It’s way too early, but ESPN’s Buster Olney released his offseason power rankings on Tuesday morning and both the Giants and the A’s were in the top five.
In fact, the Giants claimed the top spot as the defending World Champions. Here’s Olney’s take:
The World Series champ has been king of the mountain two of the past three seasons, and unlike last spring, there are no significant overriding questions.Buster Posey demonstrated he is all the way back. Even without Tim Lincecum pitching at a Cy Young level, th
e Giants’ pitching staff is deep, and they re-signed Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro. Time will tell what kind of condition Pablo Sandoval will be when he arrives in spring training, but the Panda wasn’t exactly svelte when the Giants won the World Series two months ago. They’ve earned this spot.
My take: There is no question that the Giants deserve the top spot after their fantastic postseason. They brought back Pagan and Scutaro, which was their goal all along, and now they will have the same starting lineup and pitching rotation as last year. However, we all know how 2011 turned out after the Giants brought back most of their players from the 2010 World Series’ team…
The up-and-coming Oakland A’s came in at number five on Olney’s list:
The defending AL West champions will have a more experienced Yoenis Cespedesin the middle of their lineup, and Brett Anderson at the front of their rotation all season long. The A’s pitching staff finished second in the AL in ERA last season, and over the second half of the season, the offense led the majors in runs scored. Their defense got even better with the addition of CF Chris Young. The Athletics don’t have as much money as the Angels or Rangers, but they appear to be the best team in the division.
My take: With Josh Hamilton signing with the Angels, it’s hard not to place the Halos as favorites to win the AL West. But the A’s have shown that they can compete with the best in baseball, and with their spectacular pitching staff, they just may pull off another division title. Plus, if Hiroyuki Nakajima plays at the same level as he did in Japan, the A’s may have yet another secret weapon in their lineup.
Bottom line: You know it’s a great time to be a Bay Area baseball fan when both the Giants and A’s are in the top five of ESPN’s power rankings. Yes, that’s the Eastern Sports Programming Network we’re talking about here.