Cubs Top Initial Power Rankings: "Best of luck, everyone else."

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Cubs Top Initial Power Rankings: “Best of luck, everyone else.”

Chicago Cubs

“Best of luck, everyone else.”

Those are the final words of Jonah Keri’s initial 2017 MLB power rankings – advice to every team that isn’t the Chicago Cubs.

Indeed, the reigning World Series Champions have been ranked as the best team in baseball heading into the 2017 season.

And while some statistical projections fall just short of crowning the Cubs once again in 2017, this level of gushing is consistent with what we’ve seen elsewhere.

Which, well, hey, excellent.

Here’s the list as it appears at Sports Illustrated. (Note that every single team has a relatively lengthy and interesting write-up to go along with the rankings at, so be sure to head over there to get the bigger picture, it’s well worth the time.)

30. San Diego Padres
29. Cincinnati Reds
28. Philadelphia Phillies
27. Atlanta Braves
26. Chicago White Sox
25. Milwaukee Brewers
24. Oakland Athletics
23. Minnesota Twins
22. Tampa Bay Rays
21. Arizona Diamondbacks
20. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
19. Miami Marlins
18. Kansas City Royals
17. New York Yankees
16. Pittsburgh Pirates
15. Baltimore Orioles
14. Detroit Tigers
13. Colorado Rockies
12. Toronto Blue Jays
11. New York Mets
10. San Francisco Giants
9. St. Louis Cardinals
8. Seattle Mariners
7. Texas Rangers
6. Houston Astros
5. Boston Red Sox
4. Washington Nationals
3. Cleveland Indians
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
1. Chicago Cubs

Regardless of the relative positioning, which tends to change person by person, there are actually not many surprises at the top of the rankings, right?

The Cubs, Dodgers, and Nationals are projected to take the NL divisions, while the Indians, Red Sox, and Astros are projected to take the American League side. That’s consistent with just about everything else I’ve seen so far. And, at least according to BP’s PECOTA projections, Keri’s two AL Wild Card teams, the Mariners and Rangers, are the same too.

The biggest difference from Keri to most other projections is the Cardinals at number nine. If you recall, PECOTA has the Cardinals finishing in fourth (!) place of the NL Central with just 76 wins in 2017. But by Keri’s measure, they’ll be the first wild card team in the NL, just ahead of the Giants.

I love Jonah Keri and he always does excellent work, but I’m not sure I can agree with him on this one. While it’s never smart to count the Cardinals out, many of those grim projections we’ve seen (including PECOTA) were before the Cardinals found out they lost Alex Reyes for the entire season. So, for me, I just do not expect them to beat out the Giants for the top Wild Card slot this season (or even slide into that second spot).

To be fair, Keri’s quite aware of the projections and the loss of Reyes, so I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. For what it’s worth, among the non-division winners, I’d take the Giants, Pirates, Mets, and maybe even the Rockies over the Cardinals in 2017.

Speaking of which, the Pirates are the next NL Central team to be ranked, but Keri’s not much of a believer going forward. Instead, he thinks they may have just squandered their three-year postseason streak opportunity. Following the Bucs in the Central are the Brewers (25) and Reds (29). Both teams are openly rebuilding, so there is no surprise with their rankings here. We’ve long suggested that the Brewers have the look of a team that could surprise this or next year, but there’s a lot of ifs in there, and certainly not enough to rank them any higher than where they are.

So what do you see? What do you like? What do you disagree with? I think this is a fairly strong list and the reasoning is even better. Be sure to head over to Sports Illustrated to get the big picture.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami