MLB 2024 Watchability Index: Ranking most fun teams to watch

ByDavid Schoenfield ESPN logo
Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Welcome to the 2024 MLB Watchability Index! As ESPN NBA writer Zach Lowe would say -- and we're stealing this idea from his annual League Pass rankings -- these are NOT power rankings, but watchability ratings. Imagine you're sitting at home on a Saturday evening and you want to watch a baseball game, but perhaps your favorite team has already played. Which teams do you most want to watch? This is that list.

We've created a super complex formula to score teams in seven different categories, creating a possible maximum score of 50. These categories fit into the general idea of: "What makes baseball exciting?"

First, the 10-point categories (on a scale of 1-10 points maximum):

Star power: This is based off our annual MLB Rank of the top 100 players of the season, with points rewarded on how many players a team had in the top 100 and how high they ranked.

Youth: We love young players -- especially promising, young players. I looked at each team's projected FanGraphs WAR from players in their first or second seasons in the majors.

Baserunning: The new rules helped bring speed back into the game last season with more stolen bases, creating a more exciting -- and watchable -- version of baseball. I used FanGraphs' team baserunning metric (which factors in stolen bases and running the bases) from last season, making some adjustments for major roster changes or additions.

And then there are the 5-point categories (on a scale of 1-5 points maximum):

4-and 5-star catches: The Baseball Savant site lists catch probability for outfielders, including the number of 4-star plays (catch probability of 26-50%) and 5-star plays (probability of 0-25%). Even 4-star catches are pretty rare.Ronald Acuna Jr., for example, had no 4-star catches last season. I looked at last year's totals and again made estimated adjustments as necessary.

425-plus-foot home runs: Long home runs are extra fun, so I looked at last year's totals as a baseline. The league leader was somebody who signed a very large contract in the offseason.

Minutiae: Ballpark, uniforms, mascots, unintentional comedy, etc. It's more pleasing to watch a game from Wrigley than, say, Tropicana Field.

Bonus section: Anything else I want to add for a team at my whim, up to a maximum of five points.

Let's dive right into it, starting with the lowest-scoring teams -- i.e. the least watchable -- and finishing with the highest-scoring teams that you should drop everything to sit down and watch. (The point total is next to each team's name.)

30. Washington Nationals (11.5)

Star power: 1 | Youth: 2 | Baserunning: 4.5 | Catches: 1 | 425+: 1 | Minutiae: 2

Bonus: 1, for the hope of seeing James Wood and Dylan Crews later in the season

This is a team trying to play Jesse Winker in left field and 32-year-old Eddie Rosario in center field -- and you can guess how that's going to work out. The youth score is surprisingly low and maybe a little unfair, but FanGraphs isn't projecting much playing time or value for Wood or Crews, and guys such asKeibert Ruiz, CJ Abrams and MacKenzie Gore have been up long enough that they're now in the unofficial post-youth phase of their careers. The Presidents Race is fun, though. Go Teddy!

29. Chicago White Sox (12)

Star power: 2 | Youth: 1 | Baserunning: 2 | Catches: 3 | 425+: 2 | Minutiae: 1

Bonus: 1, for the new "campfire milkshake" concession item

I'm pretty sure Luis Robert Jr. accounts for most of these points, from 4-star catches to speed on the bases to long home runs. The White Sox have done a nice job improving what was a weak farm system just a couple of years ago, but only Colson Montgomery is likely to make much of a contribution this season, so this rebuild is filled with older players. Unfortunately, "veteran leadership" does not score well in watchability.

28. Miami Marlins (13.5)

Star power: 3 | Youth: 2.5 | Baserunning: 1 | Catches: 2 | 425+: 2.5 | Minutiae: 2

Bonus: 0.5, for all the times announcers will call Luis Arraez a "professional hitter"

The Marlins were crushed with pitching injuries in spring training, including Eury Perez, who accounted for a chunk of the above points with both star power (No. 67 in MLB Rank) and youth. That won't help their viewing attractiveness, and neither do indoor games with empty seats. The Marlins are also not a young team -- and not a fast one, either, with the likes of Josh Bell, Jake Burger and Arraez clogging up the bases. There could also be some unintentional comedy with the infield defense. However, I do like their City Connect jerseys.

27. Colorado Rockies (15)

Star power: 1 | Youth: 2 | Baserunning: 1 | Catches: 3 | 425+: 4 | Minutiae: 2

Bonus: 2: +1 for Brenton Doyle's arm, +1 for the occasional Coors Field football score

I ran this list by a former Rockies fan who has been disillusioned by the team's failures in recent years and his comment: "Too high." Perhaps he is looking at Doyle's batting average and not his defense! I mean, that's understandable as Doyle's 52 OPS+ was the seventh lowest since 1920 for an outfielder with at least 400 plate appearances. He won a Gold Glove as a rookie last season and simultaneously possesses perhaps the best range of any center fielder and the best throwing arm. I mean, we should probably subtract a point for his offense and maybe another point for the Rockies playing Charlie Blackmon in right field, but the point is Doyle is a human highlight film in center field.

Note as well: How were the Rockies the worst baserunning team in the majors a year ago? Playing in the large expanse of Coors Field should make it easy to go from first to third on base hits at will. But not for this team.

26. Oakland Athletics (17.5)

Star power: 1 | Youth: 6 | Baserunning: 3 | Catches: 2 | 425+: 2.5 | Minutiae: 1

Bonus: 2: +1 for fans protesting terrible ownership, +1 for those sweet Kelly green jerseys

OK, the A's rank high in the youth category because they have a lot of it -- somebody has to play and it sure isn't going to be veterans making more than the league minimum (the A's joined the Rockies and Nationals as the only teams with no players in our top 100). They had potential in the baserunning category, but they just sent speedster Esteury Ruiz down to the minors. Because, you know, why give the fans somebody exciting to watch?

25. Los Angeles Angels (18)

Star power: 2 | Youth: 5 | Baserunning: 2.5 | Catches: 1 | 425+: 2.5 | Minutiae: 2

Bonus: 3: +1 for Mike Trout being Mike Trout, +1 for the inevitable showdown between manager Ron Washington and Anthony Rendon, +1 for Reid Detmers' curveball

Look, the Angels weren't all that interesting even when they had Shohei Ohtani, so they sure aren't going to be more interesting without him. I've always enjoyed watching games from Anaheim (and they do always draw well) and, hey, Trout just hit a 473-foot home run on Monday. This might be underrating the potential for the Angels' season to go completely haywire, however -- in a good or bad way, I have no idea. After all, Washington called a team meeting after two games as the team began the season with 11-3 and 13-4 losses. (And it worked: The Angels won their next two games.)

24. Minnesota Twins (18)

Star power: 2 | Youth: 2 | Baserunning: 3 | Catches: 2 | 425+: 4 | Minutiae: 3

Bonus: 2: +1 for Jhoan Duran's fastball velocity, +1 for Edouard Julien being French Canadian (he spoke no English when he started in college at Auburn)

This is our first reminder that this index is different -- and should be different -- from our weekly Power Rankings: The Twins, after all, are favored to repeat as American League Central champions. They scored low in all three of the 10-point categories, however, as their only two players in the top 100 were Pablo Lopez at No. 55 and Carlos Correa at No. 78. Royce Lewis and Byron Buxton certainly have top-100 potential, but the injury risk bothered our voters and Lewis has unfortunately already landed on the injured list. They do have one of the best uniform sets in the majors, though.

23. Toronto Blue Jays (19)

Star power: 4 | Youth: 1 | Baserunning: 1.5 | Catches: 5 | 425+: 1.5 | Minutiae: 3

Bonus: 3: +1 for Davis Schneider's mustache + goggles combo, +1 for play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman, +1 for Kevin Gausman's splitter

With Kevin Kiermaier and Daulton Varsho in the outfield, it's no surprise that the Blue Jays rank best in the 4-star and 5-star catch category, but they had just three players in the top 100 (Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Gausman) and don't appear to have much potential impact youth unless pitcher Ricky Tiedemann gets called up. They also fared poorly in FanGraphs' baserunning metric and outside of Guerrero, they don't hit many big blasts. Indeed, looking at this lineup and considering the offense was middle of the pack last season, the Jays might struggle to score runs.

22. San Francisco Giants (19.5)

Star power: 3 | Youth: 4.5 | Baserunning: 4 | Catches: 1 | 425+: 1.5 | Minutiae: 4

Bonus: 1.5: +1 for Logan Webb's sinker, +0.5 for the beer shower given to Jung Hoo Lee after his first home run

The Giants' offseason additions make them a lot more intriguing than they were a season ago: reigning National League Cy Young winner Blake Snell, center fielder Lee, Gold Glove third baseman Matt Chapman and DH Jorge Soler. Snell and Chapman cracked the top 100 alongside Webb (runner-up to Snell) and the early returns on Lee have been positive -- we'll see if he can improve the team's lackluster catch rating. Rookie Kyle Harrison has a chance to give the Giants one of the best pitching trios in the league. They also rate well in Minutiae: great ballpark, great announcers, classic uniforms.

21. St. Louis Cardinals (21)

Star power: 3.5 | Youth: 3.5 | Baserunning: 3 | Catches: 2 | 425+: 3.5 | Minutiae: 4

Bonus: 1.5: +1 for Masyn Winn's arm, +0.5 for players going wild when manager Oli Marmol got a two-year extension and the ensuing uproar every time a bullpen decision backfires

The Cardinals are sort of in no-man's-land right now: They have a couple of declining superstars in Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt (44th and 47th in our top 100) and some intriguing young players in Jordan Walker and Winn, but nobody clearly in their prime. If only they could combine Walker's offensive potential with Winn's defense. The Cardinals don't fare very well in baserunning or fantastic catches -- and Tommy Edman, the best in both categories, is currently out with a wrist issue. Victor Scott II is a speedster who made the Opening Day roster after stealing 94 bases in the minors, but he's probably around only until Edman or Lars Nootbaar return.

20. Kansas City Royals (21.5)

Star power: 2 | Youth: 2 | Baserunning: 5.5 | Catches: 4 | 425+: 2.5 | Minutiae: 3

Bonus: 2.5: +1 for knowing Bobby Witt Jr. will be a Royal for the long term, +1 for Cole Ragans' changeup and potential to be the best KC starter since Kevin Appier, +0.5 for Salvador Perez

The Royals have been awful since 2018 -- three 100-loss seasons since then, including 106 in 2023. That means the rebuild hasn't just been slow, it hasn't made any progress. Believing they can contend in a weak AL Central, the Royals went out and signed some veteran starters. Still, it's a big leap from 56 wins to 86. Anyway, Witt is worth the price of admission all by himself, Ragans might be a potential ace and Kyle Isbel apparently makes a lot of great plays in the outfield. Plus, the fountains at Kauffman Stadium are a pleasant backdrop for viewing any Royals game.

19. Seattle Mariners (22)

Star power: 6 | Youth: 2.5 | Baserunning: 3 | Catches: 2 | 425+: 2 | Minutiae: 3

Bonus: 3.5: +1 for George Kirby's control, +1 for Julio Rodriguez's energy, +1 for every reference to Cal Raleigh's nickname ("The Big Dumper"), +0.5 for the yellow metal trident used for home run celebrations (all fun and games until Julio pokes his eye out)

The Mariners have J-Rod and a strong starting rotation -- Luis Castillo, Kirby and Logan Gilbert, ranked 39th, 40th and 62nd in our top 100 -- so they get a solid star power figure. But outside of Rodriguez, they don't do much on the bases or in the field (there's a strong likelihood they'll get no 4- or 5-star catches from their corner outfielders). T-Mobile Park also suppresses offense in general, so you'll see a lot of low-scoring games when the Mariners are at home. Still, there's nothing like seeing the cameras showing Mount Rainier on a sunny afternoon and the Mariners' Sunday cream jerseys are among my favorites (the black pants on their City Connect uniforms are an abomination, however).

18. Detroit Tigers (23)

Star power: 2 | Youth: 5.5 | Baserunning: 5 | Catches: 2 | 425+: 1.5 | Minutiae: 4

Bonus: 3: +1 for when Tarik Skubal wins the Cy Young Award, +1 for stealing Jason Benetti from the White Sox, +1 for the pizza spear home run celebration (all fun and games until Spencer Torkelson pokes his eye out)

The Tigers are sneakily interesting, especially if Torkelson and Riley Greene can build upon their 2023 seasons. Colt Keith and Parker Meadows give them two high-profile rookies and if Meadows is as advertised in center field, that catch score could improve. Maybe we'll even see top prospect Jackson Jobe join the rotation or bullpen later in the season. Here's a question: Is Javier Baez a negative or positive viewing experience at this point in his career? He's still astonishing at times on defense, but he's probably the most frustrating batter to watch in the majors: low batting average, terrible OBP and he doesn't hit for any power anymore.

17. Houston Astros (25.5)

Star power: 9 | Youth: 1 | Baserunning: 2.5 | Catches: 3 | 425+: 3 | Minutiae: 3

Bonus: 4: +1 for Ronel Blanco maybe throwing another no-hitter, +1 for Jose Altuve still doing Jose Altuve stuff, +0.5 for the ridiculous movement on Framber Valdez's pitches (maybe too much, he walked six in his first start), +0.5 for annoying home runs hit into the Crawford Boxes, +0.5 for the fear you feel every time Yordan Alvarez steps into the box, +0.5 for living legend Justin Verlander

Look, there's no denying the Astros' star power: They tied with the Braves for the most players in the top 100 at eight, with Alvarez (No. 8), Altuve (No. 26) and Kyle Tucker (No. 28) each cracking the top 30. Tucker is a potential 30-30 threat (he stole 30 bases and hit 29 home runs last season), but they're pretty station-to-station on the bases. Of course, we'll now see if Blanco is the real deal after his no-hitter against the Blue Jays and I'm curious to see if Hunter Brown breaks out. Plus, we'll get Verlander back at some point. Subjectively, I'd probably put the Astros higher, but this is where our highly scientific system puts them.

16. Cleveland Guardians (27.5)

Star power: 3.5 | Youth: 8 | Baserunning: 7 | Catches: 3 | 425+: 1 | Minutiae: 2 |

Bonus: 3: +1 for the Naylor brothers, +1 for Andres Gimenez's range at second, +1 for Shane Bieber looking healthy again after striking out 11 on Opening Day (even if it was against the A's)

With second-year starters Tanner Bibee, Logan Allen and Gavin Williams, plus sophomore catcher Bo Naylor, the Guardians fare very well in the youth category, and they also run the bases well, with four players stealing at least 20 bases last season (although Myles Straw's bat has him back in the minors). The lack of power means they have to win with pitching, defense and speed -- a formula that worked in 2022, but not as well in 2023. If Bieber can regain his Cy Young-level form and rookie Brayan Rocchio can provide some offense at shortstop, they have a chance.

15. Tampa Bay Rays (27.5)

Star power: 2 | Youth: 4.5 | Baserunning: 10 | Catches: 2 | 425+: 4 | Minutiae: 1

Bonus: 4:+1 for Randy Arozarena's celebrations, +1 for Zach Eflin's immaculate strike-throwing ability, +0.5 for Pete Fairbanks' fastball, +0.5 for Jose Caballero's confidence, +0.5 for their ability to turn every no-name reliever into a good pitcher, +0.5 for Yandy Diaz's biceps

The Rays' athleticism certainly shows up on the bases, where they're annually one of the best and most aggressive teams. Oddly, it didn't show up as much in outfield defense, where Arozarena had just one 4-star catch (no 5-star ones) and Josh Lowe had none of either (Jose Siri is outstanding in center, however) last season. Arozarena and Diaz were the only two Rays to crack the top 100 list, although Eflin, Lowe and Isaac Paredes could all get there and Brandon Lowe has been there in the past. The big negative: Watching games from the Trop is like watching a game played in some 16th-century dungeon in a cold, moldy English castle.

14. New York Yankees (27.5)

Star power: 6.5 | Youth: 3.5 | Baserunning: 1.5 | Catches: 3 | 425+: 5 | Minutiae: 4

Bonus: 4: +1 for the Juan Soto Shuffle, +1 for large human Aaron Judge playing center field, +1 for Marcus Stroman's six-pitch repertoire and succeeding as a 5-foot-7 pitcher, +0.5 for the potential of Carlos Rodon's slider, +0.5 for the hot start

Wait, the Yankees, the crown jewel franchise of the majors, rank only in the middle of the pack? Pinstripes! Yankee Stadium! John Sterling! A fearsome one-two punch in Judge and Soto and homers galore from the likes of Judge, Soto and Giancarlo Stanton certainly means the Yankees should rank higher, right? While Judge (No. 2), Soto (No. 3) and Gerrit Cole (No. 7) all ranked in the top 10, the only other Yankees player in the top 100 was Anthony Volpe at 95. I also discounted the point total a bit since Cole is out at least a couple of months. Of course, the best thing about the Yankees in 2024: If they return to the top of the division after missing the playoffs in 2024, that's a great story, especially if Judge and Soto tear up the league; if they miss the playoffs again, that's also a great story.

13. Cincinnati Reds (28.5)

Star power: 2 | Youth: 7 | Baserunning: 8.5 | Catches: 2 | 425+: 2 | Minutiae: 3

Bonus: 4: +1 for Elly De La Cruz's arm, +1 for the possibility De La Cruz will hit a pitch that bounces over the fence, +1 for the hope of seeing De La Cruz going home to third on a triple, +1 for Hunter Greene's potential (and blazing fastball)

De La Cruz is a great example of how one off-the-charts rip-roaring ball of dynamite can make an otherwise pedestrian team (other than their overall youth) must-watch viewing. But you know what's not exciting? Strikeouts, which he has a lot of. At this point, De La Cruz is more hype and potential than actual production (although he did come in at No. 72 in our top 100). Losing Matt McLain to shoulder surgery is a big loss for the Reds, and their ultimate success will depend on their young rotation. If the pitching improves and De La Cruz hits, this Reds team will climb higher on this list.

12. San Diego Padres (28.5)

Star power: 7.5 | Youth: 3 | Baserunning: 6 | Catches: 3 | 425+: 2 | Minutiae: 4

Bonus: 3: +1 for Dylan Cease's slider, +1 for Ha-Seong Kim's defense, +1 for watching games from San Diego and wishing you were there

The Padres have lost Soto, Snell and Josh Hader yet still have Fernando Tatis Jr. (No. 14), Manny Machado (25), Cease (57), Xander Bogaerts (58) and Kim (83) in the top 100, with Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove having top-100 ability at their best. It feels like everyone ignored Tatis last season -- which is understandable following the missed season and PED suspension, but he's still one of the more exciting all-around players in the game. He won the Platinum Glove as the best overall defender in the NL in 2023 after a full-time move to right field, earned due to a combination of range and a strong throwing arm. He stole 29 bases and hit 25 home runs. He's off to a good start this year and I think the offense improves. I'm also a big fan of the Padres embracing their history and going all-in on brown for their uniforms.

11. Milwaukee Brewers (29)

Star power: 2 | Youth: 7.5 | Baserunning: 6 | Catches: 5 | 425+: 1.5 | Minutiae: 4

Bonus: 3: +1 for Jackson Chourio hype, +1 for Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker, +0.5 for Abner Uribe's fastball, +0.5 for Devin Williams' changeup (would get more points, but he's out for a couple of months)

This surprised me a bit as the Brewers are lacking in star power after trading away Corbin Burnes (they had three players in the top 100, but Willy Adames was the highest at No. 86), but they have young, exciting players all over the field, starting with Chourio, Kiley McDaniel's No. 2 prospect heading into the season. The outfield defense will be spectacular with Chourio, Sal Frelick, Blake Perkins and Joey Wiemer and the double-play combo of Adames and rookie Joey Ortiz will also be stellar. Rhys Hoskins has already given them a little edge on the field as well. Bonus points for an enthusiastic fan base, Bernie Brewer and the sausage races.

10. Pittsburgh Pirates (29.5)

Star power: 2 | Youth: 6 | Baserunning: 5.5 | Catches: 4 | 425+: 3.5 | Minutiae: 4

Bonus: 4.5: +1 for Oneil Cruz doing all the same things we said about Elly De La Cruz, +1 for Andrew McCutchen, +1 for Jared Jones' slider, +1 for Ke'Bryan Hayes' defense, +0.5 for the hot start that gives hopes and dreams to Pirates fans

This is not an overreaction to Pittsburgh's hot start. Nope. THIS IS A SCIENTIFIC SURVEY. I don't know if the Pirates are going to be good, but they're going to be more fun than they've been in the past. The return of Cruz is a huge part of that, of course, but they've added an excellent fly ball chaser in center fielder Michael A. Taylor while Jones' debut start with 10 strikeouts and the pending arrival of Paul Skenes and his 100-mph heater helps the youth score. Mix in a great ballpark, classic jerseys and the Roberto Clemente Bridge and I'll be watching more Pirates games than I have in years (assuming they keep winning).

9. New York Mets (30)

Star power: 5 | Youth: 3 | Baserunning: 7 | Catches: 3 | 425+: 3.5 | Minutiae: 5

Bonus: 3.5: +1 for the Mets' broadcast booth, +1 for Edwin Diaz and Timmy Trumpet, +1 for Mr. Met, +0.5 for Brandon Nimmo's smile

Whoa, the Mets over the Yankees? How can that be possible? The Mets are awful! (So far.) Well, yes, you're overlooking the unintentional comedy factor here -- the Mets will apparently be the Mets, even with a new manager and new president of baseball operations. We're not even a week into the season and the Mets have already: (1) Instigated a benches-clearing incident and intentionally thrown at a batter; (2) Lost a game in extra innings with two bad fielding plays; (3) Scored eight runs in four games; (4) Stressed that they're not in panic mode. Tell that to Mets fans.

8. Boston Red Sox (30)

Star power: 3 | Youth: 8 | Baserunning: 6 | Catches: 3.5 | 425+: 2.5 | Minutiae: 4

Bonus: 3: +1 for Brayan Bello's changeup, +1 for Triston Casas' upside (1.034 OPS in the second half), +0.5 for Tyler O'Neill's physique, +0.5 for Greg Weissert's sweeper

It's the new-look Red Sox: faster, better defense and a whole lot more entertaining. The Red Sox have been mediocre and uninteresting the past two seasons, but with rookie Ceddanne Rafaela in center, flanked by Jarren Duran and O'Neill, they've dramatically upgraded their outfield defense and their overall team speed. Throw in a couple big bashers in Rafael Devers and Casas (the only two Red Sox in the top 100) and this should be a fun offense to watch. Nick Pivetta and Kutter Crawford also looked outstanding in their first starts as new pitching coach Andrew Bailey may already be improving the staff. Red Sox fans are understandably cranky after the team didn't spend much this offseason, but I think they'll grow to like this team -- it has a chance to surprise.

7. Philadelphia Phillies (31)

Star power: 9 | Youth: 1 | Baserunning: 5 | Catches: 3 | 425+: 4 | Minutiae: 4

Bonus: 5: +1 for Trea Turner's slides, +1 for Bryce Harper's designer cleats, +1 for Zack Wheeler's fastball, +1 for Brandon Marsh's and Matt Strahm's hair, +1 for the best set of uniforms in the majors (yes, that's technically part of the Minutiae category, but they're getting a bonus point anyway)

Subjectively, I might've ranked the Phillies first: They have star power, they have personality, they're good, their fans are loud and into the game, Marsh and Johan Rojas give them two plus outfielders and Harper is always a guy you can't take your eyes off. Alas, since this is an established team of veterans, they score at the bottom of the youth scale and that hurts their overall ranking. They're also lacking a bit on the bases, even with Turner's electric speed and slides, and surprisingly, they didn't earn a full "5" in the 425-plus foot home run category -- they only ranked eighth in the majors in that department last season.

6. Chicago Cubs (32.5)

Star power: 4.5 | Youth: 6 | Baserunning: 10 | Catches: 3 | 425+: 1 | Minutiae: 5

Bonus: 3: +1 for Dansby Swanson and Nico Hoerner turning two, +1 for "Go Cubs Go," +0.5 for Justin Steele's slider, +0.5 for stealing manager Craig Counsell from the Brewers

The Cubs have a lot of items in their favor: They were tied with the Rays as the best baserunning team in the majors last season (Hoerner led the way with 43 steals, but they were efficient and opportunistic up and down the lineup), they get to include Shota Imanaga in the "youth" category alongside Jordan Wicks, and they had a solid four players in the top 100 (and that didn't include Seiya Suzuki, who I think will crack that list next season after a big 2024). And, of course, the Cubs have Wrigley Field. Baseball perfection on a summer afternoon.

5. Texas Rangers (34)

Star power: 8 | Youth: 9 | Baserunning: 3 | Catches: 3 | 425+: 4 | Minutiae: 2

Bonus: 5: +1 for when Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer return, +1 for manager Bruce Bochy, +1 for Evan Carter's plate discipline, +1 for Marcus Semien never taking a day off, +0.5 for Adolis Garcia's arms, +0.5 for Corey Seager's ability to crush the first pitch

The Rangers win the World Series and now add Carter for a full season plus fellow super rookie Wyatt Langford. What a turnaround for this franchise in such a short time. If they do manage to get a healthy deGrom and Scherzer back in the second half, maybe they can become the first team to repeat since the 2000 Yankees. The dynamic offense is going to score a ton of runs. The only negatives here are a lack of action on the bases -- although Carter and Langford will add more speed -- and the antiseptic nature of watching a game from Globe Life Field. The jersey set is pretty bland other than the throwback baby blues.

4. Arizona Diamondbacks (35.5)

Star power: 6 | Youth: 10 | Baserunning: 7.5 | Catches: 4 | 425+: 3 | Minutiae: 2

Bonus: 3: +1 for Gabriel Moreno's arm, +1 for Zac Gallen's ability to change speeds, +0.5 for Eugenio Suarez's infectious personality, +0.5 for Corbin Carroll's swagger

OK, there's a lot of Carroll in this ranking: He was No. 10 in the top 100, he still qualifies as a part of the "youth" category, he's the best baserunner in the game and he was the only outfielder with four 4-star catches last season. He even hit a respectable five home runs of 425-plus feet. He's not a one-man "SportsCenter" highlight, however: The Diamondbacks have four other players in the top 100 (Gallen, Ketel Marte, Moreno and Merrill Kelly) and have other young players to watch, including Moreno and second-year righty Brandon Pfaadt. If only they'd figure out the uniforms.

3. Atlanta Braves (37)

Star power: 10 | Youth: 2 | Baserunning: 8 | Catches: 3 | 425+: 5 | Minutiae: 4

Bonus: 5: +1 for Spencer Strider's mustache, +1 for Strider's new curveball, +1 for Ronald Acuna Jr.'s flair, +1 for Matt Olson's swing, +1 for Charlie Morton still going strong

No shock here as the Braves are overloaded with top-echelon talent and are likely on their way to a third straight 100-win season, which the Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz Braves did from 1997 to 1999. If you like offense, the Braves are your team. If you like speed, the Braves have it with Acuna and Michael Harris II and were a top-five baserunning team in 2023. If you like defense, the Braves are solid across the board. If you like pitching, the Braves have even more of it than last season, and Strider would top many lists as the No. 1 must-see starter in the game. Last season, they staked their claim as one of the best single-season lineups. If they do it again -- and top it off with a World Series title -- they go down as maybe the best ever.

2. Baltimore Orioles (39)

Star power: 6 | Youth: 10 | Baserunning: 9 | Catches: 2 | 425+: 2 | Minutiae: 5

Bonus: 5: +1 for Gunnar Henderson making The Leap (he will), +1 for Corbin Burnes'cutter, +1 for Kyle Bradish's slider/curveball combo, +1 for Adley Rutschman's leadership, +1 for being so good they didn't even need Jackson Holliday to start the season

It's not just that the Orioles are young and good and got even better in adding an ace in Burnes, but they play such a clean, efficient brand of baseball. They run the bases, they execute on defense and they don't just rely on home runs to score runs (which is harder to do anyway with the deeper left field at Camden Yards). They still have Henderson and Grayson Rodriguez as sophomores and no-doubters to improve, and then they'll be adding Holliday, Coby Mayo and Heston Kjerstad during the season as needed. They play in one of the best parks in the majors, have a timeless set of uniforms and have a fan base that is going to fill the park this season.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (40.5)

Star power: 10 | Youth: 6.5 | Baserunning: 6 | Catches: 4 | 425+: 4 | Minutiae: 5

Bonus: 5: +1 for Mookie Betts playing shortstop, +1 for Yoshinobu Yamamoto's splitter, +1 for Tyler Glasnow's curveball, +1 for Freddie Freeman's doubles, +1 for Shohei Ohtani

You probably knew this was coming even if you're on the side of Dodger Hater. The only negative for Dodgers fans -- aside from Max Muncy's defense -- might be that they're going to be leading a lot of games 7-2 in the sixth inning. Here's one surprising thing about the Dodgers: They didn't hit many 425-plus foot home runs last season. Betts and Freeman only hit three apiece. They found a way to fix that by adding Ohtani, who topped the majors with 21 such blasts (and he brings speed on the bases). Teoscar Hernandez also brings power and the occasional 4-star catch (even though overall he's not a great defender). On top of that, you get Dodger Stadium with that perfect "Dodgers" script and the sun shining bright.