It wasn't exactly a quiet offseason, huh?
Lots of wheeling and dealing, and some teams changed dramatically. As such, it's time to check in on where each team stands going forward. On Oct. 31, 2014, just prior to the beginning of MLB free agency, we at ESPN Insider updated our Future Power Ranks. This was our "before" snapshot, if you will. Now it's time for the "after" shot.
As in past renditions of the MLB Future Power Rankings, we've 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 to the right) in an attempt to measure how well each team is set up for sustained success over the next five years. Some things have changed drastically since those Oct. 31 power rankings -- we have a new No. 1, for instance -- while many other things have remained the same (the top six teams remain the top six teams, just in a different order). To show you what's changed, we compare the updated rankings to the October version for each team.
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. In the event of a tie, we gave the edge to the team with a higher total of our two most heavily weighted categories ("majors" and "minors"). 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 provides an overview of where the team is at now, Jim will explain the biggest dilemma currently facing each team, and Keith highlights potential impact prospects in 2015.
Which team did our team of experts think is best equipped for success over the next half-decade? And where does your favorite team rank?
For years, the greatest source of organizational power was always in the pitching collected, developed and fostered. But there has been a shift the past couple of years as offensive numbers have declined, with some teams now beginning to make the acquisition of position players the priority. For instance, the Cubs drafted infielder Kris Bryant and catcher Kyle Schwarber with top picks, invested millions in Javier Baez and Jorge Soler, and traded two veteran pitchers in Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel in order to pry Addison Russell away from the Oakland Athletics. Meanwhile, over the past eight months, the Red Sox have spent about $300 million on outfielders Rusney Castillo and Hanley Ramirez and infielders Pablo Sandoval and Yoan Moncada.
You can find pitching all over the place these days. It's the hitting that's scarce, and teams with budding offenses have climbed our rankings. --Buster Olney
Boston Red Sox
OCT. 31 RANK: 3
The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.
The challenge for the Red Sox now is to find the best way to turn some of their position-player surplus into pitching. They bet heavily on Sandoval, Ramirez and Moncada in a way other teams wouldn't dream of because of the uncertainty involved. -- Buster Olney
The Red Sox still lack a true top-of-rotation starter; having one would make them the favorite to represent the American League in the World Series once again. So far they've been reluctant to give up the prospect package it would take to land Cole Hamels, but they're also hoping other aces join the trade market between now and the trade deadline. -- Jim Bowden
Rusney Castillo offers plus defense in center field and has surprising power for someone his size, although I think there are still reasonable questions about how advanced his bat is.-- Keith Law