Which Losing Team From A Year Ago Has The Most Upside In 2019?
This is one of 10 burning questions in our 2019 MLB season preview. To see all of our bold predictions, click here. All answers to the question are from Baseball America’s editorial team.
Teddy Cahill: Mets. I’m not fully sold on the Mets’ offseason moves, but there’s no doubt there’s upside if the rotation stays healthy and Robinson Cano finds his previous form. That’s a big if, but there could be a big turnaround in Queens.
Justin Coleman: Mets. Brodie Van Wagenen has shored up areas of weakness for New York, bolstering one of the worst bullpens from 2018. The numerous position player additions will help the club to be versatile around both the infield and outfield, with a starting pitching staff that should be one of the best in baseball.
J.J. Cooper: Reds. Cincinnati has done everything possible to improve a perennial cellar-dweller. Cincinnati already had an excellent infield. Their starting rotation had been awful, so they added Sonny Gray, Alex Wood and Tanner Roark. Yasiel Puig should mash at Great American Ball Park. The only concern is that almost all of these additions are only signed for 2019 and the NL Central is a very competitive division. Even if the Reds are 20 games better in 2019, that might not be enough to earn a playoff spot.
Matt Eddy: Padres. The pitchers are coming—finally. The Padres ranked last in the NL in starters’ ERA last season, but between growth from 2018 rookie Joey Lucchesi and the potential offered by prospects Chris Paddack, Logan Allen and Cal Quantrill, San Diego could remake its rotation on the run. A new middle infield of Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias will be in place in the second half to complement Manny Machado.
Kyle Glaser: Reds. A team has gone from last place to the playoffs each of the last four seasons (2015 Rangers, 2016 Red Sox, 2017 Twins, 2018 Athletics). With the substantial offseason upgrades to their lineup, rotation and overall depth, the Reds are the most likely of the last-place teams to replicate the feat this year.
Kegan Lowe: Angels. Eventually the game’s best player is going to enjoy some more team success, right? I don’t think signing the likes of Justin Bour, Jonathan Lucroy, Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill are necessarily groundbreaking moves, but here’s to hoping it pushes Mike Trout and the Angels into October for the first time in five years. Major League Baseball would be better for it.
Josh Norris: Phillies. They spent the “stupid money” their owner talked about at the outset of the offseason, and the moves they made should help boost them to the top of the NL East and into the playoffs for the first time since 2011.