WHO IS ELITE?

Barry Laminack: Breaking down the MLB teams -- who are the real contenders?

The Yankees will be among baseball's elite. Abbie Parr/Getty Images

It's Thursday, March 15 which means March Madness is officially underway and if you read my article from last week you know that I don't give a bleep, so let's talk some baseball!

I’ll do a division-by-division breakdown as we get close to opening day, and with a few key free agents still out on the open market, things could change a little between now and then.

For today's exercise, here are the categories we’ll be using to group teams:

Elite (90+ wins) - The best of the best. Any of these teams could end up in the World Series.

Good (80-89 wins) - These are the teams that should be in the wild card hunt all year.

Undecided (75-85 wins) - Teams that could end up being in the hunt for a wild card, but could also not reach 80 wins. These teams either have health or rotation questions (or both).

Close (65-75 wins) - Teams that are in the midst of a rebuild but could be good in the next couple of years.

Bad (<65 wins) - Teams that are starting a rebuild (or should be starting a rebuild) and are going to suck for the next 4-plus years.

Elite

Chicago Cubs

Cleveland Indians

Houston Astros

Los Angeles Dodgers

New York Yankees

Washington Nationals

Good

Arizona Diamondbacks

Boston Red Sox

Colorado Rockies

Los Angeles Angels

Milwaukee Brewers

Minnesota Twins

St. Louis Cardinals

Undecided

New York Mets

Seattle Mariners

San Francisco Giants

Texas Rangers

Toronto Blue Jays

Close

Atlanta Braves

Chicago White Sox

Philadelphia Phillies

Bad

Baltimore Orioles

Cincinnati Reds

Detroit Tigers

Kansas City Royals

Miami Marlins

Oakland Athletics

Pittsburgh Pirates

Tampa Bay Rays

San Diego Padres

Last year I made a pretty bold prediction in saying that the Rockies would make the playoffs (I had one guy tell me I didn’t know sh-- about baseball and should be kicked off the radio because of this prediction), so what’s my bold prediction for this year?

You’ll have to wait a week or two.

 

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The Astros have now lost five straight games and the starting pitching and bullpen have let them down over that stretch. Cristian Javier was recently demoted to help him build up his stamina so that he can pitch deeper in games as the team's 5th starter when the schedule demands a 5-man starting rotation. But in the meantime, the Astros could desperately use his help out of the bullpen, and he's likely headed for relief duty when Framber Valdez returns from injury anyway. So this begs the question, is a role as the team's fifth starter the best way to maximize Javier's abilities? Check out the video to find out.

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