The St. Louis Cardinals open the season on top of the TSN.ca MLB Power Rankings, ahead of the defending champion Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
After losing to the Red Sox in the World Series, the Cardinals upgraded their outfield defence, adding centre fielder Peter Bourjos, and made moves to improve their batting order, including the addition of shortstop Jhonny Peralta and opening up room at first base for Matt Adams.
The Red Sox are obviously still formidable, with rookie shortstop Xander Bogaerts helping to refresh the roster, but there have been enough questions about their pitching staff from year-to-year to like St. Louis ever-so-slightly better.
The Tampa Bay Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates round out the Top Five.
Among teams that struggled last season, the San Francisco Giants and Milwaukee Brewers are both ranked among the top dozen teams, after some interesting offseason additions and the New York Yankees open in a middle-of-the-pack 16th. The Yankees are an upwardly-mobile team if they can stay healthy and get the kind of pitching they would like from CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda (among others), but the roster is still old and the spectre of injuries hangs over them as Derek Jeter enters his final season.
The Toronto Blue Jays, ranked third in the preseason last year, open much more modestly this year, ranked 25th, with massive questions about their pitching staff.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.