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Power Rankings: Champs assume top spot

Cubs begin defense of World Series title, with Tribe nipping at their heels
MLB.com @alysonfooter

Most likely, this will be one of the few times that our MLB Power Rankings don't necessarily reflect what's happening in the standings.

Some teams are off to a hot start that may have taken us by surprise. Conversely, there are teams considered sure-fire contenders that may have stumbled a bit out of the gate.

Most likely, this will be one of the few times that our MLB Power Rankings don't necessarily reflect what's happening in the standings.

Some teams are off to a hot start that may have taken us by surprise. Conversely, there are teams considered sure-fire contenders that may have stumbled a bit out of the gate.

Here at MLB Power Rankings, we represent both the big and small pictures. Our rankings reflect a bit on what is happening now, but we also take into consideration how it might shake out come early October. With that in mind, we give you our Week 1 Power Rankings.

1. Cubs
This one's easy. The reigning World Series champs returned this season mostly intact (minus Grandpa Rossy and a couple of others), mostly healthy and picked by many to turn in a repeat performance. They're the class of the National League and certainly of an easily winnable NL Central.

Video: LAD@CHC: Cubs celebrate 2016 World Series victory

2. Indians
Fittingly, our No. 2 ranked team is the World Series runner-up. We're still marveling how far the Tribe got in 2016 while missing so many key players, many of whom are back and, for the most part, healthy to begin the new campaign. It's hard to discount the Indians for any sustainable amount of time with manager Terry Francona pulling the strings. Who's up for a Cubs-Indians October rematch?

3. Dodgers
The team with the most depth and the best pitcher in the game in Clayton Kershaw should have plenty to win the NL West, though it won't be a cakewalk with the Giants and Rockies (and to a lesser extent, the D-backs) having seemingly improved over the offseason. Still, the Dodgers have young Corey Seager, who could very well contend for the NL MVP Award in his sophomore season. At this point, a week into the season, the Dodgers appear to have a deep pitching staff -- though not quite as deep, if Rich Hill's blister problems linger.

Video: LAD@COL: Seager hits a two-run home run to center

4. Red Sox
There is no question the Red Sox are having their problems in the early going, with key players being held back by everything from logistical issues to injuries to a flu bug that has relentlessly traveled through Boston's clubhouse. When your locker room needs to be fumigated as you travel from city to city, that's a problem. Fortunately for the Red Sox, these issues should be short-lived. They're too deep to let anything that's happened so far derail them.

5. Nationals
The Nationals did not have a smooth first week. They have a lot to work out, pitching-wise. Their bullpen has not been good, and you have to question the depth of the starting staff if they found a need to take a flier on Jeremy Guthrie for what turned out to be a disastrous spot start. Also, they will be without Trea Turner for a bit. Big picture? The Nats should be fine. They still have a strong rotation, and they have a terrific lineup, starring, among others, Bryce Harper.

Video: STL@WSH: Harper notches three RBI's on four hits

The rest of the top 20:

6. Rangers
7. Mets
8. Orioles
9. Astros
10. Tigers
11. Blue Jays
12. Cardinals
13. Pirates
14. Giants
15. Angels
16. Rockies
17. Yankees
18. Rays
19. D-backs
20. Mariners

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.