MLB | Confibilty Rankings 1.0
Confibility is a word I made up (I think?) that has a simple meaning if you were able to (assuming it is not a real word) look it up in a dictionary: How much confidence do I have in a team’s ability to win? That’s Confibility. Confibility rankings are like power rankings, but not quite power rankings, either.
You see, power rankings are a list of how good teams are based on numbers, data, etc. Confibility rankings are how much stock are you buying in a particular team, or how much you believe in them.
For example, the Astros won 107 games last season, which would put them very high in any power rankings. However, my confidence in their ability to win a championship-especially after what has happened the last few years, *bang*-would not be as high. Hopefully, that makes sense.
In the very first edition of the Confibility rankings, I will be focusing on Major League Baseball. For this exercise, I used baseball’s rating scale (20-80) and put the teams into four tiers. For those who don’t know, baseball has a 20-80 rating system. If a player has a rating of 20-30 in a certain attribute (hitting, fielding, etc), that means they are well below average in that skill. A 40 rating is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average, and 70-80 is well above average. The rest is self-explanatory. Now, let’s get into Confibility rankings 1.0, Major League Baseball edition.
Tier 4 - 20 - The Bottom of the League: Teams that won’t make any noise in 2020 (2019 win-loss in parentheses)
30. Baltimore Orioles (57-108)
29. Detroit Tigers (47-114)
28. Pittsburgh Pirates (69-93)
27. Seattle Mariners (68-94)
26. Miami Marlins (57-105)
25. Kansas City Royals (59-103)
24. San Francisco Giants (77-85)
23. Colorado Rockies (71-91)
There is not much to be said above these eight teams. Most of them were horrible in 2019 and will be again in 2020. The others will regress from their 2019 records, even if they were subpar anyway (looking at you San Francisco and Colorado). Also, the Pirates may be too low but I do not see how the product they put on the field in 2020 will win more than 65 games. The rest of the teams mentioned on the list have talent, but they are too far away from the majors at the moment to put forth any positive win-loss record in 2020.
Tier 3 - 40 - The Underdogs: Teams that I just do not know enough about yet
22. Texas Rangers (78-84)
21. Arizona Diamondbacks (85-77)
20. Toronto Blue Jays (67-95)
19. Philadelphia Phillies (81-81)
The four teams here are considered underdogs for different reasons. The Rangers won’t be horrible in 2020, but they will not be good, either. They will just be okay. Lance Lynn and Mike Minor carried their pitching staff last season but will turn 33 and 32 respectively, the acquisition of pitcher Corey Kluber is nice on paper, but with his recent health issues and heavy milage on the 34-year-old’s arm, I am skeptical of how well the staff will do. The offense will rake led by Joey Gallo, but whether or not the pitching can keep up is the big question.
The Blue Jays being 20th on this list despite having the fifth-worst record in the majors last season speaks volumes to how much general manager Ross Atkins and company has done on rebuilding the Blue Jays to this point. The growth of Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, and others in 2020 will be huge for Toronto’s future success.
Arizona and Philadelphia are two teams that go into 2020 with the most unknowns. For Arizona, pitcher Madison Bumgarner was the big fish they signed in free agency, but a slight injury history and being on the wrong side of his prime makes me skeptical. Philadelphia has more holes than a golf course on the pitching side, despite having “stupid money” to spend on free agents. For both Arizona and Philadelphia (and I suppose every team in this tier), it is more of a wait-and-see approach. Once games are played, a better understanding will be had about these teams.
Tier 2 - 60 - The Darkhorses: Teams that aren’t the favorites, but don’t be surprised if they play in the World Series, or the League Championship Series at the very least.
18. Chicago Cubs (84-78)
17. Los Angeles Angels (72-90)
16. New York Mets (86-76)
15. Boston Red Sox (84-78)
14. St. Louis Cardinals (91-71)
13. San Diego Padres (70-92)
12. Milwaukee Brewers (89-73)
11. Chicago White Sox (72-89)
10. Cincinnati Reds (75-87)
This list may have a few surprises as far as where certain teams are ranked, so here is my rationale: the Cubs, Angels, Mets, and Red Sox all have uncertainty heading into 2020 -- all have new managers (not to forget the Mets hired two managers in three months!) -- which is why despite their high records in 2019, they are ranked low in the second-tier of the confibility rankings.
The Cardinals and Brewers are the only two teams from this tier that you could make an argument for tier-one. Both teams will be good in 2020, but I believe not good enough to win the World Series. The Padres, White Sox, and Reds all improved dramatically over the past two offseasons, despite 75 wins being the highest win total amongst the three teams in 2019. All three of those teams will win a World Series in the next decade, as all three have stockpiled talent for numerous years to get back to this point. The growth and development of the Reds, Padres, and White Sox prospects, along with the ability to mesh well with the veteran free-agent acquisitions in 2020, will prove huge dividends going forward.
Tier 1 - 80 - The Favorites: Anything but hoisting the World Series trophy at the end of the season will reek of disappointment.
9. Cleveland Indians (93-69)
8. Atlanta Braves (97-65)
7. Oakland Athletics (97-65)
6. Washington Nationals (93-69)
5. Houston Astros (107-55)
4. Tampa Bay Rays (96-66)
3. Minnesota Twins (101-61)
2. New York Yankees (103-59)
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (106-56)
The Oakland Athletics and Atlanta Braves almost won 100 games last year, and the youthfulness that has blossomed into stars for both Atlanta and Oakland means that they could cross the 100-win plateau in 2020.
The Indians were the only team in this tier that I had doubts about putting here. Their window of World Series contention is closing quickly and that they will soon face the decision of trading superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor, so the clock is ticking.
On May 23 last season, the Washington Nationals had a record of 19-31, which was the second-worst record in the National League. The team went 74-38 down the stretch and will bring back most of the talent from their World Series team.
The Dodgers and Yankees are the two best teams in baseball without a doubt, however, I almost put the Nationals at number one on the list out of respect for the defending champions.
The Yankees reeled in the biggest free-agent fish this offseason in pitcher Gerrit Cole, who adds to their rotation that already features the likes of James Paxton and Luis Severino (once he returns in 2021 from Tommy John surgery).
The Dodgers have the best 25-and-under pitcher Walker Buehler as a rotation anchor going forward, and already has superstar pitcher Clayton Kershaw to be the number two. Oh, did I mention that they also acquired a 27-year-old superstar outfield in Mookie Betts who won the Most Valuable Player award just two years for practically nothing from the Boston Red Sox AND received pitcher David Price in the Betts trade just because Boston wanted to get rid of him? Did I also mention that they already had a 24-year-old MVP in Cody Bellinger on their roster to go along with first baseman Max Muncy and shortstop Gavin Lux? Yeah, the Dodgers should win a lot of games in 2020.
The Astros won 107 games, but with the cheating scandal and public ridicule and dark clouds that have come as a consequence will continue to follow for the foreseeable future. They will certainly struggle in 2020 to maintain their composure.
Finally, the Rays and Twins are probably the most surprising amongst this tier based on where they are ranked. However, let me be the first to say that the Twins and Rays will be really good in 2020, and should be at the top on anyone’s list when it comes to competing for a World Series Trophy. Minnesota will mash a bazillion home runs, and on the rare occasion that their offense doesn’t produce, the pitching staff will be there to back them up. Tampa Bay on the other hand is managed by Kevin Cash, who is known for his chaotic managing styles. Starting relievers, players playing out of position, you name it, Cash has done it, so out of all the teams to thrive in a chaotic and unusual season, the Rays should be in the discussion.
There you have it, the first installment of the confibility rankings. Once the season begins, they will be updated when necessary, reflecting on how I am feeling about teams and their situations. Who knows, maybe a team in tier four could hop into tier 1 by the end of the season.