ESPN's Buster Olney marked New Year's Day by posting his first power rankings and he has the Rays No. 1.
That's pretty lofty for a team that doesn't have a DH or a first baseman, but Olney - in his Insider-only column on espn.com - says that their pitching is that good: "Barring injury, they will throw out a starting pitcher capable of dominance on most days. Dominance.''
Olney cites the talent of James Shields, David Price and Jeremy Hellickson, then writes: And into this mix the Rays will now add Matt Moore, who has the numbers and the ability of Stephen Strasburg, but hasn't had the advance hype.
After acknowledging the Rays ' financial limitations and the likelihood of additions by the Yankees (ranked fourth) and Red Sox (sixth), as well as the undetermined status of free agent Prince Fielder, Olney concludes: "The Rays' starting pitching makes them extremely dangerous, and as we sit here on New Year's Day 2012, they are the best team in the majors.''
He has the Phillies second, Rangers third and D-backs fifth.