NL power rankings

1. Dodgers

Josh Beckett is the No. 5 starter. Andre Either might come off the bench. That's how talented, and expensive, this team is. And they will spend more to fill holes.

2. Cardinals

The organization every team wants to be. St. Louis gets it right with power arms, two-way production up the middle and Adam Wainright.

3. Nationals

The Nationals should be hungry after finishing 10 games behind Atlanta. The rotation is strong after trading for Doug Fister. The daily lineup should be better.

4. Giants

Pablo Sandoval has lost weight, and watch out for Brandon Belt. The key to the season will be Tim Lincecum and Tim Hudson making the rotation formidable.

5. Braves

Excellent rotation becomes only solid with Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy out; could get boost from Gavin Floyd's return in May. Productive offense could be a tick better.

6. Pirates

Great story last season. To repeat they will need the bullpen to dominate again, the defense to remain stout and Gerrit Cole to replace A.J. Burnett.

7. Reds

A solid all-around team. But can Cincinnati make up for the losses of Shin-Soo Choo in the leadoff spot and Bronson Arroyo in the starting rotation?

8. Diamondbacks

This team is going to bash from the right side with Paul Goldschmidt and Mark Trumbo. But the rotation has health concerns, with Patrick Corbin out for the year.

9. Brewers

Ryan Braun is back and, hopefully, drug-free. Matt Garza joins Kyle Lohse and Yovanni Gallardo to form a solid rotation. Carlos Gomez comes off a breakthrough year.

10. Phillies

The Phillies could be a factor — if the season was 100 games. But it's not, so age and injuries will plague Chase Utley and the rest of this team once again.

11. Padres

They find ways to be a pesky team. Chase Headley needs to stay healthy in his contract drive season, and Josh Johnson could be a free agent steal.

12. Rockies

If Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez stay healthy, the Rockies could make a run — at .500. Rotation questions and a tough division mean a long year.

13. Marlins

Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton are worth watching. But let's see what manager Mike Redmond has up his sleeve with the addition of Rafael Furcal and other veterans.

14. Mets

They upgraded with the signing of Curtis Granderson to pair with David Wright. But the rotation is short, and relying on 40-year-old Bartolo Colon is dangerous.

15. Cubs

Have they traded pitcher Jeff Samardzija yet? There's no hope for this team as it takes its lumps and waits for its highly touted prospects to reach the majors. The Cubs, like the Twins, have lost more than 90 games in each of the past three seasons.

La Velle E. Neal III