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MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand Entering May

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2014

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand Entering May

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The first month of the MLB season is nearly over, and for the fourth straight week we have a new No. 1 team in our MLB power rankings.

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

    • Previous week's record
    • Quality of opponents
    • 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 factor less and less into these rankings. For the time being, though, they do still play at least a minor role.

    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.

     

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

30. Arizona Diamondbacks (8-20, Previous: 28)

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Last Week's Results: 3-4

    at Chicago Cubs (2-2)
    vs. Philadelphia Phillies (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Colorado Rockies (3)
    at San Diego Padres (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    2B Aaron Hill (9-for-24, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Mike Bolsinger (1 GS, W, 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The Diamondbacks finally find themselves in last place in these rankings, having steadily dropped down the list each week since opening the season with relatively high expectations at No. 19.

    Their starting rotation remains the worst in all of baseball, though they lowered their collective ERA from 7.42 to 6.15 last week thanks in part to Mike Bolsinger and Josh Collmenter pitching well since moving to the rotation. On the offensive side of things, slugger Mark Trumbo landed on the 15-day DL with a stress fracture in his foot.

29. Chicago Cubs (8-16, Previous: 29)

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    PAUL BEATY

    Last Week's Results: 3-4

    vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (2-2)
    at Milwaukee Brewers (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

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

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    SS Starlin Castro (8-for-26, 1 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 6 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Jason Hammel (2 GS, 2 W, 14.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 11 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The Cubs continue to get solid outings from their starting rotation, as the unit's 3.80 ERA ranks 14th in MLB, but an anemic offense and a shaky bullpen have meant the losses continue to pile up.

    The biggest news of the past week may have been the call-up of right-hander Neil Ramirez, one of the team's better pitching prospects after coming over in the Matt Garza trade last season. He threw a scoreless inning of relief in his debut after taking the spot of outfielder Justin Ruggiano, who landed on the DL with a hamstring strain.

28. Seattle Mariners (10-14, Previous: 26)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Results: 3-3

    vs. Houston Astros (1-2)
    vs. Texas Rangers (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at New York Yankees (3)
    at Houston Astros (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    3B Kyle Seager (9-for-22, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 8 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Felix Hernandez (2 GS, L, 13.0 IP, 12 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 8 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The injuries to the starting rotation have finally started to catch up with the Mariners after a surprisingly productive start to the season. On top of that, their offense remains one of the worst in all of baseball, despite all of their offseason additions. If they aren't careful, they could find themselves in a legitimate battle with the Houston Astros for fourth place in the AL West.

    On the plus side, Hisashi Iwakuma took a step forward Sunday by making his first rehab start, while Taijuan Walker was finally cleared to start playing catch earlier in the week. Third baseman Kyle Seager snapped out of what had been a terrible slump to start the season with a five-homer week.

27. Miami Marlins (11-14, Previous: 25)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Results: 2-4

    at Atlanta Braves (1-2)
    at New York Mets (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Atlanta Braves (3)
    vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    1B Garrett Jones (6-for-24, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Jose Fernandez (1 GS, W, 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 14 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    Despite allowing six runs in four innings of work during his third start of the season, right-hander Jose Fernandez still has a 1.99 ERA on the season, as he has allowed just one earned run in 27.2 innings of work over his other four starts. He tied a career high with 14 strikeouts against the Atlanta Braves last week.

    Big picture, the Marlins are still not in a position to contend, but there is no denying that they are a vastly improved team from the one that lost 100 games last year. They have a tough week ahead with a series each against the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers as they continue to push for third place in the NL East.

26. Houston Astros (9-17, Previous: 30)

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    Pat Sullivan

    Last Week's Results: 4-3

    at Seattle Mariners (2-1)
    vs. Oakland Athletics (2-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Washington Nationals (2)
    vs. Seattle Mariners (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    1B Chris Carter (6-for-20, 1 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Collin McHugh (2 GS, 2 W, 15.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 19 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The Astros didn't win their ninth game of the season until May 7 last season. So while their current record is still not great, it's progress nonetheless. Furthermore, taking a series from the struggling Mariners and splitting a four-game homestand with last week's No. 1 team is enough for them to climb out of the bottom spot and ahead of a handful of teams.

    Collin McHugh was the story of last week, throwing 6.2 shutout innings and striking out 12 in his first start of the season and then allowing just one run in 8.2 innings of work Sunday. Houston selected the 26-year-old off waivers from the Colorado Rockies in the offseason, and he was 0-8 with an 8.94 ERA in 15 big league appearances entering the season.

25. Pittsburgh Pirates (10-16, Previous: 18)

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    Gene J. Puskar

    Last Week's Results: 2-5

    vs. Cincinnati Reds (1-3)
    at St. Louis Cardinals (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Baltimore Orioles (2)
    vs. Toronto Blue Jays (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    CF Andrew McCutchen (10-for-24, 1 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Gerrit Cole (1 GS, L, 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The slide continues for the Pirates, as they opened the season at No. 10 in these rankings but have lost five straight series since opening the season 6-3.

    Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (knee) and closer Jason Grilli (oblique) both landed on the DL last week, and the team's pitching depth is already being stretched, though Brandon Cumpton (7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER) threw the ball very well in his spot start.

    Their offense, hitting just .221 as a team, continues to be a one-man show, and at some point someone will have to help Andrew McCutchen if the Pirates are going to have a chance of returning to the playoffs.

24. Tampa Bay Rays (11-14, Previous: 17)

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    Nam Y. Huh

    Last Week's Results: 2-4

    vs. Minnesota Twins (1-2)
    at Chicago White Sox (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Chicago White Sox (1)
    at Boston Red Sox (3)
    at New York Yankees (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    1B James Loney (10-for-26, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Cesar Ramos (1 GS, W, 5.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    Mired in a 4-9 stretch, the Rays have steadily dropped in these rankings since losing starters Matt Moore and Alex Cobb to injury earlier this month.

    The offense has actually been improved as a whole, but the starting rotation that was expected to be such a big strength currently sits 25th in MLB with a 4.49 ERA. Another pair of rough starts from Jake Odorizzi and Erik Bedard last week means it might not be long before top pitching prospect Enny Romero gets the call.

23. San Diego Padres (12-14, Previous: 22)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Results: 3-4

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

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at San Francisco Giants (3)
    vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    OF Chris Denorfia (11-for-28, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 2 SB)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Ian Kennedy (2 GS, W, 13.0 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 14 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The Padres kick off the week with a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants on the road before finally heading home for a lengthy 10-game homestand that will start with three games against a bad Arizona Diamondbacks team. This could be their chance to make a little run and build some momentum.

    Three straight quality starts from Ian Kennedy is certainly a positive sign for the rotation, and the bullpen is currently the best in all of baseball with a 2.03 ERA. It's simply a matter of how much they can squeeze out of a below-average offensive group, and getting Jedd Gyorko (.144 BA) and Chase Headley (.186 BA) on track would certainly help.

22. Cleveland Indians (11-14, Previous: 20)

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    David Maxwell/Getty Images

    Last Week's Results: 3-4

    vs. Kansas City Royals (3-1)
    at San Francisco Giants (0-3)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Los Angeles Angels (3)
    vs. Chicago White Sox (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    CF Michael Bourn (11-for-27, 1 2B, 2 3B, 3 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Corey Kluber (1 GS, W, 9.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    Considering the fact that they are averaging under four runs per game (3.9) and currently rank 26th in starting pitching ERA (4.62), things could be a lot worse for the Indians right now than sitting three games under .500.

    Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar (7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER) both turned in their best starts of the season so far their last time out, and those two getting on track is as important to the success of this team as anything. Now, if they would just pull the trigger on bumping Carlos Carrasco to the bullpen in favor of Josh Tomlin or Trevor Bauer, their rotation could be in decent shape.

21. Chicago White Sox (13-13, Previous: 24)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Results: 4-3

    at Detroit Tigers (2-2)
    vs. Tampa Bay Rays (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Tampa Bay Rays (1)
    vs. Detroit Tigers (2)
    at Cleveland Indians (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    1B Jose Abreu (9-for-29, 1 2B, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 8 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Scott Carroll (1 GS, W, 7.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    Rookie slugger Jose Abreu currently leads all of baseball with 10 home runs and 31 RBI, both of which also stand as rookie records for the month of April. That six-year, $68 million contract he signed in the offseason is looking more and more like an absolute steal.

    Offense has not been a problem for the White Sox so far, but their pitching remains a major question mark in their hopes of contending. A strained flexor muscle landed ace Chris Sale on the DL, and the team has struggled to piece together a five-man staff the past few weeks. A big spot start from Scott Carroll on Sunday was nice, but serious concerns remain.

20. Minnesota Twins (12-11, Previous: 23)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Results: 3-2

    at Tampa Bay Rays (2-1)
    vs. Detroit Tigers (1-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (3)
    vs. Baltimore Orioles (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    OF Sam Fuld (8-for-17, 4 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Phil Hughes (1 GS, W, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    That's no typo, folks. Sam Fuld was the offensive standout for the Twins last week, and there may be no more telling sign that the team's offense is starting to cool off after a phenomenal start to the season. No disrespect to Fuld, though, who has been a terrific pickup for the Twins so far.

    Lack of consistent starting pitching continues to be a serious issue, and the trio of Ricky Nolasco, Kevin Correia and Kyle Gibson were all shelled last week. On the positive side, Phil Hughes turned in his best start of the season and a second straight quality start, but the rotation remains the worst in the AL (6.04 ERA) nonetheless.

19. Los Angeles Angels (11-13, Previous: 19)

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    John Minchillo

    Last Week's Results: 3-3

    at Washington Nationals (2-1)
    at New York Yankees (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Cleveland Indians (3)
    vs. Texas Rangers (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    1B Albert Pujols (8-for-25, 1 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Garrett Richards (2 GS, 2 ND, 13.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 13 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    Remember when Albert Pujols was still Albert Pujols? Well, those days may not be entirely behind him after all, as the slugger is hitting .340 with six home runs and 14 RBI over the past two weeks.

    The Angels starting rotation turned in quality starts in five of the team's six games last week, and their 3.57 ERA as a group is currently good for 12th in MLB. That's a significant step up from the 4.30 mark they posted last year, and it could be enough to make this team a legitimate contender this season. They will close this coming week with a big three-game series against the Texas Rangers at home.

18. Philadelphia Phillies (13-12, Previous: 27)

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    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    Last Week's Results: 5-2

    at Los Angeles Dodgers (3-1)
    at Arizona Diamondbacks (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. New York Mets (2)
    vs. Washington Nationals (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    C Carlos Ruiz (11-for-22, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 8 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP A.J. Burnett (2 GS, W, 14.2 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 13 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The Phillies held their own on a recent 10-game road trip against a trio of NL West teams, going 6-4 and taking a four-game series from a very good Los Angeles Dodgers team. That moves them up a full nine spots in this week's rankings, and they have a chance to continue climbing as they now head home for seven games.

    The starting rotation threw the ball very well last week, especially the veteran duo of A.J. Burnett and Cliff Lee, but the big story was Cole Hamels returning from injury. Though he earned the loss in his season debut, he pitched six strong innings, allowing six hits and two runs, and his return gives the Phillies one of the better trios atop the rotation in all of baseball.

17. Cincinnati Reds (11-14, Previous: 12)

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    David Goldman

    Last Week's Results: 3-4

    at Pittsburgh Pirates (3-1)
    at Atlanta Braves (0-3)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Chicago Cubs (3)
    vs. Milwaukee Brewers (4)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    3B Todd Frazier (6-for-19, 3 2B, 1 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Johnny Cueto (2 GS, W, 17.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 6 BB, 15 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    It's hard to nail down exactly what the cause of the Reds' early-season struggles has been, but another losing week drops them down the rankings once again, and they have lost five of the eight series they have played so far this year.

    Homer Bailey continues to struggle in what has otherwise been a solid starting rotation. Offensively, Joey Votto (.909 OPS) is the only starter with an OPS over .800. Catcher Devin Mesoraco (47 AB, .468/.509/.787) had been the team's most productive hitter by far, but he landed back on the DL last week with a strained hamstring.

16. Kansas City Royals (12-12, Previous: 14)

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    Charlie Riedel

    Last Week's Results: 3-4

    at Cleveland Indians (1-3)
    at Baltimore Orioles (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Toronto Blue Jays (3)
    vs. Detroit Tigers (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    2B Omar Infante (7-for-26, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Yordano Ventura (1 GS, W, 8.0 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The Royals remain a tough team to peg here in the early going. A five-game winning streak two weeks ago had them looking poised to make a run at the top 10 in these rankings, but they followed that up by losing five of their next seven contests.

    The rotation is solid outside of Bruce Chen, who has a 10.38 ERA over his last three starts, and it may be time to give Danny Duffy (5 G, 8.1 IP, 0.00 ERA) a crack at his spot. Offensively, the trio of Salvador Perez (.239 BA), Billy Butler (.209 BA) and Mike Moustakas (.159 BA) continues to struggle mightily, but the team has still found ways to score.

15. Toronto Blue Jays (12-13, Previous: 11)

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    Ann Heisenfelt

    Last Week's Results: 2-4

    vs. Baltimore Orioles (1-2)
    vs. Boston Red Sox (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Kansas City Royals (3)
    at Pittsburgh Pirates (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    3B Brett Lawrie (8-for-24, 1 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP R.A. Dickey (2 GS, W, 12.1 IP, 11 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 12 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    An impressive start to the season by their starting rotation is what catapulted the Blue Jays into the top 10 to begin with, but a trio of rough starts from Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow (2.2 IP, 0 H, 8 BB, 4 ER) and Dustin McGowan starts them sliding back down the rankings.

    The offense will be there, provided they avoid injury, and a solid week from Edwin Encarnacion (6-for-21, 3 2B, 1 HR) is certainly a big positive after his slow start to the season. It all comes down to the starting rotation, though, as this team will only be as good as its pitching allows.

14. Boston Red Sox (12-14, Previous: 13)

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    Frank Franklin II

    Last Week's Results: 3-4

    vs. Baltimore Orioles (0-1)
    vs. New York Yankees (1-2)
    at Toronto Blue Jays (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Tampa Bay Rays (3)
    vs. Oakland Athletics (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    1B Mike Napoli (9-for-24, 3 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP John Lackey (1 GS, W, 8.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    This upcoming week will be a make-or-break one for the Boston Red Sox as far as their standing in these rankings is concerned. I've given the defending champs the benefit of the doubt to this point by not overreacting to their slow start, but another losing week will be enough to drop them into the bottom half.

    Getting Shane Victorino back certainly helps the offense, though they continue to struggle with finding a set batting order, and a .191 batting average from the leadoff spot has been a big reason for their offensive inconsistency. On the mound, another rough start from Felix Doubront this coming week could have the team mulling over replacement options for him from its crop of impressive young arms.

13. Baltimore Orioles (12-12, Previous: 15)

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    Kathy Willens

    Last Week's Results: 4-3

    at Boston Red Sox (1-0)
    at Toronto Blue Jays (2-1)
    vs. Kansas City Royals (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (2)
    at Minnesota Twins (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    RF Nelson Cruz (8-for-27, 1 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 8 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Miguel Gonzalez (2 GS, L, 11.2 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 11 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The Orioles move up the rankings a few spots after going a combined 3-1 on the road against the Red Sox and Blue Jays, but this team still has an awful lot to figure out if it hopes to legitimately contend for an AL playoff spot.

    The Orioles rotation simply is not reliable enough for them to be taken seriously at this point, and the one guy that had been solid so far this seasonChris Tillmangave up nine hits and seven runs in 5.2 innings of work his last time out. Kevin Gausman will get the call eventually, and he'll need to make a serious impact once he does.

12. New York Mets (14-11, Previous: 21)

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Last Week's Results: 5-2

    vs. St. Louis Cardinals (3-1)
    vs. Miami Marlins (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Philadelphia Phillies (2)
    at Colorado Rockies (4)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    2B Daniel Murphy (8-for-25, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 4 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Dillon Gee (2 GS, W, L, 14 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 10 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    Good pitching trumps good hitting more times than not, and with a 3.46 ERA out of their rotation to this point, the Mets definitely have plus starting pitching in their favor. Dillon Gee remains one of the most underrated players in the game, and Bartolo Colon has now turned in back-to-back good outings.

    The offense is still a mess, as the Mets are hitting just .218 as a team, and outside of Daniel Murphy (.289 BA) and David Wright (.275 BA), no regular is hitting over .220. The bullpen has quietly rounded into form, though, and as long as they keep getting quality starts, the Mets will be in position to win plenty of games.

11. Washington Nationals (14-12, Previous: 7)

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    Alex Brandon

    Last Week's Results: 3-4

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

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Houston Astros (2)
    at Philadelphia Phillies (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    RF Jayson Werth (10-for-28, 3 2B, 3 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Tanner Roark (2 GS, W, 15.2 IP, 10 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 13 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The Nationals had a chance to solidify their place in the top 10 last week with a relatively easy schedule against two average teams at home, but instead they walked away with a 3-4 record and fall just outside of the top 10 as a result.

    The bullpen recorded three of their four losses, as the starting pitching continues to be strong even with Doug Fister still on the disabled list. Tanner Roark tossed a complete-game shutout at the Padres on Saturday. The offense suffered a blow, though, with Bryce Harper joining Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos on the DL with a sprained thumb.

10. San Francisco Giants (15-10, Previous: 10)

22 of 31

    David Zalubowski

    Last Week's Results: 4-2

    at Colorado Rockies (1-2)
    vs. Cleveland Indians (3-0)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. San Diego Padres (3)
    at Atlanta Braves (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    RF Hunter Pence (11-for-23, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Tim Hudson (1 GS, W, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    There were plenty of positive takeaways for the Giants last week, as Hunter Pence finally got things going offensively and Ryan Vogelsong rebounded from a rough start to throw seven shutout innings against the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.

    Now they just need all five starting pitchers to get on the same page, as there seems to be at least one who struggles each week. Offensively, this still looks like the best lineup the Giants have had in years, with Michael Morse and Brandon Belt providing some much-needed punch. Their three-game series against the Braves this coming weekend in Atlanta will be a big one.

9. Colorado Rockies (14-12, Previous: 16)

23 of 31

    David Zalubowski

    Last Week's Results: 4-2

    vs. San Francisco Giants (2-1)
    at Los Angeles Dodgers (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Arizona Diamondbacks (3)
    vs. New York Mets (4)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    OF Charlie Blackmon (7-for-18, 1 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 9 R, 2 SB)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Jorge De La Rosa (2 GS, 2 W, 12 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 8 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The Rockies climb seven spots up into the top 10 this week after a pair of series wins against what most expected to be the class of the NL West in the Giants and Dodgers. They have won three straight series, and with an easier schedule this coming week they have a chance to solidify their spot in the top 10.

    Their offense is the best in baseball, as they are hitting .294 as a team and averaging 5.4 runs per game. They'll go as far as their pitching allows, though, and it was a mixed bag once again from the rotation last week. How long before Eddie Butler (31.1 IP, 2.87 ERA, 1.02 WHIP in Double-A) gets a call-up, or at least a promotion to Triple-A?

8. Detroit Tigers (12-9, Previous: 8)

24 of 31

    Carlos Osorio

    Last Week's Results: 3-3

    vs. Chicago White Sox (2-2)
    at Minnesota Twins (1-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Chicago White Sox (2)
    at Kansas City Royals (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    LF Rajai Davis (10-for-21, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, 2 SB)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Max Scherzer (1 GS, W, 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    The Tigers have yet to really get things firing on all cylinders this season, but they remain the class of the AL Central and a team that looks to have as good a chance as any at this point of winning a wide-open American League.

    Miguel Cabrera (9-for-26, 2 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI) had his most productive week of the season offensively, as he may finally be getting on track at the plate. Even with his slow start, the Tigers are pacing the AL with a .275 team average and putting up 4.5 runs per game. The pitching remains a plus, though Anibal Sanchez had to leave his last start with a blister, and that will be worth monitoring in the days ahead.

7. Los Angeles Dodgers (14-12, Previous: 5)

25 of 31

    Alex Gallardo

    Last Week's Results: 2-5

    vs. Philadelphia Phillies (1-3)
    vs. Colorado Rockies (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Minnesota Twins (3)
    at Miami Marlins (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    1B Adrian Gonzalez (8-for-23, 1 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Zack Greinke (1 GS, W, 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 11 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    One bad week is obviously no reason to overreact and send the Dodgers spiraling down these rankings, but they will need to take care of business against the Twins and Marlins this coming week if they hope to stay in the top 10. 

    The bullpen accounted for three of their five losses, as the starters threw the ball fairly well outside of one rough start from Hyun-Jin Ryu. The biggest story here could be Josh Beckett, who went eight innings and allowed two runs, as he has a 1.00 ERA in 18 innings of work over his last three starts. If he can keep it up, they will have the best rotation in baseball once Clayton Kershaw returns, hands down.

6. Oakland Athletics (15-10, Previous: 1)

26 of 31

    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Results: 2-5

    vs. Texas Rangers (0-3)
    at Houston Astros (2-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Texas Rangers (3)
    at Boston Red Sox (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    3B Josh Donaldson (8-for-27, 2 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Scott Kazmir (1 GS, W, 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    After climbing to the top of these rankings last week on the heels of an 11-2 stretch, the Athletics were promptly swept by the Rangers at home before splitting a four-game series with the Astros to effectively knock them out of the top five.

    Their starting pitching was roughed up for really the first time this past week, though Scott Kazmir and Sonny Gray both turned in strong starts and look like a very solid one-two punch atop the rotation moving forward. A big week from Josh Donaldson is also a major plus for the offense, as he had been off to a very slow start.

5. St. Louis Cardinals (14-12, Previous: 2)

27 of 31

    Jeff Roberson

    Last Week's Results: 3-4

    at New York Mets (1-3)
    vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Milwaukee Brewers (3)
    at Chicago Cubs (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    SS Jhonny Peralta (5-for-18, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Adam Wainwright (2 GS, 2 W, 15 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    At some point the Cardinals are going to start hitting the ball like they are capable of, as they currently sit 21st in the MLB with a .242 team average and have managed just 3.4 runs per game to this point. Once that happens they have a good chance of climbing to and staying at No. 1, but for the time being they fall to No. 5.

    Their 2.76 team ERA is third-best in MLB, with the starters' 2.24 mark trailing only the Atlanta Braves. Adam Wainwright (5-1, 1.20 ERA) remains very good at throwing baseballs, and Tyler Lyons did a decent job stepping in for the injured Joe Kelly last week despite taking a pair of losses.

4. New York Yankees (15-10, Previous: 6)

28 of 31

    John Minchillo

    Last Week's Results: 4-2

    at Boston Red Sox (2-1)
    vs. Los Angeles Angels (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Seattle Mariners (3)
    vs. Tampa Bay Rays (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    2B Brian Roberts (8-for-24, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 6 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Masahiro Tanaka (2 GS, W, 13.2 IP, 12 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 18 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    Only two regulars hit over .300, Michael Pineda was ejected and suspended for his blatant use of pine tar and Hiroki Kuroda got shelled in his lone start, yet the Yankees still managed to come away with a pair of series wins last week.

    Saying that the team "just knows how to win games" feels like lazy analysis, but it really sums up their performance last year and so far this year. There have been a bevy of injuries and individual struggles, yet here the Yankees are tied for the best record in the AL, and they certainly look like the team to beat in the AL East at this point.

3. Texas Rangers (15-10, Previous: 9)

29 of 31

    Ben Margot

    Last Week's Results: 4-2

    at Oakland Athletics (3-0)
    at Seattle Mariners (1-2)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Oakland Athletics (3)
    at Los Angeles Angels (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    RF Alex Rios (9-for-24, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 3 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Martin Perez (1 GS, W, 9 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    Remember when the Rangers rotation was a serious concern? They currently sit fourth in the AL with a 3.48 ERA from their starters, and left-hander Martin Perez has been a huge reason why.

    He became the first pitcher since Cole Hamels in August 2012 to throw back-to-back complete-game shutouts, and with eight shutout innings in his previous start tacked on to that, he is currently riding a 26-inning scoreless streak.

    "He knows how to pitch," manager Ron Washington told ESPN. "He has weapons and he can throw them all for strikes and he has poise. He does a great job of staying with the game plan and that's something that he's learned from last year, how to study, how to go out there and just execute his pitches."

    The Rangers offense is still not performing to their full potential, and they did lose a series to the Mariners over the weekend, but they still earn the top AL spot in these rankings after sweeping last week's No. 1.

2. Milwaukee Brewers (18-7, Previous: 3)

30 of 31

    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Results: 4-2

    vs. San Diego Padres (2-1)
    vs. Chicago Cubs (2-1)

     

    This Week's Opponents

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

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    2B Scooter Gennett (6-for-20, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R, 2 SB)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Kyle Lohse (1 GS, W, 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    Putting together a contending season is as much about beating the other top teams as it is about taking care of business against the teams you are supposed to beat, and the Brewers did the latter this past week at home against the Padres and Cubs.

    A 1-for-22 week from Aramis Ramirez, who had been off to a fantastic start, is at least mildly concerning, but the starting rotation looked great once again, and closer Francisco Rodriguez (11-of-11 SV, 0.00 ERA) added four more saves to his tally. The Cardinals bested the Brewers in Milwaukee two weeks ago, and now they have a chance to return the favor in St. Louis to kick off this coming week.

1. Atlanta Braves (17-7, Previous: 4)

31 of 31

    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week's Results: 5-1

    vs. Miami Marlins (2-1)
    vs. Cincinnati Reds (3-0)

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Miami Marlins (3)
    vs. San Francisco Giants (3)

     

    Silver Slugger of the Week

    C Evan Gattis (6-for-17, 1 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 R)

     

    Top Pitcher of the Week

    SP Julio Teheran (2 GS, 2 ND, 15 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 13 K)

     

    Team Analysis

    I was concerned enough about their starting rotation to slot the Braves at No. 12 in my Opening Day rankings, but it's safe to say those concerns have faded here at the end of the month, as their starters currently lead all of baseball with a 1.57 ERA.

    Only Ervin Santana (6.2 IP, 4 ER) failed to turn in a quality start last week, the first time in four starts he's failed to do so. Justin Upton and Evan Gattis did the heavy lifting for the offense last week, while Freddie Freeman finally hit a rough patch by going 5-for-25 with nine strikeouts, though he did have the walk-off hit Sunday.

    At any rate, this Braves team looks like the class of the league here at the end of April, a month many expected them to limp through as they worked towards getting healthy.

     

    For all things baseball, follow me on Twitter.


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