As I’m looking at the predictions being churned out by the TOC staffers (which will be released in a comprehensive post on Wednesday), and the picks of analysts and writers all around the internet, one key thing is coming to mind: there isn’t a consensus for the best team in baseball.
Our staff predictions thusfar (with a couple of ballots still outstanding) feature four different AL teams winning the pennant. Six different teams have been picked to win the NL pennant. Four different World Champions have been chosen. The only consensus division winner so far is the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central. Nine different NL teams have been chosen to make the playoffs, while seven from the AL have been chosen.
Every team that can stake a claim to being the best in baseball has a flaw that can be weighed differently by each person who looks at it.
Rays: they’re a relatively young team, especially in the starting rotation.
Yankees: they’re a relatively old team, and their starting rotation is a mess right now
Red Sox: they had a tumultous offseason, and their rotation will feature a pair of rookies on Opening Day
Tigers: they may be the worst defensive team in baseball history
Rangers: they’ve won two straight AL pennants, but replaced their staff ace with a Japanese import
Angels: they have two really ugly contracts for players that are a drain on the team, and one of them is holding back a top three prospect
Phillies: their infield is in shambles right now
Marlins: they’re the offseason champions, but haven’t won a thing in their brand spanking new ballpark
Cardinals: sure, they’re the defending champions…but they just lost one of the franchise’s biggest icons this offseason
Brewers: the reigning NL MVP is a Brewer, but his partner in crime is across Lake Michigan
Diamondbacks: they’re also a very young team, and have some wild cards on offense
Giants: their offense is an absolute disaster zone
Out of all of the teams in the league, I’d probably say the Angels look the best on paper. No injury concerns, a good offense, a good pitching staff…they look like the clubhouse favorites right now. But with the state of the league right now, things can turn in an instant, and another team can step up and look like world beaters. And besides, what the hell do we know? The only two games that have happened so far were between a pair of teams fighting for third place in a four team division this year.