We are approaching the quarter mark in MLB's 2013 campaign, as the contenders begin to separate themselves from the pretenders.
The Texas Rangers, who are looking to get back to the World Series, are once again one of baseball's best teams. Their pitching is excellent across the board so far this season.
The Houston Astros, on the other hand, are apparently ready to challenge last season's ineptitude. They've won a whole 10 games so far this year.
Here's a look at my latest MLB power rankings, complete with analysis.
*Stats compiled before Monday's games (via ESPN.com)
1. Texas Rangers (24-13)
The Rangers' combination of pitching and hitting makes them a legitimate championship contender. They rank second in team ERA and 10th in runs scored this season. Then again, there are questions whether their relatively easy strength of schedule is a part of that.
2. St. Louis Cardinals (23-13)
The Cardinals rank first in team ERA and 11th in runs scored this season. They've done that despite playing the toughest schedule in baseball. On the other hand, the disparity between the club's starting pitching and bullpen is alarming.
3. San Francisco Giants (23-15)
Right-hander Matt Cain is beginning to heat up, and that's bad news for baseball. The Giants' offense has been a pleasant surprise this season, while the pitching is coming around after a rough start (minus Ryan Vogelsong, of course).
4. New York Yankees (23-13)
The offense has been able to stay afloat despite the absence of several key stars, and the pitching hasn't been bad (ranked 12th in baseball). There is balance in both the starting rotation and the bullpen for the Yankees.
5. Detroit Tigers (20-15)
The Tigers rank second in runs scored and sixth in team ERA this season, but they are coming off two straight losses to the Indians and are 5-5 in their last 10 games.
6. Baltimore Orioles (23-15)
The pitching is a bit of a concern for the Orioles, but their red-hot offense is making up for it right now. They lead baseball with 190 runs scored.
7. Cincinnati Reds (22-16)
The Reds have won three straight and seven of their last 10 games. They rank fifth in runs scored and eighth in ERA. They've posted the fourth-best run differential in baseball.
8. Atlanta Braves (21-16)
The Braves simply haven't performed at the level expected thus far this season. They rank 14th in runs scored and their pitching has gotten worse in May. They've lost their last three games.
9. Arizona Diamondbacks (21-17)
The Diamondbacks have had the third-toughest strength of schedule up until this point, but they sit above .500 while ranking fifth in ERA and 12th in runs scored.
10. Washington Nationals (20-17)
The Nationals rank fourth in ERA, but 27th in runs scored. That could be a problem throughout the season. Their pitching will always keep them in games, but at some point you have to get some support from the offense.
11. Boston Red Sox (22-16)
The Red Sox have gone in a tailspin after a strong start to the season, losing eight of their last 10 games. They rank fourth in runs scored, but 16th in ERA (27th in bullpen ERA).
12. Cleveland Indians (21-16)
The Indians are red-hot right now, winners of seven of their last 10 games. They rank sixth in runs scored, but 18th in ERA. Then again, Cleveland ranks 10th in ERA in May. This team's pitching will be key in how far it goes this season.
13. Pittsburgh Pirates (21-16)
The Pirates' offense is a concern, but the pitching has them with a winning record right now. They've won their last three games and six of their last 10 contests.
14. Colorado Rockies (20-17)
The Rockies rank in the top 10 in runs scored and ERA, but that hasn't translated into a spectacular record. Part of the reason is that they're 4-6 in one-run ballgames. They've lost six of their last 10 games.
15. Tampa Bay Rays (19-18)
The Rays are rising quickly. They've won their last five games, backed by a top-10 offense. On the other hand, that pitching is going to have to get better if they expect to rise much more.
16. Kansas City Royals (18-16)
The Royals are in a tailspin that they hope to get out of. We've seen this way too many times with this franchise. The pitching has been much-improved, but the offense has to find a way to put more runs on the board. They've lost their last three games.
17. Seattle Mariners (18-20)
The Mariners are on a roll, winning six of their last 10 games. The offense is still a hindrance, but the pitching has been coming around in May.
18. Minnesota Twins (17-17)
The Twins have managed to play .500 ball, despite playing baseball's fourth-toughest schedule. There is nothing spectacular about this team, but it somehow finds ways to win ballgames.
19. Oakland Athletics (19-20)
Oakland's pitching, which is usually reliable, has hit a brick wall this season. The Athletics rank 25th in ERA. Fortunately, the blow has been softened by the fact that they rank third in runs scored. But losing seven of their last 10 games isn't a step in the right direction.
20. San Diego Padres (16-21)
The Padres have won six of their last 10 games. There's nothing much to be excited about with this team, but the pitching has been much better in May.
21. Philadelphia Phillies (18-21)
The Phillies rank in the bottom third in both runs scored and ERA, but the pitching has been better in May. They've gone 5-5 in their last 10 games.
22. Chicago White Sox (15-20)
The White Sox have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games, which is at least an improvement from earlier in the season. Their offense is woefully bad, but the pitching has been excellent (ranked third in ERA).
23. Chicago Cubs (15-22)
The Cubs rank 13th in baseball in ERA, which isn't bad. The offense is the main problem. They rank 24th in runs scored. They have won their last two games, though.
24. Milwaukee Brewers (15-20)
The Brewers have lost nine of their last 10 games. It doesn't help when you rank 28th in ERA, or 18th in runs scored.
25. Los Angeles Dodgers (15-21)
Nothing seems to be working for the Dodgers, and the injuries to key players don't help. They rank 28th in runs scored and 20th in ERA. What a disappointment thus far. Not to Giants fans, of course.
26. Los Angeles Angels (14-23)
The Angels haven't even had that tough of a schedule so far. Yet they rank 20th in runs scored and 28th in ERA. Talent on paper doesn't mean anything if you can't apply it on the field.
27. Toronto Blue Jays (15-24)
To be fair, the Blue Jays have played the second-toughest schedule thus far. Still, when you rank 29th in ERA it's hard to make many excuses. It's frankly hard to watch most of the pitchers on the mound for Toronto.
28. New York Mets (14-20)
Despite playing the easiest schedule in baseball, the Mets are 14-20. They rank 21st in runs scored and 26th in ERA. This team's bullpen makes my head hurt.
29. Miami Marlins (11-27)
The Marlins join the Astros as one of the two worst teams in baseball, no question. Miami ranks dead last in runs scored, averaging 2.8 runs per ballgame. And the bullpen isn't helping anyone, either.
30. Houston Astros (10-28)
At this point last season, the Astros were 15-19. Could they actually win fewer than 55 games this season? That is becoming more and more likely. The offense hasn't been horrible, but the pitching stinks (ranked dead last in ERA).
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!