The early power rankings for 2017. https://t.co/JCdbnKT6I5
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 4, 2016
Can you believe ESPN has already posted up their first 2017 Power Rankings? It is really nothing more than a first shot at predicting the best teams, and while the Hot Stove isn’t even at a boil, some teams will make some bold moves and improve while others will fail to fill glaring holes and will spiral down. As always, the real test is staying healthy and playing to potential, and all the good teams know that recipe to success.
You play the games to separate the contenders from the pretenders. ESPN picked their three best teams as: Cubs, Red Sox and Nationals. Where are the Cleveland Indians?
Here is the write-up on the Nationals if you don’t want to read the article:
There are some concerns here — Stephen Strasburg‘s health, Ryan Zimmerman‘s dead bat, Jayson Werth‘s age, replacing or re-signing Wilson Ramos (who tore his ACL in late September) — but with a full season from Trea Turner, better numbers from Bryce Harper and plenty of rotation depth, the Nationals should return to the playoffs, where they’ve lost in the division series three times in five years.
As to the negatives ESPN pointed out, Strasburg’s health has to be at the top of the list, and then you have their brutal description of Ryan Zimmerman as a “dead bat”. Jayson Werth’s age is not an issue if he is rested properly, and replacing or re-signing Wilson Ramos is a lesser issue if you can find another middle of the order bat.
Health would appear to be at the top of the list for the Nats, but that is the key for all teams. Playing to potential is always another key to success.
Fangraphs has some early ZIPS projections calculated, and the charts are built for 2017 team projections, but no 2017 data has been input just yet overall. Here is the link where you can check back at here.