A look at ESPN's Future Power Rankings

Ronald Martinez

Every year, ESPN Insider puts together power rankings with an eye toward the future. Who came out ahead in 2014?

If you stopped reading ESPN Insider's future power rankings (subscription required) after the first two teams, you might not even realize that the point of the exercise is to evaluate each team with an eye on the next five years. Keith Law, Buster Olney, and Jim Bowden ranked all thirty teams across five categories (major league talent, minor league talent, finances, management, and mobility) and it turns out that the two teams they expect to rule the next half decade just faced off in the World Series.

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The Red Sox came in at number one, with an 89.1 out of 100, as they scored extremely well in all five categories. Olney points out that the Sox have less than $20 million committed beyond 2015 and most of that is going to Dustin Pedroia, who signed a very team friendly extension last season.

The Cardinals who had to settle for second best during the Fall Classic also find themselves a step behind the Sox in these rankings, but they haven't finished outside the top five since ESPN started the series. Olney has this to say:

You hear the phrase "model organization" thrown out a lot in regard to St. Louis, and it's simply the truth.

The seventh ranked Cubs look to be a dynasty in waiting, with extremely high marks in every category except major league talent. Again, Olney sums it up well:

But if you talk to execs around the National League, you can tell they are already worrying about this sleeping giant. With prospects like Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soleron the horizon, the Cubs could soon have a powerful lineup.

The outlook for others wasn't nearly as positive. Of the 28th ranked Mariners, who scored below average in every category except financial resources, Jim Bowden said this:

Seattle spent almost a quarter-billion dollars on Cano, and now the club must find another power hitter who can complement him in the lineup. Until they do, this team won't score enough to contend.

And the criticism kept coming for the Marlins, who ranked dead last. The minor league talent isn't bad, but their management, finances, and major league talent dragged them to the bottom. Olney's diatribe is poignant:

In other cities, a core of [Jose] Fernandez, Giancarlo Stanton, and Christian Yelich would be the first step toward a dynasty, but owner Jeffrey Loria's track record of firesales and indifference to winning makes it hard to feel good about the idea of that trio ever playing in a World Series in Miami.

Also of note for those interested in Big Apple supremacy, the authors think the Mets are in a better position than the Yankees for the next five seasons.

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