Here are my power rankings through the first week of the season. Note that all stats and records mentioned are as of this morning before any games were played. The rankings will also be retroactive to this morning as well....
1. Texas Rangers (8-1)
Wow. The Rangers are off to one of their best starts in club history. Mike Napoli is looking to be a steal of a pickup as he has already belted three home runs in just 14 at bats. The most surprising part about the Rangers start to the season has to be their pitching staff. The injury to Tommy Hunter just before the season might have been a blessing in disguise as Alexi Ogando looks like a force to be reckoned with.
2. Philadelphia Phillies (7-2)
While the Phillies lost Jayson Werth in the off-season and had Chase Utley on the disabled list to start the season, the team answered many critics throughout the first week of the season by posting some of the best offensive numbers in the National League. Roy Halladay (1-0, 0.69 era) has looked downright nasty as he looks to repeat his Cy Young performance of 2010.
3. Colorado Rockies (6-2)
Carlos Gonzalez has yet to homer this season, Troy Tulowitzki is batting just .214, and Ubaldo Jiminez has and era of 7.50. Despite all of this, the Rockies stand 6-2 and in first place in the National League West. The Reason? The rest of the starting pitching...The Rockies #2 through #5 starters have era's of 3 or less. I've said it all along. If they keep this up, nothing will be stopping them.
4. Toronto Blue Jays (5-4)
The Blue Jays should have a record better than 5-4 right now. The Blue Jays +14 run differential is 4th best in the American League. Young starters Kyle Drabek and Ricky Romero are living up to every bit of the hype. Yunel Escobar is looking like a completely different ballplayer than the one that was in Bobby Cox 's doghouse last year.
5. Cleveland Indians (7-2)
Talk about a turnaround. After giving up 23 runs in their first two games of the year, the Indians have now won 7 in a row sweeping both the Red Sox and Mariners. Surprisingly enough, most of the offense has been triggered by Jack Hannahan, Orlando Cabrera, and Asrubal Cabrera. It'll be interesting to see how long the Indians run will last. Grady Sizemore comes off the DL soon to rejoin the team as well.
6. Cincinnati Reds (6-3)
Joey Votto (.455 ba, 2 HR) is looking like every bit of the MVP player he was a season ago. The Reds won 5 of 6 at home before losing 2 of 3 on the road to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The starting pitching has been awful so far, but it doesn't mean much when the team has the most runs scored in the National League. Rookie Aroldis Chapman has looked good so far in 4 games of relief.
7. New York Yankees (5-4)
The Bronx Bombers started the season out well taking 2 of 3 at home against the Tigers and Twins. Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, and Russell Martin seem to be carrying this team offensively so far as many of the starters have gotten off to extremely slow starts. Mark Teixiera found power in April, but seems to have developed Giambi-itus as the short porch in right taunts him.
8. San Diego Padres (4-4)
Who said the Padres couldn't win without Adrian Gonzalez ?....Well...I think I did. However, aside from that, let us not forget how good this pitching staff (both starters and bullpen) can be. The Padres have allowed the fewest runs in the National League so far and have just now activated ace Mat Latos off the disabled list. Chase Headley and Cameron Maybin may finally be realizing their offensive potential as well.
9. San Francisco Giants (4-5)
The champs have simply been unlucky so far with games decided by poor defense rather than pitching and hitting. Pablo Sandoval (.400 ba, 1 HR) is looking very much like the player that almost won the batting title for the Giants 2 years ago. Tim Lincecum (1-1, 0.64 era) has completely dominated opposing hitters so far this year as well. Brandon Belt is looking like he might need another trip to the minors though.
10. Chicago White Sox (6-3)
The White Sox offense has been on a tear to start the season scoring the most runs in the American League. Gordon Beckham (.333 ba, 2 HR) is off to a hot start after completely dissappointing in 2010. Edwin Jackson (2-0, 1.93) has looked unstoppable since joining the team late last season. In 13 career starts with the Sox, Jackson has a 3.03 era and 97 strikeouts in 89 innings.
11. Milwaukee Brewers (5-5)
If not for the bullpen, the Brewers would probably be at least 7-3 right now. There is no hotter 3-4 hitters right now than Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. Fielder (.400 ba, 2 HR) looks like he is playing for a 20+ million a year contract next year while Braun already has 4 homers in 10 games. Chris Narveson has been quite the surprise while the team waits for Zach Greinke to return from the DL.
12. Atlanta Braves (4-6)
Braves pitching has only given up 35 runs while facing some of the hottest offensive teams in the National League. If only their offense could do the same. Sophomore Jason Heyward (.988 OPS) is carrying this team offensively while new addition Dan Uggla (.158 ba) has struggled out of the gate. Derek Lowe has 2 losses this season in 3 starts despite a 1.45 era. Brutal.
13. Baltimore Orioles (6-3)
Baltimore has officially become bizzaro world. Many, including myself, expected the Orioles offense to be much improved, but felt the pitching would hold them back. So far through 9 games, it's been the complete opposite. Anchored by Jeremy Guthrie (1-1, 0.64 era) and Zach Britton (2-0, 0.66 era), the O's pitching has been one of the best in the league while the offense has completely struggled.
14. Kansas City Royals (6-3)
Is 2011 the year that Alex Gordon finally breaks out? Gordon is off to a hot start this season batting .357 through 9 games. Coupled with Billy Butler , the Royals offense has led them to solid start to the season taking 3 of 4 from the Angels, splitting two with the White Sox, and taking 2 of 3 from the Tigers on the road. Jeff Francis (0-0, 1.98 era) is looking like the ace he once was with the Rockies a few years back.
15. Oakland Athletics (4-5)
You know the A's starting pitching is solid when the worst pitcher in the rotation threw a perfect game a season ago. Despite the strong starting pitching, the A's have been plagued by bad defense and a lack of offense. Kevin Kouzmanoff and Daric Barton each had 3 errors in the first 4 games of the season. The A's are smart to be locking Trevor Cahill up to a new 5 year deal though.
16. Los Angeles Dodgers (5-4)
Despite their 5-4 record, the Dodgers have been anemic offensively scoring the second fewest amount of runs in the National League. Matt Kemp (.438 ba) and Andre Ethier (.353 ba) have carried the team thus far, but the team will have to get more production from the rest of the lineup if they are to continue winning games. They set out to San Francisco this week for a rematch with the Giants.
17. Los Angeles Angels (5-4)
Dan Haren (2-0, 1.15 era) and Jered Weaver (3-0, 0.87 era) are as solid as they come. The two pitchers account for all the Halos victories so far with dominating performances each night out. The Angels still have major problems with the offense and bullpen though. Fernando Rodney has been extremely shake at the back of the pen. Meanwhile, Vernon Wells has just 4 hits in 40 at bats (.100 ba).
18. St. Louis Cardinals (3-6)
The offense has been non-existent so far without Matt Holliday . Albert Pujols has had no protection in the lineup with Lance Berkman struggling behind him. The starting pitching has been surprisingly better than expected without Adam Wainwright , who had to get Tommy John Surgery this spring. The Cards finish up their west coast road trip against the D-Backs and Dodgers this week.
19. Arizona Diamondbacks (4-4)
The Diamondbacks have one of the hardest schedules in the month of April for a National League team. After starting 4-4 against the Rockies, Cubs, and Reds, the D-Backs next 5 series consist of the Cards, Giants, Reds, Mets, and Phillies. If they can get through that, things will get a little easier down the road. Ian Kennedy (1-0, 2.57 era) seems to have found his groove he could never find while with the Yanks.
20. Pittsburgh Pirates (5-5)
One of the most surprising teams out of the gate has to be the Pirates. Compared to how this team was playing a year ago, .500 is exceptional. Neil Walker (.300 ba, 2 HR) is the real deal at second base while Jose Tabata (.342 ba, 2 HR) and Andrew McCutchen (.257 ba, 2 HR) are developing nicely as well. We may also see a breakout year from Kevin Correia (2-0, 1.29 era). Stay Tuned.
21. Chicago Cubs (4-5)
In almost a reverse of 2010, The Cubs offense has started hitting the ball well while the pitching has lagged behind thus far. Starlin Castro (.333 ba, 7 r) is looking like he will be the catalyst of the teams offense all year. The Cubs schedule has been relatively weak thus far and they will need to start pitching better so they can heat up by the time they face better competition.
22. Florida Marlins (5-4)
It's hard to give the Marlins more credit when their first three series have been against the Mets, Nationals, and Astros. They'll get a much bigger test this week vs. the Braves and Phillies. Logan Morrison (.333 ba, 2 HR) is hitting the ball extremely well and he is 2nd in the NL with 9 walks. Mike Stanton missed a few games with an hamstring injury and the Marlins will need him to hit in order to win this week.
23. Minnesota Twins (3-6)
It's hard to tell whether the Twins offense is really this bad, or they've just faced a slew of good pitchers. After all, they did face the top 3 pitchers from both Oakland and Toronto and faced the Yankees top 2 as well. Regardless, no one on this team other than Denard Span (.286 ba, 1 HR) is hitting the ball and the starting pitching has been awful up to this point. The good news is the schedule gets much easier.
24. Boston Red Sox (2-7)
Wow. I should have known better than to pick the best lineup on paper to win the division. The Red Sox remind me of the Tigers back when they first acquired Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis . The lineup hasn't been hitting and the pitching has been downright terrible. Just about the only consolation the Sox have going for them is the series win against the Yankees last weekend.
25. Washington Nationals (4-5)
The Nationals threw big money at Jayson Werth in the off-season and he's off to a terrible start (.200 ba, 1 HR). It was a good gesture to fans that the owners want to compete, but it just wasn't smart. The bright spot for the Nats has to be Jordan Zimmerman (1-1, 3.18). Two years ago, I predicted Zimmerman to be the rookie of the year before he fell victim to Tommy John Surgery. He's looked good so far.
26. New York Mets (4-5)
Both R.A. Dickey (1-1, 2.45 era) and Chris Young (1-0, 1.46) are making GM Sandy Alderson look good so far this season for signing them both to contracts. Meanwhile, Ike Davis (.364 ba, 10 RBI) is tearing the cover off the ball and providing the team with most of their offense. For the Mets to stand a chance, they'll need Jason Bay back from injury and better performances from Mike Pelfrey (0-1, 15.53 era).
27. Detroit Tigers (3-6)
Justin Verlander (1-0, 3.86 era) is the only starting pitcher on the team with an era below 5.70. The Tigers have struggled out of the gate both offensively and defensively. Miguel Cabrera (.355 ba, 4 HR) and Alex Avila (.280 3 HR) are supplying a lot of offensive firepower so far, but have gotten no help from others. Manager Jim Leyland may be on the hot seat if the Tigers can't get going early on in this season.
28. Seattle Mariners (2-7)
After taking the first 2 games of the year from Oakland, the M's have dropped 7 straight. Chone Figgins (.135 ba, 1 HR) has not improved on his miserable numbers that he posted a year ago. The team batting average is just .215 as a whole. Once again, the pitching is left without any sort of run support. Doug Fister (0-2, 2.31 era) and Felix Hernandez (1-1, 2.25 era) deserve much better.
29. Houston Astros (2-7)
The 'stros had an extremely difficult schedule to start the season as they faced both the Phillies and Reds on the road and that may play a factor into why the team has had the worst pitching staff in the league so far. At least Brett Myers (0-0, 2.03) has avoided a beating. Carlos Lee (.200 ba, 1 HR) still looks like the same player that struggled for much of last season.
30. Tampa Bay Rays (1-8) Coming into today, the Rays only scored more than three runs in a game only once. With Evan Longoria sidelined and Manny Ramirez calling it quits, this team is in big trouble. Just about the only bright spot for the team has been B.J. Upton (.290 ba, 2 HR). Is this the year Upton finally breaks through and returns to his 2007 form? The Rays can only hope he does...
BP's Power Rankings: First Impressions Week 1
Posted on: April 12, 2011 12:06 am