1. Milwaukee Brewers (19-7, previous: 1) – The Brewers just keep on rolling as they’ve won eight of their last 10 games to remain atop the rankings for a third straight week. Although its offense has been good, Milwaukee’s pitching has been especially dominant, as they have the second-best ERA in baseball at 2.56, trailing only the Braves. The Brewers will be put to the test this week with seven road games, but a 10-1 road record would put those concerns to bed.
2. Atlanta Braves (17-7, previous: 3) – The Braves have won four in a row and seven of their last 10 to distance themselves a bit from the rest of the NL East. Atlanta’s pitching has led the way as its 2.04 team ERA is the best in the NL by over half a run. One thing to keep an eye on going forward is their offense as they average just 3.71 runs per game, well below the league average, and with their pitching unlikely to keep up this tremendous pace, they’ll need their offense to catch up.
3. Oakland Athletics (16-10, previous: 2) – Known for its offense, Oakland’s pitching and defense has actually led the way to its 16-10 start and the most wins in the American League. The A’s have allowed a league-low 85 runs to this point in the season and have a plus-42 run differential, the best in all of baseball. Their record could be even better as they’ve gone just .500 (6-6) at home.
4. New York Yankees (15-10, previous: 7) – All the questions have been answered for the Yankees a month into the season as they sit atop the AL East standings, winners of six of their last 10. The bullpen has actually been one of their strengths so far with closer David Robertson and rookie third baseman Yangervis Solarte has impressed many with his play in the infield. With Ivan Nova being lost for the season the Yankees rotation will be put to the test with a lot more pressure on veterans CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda to stay healthy and perform.
5. Texas Rangers (15-11, previous: 4) – It’s been an up-and-down first month of the year for the Rangers as they’ve had some injuries to deal with, but have still kept pace with the Athletics in the division. Texas’ pitching has delivered, as the Rangers are above the league average in many categories. They will be looking to do more damage at the plate, scoring just 4.23 runs per game, about half a run below the league average.
6. San Francisco Giants (15-11, previous: 8) – Consistent baseball has been the key for the Giants to start the season as currently they sit atop the NL West standings, half a game up on the Rockies. They don’t stand out in any particular category, the Giants just play steady ball and that generally leads to success in a division like the NL West.
7. Colorado Rockies (15-12, previous: 10) – Winners of two straight and seven of its last 10 games, Colorado is one of the hottest teams in the National League as it has overtaken the Dodgers in the NL West. Year after year it’s the same thing with the Rockies as they’re always at the top of the league in offense, but can’t get it done on the mound. A 4.16 team ERA, good for 13th in the NL, will need to improve for them to stay at the top of the standings all season long.
8. New York Mets (14-11, previous: 13) – The Mets have won six of their last 10 and are right there with the Nationals, competing with the Braves in the NL East. They’ve somehow managed to be seventh in the NL in runs per game, averaging four runs a game, despite having the worst team batting average in the league at .218. They’ve struck out 236 times, by far the most in the league. Early on it seems like they have the pitching to stay competitive all year long, they just need the bats to stay consistent.
9. Los Angeles Dodgers (14-12, previous: 5) – Losers of six of their last 10 games, the Dodgers have fallen out of first place in the NL West. Offense has been the issue as they were shut down this past week, scoring three runs or less four times in the past week. In what is shaping up to be a competitive NL West race this season, the Dodgers seem to be the favorite with the talent they have.
10. Washington Nationals (14-12, previous: 9) – The Nationals received a big blow this week when it was learned Bryce Harper would be out until at least July with a wrist injury. Currently, Washington is second in the NL in runs per game, averaging 4.42 runs per game, but that will obviously be put to the test without Harper for an extended period of time.
11. St. Louis Cardinals (14-13, previous: 6) – St. Louis has slumped a bit of late, losing six of its last 10 games, allowing the Brewers to open a sizeable lead in the NL Central. After making it to the World Series last year, the Cardinals offense has had a bit of a hangover, only averaging 3.41 runs per game – the second-worst mark in the NL.
12. Philadelphia Phillies (13-12, previous: 19) – Philadelphia has won two straight and six of its last 10 games but still remains the only team in the NL East with a negative run-differential at minus-10. Having the second-to-worst team ERA in the National League at 4.24 doesn’t help the cause, but the one good thing is that the Phils have swung the bats relatively well, hitting .259, the second-best mark in the NL. If they can get the pitching, the Phillies could make a run at the Braves and Nats.
13. Detroit Tigers (12-9, previous: 14) – Detroit is beginning to catch fire, winning six of its last 10 games to get to the top of the AL Central. Their offense has been leading the charge as they’ve averaged 4.52 runs per game, fifth in the AL after starting the year in the bottom third. They will wrap up their eight-game road trip with games against the White Sox and Royals this week.
14. Chicago White Sox (14-13, previous: 12) – Winners of six of 10, the White Sox have continued their hot start to the season by getting it done at the plate, scoring a league-leading 150 runs. The White Sox have also gotten it done at home, going 9-5, but they will need to get better pitching going forward as allowing 141 runs thus far won’t be able to cut it much longer.
15. San Diego Padres (13-14, previous: 22) – Scoring runs has been the issue for the Padres this season as they’ve only plated 75, the fewest in baseball, which has also led to a minus-19 run differential. They will need to start to hit if they want to compete with the rest of the NL West.
16. Minnesota Twins (12-11, previous: 18) – The Twins’ offense has been much better than advertised having scored 127 runs, trailing only the White Sox in the division. In a bunched-up division, it should stay this way for much of the season as the AL Central looks to be one of the most balanced divisions in baseball. If the offense continues to produce the way it has and their pitching improves, Minnesota could be one of the biggest surprises of the year.
17. Baltimore Orioles (12-12, previous: 20) – The strong Baltimore offense will be without one of its best hitters for some time as Chris Davis was placed on the 15-day disabled list with an oblique injury. Their offense has carried them to their .500 record thus far, but the pitching will need to be better than 12th in the AL in ERA if they want to keep pace with the rest of the AL East. The good news is they should get Manny Machado back from the disabled list sometime this week.
18. Kansas City Royals (12-12, previous: 24) – Kansas City is playing steady, .500 baseball through the first month of the year. They would like to see their offense match their pitching as currently they have the second-best team ERA in the AL at 3.09, but they average the third-to-fewest runs per game in the league with 3.79.
19. Toronto Blue Jays (12-13, previous: 11) – The Blue Jays have explosive power, but its pitching is what needs to be monitored going forward as they are currently 11th in the AL with a 4.45 ERA. The Jays have lost six of their last 10 games and could be trending down to the bottom of the AL East standings after an above-average first month to the year.
20. Los Angeles Angels (12-13, previous: 21) – It’s been a strange start to the year for the Angles as they have scored an AL West-leading 136 runs, to go along with a plus-32 run differential, but still are a game below .500 and in third place in the division. They’ve also pitched and played fairly good defense, having the fourth-best ERA in the AL.
21. Boston Red Sox (12-14, previous: 23) – The Red Sox seem to take a step forward and then take two steps back as they just can’t seem to build any momentum to get back to .500 as they are 0-6 in games this year when having the chance to get back to .500. Overall, their offense is the unit which needs to be better as the pitching has the fifth-best ERA in the American League at 3.90. Eight straight home games could be just what they need to get out of the bottom of the AL East standings.
22. Miami Marlins (11-14, previous: 25) – Despite being third in the NL in runs per game, averaging 4.32, Miami can’t get the pitching and defense it needs to be a contender. They finally got two home wins this past week, improving to 2-10 at home this season.
23. Cincinnati Reds (11-14, previous: 26) – The Reds remain one of the few teams at the bottom of the league, which should be much better because of the talent they have. The Reds’ offense hasn’t gotten it going yet, averaging 3.80 runs per game, below the league average — this after being one of the best offensive teams in baseball a season ago.
24. Cleveland Indians (11-15, previous: 17) – Things aren’t going so well for the Indians as they have lost four straight and six of its last 10 games. They’ve only averaged 3.88 runs per game, 12th in the league, but luckily for them no one has ran away with the AL Central so getting off to a poor start hasn’t hurt them too much.
25. Tampa Bay Rays (11-15, previous: 15) – A lot is being asked of the Rays to stay competitive after losing starter Matt Moore for the year and Chris Archer for six to eight weeks, especially with how heavily Tampa Bay relies on starting pitching. Things are never looking good when you have Erik Bedard in your rotation at the end of April.
26. Pittsburgh Pirates (10-16, previous: 16) – It’s been a disappointing start to the season for the Pirates as they’ve distanced themselves from the Brewers at the top of the division just a month into the season. Losers of eight of its last 10 games, Pittsburgh will need to improve upon its .221, second-worst in the NL, batting average and get better than average pitching so it can put themselves in a position to make the playoffs for a second straight year.
27. Seattle Mariners (10-14, previous: 27) – Having the third-best ERA in the American League, one would think the Mariners would be much better than their record would indicate, but they have averaged the second-fewest runs per game and have the second-worst batting average in the entire AL, so the pitching hasn’t done them any good as they’ve lost seven of their last 10.
28. Houston Astros (9-17, previous: 28) – Houston has the worst batting average (.210) and average the fewest runs (3.27) in the American League, which isn’t the recipe for any kind of success. The Astros also have a minus-46 run differential, by far the worst in the AL.
29. Chicago Cubs (8-16, previous: 29) – Chicago can’t do much right to open the season as they have a team ERA of 3.83 to go along with averaging 3.67 runs per game, both in the bottom third of the NL. They need at least one of these to improve to even be considered a competitive team in one of the better divisions in baseball.
30. Arizona Diamondbacks (8-21, previous: 30) – Allowing 5.56 runs per game is a recipe for disaster, which is essentially what the start of the season has been like for the Diamondbacks, who have five more losses than any other team in baseball.
*All stats and records are as of Tuesday, April 29
Follow Metro sports writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @Hannable84