Updated MLB Power Rankings

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistApril 16, 2012

Updated MLB Power Rankings

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    The first full week of the 2012 MLB season is in the books, and while we are still just 10 or so games into the season, the landscape of what we can expect as far as division races is already taking shape.

    The Dodgers have to be considered the surprise team so far, as they have baseball's best record at 9-1, while last year's pennant winners, the Cardinals and Rangers, are off to hot starts as well.

    Now that the sample size is greater than the three games we had in the books last Monday, these power rankings have a number of teams making big jumps and a few dropping a significant distance.

    Keep in mind, these are power rankings, not standings, so while record is certainly taken into account, it is far from the sole deciding factor that went into ranking all 30 teams.

    So here is a look at this week's MLB power rankings, and check back here each Monday morning for an updated look at where your favorite team stands.

    *Note: Rosters taken from MLBDepthCharts, a fantastic website worth checking out if you've never visited it.

No. 30: San Diego Padres (2-8, Previous: 30)

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    Current Lineup

    CF Cameron Maybin
    RF Will Venable
    3B Chase Headley
    LF Jesus Guzman (Injury Replacement—Carlos Quentin on 15-Day DL)
    1B Yonder Alonso
    C Nick Hundley
    SS Jason Bartlett
    2B Orlando Hudson


    Current Rotation

    SP Edinson Volquez
    SP Cory Luebke
    SP Clayton Richard
    SP Anthony Bass (Injury Replacement— Dustin Moseley on 15-Day DL)
    SP Joe Wieland (Injury Replacement—Tim Stauffer on 15-Day DL)
    CP Huston Street


    Team Overview

    Not much positive to say about the Padres so far, as they struggled to a 1-5 record this past week and currently have the worst record in the National League.

    Their already thin pitching rotation has two of its starters on the disabled list, and offseason acquisition Carlos Quentin has yet to play a game.

    The team could certainly use Quentin's bat, as their offense has been as anemic to say the least, hitting a collective .178. Shortstop Jason Bartlett has the highest average of any regular at .222.

No. 29: Minnesota Twins (2-7, Previous: 23)

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    Current Lineup

    CF Denard Span
    SS Jamey Carroll
    C Joe Mauer
    DH Justin Morneau
    LF Josh Willingham
    RF Ryan Doumit
    3B Danny Valencia
    1B Chris Parmelee
    2B Alexi Casilla


    Current Rotation

    SP Carl Pavano
    SP Francisco Liriano
    SP Anthony Swarzak
    SP Nick Blackburn
    SP Liam Hendriks 
    CP Matt Capps 


    Team Outlook

    After getting swept by the Orioles to open the season, the Twins went 2-4 this past week as they currently have the worst record in the American League.

    Starter Scott Baker is lost for the season after undergoing elbow surgery, and the starters who are healthy have struggled with the exception of Anthony Swarzak, who has a 3.75 ERA in 12 innings of work.

    The lineup has hit well enough to win, led by Josh Willingham who has hit .444 BA, 4 HR, 7 RBI, but the pitching has held them back to this point, and likely will continue to be an issue.

No. 28: Pittsburgh Pirates (3-6, Previous: 19)

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    Current Lineup

    LF Alex Presley
    RF Jose Tabata
    CF Andrew McCutchen
    2B Neil Walker
    1B Garrett Jones
    C Rod Barajas
    3B Pedro Alvarez
    SS Clint Barmes


    Current Rotation

    SP Erik Bedard
    SP Jeff Karstens
    SP James McDonald
    SP Kevin Correia
    SP Charlie Morton
    CP Joel Hanrahan 


    Team Outlook

    After a dramatic opening series that saw the team celebrate back-to-back walk-off wins, the Pirates stumbled badly last week with a 1-5 record.

    A win on Sunday snapped a five-game losing streak, and marked just the third time they topped the two-run mark this season, as they bested the Giants 4-1.

    Still, their .188 team average is the worst in baseball, and their 18 runs scored on the season is 10 fewer than the second-worst team in baseball. The offense should get better moving forward, if for no other reason than they can't possibly get worse, but there is a lot of work to do in Pittsburgh.

No. 27: Chicago Cubs (3-7, Previous: 25)

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    Current Lineup 

    RF David DeJesus
    2B Darwin Barney
    SS Starlin Castro
    LF Alfonso Soriano
    3B Ian Stewart
    1B Bryan LaHair
    C Geovany Soto
    CF Marlon Byrd


    Current Rotation

    SP Ryan Dempster
    SP Matt Garza
    SP Jeff Samardzija
    SP Chris Volstad
    SP Paul Maholm
    CP Carlos Marmol


    Team Outlook

    With a 2-4 week under their belt against division rivals Milwaukee and St. Louis, the Cubs find themselves in last place in the NL Central.

    Despite a terrific start to the season for starters Ryan Dempster (1.88 ERA, 14.1 IP), Matt Garza (1.23 ERA, 14.2 IP) and Jeff Samardzija (3.95 ERA, 13.2 IP), the Cubs are off to a rough start.

    The bullpen has scuffled and the bottom of the lineup has produced next to nothing, as Geovany Soto (.120 BA) and Marlon Byrd (.071 BA) have just five hits between them.

No. 26: Houston Astros (4-5, Previous: 28)

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    Current Lineup

    CF Jordan Schafer
    SS Jed Lowrie
    LF J.D. Martinez
    1B Carlos Lee
    RF Brian Bogusevic
    3B Chris Johnson
    C Jason Castro
    2B Jose Altuve


    Current Rotation

    SP Wandy Rodriguez
    SP Lucas Harrell 
    SP Bud Norris
    SP J.A. Happ
    SP Kyle Weiland
    CP Brett Myers


    Team Outlook

    The Astros have played better than expected so far this season, and while they went 2-4 this past week, they remain in second place in the NL Central.

    Shortstop Jed Lowrie is back after a thumb injury sidelined him to open the season, and he should give the offense a boost hitting towards the top of the order.

    They are by no means a contender, but the Astros might not be as bad as many people expected this season, and J.D. Martinez looks to be for real with a .371 BA, 3 HR, 10 RBI start to the season.

No. 25: Kansas City Royals (3-6, Previous: 18)

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    Current Lineup

    LF Alex Gordon
    2B Chris Getz
    1B Eric Hosmer
    DH Billy Butler
    RF Jeff Francoeur
    3B Mike Moustakas
    CF Mitch Maier (Injury Replacement - Lorenzo Cain on 15-Day DL)
    C Humberto Quintero
    SS Alcides Escobar


    Current Rotation

    SP Bruce Chen
    SP Luke Hochevar
    SP Jonathan Sanchez
    SP Luis Mendoza
    SP Danny Duffy
    CP Jonathan Broxton


    Team Outlook

    Currently riding a four-game losing steak, the Royals are coming off of a 1-5 week as poor starting pitching continues to hold back their young lineup. 

    Luke Hochevar (7.84 ERA) and Jonathan Sanchez (8.22 ERA) have struggled mightily, as has the back-end of the bullpen with Aaron Crow (6.75 ERA), Tim Collins (5.68 ERA) and Greg Holland (7.71 ERA) all getting hit hard early. Meanwhile, Bruce Chen (1.64 ERA, 11 IP) has been terrific as the staff ace.

    If the pitching staff can figure things out, and Eris Hosmer (.206 BA) and Alex Gordon (.133 BA) can start hitting the ball, the Royals have the pieces to push for second in the AL Central. As of now, though, they look like potential cellar dwellers.

No. 24: Oakland Athletics (4-6, Previous: 29)

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    Current Lineup

    2B Jemile Weeks
    LF Coco Crisp
    RF Josh Reddick
    CF Yoenis Cespedes
    DH Seth Smith
    C Kurt Suzuki
    1B Daric Barton
    3B Eric Sogard
    SS Cliff Pennington 


    Current Rotation

    SP Brandon McCarthy
    SP Bartolo Colon
    SP Tom Milone
    SP Graham Godfrey
    SP Tyson Ross (in minors, to be recalled for April 17 start)
    CP Grant Balfour


    Team Overview

    The Athletics were a solid 3-3 this past week, as their pitching staff has performed well and they have gotten just enough offense to win some games.

    First baseman Daric Barton is back, and that led to the team designate Opening Day first baseman Brandon Allen for assignment.

    As long as the team continues to pitch well, they should hover around .500, but time will tell if their unproven rotation can maintain their current level of play.

No. 23: Baltimore Orioles (5-4, Previous: 26)

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    Current Lineup

    LF Nolan Reimold
    SS J.J. Hardy
    RF Nick Markakis
    CF Adam Jones 
    C Matt Wieters
    DH Wilson Betemit
    3B Mark Reynolds
    1B Chris Davis
    2B Robert Andino


    Current Rotation 

    SP Jake Arrieta
    SP Tommy Hunter
    SP Jason Hammel
    SP Brian Matusz
    SP Wei-Yin Chen
    CP Jim Johnson 


    Team Outlook

    The Orioles were the surprise team of the season's opening weekend as they swept the Twins, and while they have come back to earth since with a 2-4 week, there is plenty of reason for optimism.

    Aside from Brian Matusz, the starting rotation has looked fantastic, and the team ranks first in the American League with 13 home runs, as five different players have two long balls on the year.

    It likely won't be enough for them to have any real chance at contention, but things are moving in the right direction in Baltimore, and they could be a thorn in the side of their AL East counterparts this season.

No. 22: Seattle Mariners (6-5, Previous: 22)

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    Current Lineup

    LF Chone Figgins
    2B Dustin Ackley
    RF Ichiro Suzuki
    1B Justin Smoak
    DH Jesus Montero
    3B Kyle Seager
    C Miguel Olivo
    CF Michael Saunders
    SS Brendan Ryan


    Current Rotation

    SP Felix Hernandez
    SP Jason Vargas
    SP Hector Noesi
    SP Blake Beavan
    SP Kevin Millwood
    CP Brandon League


    Team Outlook

    The Mariners opened the season strong with a 3-1 series victory over the Athletics, but they fell back a bit this past week with a 3-4 record.

    Their pitching has been solid, but once again their offense is an issue, as they lack a true run producer in the middle of the order, with Justin Smoak hitting just .179 so far.

    If someone can step up offensively, they have the pitching to win games, but it looks as though it could be another long season in Seattle.

No. 21: Colorado Rockies (4-5, Previous: 21)

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    Current Lineup

    2B Marco Scutaro
    CF Dexter Fowler
    LF Carlos Gonzalez
    SS Troy Tulowitzki
    1B Todd Helton
    RF Michael Cuddyer
    C Ramon Hernandez
    3B Chris Nelson


    Current Rotation 

    SP Jeremy Guthrie
    SP Jamie Moyer
    SP Juan Nicasio
    SP Jhoulys Chacin
    SP Drew Pomeranz
    CP Rafael Betancourt


    Team Outlook

    A 3-3 week leaves the Rockies in third place in the NL West, as the Dodgers and Diamondbacks have both gotten off to great starts.

    The Rockies were as busy as anyone this offseason, adding three new starters to their lineup in an effort to fill what had been glaring holes, and that has helped the team rank second in batting average (.272) and third in runs scored (44) in the National League.

    However, their pitching staff has been abysmal, as Jamie Moyer is the only starter with an ERA under 5.00 at 4.22, and he holds an 0-2 record. Rookie Drew Pomeranz struggled mightily in his first start of the season Sunday, and as a whole, the staff will need to improve drastically if they hope to contend.

No. 20: Cleveland Indians (4-4, Previous: 20)

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    Current Lineup

    CF Michael Brantley
    SS Asdrubal Cabrera
    RF Shin-Soo Choo
    C Carlos Santana
    DH Travis Hafner
    1B Casey Kotchman
    LF Shelley Duncan
    2B Jason Kipnis
    3B Jack Hannahan


    Current Rotation

    SP Justin Masterson
    SP Ubaldo Jimenez
    SP Derek Lowe
    SP Josh Tomlin
    SP Jeanmar Gomez
    CP Chris Perez


    Team Outlook

    A 3-2 week pulled the Indians to .500 on the season, and puts them in third place in the AL Central, as they have rode solid starting pitching to this point.

    Offseason acquisition Derek Lowe (2-0, 1.98 ERA, 13.2 IP) has been fantastic, and Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez both have ERAs under 3.00 after two starts.

    Despite a .217 team average, the team is fourth in the AL in runs scored at 39, but if they hope to keep winning games and scoring runs, they are going to need to pick it up offensively.

No. 19: Miami Marlins (4-6, Previous: 13)

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    Current Lineup

    SS Jose Reyes
    CF Emilio Bonifacio
    3B Hanley Ramirez
    RF Giancarlo Stanton
    LF Logan Morrison
    1B Gaby Sanchez
    2B Omar Infante
    C John Buck


    Current Rotation

    SP Josh Johnson
    SP Mark Buehrle
    SP Ricky Nolasco
    SP Carlos Zambrano
    SP Anibal Sanchez
    CP Heath Bell


    Team Outlook

    It was a tough week for the Marlins, as they went 3-3 but made headlines thanks to manager Ozzie Guillen's comments about Fidel Castro that resulted in a five-game suspension.

    Offensively, a number of players are struggling as Emilio Bonifacio (.353 BA) and Omar Infante (.367 BA, 3 HR, 5 RBI) are the only regulars hitting over .250.

    Ace Josh Johnson has been shelled (8.38 ERA, 21 H, 9.2 IP) in his two starts, and new closer Heath Bell has blown both of his save opportunities and holds a 12.00 ERA. All in all, not the start the new-look Marlins were looking for.

No. 18: Chicago White Sox (5-3, Previous: 27)

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    Current Lineup

    CF Alejandro De Aza
    3B Brent Morel
    DH Adam Dunn
    1B Paul Konerko
    C A.J. Pierzynski
    RF Alex Rios
    SS Alexei Ramirez
    LF Dayan Viciedo
    2B Gordon Beckham


    Current Rotation

    SP John Danks
    SP Jake Peavy
    SP Gavin Floyd
    SP Chris Sale
    SP Phil Humber
    CP Hector Santiago


    Team Outlook

    A 4-1 week in which they took two of three from division rival and AL Central favorites Detroit has the White Sox looking good heading out of the first full week of the season.

    The continued struggles of Adam Dunn (.192 BA), Alex Rios (.190 BA) and Gordon Beckham (.136 BA) are certainly cause for concern, but they have found ways to win in spite of that trio.

    Converted reliever Chris Sale looked great in his first start of the year, and Jake Peavy has shown signs of the Peavy of old through his first two starts.

No. 17: Milwaukee Brewers (4-6, Previous: 14)

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    Current Lineup

    2B Rickie Weeks
    CF Nyjer Morgan
    LF Ryan Braun
    3B Aramis Ramirez
    RF Corey Hart
    1B Mat Gamel
    C Jonathan Lucroy
    SS Cesar Izturis (Alex Gonzalez on Paternity Leave List)


    Current Rotation

    SP Yovani Gallardo
    SP Zack Greinke
    SP Randy Wolf
    SP Shaun Marcum
    SP Chris Narveson
    CP John Axford


    Team Outlook

    After taking 3-for-4 from the Cubs, the Brewers were swept by the Braves, as they fall to the middle of a clustered NL Central division.

    While the concern entering the season was whether the team would score enough runs in the post-Prince Fielder era, it has instead been the pitching staff that has struggled.

    Top three starters Yovani Gallardo (5.91 ERA), Zack Greinke (6.75 ERA) and Randy Wolf (10.61 ERA) have all been hit hard, and closer John Axford (7.71 ERA) has struggled as well.

    One unexpected bright spot has been backup catcher George Kottaras, who has three home runs and six RBI in 10 at-bats.

No. 16: New York Mets (6-3, Previous: 24)

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    Current Lineup

    SS Ruben Tejada 
    2B Daniel Murphy
    3B David Wright
    1B Ike Davis
    LF Jason Bay
    RF Lucas Duda
    C Josh Thole
    CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis (Injury Replacement—Andres Torres on 15-Day DL)


    Current Rotation

    SP Johan Santana
    SP R.A. Dickey
    SP Jon Niese
    SP Mike Pelfrey
    SP Dillon Gee
    CP Frank Francisco


    Team Outlook

    After a 3-0 start to the season, the Mets went 3-3 last week and are currently a half-game behind the Nationals in the NL East.

    David Wright missed time with a broken pinky, but he returned on Saturday and homered in his first at-bat, so all looks to be well with the star third baseman, who is off to a blistering .571 BA, 2 HR, 5 RBI start.

    The team's top three starters in their rotation have been terrific through two starts each, and if they can stay healthy, they could stay right in the thick of things in the NL East.

No. 15: Cincinnati Reds (4-6, Previous: 9)

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    Current Lineup

    2B Brandon Phillips
    SS Zack Cozart
    1B Joey Votto
    3B Scott Rolen
    RF Jay Bruce
    LF Ryan Ludwick
    CF Drew Stubbs
    C Ryan Hanigan


    Current Rotation

    SP Johnny Cueto
    SP Mat Latos
    SP Bronson Arroyo
    SP Homer Bailey
    SP Mike Leake
    CP Sean Marshall 


    Team Outlook

    A 2-5 week exposed some of the Reds' problems, as they fell back in the NL Central and will need to pick things up offensively very soon.

    Currently hitting under .200 as a team, the Reds rank 14th in the National League in runs scored and have four everyday players hitting under .200.

    The pitching has been solid, led by Bronson Arroyo (2.63 ERA) and Johnny Cueto (1-0, 2.25 ERA), but the rest of the staff needs to step things up as well if the Reds are going to be legitimate playoff contenders.

No. 14: San Francisco Giants (4-5, Previous: 17)

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    Current Lineup 

    CF Angel Pagan
    LF Melky Cabrera
    3B Pablo Sandoval
    C Buster Posey
    1B Aubrey Huff
    RF Nate Schierholtz
    SS Brandon Crawford
    2B Ryan Theriot (Injury Replacement—Freddy Sanchez on 15-Day DL)


    Current Rotation

    SP Tim Lincecum
    SP Madison Bumgarner
    SP Matt Cain
    SP Barry Zito
    SP Ryan Vogelsong
    CP Brian Wilson


    Team Outlook

    The Giants were swept by the Diamondbacks to open the season, but bounced back with a 4-2 week last week as they took 2-of-3 from both the Rockies and the Pirates.

    The biggest area of concern for the Giants right now has to be ace Tim Lincecum, who struggled all spring and has a 12.91 ERA through his first two starts. The rest of the staff has been solid, and the lineup has outperformed expectations to this point.

    Nate Schierholtz has played his way into a starting job, or perhaps it was more a case of Brandon Belt playing his way out of the starting lineup, as he is off to a 1-for-11 start.

No. 13: Toronto Blue Jays (5-4, Previous: 15)

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    Current Lineup

    SS Yunel Escobar
    2B Kelly Johnson
    RF Jose Bautista
    1B Adam Lind
    DH Edwin Encarnacion
    3B Brett Lawrie
    LF Eric Thames
    CF Colby Rasmus
    C J.P. Arencibia


    Current Rotation

    SP Ricky Romero
    SP Brandon Morrow
    SP Henderson Alvarez
    SP Kyle Drabek
    SP ?? - (Aaron Laffey optioned to minors on April 15)
    CP Sergio Santos


    Team Outlook

    A 3-3 week has the Blue Jays tied with the Orioles for the AL East lead; there's something I bet most people didn't think they'd hear, even at this early stage of the season.

    The usually potent offense has scuffled to a .214 combined average to open the season, as this is a team that could be dangerous once some of their sluggers come around and start hitting.

    Meanwhile, the starting rotation has been terrific, albeit without an established fifth starter, and if they can continue to pitch like they have, the offense will be there eventually and they could make some noise in the AL East.

No. 12: Boston Red Sox (4-5, Previous: 11)

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    Current Lineup

    SS Mike Aviles
    2B Dustin Pedroia
    1B Adrian Gonzalez
    3B Kevin Youkilis
    DH David Ortiz
    CF Cody Ross
    RF Ryan Sweeney (Injury Replacement—Carl Crawford on 15-Day DL)
    C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
    LF Darnell McDonald (Injury Replacement—Jacoby Ellsbury on 14-Day DL)


    Current Rotation

    SP Jon Lester
    SP Josh Beckett
    SP Clay Buchholz
    SP Felix Doubront
    SP Daniel Bard
    CP Alfredo Aceves


    Team Outlook

    After dropping five of their first six games, the Red Sox have won three straight to keep pace in an AL East that has first and last place separated by one game.

    While the recent success is promising, the team will now have to deal with the loss of Jacoby Ellsbury who is on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. On a positive note, Carl Crawford is moving closer to returning.

    For now, the Red Sox will continue to rely on their offense to win games, as they have the highest-scoring offense in the American League, but a 5.66 team ERA that ranks second-to-last.

No. 11: Los Angeles Angels (3-6, Previous: 4)

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    Current Lineup

    SS Erick Aybar
    2B Howie Kendrick
    1B Albert Pujols
    DH Kendrys Morales
    RF Torii Hunter
    LF Vernon Wells
    3B Alberto Callaspo
    C Chris Iannetta
    CF Peter Bourjos


    Current Rotation

    SP Jered Weaver
    SP Dan Haren
    SP Ervin Santana
    SP C.J. Wilson
    SP Jerome Williams
    CP Jordan Walden 


    Team Outlook

    Aside from the Marlins, there may have been no team in baseball with more buzz surrounding it heading into the season, but a 2-4 week has left the Angels in last place in the AL West.

    The team dropped 2-of-3 to both the Twins and the Yankees, as the pitching staff has struggled early, notably Ervin Santana (7.71 ERA) and Dan Haren (6.97 ERA), although new addition C.J. Wilson has a 1.38 ERA and is 2-0.

    The pitching will come around, and if the offense can remain around the middle-of-the-pack in the American League as far as run scored, they should win plenty of games. It has not been a good start, but there is no reason for the Angels to panic at this point.

No. 10: Tampa Bay Rays (4-5, Previous: 5)

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    Current Lineup

    CF Desmond Jennings
    1B Carlos Pena
    3B Evan Longoria
    LF Matt Joyce
    RF Ben Zobrist
    DH Luke Scott
    2B Jeff Keppinger (Injury Replacement—B.J. Upton on 15-Day DL)
    SS Sean Rodriguez
    C Jose Molina


    Current Rotation

    SP James Shields
    SP David Price
    SP Jeremy Hellickson
    SP Matt Moore
    SP Jeff Niemann
    CP Fernando Rodney (Injury Replacement—Kyle Farnsworth on 15-Day DL)


    Team Outlook

    After sweeping the Yankees to open the season, the Rays struggled through a 1-5 week last week, as they will try to avoid being swept by the Red Sox tomorrow.

    The offense has been inconsistent, although Carlos Pena continues to hit well with a .379 BA, 3 HR, 9 RBI line hitting out of the No. 2 hole.

    The pitching staff has been the real disappointment, carrying a league-worst 6.75 ERA, and while it does not look good now, the Rays are simply too talented on the mound not to turn things around.

    So while they drop five spots, I'm not ready to bump them down any further just yet.

No. 9: Philadelphia Phillies (4-5, Previous: 8)

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    Current Lineup

    LF Juan Pierre
    3B Placido Polanco
    SS Jimmy Rollins
    RF Hunter Pence
    CF Shane Victorino
    1B John Mayberry Jr. (Injury Replacement—Ryan Howard on 15-Day DL)
    C Carlos Ruiz
    2B Freddy Galvis (Injury Replacement—Chase Utley on 15-Day DL)


    Current Rotation

    SP Roy Halladay
    SP Cliff Lee
    SP Vance Worley
    SP Cole Hamels
    SP Joe Blanton
    CP Jonathan Papelbon


    Team Outlook

    The Phillies were 3-3 last week leaving them in fourth place in what has already proven to be a deep NL East.

    The team will go as far as their pitching can take them, as the offense is a shell of what it was only a few seasons ago. Age has begun to catch up with guys, and Chase Utley and Ryan Howard have yet to suit up in 2012.

    Roy Halladay has been his usual dominant self, going 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA in his first two starts, while the rest of the staff has been solid outside of Cole Hamels (0-1, 5.06 ERA).

No. 8: Arizona Diamondbacks (6-3, Previous: 7)

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    Current Lineup

    SS Willie Bloomquist (Injury Replacement—Stephen Drew on 15-Day DL)
    2B Aaron Hill
    RF Justin Upton
    C Miguel Montero
    CF Chris Young
    LF Jason Kubel
    1B Paul Goldschmidt
    3B Ryan Roberts


    Current Rotation

    SP Ian Kennedy
    SP Daniel Hudson
    SP Josh Collmenter
    SP Trevor Cahill
    SP Joe Saunders
    CP J.J. Putz


    Team Outlook

    The Diamondbacks followed up a season-opening sweep with a 3-3 week as they faced the Rockies and Padres on the road.

    Chris Young has led an offense that has started off slowly, as he is hitting .364 BA, 4 HR, 11 RBI and he is currently the only regular hitting over .300.

    Ace Ian Kennedy is off to a nice start going 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA, but Daniel Hudson (8.71 ERA) and Josh Collmenter (12.86 ERA) have struggled, and the staff will need to round into form.

No. 7: Atlanta Braves (5-4, Previous: 10)

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    Current Lineup

    CF Michael Bourn
    LF Martin Prado
    3B Chipper Jones
    C Brian McCann
    2B Dan Uggla
    1B Freddie Freeman
    RF Jason Heyward
    SS Tyler Pastornicky


    Current Rotation

    SP Tommy Hanson
    SP Jair Jurrjens
    SP Mike Minor
    SP Brandon Beachy
    SP Randall Delgado
    CP Craig Kimbrel


    Team Outlook

    After a season-opening sweep at the hands of the New York Mets, the Braves have turned things around quickly, thanks to a 5-1 record last week.

    Chipper Jones is back from injury and has started the season strong, going 4-for-9 with a home run and two RBI. However, Freddie Freeman, Michael Bourn and Tyler Pastornicky are all hitting under .200 right now.

    The pitching staff has been especially good over their current five-game winning streak, and the team looks to be back on track after stumbling out of the gates, as they should be considered legitimate contenders in the NL East.

No. 6: Washington Nationals (7-3, Previous: 12)

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    Current Lineup

    SS Ian Desmond
    2B Danny Espinosa
    3B Ryan Zimmerman
    1B Adam LaRoche
    RF Jayson Werth
    CF Rick Ankiel
    LF Mark DeRosa (Injury Replacement—Michael Morse on 15-Day DL)
    C Wilson Ramos


    Current Rotation

    SP Stephen Strasburg
    SP Gio Gonzalez
    SP Jordan Zimmermann
    SP Edwin Jackson
    SP Ross Detwiler
    CP Brad Lidge (Injury Replacement—Drew Storen on 15-Day DL)


    Team Outlook

    Despite being without their best hitter from last season in Michael Morse and their good young closer Drew Storen, the Nationals are tied for the second-best record in the National League after a 5-2 week.

    Adam LaRoche has been huge on the offensive side of things, with a .333 BA, 2 HR, 10 RBI line, and he will need to continue to be produce after Morse suffered a setback that will shelve him for some time. 

    The pitching staff has been as good as advertised, with Stephen Strasburg leading the way with a 0.69 ERA and 14 Ks in 13 innings of work. The Nationals are for real, and should be in the running for the NL East all season.

No. 5: New York Yankees (5-4, Previous: 6)

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    Current Lineup

    SS Derek Jeter
    CF Curtis Granderson
    3B Alex Rodriguez
    2B Robinson Cano
    1B Mark Teixeira
    RF Nick Swisher
    DH Raul Ibanez
    C Russell Martin
    LF Brett Gardner


    Current Rotation

    SP CC Sabathia
    SP Hiroki Kuroda
    SP Phil Hughes
    SP Ivan Nova
    SP Freddy Garcia (Injury Replacement—Michael Pineda on 15-Day DL)
    CP Mariano Rivera 


    Team Outlook

    Swept to open the season for the first time since 1998, the Yankees bounced back with a 5-1 week to leave them tied atop the AL East.

    After sweeping the Orioles, they took 2-of-3 from the new-look Angels as their offense helped them overcome some shaky starting pitching.

    So far, C.C. Sabathia (6.75 ERA) and Phil Hughes (9.00 ERA) have both struggled, and the team is still without injured starter Michael Pineda. Once their rotation sorts things out, there is no reason to think they won't be the team to beat in the AL East.

No. 4: Los Angeles Dodgers (9-1, Previous: 16)

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    Current Lineup

    SS Dee Gordon
    2B Mark Ellis
    CF Matt Kemp
    RF Andre Ethier
    LF Juan Rivera
    1B James Loney
    3B Juan Uribe
    C A.J. Ellis


    Current Rotation

    SP Clayton Kershaw
    SP Chad Billingsley
    SP Chris Capuano
    SP Aaron Harang
    SP Ted Lilly
    CP Javy Guerra


    Team Outlook

    Weeks don't come much better than the 6-0 performance the Dodgers are coming off of last week, and while they swept lesser competition in the Padres and Pirates, it is an impressive start to the season nonetheless.

    Matt Kemp (.457 BA, 5 HR, 15 RBI) is playing out of his mind right now, and Andre Ethier (.303 BA, 3 HR, 14 RBI) is providing him plenty of protection hitting behind him, as the duo has proven capable of carrying the team.

    On the pitching side of things, Chad Billingsley (2-0, 0.63 ERA), Clayton Kershaw (0-0, 0.90 ERA) and Javy Guerra (5 G, 5 Sv, 0.00 ERA) have all been phenomenal, and at this point there is nothing but positive things to say about the Dodgers.

No. 3: Detroit Tigers: (6-3, Previous: 2)

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    Current Lineup

    CF Austin Jackson
    RF Brennan Boesch
    3B Miguel Cabrera
    1B Prince Fielder
    LF Delmon Young
    C Alex Avila
    SS Jhonny Peralta
    DH Andy Dirks
    2B Ryan Raburn


    Current Rotation

    SP Justin Verlander
    SP Drew Smyly
    SP Max Scherzer
    SP Rick Porcello
    SP Adam Wilk (Injury Replacement—Doug Fister on 15-Day DL)
    CP Jose Valverde 


    Team Outlook

    The Tigers have looked like the best team in baseball at times so far this year, but they just dropped 2-of-3 to the White Sox to wrap up a 3-3 week.

    The offense is loaded and ranks second in the American League in batting average and runs, and Austin Jackson has been a fantastic table-setter, going 13-for-30 to open the season.

    The pitching has been more or less solid, aside from Max Scherzer, who has struggled to a 10.38 ERA over his first two starts. While they slipped a bit, the Tigers look like they have the pieces to be legitimate title contenders.

No. 2: St. Louis Cardinals (7-3, Previous: 3)

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    Current Lineup

    SS Rafael Furcal
    2B Tyler Greene (Injury Replacement—David Freese Day-to-Day)
    LF Matt Holliday
    RF Carlos Beltran
    C Yadier Molina
    1B Matt Carpenter (Injury Replacement—Lance Berkman Day-to-Day)
    CF John Jay
    3B Daniel Descalso


    Current Rotation

    SP Kyle Lohse
    SP Jaime Garcia
    SP Adam Wainwright
    SP Lance Lynn (Injury Replacement—Chris Carpenter on 15-Day DL)
    SP Jake Westbrook
    CP Jason Motte


    Team Outlook

    The defending champions continue to defy the odds, as they have had to deal with the loss of Albert Pujols along with injuries to Chris Carpenter and now Lance Berkman and David Freese, yet they still had a 5-2 week and are tied for the second-best record in the National League.

    Berkman's replacement, Matt Carpenter, had a five-RBI game against the Cubs on Sunday and now has 10 RBI in 22 at-bats, as there is seemingly always someone ready to step up for the Cardinals.

    If any other team were hit with injuries to the likes Lance Berkman and David Freese, they would drop on this list, but those injuries have only served as a way for the Cardinals to show the type of depth their organization has.

    The Cardinals are still the favorites in the NL until there is a reason to think otherwise.

No. 1: Texas Rangers (8-2, Previous: 1)

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    Current Lineup

    2B Ian Kinsler
    SS Elvis Andrus
    CF Josh Hamilton
    3B Adrian Beltre
    DH Michael Young
    RF Nelson Cruz
    LF David Murphy
    C Mike Napoli
    1B Mitch Moreland


    Current Rotation

    SP Colby Lewis
    SP Derek Holland
    SP Matt Harrison
    SP Yu Darvish
    SP Neftali Feliz
    CP Joe Nathan 


    Team Outlook

    The Rangers just wrapped up a 6-1 week as they have the best record in the American League, and have done it thanks more to their pitching than their vaunted lineup.

    While they are third in the American League in runs scored, a number of key players are off to slow starts, as Mike Napoli (.100 BA), Mitch Moreland (.150 BA), Elvis Andrus (.188 BA) and Nelson Cruz (.206 BA) are all struggling at the plate.

    On the mound, Matt Harrison (2-0, 0.64 ERA) has been phenomenal, and Colby Lewis (1-0, 1.42 ERA) is off to a nice start as well.

    In fact, the staff as a whole has the best ERA in the American League at 2.22, as the bullpen has allowed just six earned runs in 22.2 innings of work. They were my preseason pick to win it all, and there is no reason to doubt that at this point.