Power rankings are typically not the most accurate rankings for anything. Rather, they are just a subjective pulse on how teams are performing at the moment. Power rankings are especially flawed when they are published months before the season. That said, MLB.Com released its first rankings of 2023, and they paint a bleak picture for the SF Giants.
MLB.Com's Power Rankings for 2023 paint bleak picture for SF Giants
Not surprisingly, the San Diego Padres (No. 4) and Los Angeles Dodgers (No. 7) are ranked far ahead of the Giants. Both teams reached the playoffs in 2022 with the latter winning 111 games. In a bit of an oddity, the Dodgers being outside of the top five is not a place they have spent much time in recent seasons.
However, the Dodgers have not upgraded the roster and watched as star shortstop Trea Turner joined the Philadelphia Phillies on an 11-year, $300 million deal.
On the other hand, the Padres continue to bolster the roster after signing Xander Bogaerts to an 11-year, $288 mllion pact. He joins a lineup that will feature Manny Machado, Juan Soto, and Fernando Tatis Jr. That is going to be a tough lineup for pitchers.
The first power rankings of the year have the Giants at No. 20. The Arizona Diamondbacks are right behind them at No. 21 with the Colorado Rockies rounding out the NL West at No. 24. There is no doubt that the NL West is poised to be a tough division next year.
No. 20 for the Giants might be a little low. Obviously, the key loss for them is Carlos Rodón. The front office does not like handing out long-term contracts, so Rodón was unlikely to return given that he signed a six-year deal with the New York Yankees.
That said, the Giants pitching staff has been a strength since the start of 2019, posting a 3.92 ERA, which ranks as the eighth-best mark in baseball. Can they replace Rodón's value in the rotation? That is unlikely, but they have generally gotten the best out of pitchers in recent years.
The key additions the Giants have made include Ross Stripling, Sean Manaea, Mitch Haniger, Michael Conforto, and Taylor Rogers. Stripling is coming off of a strong season, posting a 3.01 ERA in 32 appearances for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Conforto, Haniger, Manaea, and Rogers battled some combination of injury or ineffectiveness last year. Can any or all of them rebound in 2023? It is possible. They all have a track record of success.
So, is No. 20 an appropriate spot for the Giants in the first power rankings? I do not know if teams like the Texas Rangers (No. 12), Chicago White Sox (No. 16), Minnesota Twins (No. 17), and Chicago Cubs (No. 19) are obviously better than the Giants as currently constructed.
The Cubs have been very busy this winter, adding both Jameson Taillon and Dansby Swanson to multi-year contracts. That said, I do not know if activity equals improvement in this regard. The Twins have been quiet, whereas the White Sox have Andrew Benintendi.
The Rangers have been one of the more aggressive teams in recent seasons, but does an offseason headlined by signing Jacob deGrom equate to 12 - 15 more wins than in 2022? It is possible, but I have my doubts.
The Giants added a lot of depth to the roster, but did not necessarily add impact talent. That is likely what is holding their rankings down. Then again, it is only the beginning of January, so the rankings do not carry much weight. It is a fun exercise while we wait for baseball.