By Mike Ivcic
Here it is, loyal readers â the first edition of our weekly power rankings. There were certainly some surprises over the course of the first week, but how did that shape the rankings? Letâs take a look:
1. Texas Rangers (5-2) â There are some who think Detroit is baseballâs best team, but they donât have the arms in the rotation like Texas does. If Darvish can straighten out and Feliz keeps throwing like he did, this will be the best team in baseball.
2. Detroit Tigers (5-1) â No team has a better 3-4 than Fielder and Cabrera. It just canât be matched.
3. St. Louis Cardinals (5-2) â I thought theyâd still win the NL Central, but to start the season this way without Chris Carpenter means they might be a real contender to repeat once he returns.
4. Arizona Diamondbacks (5-1) â I still donât trust their starting pitching staff, but a three-game sweep of preseason darling San Francisco certainly cements this team as legitimate.
5. New York Yankees (3-3) â I get that they were swept by Tampa, but these are rankings, not standings. My eyes still tell me this team is better than the Raysâ¦
6. Tampa Bay Rays (4-2) â But not by very much. Tampaâs starting staff is the best 1 through 5 in the game, so theyâll have a chance every night to beat whomever they play, and the hitters have confidence after last season that theyâll find a way to win.
7. Los Angeles Dodgers (6-1) â Took a while, but the best team record-wise in the game does make the top 10. Whether they can keep it up in a suddenly tough NL West will be a fascinating storyline for the rest of the season.
8. Washington Nationals (5-2) â Just keep winning each series. The Nats took two of three from the Cubs and Mets to start the season. Not overly impressive, but do that every time and youâll be looking at 108-54 at seasonâs end.
9. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2-4) â They get a one-week reprieve, since every team is allowed a bad week. Thereâs a chance for redemption with three in the Bronx starting today.
10. Philadelphia Phillies (3-3) â The offense came alive the last two games against two good pitchers (Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle). Now theyâll have to avoid losing that momentum against a beatable Mets team.
11. Milwaukee Brewers (4-3) â Even without Fielder, the pitching staff â both starters and bullpen â are good enough to keep this team in the hunt all year long.
12. Toronto Blue Jays (4-2) â Will they indeed be the beneficiaries of the added wild card spot? Beating the Red Sox was definitely a good start towards claiming one of those berths.
13. San Francisco Giants (2-4) â Rebounded nicely from the opening series sweep at Arizona by taking 2 of 3 from the Rockies. More effort from Zito like his first start will keep this team trending upwards.
14. Cincinnati Reds (3-4) â As expected, the pitching will be the biggest question mark for this club. Phillips, Votto, and company will do their part offensively.
15. New York Mets (4-2) â Had to get them in the top half of the list, but this is not a team that can afford any injuries to their key players (see: Wright, David).
16. Kansas City Royals (3-3) â Thrill of taking 2 of 3 from the Angels was dampened by losing 2 of 3 to Oakland. KC needs to beat the teams behind them on this list if they want any shot at pushing Detroit in the AL Central.
17. Chicago White Sox (3-2) â Robin Ventura looks quite comfortable back on the South Side, and the Sox will play hard, but it doesnât mean theyâll have a winning record for too much longer.
18. Colorado Rockies (2-4) â Again, not much else around Tulo and CarGo, but that alone should at least keep Colorado afloat longer than most other teams.
19. Boston Red Sox (1-5) â Yes, technically speaking this is the worst team in baseball. And if they finish the season behind even 18 other teams (as I have them listed now) then Iâll write a 1,000-word essay on how Iâll never pick another Boston team in any sport ever again.
20. Miami Marlins (2-5) â Doesnât bode well when a team without their two best hitters (Howard, Utley) beats your two best pitchers (Johnson, Buehrle). And I wouldnât touch the Guillen-Castro controversy with a 10-foot pole.
21. Oakland Athletics (3-4) â Not as bad a team as I initially expected. Especially with their gigantic ballpark, this teamâs pitching will keep them in a lot of close, tight games.
22. Atlanta Braves (2-4) â Talent-wise, they should be better than this, but I donât expect much from this club. I picked them fifth in the NL East, and without Tim Hudson back quickly they might dig themselves too deep of a hole of which to climb out.
23. Pittsburgh Pirates (2-4) â Lost a lot of momentum getting swept by the Dodgers after winning 2 of 3 from Philly. The pieces are there, but the biggest challenge for this club is simply learning how to win.
24. Baltimore Orioles (3-3) â Yes, I know this is a .500 baseball team, but they just blew two winnable games to the Yankees at home. Not the way you emerge from the cellar in the AL East.
25. Seattle Mariners (4-4) â Again, .500 after one week of baseball does not a playoff contender make. But Ichiro is still a flat out stud.
26. Houston Astros (3-3) â If I was going to bet on a team to finish with baseballâs worst record, Iâd still pick this team. They just donât have a whole lot of major-league ready talent. But itâs definitely getting better.
27. Chicago Cubs (2-4) â Starlin Castro is going to be a superstar at Wrigley for years to come. And that just about does it for bright spots with this team so far.
28. Cleveland Indians (1-4) â Initially a team I thought would be the best shot to challenge Detroit, now the Indians just need to make sure this season isnât over by the end of the month.
29. Minnesota Twins (2-4) â Taking a series from the Angels is just a mirage. Thereâs not enough here not named Mauer, Morneau, or Liriano to realistically think about anything other than not finishing last.
30. San Diego Padres (2-5) â An improved Dodgers team only makes it harder to see the Padres beating out any team in the NL West. Schedule doesnât get easier with Dodgers, Rockies, Giants, and Phillies all still to come in April.
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