MLB Power Rankings: Projecting Each Team's Record After April

Adam MacDonald@adammacdoAnalyst IIApril 12, 2012

MLB Power Rankings: Projecting Each Team's Record After April

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    How much can you really take from the first week of the baseball season? The weather is bad, rookies get off to hot starts because no one has worked them out yet, veterans take time to get going, and new players have to get used to new teams.

    So really, the first week should be ignored like spring training is. But as baseball fans, that just won't do. If a team loses its first three games, the season's pretty much over (see: Boston) but if a team wins its first three, you'd be as well giving them their World Series rings now (see: Detroit).

    With only one week of meaningful baseball to go on, we can still try and predict what each team's record will look like by the end of the month.

NL West

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    W L
    LA Dodgers 5 1
    Arizona 4 1
    Colorado 2 3
    San Diego 2 4
    San Francisco 1 4

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    April 12 record: 4-1

    On pace to be: 18-5

    Projected record: 16-7

    Last season's 94 wins marked the Diamondbacks' best year since 2002, when they were the defending World Series champions. This season has started well, too, with a sweep of the San Francisco Giants. Their upcoming schedule is reasonably challenging, but they could have a pretty good run if they avoid the great pitchers of Philadelphia and Miami.

Colorado Rockies

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    April 12 record: 2-3

    On pace to be: 9-13

    Projected record: 9-13

    Before last night's 17-run offensive explosion against the Giants, the Rockies had been held to eight runs in four games. That's worrying, as is the fact that their pitching has held opponents to under five runs just once.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    April 12 record: 5-1

    On pace to be: 19-4

    Projected record: 18-5

    Things are bright and happy at Dodger Stadium with a new ownership group, a good team and the best record in baseball.

    Unsurprisingly, they have done it with pitching, holding teams to three or fewer runs four times. The most runs they've allowed in a game is five. Games against Pittsburgh, Houston and San Diego give them an easy run in the middle of the month.

San Diego Padres

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    April 12 record: 2-4

    On pace to be: 8-16

    Projected record: 6-18

    Once again, the San Diego Padres have no offense. They rank joint-last in baseball in slugging percentage and have yet to score more than five runs in a game.

    The schedule isn't kind to them, either, with their next 17 games going as follows: Arizona, LA Dodgers, Colorado, Philadelphia, Washington and San Francisco.

San Francisco Giants

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    April 12 record: 1-4

    On pace to be: 4-18

    Projected record: 11-11

    Quick quiz: the Giants rank fourth best in one category and second worst in another. Which is runs scored and which is ERA?

    Wrong. For a team with Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Barry "See, I can still throw complete game shutouts!" Zito, San Francisco's starters have been shockingly bad.

    It's a positive that their offense has been so good and when their pitching catches up, they will be a good team.

NL Central

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      W L
    St. Louis 5 2
    Milwaukee 4 2
    Cincinnati 3 3
    Houston 3 3
    Pittsburgh 2 3
    Chicago Cubs 1 5

Chicago Cubs

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    April 12 record: 1-5

    On pace to be: 4-19

    Projected record: 5-18

    Theo Epstein used the term "bridge year" in his last few seasons in Boston but the phrase seems more applicable than ever in his first year in Chicago.

    A poor start has left the Cubs tied with Epstein's former team for the worst record in baseball, and there's not much positive to say about the club's chances this season.

Cincinnati Reds

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    April 12 record: 3-3

    On pace to be: 11-11

    Projected record: 13-9

    The Cincinnati Reds haven't done their finances any favors with huge deals given to Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips. Right now, though, they have a very good team that should be right in the mix for the NL Central crown.

Houston Astros

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    April 12 record: 3-3

    On pace to be: 12-11

    Projected record: 9-14

    2012 will be Houston's last season in the National League but things will get no easier when the Astros find themselves sharing a division with the LA Angels and Texas Rangers. Unfortunately, despite a strong start by their batting order, there's little to like about the Astros' chances in 2012.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    April 12 record: 4-2

    On pace to be: 15-8

    Projected record: 14-9

    The Milwaukee Brewers have not missed Prince Fielder yet but they will. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon.

    The Brewers have scored the third-most runs of the young season but that was against bad Cubs and Cardinals pitching. They still have most of the pieces that carried them to Game 7 of the NLCS a year ago, though, so who knows how long they can keep going?

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    April 12 record: 2-3

    On pace to be: 9-13

    Projected record: 7-15

    It is almost impossible to be as bad as the Pirates have been for as long as they have. 2012 doesn't look any different, with no offense to speak of (dead last in runs, OBP and SLG), and a starting rotation so weak Erik Bedard got the ball on Opening Day.

St. Louis Cardinals

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    April 12 record: 5-2

    On pace to be: 16-6

    Projected record: 15-7

    Similar to the division rival Milwaukee Brewers, the St. Louis Cardinals will miss their power-hitting first baseman.

    The defending World Series champions still have a good team, though, and lead everyone in runs and OPS. They could get off to a very strong start, with the lowly Chicago Cubs coming to Busch Stadium, and series in Pittsburgh and Chicago not long after that.

NL East

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      W L
    Washington 4 2
    NY Mets 4 2
    Philadelphia 2 3
    Atlanta 2 4
    Miami 2 4

Atlanta Braves

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    April 12 record: 2-4

    On pace to be: 8-15

    Projected record: 11-12

    The last time we saw the Atlanta Braves, they were choking away an eight-game lead on the Cardinals for the NL Wild Card. They've picked up where they left off, beginning 0-4, but should turn things around.

    Home series against the Mets and Pirates take the sting off trips to Arizona and Los Angeles.

Miami Marlins

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    April 12 record: 2-4

    On pace to be: 8-15

    Projected record: 10-13

    Unfortunately for the Miami Marlins, the main topic of conversation has not been the new-look team or stadium, it's been manager Ozzie Guillen's big mouth. His comments expressing admiration for Fidel Castro have drawn fire from many areas, not least the huge Cuban-American population of Miami.

    As for the team on the field, the team has been all right. The 4.56 ERA is surprising, given its pitching talent, but the Marlins have played very strong offensive teams so far. Series at home to Houston and Chicago will allow them to catch up.

New York Mets

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    April 12 record: 4-2

    On pace to be: 15-8

    Projected record: 12-11

    The Mets have got off to a great start but they will slow down. They dropped two of three to Washington, have a tough series against the Phils next and won't be able to sweep Atlanta again.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    April 12 record: 2-3

    On pace to be: 9-14

    Projected record: 12-11

    Coming into the season, the offense was a concern, especially with its injuries. Those concerns have been legitimate, with the Phillies scoring more than four runs just one time.

    Of course, with its spectacular rotation, Philadelphia won't need to score a lot of runs to win games. It also has a weak schedule coming up.

Washington Nationals

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    April 12 record: 4-2

    On pace to be: 16-8

    Projected record: 14-10

    The Washington Nationals are much improved from last season and might be the best they have been since they moved from Montreal in 2005. Stephen Strasburg's shutout start last night is a big boost, and a reasonable offense is more than enough to keep this team in the hunt in the challenging NL East.

AL West

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      W L
    Texas 4 2
    Seattle 4 3
    Oakland 3 4
    LA Angels 2 3

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    April 12 record: 2-3

    On pace to be: 9-14

    Projected record: 13-10

    The Los Angeles Angels are a legitimate World Series contender again with the signing of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. They might be 2-3 to start the season but neither their lineup nor their rotation has been clicking.

    When it all falls into place, and it will sooner or later (Pujols isn't going to bat .222 with no home runs for much longer), this team is going to be great.

Oakland Athletics

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    April 12 record: 3-4

    On pace to be: 10-14

    Projected record: 9-15

    In seven games, Oakland starters have lodged a quality start five times, the most in the majors this season. Its rotation has been very good but its lineup has been poor. Unfortunately, that's probably the way it will go for the rest of the season.

Seattle Mariners

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    April 12 record: 4-3

    On pace to be: 14-10

    Projected record: 11-13

    The Seattle Mariners might be 4-3 but they should enjoy it while it lasts. The AL West is dominated by Anaheim and Texas, and Seattle has a very tough end to the month, with series in Detroit, Toronto and Tampa Bay.

Texas Rangers

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    April 12 record: 4-2

    On pace to be: 15-8

    Projected record: 15-8

    The two-time defending AL champion Rangers have an incredibly potent offense and they alleviated the pain of losing ace C.J. Wilson by signing Yu Darvish.

    A 4-2 record has them first in the AL West and they will stay in the top two for the rest of the season. It will be a difficult April, but if anyone can get through a 12-game stretch of Boston, Detroit, New York and Tampa Bay, it's the Rangers.

AL Central

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      W L
    Detroit 4 1

    Chicago White Sox

    3 2
    Kansas City 3 3
    Cleveland 1 4
    Minnesota 1 4

Chicago White Sox

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    April 12 record: 3-2

    On pace to be: 13-9

    Projected record: 14-8

    In pretty much every category, the White Sox rank somewhere in the middle, and that is where they will probably be for much of the season. However, they have a weak April schedule and should be able to make hay while the sun shines.

Cleveland Indians

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    April 12 record: 1-4

    On pace to be: 4-16

    Projected record: 10-10

    Were it not for bullpen failures in the 16th and 12th innings in the first two games, the Cleveland Indians might have started the season 3-0. They did lose those extra-innings contests, though, and have started with just one win in their first five.

    The Indians close out the month with a series against the Angels but before that, it's a fairly easy road. Six games against Kansas City pose a challenge but they're broken up by series in Seattle and Oakland. Cleveland isn't nearly as bad as its record indicates and it should bounce back before April's out.

Detroit Tigers

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    April 12 record: 4-1

    On pace to be: 18-4

    Projected record: 16-6

    Everyone knew how good the Detroit Tigers' lineup was going to be, with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in the middle giving them one of the best 3-4 combos in baseball. But it's been their pitching that has carried them.

    In five games, the Tigers have allowed two or fewer runs three times and with the exception of their 13-12 slugfest win over Boston, have an ERA of 0.56 in the first eight innings of games. They have difficult series against Texas and the Yankees coming up, though, and another game against the Rays.

Kansas City Royals

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    April 12 record: 3-3

    On pace to be: 11-12

    Projected record: 11-12

    The Kansas City Royals' offense hasn't exactly lit up the scoreboard in the early going, being shut out twice in six games. They have tricky games coming up against teams that are as capable of sweeping them as they are being swept: Cleveland, Toronto, Cleveland again and Minnesota.

Minnesota Twins

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    April 12 record: 1-4 

    On pace to be: 5-17

    Projected record: 4-18

    2011 was a lost season for Minnesota, as an order totally decimated by injuries struggled to remain competitive in the AL Central. 2012 hasn't started too well, either.

    Three runs in the seventh inning against the Angels gave the Twins their first victory of the season and helped them avoid an 0-5 start. They have been woeful, ranking 29th in runs and OBP, 28th in slugging percentage, 27th in batting average, 29th in quality starts and 28th in ERA.

    It doesn't look like they will get any better, either, with a really difficult month ahead. Their next 13 games go as follows: one against the Angels, three against Texas, four in New York against the Yankees, three in Tampa and three in Boston. No one would be surprised to see them go 1-12 or 2-11 in that stretch.

AL East

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      W L
    Tampa Bay 4 1
    Toronto 4 2
    NY Yankees 3 3
    Baltimore 3 3
    Boston 1 5

Baltimore Orioles

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    April 12 record: 3-3

    On pace to be: 11-12

    Projected record: 10-13

    Baltimore has started strong. The Orioles swept the Twins and while they were swept by the Yanks, they took them to extra innings twice.

    It's difficult to predict how the O's will perform, as they have been very streaky under Buck Showalter. They couldn't have hoped for a more promising start, though.

Boston Red Sox

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    April 12 record: 1-5

    On pace to be: 4-19

    Projected record: 10-13

    Perhaps returning home to Fenway Park on Friday will help the Red Sox. With a .167 winning percentage, they are tied with the Chicago Cubs for the worst record in all of baseball. And they are a ninth-inning rally away from their second consecutive 0-6 start.

    Boston's vaunted lineup has been merely mediocre but it is the pitching which has killed the Sox.

    Their 6.40 ERA leaves them dead last in the major leagues. Of course, the Sox started 0-6 and 2-10 last year, but had the best record in the league from May to August. So perhaps they can turn things around again.

New York Yankees

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    April 12 record: 3-3

    On pace to be: 11-12

    Projected record: 15-8

    The New York Yankees have a really good lineup, one that ranks fourth overall in runs and OBP thus far. And unusually for them, they haven't done it with the long ball. With six home runs, New York is tied for 11th in the majors. They've had a balanced attack and if their pitching can improve (28th in WHIP, 25th in BAA), they could be a scary team.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    April 12 record: 5-1

    On pace to be: 19-4

    Projected record: 16-7

    A lot of people are expecting a lot from the Tampa Bay Rays this year, and they have rewarded that faith with a strong start. Their pitching has been strong and their hitting has been solid and timely, forcing two blown saves, including one off Mariano Rivera.

Toronto Blue Jays

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    April 12 record: 4-2

    On pace to be: 15-8

    Projected record: 13-10

    Toronto's new logo is nice. So is the team. Not great or even very good, but nice. The Blue Jays might stay competitive in the wild-card race for a while before falling away but regardless of what they accomplish, they should improve on 2011.

    Strangely, the Jays rank 25th in average and 27th in OBP but fourth in runs. Their pitching has been great, holding opponents to the lowest average in the majors (.174). Toronto might get through April quite comfortably, with nine games against the Orioles and Mariners to feast on.

    Adam MacDonald has been a featured columnist for the Boston Red Sox since October 2010. He also writes about cricket a fair bit. He likes video games and sandwiches. You can follow him on Twitter, or tell him how awesome/terrible this article was, by clicking here.