MLB Power Rankings 2013: Teams Building Steam as Season Progresses
It may be early in the MLB season, but we're already getting an idea of what some teams will bring to the field in 2013.
Some teams will rely on their pitching. Some teams will rely on hitting. Some teams will rely on a balanced attack. And some teams won't do much of anything at all.
There have already been surprises in the 2013 campaign, as well as significant injuries.
Will the San Francisco Giants win their third championship in four years? Not if a couple starters don't get it together.
Here's a look at my latest 2013 MLB power rankings, complete with teams building steam as the season progresses (in italics).
*Stats compiled before games on 4/17. Standings compiled after first game on 4/17 (Royals vs. Braves).
1. Atlanta Braves (12-2)
The Braves are not only 12-2, they own the top ERA in Major League Baseball (1.83). They also rank in the top 10 in runs scored (68). Justin Upton is raking in his first season with the Braves, as is third baseman Chris Johnson. Julio Teheran is the only starter with an ERA above 2.50 through three starts.
2. Oakland Athletics (11-4)
Should we even be surprised with the Athletics anymore? They've proven that being a low-budget team means nothing. They rank first in runs scored (89) and sixth in ERA. Brandon Moss and newcomer Jed Lowrie are hitting the ball all over the place. Second-year pro A.J. Griffin leads Oakland's starters in ERA (2.25). After losing two straight games to Detroit, Oakland got back on track with two straight wins over Houston.
3. San Francisco Giants (9-5)
The Giants—known for their pitching—have not been pitching particularly well as a team this season. You'd expect Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong to get it together, but you never know with Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito. Still, the fact that the offense has picked up the slack with Buster Posey struggling is a very good sign.
4. St. Louis Cardinals (8-5)
The Cardinals rank fourth in runs scored and fifth in ERA so far. That's the sign of a balanced team. Second-year first baseman Matt Adams is absolutely on a tear early on, and starters Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook and Shelby Miller have all kicked off the 2013 campaign on a high note.
5. Detroit Tigers (8-5)
The Tigers rank fifth in runs scored and ninth in ERA. They just took two of three from the A's, and they still have Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Torii Hunter is off to a strong start with his new club.
6. Washington Nationals (8-6)
It's early, but the Nationals rank 13th in runs scored and 20th in ERA so far. That's surprising given the way they blew through the league last season. Still, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman have been raking, and Gio Gonzalez still needs to work out the kinks.
7. Texas Rangers (9-5)
The Rangers may have lost Josh Hamilton in the offseason, but they currently rank third in ERA. The pitching—led by Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and converted reliever Alexi Ogando—has to continue to be solid to make up the difference.
8. Arizona Diamondbacks (8-5)
The Diamondbacks rank seventh in ERA—sporting one of the best bullpens in the league—and they rank ninth in runs scored, led by the scorching-hot Paul Goldschmidt.
9. Boston Red Sox (9-4)
The Red Sox rank second in ERA and 11th in runs scored. Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester have been dominant, and second baseman Dustin Pedroia continues to lead the way on offense. The Red Sox beat the Indians on Tuesday after sweeping the Rays.
10. Cincinnati Reds (6-7)
The Reds rank sixth in runs scored, but rank 14th in ERA. The struggles of starters Bronson Arroyo and Mike Leake are concerning, given they have posted some ugly numbers at times in their careers.
11. Baltimore Orioles (7-6)
The Orioles rank 11th in ERA and 12th in runs scored, but the balance of the team is indicative of the same squad that surprised in 2012. The starting pitching is worrisome, but the bullpen is solid, and Chris Davis and Adam Jones are hitting well.
12. Los Angeles Dodgers (7-7)
Will the Royals finish .500 or better this season?
The Dodgers have the talent on paper. Then again, that didn't mean anything late last season. They rank 28th in runs scored—despite that star-studded lineup—and the loss of Zack Greinke momentarily figures to hurt the club, even with their pitching depth.
13. Kansas City Royals (8-6)
The Royals rank eighth in ERA and 16th in runs scored. The hope, as always, is that the youth develops. Starting 8-6 is not a bad sign. Starters Ervin Santana, James Shields and Jeremy Guthrie have played big.
14. New York Yankees (7-5)
The Yankees still rank 10th in runs scored despite so many stars injured, so that's actually encouraging. The pitching staff—led by C.C. Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda—should keep the team afloat for the time being. They've won six of their last seven games, including taking two of three from the Orioles.
15. Colorado Rockies (10-4)
The Rockies may be 10-4, but they've faced lackluster competition so far and rank 18th in ERA regardless. Pitching will once again be key for the Rockies this season, which makes the so-so production on the mound troublesome. Still, they've won five straight games.
16. New York Mets (7-6)
The Mets need help in the pitching department (although Matt Harvey has helped ease R.A. Dickey's loss), but they rank third in runs scored so far this season. David Wright, Daniel Murphy and catcher John Buck are all smashing the baseball.
17. Philadelphia Phillies (6-7)
The Phillies are having trouble scoring runs this season (ranked 22nd in runs scored), but Roy Halladay got back on track on Sunday against the Miami Marlins, and so did Cole Hamels on Saturday. Combined with left-hander Cliff Lee, the Phillies still have the pitching to get things done.
18. Seattle Mariners (6-9)
With Michael Saunders and Mike Morse out, the Mariners won two out of three against the Rangers recently. They still have Felix Hernandez, and starters Joe Saunders and Hisashi Iwakuma have been solid.
19. Toronto Blue Jays (6-8)
The starting pitching of the Blue Jays has struggled, including R.A. Dickey, and the offense is ranked 18th in runs scored. The injury to Jose Reyes is going to hurt this club.
20. Chicago White Sox (6-8)
Despite some struggles in the starting rotation, the White Sox still rank 10th in ERA, highlighted by the superb pitching of Jake Peavy. Adam Dunn is currently batting .120.
21. Los Angeles Angels (4-10)
The Angels have to get going sooner or later with the amount of talent they have on the roster...right? Josh Hamilton has struggled mightily overall this season, with his two home runs coming in back-to-back games against the Houston Astros. The pitching is also a clear concern. The Angels are ranked dead last in ERA.
22. Cleveland Indians (5-7)
The pitching staff has to step up beyond Justin Masterson. Offseason signings Michael Bourn and Mark Reynolds are showing some life recently, which hopefully helps an offense ranked 24th in runs scored.
23. Tampa Bay Rays (4-9)
The Rays simply need to score more runs (ranked 29th in runs scored). Beyond Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist, the lineup has produced next to nothing. The pitching staff isn't making up the difference, either, ranked 21st in ERA.
24. Pittsburgh Pirates (6-7)
The Pirates have quickly turned it around since a rough first week of the season. They won two of three against the Diamondbacks and actually swept the Reds. They rank 12th in ERA, but 26th in runs scored. Some weak links in the lineup are dragging the team down.
25. Milwaukee Brewers (4-8)
The Brewers just grabbed a game from the Giants. The offense that had deserted them earlier in the campaign exploded for 10 runs. Still, that pitching needs to come around. Milwaukee ranks 29th in ERA.
26. Minnesota Twins (6-7)
The Twins rank a middle-of-the-road 14th in runs scored, but they rank 22nd in ERA. Beyond right-hander Kevin Correia, nobody has stepped up in the starting rotation for Minnesota.
27. Chicago Cubs (4-9)
These are the Cubs. They find ways to lose games every season. They rank fourth-to-last in fielding percentage this year. They also rank 27th in runs scored. That's not a good combination.
28. Houston Astros (4-10)
The Astros had a nice three-game stretch where they actually scored runs, but they have reverted back to their old ways. They are also ranked 26th in ERA, allowing 11 runs to the Athletics on Monday. Hey, at least they aren't last in the power rankings.
29. San Diego Padres (4-10)
The Padres rank 19th in runs scored and 27th in ERA. The pitching stinks and the suspension of Carlos Quentin for deciding to attack Zack Greinke hurts the lineup even more. There isn't a whole lot to be excited for when you're a Padres fan these days.
30. Miami Marlins (3-11)
The Marlins rank a middle-of-the-road 15th in ERA, but they rank dead last in runs scored. It doesn't help that their star of the future, power hitter Giancarlo Stanton, has batted .167 with no home runs so far.
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