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Thursday, February 21, 2013
Report cards: The final grades and rankings

By David Schoenfield

OK, now that I've finished all 30 offseason report cards, we can essentially use my final grades to give us Power Rankings (you can get all the report cards at the bottom of this page).

Washington Nationals: A
Atlanta Braves: A-
Cincinnati Reds: A-
Detroit Tigers: A-
Oakland A's: A-
St. Louis Cardinals: A-
Tampa Bay Rays: A-
Toronto Blue Jays: A-

Arizona Diamondbacks: B+
Los Angeles Angels: B+
Los Angeles Dodgers: B+
New York Yankees: B+
San Francisco Giants: B+
Texas Rangers: B+
Boston Red Sox: B
Philadelphia Phillies: B
Baltimore Orioles: B-
Milwaukee Brewers: B-
Seattle Mariners: B-

Chicago White Sox: C+
Kansas City Royals: C+
New York Mets: C+
Chicago Cubs: C
Cleveland Indians: C
Pittsburgh Pirates: C
San Diego Padres: C

Colorado Rockies: D+
Miami Marlins: D+
Minnesota Twins: D
Houston Astros: F

I wrote the Indians' report before they signed Michael Bourn, so you can probably increase their grade to a C+.

No big surprises here, although after eyeballing it I think I'm maybe half-grade too high on the Cardinals and half-grade too low on the Brewers. (As a I wrote yesterday, I think Milwaukee's rotation is better than people think.)

One thing is clear, however: Baseball continues to have better parity than it did a decade ago, improvement brought on just not by revenue sharing and manipulating the free-agent rules (the small-market Indians beating out the big-market Mets for Bourn's services), but by smarter front offices as well. Check out the average win totals for the top 10 teams since the last expansion in 1998:

1998 95.6
1999 96.4
2000 92.1
2001 94.8
2002 97.6
2003 94.2
2004 95.1
2005 93.2
2006 92.0
2007 91.4
2008 92.6
2009 92.8
2010 92.5
2011 94.0
2012 93.7

Compare 2002 to 2012, with a spread of about four wins on average, we're talking about re-distributing 40 wins from the best teams to other teams. If 88 or 89 wins can get you into the playoffs -- like it did last year for the Tigers and Cardinals -- there is added incentive to turn your 75-win club into an 80- or 85-win club and hope you catch a few breaks and sneak in. That's what we saw the Royals do this offseason; on paper, maybe they're a .500 club, but with a little luck (God knows they're due) maybe they're a playoff team.