MLB Power Rankings: Braves rule the roost

MLB Power Rankings: Braves rule the roost
April 19, 2013, 10:00 am
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With the season fully underway, it's time to take stock of where all 30 major league teams are. These rankings, as with any 'power rankings', reflect how the league shakes out right now; with only about fifteen games under each team's belt, there's only so much certainty right now. Here's how Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman, Nats writer Chase Hughes, and myself see the league stacking up.

Note: All stats are through Thursday, April 18.

1. Atlanta BravesZuckerman: Justin Upton is getting all the attention, but the pitching staff has been brilliant.

2. Oakland A's - Hughes: The Athletics have proven convincingly that last season was no fluke, riding strong pitching to one of the best starts of any team. Once Josh Reddick gets going, watch out.

3. Detroit Tigers - Roney: This is a team that will live and die with strikeouts -- Tiger hitters whiff almost as often as their counterparts do against their imposing staff. So far, it's working out well.

4. Boston Red Sox - Zuckerman: Can they keep this up? If Lester and Buchholz can keep dominating, yes.

5. Washington Nationals - Zuckerman: An inconsistent start to the season, but they'll be fine.

6. Colorado Rockies - Hughes: Who saw this start from the Rockies? I think the offense will keep it up, but the pitching will fall back down to earth and soon.

7. New York YankeesZuckerman: Hanging in there for now, but hard to see it lasting without Jeter and A-Rod.

8. St. Louis Cardinals - Roney: The division-leading Cards are starting to get a nice return on former first-round pick Pete Kozma, filling in for the injured Rafael Furcal, who is out for the season. 

9. Texas Rangers - Hughes: The new-look Rangers are once again winning games with a deep lineup. Led by Derek Holland (1-1, 1.64 ERA) and Yu Darvish (2-1, 2.75 ERA), their starting pitching has been excellent as well.

10. San Francisco Giants - Hughes: Pitching is all of a sudden a concern with Ryan Vogelsong, Matt Cain, and Tim Lincecum off to bad starts. Bumgarner is the only Giants starter doing well at the moment.

11. Arizona Diamondbacks - Hughes: The D-Backs may be missing Justin Upton right now, but I like their pitching to have them back in the playoffs this season.

12. New York Mets - Zuckerman: They don't stack up talent-wise, but Terry Collins seems to get the most out of them.

13. Cincinnati RedsRoney: The Reds are in great shape -- especially when you consider that Joey Votto (1 HR, 3 RBI) has yet to really start contributing.

14. Kansas City Royals - Roney: A lineup consisting entirely of players under 30 is again teeming with potential, but it's the pitching staff that has been the surprise so far, with only Luis Mendoza failing to start strong.

15. Baltimore Orioles - Zuckerman: The lineup has done its part. Eventually the rotation needs to do likewise.

16. Pittsburgh Pirates - Roney: After contending last season for the first time in forever, the Pirates aren't in bad shape so far this year either, thanks mostly to a strong start from young outfielders Starling Marte, Travis Snider, and Andrew McCutchen.

17. Chicago White Sox - Roney: Young ace Chris Sale hasn't been quite as dominant as he was last year, though three of his four turns on the mound were quality starts. His 4.50 ERA is mostly due to an eight-run disaster against the Indians.

18. Minnesota TwinsRoney: It may be time to put the Aaron Hicks experiment to bed -- or at least back at Triple-A. The rookie centerfielder is batting a paltry .044 and just looks lost at the plate (20 Ks).

19. Los Angeles Dodgers - Hughes: The Greinke news is a tough hand for the Dodgers to be dealt, but so far their pitching has been impressive. Watch out for lefty Hyun-jin Ryu.

20. Philadelphia Phillies - Zuckerman: Hamels and Halladay have ERAs over 7.00, and now Lannan's on the DL.

21. Milwaukee BrewersRoney: Jean Segura, acquired in the Zack Grienke trade with the Angels last summer, has been a nice surprise, leading the team with a .367 average. Offense hasn't been the problem though -- a 4.75 team ERA, the NL's second-worst, is dragging them way down.

22. Toronto Blue Jays - Zuckerman: Dickey, Buehrle, Johnson combined ERA: 6.66. Yikes.

23. Cleveland IndiansRoney: Though Terry Francona is now, unbelievably, the longest-tenured professional head coach in Cleveland, his Indians are off to a rough start, and were just swept away by the visiting Red Sox. When will Boston leave this guy alone?

24. Seattle Mariners - Hughes: Seattle looked good the first week, but Michael Morse's recent absence showed how thin they are. Beyond Morse and Franklin Gutierrez's surprising start, there are too many holes in their lineup.

25. Tampa Bay Rays - Zuckerman: If they don't start hitting, and if Price doesn't get it together, they could be in trouble.

26. San Diego Padres - Hughes: The Padres lost ten of their first 12 games and can't seem to hit or pitch very well. It could be a long season in San Diego.

27. Chicago Cubs - Roney: Things have been ugly so far in Chicago, and aren't much better down on the farm, either; top prospect Jorge Soler, a high-priced Cuban import playing in Single-A, was suspended five games and fined last week after attacking the opposing dugout with a bat.

28. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Hughes: Somehow, with all that talent, the Angels have started the season battling the Astros for last place. Mike Scioscia is a well-respected manager, but something may need to change.

29. Houston Astros - Hughes: Houston has been decent on offense, but their pitching is just not good whatsoever. But hey, at least they are as good as the Angels so far this year.

30. Miami Marlins - Zuckerman: Other than Stanton, what reason is there to watch these guys?