As Spring Training continues to approach and the offseason wears on, here are the top 5 teams in the National League at the moment baring any major trades or free agent signings that happen between now and the start of the regular season.
1. Chicago Cubs - It wouldn't be appropriate to list another team besides the reigning, Chicago Cubs, as the most dominant team in the National League. Not only does last year's World Series victory count in their favor, they also have a tremendous amount of depth at every position around the diamond and what we saw last year was only a small sample of the true talent within the organization. Heading into next season, the Cubs should be even more successful as Javier Baez will be a permanent fixture on the 25-man roster, every young player on the team will have a year of major league experience under their belt, and Joe Maddon will have established himself even more based off the results of last season as well as his finite leadership skills.
2. San Francisco Giants - After the Cubs, the second most dominant team at the moment appears to be the San Francisco Giants, who filled their biggest need early this offseason by acquiring closer, Mark Melancon. The Giants would have went much deeper into the postseason last year and experienced more overall success if they had someone at the back end that was a legitimate reliever with closer experience which Melancon gives them. Add to the mix the Bruce Bochy effect, a team that is made up of a great core of players who have been to the postseason before along with a front office that believes in building sustained success within the organization and you can easily see why they will continue to be a threat in the NL West in 2017.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers - Dave Roberts and the Los Angeles Dodgers will have another year full of success in 2017 and will give every team, not named the San Diego Padres, a run for their money in the NL West. The Dodgers have a terrific manager at the healm in Dave Roberts, who overcame many obstacles last year given how many injuries the club sustained, along with an above average starting rotation headlined by Clayton Kershaw and a dominant bullpen that once again features Kenly Jansen as a household name. While the club still has to decide what to do at second base, they are built to win now and 2017 is the year that they must make a run to win it all as an effort to keep fans interested in the team and gain their trust in a front office composed of several former General Managers.
4. St. Louis Cardinals - There is no way that you can create a top 5 list without including the relentless, St. Louis Cardinals, who always seem to find a way to make it to the postseason regardless of the number of hurdles that arise during the regular season. While the Cardinals have question marks surrounding their starting rotation, they do have many prospects with high upside still down in their farm system and a front office that knows how to build a team from within that produces positive results on the field. Add to the mix a potent offense, that ranked third last season in the National League behind the Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs, as well as a team made up of several veteran players including: Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter, Adam Wainwright along with newly acquired, Dexter Fowler, and you have the recipe for another contending season in the gateway to the west once again in 2017.
5. New York Mets - At the bottom of the list sits the New York Mets, who have a very complete roster, and one that includes several key strengths. New York possesses a starting rotation with 7 legitimate everyday starting pitchers, an infield core led by Neil Walker who had a tremendous year last season along with depth at every outfield position and a bullpen that looks to once again dominant the NL East. If that isn't enough to make them a serious top 5 team in the National League at the moment, the Mets have a well-rounded manager in Terry Collins, who helped lead the team to the 2015 World Series as well as last year's NL Wild Card game, and a coaching staff that knows how to get the most out of players on a day in and day out basis.