As before, I'm using the projected numbers from Fangraphs at each position to determine the rankings.
1. Rockies: 3.8 WAR (#11 overall)
Everyday starter: Nolan Arenado (3.8)
Backup: Daniel Descalso (0.0)
To answer the intro question, nobody is exactly on fire at the hot corner, with no 3B found in the projected top ten. [The Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson is at the top, if you were wondering] Arenado is expected to be the best, and it's safe to say this side of the Colorado infield is an awful lot better than the other. He will still only be 23 on Opening Day, but hit 18 home-runs in only 111 and also won the Gold Glove at the position, so seems to offer an exciting blend of youth, hitting ability and defense. However, there's evidence one of those is a Coors Field mirage, with Arenado's career road OPS a woeful .662, and only one in four of his homers have been away from Denver.
2. Dodgers: 2.9 WAR (#16)
Everyday starter: Juan Uribe (2.3)
Backup: Justin Turner (0.6)
Uribe struggled with injuries over his first two years with Los Angeles, managing only 143 games and 0.5 WAR combined, but has been much better since, worth 8.8 WAR in 2013-14. Repeating that again will make him one of the upper-tier players at the position, but Uribe will turn 36 next month - likely giving the Dodgers the oldest left-hand side of the infield in the majors, or close to, between him and Jimmy Rollins. You can't go on forever, the projections seem to think, and they in particular expect Uribe's offense to drop off sharply, his average plummeting from .311 to .253. If so, this could be the first spot at which the Dodgers are not above average.
3. Diamondbacks: 1.5 WAR (#24)
Everyday starter: Jake Lamb (1.4)
Backup: Aaron Hill (0.3)
Obvious, there is a very large caveat here: the official statements from the team have Yasmany Tomas playing third for the Diamondbacks this season. There's no projection given for him at all, at any position, so that needs to be taken into account overall: I think it's a safe bet he'll help the team somehow... There may not be too much difference between Tomas and Lamb's projections, not least because we have no idea how the former will be on defense; his lack of experience there may negate some, all or even more of his offensive upside. With Lamb, we have a very small sample size at the major-league level - he'll still be a rookie in 2015 - so it's hard to say what we might get.
4. Padres 1.1 WAR (#27)
Everyday starter: Will Middlebrooks (0.5)
Backup: Yangervis Solarte (0.6)
Mr. Solarte, the man whose mother was apparently frightened by a kaiju, may have the best first name in the majors. The Padres might also be better off, based on this projection, going with him full-time, rather than what appears to be a platoon with Middlebrooks, now that Chase Headley is wearing pinstripes. It's an interesting contrast: Middlebrooks is a former MLB top-60 prospect who has seen his numbers implode since his 2012 debut, and turned into a "buy low" candidate from Boston while Solanges is a less-heralded international signing, who walked almost as much as he K'd in his rookie campaign. Victory in this battle may go to whoever sucks less.
5. Giants 1.1 WAR (#28)
Everyday starter: Casey McGehee (1.0)
Backup: Joaquin Arias (0.1)
San Francisco traded with Miami for McGehee, to fill the significant
gravity well in the space-time continuum spot left by the departure of Pablo Sandoval for Fenway. McGehee, in turn, had become expendable with the Marlins' picking up former Diamondbacks Martin Prado off the Yankees. Small world, isn't it? However, despite picking up Comeback Player of the Year [he spent 2013 in Japan], Casey seems very unlikely to fill the big shoes (and even larger pants) of the Obese Raccoon. Since 2011, over 429 major-league games, he has an OPS+ of 83,. and at age 32, his best years are likely behind him.
I'm tempted to bail on awarding the Diamondbacks any kind of star rating, and just go with a big, black question-mark. We're apparently going into the season with a starting third-baseman in Tomas who has not only never faced a major-league pitch, he has no track record in the minors by which he can be judged, and on top of that, is moving to an unfamiliar position. This could hardly be more difficult to predict, and you can imagine a scenario where the results could be worth one star, five stars, or anywhere in between. It's certainly a position of flux, with the majority of the division sporting a different player on Opening Day this year, from the one there last season.
The story so far
Below, you'll find a chart summarizing the findings, which we'll update as we continue this series. For each position, we have awarded the teams a rating of between one and five stars, depending on how strong they are projected to be at the position. Generally, a five-star rating requires them to be among the best in the majors; a four-star one is clearly one of strength; three stars would be about average; two stars is a position of concern; and one star is a gurgling vortex of suck.