The San Francisco Giants are just a year removed from winning the World Series and missed out on the playoffs in 2011 due to an incredible amount of injuries to their starting lineup. The Oakland Athletics were on the cusp of a World Series appearance about eight years ago, but not much has happened since then. The Bay Area loves its baseball and the fans are desperate for more championships.
ESPN recently released their 'Future Power Rankings', giving their projections for each of the 30 teams in baseball going forward and where they stood among the other clubs. We have the rankings for the Giants and A's after the page jump...
The Giants came in at No. 17 overall, which was third-best in the NL West. Here is what Buster Olney had to say about the team:
Great pitching can mask a lot of deficiencies, and the Giants have plenty of both. They took a big gamble in July when they traded top prospect Zack Wheeler to the Mets for pending free agent Carlos Beltran in hopes of a repeat. Beltran was fantastic for San Fran, but the Giants still came up short.
Now they're without their best pitching prospect, Beltran is in St. Louis, Matt Cain is set to be a free agent next winter and Tim Lincecum the year after that. The Giants will contend this year, but they are a club that could see its ranking change significantly in the next year or two if they can't keep their top two starters in town.
The A's are ranked 23rd in baseball. Here is Olney:
The A's uncertain ballpark situation is a cloud that has been hanging over the franchise for years, and they are almost certainly going to be one of the worst teams in baseball in 2012. So why don't they rank lower? Because they fortified their farm system this winter with the trades of Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez, and have one of the better collections of young arms around.
Further, they have virtually no dead weight on their roster, which means they are well positioned to push forward in the next five years. The AL West will belong to the Angels and Rangers for the next couple of seasons, but the A's (and Mariners) will be lurking in 2014.
One would probably expect the Giants to be slightly higher on this list, but they are just power rankings, after all.