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Atlanta Braves Ranked No. 9 In Future Power Rankings, Highest In NL East

Power Rankings are always fun. A fan gets to see where his or her team is ranked in the eyes of some journalists who might catch a game or two of that team each week. And when the fan base inevitably gets upset with their ranking, they get to argue with other fans.

Good times.

The guys at ESPN recently took power rankings to a completely different level, providing their lists for the top franchises going forward. The Braves were the highest rated team in the NL East and were ranked in the top-10. Where were they ranked? You'll have to keep reading to find out.

Atlanta came in at No. 9 overall in the rankings, right behind the Diamondbacks and in front of the rival Phillies. The Nationals earned a spot at No. 14 overall, while the Marlins (22) and Mets (26) have a lot of work to do.

Here is a snippet from what Buster Olney had to say about the team.

The Chipper Jones era is drawing to a close, and many assumed that Jason Heyward would have taken over as face of the franchise by now. A disastrous sophomore season (.708 OPS) put the breaks on that train for now, and the Braves need a rebound from him so that he and close friend Freddie Freeman can anchor the lineup into the future.

Even if Heyward doesn't fulfill his potential, Atlanta is well positioned for the future because of its incredible stable of young arms, the envy of many rival execs. Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson, Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor give the Braves four formidable starters all age 26 or younger, and prospects Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino and Randall Delgado are coming on strong behind them. Atlanta is ready to test the theory that you can never have too much pitching.

Yay for power rankings, I suppose. I find all of this to be quite silly, but I guess it's good to know a few writers like the Braves' chances going forward.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.