We've once again asked three of our top baseball analysts -- Jim Bowden, Keith Law and Buster Olney -- to rank all 30 teams across five different categories (see table) in an attempt to measure how well each team is set up for sustained success over the next five years. When we last did these rankings, in August, the two teams who went on to meet in the World Series occupied the top two slots.
The better your rank in a given category, the more points you get, and the average point scores from the three voters are available in the bar graphs accompanying each team's section, rounded to the nearest integer. We weighted the categories and then gave each team a score on a scale of 1 to 100, with the score representing a team's percentage of total possible points. (For a detailed breakdown of the methodology used for the Future Power Rankings, click here.)
With each team's ranking, you'll also get a take from Buster, Jim and Keith. Buster will give an overview of the franchise's future, Jim will explain the biggest dilemma currently facing the team and Keith highlights a prospect facing a make-or-break season.
So who's No. 1? Which team did our team of experts think is best equipped for success over the next half-decade? It's time to find out.
Boston Red Sox
AL EAST FPR RANK: 1
The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.
A year ago, even coming off of their disastrous 2012 season, the Red Sox came in 10th in these rankings, and then second in our August update, so it's not like they fell off the map completely even during a period of struggle. They have one of the best farm systems in baseball as well as incredible financial flexibility, with a little less than $14 million committed for the 2016 season, most of which is owed to face of the franchise Dustin Pedroia, who signed one of the most team-friendly deals in baseball last year. -- Buster Olney
The Red Sox have tremendous depth on the mound and infield, but their long-term outfield picture is unclear beyond rookie center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. They should be fine this year with Shane Victorino in right and Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava once again platooning in left, but they need to find some youth in the outfield corners. -- Jim Bowden
Make-or-break year (Law's top 10 Red Sox prospects)
Brian Johnson was the Red Sox's second first-round pick in 2012, after Deven Marrero, as a low-ceiling, quick-to-the-majors starting pitcher, but he took a liner to the face that August and missed about half of 2013 with a shoulder ailment. He's now 23 years old with no projection and should already have been ready for Triple-A, making a healthy 2014 a critical step for him. -- Keith Law