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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Extra Innings: 2024 preseason power rankings

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Here are my predictions for the 2024 season, with each team’s 2023 record in parentheses.

10. Tampa Bay Rays (99—63)

The Rays are tough to place.  They’re coming off a fantastic regular season but will likely be missing their two best players  shortstop Wander Franco for legal issues and pitcher Shane McClanahan for Tommy John surgery in 2024. They make this list because they seemingly always find a way to compete, no matter the situation.

9. New York Yankees (82—80)

New York should be concerned about covering innings on the days Gerrit Cole isn’t starting, but this team can still make some noise because of a potent lineup, which includes Aaron Judge and new acquisition Juan Soto. They should give the Yankees a chance in the meat grinder that is the AL East.

8. Seattle Mariners (88—74)

Center fielder Julio Rodríguez is the Mariners’ superstar, but Seattle’s true strength comes from starting pitching. Luis Castillo, George Kirby and Logan Gilbert front an outstanding rotation that this team will need to rely on to compete in a tough AL West.

7. Toronto Blue Jays (89—73)

This might be a little bullish, but I still believe this team has a really solid core of players. The rotation is headlined by Kevin Gausman and Chris Bassitt, while the lineup includes a blend of big bats (Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.) and defensive wizards (Kevin Kiermaier, Daulton Varsho).

6. Philadelphia Phillies (90—72)

We’ve now reached the really serious contenders. Though the Atlanta Braves are still the class of the NL East, the Phillies have a lot of talent in their own right. I’m expecting bounceback years for Trea Turner and Aaron Nola, who both had underwhelming 2023 seasons. Having Bryce Harper fully healthy won’t hurt, either.

5. Houston Astros (90—72)

Yes, they’re still here. Seven straight ALCS appearances will do that for you. Though the Rangers will be the team to beat in the AL West this year after winning the World Series, the Astros are still a serious contender with Yordan Álvarez, Kyle Tucker, Alex Bregman and José Altuve at the top of the lineup.

4. Texas Rangers (90—72)

The defending champs could use some rotation help, but their lineup is absolutely stacked. Between Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Adolis García, Jonah Heim, Josh Jung and Evan Carter, the list just goes on and on. In my opinion, the Rangers have the only offense with both the star power and depth to rival the Braves.

3. Baltimore Orioles (101—61)

Projections hate the Orioles, and I have no idea why. Baltimore didn’t endure a single bad stretch last season, as they went the entire season without being swept. Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson are for real. Baltimore is expecting several more graduates from their top-ranked farm system this season, and they swung a huge deal for ace Corbin Burnes to cement the rotation.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers (100—62)

LA has assembled the greatest “Big Three” that baseball has seen in years by adding Shohei Ohtani for $700 million to complement Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. They also doled out $325 million to Japanese starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Safe to say this team has some money.

1. Atlanta Braves (104—58)

The Dodgers’ insane spending notwithstanding, I still think the Braves are the deepest team in baseball, and almost every core player is still under 30 years old. This team has power up and down the lineup, as the 2023 Braves were the first team in MLB history to slug over .500 as a team and saw five different players hit over 30 homers. Their lineup simply does not have a hole.