The New York Yankees captured their 27th world championship in 2009, winning their first World Series since 2000.
With the Red Sox and Rays both looking strong, will the Yankees have enough to fend them off in the AL East?
In the National League, the Phillies made their second consecutive World Series trip last season, but should face more competition in the NL East with the retooled Braves and Marlins each looking to make some noise.
So, how do they stack up on the day before Opening Night?
1. New York Yankees
The defending champs are on top to start things off, and they’re likely going to have to win close to 100 games again if they want to regain the AL East crown.
2. Philadelphia Phillies
The Phils have the best team in the NL on paper, but will it translate to a third straight World Series berth?
3. Boston Red Sox
Boston’s pitching staff appears as loaded as ever, and they’ll also be boasting one of the league’s most powerful lineups.
4. St. Louis Cardinals
They have one of the best 1-2 punches at the top of the rotation in all of baseball, and the lineup featuring Pujols, Holliday, Ludwick, and Rasmus is no slouch, either.
5. Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays appear to be the Oklahoma City Thunder of baseball, featuring a plethora of home-grown talent that has blossomed into one of the most complete teams in the American League.
6. Los Angeles Angels
Many have them losing the division in favor of the popular Rangers, but they’ll likely be better than people think.
7. Colorado Rockies
The Rockies have enjoyed huge late-season surges in two of the last three seasons, and now look strong enough to be able to remain a consistent powerhouse all season long.
8. Atlanta Braves
The Braves were one of the league’s most impressive teams throughout Spring Training, and hope to let manager Bobby Cox retire as a champion.
9. Minnesota Twins
They were able to lock up Joe Mauer for the foreseeable future, and look to open Target Field in style with another division title.
Will they be able to stay with a Rockies team with huge expectations? They’re going to need a bounce-back year from Manny Ramirez.
11. Texas Rangers
The Rangers have pretty big expectations from many, but they’re going to need their largely-unproven rotation to stay consistent in order to continue to climb.
12. San Francisco Giants
Can one of the strongest starting staffs in all of baseball make up for a lack of much offensive firepower?
13. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox got the steal of the deadline with Jake Peavy last year, and a healthy Carlos Quentin all season long would be a huge bonus.
14. Seattle Mariners
Hernandez and Lee should be strong at the top, but can this team hit at all?
15. Florida Marlins
Solid lineup, but can they get consistency from the rotation after Josh Johnson?
16. Detroit Tigers
Will Dontrelle Willis be able to handle the fifth slot in the rotation? The two rookies, Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore, will be interesting to watch at the top of the order.
17. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs were a mess last season, but the departure of Milton Bradley should help calm things down in the locker room. They’re also going to need a bounce-back year from Alfonso Soriano in order to have a bounce-back year of their own.
18. Arizona Diamondbacks
The news that Brandon Webb could miss at least the first few months of the season is a real killer, considering how much they struggled without him last season.
19. Cincinnati Reds
It’ll be interesting to see how soon Aroldis Chapman gets the call to the big leagues, as well as how Mike Leake will fare as the fifth starter after skipping the minors completely.
The Brewers have a solid lineup, but will need consistency from the 3-5 starters in order to contend for anything in the NL Central.
21. New York Mets
The Mets were an injury-laden circus last season, on their way to 92 losses. Starting the season without Beltran and Reyes in the lineup doesn’t help things, either.
22. Cleveland Indians
Cleveland’s rotation is largely inexperienced, but will be boosted in a major way if Fausto Carmona is able to continue what he’s done so far in Spring Training.
23. Baltimore Orioles
Behind veterans Kevin Millwood and Jeremy Guthrie at the top, none of the last three starters in the rotation is older than 24. Catcher Matt Wieters is expected to make a huge leap in his first full season in the bigs.
24. Houston Astros
Much of the pitching staff remains a huge question mark, but the lineup is expected to be able to do some damage.
25. Oakland Athletics
Like the Mariners, the A’s should be able to pitch and play good defense, but how are they going to score enough runs?
26. San Diego Padres
Speaking of run-scoring questions, if they end up trading Adrian Gonzalez, will the Padres ever score again?
27. Washington Nationals
Once Stephen Strasburg comes up, their rotation actually looks pretty decent. Combine that with a solid lineup and you’re looking at a much-improved team.
28. Toronto Blue Jays
Ricky Romero assumes the duty as ace with Roy Halladay finally gone, and the Jays got a steal by signing slugger Adam Lind to a four-year, $18 million contract Saturday.
29. Pittsburgh Pirates
They’re not going to be close to contending for anything, but Andrew McCutchen could emerge as a star-caliber player.
30. Kansas City Royals
After making a bunch of questionable moves in the offseason, the Royals are looking poised for…nothing…again.