day

Aaron Fennell-Chametzky ’20 discusses his picks for the top teams in Major League Baseball this season.

I’m cracking my (root) beer and eating some (veggie) dogs tonight but I don’t think anyone else will at West High. Our generation isn’t paying attention to professional baseball like ones in the past. The average age of MLB viewers in 2016 was 57 compared to 42 for the NBA. The NBA has 35.6 million followers on Instagram, the NFL has 14.1 million, and MLB has just 5.1 million. I get that I’m in high school and most people who care about sports go out and play them — unlike myself, just sitting around, watching and reading about them.

Professional baseball begins today and has a 162-game schedule leading until the end of September. Than the playoffs take place in October. Without seeing any of the ball clubs performing, I’ve put together my power ranking of all 30 teams in order of how many games I think they’ll win as well as how I predict them to do in the playoffs.

  1. New York Yankees: This team has the best bullpen in the majors with Aroldis Chapman, Zach Britton and Adam Ottavino; they also broke the record for most home runs hit in a season last year and have a chance to do it again.
  2. Boston Red Sox: Last year’s World Series champions don’t get my No. 1 spot because they lost their All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel (who somehow is still a free agent); they will be a very good team, just not quite the historic force the ‘18 squad was.
  3. Houston Astros: 2017’s World Series Champions lost starting pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton, but their lineup is absolutely loaded led by former MVP Jose Altuve and future MVP Alex Bregman.
  4. Philadelphia Phillies:  While Bryce Harper definitely got the most attention, this club made a bunch of really flashy moves: All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto traded from the Marlins, All-Star shortstop Jean Segura traded from the Mariners, former MVP outfielder Andrew McCutchen and World Series champ relief pitcher David Robertson.
  5. Cleveland Indians: Superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor’s beginning the season on the Disabled List might hurt a little; being in the American League sucks for the Tribe because the Yankees, Red Sox and Astros are all much better.
  6. Milwaukee Brewers: I have the Brew Crew barely ahead of the Cubs due to the fact that they improved this winter by signing All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal.
  7. Chicago Cubs: The “Lovable Winners” didn’t do anything over the offseason to change a solid, veteran core that will look to get back to the World Series in 2019.
  8. St. Louis Cardinals: Acquiring first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, a top ten player in MLB, puts this team firmly into playoff contention.
  9. Atlanta Braves: Last year’s NL East Champs are only getting better with reigning Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuna, Jr. doing it all.
  10. Tampa Bay Rays: A deep team that was surprisingly near the Playoffs last year made a big offseason signing of veteran pitcher Charlie Morton.
  11. Washington Nationals: Even though they lost Bryce Harper, I think the Nationals will be better this season with the signing of Patrick Corbin to form a three-headed monster with Stephen Strasburg and three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer.
  12. Colorado Rockies: Playing in Coors Field up in the mountains will give Daniel Murphy, the 2016 NL MVP runner-up the career revitalization he desperately needs, and the pitching isn’t too shabby either.
  13. Oakland Athletics: Blake Treinen, the best closer in the game, needs to rebound from his shaky Wild Card Game in September against the Yankees for this team to make the Playoffs.
  14. Los Angeles Dodgers: For a team that has made the World Series each of the past two seasons, this is strangely low for the Dodgers; reason is, they traded a near-ace in Alex Wood and two star outfielders Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig to the Reds for basically nothing in an attempt to sign Bryce Harper and ended up getting A.J. Pollock, a fine player but no Harper.
  15. New York Mets: Re-tooled and re-energized, a healthy Noah Syndergaard pairs with last season’s Cy Young Jacob deGrom to make up arguably the best pitching duo in the league.
  16. Cincinnati Reds: Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Alex Wood, along with last year’s breakout star Scooter Gennett, give first baseman Joey Votto his best supporting cast in a while for the chance to make the playoffs for the first time since ‘13.
  17. Los Angeles Angels: They have the best player in the game, Mike Trout; the eventual best player in the game; Shohei Ohtani; the best player 10 years ago, Albert Pujols; a borderline star shortstop, Andrelton Simmons, and pretty much nothing else.
  18. San Francisco Giants: The most underrated dynasty in pro sports history is long gone even though Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, the Brandons, and Pablo Sandoval are still there.
  19. Chicago White Sox: Much like the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings, I expect the less-famous Chicago team to be a group of young guys who win more than they should based on hustle and grit.
  20. Arizona Diamondbacks: It looked like the D-Backs were going to rebuild after trading multi-time All-Star Paul Goldschmidt, so I think some of their good players — Zack Greinke? Jake Lamb? — could be traded at the deadline and send this group spinning towards the bottom.
  21. San Diego Padres: The signing of Manny Machado, a perennial Gold Glove winner, did nothing in my eyes to further the direction of this aimless franchise who now pays a huge amount of their payroll to two guys: Machado and first baseman Eric Hosmer.
  22. Minnesota Twins: 2017’s surprise team will prove that that was really a surprise year and that contention is far away in the Land of 1000 Lakes.
  23. Toronto Blue Jays: Son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guererro, Vlad, Jr., is a bright spot for a team that is rebuilding out of the Josh Donaldson-Jose Bautista years.
  24. Pittsburgh Pirates: Honestly nothing fun to look for in this team — they suck.
  25. Seattle Mariners: General Manager Jerry Dipoto completely rebuilt the team in a bad-for-the-present, good-for-the-future way in the offseason; it was fun seeing Japanese legend Ichiro Suzuki play their first two games in Tokyo.
  26. Texas Rangers: With the retirement of franchise icon Adrian Beltre and 45-year-old pitcher Bartolo Colon unsigned, MLB is the first of the 4 major sports to not have a player who played in the 20th century on any roster.
  27. Detroit Tigers: If Miguel Cabrera bounces back and pops 35 homers, he’ll be at 500: another milestone in the career of one of the greatest hitters of all time.
  28. Miami Marlins: Derek Jeter’s teardown continues and the crowds will get even smaller with no J.T. Realmuto, who quietly became the best catcher in the league last year, to rack up hits.
  29. Kansas City Royals: Losing All-Star and World Series champion catcher Salvador Perez is yet another sting on the Royals who have been god-awful since they won it all back in 2015.
  30. Baltimore Orioles: A full season without Manny Machado and Zach Britton might help the O’s become the worst team in history.