Pittsburgh Sports Report
March 2003

The PSReport Card
PSR MLB Opening Day Rankings

1. Anaheim Angels

Surprise World Series champs have look of perennial contender. No real holes to fill in offseason.

2. New York Yankees

Haven't won Series since 2000, so Steinbrenner must think he's overdue. Keep an eye on SS Derek Jeter.

3. Oakland A's

Talented, deep starting staff. Reigning MVP Miguel Tajada and new MGR Ken Macha could be difference in '03.

4. Minnesota Twins

Reigning A.L. Central champs are well balanced and fundamentally sound. Starting rotation is top notch.

5. Atlanta Braves

11 consecutive division titles is record for pro sports not just baseball. Starting staff is questionable, though.

6. Arizona Diamondbacks

Johnson and Schilling have combined for 90 wins over past two seasons; if this continues, D'backs have a chance.

7. San Francisco Giants

Barry Bonds can't be happy losing MGR Dusty Baker and 2B Jeff Kent - but Felipe Alou seems to be good fit.

8. Philadelphia Phillies

Newcomers 1B Jim Thome and P Kevin Millwood makes this club a force. Poor start could set off MGR Larry Bowa.

9. Boston Red Sox

No playoffs in 2002 despite two 20-game winners and A.L. batting champ. BoSox are dangerous and poised.

10. St. Louis Cardinals

Skilled offensive club captured N.L. Central title despite patchwork starting rotation. Pitching remains a question.

11. Chicago White Sox

Added 20-game winner Bartolo Colon and 40-save man Billy Koch to pitching staff. MGR Jerry Manuel is on hot seat.

12. Houston Astros

New 2B Jeff Kent means more pop to already potent line-up. Pitching will be key both starting and relieving.

13. Los Angeles Dodgers

Solid pitching, but can they score enough and avoid injuries to make a serious run at post season berth?

14. Seattle Mariners

New MGR Bob Melvin gets intact crew averaging 100 wins last three seasons. SS Carlos Guillen could be trouble.

15. Chicago Cubs

MGR Dusty Baker takes reputation to Windy City. Starting staff and rebuilt bullpen provide high surprise potential.

16. New York Mets

Mgmt believes 2002 was aberration, so new MGR Art Howe is expected to win. Look for star 2B Alomar to rebound.

17. Texas Rangers

Need to battle to escape A.L. West basement despite A-Rod. MGR Buck Showalter is expected to restore order.

18. Colorado Rockies

Led N.L. in team BA eight straight years. Coors Field remains nightmare for Rockies' pitchers and managers.

19. Pittsburgh Pirates

Slowly but surely, shrewd GM Dave Littlefield is upgrading talent level. Reaching .500 mark is realistic.

20. Montreal Expos

Surprise second in N.L. East last year and talent still impressive. But how much talent will be around all season?

21. Florida Marlins

Stealing bases no longer en vogue, but Castillo and Pierre are two of the best. Marlins think pitching can carry them.

22. Cincinnati Reds

Sub-par starting pitching will prevent successful first year in new ball park. MGR Bob Boone on short leash.

23. Toronto Blue Jays

Middle-of-the-road club that has finished third in A.L. East for five consecutive seasons.

24. Baltimore Orioles

Worst team BA in A.L. past two years and still lacks firepower to contend; but the pitching is pretty good.

25. San Diego Padres

P Trevor Hoffman's bum shoulder is major concern for team that lost 96 games. Look for big move up in 2004.

26. Cleveland Indians

Perennial A.L. Central champs fell from grace in 2002. Not ready to rebound just yet.

27. Milwaukee Brewers

Bud Selig's favorite club is coming off first 100-loss season in 34-year franchise history. Clearly N.L.'s worst.

28. Detroit Tigers

New MGR Alan Trammell inherits club averaging 95 losses the past five seasons. It might only get worse.

29. Kansas City Royals

Woefully inexperienced pitching makes for legit candidate to lose 100 games. Long year ahead for MGR Tony Pena.

30. Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Lou Piniella willingly left skilled Seattle to saddle up with this sorry bunch? Apparently, there's no place like home.

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