The 2016 season is right around six weeks old, and so far, there hasn't been much drama surrounding the two teams sitting at the top of our first MLB Power Rankings.The Cubs and Nationals entered the season with high expectations -- Chicago, to build on its 97-win, National League Wild
The 2016 season is right around six weeks old, and so far, there hasn't been much drama surrounding the two teams sitting at the top of our first MLB Power Rankings.
The Cubs and Nationals entered the season with high expectations -- Chicago, to build on its 97-win, National League Wild Card-winning campaign, and Washington, to simply be as good as the talent on its roster dictates, rather than the dysfunctional mess it was at the end of 2015.
So far, both are living up to the hype as the undisputed best teams in baseball. No huge surprises with most of the remaining three teams in our top five, although in an honest moment, can we really say we saw the White Sox being quite this good?
1. Cubs: When your season-high losing streak is two games, and it didn't happen until the fifth week of the season, it's not difficult to deduce that there's something special going on with the Cubs. Maybe it's their gigantic, posh new clubhouse underneath Wrigley Field. More likely, it's because the Cubs are loaded at every position, employ several of the game's best young hitters and have the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, Jake Arrieta, doing superhuman things at the top of the rotation. There's plenty of credit to go around for a club playing at a .750 clip and on pace for an insane (and record-breaking) 121 wins.
2. Nationals: Most of what went wrong for the Nats during their epic crater late last season seemingly had very little to do with the talent on the roster, which is why most of us bought into the idea that a simple managerial change would probably fix most of what ailed this loaded ballclub.
Thirty-eight games into the season, that's looking like a pretty reasonable theory. Dusty Baker is known for a few things, including bringing people together to create a healthy, I've-got-your-back type vibe. Short of joining hands around the campfire and singing "Kumbaya," Baker's always-appealing touch is clearly paying early dividends, as is Bryce "Royce" Harper's highly entertaining start to the season.
3. White Sox: Raise your hand if you saw this coming. Sure, the White Sox were supposed to be better, with a strong rotation and veteran additions to their infield. But to be pulling away in a division that also houses the defending World Series-winning Royals and a Tigers team that added some established (and expensive) veterans?
Chris Sale is the preemptive favorite to run away with the American League Cy Young Award, and the infield additions of veterans Jimmy Rollins and Todd Frazier are, so far, working beautifully. The odd Spring Training controversies apparently had little to no effect on the team once the calendar flipped to April. Who knows? Maybe it made them better.
4. Mets: There's been so much focus on the Nationals fixing their issues that perhaps we have forgotten the Mets are the reigning NL champs, and the rotation that got them that far last year is back, intact, and still throwing hard. Even with Matt Harvey's recent inconsistencies and a current four-game losing streak, there's plenty to like about the Mets and their odds to stay neck-and-neck with the Nats in the NL East race.
5. Red Sox: The Sox were supposed to be better this year, but the way they have mashed their way through the schedule so far has been a pleasant surprise for fans who watched their march to last place a season ago.
Boston leads all of baseball in team batting average (.298), OPS (.848) and slugging (.489). And David Ortiz is well on his way to having perhaps the best final season of any soon-to-be retired player in history, which is leading to speculation that he'll change his mind and not hang it up. He's not fueling any of that speculation, by the way -- Papi is steadfastly determined to make this year his last. But that isn't stopping fans, teammates and even opposing players from trying to change his mind.
- Blue Jays
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.