MLB Power Rankings: A’s are baseball’s best, Brewers and Braves right behind
1. Oakland Athletics (10-4) – Oakland is off to a hot start to the season by winning eight of its last 10 games and four straight, including going an impressive 7-1 on the road to go along with a league-leading plus-21 run differential. With such an explosive offense, the A’s should be at the top of the rankings all year long.
2. Milwaukee Brewers (10-4) – The Brewers are off to somewhat of a surprising start to the season, but their three-game sweep of the defending champion Red Sox on the road the first weekend of the season, as well as a 6-0 road record opened a lot of eyes. We’ll see how long they can keep up this pace, playing in the very tough NL Central.
3. Atlanta Braves (9-4) – Starting pitcher Luis Avilan has recorded almost a third (three) of Atlanta’s wins to open the year. The Braves ran away with the NL East last year, but with all the young talent Washington has to go along with an improved Mets team it should be a competitive division race in 2014.
4. St. Louis Cardinals (9-5) – Starter Lance Lynn has already picked up three wins and has led the defending NL Champs to a 9-5 start. The Cards have also won four straight. Returning almost all of their pitching staff from last year, the Cards remain one of the favorites in the National League to make it back to the World Series.
5. Los Angeles Dodgers (9-5) – The Dodgers have started out 7-2 on the road and won six of their last 10 to start the 2014 season. Los Angeles is probably the most talented team on paper in the NL West, but it should be an interesting season in L.A. with all of the personalities. Will it mesh?
6. San Francisco Giants (9-5) - Brandon Belt’s hot start, which included five home runs, has gotten the Giants off on the right foot. After a poor season last year, the Giants will look to bounce back and get back to the postseason in what will be a very tight NL West race.
7. Washington Nationals (8-6) - Their 71 runs so far ranks second in the NL East, but they’re still 1.5 games behind the Braves in the standings. It was a rather disappointing season for the Nats last year, not contending for the division or Wild Card. With the young talent they have, they should definitely be a playoff contender this year.
8. Chicago White Sox (8-6) – Despite playing in some brutal weather conditions at home to open the year, the White Sox are off to a decent start. Don’t expect Chicago to stay in the top half of the rankings for very long though, as besides Chris Sale, the White Sox rotation is expected to struggle.
9. Detroit Tigers (6-4) – A 4-1 home record has led the Detroit to the top of the AL Central standings along with the White Sox. Even though they lost Prince Fielder to free agency, with their loaded pitching staff they are sure bets to be in the playoff race come September and October.
10. Toronto Blue Jays (8-6) – Predicted to finish last in the AL East by many, Toronto currently sits at the top of the division standings. That’s not likely to last with the Rays, Yankees and Red Sox behind them. Jose Bautista is swinging a hot bat to start the season with an American League leading five home runs.
11. New York Yankees (7-6) – Taking three out of four from the Red Sox last weekend was big for the Yankees, but they already have injury concerns with Francisco Cervelli going on the DL Monday and concerns with catcher Brian McCann. There’s no question the Yankees are talented, but it’s their depth that could bite them at some point.
12. Seattle Mariners (7-6) – Signing Robinson Cano should certainly help the Mariners this season as along with Felix Hernandez it provides Seattle with a solid one-two punch at the plate and in their rotation. The Mariners, along with the Angels will hope to stay competitive with the A’s in the AL West.
13. Pittsburgh Pirates (7-7) – Known for their pitching, the Pirates have swung the bats well to open the year, especially Pedro Alvarez who has belted five homers to open the year. In what will be another tight race in the NL Central, the Pirates will have to claw their way back to October.
14. Tampa Bay Rays (7-7) – Tampa Bay was given some tough news at the start of the season as starting pitcher Matt Moore will miss the rest of the season as he undergoes Tommy John surgery. Adding insult and injury to injury, another starter – Alex Cobb – is out 4-6 weeks with a strained left oblique. With the strength of their team being their starting rotation it will be interesting to see how they fare in the next few weeks.
15. New York Mets (7-7) – The Mets have won two in a row and six of their last 10 as they look to post their first winning record since 2008. It will be an interesting year in New York if the Mets can once again return to winning form — something the city would love to have, two competitive baseball teams.
16. Texas Rangers (7-7) – Yu Darvish has been dominant this year, but has received just one run of support in the 15 innings he’s been on the mound this season. Texas loaded up in the off-season, especially with the addition of Prince Fielder, so one would imagine they’ll be in the playoff mix in the end.
17. Cleveland Indians (6-7) – Cleveland is well above the league average, averaging 4.69 runs per game, but it remains to be seen if the Indians’ offense will be able to keep that pace all year long. If they can they could certainly be a team to be feared with as their pitching staff is among the best in the AL.
18. Minnesota Twins (6-7) – The good news for the Twins is that they’ve scored 70 runs in 13 games, but the bad news is they’ve allowed 73. They will have their hands full with the Tigers, Royals, Indians and surging White Sox in their division.
19. Philadelphia Phillies (6-7) – Pitching has been a problem for the Phillies as they have allowed the second-most runs in the NL. With the Mets being much better than a year ago, the NL East should be a lot tougher than people expect.
20. Baltimore Orioles (6-7) – Baltimore has scored an AL East-leading 53 runs, but as thought going into the year it will be their pitching which remains its biggest question mark. With the addition of Nelson Cruz, their offense will be even better than a year ago, but do they have the arms to hang with the rest of the AL East?
21. Colorado Rockies (7-8) – Once again the Rockies have shown they can score runs as they have scored a NL-leading 77 to open the year. But the major question with them is whether or not they can pitch and play defense. Allowing 76 runs in 15 games isn’t great by any stretch, but if they can somehow turn that around Colorado could give the rest of the NL West a run for their money.
22. Los Angeles Angels (6-8) – Despite stud Mike Trout’s five homers and 39 total bases, both second in all of baseball, the Angels aren’t off the to the start they were looking for. After a major letdown last year the Angels will look to get back to the postseason, but being in an improved AL West that could be a tough task.
23. San Diego Padres (6-8) – Scoring a National League-low 40 runs to open the season is not a good start for the Padres as the young squad looks to once again be a contender in the NL West. All in all it’s shaping up to be another disappointing summer in San Diego, however.
24. Boston Red Sox (5-9) – The defending World Series champs haven’t got off to the best of starts by any means. Although they’ve had some injuries to deal with to start the year, their offense has let them down, only averaging 2.67 runs in their last six games. This is almost certain to change as the Sox led the AL in runs scored last year, but it’s truly been a frustrating start for Boston.
25. Houston Astros (5-9) – Scoring runs has been a problem for Houston to start the season as they’ve only scored 40 runs in 14 games. Although it’s unlikely the Astros will have a winning season, they should be better than they were last year and shouldn’t lose 100 games for a fourth straight season.
26. Miami Marlins (6-9) – The Marlins jumped out to a hot start to the year, but have lost eight of their last 10 and have fallen back to what most people expected of them. Having Giancarlo Stanton on the roster does make watching Miami entertaining night in and night out though with his towering home runs.
27. Kansas City Royals (5-7) – Kansas City was picked by many to be a surprise playoff team coming out of the AL Central, but they haven’t gotten off to the best of starts with a minus-12 run differential. It is very early in the year and it’s unlikely the Royals remain this low for much longer.
28. Cincinnati Reds (5-9) – It’s been a tough start to the season for the Reds and it’s not been helped by having top starter Mat Latos on the disabled list. His return has been delayed as his bullpen sessions haven’t gone as planned. Despite the poor start, the Reds should get back into the thick of the NL Central in due time.
29. Chicago Cubs (4-8) – Playing in the NL Central doesn’t make things any easier for the Cubs, but it is a big year for the Cubs and general manager Theo Epstein as the team hasn’t had a winning record in five seasons. Epstein could be under fire if the lack of success continues for a sixth straight year.
30. Arizona Diamondbacks (4-13) – Already playing 17 games has made the poor Diamondbacks’ start look even worse as their 13 losses are four more than any other team. A minus-45 run differential is certainly something which will need to improve and improve quick.
Follow Metro sports writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @Hannable84