Team (Current Record|Last Week's Ranking)
1. Toronto Blue Jays (13-6|4)—The Blue Jays sit atop the hardest division in baseball. They lead the MLB in hits (200), runs (118), and RBI (111). They also lead the American League in batting average (.298) and on-base percentage (.372). The pitching staff leads the MLB in strikeouts (147) and leads the American League in batting average against (.230).
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (13-5|2)—The Dodgers have the best run differential (+42) and on-base percentage (.385) in all of baseball. Their pitching staff leads the MLB in batting average against (.218) and WHIP (1.18). Ethier, Manny, and Kemp are all early candidates for MVP, and Billingsley is a beast.
3. St. Louis Cardinals (13-5|6)—The Cardinals have won five in a row. They lead the MLB in batting average (.303). They lead the National League in hits (144), runs (104), RBI (104), slugging (.488), and OPS (.871). Pineiro and Lohse have been nice pitching surprises. Pujols and Ludwick could challenge each other for the MVP at this pace.
4. Boston Red Sox (11-6|11)—The Red Sox have now won nine in a row. They lead the MLB in OPS (.876). Bay has been clutch, Youk has been dominant, and it looks like Pedroia has learned how to hit again. The only concern is that their best starter ERA-wise right now is Tim Wakefield (2.45 is good, but the next best is 4.88).
5. Seattle Mariners (12-6|10)—Who would have thought that that the Mariners would be six games over .500? They're not doing with their bats (they're near the bottom of the league in hits). They're doing it with their pitching, which has AL bests in ERA (3.23), saves (8), and quality starts (11).
6. Florida Marlins (11-6|1)—The Marlins were doing so well, but now they have lost five in a row. Can you say bullpen problems? This team has four blown saves. Their starters Volstad, Sanchez, and Johnson are pitching great, with seven quality starts between them. Their offense will be better when Cantu returns.
7. Pittsburgh Pirates (10-7|16)—The Pirates have played surprisingly well coming off a sweep of the Marlins. Their pitching staff is phenomenal, leading the MLB with a 2.97 ERA. Maholm and Duke continue to impress.
8. Kansas City Royals (9-8|7)—The Royals sit atop the AL Central with two other teams. Greinke is unhittable with his 4-0 record, 0.00 ERA, and 36 K's. Meche is also pitching great and they have one of the best closers in Soria. They need Aviles to return to his stellar form, or injuries are going to wear down their offense.
9. San Diego Padres (10-7|3)—They finally cooled down, as Peavy is struggling (5.13 ERA). There are positives, as Gonzalez continues to be an offensive machine, and Meredith and Bell are fantastic in the bullpen.
10. Atlanta Braves (9-8|17)—Is there a streakier team in the MLB? Their offense is just average across the board, but their pitching is top five in ERA (3.99) and K's (138). McCann's injury should give him time to get healthy and rebound, and Francouer is impressive (.309 avg, 12 RBI). They need speed as they have only three stolen bases.
11. Detroit Tigers (9-8|8)—The Tigers lineup is dangerous from batters one through nine. Any of them can hit for power or average at any time. Cabrera is having a monster start of the season, and Inge is starting to get the recognition he deserves. Their ace (Verlander) is a concern with a 9.00 ERA, but Galarraga and Jackson are pitching well.
12. Cincinnati Reds (9-8|13)—The Reds offense, excluding Joey Votto, is treading in dangerous waters, as they are the worst NL team in slugging (.352) and OPS (.655). Harang and Cueto are pitching well, as is most of their bullpen. Weathers and Rhodes haven't yielded an earned run in 13.1 innings pitched.
13. Chicago White Sox (9-8|9)—The White Sox have plenty of offense from Dye and Konerko, and four batters are batting over .300. The problem is that the pitching staff (excluding Danks and Buehrle) is struggling, as Floyd, Colon, and Contreras all have an ERA higher than 5.50.
14. Minnesota Twins (9-9|14)—The Twins need Liriano (0-4, 7.06 ERA) to return to his regular form. Perkins is pitching fantastic, but the rest of the starters have a 4.40+ ERA. Mauer will return soon, which could help not only the offense, but also the pitching.
15. New York Yankees (9-8|15)—Cano has been on-fire. Posada, Jeter, Damon, and Swisher are also performing offensively. The Yankees need their offseason investments to start playing. Teixeria is only batting 2.35. Sabathia (4.81 ERA) and Burnett (5.47 ERA) are also struggling. The Bronx Bombers need to upgrade their bullpen. The team pitching ERA is an MLB-worst 6.41.
16. Chicago Cubs (8-8|5)—The Cubs have lost four in a row and six out of their last ten. Ramirez, Fukudome, Theriot, and Soriano are performing well. The Cubs need Soto to come back to form. The problem is that their All-Star starters are struggling in Zambrano (4.85 ERA) and Dempster (4.88 ERA). Their bullpen, excluding Heilman, is also struggling.
17. Philadelphia Phillies (8-8|22)—Could Utley be any more clutch? Ibanez and Utley are keeping this team's offense alive, as Howard cooled down and Rollins is still batting below .170. The Phillies are the MLB's best defensive team, only having committed three errors. The Phillies would probably be ranked higher if they didn't have an NL-worst ERA of 5.92.
18. San Francisco Giants (8-8|27)—They're beating up on their NL West rivals, which is why I don't know if I'm buying their success yet; they have won five in a row. The problem is that their offense stinks. They trail the MLB in runs (51) and RBI (44), and they trail the NL in home runs (10). However, Lincecum is returning to form and Cain continues to dazzle.
19. Milwaukee Brewers (8-9|23)—The Brew Crew has won four in a row. Braun is absolutely on fire (.359 avg, 1.061 OPS). They need Hardy and Fielder to start hitting more. Also, their bullpen has blown an MLB-worst six saves. Their starters Bush, Gallardo, and Looper are shining.
20. New York Mets (8-9|12)—Nothing like a visit to the Nationals to help build a team's confidence. The Mets offense is just stunning, as they have FIVE everyday starters batting at at least .315, and Beltrain is batting over .400. The problem is their pitching. Santana is doing excellent, but the rest of their starters are horrendous.
21. Texas Rangers (8-9|20)—No team hits more home runs (35), slugs more (.513), or gives their pitchers more run support (6.24). Yet, they still have a -2 run differential. Their pitching staff, excluding Milwood, is pretty terrible (all have at least a 4.75 ERA). Give them the Royals pitching staff, and this team is unbeatable.
22. Tampa Bay Rays (7-11|19)—About the only thing they're doing right is leading the league in stolen bases (24). They have lost four series in a row. They need the BJ Upton that broke out in the playoffs. They need the Navarro that was batting .300 last year. They need, most of all, to be more consistent.
23. Baltimore Orioles (8-10|18)—Combined, there's not a better one through five batting lineup in baseball (Roberts, Jones, Markakis, Huff, and Scott). The problem is their pitching. They have a -28 run differential. Their pitching staff has an AL-worst WHIP of 1.66 and batting average against of .308. Bergesen looks very promising.
24. Los Angeles Angels (6-11|28)—This might be a generous ranking, but I think they are better than the rest of the teams remaining. Abreu and Hunter are playing exceptionally well. The problem is injuries; they're going to miss Vlad. They're missing Lackey and Santana. Fuentes also has a 7.20 ERA.
25. Cleveland Indians (6-12|29)—Hafner has returned, and Martinez and Cabrera are playing fantastic. The problem? Pitching of course. They've become so desperate, that they're shopping Cliff Lee around. Laffey is doing well, but Pavao and Carmona need to do better.
26. Oakland Athletics (6-10|21)—I don't know if this has happened before, but the A's are the worst AL team in hits (124), runs (59), home runs (7), RBI (57), batting average (.226), on-base percentage (.303), slugging (.308), and OPS (.612). They need Duscherer to return. Their bright spot right now is Kurt Suzuki.
27. Arizona Diamonbacks (6-11|26)—The D'backs try to imitate the A's by being the worst NL team in hits (116), batting average (.223), and on-base percentage (.290). Haren should be 4-0 with his 1.38 ERA, but is 1-3. Lopez is playing like he wants to return to the All-Star game.
28. Colorado Rockies (5-11|25)—Hurdle has been angering his players by benching them. Their offense, excluding Hawpe, is struggling tremendously. Their pitching stinks, with a 5.65 ERA, and are NL-worsts in batting average against (.308) and WHIP (1.69).
29. Houston Astros (6-12|24)—Tejada and Pence are performing. What happened to the Big Puma (.177 avg) and Oswalt (4.68 ERA)? The team has blown five saves. Also, they give their pitchers the second least run support in the MLB (3.52).
30. Washington Nationals (3-13|30)—The offense on this team is doing surprisingly well. Johnson (.362 avg), Dukes (.302 avg), Flores (.289 avg), and Zimmerman (.286 avg) are performing. Hell is freezing over: Dunn is batting .302, and isn't even in the top four on his team in strikeouts. The pitching is awful, with a 5.24 ERA.
Biggest Free-fall: The Chicago Cubs slipped 11 spots to No. 16 from No. 5. They have lost four in a row, and are now in fouth place in the NL Central.
Biggest Climb: The Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants both jumped up eight spots. The Pirates went from No. 16 to No. 7 by sweeping the Marlins and being in second place in the NL Central. The Giants went from No. 27 to No. 18 by winning five in a row over division foes.
Best team average: The Toronto Blue Jays have an average ranking of No. 2, hitting the No. 1 spot twice and the No. 4 spot once.
Worst team average: The Washington Nationals have an average ranking of 30, maintaining the last spot for all three weeks.
Teams yet to fall out of the top 10: Blue Jays, Dodgers, Cardinals, Mariners, Marlins, and Padres.
Teams yet to climb out of the bottom 10: Nationals, Astros, Diamondbacks, and Indians.
Teams that hasn't been in the top-10 or bottom 10: Reds
Biggest gain since Week One: The Boston Red Sox got off to an awful 2-6 start, but have since won nine in a row and risen 20 spots in the rankings from No. 24 to No. 4.
Biggest drop since Week One: The Baltimore Orioles started off hot at 5-2, but are 3-8 since then, dropping 17 spots to No. 23 from No. 6.
Bold prediction of the week: The Los Angeles Dodgers will win every game this week.
DIVISION RANKINGS/PICTURE (Winning Percentage/Last Ranking):
1. AL East (.539|4): Tor (1), Bos (4), NYY (15), TB (22), and Bal (23).
2. AL Central (.483|1): KC (8), Det (11), CHW (13), Min (14), and Cle (25).
3. NL Central (.524|2): StL (3), Pitt (7), Cin (12), CHC (16), Mil (19), and Hou (29).
4. NL East (.470|3): Fla (6), Atl (10), Phi (17), NYM (20), and Was (30).
5. NL West (.500|4): LAD (2), SD (9), SF (18), Ari (27), and Col (28).
6. AL West (.471|6): Sea (5), Tex (21), LAA (24), and Oak (26).
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