MLB Power Rankings: Opening Day

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MCB’s MLB Power Rankings: The Top 5

Mar 11, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder

Yasiel Puig

(66) against the Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

5. St. Louis Cardinals

I found the 5-4-3 spots difficult to rank, you can pretty much consider it a tie. The Cardinals, who have been to four World Series in the last ten years, are quite probably the best-run organization in baseball. With a great mix of youngsters, veterans, and prospects on the way, St. Louis looks to be a heavy favorite in the NL Central.

4. Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays, despite how consistent they’ve been, always seem to be an afterthought from a national perspective. They don’t tend to make big splashes in the offseason (unless that splash is trading away an established veteran for a haul of prospects), yet they’ve been in the mix (and in the playoffs) more often than not over the last six years.

3. Boston Red Sox

Can the Red Sox repeat the level of success they enjoyed in 2013 without The Beards? Probably yes. Or close to it. Losing Jacoby Ellsbury to free agency will hurt — and they’re surprisingly light on stars in the lineup (David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia excepting) — but they have the pitching and depth all around to be perhaps again be the best team in the American League. It’s always tough to win the AL East, however.

2. Washington Nationals

The Nationals were one of baseball’s biggest disappointments last season, but they still look like one of the better teams on paper and their young core has plenty of window open to win a championship. After thieving Doug Fister away from the Tigers this offseason, Washington looks set with an elite-level starting rotation, and plenty of rising starts around the diamond to fuel the offense (maybe you’ve heard of Bryce Harper?).

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Perhaps the only team with slam-dunk odds to win more than 90 games, the Trolley Dodgers just look better than everyone else on paper (and now they have a 2-0 head start). With a stacked lineup lead by Hanley Ramirez, Yasiel Puig, and Adrian Gonzalez, and a rotation that’s solidly among the game’s best (Clayton Kershaw et al.), they’re going to be tough to beat in a division that wasn’t very good last year (though looking better this year).