20) MLB Power Rankings: Detroit Tigers
A team clearly on the rise, can the Detroit Tigers surprise the baseball world and take advantage of the expanded playoffs? The tougher American League East and West will have something to say about it. This leaves the best option for Detroit to capture the American League Central which remains wide open.
Most of the stories about the Tigers this year will focus on their young players now that Miguel Cabrera’s 3,000th hit is out of the way. Is Spencer Torkelson prepared to become a star? What can Casey Mize or Matt Manning provide them? Along the way, maybe they show signs of getting back into relevancy.
19) MLB Power Rankings: Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies front office believed they could turn the franchise around by adding a lot of power to the lineup. Through the first few weeks of the season, it hasn’t worked out as perfectly as planned.
Still dangerous, the team has some major flaws when they aren’t up at the plate. More disappointing, the hitters aren’t looking anything like they should have. Zack Wheeler has underperformed, too. The team needs to get their act together.
18) MLB Power Rankings: Chicago White Sox
How concerned should Chicago White Sox fans be about their club? It’s early so their fingers shouldn’t be all over the panic button just yet. What is clear is that they won’t waltz away from the 2022 season with an American League Central title.
They have played okay early on but the division looks much more evenly matched than they planned. Injuries to the starting rotation are one of the biggest factors as to why they have seen some early struggles. They may slip a little in the power rankings but shouldn’t slide out of the division race anytime soon.
17) MLB Power Rankings: Houston Astros
This could be the year when the Houston Astros fall from grace. Their division got much tougher in the offseason. Everyone got older. The team lost a core piece when Carlos Correa departed.
For Houston, the key is to simply get to the postseason. Once there, their experience could hold the key to winning it all. Unfortunately, they haven’t looked as good as some of their American League West competitors. Falling behind too far too soon could be the worst thing to happen to them since, well, a lot of events over the last few seasons.
16) MLB Power Rankings: Atlanta Braves
World Series hangover, anybody? Any thought that the Atlanta Braves are done yet should be immediately kicked to the curb. In fact, it may be exactly where they want to be. A key to their 2021 success was solving problems in the fly with some tremendous trade deadline pickups.
Certainly not what they actually had planned to repeat as champions, the Braves are sliding down the rankings. The return of Ronald Acuña Jr. will hopefully spark something in a struggling offense. Otherwise, this could turn into a massive fall from grace for a team that still looked capable of winning a lot of games.