MLB Power Rankings: Re-Ranking All 30 Teams' Pitching Rotations in Week 2

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2013

MLB Power Rankings: Re-Ranking All 30 Teams' Pitching Rotations in Week 2

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    Along with my weekly team power rankings, I also wrote an article power ranking all 30 MLB teams' pitching staffs entering Opening Day back on March 27.

    While many different things have to be taken into account when ranking an entire team—and thus, my team power rankings didn't drastically change through one week of play—ranking just one aspect of a team is much more cut and dry and can be done simply by looking at the numbers.

    Overall team ERA was the biggest factor in these rankings, though it was not the be-all, end-all. Starting-pitching performance carried more weight than the bullpen, and overall talent level did still factor in when making close calls.

    So with that, here is an undated look at where all 30 MLB pitching staffs currently rank.

30. Philadelphia Phillies (Previous: 13)

1 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 6.43

    Starting Rotation (2-5, 6.65 ERA)

    LHP Cole Hamels
    RHP Roy Halladay
    LHP Cliff Lee  
    RHP Kyle Kendrick 
    LHP John Lannan

    When you take into account the fact that Cliff Lee threw eight scoreless innings in his lone start, the Phillies' other starters have a 9.68 ERA to this point.

    Cole Hamels (0-2, 10.97 ERA) and Roy Halladay (0-2, 14.73 ERA) have led the way in being terrible, while Kyle Kendrick (7.94 ERA) struggled in his lone start as well. John Lannan went seven innings and allowed three runs for a quality start in his Phillies debut.


    Bullpen (1-for-2, 5.96 ERA)

    Closer: Jonathan Papelbon
    Setup: Mike Adams 
    Setup: Antonio Bastardo (L)
    Relief: Jeremy Horst (L)   
    Relief: Chad Durbin
    Relief: Phillippe Aumont
    Relief: Raul Valdes (L)

    After allowing two runs in his first outing of the year, closer Jonathan Papelbon nailed down his first save chance with a perfect inning. Mike Adams, Phillippe Aumont and Antonio Bastardo have each pitched two scoreless innings on the year.

29. San Diego Padres (Previous: 26)

2 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 6.43

    Starting Rotation (1-5, 6.21 ERA)

    RHP Edinson Volquez
    LHP Clayton Richard
    LHP Eric Stults
    RHP Jason Marquis  
    RHP Tyson Ross

    The team's top two starters have been nothing short of terrible to open the season, as Edinson Volquez (0-2, 10.00 ERA) and Clayton Richard (0-1, 8.68 ERA) have not pitched like front-of-the-rotation arms.

    Eric Stults was great in his first start, throwing five shutout innings and striking out seven. After going 8-3 with a 2.92 ERA after joining the Padres last season, he could very well wind up being the team's best starter this year before all is said and done.


    Bullpen (1-for-1 SV, 5.47 ERA)

    Closer: Huston Street
    Setup: Luke Gregerson 
    Setup: Andrew Cashner
    Relief: Brad Brach
    Relief: Joe Thatcher (L)
    Relief: Dale Thayer   
    Relief: Anthony Bass

    A strength of the team last year and in years past, the Padres bullpen has been a mixed bag so far. Luke Gregerson and Dale Thayer have yet to allow a run, while Huston Street, Joe Thatcher and Brad Brach all sport ERAs of 9.00 or higher.

28. Milwaukee Brewers (Previous: 21)

3 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 5.45

    Starting Rotation (1-2, 5.09 ERA)

    RHP Yovani Gallardo
    RHP Marco Estrada
    RHP Wily Peralta
    RHP Kyle Lohse
    RHP Mike Fiers 

    Kyle Lohse pitched very well in his Brewers debut, allowing five hits and one run in six innings, though he took a no-decision after the bullpen blew it.

    The rest of the rotation has struggled, though, as every other starter has an ERA of 4.50 or higher. Michael Fiers (5 IP. 9 H, 6 ER) was particularly bad in his season debut.


    Bullpen (1-for-2 SV, 5.40 ERA)

    Closer: Jim Henderson
    Setup: Brandon Kintzler
    Setup: Michael Gonzalez 
    Relief: John Axford
    Relief: Burke Badenhop
    Relief: Tom Gorzelanny (L)
    Relief: Alfredo Figaro

    Closer John Axford (3.1 IP, 9 H, 9 ER, 4 HR) has already lost his job to Jim Henderson, and newcomers Mike Gonzalez (13.50 ERA) and Burke Badenhop (8.10 ERA) have done little to improve the bullpen, as it could once again be a problem area for the team.

27. Baltimore Orioles (Previous: 11)

4 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 4.57

    Starting Rotation (2-2, 5.45 ERA)

    RHP Jason Hammel
    LHP Wei-Yin Chen
    RHP Miguel Gonzalez
    RHP Jake Arrieta
    RHP Chris Tillman  

    After the team struggled to find five reliable arms to fill out its rotation last season, Orioles starters have struggled once again to open the year.

    Jake Arrieta (5 IP, 5 ER) and Chris Tillman (3.2 IP, 5 ER) were both terrible in their lone starts, while Wei-Yin Chen (2 GS, 3.75 ERA) once again looks to be the most stable arm on the staff.


    Bullpen (2-for-4 SV, 2.95 ERA)

    Closer: Jim Johnson
    Setup: Pedro Strop
    Setup: Darren O'Day
    Relief: Troy Patton (L)
    Relief: Luis Ayala 
    Relief: Brian Matusz (L)
    Relief: Tommy Hunter
    Relief: T.J. McFarland (L) 

    Closer Jim Johnson has made good on both of his save chances, but he's allowed three hits, two walks and an unearned run in his three innings of work. Pedro Strop and Luis Ayala each sport ERAs of 9.00, as they've both suffered through one poor outing.

26. Toronto Blue Jays (Previous: 10)

5 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 5.06

    Starting Rotation (1-3, 6.08 ERA)

    RHP R.A. Dickey
    RHP Brandon Morrow
    LHP Mark Buehrle 
    RHP Josh Johnson 
    RHP J.A. Happ

    The struggles of new ace R.A. Dickey (0-2, 10.2 IP, 15 H, 10 ER) has been one of the biggest storylines of the early going in Toronto.

    Mark Buehrle (10.13 ERA) and Josh Johnson (4.50 ERA) were both far from great in their Blue Jays debuts as well, while incumbents J.A. Happ (5.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER) and Brandon Morrow (9.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 K) have done a great job holding things together.


    Bullpen (1-for-1 SV, 3.67 ERA)

    Closer: Casey Janssen
    Setup: Steve Delabar 
    Setup: Sergio Santos
    Relief: Darren Oliver (L)
    Relief: Esmil Rogers   
    Relief: Aaron Loup (L)
    Relief: Brett Cecil (L)

    Casey Janssen and Steve Delabar have yet to allow a run and have given up just three hits in 5.1 innings as a solid one-two punch to close out the game. A poor outing from Dave Bush (3 IP, 5 ER) makes the bullpen numbers look worse than they actually are.

25. Tampa Bay Rays (Previous: 6)

6 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 5.53

    Starting Rotation (2-4, 4.96 ERA)

    LHP David Price
    RHP Jeremy Hellickson
    RHP Roberto Hernandez
    LHP Matt Moore
    RHP Alex Cobb 

    While the top of the rotation has struggled, Matt Moore (6 IP, 2 H) and Alex Cobb (7.1 IP, 4 H) were both fantastic in their season debuts, as neither allowed an earned run.

    David Price was absolutely shelled in his last start, allowing 10 hits and eight runs in five innings, and with James Shields gone, he needs to pitch like an ace now more than ever.


    Bullpen (0-for-2 SV, 6.86 ERA)

    Closer: Fernando Rodney
    Setup: Joel Peralta 
    Setup: Jake McGee (L)
    Relief: Kyle Farnsworth  
    Relief: Cesar Ramos (L)
    Relief: Brandon Gomes
    Relief: Jamey Wright

    After barreling through the competition in the WBC, closer Fernando Rodney has allowed runs in each of his two outings and blown his lone save chance on the season. Jamey Wright has made four scoreless appearances as the lone bright spot in what has been a terrible bullpen.

24. Houston Astros (Previous: 30)

7 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 4.94


    Starting Rotation: (1-6, 4.10 ERA)

    RHP Bud Norris
    RHP Lucas Harrell
    RHP Phil Humber
    RHP Brad Peacock
    LHP Erik Bedard

    Veterans Phil Humber (3.09 ERA) and Bud Norris (3.18 ERA) have both pitched well so far this season, with Norris picking up the team's lone win.

    On the flip side, last year's surprise ace Lucas Harrell (7.84 ERA) was shelled for eight earned runs in 4.1 innings of work against the A's after a strong first start against Texas.


    Bullpen (1-for-1 SV, 6.14 ERA)

    Closer: Jose Veras
    Setup: Wesley Wright (L)
    Setup: Hector Ambriz 
    Relief: Xavier Cedeno (L)
    Relief: Rhiner Cruz
    Relief: Paul Clemens 
    Relief: Dallas Keuchel (L) 

    Dallas Keuchel and Erik Bedard have both pitched well in long outings out of the bullpen, and Rhiner Cruz (2.08 ERA) has been solid over four appearances, but as a group, the Astros bullpen has been poor. They could have trouble holding onto the few leads they get this season.

23. New York Yankees (Previous: 17)

8 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 4.89

    Starting Rotation (4-4, 3.83 ERA)

    LHP CC Sabathia
    RHP Hiroki Kuroda
    LHP Andy Pettitte 
    RHP Ivan Nova
    RHP David Phelps 

    Andy Pettitte threw a gem in his first start, allowing just one run over eight innings. CC Sabathia threw seven scoreless innings his last time out to out-duel Justin Verlander and bounce back from a so-so first start.

    The other three starters all have ERAs of 6.75 or higher and have pitched just 14.4 innings combined over four starts.


    Bullpen (1-for-1, 6.51 ERA)

    Closer: Mariano Rivera
    Setup: David Robertson 
    Setup: Boone Logan (L)
    Relief: Joba Chamberlain 
    Relief: Shawn Kelley
    Relief: David Phelps
    Relief: Adam Warren 

    Aside from setup man David Robertson, who has thrown two scoreless innings, and Adam Warren, who didn't allow a run in 5.1 innings of relief in his first outing against the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees bullpen has been terrible. Even Mariano Rivera has allowed three hits and a run in two innings of work, though he did convert his only save chance.

22. Cleveland Indians (Previous: 23)

9 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 5.58

    Starting Rotation (2-5, 5.86 ERA)

    RHP Justin Masterson
    RHP Ubaldo Jimenez
    RHP Brett Myers 
    RHP Zach McAllister 
    LHP Carlos Carrasco

    Opening Day starter Justin Masterson has looked the part over his first two starts, allowing just five hits and one run over 13 innings to open the season 2-0.

    Trevor Bauer walked seven over five innings in his debut, though he allowed just three runs. Brett Myers (12.60 ERA) and Ubaldo Jimenez (6.97 ERA) are both off to poor starts.


    Bullpen (2-for-3 SV, 5.14 ERA)

    Closer: Chris Perez
    Setup: Vinnie Pestano
    Setup: Joe Smith
    Relief: Cody Allen
    Relief: Bryan Shaw
    Relief: Rich Hill (L)
    Relief: Matt Albers 

    The Indians had one of the game's best bullpens last season, and it's been stellar again to kick off 2013. Vinnie Pestano, Joe Smith and Bryan Shaw have thrown a combined nine innings of scoreless relief, through Chris Perez blew one of his two save chances.

21. Arizona Diamondbacks (Previous: 15)

10 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 4.00

    Starting Rotation (3-3, 4.94 ERA)

    RHP Ian Kennedy
    RHP Trevor Cahill
    RHP Brandon McCarthy
    LHP Wade Miley
    LHP Patrick Corbin

    Brandon McCarthy (5 IP, 6 ER) was roughed up in his Diamondbacks debut, and Trevor Cahill (0-2, 5.91 ERA) has not been particularly sharp in his first two starts.

    The rest of the staff has pitched well, though Wade Miley (6 IP, 1 ER, 8 K) is the only one to turn in an above-average start, and he is now battling arm fatigue.


    Bullpen (2-for-4 SV, 2.87 ERA)

    Closer: J.J. Putz
    Setup: David Hernandez 
    Setup: Heath Bell 
    Relief: Tony Sipp (L)
    Relief: Brad Ziegler 
    Relief: Matt Reynolds (L)
    Relief: Josh Collmenter

    If not for the presence of Heath Bell (4 G, 10.80 ERA), the Diamondbacks bullpen would rank among the best in baseball to this point. Closer J.J. Putz did blow one of his two save chances, while ace setup man David Hernandez (5 IP, 7 K) has made five scoreless appearances.

20. Detroit Tigers (Previous: 4)

11 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 4.40


    Starting Rotation (4-2, 3.58 ERA)

    RHP Justin Verlander
    RHP Anibal Sanchez 
    RHP Rick Porcello
    RHP Doug Fister 
    RHP Max Scherzer 

    Justin Verlander (1-1, 2.19 ERA) has pitched well, and Anibal Sanchez threw five scoreless innings in his debut, but the rest of the Tigers staff has stumbled out of the gates.

    Rick Porcello (5.1 IP, 3 ER), Doug Fister (5 IP, 3 ER) and Max Scherzer (5 IP, 4 ER) have each taxed the bullpen in their first outings, but there is still plenty of time for one of the league's best staffs from a talent standpoint to turn things around.


    Bullpen (2-for-3 SV, 6.23 ERA)

    Closer: Joaquin Benoit
    Setup: Phil Coke 
    Setup: Al Alburquerque 
    Relief: Octavio Dotel
    Relief: Drew Smyly 
    Relief: Brayan Villarreal 
    Relief: Darin Downs

    Phil Coke has gotten the first crack at closer duties, and he's allowed three runs in 1.2 innings of work while blowing one of his two save chances. Brayan Villarreal and Octavio Dotel have also been hit hard, while Darin Downs and Al Alburquerque have both looked good early on.

19. St. Louis Cardinals (Previous: 12)

12 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 4.01

    Starting Rotation (4-2, 3.04 ERA)

    RHP Adam Wainwright
    LHP Jaime Garcia
    RHP Lance Lynn 
    RHP Jake Westbrook 
    RHP Shelby Miller

    Lance Lynn was bad in his first start, allowing four runs in four innings, but the rest of the Cardinals rotation all have ERAs under 4.00.

    Adam Wainwright (3.46 ERA) and Jaime Garcia (2.92 ERA) have pitched like front-line guys over their first two starts, while rookie Shelby Miller allowed two runs in 5.1 innings in his season debut.


    Bullpen (1-for-4 SV, 5.90 ERA)

    Closer: Mitchell Boggs
    Setup: Trevor Rosenthal
    Setup: Edward Mujica
    Relief: Marc Rzepczynski (L)
    Relief: Fernando Salas
    Relief: Randy Choate (L)
    Relief: Joe Kelly 

    The Cardinals bullpen has sorely missed closer Jason Motte, as stand-in Mitchell Boggs (11.81 ERA) clearly belongs in the setup role. Fernando Salas (3 G, 8.10 ERA) and Joe Kelly (3 G, 9.82 ERA) have been awful as well, and they'll need to turn things around quickly or look to add an arm.

18. Los Angeles Angels (Previous: 14)

13 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 4.55

    Starting Rotation (1-2, 4.54 ERA)

    LHP C.J. Wilson
    RHP Joe Blanton
    LHP Jason Vargas
    RHP Tommy Hanson
    RHP Garrett Richards

    Joe Blanton (5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER) was bad in his Angels debut, but the rest of the rotation has pitched fairly well to this point.

    Ace Jered Weaver left his last start with a strained non-throwing elbow, so that's something worth watching moving forward, as he could miss his next start. Jason Vargas was sharp in his Angels debut, allowing one run in 5.2 innings.


    Bullpen (1-for-2 SV, 4.18 ERA)

    Closer: Ernesto Frieri
    Setup: Sean Burnett (L)
    Setup: Kevin Jepsen
    Relief: Scott Downs (L)   
    Relief: Mark Lowe
    Relief: Dane De La Rosa
    Relief: Jerome Williams

    Ernesto Frieri made good on his lone save chance so far, and as a whole, the Angels bullpen looks to be an improved unit that should only get better with the return of Ryan Madson. Scott Downs has been the one negative, as he has a 9.00 ERA and has allowed runs in three of his four appearances.

17. Minnesota Twins (Previous: 28)

14 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 3.69


    Starting Rotation (1-2, 4.24 ERA)

    RHP Vance Worley
    RHP Kevin Correia 
    RHP Mike Pelfrey
    RHP Liam Hendriks
    RHP Pedro Hernandez

    Mike Pelfrey didn't allow an earned run in 5.1 innings in his return from Tommy John surgery, and fellow newcomer Kevin Correia was solid in his Twins debut as well, going seven innings and allowing two runs.

    The other three starters were unimpressive at best, though, and new "ace" Vance Worley is 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA through his first two starts in Minnesota.


    Bullpen (2-for-3 SV, 2.61 ERA)

    Closer: Glen Perkins (L)
    Setup: Jared Burton 
    Setup: Casey Fien
    Relief: Brian Duensing (L)
    Relief: Josh Roenicke   
    Relief: Ryan Pressly
    Relief: Anthony Swarzak 

    The Twins bullpen has been terrific, and aside from a rough outing out of Casey Fien against Baltimore in which he allowed four earned runs in 0.2 innings of work, they've been nearly untouchable. Closer Glen Perkins has thrown three perfect innings so far, converting both of his save chances.

16. Chicago Cubs (Previous: 25)

15 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 4.25

    Starting Rotation (2-4, 3.43 ERA)

    RHP Jeff Samardzija
    RHP Edwin Jackson 
    LHP Travis Wood
    RHP Scott Feldman 
    RHP Carlos Villanueva

    Jeff Samardzija has looked the part of staff ace in his two starts so far this year, as he threw eight shutout innings in the opener, then struck out 13 in 5.2 innings last time out before running into trouble and eventually taking the loss.

    Travis Wood threw six innings of one-hit ball to win his start, while Carlos Villanueva allowed one run in 6.2 innings but took a no-decision after the bullpen blew it. Edwin Jackson and Scott Feldman have been rough in their short Cubs tenures so far.


    Bullpen (2-for-3 SV, 6.23 ERA)

    Closer: Kyuji Fujikawa
    Setup: Shawn Camp
    Setup: James Russell (L) 
    Relief: Michael Bowden 
    Relief: Hisanori Takahashi (L)
    Relief: Hector Rondon 
    Relief: Carlos Marmol

    Carlos Marmol threw a scoreless inning on Monday to lower his ERA to 16.87, as he was horrible in each of his first three outings before being removed from the closer's role. James Russell, Michael Bowden and Rule 5 pick Hector Rondon all have ERAs under 2.00, but the rest of the bullpen has been bad.

15. Miami Marlins (Previous: 27)

16 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 4.01

    Starting Rotation (1-4, 2.50 ERA)

    RHP Ricky Nolasco
    RHP Kevin Slowey 
    LHP Wade LeBlanc
    RHP Alex Sanabia
    RHP Jose Fernandez 

    The story of the first week has to be the debut of 20-year-old Jose Fernandez, who allowed just three hits and one run while fanning eight over five innings to earn a no-decision. 

    Alex Sanabia was terrific as well, throwing six shutout innings, and the Marlins closed out the week with the fourth-best starter ERA in MLB.


    Bullpen (0-for-1 SV, 7.23 ERA)

    Closer: Steve Cishek
    Setup: Jon Rauch
    Setup: Ryan Webb
    Relief: Mike Dunn (L)
    Relief: A.J. Ramos
    Relief: Chad Qualls
    Relief: John Maine

    The Marlins have MLB's worst bullpen thus far, as closer Steve Cishek (15.43 ERA) and veteran middle man Chad Qualls (10.80 ERA) have both been crushed. Jon Rauch (3.86 ERA) is the only reliever who has worked more than an inning with an ERA under 4.00.

14. Seattle Mariners (Previous: 22)

17 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 3.84

    Starting Rotation (3-3, 4.20 ERA)

    RHP Felix Hernandez
    RHP Hisashi Iwakuma 
    LHP Joe Saunders
    RHP Brandon Maurer
    RHP Blake Beavan

    Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma have each thrown 14 innings over their first two starts, and each allowed four earned runs with a WHIP under 1.00.

    Joe Saunders (3.48 ERA) has been solid through two starts, but Brandon Maurer (6 IP, 6 ER) and Blake Beavan (5 IP, 5 ER) struggled in their first starts.


    Bullpen (3-for-4 SV, 3.00 ERA)

    Closer: Tom Wilhelmsen
    Setup: Carter Capps
    Setup: Charlie Furbush (L)
    Relief: Stephen Pryor  
    Relief: Oliver Perez (L)
    Relief: Lucas Luetge (L)
    Relief: Kameron Loe

    Closer Tom Wilhelmsen has converted all three of his save chances, while Stephen Pryor, Carter Capps, Charlie Furbush and Oliver Perez have allowed just one run combined (Pryor) in 12.1 innings over 14 appearances.

13. Washington Nationals (Previous: 1)

18 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 4.17


    Starting Rotation (3-2, 3.41 ERA)

    RHP Stephen Strasburg
    LHP Gio Gonzalez
    RHP Jordan Zimmermann 
    RHP Dan Haren 
    LHP Ross Detwiler

    A terrible debut from Dan Haren (4 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 4 HR) inflates the numbers here a bit, as the rest of the rotation has put up a 2.08 ERA to this point.

    Gio Gonzalez and Ross Detwiler each threw six innings without giving up an earned run, and Jordan Zimmermann allowed one run in six innings. Stephen Strasburg threw seven shutout innings in the opener, but allowed nine hits and six runs against the Reds on Sunday.


    Bullpen (2-for-3 SV, 5.49 ERA)

    Closer: Rafael Soriano
    Setup: Drew Storen 
    Setup: Tyler Clippard
    Relief: Ryan Mattheus
    Relief: Henry Rodriguez   
    Relief: Zach Duke (L)
    Relief: Craig Stammen

    New closer Rafael Soriano is 2-for-3 on save chances, as he blew one against the Reds last Saturday. Tyler Clippard has been dominant out of the gates, throwing three hitless innings and striking out four, but he's been one of the few reliable arms in the early going.

12. San Francisco Giants (Previous: 2)

19 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 3.63


    Starting Rotation (4-2, 3.54 ERA)

    RHP Matt Cain
    RHP Madison Bumgarner
    RHP Tim Lincecum 
    LHP Barry Zito
    RHP Ryan Vogelsong

    Giants starters didn't allow an earned run through the team's first four games, but the group's ERA shot up when Matt Cain gave up nine runs through 3.2 innings against the Cardinals on Sunday.

    Tim Lincecum walked seven in his debut, but threw five scoreless innings, while Barry Zito (7 IP, 0 ER) and Madison Bumgarner (2-0, 1.32 ERA) have both pitched very well in the early going.


    Bullpen (4-for-4 SV, 3.80 ERA)

    Closer: Sergio Romo
    Setup: Santiago Casilla
    Setup: Javier Lopez (L)
    Relief: Jeremy Affeldt (L)
    Relief: George Kontos
    Relief: Jose Mijares (L)
    Relief: Chad Gaudin

    Closer Sergio Romo leads the majors with four saves, and he's allowed just one base runner in four innings of work. Jeremy Affeldt and Chad Gaudin have combined for eight scoreless innings out of the 'pen.

11. Kansas City Royals (Previous: 9)

20 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 3.56

    Starting Rotation (3-2, 3.43 ERA)

    RHP James Shields
    RHP Jeremy Guthrie
    RHP Ervin Santana 
    RHP Wade Davis 
    RHP Luis Mendoza

    James Shields (1-1, 3.75 ERA) and Ervin Santana (1-1, 3.21 ERA) have both begun their Royals careers on a high note, while Wade Davis (4 IP, 9 H, 4 ER) struggled in his debut with the team.

    Jeremy Guthrie and Luis Mendoza each went six innings and allowed one earned run in their first starts of the year, and to this point, the Royals rotation looks to be significantly improved over last year.


    Bullpen (3-for-4 SV, 3.86 ERA)

    Closer: Greg Holland
    Setup: Kelvin Herrera 
    Setup: Aaron Crow 
    Relief: Tim Collins (L)
    Relief: Luke Hochevar 
    Relief: Juan Gutierrez 
    Relief: Bruce Chen (L)

    Closer Greg Holland (18.00 ERA) has allowed a run in two of his three appearances so far this season, converting 1-of-2 save chances in the process. The rest of the bullpen has been solid, with Aaron Crow and Kelvin Herrera each making four scoreless appearances.

10. Texas Rangers (Previous: 18)

21 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 3.34

    Starting Rotation (4-2, 3.35 ERA)

    LHP Matt Harrison
    RHP Yu Darvish
    LHP Derek Holland 
    RHP Alexi Ogando 
    RHP Nick Tepesch

    For as much as has been made about Yu Darvish (2-0, 1.98 ERA, 13.2 K/9) early on, and rightfully so following his near-perfect game, Alexi Ogando (2-0, 0.77 ERA, 9.8 K/9) has been even better.

    Derek Holland allowed two runs in seven innings in his first start, and the team has not had to use it's fifth starter yet. The only real struggles have come from Matt Harrison (8.44 ERA), who has pitched poorly in each of his starts.


    Bullpen (2-for-2 SV, 3.32 ERA)

    Closer: Joe Nathan
    Setup: Jason Frasor
    Setup: Robbie Ross (L)
    Relief: Tanner Scheppers
    Relief: Joseph Ortiz (L)
    Relief: Michael Kirkman (L)
    Relief: Derek Lowe

    Joe Nathan has nailed down both of his save chances, while Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross have worked a combined 6.1 scoreless innings as a late-inning, one-two punch. Newcomer Jason Frasor (10.80 ERA) has not fared quite as well in the setup role.

9. Colorado Rockies (Previous: 29)

22 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 3.02

    Starting Rotation (4-1, 3.02 ERA)

    RHP Jhoulys Chacin
    LHP Jorge De La Rosa
    RHP Juan Nicasio 
    LHP Jeff Francis
    RHP Jon Garland 

    Aside from Jorge De La Rosa, who allowed 11 hits and seven runs in 10.1 innings of work, every Rockies starter has an ERA of 3.00 or lower through the first week.

    Opening Day starter Jhoulys Chacin has been particularly good, allowing just nine hits and two earned runs in 13.1 innings of work over his first two starts.


    Bullpen (3-for-4 SV, 3.00 ERA)

    Closer: Rafael Betancourt
    Setup: Matt Belisle
    Setup: Wilton Lopez 
    Relief: Rex Brothers (L)
    Relief: Edgmer Escalona
    Relief: Adam Ottavino
    Relief: Chris Volstad

    Newly acquired setup man Wilton Lopez (11.57 ERA, 1 BS) has been knocked around, but the rest of the Rockies bullpen has been solid to open the year. Closer Rafael Betancourt is a perfect 3-for-3 on save chances and has yet to allow a run.

8. Oakland Athletics (Previous: 8)

23 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 2.86

    Starting Rotation (5-2, 3.09 ERA)

    LHP Brett Anderson
    RHP Jarrod Parker
    LHP Tommy Milone 
    RHP A.J. Griffin 
    RHP Bartolo Colon

    A healthy Brett Anderson (13 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 16 K) has looked like a bona fide ace, and getting Bartolo Colon back from suspension to fill the No. 5 spot should only make the staff better.

    Jarrod Parker gave up four runs in five innings in his first start, but if he can turn things around his second time out, the rotation doesn't look to have a weak link at this point.


    Bullpen (1-for-1 SV, 2.33 ERA)

    Closer: Grant Balfour
    Setup: Ryan Cook 
    Setup: Sean Doolittle 
    Relief: Pat Neshek 
    Relief: Jerry Blevins
    Relief: Evan Scribner
    Relief: Chris Resop

    Grant Balfour has converted his only save chance so far, and the bullpen as a whole has pitched very well. Jerry Blevins (4 G, 13.5 K/9), Sean Doolittle (3 G, 6.0 K/9) and Chris Resop (3 G, 12.9 K/9) have each yet to allow an earned run.

7. Cincinnati Reds (Previous: 3)

24 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 2.74

    Starting Rotation (3-0, 3.09 ERA)

    RHP Johnny Cueto
    RHP Mat Latos
    RHP Bronson Arroyo 
    RHP Homer Bailey 
    RHP Mike Leake 

    Reds starters have gone at least six innings in each of the team's first seven games of the season, as they have done a nice job taking pressure off of their very good bullpen.

    Homer Bailey allowed just two hits in six shutout innings in his season debut, while Johnny Cueto (2.77 ERA, 13 IP, 15 K) and Mat Latos (2.84 ERA, 12.2 IP, 13 K) have both pitched like the front-line starters they are.


    Bullpen (2-for-3 SV, 2.13 ERA)

    Closer: Aroldis Chapman (L)
    Setup: Jonathan Broxton
    Setup: Sean Marshall (L)
    Relief: J.J. Hoover
    Relief: Manny Parra (L)
    Relief: Alfredo Simon
    Relief: Sam LeCure 

    Back in the bullpen where he feels comfortable, it's been more of the same from Aroldis Chapman, as he's 2-for-2 on save chances and has nine strikeouts in five innings. J.J. Hoover (5.1 IP, 4 ER) is the only reliever with an ERA over 3.00, and even he's looked good this season.

6. Pittsburgh Pirates (Previous: 19)

25 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 2.55

    Starting Rotation (1-5, 3.03 ERA)

    RHP A.J. Burnett
    LHP Wandy Rodriguez
    RHP James McDonald 
    LHP Jeff Locke 
    LHP Jonathan Sanchez

    A complete lack of offense has once again plagued the Pirates, as they've opened the season 2-5 despite solid performances from their staff.

    Wandy Rodriguez has allowed just one earned run in nine innings over his first two starts, and James McDonald was a tough-luck loser against the Cubs when he went seven innings and gave up just one run on two hits.


    Bullpen (2-for-2 SV, 2.05 ERA)

    Closer: Jason Grilli
    Setup: Mark Melancon 
    Setup: Tony Watson (L)
    Relief: Jared Hughes
    Relief: Justin Wilson (L) 
    Relief: Chris Leroux
    Relief: Jeanmar Gomez 

    Jason Grilli has settled into the closer's role nicely, converting all three of his save chances and striking out three in 2.2 innings of work. Aside from a few hiccups, the rest of the bullpen has been very good, and relief pitching looks as though it will once again be a strength of the team.

5. Boston Red Sox (Previous: 20)

26 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 2.95

    Starting Rotation (4-2, 2.45 ERA)

    LHP Jon Lester
    RHP Clay Buchholz
    RHP Ryan Dempster 
    LHP Felix Doubront
    RHP John Lackey

    Jon Lester (2-0, 1.50 ERA, 9.8 K/9) and Clay Buchholz (2-0, 0.64 ERA, 7.7 K/9) have both pitched terrifically through their first two starts, and bounce-back seasons from them could go a long way toward improving the Red Sox's chances in 2013.

    The other three starters have been average, with John Lackey allowing two runs with eight strikeouts over 4.1 innings in his return from Tommy John surgery. He left the game, however, with a biceps strain.


    Bullpen (3-for-4 SV, 3.92 ERA)

    Closer: Joel Hanrahan
    Setup: Andrew Bailey
    Setup: Koji Uehara
    Relief: Andrew Miller (L)
    Relief: Junichi Tazawa
    Relief: Alfredo Aceves
    Relief: Clayton Mortensen  

    New closer Joel Hanrahan is a perfect 3-for-3 on save chances so far, and aside from Alfredo Aceves (4.1 IP, 5 ER), the bullpen has been very good top-to-bottom.

4. Chicago White Sox (Previous: 16)

27 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 2.41

    Starting Rotation (2-1, 2.72 ERA)

    LHP Chris Sale
    RHP Jake Peavy
    RHP Gavin Floyd 
    LHP Jose Quintana
    RHP Dylan Axelrod 

    Take away a rough start from Jose Quintana (4 IP, 8 H, 5 ER) and the rest of the White Sox staff has allowed a total of six earned runs for a 1.39 ERA.

    Chris Sale (1.84 ERA) and Jake Peavy (1.50 ERA) have both been great so far, and young Dylan Axelrod threw 5.2 scoreless innings in his first start of the season.


    Bullpen (3-for-3 SV, 1.83 ERA)

    Closer: Addison Reed
    Setup: Matt Thornton (L)
    Setup: Jesse Crain
    Relief: Nate Jones
    Relief: Matt Lindstrom
    Relief: Donnie Veal (L) 
    Relief: Hector Santiago (L)

    Second-year closer Addison Reed has been nearly untouchable so far, allowing just one hit and two walks over four innings to go a perfect 3-for-3 on saves. Matt Thornton and Nate Jones are the only relievers to allow a run to this point.

3. Atlanta Braves (Previous: 5)

28 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 2.29

    Starting Rotation (4-1, 2.63 ERA)

    RHP Tim Hudson
    LHP Paul Maholm
    RHP Kris Medlen
    LHP Mike Minor
    RHP Julio Teheran

    Granted they kicked off the season against the Phillies, Cubs and Marlins, but the Braves pitching staff has been as good as advertised so far this season.

    Paul Maholm has yet to allow an earned run through 12.2 innings while striking out 13, as he opens the season 2-0. Rookie Julio Teheran had the lone poor start, giving up five runs in five innings, but even he was bailed out for a no-decision.


    Bullpen (3-for-3 SV, 1.64 ERA)

    Closer: Craig Kimbrel  
    Setup: Eric O'Flaherty (L)
    Setup: Jordan Walden
    Relief: Cory Gearrin
    Relief: Luis Avilan (L)
    Relief: Anthony Varvaro  
    Relief: Cristhian Martinez

    Flame-throwing closer Craig Kimbrel is 3-for-3 on save chances, as he's allowed one hit and one walk while striking out three in three innings. Cristhian Martinez (2.1 IP, 2 ER) is the only reliever to allow more than one earned run to this point.

2. New York Mets (Previous: 24)

29 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 2.29

    Starting Rotation (3-2, 1.87 ERA)

    LHP Jon Niese 
    RHP Matt Harvey 
    RHP Dillon Gee
    RHP Jeremy Hefner
    LHP Aaron Laffey

    Led by breakout sophomore Matt Harvey, the Mets rotation has been nothing shot of phenomenal to open the season. The 24-year-old is 2-0 and has allowed just four hits and one run in 14 innings of work, striking out 19.

    Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner all have ERAs under 2.50, as Aaron Laffey is the only starter to have had a rough outing, allowing 10 hits and three runs in 4.1 innings of work.


    Bullpen (0-for-1 SV, 3.66 ERA)

    Closer: Bobby Parnell
    Setup: Brandon Lyon 
    Setup: Scott Atchison
    Relief: Josh Edgin (L)
    Relief: LaTroy Hawkins   
    Relief: Scott Rice (L)
    Relief: Greg Burke

    The Mets bullpen was their undoing last season, but it's been solid to this point. Greg Burke and LaTroy Hawkins have each allowed a pair of earned runs in 2.2 innings, but the rest of the 'pen has been great.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (Previous: 7)

30 of 30

    Overall Team ERA: 1.00


    Starting Rotation (4-2, 1.32 ERA)

    LHP Clayton Kershaw
    LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu 
    RHP Josh Beckett 
    RHP Zack Greinke
    RHP Chad Billingsley 

    Josh Beckett (6 IP, 3 ER) is the only Dodgers pitcher to have even a moderately bad outing so far this season. Hyun-Jin Ryu (12.2 IP, 3 ER) is the only other pitcher on the staff to allow a run to this point, as the team has surrendered just six runs total on the season.

    Clayton Kershaw has been arguably the best pitcher in baseball so far, giving up just six hits and one walk with 16 strikeouts in 16 innings of work.


    Bullpen (2-for-2 SV, 0.00 ERA)

    Closer: Brandon League
    Setup: Kenley Jansen
    Setup: Ronald Belisario 
    Relief: Paco Rodriguez (L)
    Relief: Matt Guerrier
    Relief: J.P. Howell (L)
    Relief: Chris Capuano (L)

    The bullpen has worked 13 scoreless innings so far on the season, striking out 11 and walking just four, as it's been an impressive effort top-to-bottom. Closer Brandon League has a pair of saves in the early going.


    Joel Reuter is a National MLB Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report.