2022 Opening Day Power Rankings

The regular season is right around the corner, which means it’s time for the unscientific and sometimes controversial ritual called Opening Day Power Rankings.

On paper, it’s easy to rank teams. It also creates the very real possibility that we overestimate and underestimate more than half of the ensembles on this list.

But you have to start from one point and right now, days before everything starts, there are few surprises in the top five. The Dodgers took a high-caliber lineup and added one of the best left-handed hitters in the game, Freddie Freeman. The Blue Jays have also been building momentum for a while and appear ready to take the next step.

And the mighty divisions — specifically the NL West and AL East — have given us no reason to think they’ll back down. Can the Old Circuit East, with at least three legitimate contenders, make a leap as well?

The Top 5 of the Power Ranking:

1. Dodgers
With what some would point to as the best lineup in all of baseball and a starting rotation that, while not as star-studded as in years past, still looks strong, the Los Angeles squad will start the season like they’ve done so many times — atop the Opening Day Power Rankings. The lineup is not only seen as the best among 30 teams this year, but some have hinted that it may be the best lineup of all time. Not to overdo things this close to Opening Day, it’s also fair to note that the starting line-up can vary, with the only regulars being Walker Buehler and Julio Cesar Urias. What would determine how the Dodgers can start the season on a good note would be how Clayton Kershaw returns from elbow problems.

2. Tiles
Don’t be surprised if Toronto jumps to the top of the Power Rankings early. Their rotation has been ranked by MLB.com as the third best and the lineup is very well armed with some of the most exciting hitters in the Young Circuit. When we last saw the Blue Jays in 2021, they swept through September, missing the postseason by one game and leaving many wondering if they were much better than some of the clubs that qualified for the playoffs. If Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, George Springer, Teóscar Hernández, Cuban Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Matt Chapman live up to the hype, the Dodgers won’t be the only “best” lineup come May.

3. White Sox
Lance Lynn’s absence for nearly two months takes some of the luster out of the Palefoot rotation, which not long ago was ranked by MLB.com as the fourth-best in the majors. But with Lucas Giolito as the legitimate ace and Dylan Cease projected for a breakout season, the starting group could be in a good place. Cease improved his strikeout rate from 17.3% in 2020 to 31.9% in 2021, and also reduced his walk rate from 13.3% to 9.6%. Much of the stability in the rotation will depend on whether Michael Kopech can transition from the bullpen to the starting group. And with Lynn out for a while, Kopech could be an even bigger factor.

4. Brewers
Milwaukee’s path to the postseason will be smoother if the lineup can improve its production a bit. He won’t necessarily have to live up to a rotation that has been among the best in the majors in recent years. But hitters will have to do more to help the Brewers keep up with the Cardinals, who would appear to be the only realistic competition in the NL Central this season. That all starts with Christian Yelich — it’s critical that the outfielder find some of the productivity he lost in 2021.

When we think of Tampa Bay, the first thing that usually comes to mind is pitching. But it’s been apparent for quite some time that their lineup has also proven key to propelling them into October on a regular basis. His strategy of focusing on individual matchups resulted in the second-most runs scored in the Majors (857) last season. The Rays also matched the Dodgers in slugging percentage (.429) and the Yankees in home runs (222). And Wander Franco, who spent years as one of the hottest prospects in recent memory, is just getting started. That upper part of the Tampa Bay lineup, in which Franco and Cuban Randy Arozarena stand out, has the potential to be electric.

6. Yankees
7. Stars
8. Braves
9. Giants
10. Parents
11. Red Sox
12. Mets
13. Cardinals
14. Sailors
15. Phillies
16. Twins
17. Tigers
18. Angels
19. Marlins
20. Guardians
21. Royals
23. Puppies
25. Nationals
26. Reds
27. Athletics
28. D-backs
29. Pirates
30. Orioles

Voters: Alyson Footer, Anthony Castrovince, Paul Casella, Mark Feinsand, Nathalie Alonso, Mike Petriello, Sarah Langs, Andrew Simon, David Venn, Brett Blueweiss

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2022 Opening Day Power Rankings