Power Rankings: Best and worst case for every team

Oh, and then they proceed to fall off a cliff down the stretch. If all of those things happen, the Red Sox will have more than enough to three-peat as AL East champs and actually go deep in the postseason this time. It doesn't hurt that he's a Coral Springs product. Vegas Odds and Lines for MLB

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Will the Yankees bash their way to a title? Can the Dodgers get one more win and bring the trophy back to L. For every team, we identified the best- and worst-case scenarios and the one player who could make or break the season.

Ace Justin Verlander not only picks up where he left off last season but also helps new Astro Gerrit Cole rediscover his inner-first-rounder. Carlos Correa keeps all his ligaments intact and gives teammate Jose Altuve a run for his money in trying to become just the second AL player this century to win back-to-back MVP titles.

Houston becomes the first team since to repeat as World Series champs. Two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani goes versus the Astros including a perfect game , while hitting. Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers miss time once again, and even worse, they infect Verlander with the injury bug.

The Astros become the 10th squad since to miss the playoffs the season after winning it all. The Stros went when Correa was healthy. During the six weeks he missed due to a thumb injury, they were No wonder the year-old shortstop finished 17th in the MVP voting, despite playing just games.

Crazy thing is, based on his 5. It's championship or bust for a Dodgers team that came one stinking win from taking it all in While no one in L. Just two arms that can ease the burden of Roberts' postseason bullpen.

There is so much redundancy built into the Dodgers' roster that it almost feels immune to worst-case scenarios. But they exist for everyone. All teams, even the Dodgers, rely on a certain bit of star power. If Justin Turner 's wrist injury lingers and ruins his season, and if Corey Seager 's elbow becomes a bigger problem, and if Cody Bellinger 's strikeout-heavy cold stretches become a strikeout-heavy cold season, and if Kershaw's back problems resurface, and if Kenley Jansen's hamstring pops Still, a lot of things have to go wrong to keep the Dodgers from the ranks of the elite.

Seager is probably the closest thing to a make-or-break player that the Dodgers have. If his elbow keeps him out of the lineup or unable to make the requisite throws from shortstop -- and there has been no indication this spring that will be the case -- then it creates an unfortunate domino effect.

Chris Taylor can play there, as can Enrique Hernandez. But if Taylor is taken out of center field, it creates a defensive hole at that spot, and Hernandez is valuable as a utility guy but might not be able to start against righties, anyway.

It would simplify matters if Seager's elbow stays sound. A 28th World Series ring is well within the realm of possibility for the Yankees in With a well-developed farm system that's paying dividends and after a few shrewd offseason moves, their power arms and power bats have them well-positioned to win big this season. Last year's earlier-than-expected appearance in the ALCS ought to also help first-year manager Aaron Boone's young yet experienced club.

Health is a concern for every team at this point, but it is especially so for a team as carefully constructed as the Yankees. Such concerns caused New York to focus this spring on building defensive depth and looking for versatility both within the lineup and out of the bullpen.

If the Yanks' season goes unexpectedly sideways, it likely would be due to key injuries that were tougher to overcome than anticipated. This superstar-laden man roster won't have many "break" players this year.

That's especially true in the lineup, where the effects of one slumping player shouldn't have a deleterious domino effect. In fact, certain players will benefit from this deep lineup. Catcher Gary Sanchez definitely should, and he could be the biggest breakout player. His offseason defensive tweaks also should directly impact the Yankees. The Indians are coming off a win season, the fourth-best win percentage in franchise history, and given that almost everybody is back, it's World Series or bust for a team that hasn't won it all since The rotation is too good to collapse unless there is a slew of injuries and Danny Salazar is already fighting a sore shoulder , but maybe the offense falls apart, especially if Edwin Encarnacion suddenly gets old, Ramirez regresses to good rather than great, Bradley Zimmer doesn't hit, and Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis can't stay on the field.

It's no coincidence that the Indians lost in the ALDS to the Yankees when Kluber pitched through a back issue and was ineffective, getting shelled in Game 2 and failing to get past the fourth inning in Game 5. Stephen Strasburg makes 33 starts, plus another five in the playoffs, and the Nats -- who have never won a single playoff series -- win three this time.

On top of that, Washington loses a key player to a freak injury at precisely the wrong time for a third straight season see: Wilson Ramos in '16, Harper in ' If all that happens, the high-ceiling Nats will slip and fall on their high floor, making yet another early playoff exit. A versatile hitter who was one of only five big leaguers with more walks than whiffs last year, his steady glove work gets overlooked at a position that has been home to flashy fielders such as Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado.

On a loaded Washington roster, the year-old third baseman might be the best of the bunch. He's certainly the most valuable -- at least he was last season, when his 6. If the Cubs are as good on the playing field as they are on paper, then winning games is not out of the question. They're talented and deep in most areas and had little drama in camp, as they boast established players all over the field.

A not impossible scenario has seven position players hitting at least 20 home runs. The Cubs were good before they added Yu Darvish. They could really be special again.

Like most bullpens on contending teams, the Cubs have a collection of good arms, but almost all have had their ups and downs or have been hurt in the past. Another thing to watch is how the offense fares against great pitching. The offense is too deep to rely on one player, and the starting staff is top-heavy, so a smooth start to the year lands on Morrow's shoulders.

The former starter has had his arm problems in the past, but the Cubs saw a dominant setup man all last season with the Dodgers and snared him to be their guy in the ninth inning. If he succeeds, the team is on easy street. If Joe Maddon has to go to Plan B, it could put the bullpen in a state of flux. Martinez lengthens -- and more significantly, strengthens -- the lineup that produced the fewest home runs in the American League last season, the top of the rotation remains healthy, and the many players who underperformed last year relative to their numbers bounce back in a big way.

If all of those things happen, the Red Sox will have more than enough to three-peat as AL East champs and actually go deep in the postseason this time. Like any team, the Red Sox could be torpedoed by injuries to a cornerstone player or two.

But attitude could derail them, too. In hindsight, several players admitted that last year's team was too tightly wound, weighed down by the daily pressures of winning in Boston.

First-year manager Alex Cora was hired to bring a more positive atmosphere and to communicate more effectively with players than predecessor John Farrell. His ability to do those things will matter even more than his understanding of X's and O's. If healthy, Price will pair with Chris Sale to give the Sox a dominant one-two punch atop the rotation. But Price also must be a more positive influence in the clubhouse. His "us-against-the-world" act last season wore thin quickly.

While hopes are high that Marcell Ozuna can boost the offense with the power bat it missed last season, the Cardinals' best chance to break into baseball's elite lies with its deep starting rotation. Louis needs runs to hang with the deep rosters of the Cubs, Dodgers and Nationals, but if the Cards break through with a surprise NL pennant, it'll be because they outpitched their chief rivals with more high-quality innings from their rotation than their opponents can muster.

If Ozuna returns to his pre levels, it might lead to a worsened attack. That's not because the old version of Ozuna was a bad player.

No, it's more because last year's Cardinals outfield was actually pretty good and needs the improved Ozuna to up its production. Meanwhile, for all that rotation depth we're emphasizing, the Cardinals are headed into the season without a clear-cut bullpen pecking order.

Maybe it works, or maybe leads start disappearing en masse. After missing the entire season, this much remains true of pitcher Alex Reyes: No one on the Redbirds' staff can match his upside.

Reyes' role for the coming season remains unclear while the club tries to figure out the best way to leverage his immense talent while protecting him during his first season after elbow surgery.

A healthy and resilient Reyes could be the ingredient that allows the St. Louis pitching staff to crystallize into something special. The best player in baseball not only is the best player in baseball but also has his best season -- not unreasonable, given that Mike Trout set career highs in OBP and slugging last year albeit in a year shortened by injury.

Shohei Ohtani is the real deal on the mound and contributes at DH. The six-man rotation works. They win 95 games and the AL West. Trout is great, and everyone else isn't. The Angels end up with the worst production in the league at first base and DH with Albert Pujols , Ohtani and friends. Ohtani struggles on the mound, and Garrett Richards makes just six starts for a third straight season. The Angels finish under. It has to be Ohtani. The Angels are counting on him for 25 or so starts at a high level and, given that they jettisoned C.

Cron , to serve as a semi-regular DH as well. Ohtani could end up the most exciting player in the league or an overhyped disappointment. The Brewers needed help on offense after a dismal second half, so the additions of Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain could be difference-makers.

If the staff pitches like it did in and the offense takes a step up behind the two newcomers, watch out, because the Brewers' strength could be in their bullpen, at least at the back end. Closer Corey Knebel and flamethrower Josh Hader lead a solid group.

Ninety or more wins is a possibility. The Brewers could be exposed in the back end of their rotation, as they did very little to improve in that important area. Chase Anderson and Zach Davies are solid, but the team will miss righty Jimmy Nelson while he recovers from shoulder surgery. There's no covering for holes in the starting staff unless the Brewers are willing to abuse Hader, who can pitch multiple innings out of the pen. The lack of starting depth could drop the Brewers' win total into the mid-to-low 80s.

Free-agent addition Jhoulys Chacin could be a key for the Brewers. The year-old produced a nifty 1. Considering the Brewers' lack of depth in the starting staff -- at least at the major league level -- they'll need that kind of durability out of Chacin to compete. If Nelson returns to form, it will take some pressure off the other starters, but for now, the newcomer on the staff has a spotlight on him.

Don't tell the Twins that simply winning a wild card again will be enough. They could beat the Indians if the offense mashes like it did over the final two months. Logan Morrison , Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano could combine for home runs, and maybe Byron Buxton becomes one of the best players in the league.

If Jake Odorizzi and Lance Lynn post sub The Twins went from 59 to 85 wins, so maybe their true talent level is somewhere in between. Odorizzi and Lynn could easily struggle, and the rotation could remain an issue.

Fernando Rodney implodes as closer. Buxton is more first-half Buxton than second-half Buxton. The Royals, White Sox and Tigers aren't as awful as expected, and the Twins don't go against them again.

Jose Berrios showed flashes of ace potential in going with a 3. If the changeup improves -- batters slugged. With this rotation, the Diamondbacks can think big, like World Series big. Robbie Ray had a breakout , and Zack Godley and Taijuan Walker could become household names in Paul Goldschmidt has two MVP runner-up finishes and was third last year. This is the year he wins it. Zack Greinke 's sore groin and diminished velocity are a sign of things to come. Godley and Walker regress rather than break out, and the lack of rotation depth behind the top five is exposed.

Outside of Goldy, the offense isn't that good Steven Souza Jr. Martinez , and even Goldy hits only 23 home runs because of the new humidor. Can you say 77 wins? A lot is riding on Greinke, and while you never want to rely too much on spring training velocity numbers, there has to be concern that he topped out at 87 mph before the groin injury. There's a big difference between the 2. Carlos Gonzalez hits all season like he did last September.

Jon Gray makes 33 starts and wins 20 games. Last year's surprise rookie starters are this year's sophomore disappointments. Gonzalez is again terrible for five months. McMahon's ZiPS projection of 0. Outside of Blackmon and Arenado, the offense wasn't really any good last year.

The Rockies are counting on McMahon to deliver big numbers at first base and provide some offense away from Coors Field. The longest playoff drought in the majors ends after 16 seasons! Heck, Mariners fans will settle for a wild-card game on the road. For that, they'll need 60 starts from James Paxton and Felix Hernandez and for Marco Gonzales , who looked good in spring training, to be a big surprise.

The offense is good enough, especially if Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager have better seasons and Mitch Haniger turns in a 5. Counting on Felix and now Ichiro? Is this or ? The Mariners are already banged up in spring training -- granted, mostly minor injuries, it seems -- but in a tough AL West, with rotation issues and potential age issues in the lineup, things could quickly fall apart as the Mariners plummet to the cellar and 95 losses.

They obviously need somebody to step up behind Paxton in the rotation, but Cano's Mariners career has been a yo-yo: He's entering his age season. Does he have one more big season? That could mean an extra three or four wins.