Who's No. 1: Nationals or Dodgers?

Updated: April 6, 2015, 3:46 PM ET
Week:

ESPN.com

After finishing last season with the best record in the National League at 96-66, the Washington Nationals open the 2015 season in the top spot of our rankings. The Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates hold down the second through fourth spots, respectively. At No. 5, the Seattle Mariners are our top-ranked American League team to start the season.

This week's voters were Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider, Eric Karabell of ESPN Fantasy, Tim Kurkjian of ESPN, David Schoenfield of the SweetSpot Blog Network/ESPN.com and Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. Most of the team comments come courtesy of the bloggers on the SweetSpot Blog Network. How do you rank all 30 teams? Go ahead and rank them yourself.

Tell us what you think about the Power Rankings. Use the hashtag #ESPNMLBPOWER.

2015 Power Rankings: April 6
RANKTEAM / RECORD TRENDINGCOMMENTS
1
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Last Week: NR
Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon and Denard Span all begin the season on the disabled list, but it should take more than that to knock the Nationals out as favorites, thanks to what should be a phenomenal rotation. -- Harper Gordek (@harpergordek), Nationals Baseball
2
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Last Week: NR
The NL West is the Dodgers' division to lose. On other teams, a rookie CF replacing the likes of Matt Kemp or displacing Yasiel Puig might face pressure. For L.A., Joc Pederson should slide in nicely. Big question ... how good/healthy will the back of their rotation be? Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson have current or recent medical issues. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
3
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Last Week: NR
The defending National League Central champion Cardinals reloaded their lineup in the offseason by acquiring Jason Heyward, who is an upgrade in right field by as much as 7 WAR. He had a big game in Sunday's season opener against the Cubs, getting three hits in his Cardinals debut. -- Matt Philip (@fungoes), Fungoes
4
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Last Week: NR
Andrew McCutchen may be the best player in the National League, but look for Starling Marte to have a big year. He changed his stance midseason last year, dropping his leg kick, and hit .354 over the final two months. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
5
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Last Week: NR
They have the second-longest playoff drought in the majors -- they last made the postseason in 2001 -- but optimism is high with Nelson Cruz providing much-needed right-handed power and Taijuan Walker having a dominant spring training. Plus, King Felix. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
6
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Last Week: NR
Detroit's stranglehold on the AL Central was strongly challenged last year and likely will be again in 2015. The lineup still packs a punch and David Price is good enough to soften the blow of Max Scherzer's departure, but the Tigers badly need a bounce-back season from Justin Verlander and something resembling stability from a still iffy bullpen. -- Grey Papke, Walkoff Woodward
7
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Last Week: NR
The Angels are looking to keep the good times rolling into 2015, and the best way to do that is with a fast start. The team has struggled in April in recent seasons, finishing above .500 in only two of the last six years. They'll have to buck the trend if they want to get a head start on the Mariners and A's. -- Nathan Aderhold (@AdrastusPerkins), Halos Daily
8
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Last Week: NR
Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy will both begin the season on the disabled list, while Chris Davis won't play in Monday's season opener as he serves the final game of a 25-game suspension handed down in September for using amphetamines without a prescription. -- ESPN.com
9
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Last Week: NR
The Indians did not make a big splash this offseason; with Gavin Floyd's injury, it means their only major addition was Brandon Moss. However, their strong core of young players has many fans excited about what 2015 could hold for the team. -- Stephanie Liscio (@stephanieliscio), It's Pronounced "Lajaway"
10
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Last Week: NR
The Padres made the most offseason noise around the majors, including acquiring Craig Kimbrel on Sunday. Will it all be enough to get them into the playoffs? Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and Justin Upton is an outfield with marquee status and offensive potential, but the infield of Will Middlebrooks, Alexi Amarista, Jedd Gyorko and Yonder Alonso is comparatively punchless. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
11
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Last Week: NR
Despite losing Marcus Stroman to injury, the Blue Jays are poised to compete for a playoff spot in a wide-open AL East. The Jays will have a brand-new, if somewhat unconventional, Opening Day roster. In addition to newcomers Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin, the team will feature six rookies, two of whom will get their first taste of baseball above high-A when they first pitch. -- Matt Gwin, Blue Jays Plus
12
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Last Week: NR
The best player on the retooled Red Sox may not be free agents Hanley Ramirez or Pablo Sandoval, or longtime veterans David Ortiz or Dustin Pedroia. It's Mookie Betts, who hit .429 in spring training after hitting .291 in his 52-game MLB trial last season. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
13
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Last Week: NR
The new-look White Sox will be without ace Chris Sale for the first week of the season, so they'll need new arms Jeff Samardzija and David Robertson to come out with sharp command after getting bombed all spring (28 innings pitched, 26 earned runs, 11 home runs combined). -- James Fegan (@TheCatbird_Seat), The Catbird Seat
14
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Last Week: NR
The Marlins traded Andrew Heaney and Nate Eovaldi from their surplus of talented young pitchers, and incrementally improved their infield with the additions of Martin Prado and Dee Gordon. They'll count on Mat Latos, Jarred Cosart and Henderson Alvarez to anchor the rotation until Jose Fernandez returns, hopefully sometime around the All-Star break. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
15
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Last Week: NR
The defending American League champs don't seem to be getting much respect in the preseason predictions. Losing James Shields hurts and Kendrys Morales and Alex Rios were dubious free-agent signings. Once again, it will be relief pitching and defense carrying the team. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
16
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Last Week: NR
An all-around horrible spring training by Giants' pitchers certainly didn't answer many questions about a rotation already marred with mystery. Coupling that with an Opening Day lineup without Hunter Pence or almost any power-hitting presence, things aren't exactly looking up for this team early on. -- Connor Grossman (@connorgrossman), West Coast Bias
17
Mets
0-0
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Last Week: NR
The Mets led all teams in OPS (.817) and on base percentage (.349) during spring training, while finishing second in slugging percentage (.468) and third in home runs (39). Can the bats stay hot and club like that when the real games begin? If so, the Mets may give the Nationals a serious run for the NL East crown. -- Joe Janish (@metstoday), Mets Today
18
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Last Week: NR
The Yankees open 2015 with a mountain of question marks, but one of the exclamation points has been the spring training performance of Michael Pineda. He finished spring training with 19 innings pitched, an ERA of 1.42 and a 23-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Newcomer Nate Eovaldi has been similarly impressive with an ERA of 0.66 over 13.2 IP and a 14-1 K/BB ratio. -- Jason Rosenberg, It's About the Money
19
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Last Week: NR
Oakland opens the year down two outfielders, as Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick will both be on the disabled list on Opening Day. Reddick is due back soon, and manager Bob Melvin is nothing if not adept at mixing and matching his roster to cover holes. -- Jason Wojciechowski (@jlwoj), Beaneball
20
Cubs
0-1
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Last Week: NR
Many are predicting the Cubs to not only make the playoffs in 2015, but to win the World Series. Reality is that the team is probably one year away from being a legitimate World Series contender. -- Joe Aiello (@VFTB), View from the Bleachers
21
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Last Week: NR
The Brewers are hoping their 150-plus days in first place in the NL Central last year is more of an indicator of their quality than the ugly September collapse. Whether they can keep up in an increasingly difficult division comes down to the lineup regaining its thump and the ability of the starting pitchers to eat innings. They have a puncher's chance. -- Ryan Topp (@RDTopp), Disciples of Uecker
22
Reds
0-0
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Last Week: NR
Will this be Johnny Cueto's last Opening Day as a Red? Can everyone stay healthy? If not, can the Reds compete? They have a ton of question marks, and GM Walt Jocketty didn't appear to answer many of them in the offseason. But hope always springs eternal this time of the year. -- Chad Dotson (@dotsonc), Redleg Nation
23
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Last Week: NR
The Astros are going to strike out a gazillion times but George Springer, Chris Carter and Evan Gattis will mash a lot of home runs behind 2014 batting champ Jose Altuve. If the back of the rotation comes through, the Astros could have their first winning season since 2008. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
24
Rays
0-0
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Last Week: NR
The Kevin Cash era begins in Tampa as the Rays begin the season with several of their starting pitchers on the disabled list. -- ESPN.com
25
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Last Week: NR
Yu Darvish is out for the season, but Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo will look to show what they can do when healthy. Many already have written off the Rangers, but they just might be better than some people believe. -- Brandon Land (@one_strike_away), One Strike Away
26
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Last Week: NR
Can the Twins climb out of last place this season with the AL Central improving around them? The way their pitching staff fares during trips to Detroit and Chicago in the opening week should provide an early hint. -- Nick Nelson (@nnelson9), Twins Daily
27
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Last Week: NR
With just seven players on the Opening Day roster who were on last year's season-opening roster, the Braves will put a very different team on the field in 2015. Gone are the power-hitting Justin Upton, Jason Heyward and Evan Gattis, replaced by a hodgepodge of contact hitters and speedsters. Will the new formula work? -- Martin Gandy (@gondeee), Chop County
28
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Last Week: NR
The biggest "change" the Rockies made in the offseason was the promotion of an internal candidate to general manager. As spring training injuries riddled the starting rotation, releases and demotions suggest the biggest change might be toward accountability. The Rockies should do better in 2015, but should change still come if they don't contend? -- Richard Bergstrom (@RockiesZingers), Rockies Zingers
29
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Last Week: NR
The D-backs surprised most fans when they traded Trevor Cahill to the Braves and added Archie Bradley to the rotation. They followed that up by benching Aaron Hill in favor of starting shortstop Nick Ahmed, sliding Chris Owings to second base. Yasmany Tomas will begin the season at Triple-A, where he'll look to play the outfield primarily and get his bat up to speed. -- Jeff Wiser (@outfieldgrass24), Inside the 'Zona
30
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Last Week: NR
The Phillies' season-opening rotation will include Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams and Sean O'Sullivan. The starting center fielder played second base in Double-A last season. Enjoy these last few months of Cole Hamels, Phillies fans. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot

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