MLB Power Rankings: Washington Nationals top our preseason rankings

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Power Rankings
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The 2015 Major League Baseball season officially gets underway on Sunday night with a marquee match-up between the rival Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals on ESPN, but we thought we’d officially get things underway a few days earlier with our pre-season Power Rankings.

Now by their nature, power rankings our subjective by nature and pre-season rankings are even more so. They are often held captive to the whims of the author or more accurately, the extent of their exposure to the game as a whole. We tried to take a bit of that subjectivity out of the equation, but interjecting not one, but four people into the process, including our last three MLB Editorial Directors (Aaron Somers, David Hill, and myself), and our Senior Director of Sports (Joel Wagler) into the voting process. The thought process was that we could come up with a consistent, consensus power ranking.

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It didn’t necessarily work out that way.

To showcase that point, the only consensus we all came to was the number 1 team in the league (we’ll get to that in a second, I promise). Outside of that pick, we had 16 different teams get top 10 nods, with one team (The Marlins) getting a second place vote on one ballot and a 22nd place spot on another. Needless to say, we had some varying opinions, but in the end, we were able to come to an agreed upon power ranking that will surely spark some debate among the masses.

With that in mind, I formerly present the inaugural MLB Power Rankings for 2015.

team. 90. It says a lot for the strength of your starting pitchng when a arm that won 15 games and put up a 2.85 ERA over 31 starts in 2014 gets squeezed out of the rotation. However, that’s exactly what happened to Tanner Roark, who’ll find himself in the bullpen due to a rotation that contains Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, and Gio Gonzalez in the starting five. Needless to say, the Nationals took “pitching wins championships” to a whole new level. <p>Of course, this isn’t a team without questions either. The line-up has its fair share of holes, with Denard Span out until May due to core muscle surgery, Anthony Rendon a question for Opening Day with an MCL sprain. The bullpen also could be a mystery behind closer Drew Storen, with new set-up man Casey Janssen already experiencing shoulder discomfort and wondering how Roark will adapt moving back to the pen.</p>. . Previous: . Washington Nationals. 1

Previous: . Pittsburgh Pirates. 2. team. 4. The Pirates made a pretty decent move replacing an over-achieving Edinson Volquez with an old favorite in A.J. Burnett, giving Pittsburgh a pretty stable front four in the rotation. The addition of Antonio Bastardo in the set-up corps also looks to be a pretty sneaky move for one of baseball’s best bullpens last season. <p>However, this team clicks and revolves around an electric offense, paced by perennial MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen. As long as chopping off Samson’s hair doesn’t sap his power again, this team should not lack for runs. Oh, and let’s not forget the decision to move Pedro Alvarez to first base, which may be the key to finally unlocking his inconsistent bat for good. </p>.

. Previous: . Los Angeles Dodgers. 3. team. 71. It was another winter of baseball’s richest team reminding everyone about the glory of having money. A year after taking an early exit from the postseason, Los Angeles used their considerable funds (and strong farm system) to retool their roster by making trades for Howie Kendrick, Jimmy Rollins, Joel Peralta, and Yasmani Grandal, while throwing money at Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, and Cuban import Hector Olivera. <p>But for all their moves this winter, this is a team that is currently looking at some difficulties with depth, with their bullpen decimated by losing both closer Kenley Jansen and set-up man Brandon League. They’ll also be without number 3 starter Hyun-Jin Ryu due to a sore shoulder, an injury that will hold him out for at least a few weeks to start the season. With McCarthy and Anderson having their fair share of injury history, this bears watching throughout the season.</p>

62. The Seattle Mariners made some solid strides in 2014 and as such entered the winter with specific holes to fill in order to take the next step. They arguably succeeded in that task, adding Seth Smith in right field and J.A. Happ to the rotation via trade. However, the addition of Nelson Cruz gives the team that much needed right-handed power bat to provide balance and protection behind Robinson Cano in the line-up. Best of all, they managed to make these additions by keeping their bullpen intact and not having to part with either top pitching prospects Taijuan Walker or James Paxton. <p>Of course, the team still needs to get consistent play out of both Dustin Ackley and Austin Jackson in the outfield, and they somehow have to find a way to keep Logan Morrison on the field. If they can do that, the Mariners could sneak up and capture the AL West.</p>. . Previous: . Seattle Mariners. 4. team

102. In truth, the Angels likely should have been ranked higher after having the best record in baseball a year ago and the American League MVP in their line-up. However, Mike Trout can’t do everything himself and this is a team with some serious questions that could tell whether the Angels are a success or a flop. <p>Outside of Trout, Kole Calhoun, and Erick Aybar, there is no sure things in the Angels line-up, and that includes Albert Pujols, who has yet to put it together in Los Angeles. Josh Hamilton has a suspension hanging over the team, which could be a huge blow. Additionally, David Freese is an injury waiting to happen, Matt Joyce has never quite given a full season of value, and Johnny Giavotella is a huge question at second. The rotation badly needs Garrett Richards to get healthy as quickly as possible and one has to wonder how long Jered Weaver can live still be an ace with lackluster stuff at the front of the rotation.</p>. . Previous: . Los Angeles Angels. 5. team

Next: 6-10: Royals and Tigers and Birds, oh-my!