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Updated MLB Power Rankings: Upstart Washington Nationals Continue to Climb

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2012

Updated MLB Power Rankings: Upstart Washington Nationals Continue to Climb

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    As we enter the third full week of the MLB season, we begin to get a better look at where teams rank right now, and like every season there have been some surprises so far, both negative and positive.

    The Dodgers and Nationals are off to torrid starts and look to be the real deal, at least at this early stage of the season.

    Meanwhile, the Red Sox went winless this week and the Angels continue to struggle, as two teams expected to compete look to turn things around this coming week.

    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: Kansas City Royals (3-12, Previous: 25)

2 of 31

    Current Lineup

    LF Alex Gordon
    2B Chris Getz
    1B Eric Hosmer
    DH Billy Butler
    RF Jeff Francoeur
    3B Mike Moustakas
    CF Mitch Maier
    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

    Losers of 10 straight, the Royals are struggling to score runs (just 56 on the season), and that is a serious problem for a team with a thin and unproven rotation to being with.

    Offensively, Eric Hosmer (.183 BA) and Alex Gordon (.190 BA) are off to slow starts and need to turn things around quickly for the Royals to right the ship.

No. 29: Chicago Cubs: (4-12, Previous: 27)

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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 Joe Mather
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Matt Garza
    SP Jeff Samardzija
    SP Chris Volstad
    SP Paul Maholm
    SP Randy Wells
    CP Carlos Marmol

     

    Team Outlook

    A 1-5 week has left the Cubbies with the worst record in the National League, and things likely won't get any better with series against the Cardinals and Phillies coming up this week.

    The team did manage to find a taker for struggling center fielder Marlon Byrd, who was shipped to the Red Sox for reliever Michael Bowden, so the week wasn't a total loss. How long before first base prospect Anthony Rizzo (.368 BA, 7 HR, 19 RBI at Triple-A) gets the call-up?

No. 28: San Diego Padres (5-12, Previous: 30)

4 of 31

    Current Lineup

    RF Will Venable
    LF Mark Kotsay
    3B Chase Headley
    1B Yonder Alonso
    CF Cameron Maybin
    C Nick Hundley
    SS Jason Bartlett
    2B Orlando Hudson
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Edinson Volquez
    SP Cory Luebke
    SP Clayton Richard
    SP Anthony Bass
    SP Joe Wieland
    CP Huston Street

     

    Team Outlook

    Splitting a four-game series with the Phillies helped the Padres to a 3-4 week, but they are still struggling offensively with a .214 team average, which has nullified some solid pitching.

    If someone else could step up alongside Chase Headley (.432 OBP, 4 HR, 13 RBI) and the pitching continues to perform, they could surprise some people, but for now their lack of punch keeps them near the bottom of the pack.

No. 27: Minnesota Twins (5-11, Previous: 29)

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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

    The Twins held their own this week as they went 3-4 while facing the Yankees and Rays on the road, as they bounced back from being swept by the Rangers to close out last week.

    Josh Willingham (.328 BA, 5 HR, 12 RBI) has been a pleasant surprise hitting in the middle of the order, and joined by a resurgent Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer the Twins offense should continue to score runs. However, their pitching is going to hold them back for the foreseeable future.

No. 26: Houston Astros (6-10, Previous: 26)

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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
    Pitcher

     

    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 managed to take a game from the surging Dodgers on Sunday to finish the week at 2-5, and while their 6-10 record isn't good, it's likely much better than most people thought they would be at this point.

    Wandy Rodriguez (1.42 ERA, 25.1 IP) is keeping his trade stock high with a nice start, and J.D. Martinez (.309 BA, 3 HR, 14 RBI) continues to show signs of being a franchise building block.

No. 25: Seattle Mariners (7-10, 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 are riding a four-game losing streak and are coming off a sweep at the hands of the White Sox, as they finished out the week 1-5.

    While their offense is undoubtedly improved from last season, it is still among the worst in the league, and with their pitching staff performing below average their chances of winning more than a game or two per week seem slim.

No. 24: Pittsburgh Pirates (6-9, Previous: 28)

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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
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Erik Bedard
    SP James McDonald
    SP Kevin Correia
    SP Charlie Morton
    SP A.J. Burnett
    CP Joel Hanrahan 

     

    Team Outlook

    A 3-3 week was highlighted by the team taking a series against the Diamondbacks in Arizona, as the team bounced back nicely from a rough 1-5 showing the previous week.

    A.J. Burnett made his Pirates debut on Saturday and pitched seven scoreless innings; he should give the pitching staff a needed boost.

No. 23: Boston Red Sox (4-10, Previous: 12)

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    Current Lineup

    SS Mike Aviles
    RF Ryan Sweeney
    2B Dustin Pedroia
    1B Adrian Gonzalez
    DH David Ortiz
    3B Kevin Youkilis
    C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
    LF Cody Ross
    CF Marlon Byrd

     

    Current Rotation

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

     

    Team Outlook

    I gave the Red Sox the benefit of the doubt the first two weeks, but an 0-5 week is impossible to ignore, and while the season is still young it may be time for Red Sox Nation to start inching their hand closer to the panic button.

    The team dealt for Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd (3-for-43) with Jacoby Ellsbury set to miss significant time, but he is hardly the answer the way he is hitting this season. Maybe getting back Carl Crawford will give the team a spark, because they need something, anything, to jump-start them at this point.

No. 22: Miami Marlins (7-8, Previous: 19)

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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
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

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

     

    Team Outlook

    The Marlins' 3-2 record this week is explained by the fact that they swept a terrible Cubs team to open the week and were then swept themselves by the Nationals.

    Hanley Ramirez (4 HR, 12 RBI) is carrying the offense right now, and the fact that Giancarlo Stanton is still without a home run through 51 at-bats may be one of the biggest surprises of the season.

No. 21: Oakland Athletics (8-9, Previous: 24)

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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 Tyson Ross
    SP Jarrod Parker
    CP Grant Balfour

     

    Team Outlook

    The Athletics took three of four from the struggling Angels to open the week before avoiding a sweep at home against the Indians with a win Sunday, putting them at 4-3 on the week.

    The starting pitching has been terrific thus far, led by Bartolo Colon (3-1, 2.63 ERA), and they will look to shore up their fifth starter situation by handing the ball to top prospect Jarrod Parker this Wednesday against the White Sox in what will be his Athletics debut.

No. 20: Cincinnati Reds (7-9, Previous: 15)

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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
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

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

     

    Team Outlook

    A Sunday win kept the Reds from dropping a series in Chicago against the struggling Cubs, as the Reds wrapped up the week 3-3.

    Their once-potent offense continues to struggle, ranking 26th in runs and 27th in batting average, but that should come around as the season continues. The real concern is starters Mat Latos (0-2, 8.22 ERA) and Mike Leake (0-2, 6.50 ERA), who will be counted on to aid Johnny Cueto atop the rotation this season.

No. 19: Colorado Rockies (8-7, 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
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation 

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

     

    Team Outlook

    The Rockies wrapped up a 4-2 week with a win on Sunday, as they took two of three from the Padres and Brewers, moving them into second place in the NL West.

    The 49-year-old Jamie Moyer (2.55 ERA, 17.2 IP) has been one of the best stories of the season thus far, but he is currently the only Rockies starter with an ERA under 4.80. That needs to change if the Rockies want to make a run at the NL West crown.

No. 18: Cleveland Indians (8-6, Previous: 20)

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    Current Lineup

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

     

    Current Rotation

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

     

    Team Outlook

    The Indians took care of business against some lesser opponents this past week, taking two of three from both the Mariners and the Athletics on the road.

    They have won seven of their last nine, and much like last season no one is having a spectacular season—but they are finding ways to win on a game-to-game basis.

No. 17: Chicago White Sox (9-6, Previous: 18)

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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

    Coming off a 4-1 week in which they took two of three from the Tigers, the White Sox struggled against the Orioles, dropping three of four, before sweeping the Mariners to close out the week.

    Phil Humber turned in the performance of the week, tossing a perfect game against the Mariners on Saturday. The team also continues to get big contributions offensively from veterans Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn and A.J. Pierzynski.

No. 16: Baltimore Orioles (9-7, Previous: 23)

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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 continued their steady play with a 4-3 week, taking three of four from the White Sox before avoiding being swept by the Angels with a win on Sunday.

    Nolan Reimold (.370 BA, 5 HR, 10 RBI), Adam Jones (.303 BA, 5 HR, 8 RBI) and Matt Wieters (.292 BA, 5 HR, 12 RBI) have been fantastic so far, and the pitching has been better than expected.

No. 15: Milwaukee Brewers (7-9, Previous: 17)

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    Current Lineup

    2B Rickie Weeks
    CF Nyjer Morgan
    LF Ryan Braun
    3B Aramis Ramirez
    RF Corey Hart
    1B Mat Gamel
    SS Alex Gonzalez
    C Jonathan Lucroy
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Yovani Gallardo
    SP Zack Greinke
    SP Randy Wolf
    SP Shaun Marcum
    SP Marco Estrada
    CP John Axford

     

    Team Outlook

    The Brewers went 3-3 this past week, highlighted by a walk-off win in the bottom of the 10th on Wednesday against the Dodgers that allowed them to take two of three from the NL West leaders.

    Assuming Rickie Weeks (.197 BA) and Aramis Ramirez (.158 BA) can get things going and the starting pitching can improve on a combined 5.06 ERA, the Brewers should be in good shape moving forward.

No. 14: New York Mets (8-6, Previous: 16)

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    Current Lineup

    CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis
    2B Daniel Murphy
    3B David Wright
    1B Ike Davis
    LF Jason Bay
    RF Lucas Duda
    C Josh Thole
    SS Ruben Tejada
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

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

     

    Team Outlook

    The Mets dropped two of three against the Braves to open the week before splitting two with the Giants, as they kept pace in the deep NL East with a 2-3 week.

    Rookie Kirk Nieuwenhuis (.325 BA, .400 OBP) was moved to the leadoff spot this week, and the starting pitching outside of R.A. Dickey has continued to impress as the other four starters all have ERAs under 4.00.

No. 13: Los Angeles Angels (6-10, Previous: 11)

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    Current Lineup

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

    A 3-4 week kept the Angels in last place in the AL West, but unlike the Red Sox it's still not enough to push them too far down the list here.

    With Albert Pujols (.246 BA, 0 HR, 4 RBI) struggling at the plate and Dan Haren and Ervin Santana not pitching particularly well, there is plenty of room for the Angels to improve. They still have the talent to be AL contenders once they hit their stride.

No. 12: San Francisco Giants (7-7, Previous: 14)

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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 Emmanuel Burriss
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Tim Lincecum
    SP Madison Bumgarner
    SP Matt Cain
    SP Barry Zito
    SP Ryan Vogelsong
    CP Santiago Casilla

     

    Team Outlook

    The Giants used a 3-2 week to get their record back to .500, as they took two of three from the Phillies and split two with the Mets.

    Losing closer Brian Wilson for the season is a blow, but Santiago Casilla should be able to fill the role in his absence. With the offense hitting well and the starting rotation outside of Tim Lincecum pitching fantastic baseball, the Giants are looking good.

No. 11: Philadelphia Phillies (7-9, Previous: 9)

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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.
    C Carlos Ruiz
    2B Freddy Galvis
    Pitcher 

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Roy Halladay
    SP Vance Worley
    SP Cole Hamels
    SP Joe Blanton
    SP Kyle Kendrick
    CP Jonathan Papelbon

     

    Team Outlook

    The Phillies dropped two of three against the Giants to open the week and then split a four-game series with the lowly Padres for a 3-4 week.

    Their offense ranks ahead of only the Pirates in all of baseball with 43 runs scored, and while their pitching staff has the second-best ERA in baseball, they were dealt a blow when Cliff Lee hit the disabled list with a strained oblique. Their pitching will keep them in the upper half of these rankings, but their offense looks like it could keep them out of contention.

No. 10: Arizona Diamondbacks (8-8, Previous: 8)

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    Current Lineup

    SS Willie Bloomquist
    CF Gerardo Parra
    RF Justin Upton
    C Miguel Montero
    1B Paul Goldschmidt
    LF Jason Kubel
    2B Aaron Hill
    3B Ryan Roberts
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Ian Kennedy
    SP Josh Collmenter
    SP Trevor Cahill
    SP Joe Saunders
    SP Wade Miley
    CP J.J. Putz

     

    Team Outlook

    A win on Sunday halted a five-game losing streak for the Diamondbacks, as a 2-5 week pushed their record to .500 on the season.

    Beyond the win-loss record, the Diamondbacks also had a tough time health-wise, as starter Daniel Hudson and center fielder Chris Young both hit the disabled list. Enough to push them down a few places, but they should be fine in the long run.

No. 9: Toronto Blue Jays (9-6, Previous: 13)

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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 Drew Hutchinson
    CP Sergio Santos

     

    Team Outlook

    After dropping two of three at home against the Rays, the Blue Jays took care of business in sweeping the lowly Royals to pull into a tie with the Yankees for first in the AL East.

    Considering Jose Bautista (.212 BA, 2 HR, 7 RBI) has yet to get things going, there is plenty of reason to think the Blue Jays should only get better.

No. 8: Tampa Bay Rays (9-7, Previous: 10)

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    Current Lineup

    LF Desmond Jennings
    2B Ben Zobrist
    1B Carlos Pena
    3B Evan Longoria
    DH Luke Scott
    RF Matt Joyce
    CF B.J. Upton
    C Jose Molina
    SS Sean Rodriguez

     

    Current Rotation

    SP James Shields
    SP David Price
    SP Jeremy Hellickson
    SP Matt Moore
    SP Jeff Niemann
    CP Fernando Rodney

     

    Team Outlook

    The Rays bounced back from a tough 1-5 performance last week with a 5-2 record this week, as they took series from the Blue Jays and Twins.

    Carlos Pena (.304 BA, 3 HR, 12 RBI) has continued his productive start, while Evan Longoria (.339 BA, 3 HR, 14 RBI) and Luke Scott (.275 BA, 3 HR, 14 RBI) have joined him to give the Rays the sixth-highest-scoring offense in the league alongside their terrific starting staff.

No. 7: Atlanta Braves (10-6, Previous: 7)

25 of 31

    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
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

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

     

    Team Outlook

    The Braves had their five-game winning streak snapped with a loss Sunday but wrapped up a 5-2 week that puts them just two games behind the upstart Nationals.

    Brandon Beachy (2-1, 0.47 ERA, 19.1 IP) has been one of the biggest surprises of the season so far, and the offense has been firing on all cylinders to rank first in the NL in runs scored.

No. 6: Los Angeles Dodgers (12-4, Previous: 4)

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    Current Lineup

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

     

    Current Rotation

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

     

    Team Outlook

    Entering the week at 9-1 on the season, the Dodgers dropped two of three to the Brewers before taking two of three from the Astros for a 3-3 week.

    Matt Kemp (.450 BA, 9 HR, 22 RBI) continues to put up otherworldly numbers, while ace Clayton Kershaw (1-0, 1.61 ERA, 22 Ks, 22.1 IP) looks to be in midseason form.

No. 5: New York Yankees (9-6, Previous: 5)

27 of 31

    Current Lineup

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

     

    Current Rotation

    SP CC Sabathia
    SP Hiroki Kuroda
    SP Phil Hughes
    SP Ivan Nova
    SP Freddy Garcia
    CP Mariano Rivera 

     

    Team Outlook

    After splitting a four-game series with the Twins to open the week, the Yankees beat up on the rival Red Sox through the first two games of their series, outscoring them 21-11 before Sunday's game was postponed due to weather.

    While the pitching has been subpar at best, the Yankees offense has been stellar, led by Derek Jeter (.382 BA, 4 HR, 12 RBI) and Nick Swisher (AL-high 20 RBI).

No. 4: Washington Nationals (12-4, Previous: 6)

28 of 31

    Current Lineup

    SS Ian Desmond
    2B Danny Espinosa
    3B Ryan Zimmerman
    1B Adam LaRoche
    RF Jayson Werth
    LF Xavier Nady
    CF Rick Ankiel
    C Wilson Ramos
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Stephen Strasburg
    SP Gio Gonzalez
    SP Jordan Zimmermann
    SP Edwin Jackson
    SP Ross Detwiler
    CP Brad Lidge

     

    Team Outlook

    A 5-1 week gave the Nationals a share of the best record in the NL with the Dodgers, as they took three of four from the Astros and the first two of a series with the Marlins before Sunday's game was postponed.

    The pitching staff continues to dominate, allowing just 11 runs in six games this past week to lower their MLB-best team ERA to 2.34.

No. 3: Detroit Tigers (10-6, Previous: 3)

29 of 31

    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
    CP Jose Valverde 

     

    Team Outlook

    The Tigers swept the Royals to open the week before dropping three of four against the Rangers in a matchup of early-season AL favorites.

    Rookie Drew Smyly (3 GS, 1.13 ERA) has given the team another frontline guy alongside ace Justin Verlander (1.72 ERA, 31.1 IP), while the offense has plenty of room to improve on a .246 team average.

No. 2: St. Louis Cardinals (11-5, Previous: 2)

30 of 31

    Current Lineup

    SS Rafael Furcal
    RF Carlos Beltran
    LF Matt Holliday
    3B David Freese
    1B Matt Carpenter
    C Yadier Molina
    CF Jon Jay
    2B Daniel Descalso
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Kyle Lohse
    SP Jaime Garcia
    SP Adam Wainwright
    SP Lance Lynn
    SP Jake Westbrook
    CP Jason Motte

     

    Team Outlook

    A 4-2 week kept the Cardinals in first in the NL Central; they have a four-game lead over the Reds and Brewers, as they took two of three against those Reds and the Pirates.

    Despite a bevy of early injuries, the Cardinals continue to find ways to win, and at the very least the team should have Lance Berkman back soon, although Matt Carpenter has played well in his absence.

No. 1: Texas Rangers (13-3, Previous: 1)

31 of 31

    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 Yu Darvish
    SP Matt Harrison
    SP Neftali Feliz
    CP Joe Nathan 

     

    Team Outlook

    Another week, another pair of series wins for the Rangers, as they took two games from the Red Sox to open the week and then dominated the Tigers in Detroit to take three of four.

    In the hot-and-cold season of Mike Napoli, last week could be considered a "hot" week as he hit .440 with five HR and 10 RBI over 25 at-bats.

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