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MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand After Week 3

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2014

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand After Week 3

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    There are now three weeks of the 2014 MLB season in the books, and while most teams are clustered around the .500 mark at this point, there are a handful of teams that have already started to separate themselves from the pack a bit.

    With so few games played, the power rankings will continue to do a good deal of shuffling on a weekly basis, though there was certainly not as much drastic movement this week as there was last week.

    When putting together these rankings on a weekly basis, the following factors are considered:

    • Last week's record
    • Quality of opponent
    • Key injuries/trades
    • Recent performance beyond the last week

    That said, here in the early going, there is an extra factor that comes into play: expectations entering the season. If we were to simply base these rankings entirely on each team's performance so far this year, there would essentially be no difference between them and the current standings.

    As teams start to get more games under their belts, preseason expectations will play less and less into these rankings.

    This was a good week for pitchers, as Henderson Alvarez (MIA), Johnny Cueto (CIN), Martin Perez (TEX), Julio Teheran (ATL) and Adam Wainwright (STL) all tossed complete-game shutouts and a number of others turned in terrific starts of their own.

    All that said, here is an updated look at where all 30 MLB teams currently stand. Be sure to check back here every Monday morning for the most recent edition of our MLB power rankings.

     

    *Note: All stats courtesy of MLB.com, unless otherwise noted. Injury information courtesy of MLBDepthCharts.com team pages.

30. Houston Astros (5-14, Previous: 29)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Results: 0-6

    vs. Kansas City Royals (0-3)
    at Oakland Athletics (0-3)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Seattle Mariners (3)
    vs. Oakland Athletics (4)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    RF George Springer (6-for-22, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Dallas Keuchel (1 GS, ND, 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    A pair of sweeps at the hands of the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics drop the Houston Astros to the bottom of our rankings this week, as a complete lack of offense (.192 BA) has done little to back what looks to be a moderately improved pitching staff.

    Win or lose, though, the talk of the week was obviously the call-up of top prospect George Springer, who will no doubt be penciled into the everyday lineup the rest of the way. The 24-year-old hit .303/.411/.600 with 37 home runs, 108 RBI and 45 steals in the minors in 2013 and has a chance to be a special player at the heart of the team's rebuild. 

29. Chicago Cubs (5-12, Previous: 30)

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Last Weeks Results: 1-4

    at New York Yankees (0-2)
    vs. Cincinnati Reds (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (4)
    at Milwaukee Brewers (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    1B Anthony Rizzo (7-for-16, 1 3B)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Jeff Samardzija (1 GS, L, 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The Chicago Cubs are still seeking their first series win of the new season, and they will have as good a chance as any to pick up some wins when the scuffling Arizona Diamondbacks come to town for four games to kick off the upcoming week.

    Another rough start by Carlos Villanueva (1-4, 10.93 ERA) has the team anxiously awaiting the return of rehabbing starter Jake Arrieta. The right-hander will report to High-A Daytona for his fourth rehab start and could return for the Milwaukee series at the end of the upcoming week or the Cincinnati series at the beginning of the following week, according to Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago.

28. Arizona Diamondbacks (5-16, Previous: 28)

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    Jae C. Hong

    Last Week's Results: 1-5

    vs. New York Mets (0-3)
    at Los Angeles Dodgers (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Chicago Cubs (4)
    vs. Philadelphia Phillies (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    C Miguel Montero (6-for-19, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Wade Miley (1 GS, ND, 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 8 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    Another rough week for the Diamondbacks finally led to some shakeups, as the team moved struggling Trevor Cahill to the bullpen, where he joins fellow demoted starter Randall Delgado. Josh Collmenter and rookie Michael Bolsinger have replaced those two in the rotation.

    The team's 7.42 starter's ERA remains the worst mark in the MLB by over two runs, and there could be more changes ahead, as Collmenter and Bolsinger did not fare much better than the men they replaced last week.

    The biggest positive takeaway to this point may be the fact that Miguel Montero is starting to hit and looks like he could again make an impact in the middle of the lineup.

27. Philadelphia Phillies (8-10, Previous: 25)

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    Chris Szagola

    Last Week's Results: 2-4

    vs. Atlanta Braves (1-2)
    at Colorado Rockies (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Los Angeles Dodgers (4)
    at Arizona Diamondbacks (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    1B Ryan Howard (7-for-20, 1 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Cliff Lee (1 GS, L, 9 IP, 11 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 13 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The story so far for the Philadelphia Phillies remains the brilliant start of Chase Utley (.406/.451/.672, 11 XBH). And with Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins also hitting the ball well, the veteran offense has been better than expected to this point.

    Their starting pitching has been hit and miss, though, and the bullpen is currently the worst in all of baseball with a 5.80 ERA. The Phillies still look like a team poised to blow it up at the deadline, but there is still time for them to pull things together for a run at .500.

26. Seattle Mariners (7-11, Previous: 19)

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Last Week's Results: 1-6

    at Texas Rangers (1-3)
    at Miami Marlins (0-3)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Houston Astros (3)
    vs. Texas Rangers (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    DH Corey Hart (8-for-20, 3 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Felix Hernandez (1 GS, ND, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    Since starting the season 6-3, the Seattle Mariners have gone just 1-7 over their last eight games, and a sweep at the hands of the Miami Marlins knocks them down to the bottom five in this week's rankings.

    With projected starters Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker already on the shelf, the team is also now without rookie James Paxton, who was throwing the ball very well but is dealing with a strained lat.

    Pitching has not been the problem, though, as the Mariners offense is again one of the worst in all of baseball, despite a flurry of offseason moves. On the plus side, Robinson Cano (.268 BA, .673 OPS) finally hit his first home run of the season Thursday.

25. Miami Marlins (9-10, Previous: 27)

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Last Week's Results: 4-2

    vs. Washington Nationals (1-2)
    vs. Seattle Mariners (3-0)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Atlanta Braves (3)
    at New York Mets (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    RF Giancarlo Stanton (7-for-21, 2 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 6 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Henderson Alvarez (1 GS, W, 9 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    After stumbling to an 0-6 week two weeks ago, the Marlins managed to get things back on track this past week thanks to a weekend sweep of the Mariners at home. This team still has a chance to make a run at third place in the NL East in my opinion, thanks to a solid pitching staff and a vastly improved offense.

    Knock on wood, but this may finally be the season that we get to see what Giancarlo Stanton is really capable of when healthy. He has a whopping 26 RBI through his first 19 games to lead MLB, and he's also tied for the lead with six home runs to go along with a very good .303/.384/.605 line.

24. Chicago White Sox (9-10, Previous: 22)

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    Andrew Nelles

    Last Week's Results: 2-4

    vs. Boston Red Sox (1-2)
    at Texas Rangers (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Detroit Tigers (4)
    vs. Tampa Bay Rays (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    LF Dayan Viciedo (8-for-24, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Chris Sale (1 GS, ND, 7 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 10 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The Chicago White Sox's offense remains one of the biggest surprises of the 2014 season. With a 16-run outburst against the Texas Rangers Sunday, the White Sox are once again tops in all of baseball at 5.58 runs per game.

    A pair of strong starts from Erik Johnson (11.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 7 BB, 11 K) is a positive sign for the back of the rotation, but Felipe Paulino (3.2 IP, 13 H, 10 ER) was shelled again and he now finds himself on the DL.

    The bullpen remains the biggest concern, though, as its 5.72 ERA is worst in the American League, and it has converted just one of its six save chances. 

23. Minnesota Twins (9-9, Previous: 26)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Results: 3-3

    vs. Toronto Blue Jays (2-1)
    at Kansas City Royals (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Tampa Bay Rays (3)
    vs. Detroit Tigers (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    DH Chris Colabello (12-for-24, 4 2B, 6 RBI, 2 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Kyle Gibson (1 GS, W, 8 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 4 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The Minnesota Twins lineup, paced by AL RBI leader Chris Colabello (20 RBI in 18 G), remains one of the best in all of baseball despite being a cast of relatively unknown names outside of catcher-turned-first baseman Joe Mauer.

    However, for this team to have any real shot at a winning record, the starting rotation will need to turn things around quick. Kyle Gibson (3-0, 0.93 ERA) has been brilliant, but the other four starters all have an ERA north of 5.00.

22. San Diego Padres (9-10, Previous: 24)

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    Denis Poroy/Getty Images

    Last Weeks Results: 4-3

    vs. Colorado Rockies (2-2)
    vs. San Francisco Giants (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Milwaukee Brewers (3)
    at Washington Nationals (4)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    OF Chris Denorfia (7-for-18, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 1 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Tyson Ross (1 GS, W, 8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    It was a solid all-around week for the San Diego Padres, who faced a pair of good teams in the Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants and walked away with a winning record for the week. They have a tough slate ahead of them, though, as they go on the road to face two of the NL's top teams in the Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers.

    The team signed second baseman Jedd Gyorko to a six-year, $35 million extension last Monday, and he is one of a handful of players who needs to step things up offensively. The Padres are currently hitting just .233 as a team and are last in the NL at 2.79 R/G.

21. New York Mets (9-9, Previous: 23)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Weeks Results: 4-2

    at Arizona Diamondbacks (3-0)
    vs. Atlanta Braves (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. St. Louis Cardinals (4)
    vs. Miami Marlins (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    3B David Wright (13-for-28, 1 2B, 6 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Dillon Gee (1 GS, W, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The New York Mets took full advantage of a three-game series against the free-falling Diamondbacks to kick off the week before dropping two of three to the Atlanta Braves at home.

    Superstar David Wright has finally started to pick things up offensively, as he enters the week with an 11-game hitting streak to his credit. Now, if only Curtis Granderson (.127 BA, .460 OPS) could figure things out.

    The Mets also made a move at the back of the bullpen this past week, removing Jose Valverde (2-of-3 SV, 4.82 ERA) from the closer role in favor of Kyle Farnsworth (8.1 IP, 1.08 ERA).

20. Cleveland Indians (8-10, Previous: 20)

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    Carlos Osorio

    Last Week's Results: 2-3

    at Detroit Tigers (1-1)
    vs. Toronto Blue Jays (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Kansas City Royals (4)
    at San Francisco Giants (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    LF Michael Brantley (5-for-19, 1 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 R, 2 SB)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Zach McAllister (1 GS, W, 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The struggles out of the starting rotation continued for the Cleveland Indians this past week, with Danny Salazar (7.71 ERA), Carlos Carrasco (7.31 ERA) and Corey Kluber (5.40 ERA) each failing to turn in a quality start.

    It's hard to imagine the team not giving a spot to Trevor Bauer in the very near future, as he looked terrific in his one big league start earlier this year.

    Getting Carlos Santana (.145 BA, .555 OPS) and Nick Swisher (.181 BA, .546 OPS) going at the plate could go a long way in taking some pressure off of the rotation as well.

19. Los Angeles Angels (8-10, Previous: 14)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Results: 2-4

    vs. Oakland Athletics (1-2)
    at Detroit Tigers (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Washington Nationals (3)
    at New York Yankees (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    1B Albert Pujols (9-for-25, 1 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Hector Santiago (2 GS, ND, L, 12.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 6 BB, 10 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    There may be no more positive sign for the Los Angeles Angels than seeing first baseman Albert Pujols start to get hot at the plate. He is now tied for the AL lead in home runs after hitting three this past week. He also sits at 498 for his career and could make history in the week ahead.

    Last week was a tough one for the Angels, but they did find themselves up against two of the best teams in the American League. Unfortunately, things don't get any easier this upcoming week, as they stay on the road to face two top-10 teams in the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees.

18. Pittsburgh Pirates (8-11, Previous: 12)

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    Keith Srakocic

    Last Week's Results: 2-5

    at Cincinnati Reds (1-2)
    vs. Milwaukee Brewers (1-3)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Cincinnati Reds (4)
    at St. Louis Cardinals (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    2B Neil Walker (9-for-30, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Edinson Volquez (1 GS, W, 7 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    After a solid start to the season, Travis Ishikawa had cooled considerably as the left-handed-hitting side of a platoon with Gaby Sanchez at first base for the Pittsburgh Pirates. That led the team to pull the trigger on the first big trade of 2014, acquiring Ike Davis from the Mets.

    Davis, 27, struggled to the point of demotion last year, but he's not far removed from a 32-home run season in 2012. He is 3-for-9 with a double in his first two games with the team.

    “He’s done a really nice job against right-handed pitchers in his career," general manager Neil Huntington told CBS Pittsburgh. "(He’s) a very nice compliment for Gaby (Sanchez) and a guy that we think has his good days ahead of him.”

17. Tampa Bay Rays (9-10, Previous: 9)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Results: 2-4

    at Baltimore Orioles (0-2)
    vs. New York Yankees (2-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Minnesota Twins (3)
    at Chicago White Sox (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    1B James Loney (8-for-19, 3 2B, 5 RBI, 4 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Cesar Ramos (1 GS, ND, 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The injuries to the starting rotation have really started to catch up to the Tampa Bay Rays, as they have been unable to make up for the losses of Matt Moore and Alex Cobb. Chris Archer turned in the lone quality start, but he was shelled by the Orioles in his other start last week, and ace David Price needs to step his game up as well.

    The offense exploded for five home runs and 16 runs total Saturday, and strong weeks from guys like James Loney and Desmond Jennings are certainly a positive sign for the offense.

    The pitching will be tested again this week, as the Rays face two of the best offenses in all of baseball so far in the Twins and White Sox. Odd as that sounds, it's true.

16. Colorado Rockies (10-10, Previous: 21)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Results: 4-3

    at San Diego Padres (2-2)
    vs. Philadelphia Phillies (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. San Francisco Giants (3)
    at Los Angeles Dodgers (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    1B Justin Morneau (9-for-24, 3 2B, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 6 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Tyler Chatwood (1 GS, W, 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The Rockies got a very promising week from their starting rotation this past week, as it combined to go 4-1 with a 2.57 ERA in six starts. Tyler Chatwood looked particularly good in his second start of the season, and he has a chance to give the staff a huge boost.

    The Rockies will go as far as their pitching allows, because the offense is undoubtedly one of the best in baseball. Five regulars have an OPS of .880 or higher, and outfielder Charlie Blackmon (.406/.440/.594) remains one of the surprise stories of 2014.

15. Baltimore Orioles (8-9, Previous: 18)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Results: 3-2

    vs. Tampa Bay Rays (2-0)
    at Boston Red Sox (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Boston Red Sox (1)
    at Toronto Blue Jays (3)
    vs. Kansas City Royals (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    CF Adam Jones (9-for-21, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Miguel Gonzalez (1 GS, W, 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    It was very good week for the Baltimore Orioles offensively, as they piled up 25 runs in five games. But that was only good enough to net them a 3-2 record on the week after they dropped two of three to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway over the weekend.

    Ubaldo Jimenez, Bud Norris and Chris Tillman each failed to turn in a quality start, and that trio will continue to be the key to the team's chances of contending this season. The Orioles simply can't hang around in the AL East with mediocre starting pitching, and that is what they've gotten once again this season.

14. Kansas City Royals (9-8, Previous: 16)

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    Pat Sullivan

    Last Week's Results: 5-1

    at Houston Astros (3-0)
    vs. Minnesota Twins (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Cleveland Indians (4)
    at Baltimore Orioles (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    SS Alcides Escobar (8-for-21, 3 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 6 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP James Shields (1 GS, W, 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 12 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    Sitting at 4-7 entering the week and in real danger of falling out of the top 20 if they didn't turn things around quick, the Royals did just that by sweeping the Astros and taking two of three from the Twins at home.

    The rotation threw the ball fairly well, but it was an impressive showing by the offense that really helped turn things around and has the team looking strong once again moving forward.

    The Royals were done in by some early struggles at the plate last year, and getting guys going much sooner this season bodes well for their chances of contending. Now, if only Mike Moustakas (.125 BA, .474 OPS) could figure things out.

13. Boston Red Sox (9-10, Previous: 15)

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    Brian Kersey/Getty Images

    Last Week's Results: 4-2

    at Chicago White Sox (2-1)
    vs. Baltimore Orioles (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Baltimore Orioles (1)
    vs. New York Yankees (3)
    at Toronto Blue Jays (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    2B Dustin Pedroia (6-for-22, 3 2B, 1 RBI, 6 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Jon Lester (1 GS, W, 8 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    Like the Royals, the Red Sox were in danger of free-falling down these rankings if they didn't turn things around quickly after opening the year 5-8, including dropping three of four to the rival Yankees.

    They got the turnaround they needed with a series win against the White Sox and a solid weekend against the Orioles at the front of a four-game series. The offense is still not firing on all cylinders by any means, but the news that the wrist injury Dustin Pedroia has been nursing is not serious was huge.

    As long as the starters continue to throw the ball well enough to win, the offense will come around in time. Shane Victorino began a rehab assignment Saturday, and there's a chance he could return sometime next week, according to Matt Snyder of CBSSports.

12. Cincinnati Reds (8-10, Previous: 17)

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    Al Behrman

    Last Weeks Results: 4-2

    vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (2-1)
    at Chicago Cubs (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Pittsburgh Pirates (4)
    at Atlanta Braves (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    C Devin Mesoraco (10-for-19, 3 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Johnny Cueto (1 GS, W, 9 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 12 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    Count the Cincinnati Reds among the teams that also needed to get things on track heading into last week, as they had opened the season 4-8 and were rapidly falling out of the top 20 in these rankings after opening the season at No. 8.

    A shutout from Johnny Cueto has him again looking like a bona fide ace, and you can't say enough about how good Alfredo Simon (2-1, 0.86 ERA) has been filling in for Mat Latos. Throw in Homer Bailey's first quality start of the season on Sunday, and the rotation is looking solid.

    Offensively, catcher Devin Mesoraco continues to rake since missing the six games of the season with an oblique strain. Jay Bruce is finally getting things going at the plate as well, and the team as a whole looks to have turned a major corner this past week.

11. Toronto Blue Jays (10-9, Previous: 11)

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Last Week's Results: 3-3

    at Minnesota Twins (1-2)
    at Cleveland Indians (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Baltimore Orioles (3)
    vs. Boston Red Sox (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    LF Melky Cabrera (10-for-26, 1 2B, 1 3B, 4 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Mark Buehrle (1 GS, W, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The Toronto Blue Jays finally showed some signs of life at the plate this past week, scoring 26 runs in six games, and the return of table-setter Jose Reyes from the disabled list should certainly help their attack moving forward.

    The starting rotation continues to be hit and miss outside of Mark Buehrle (4-0, 0.64 ERA), who has been brilliant. R.A. Dickey (1-3, 6.26 ERA) has to figure it out, while the trio of Brandon Morrow, Dustin McGowan and Drew Hutchison needs to find some level of consistency.

    All that being said, this is still a team with plenty of room to improve offensively and the potential at least to be a slightly above-average pitching team. The Blue Jays have won games to this point, and their best baseball may still be ahead of them.

10. San Francisco Giants (11-8, Previous: 10)

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    Denis Poroy/Getty Images

    Last Week's Results: 3-3

    vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (2-1)
    at San Diego Padres (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Colorado Rockies (3)
    vs. Cleveland Indians (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    1B Brandon Belt (8-for-23, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Matt Cain (1 GS, L, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    After taking two of three from the rival Los Angeles Dodgers at home, the Giants were poised for a big climb up these rankings. But they followed that up by dropping two of three to the offensively challenged Padres, and that keeps them where they were last week at No. 10.

    There's plenty to like about this team. The front end of the rotation looks strong once again, while the offense is undoubtedly improved and should only get better once Hunter Pence (.181 BA) and Pablo Sandoval (.171 BA) get going.

    Strong starts from Tim Lincecum (2 GS, 11 IP, 12 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 12 K) and Ryan Vogelsong (6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K) may be the biggest positive of all this past week, as they were both off to rough starts and looked like serious question marks.

9. Texas Rangers (11-8, Previous: 13)

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    Tony Gutierrez

    Last Week's Results: 5-2

    vs. Seattle Mariners (3-1)
    vs. Chicago White Sox (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Oakland Athletics (3)
    at Seattle Mariners (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    CF Leonys Martin (8-for-20, 2 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Martin Perez (1 GS, W, 9 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 8 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    Things finally seem to be falling in to place for the Rangers as they continue to deal with the aftermath of what was a rash of injuries toward the end of spring training.

    The trio of Yu Darvish, Martin Perez and Robbie Ross atop the rotation has been great, and Colby Lewis threw the ball as good as anyone could have hoped in making his first two appearances since 2012 this past week.

    The Rangers are hitting .272 as a team and averaging a solid 4.32 runs per game, and they should only get better once Adrian Beltre returns. Offseason addition Shin-Soo Choo finally got in the home run column Thursday with his first long ball of the year.

8. Detroit Tigers (9-6, Previous: 7)

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    Carlos Osorio

    Last Week's Results: 3-2

    vs. Cleveland Indians (1-1)
    vs. Los Angeles Angels (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Chicago White Sox (4)
    at Minnesota Twins (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    2B Ian Kinsler (7-for-20, 1 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 4 R, 1 SB)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Max Scherzer (1 GS, W, 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The Detroit Tigers have played just 15 games this season, three or four less than most other teams and six less than the Diamondbacks. As a result, they've only had to use No. 5 starter Drew Smyly as a starter once so far this year.

    Their offense is not the force it was last season, but Ian Kinsler is off to a great start and both Austin Jackson and Victor Martinez have hit the ball well in the middle of the lineup. Things will only get better once Miguel Cabrera (.220/.292/.356, 1 HR) gets things going.

    The rotation has been terrific once again, but the bullpen remains a question mark. Joe Nathan is back after dealing with dead arm, and in three appearances since returning, he's 2-of-2 on save chances with two hits, one run and five strikeouts in three innings of work.

7. Washington Nationals (11-8, Previous: 8)

25 of 31

    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Results: 4-3

    at Miami Marlins (2-1)
    vs. St. Louis Cardinals (2-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Los Angeles Angels (3)
    vs. San Diego Padres (4)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    2B Danny Espinosa (8-for-26, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Gio Gonzalez (1 GS, W, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The decision to bench Bryce Harper for not hustling out a ground ball was the big story for the Nationals this past week as new manager Matt Williams looks to establish himself as the leader of the team.

    As far actual on-field production goes, Danny Espinosa has been a nice surprise since stepping into the everyday lineup following the injury to Ryan Zimmerman. He spent the bulk of last season in the minors after losing his job to Anthony Rendon, but he was a solid power-speed guy in 2011 and 2012.

    The starting rotation continues to fall short of expectations, though, and with Doug Fister still roughly three weeks from returning, the team needs Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan to turn things around and for Stephen Strasburg to pitch like an ace.

6. New York Yankees (11-8, Previous: 6)

26 of 31

    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Results: 4-2

    vs. Chicago Cubs (2-0)
    at Tampa Bay Rays (2-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Boston Red Sox (3)
    vs. Los Angeles Angels (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    DH Alfonso Soriano (9-for-24, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Masahiro Tanaka (1 GS, W, 8 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 10 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    After steamrolling the Cubs in a doubleheader that saw them allow nine hits and no runs over the two games behind strong starts from Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda, the Yankees split a four-game series with the Rays in Tampa.

    The return of Mark Teixeira is welcome news, as it gives them the ability to use the versatile Kelly Johnson elsewhere on the infield. Derek Jeter also played four games last week and went 5-for-18 at the plate as he continues to work toward being 100 percent.

    Pitching remains the question mark, but getting a strong start out of CC Sabathia (7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K) is certainly a positive sign. However, Ivan Nova landed on the DL with a partial tear of his UCL, per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, and he could be headed for Tommy John surgery.

5. Los Angeles Dodgers (12-7, Previous: 2)

27 of 31

    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Last Week's Results: 3-3

    at San Francisco Giants (1-2)
    vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Philadelphia Phillies (4)
    vs. Colorado Rockies (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    3B Juan Uribe (6-for-22, 1 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Josh Beckett (2 GS, 2 ND, 10 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 7 BB, 11 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    Clayton Kershaw took a big step forward in returning to action when he threw a simulated game Sunday, as reported by Anthony Witrado of ESPN Los Angeles, and he could be headed for a rehab assignment next. For the time being, Josh Beckett looks like he could provide a much-needed boost to the rotation.

    He pitched very well in a pair of five-inning starts last week as he continues to work his way back from shoulder surgery, allowing just one hit and two walks while striking out seven against the Diamondbacks Sunday.

    First baseman Adrian Gonzalez has the longest active hit streak in the MLB at 15 games, and he's hitting .350/.400/.700 with six doubles and five home runs over that span.

4. Atlanta Braves (12-6, Previous: 5)

28 of 31

    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Results: 4-2

    at Philadelphia Phillies (2-1)
    at New York Mets (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Miami Marlins (3)
    vs. Cincinnati Reds (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    C Evan Gattis (6-for-21, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Julio Teheran (1 GS, W, 9 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    Another week, another pair of series wins for a Braves team that was predicted by many (myself included) to scuffle through the first few weeks of the season with a makeshift starting rotation.

    That pitching continues to be their biggest strength too, as the Braves' 2.40 ERA is the best in all of baseball, and the rotation has led the way with a 1.54 mark. Julio Teheran threw a gem this past week, while Aaron Harang was pulled form a no-hitter after seven innings due to his high pitch count.

    It looks like the offense will once again be boom or bust, with a number of streaky hitters in the lineup capable of getting red hot or going ice cold at any time. It has worked to this point, though, and they have a chance to make a run at the top spot in these rankings with another strong week.

3. Milwaukee Brewers (14-5, Previous: 1)

29 of 31

    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Last Week's Results: 4-3

    vs. St. Louis Cardinals (1-2)
    at Pittsburgh Pirates (3-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. San Diego Padres (3)
    vs. Chicago Cubs (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    RF Ryan Braun (8-for-26, 2 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 7 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    RP Francisco Rodriguez (3-of-3 SV, 4 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    Dropping a three-game series to the St. Louis Cardinals at home drops the Brewers from the top spot in the rankings, but they salvaged their week by taking three of four from the Pirates on the road, and they remain one of the top teams in baseball right now.

    The starting rotation that had been so great pitched well once again, with the exception being Matt Garza, who allowed nine runs in 12 innings of work and failed to turn in a quality start either time out.

    Carlos Gomez ruffled feathers once again this weekend, as his decision to admire what wound up being a triple off the wall led to a brawl with the Pirates. That will like earn him a suspension, and given how well he's hit the ball in the early going, the team can't afford to be without him for long. 

2. St. Louis Cardinals (11-8, Previous: 4)

30 of 31

    Alex Brandon

    Last Weeks Results: 4-3

    at Milwaukee Brewers (2-1)
    at Washington Nationals (2-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at New York Mets (4)
    vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    1B Matt Adams (10-for-24, 3 2B, 3 RBI, 1 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Adam Wainwright (1 GS, W, 9 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The Cardinals jump back to the top spot among National League teams after going on the road against two of the league's top teams in the Brewers and Nationals and returning with a 4-3 record.

    Slowly but surely, the offense is coming around, as the Cardinals are now hitting .245 as a team. Solid weeks from Allen Craig and Jhonny Peralta were certainly a good sign after both had struggled early, and Jon Jay is making a case to once again be the primary center fielder.

    The starting rotation combined to allow three earned runs in 44 innings of work last week, though Joe Kelly landed on the 15-day DL with a strained hamstring. Left-hander Tyler Lyons got the call to replace him in the rotation.

1. Oakland Athletics (13-5, Previous: 3)

31 of 31

    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Results: 5-1

    at Los Angeles Angels (2-1)
    vs. Houston Astros (3-0)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Texas Rangers (3)
    at Houston Astros (4)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    3B Josh Donaldson (10-for-27, 4 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 6 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Jesse Chavez (2 GS, W, ND, 13 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 15 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    Winners of 11 of their last 13 games, the Oakland Athletics climb two spots to the No. 1 slot in this week's rankings, and they will look to cement their place their with a big series against the Texas Rangers at home to kick off the upcoming week.

    Their starting pitching has been phenomenal all season, turning in 15 quality starts in 18 games with an AL-best 2.52 ERA on the year. The bullpen has also rounded into form after Jim Johnson was removed from the closer's role, and left-hander Sean Doolittle was given a five-year extension last week.

    Offensively, Josh Reddick (7-for-18, 1 2B, 1 HR) and Donaldson both turned in great weeks after slow starts to the year, and the A's once again look like a group that will lack a true superstar but will still score plenty of runs.

     

    For all things baseball, follow me on Twitter.


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