MLB power rankings are tenuous at best this early in the 2013 season. We had our offseason favorites and who we thought would be leading the way in the early running.
For the most part, those thoughts have played out.
Baseball is a tough game to predict, though, given the large amount of factors that contribute to success or failure.
We've seen it already in the first two weeks of action and we'll continue to see surprises as the 2013 season progresses.
Below, we'll look at how we see the current hierarchy of the league shaping out. While it may be too early to drop or raise a team too far on the spectrum of the list, we're not afraid to do so if we see real promise after the first two weeks of play.
1. Atlanta Braves (8-1)
The Atlanta Braves have ridden their starting pitching to the league’s second-highest run differential (+26) at this point in the season. Their Upton brothers duo has provided a big spark offensively to help make them the toughest team in baseball in the early running.
2. Washington Nationals (7-2)
We don’t forget that the Cincinnati Reds pummeled the Washington Nationals just one week ago. We also can’t neglect a three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox this week. This team is built for a deep playoff run and should continue to play at a high level throughout the 2012 campaign.
3. Cincinnati Reds (5-4)
The Cincinnati Reds recently had trouble in St. Louis, dropping two of three after winning four of their first six home games against two top teams. Prior to St. Louis, the Reds’ only two losses came in extra innings against the Los Angeles Angels and Nationals. Three upcoming road games in Pittsburgh should help the Reds get back to their winning ways before Philadelphia, Miami and Chicago (Cubs) come to town for a nine-game home stand.
4. Oakland Athletics (8-2)
The Oakland Athletics are the MLB’s biggest surprise through the first two weeks of the season. Their bats are simply on fire. Although they have faced marginal competition up to this point, they are first in run differential (+33), total runs (66) and slugging percentage (.524). Their .292 batting average and .368 on-base percentage are good for second best in the league. Add their current offensive production with their dominant starting rotation and these A’s may be the real deal.
The only question we have right now is whether or not they can sustain their early-season success.
5. San Francisco Giants (7-4)
The defending champs haven’t come to life at the plate at this point. Their excellent rotation has been up and down in the early running, too, but there we aren’t too concerned. Matt Cain rebounded from a nine-run pummeling by the Cardinals, but a blown save by Sergio Romo led to a disappointing loss to the Chicago Cubs on Friday.
6. Texas Rangers (7-3)
The Texas Rangers are right where we expected them to be at this point in the season. They are solid up and down their roster and have taken 2-of-3 from each of their first three opponents. A favorable nine-game stretch against the Seattle Mariners and Chicago Cubs may show us just how dominant this team can be.
7. Los Angeles Dodgers (6-3)
Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke are perhaps one of the best pitching duos in the league. Kershaw has been lights out and Greinke hasn’t been too far behind. Thursday night’s brawl left Greinke sidelined indefinitely after the pitcher sustained a broken collarbone. They may slide in his absence if their bats don’t heat up quickly.
8. Detroit Tigers (5-4)
Detroit got off to a slow start, dropping two of their first three games against the surprising Minnesota Twins. Their pitching has been rocky, for the most part, but run support has been hit-or-miss up to this point in the young season, too.
9. St. Louis Cardinals (5-4)
The Cards dropped 2-of-3 in Arizona to begin the season. They responded by winning two consecutive series against San Francisco and Cincinnati. This is a well-built team that is intimidated by no one and continues to find ways to win.
10. Baltimore Orioles (5-4)
Chris Davis exploded to get the O’s off to a hot start. They nearly swept divisional rival Tampa Bay on the road to begin the season and have continued to play solid baseball since. Baltimore has been exceptionally consistent, failing to lose a game by more than two runs.
11. Kansas City Royals (6-3)
The Kansas City Royals are playing above themselves after two weeks of action. Their young talent and offseason moves are showing early dividends. Remarkably, they have plated 41 runs over their past seven games after scoring two runs in their first two contests. During that stretch they are 6-1, dropping in a one-run game to the Philadelphia Phillies in their lone loss.
12. Arizona Diamondbacks (6-3)
The Arizona Diamondbacks have a heavy burden of playing in the NL West. If they can keep up their hot bats and get more consistency from their starting pitching they may have a chance to compete with the likes of the Giants and Dodgers.
13. Boston Red Sox (5-4)
Boston has been a pleasant surprise during the infancy of the 2013 season. Winning 4-of-6 on the road against divisional opponents (New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays) was definitely an unexpected start. That success is thanks to their team's impressive 3.30 ERA, which ranks sixth in the MLB.
14. Chicago White Sox (4-5)
Chicago’s starting pitching started out hot but has dipped in recent games after some sub-par performances by Gavin Floyd and Jake Peavy. Being swept in three games by the Washington Nationals has put a damper on their early-season success.
15. New York Yankees (4-4)
Despite a rash of injuries, the New York Yankees have stayed afloat in the early stages of the 2013 campaign. A two-game thrashing of Cleveland in which the Yanks put up 25 runs is a good sign. However, a rain storm in Northeast Ohio may have put out their fire.
16. Philadelphia Phillies (4-5)
Philadelphia can score runs. The only problem is they can’t stop anyone from piling them on. In all five of their losses opponents have pasted them for seven runs or more.
17. Tampa Bay Rays (4-5)
Tampa Bay lost two key players in the offseason in B.J. Upton and James Shields. Despite those losses and a slumping lineup, the team is pitching tough and staying in games.
18. New York Mets (5-4)
If you told us the Mets would be 5-4 to start the season, we probably would have called you a liar. They have been scoring; their 49 runs are fifth-best in the league. However, their competition has been sub-par up to this point. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves until we see the Mets face off against some tougher opponents.
19. Los Angeles Angels (2-7)
A tough schedule to start has led to a massive early-season disappointment for the Los Angeles Angels. We’re optimistic that the star-studded Angels will turn things around.
20. Toronto Blue Jays (3-6)
No team made bigger waves during the offseason than the Toronto Blue Jays. Those moves have yet to translate tinto victories, though. Hitting and pitching could use a spark after Toronto recorded just one win in its first three series of the season.
21. Minnesota Twins (4-5)
Minnesota created some buzz after winning four of its first six games against Detroit and Baltimore. Dropping three-straight contests to the Kansas City Royals has tempered those early rumblings.
22. Cleveland Indians (3-5)
A thunderstorm halted a Bronx Bombers assault on the shores of Lake Erie. Cleveland needs to regroup and get some life into its lineup if it hopes to contend in the AL Central.
23. Colorado Rockies (5-4)
Until the Colorado Rockies win some games against top competition, we’ll avoid becoming too excited about their decent start. A three-game sweep by the San Francisco Giants brought the previously 5-1 Rockies back down to earth.
24. Chicago Cubs (4-6)
The Cubbies have been pretty average up to this point. They are what we thought they were thus far, but maybe a little bit better than that.
25. Seattle Mariners (4-7)
Despite some good pitching, the Seattle Mariners haven’t been able to put together a strong opening to the 2013 season. Their bottom-end of their rotation could use some help in the form of getting runners on base, as the M’s have struggled to do their part offensively.
26. Milwaukee Brewers (2-6)
The Milwaukee Brewers are going to continue to struggle until they can get some help from their bullpen. Whether it is roster moves or shake-ups, something has to be done.
27. Pittsburgh Pirates (3-6)
Pittsburgh boasts the second-most inept offense thus far, plating just 21 runs. Their pitching has been pretty solid (34 runs allowed), but they can’t beat those odds.
28. San Diego Padres (2-7)
The San Diego Padres are in for a long season if they continue their inept performance at the plate. Pitching hasn’t been much better, making this team in danger of sinking quickly in 2013.
29. Houston Astros (3-6)
All of the hype and excitement from the offseason logo change and an Opening Day victory over the Texas Rangers is officially gone.
30. Miami Marlins (1-8)
The Marlins pitching staff could be worse, but it isn’t possible for the league’s fewest run scorers to sink much lower.
*All rankings and records are current before 7 p.m. games on April 12, 2013.
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