Ranking every DS team's lineup, pitching

October 3rd, 2020

We’re riding the hot hands in our updated rankings after four days of postseason baseball. The Dodgers and Rays have been exactly the teams we thought they’d be, but the Padres and Astros have been better than we expected.

We’re loving the Marlins, who are on the most magical of magic carpet rides. Maybe you've heard this is the only franchise that has never lost a postseason series -- seven for seven.

Anyway, here’s our new, improved and updated rankings of lineups, rotations, bullpens, defenses and benches:


1. Padres
So much depth. So much talent. Fernando Tatis Jr. snapped out of his late season slump, and the Padres looked unstoppable in scoring 19 runs on 31 hits, including six home runs.

2. Yankees
Twenty-two runs in two games against the Indians. Seven home runs, including two by Giancarlo Stanton, which might be the best thing that happened to the Yankees in Cleveland.

3. Braves
MLB’s highest-scoring offense scored two earned runs in its first 20 innings against the Reds. The Braves hope things returned to normal in Game 2 with those eighth-inning two-run homers by Marcell Ozuna and Adam Duvall.

4. Dodgers
The Brewers did a nice job keeping the Dodgers in check, allowing seven runs and one home run in two games. The Dodgers are too good and too deep not to break out.

5. Rays
The Rays play their depth and matchups as well as almost anyone. Rookie Randy Arozarena has continued hitting in the postseason after smacking seven home runs in 23 games during the regular season.

6. Astros
The Astros hit .194 in a two-game sweep of the Twins. Carlos Correa and Kyle Tucker carried what offense they did have, and Jose Altuve’s poor regular season has carried into the postseason (0-for-7).

7. A’s
Marcus Semien and Khris Davis in Game 1, Sean Murphy in Game 2. The A’s aren't getting a lot of offense, but they still advanced to the ALDS.

8. Marlins
When the Marlins needed offense, they got enough of it. Never mind scoring seven runs in two games or going 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position. Corey Dickerson delivered a three-run homer in Game 1, and Garrett Cooper hit one in the seventh inning of a scoreless Game 2.


1. Rays
Blake Snell, Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasnow give Tampa Bay a front three that can carry it to a championship.

2. Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw was dominant in Game 2, but Walker Buehler’s blister issue remains a concern. Julio Urías, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin will figure prominently in NLDS.

3. Braves
Young starters Max Fried and Ian Anderson answered plenty of questions about how they’d handle the postseason spotlight.

4. Astros
Suddenly, this group looks very solid with youngsters Framber Valdez, Jose Urquidy and Cristian Javier along with veterans Lance McCullers Jr. and Zack Greinke.

5. Yankees
Gerrit Cole is the best starter not named Clayton Kershaw in this postseason. Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ are the keys to the Yankees getting by the Rays.

6. Marlins
Track record? Who needs a track record? Fastballs that touch 98 mph don’t need lengthy resumes. Sandy Alcántara and Sixto Sánchez allowed the Cubs one run in 11 2/3 innings as Miami moves on.

7. A’s
Chris Bassitt earned a Game 1 ALDS start. Frankie Montas seems the likely Game 2 starter, but the A’s have quality options in Jesús Luzardo and Sean Manaea.

8. Padres
The Padres are cautiously confident of getting Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet back for the Dodgers. If so, they’re in business. If not, they’ll be in scramble mode again, which has worked out fine so far.


1. Rays
Relievers worked only 6 1/3 innings against the Blue Jays, and no team is better set up to get through games with a string of guys with closer-type stuff.

2. Braves
Nine innings, zero runs in two games against the Reds. The Braves may be the only team that can match the Rays in terms of depth, balance and velocity.

3. Padres
In came the relievers, one after another, inning by inning, nine of them all, shutting out the Cards on four hits. San Diego’s bullpen is built around Emilio Pagán, Drew Pomeranz and Trevor Rosenthal getting the final nine outs. Game 3 against the Cardinals showed they’re a lot deeper than that.

4. Yankees
Don’t sweat those blips against Cleveland. This is still a tremendous group of late-game relievers, beginning with Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton.

5. A’s
Manager Bob Melvin leaned heavily on his bullpen against the White Sox, and it wasn’t always pretty. Liam Hendriks bounced back from a tough Game 1.

6. Dodgers
Interesting decision by Dave Roberts to use Brusdar Graterol instead of Kenley Jansen to close out the Brewers in Game 2. Maybe he wanted to send the rest of MLB a message about his bullpen’s depth and power.

7. Marlins
Marlins relievers pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings against the Cubs, with Yimi García, Brad Boxberger and Richard Bleier getting the ball into the hands of closer Brandon Kintzler in Games 1 and 2.

8. Astros
Dusty Baker needed only five outs from his true relievers against the Twins. He’s likely to have to go deeper in a best-of-five series with no days off.


1. Dodgers
Mookie Betts in right and the Enrique Hernández/Chris Taylor combination at second gives the Dodgers great defense at two spots with no real weaknesses.

2. Rays
CF Kevin Kiermaier is still among MLB’s best -- and on a team that has a standout defender at first in Ji-Man Choi, and no real problem areas.

3. Astros
Lots of Astros have underperformed this season, but SS Correa, CF George Springer and LF Michael Brantley create a formidable defensive nucleus.

4. Padres
Tremendous defensive seasons by 3B Manny Machado, CF Trent Grisham and 1B Eric Hosmer. Tatis is an underrated defensive player.

5. Yankees
The Yankees have been really good at a couple of positions (second base and right field) and really poor at a couple of others (center field and shortstop).

6. Braves
SS Dansby Swanson is the best in the game at his position, and Fried is close to the top among pitchers. The Braves are around league average at a couple other spots.

7. Marlins
CF Lewis Brinson is Miami’s best defensive player, and 3B Brian Anderson is very good. The Marlins are mostly around league average at other spots.

8. A’s
Loss of 3B Matt Chapman has removed Oakland’s best defensive player from the lineup. 1B Matt Olson and CF Ramón Laureano are among the AL’s best.


1. Dodgers
Depth and flexibility have been the twin mantras of president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman’s roster construction.

2. Rays
Getting Choi and Yandy Díaz back for the playoffs gives the Rays a bench that rivals the Dodgers for best in the game.

3. A’s
Chad Pinder, Mark Canha and Vimael Machín gives Melvin three players that can move all around the diamond, allowing for all kinds of late-inning machinations.

4. Padres
Jurickson Profar has emerged as a valuable super-utility player. Jake Cronenworth has also proven valuable with his ability to play three other spots besides his regular one, second base.

5. Yankees
Depth has become a problem for the Yankees, as some of the players who took up the slack for injured stars last season have been unable to produce at the same level.

6. Braves
Their depth is in the bullpen and at catcher. But to make a long playoff run, they’ll need their core players to stay healthy, because the bench is not their strongest area.

7. Astros
Myles Straw is Baker’s best weapon, primarily as a late-inning pinch runner. Aledmys Díaz can play first, second and third base at an above average level.

8. Marlins
The Marlins offer speed and defense options, but as an entire club, they need another offensive player or two to get hot for a postseason run.