A National League scout once told me a shorthand way to see where a team ranks entering a season is to compare it position by position against its most serious competition.
Some teams, he said, are built around pitching and defense, others around thunder – but few teams win when their overall talent simply doesn’t match up with teams in their own division. Exceptions? Sure, just look at teams like Minnesota, San Francisco or Tampa Bay.
Still, in the jittery lead up to spring training, it’s interesting to match the Seattle Mariners and the two best teams in the American League West. …