Power Rankings: Champs assume top spot

Cubs begin defense of World Series title, with Tribe nipping at their heels

April 11th, 2017

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.

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 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 , 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.

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 for what turned out to be a disastrous spot start. Also, they will be without 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, .

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