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Ozzie's Spring Rankings

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Ozzie Smith's Spring Rankings


 

CNNSI.com's Ozzie Smith returns for another exciting season of major league baseball. Tune into CNN's Sports Tonight at 11:00 p.m. throughout March as the Wizard gazes into his crystal ball and reveals his Spring Rankings -- or read them all, as they roll out on CNNSI.com. Also, check out CNNSI.com's spring training previews and visit with Sports Illustrated reporters as they travel around the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues.


Ozzie Smith's Spring Rankings
Rank Team Analysis

1

 
  Five out of six? The addition of Mike Mussina gives the champs a staff of aces. Questions linger about age and injuries, but the Yankees will add a bat if necessary.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

2

 
  The NL East can't keep up with the Joneses. How far the Braves go in October will depend on the return to health of several key players, especially John Smoltz.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

3

 
  Mark McGwire is back at full strength, and the Cards rotation is plenty deep with or without Rick Ankiel. The Redbirds are poised for another postseason run.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

4

 
  The offense is potent and David Wells gives Chicago a legitimate staff ace, but hopes could hinge on the health of right-handers James Baldwin and Cal Eldred.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

5

 
  If Nomar Garciaparra's right wrist is healthy -- and that's a big if -- the Red Sox have lethal 3-4-5 combination and the best pitcher on the planet in Pedro Martinez.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

6

 
  Leadoff hitter Johnny Damon, who led the AL in stolen bases, joins a lineup that ranked third in the league in runs. Tim Hudson and Barry Zito are unhittable.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

7

 
  The Tribe may have the steal of the offseason if Juan Gonzalez, signed for one year, returns to MVP form. Ace Bartolo Colon anchors a banged-up rotation.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

8

 
  Two years removed from a 100-win season, the veteran D'backs are posied for a postseason run. Manager Bob Brenly knows his first chance may be his best chance.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

9

 
  It will be hard to duplicate last season, especially without Ellis Burks. Barry Bonds and MVP Jeff Kent still provide the power and the pitching staff is deep.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

10

 
  The pressure will be on Kevin Appier to replace Mike Hampton's 15 wins and toughness. A big year from Mike Piazza is again essential to their NL East hopes.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

11

 
  Colorado shelled out $172 million to see if left-handers Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle can conquer Coors. What the Rockies need is a healthy Larry Walker.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

12

 
  Craig Biggio and Billy Wagner return from season-ending surgeries, while the fences at Enron Field have been raised to neutralize the home-field disadvantage.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

13

 
  A-Rod teams with Ivan Rodriguez for potent one-two punch in the lineup, but Texas still hasn't addressed a pitching staff that had the highest ERA in the majors.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

14

 
  Like the payroll, expectations are high for new manager Jim Tracy and the dysfunctional Dodgers. The back end of a impressive rotation will be the key to contending.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

15

 
  Unless Ichiro Suzuki exceeds expectations, the loss of A-Rod will cripple the offense. However, the rotation is deep and the bullpen could be the best in the majors.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

16

 
  Charles Johnson returns to lead the Marlins, who hope to become only the third team in history to improve by 10 or more games in three consecutive seasons.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

17

 
  Buck Martinez is moving from the broadcast booth to the manager's office. He inherits seven players who hit at least 20 home runs last season -- but no ace.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

18

 
  With Ken Griffey Jr. settled in after last season's slow start, new manager Bob Boone still could have one of the NL's more potent lineups. But who's gonna pitch?
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

19

 
  New manager Larry Bowa, fiery as a player, was brought in to get more out of an underachieving team that produced the fewest runs in the majors last year.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

20

 
  There's plenty of offense in Kansas City depite the departure of leadoff hitter Johnny Damon, and Jose Rosado returns to anchor the Royals' rotation.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

21

 
  Without Mo Vaughn, Anaheim is counting on Wally Joyner and Jose Canseco. Ismael Valdes and Pat Rapp were the only additions to a suspect rotation.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

22

 
  Fernado Tatis' bat will be sandwiched between All-Stars Vladimir Guerrero and Jose Vidro. However, a winning season may depend on Ugueth Urbina's elbow.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

23

 
  Adding OF Roger Cedeno and C Mitch Meluskey, two high on-base percentage players, might produce enough runs to offset the loss of Juan Gonzalez.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

24

 
  Sammy will be Sammy. Kerry Wood finished strong in 2000 and is expected to regain ace status. Tom Gordon's effectiveness closing games will be the key.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

25

 
  Miller Park opens a year late, and the Brewers are no closer to playoffs. But Geoff Jenkins, Richie Sexson and Jeromy Burnitz should provide some fireworks.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

26

 
  A new ballpark, a new skipper and a new attitude won't translate into a winning record until Brian Giles and Jason Kendall get some protection in the lineup.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

27

 
  For a change, manager Tom Kelly enters camp with a set lineup and solid staff featuring one of the better righty-lefty combos in Brad Radke and Eric Milton.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

28

 
  Trevor Hoffman's save opportunities will be few and far between. And that's too bad for Tony Gwynn, whose final campaign won't be much of a "victory" tour.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

29

 
  Believe it or not, the starting rotation is serviceable. But who will close? Estaban Yan? Ben Grieve is a career .307 hitter away from Oakland Coliseum.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview

30

 
  Mike Mussina is history. Cal Ripken is 40. Albert Belle's ailing hip could force him into retirement. The forecast for Baltimore: a long, long summer.
Ozzie's take | CNNSI.com team preview
       
 
Ozzie Smith, a 15-time All-Star and future Hall of Famer, joined CNN/Sports Illustrated as a baseball analyst in March 1998. His contributions include regular analysis on the network and weekly columns on CNNSI.com. With 13 consecutive Gold Glove awards, the Wizard remains the standard by which shortstops are measured.


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