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Updated MLB Power Rankings

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistMay 6, 2013

Updated MLB Power Rankings

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    We are now over a month into the 2013 MLB season, as teams continue to try to separate themselves from the pack and push forward as serious contenders.

    As it currently stands, 14 of the 30 MLB teams have between 14 and 18 wins on the season, as there is a cluster of teams clamoring to rise to the top of the heap.

    With the month of April ending last Tuesday, this week's rankings highlight each team's top hitter and pitcher through the first month of the season.

    Here are this week's updated MLB power rankings. Be sure to check back here each Monday for an updated look at where your favorite team stands.

     

    *All stats courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise noted.

30. Houston Astros (8-24, Previous: 29)

2 of 31

    Last Week's Results: 1-6

    at New York Yankees (1-2)
    vs. Detroit Tigers (0-4)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: 2B Jose Altuve

    One of the few bright spots on the team a year ago, Altuve has been solid once again to kick off the 2013 season, leading the team with a .331 average and 15 RBI.

    At just 23 years old, he is not just the best hitter on the Astros, but also one of the top young middle infielders in all of baseball and a legitimate building block for Houston.

    Top Pitcher: SP Bud Norris

    Norris continues to show he is capable of putting up respectable numbers, despite pitching in front of a subpar roster.

    He has three of the team's wins with a 3.89 ERA through his first seven starts, and he could wind up being a solid trade chip come July.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Los Angeles Angels (3)
    vs. Texas Rangers (3) 

29. Chicago Cubs (11-20, Previous: 28)

3 of 31

    Last Week's Results: 2-5

    vs. San Diego Padres (2-2)
    vs. Cincinnati Reds (0-3)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: 1B Anthony Rizzo

    After a slow start to the season, Rizzo has hit .405 over his past 10 games to raise his average to .246 on the year.

    Though the average has not been there all season, the power has, as he leads the team with eight home runs and 21 RBI. Free-agent signing Nate Schierholtz (.302 BA, .890 OPS) deserves mention as well.

    Top Pitcher: SP Travis Wood

    The trio of Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Villanueva and Wood have combined for a 2.82 ERA to start the season, and even Scott Feldman (3.34 ERA) has turned things around after a slow start.

    Wood gets the nod though, leading the way with a 2.50 ERA and 0.91 WHIP, and the 26-year-old has a chance to secure his place as part of the core of the team if he can keep it up.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Texas Rangers (1)
    vs. St. Louis Cardinals (2)
    at Washington Nationals (3) 

28. Miami Marlins (10-22, Previous: 30)

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    Last Week's Results: 4-3

    vs. New York Mets (2-1)
    at Philadelphia Phillies (2-2) 

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: CF Justin Ruggiano

    With Giancarlo Stanton slowed by injury to start the season, the Marlins' lone impact bat has been out of commission, and the resulting lineup has been rough from top to bottom.

    Ruggiano leads the team with six home runs and 15 RBI, but he is hitting just .236 with a .776 OPS. That still makes him far and away the team's most productive bat to this point.

    Top Pitcher: SP Kevin Slowey

    Props to 20-year-old Jose Fernandez, who has more than held his own with a 3.48 ERA and 9.3 K/9 through his first six big league starts, but Slowey has been one of the surprise stories of 2013.

    The non-roster invitee is just 1-2, but he has a 1.81 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 44.2 innings of work. After spending all of last season in the minors, the once-promising Twins starter appears to have turned a corner and is still just 29.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at San Diego Padres (3)
    at Los Angeles Dodgers (3) 

27. Toronto Blue Jays (11-21, Previous: 26)

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    Last Week's Results: 2-4

    vs. Boston Red Sox (1-2)
    vs. Seattle Mariners (1-2)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: RF Jose Bautista

    While Edwin Encarnacion leads the team with nine home runs and 21 RBI, Bautista is the choice here thanks to his team-high .831 OPS.

    He's hitting just .213, but with 17 walks he has a respectable .336 OBP to go along with seven home runs and 13 RBI. Catcher J.P. Arencibia is worthy of mention as well with eight home runs and 16 RBI.

    Top Pitcher: RP Brett Cecil

    The Blue Jays' starting pitching has been the biggest reason for their struggles, as the rotation has a 5.39 ERA, good for 28th in all of baseball.

    The bullpen, on the other hand, has been solid, and former starter Cecil has found his niche out of the 'pen with a 1.62 ERA and 10.3 K/9 in 16.2 innings of work. Closer Casey Janssen (0.90 ERA, 7-for-7 SV) has been great as well.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Tampa Bay Rays (4)
    at Boston Red Sox (3) 

26. Los Angeles Angels (11-20, Previous: 24)

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    Last Week's Results: 2-5

    at Oakland Athletics (1-2)
    vs. Baltimore Orioles (1-3)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: DH Mark Trumbo

    The highly touted trio of Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols have all been different levels of disappointing so far this season, as it's been Trumbo who has led the offense.

    He has a team-high eight home runs to go along with 20 RBI and a .912 OPS, and he has flashed the power more lately, with five home runs last week.

    Top Pitcher: SP C.J. Wilson

    The Angels' reworked starting rotation has done little to inspire confidence so far this season, and ace Jered Weaver is currently on the DL, leaving Wilson as the team's top starter.

    His 4.04 ERA isn't great, but he is 3-0, and he has yet to give up more than four runs in a start.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Houston Astros (3)
    at Chicago White Sox (3) 

25. New York Mets (12-16, Previous: 22)

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    Last Week's Results: 2-3

    at Miami Marlins (1-2)
    at Atlanta Braves (1-1)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: 3B David Wright

    Signed to an eight-year, $138 million extension in the offseason, there is little question Wright is the face of the franchise for the Mets, and he's played like a superstar early on this year.

    He's currently hitting .313 with 23 RBI and a 1.001 OPS, as he's been well worth the money. Catcher John Buck (10 HR, 29 RBI) and outfielder Lucas Duda (.935 OPS) deserve some recognition as well.

    Top Pitcher: SP Matt Harvey

    He has not been quite as dominant his last two times out, but Harvey remains one of the top stories so far.

    The 24-year-old is 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 46 strikeouts in 40.1 innings of work, and he has emerged as the ace of the staff a few years ahead of schedule.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Chicago White Sox (2)
    vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (4) 

24. Minnesota Twins (13-14, Previous: 20)

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    Last Week's Results: 2-4

    at Detroit Tigers (1-2)
    vs. Cleveland Indians (1-2)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: LF Josh Willingham 

    Perhaps the best bargain of any free-agent signing last season after inking a three-year, $21 million deal and hitting 35 home runs, Willingham has been solid once again in the middle of the Twins lineup.

    He is hitting just .231 but has a .900 OPS to go along with 13 RBI. He's been one of the few producers in a weak Minnesota lineup.

    Top Pitcher: SP Kevin Correia 

    The Twins added a trio of starting pitchers to their rotation this offseason, and so far Correia has been the lone useful addition after signing a two-year, $10 million deal.

    The former Pirate is 3-2 with a 2.83 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. He's been the only consistent arm on a Twins team that struggled with its rotation all year last year.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Boston Red Sox (4)
    vs. Baltimore Orioles (3) 

23. Chicago White Sox (12-17, Previous: 21)

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    Last Week's Results: 2-3

    at Texas Rangers (2-1)
    at Kansas City Royals (0-2)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: RF Alex Rios

    After a terrible season in 2011, Rios bounced back with a terrific 2012 campaign, and there were obvious questions as to which player would show up in 2013.

    While he's hitting just .255, he has an .815 OPS and team highs with seven home runs and 15 RBI. Third baseman Conor Gillaspie (.289 BA, .819 OPS) has been a pleasant surprise as well after coming over in a spring trade.

    Top Pitcher: RP Addison Reed

    Though he did blow his first save of the season on Sunday, Reed has been lights out this season, converting his first 10 save chances with a 1.38 ERA before allowing two runs against the Royals.

    The 24-year-old is in just his second full season in the majors, and he should continue to climb the ranks of the ninth-inning elite moving forward.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Kansas City Royals (1)
    at New York Mets (2)
    vs. Los Angeles Angels (3) 

22. San Diego Padres (13-18, Previous: 25)

10 of 31

    Last Week's Results: 4-3

    at Chicago Cubs (2-2)
    vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (2-1)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: 1B Yonder Alonso

    The Padres lineup has slowly rounded into form with Chase Headley returning from injury, Carlos Quentin returning from suspension and a few question marks in the starting lineup being sorted out.

    Alonso has been one of the few consistent pieces throughout, leading the team with four home runs and 20 RBI while hitting .279 with a .785 OPS.

    Top Pitcher: RP Luke Gregerson

    With a 5.40 ERA, the Padres' starting rotation is the worst in the National League, and that has left the team with little use for one of the league's best bullpens.

    Gregerson leads the way with a 1.17 ERA in 15 appearances, while Dale Thayer (13 G, 1.98 ERA) and Joe Thatcher (16 G, 1.86 ERA) have been great as well.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Miami Marlins (3)
    at Tampa Bay Rays (3) 

21. Los Angeles Dodgers (13-17, Previous: 16)

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    Last Week's Results: 1-5

    vs. Colorado Rockies (1-2)
    at San Francisco Giants (0-3) 

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: 1B Adrian Gonzalez

    Though his power is still strangely absent with just three home runs, Gonzalez leads the Dodgers with 22 RBI and an .898 OPS, as he's been a bright spot on a disappointing team.

    He hit just 18 home runs last season, so it remains to be seen if he'll ever approach the 40 mark again, but he remains a top-tier run producer nonetheless. A healthy Carl Crawford (.311 BA, .878 OPS) has been a welcome addition to the lineup as well.

    Top Pitcher: SP Clayton Kershaw

    Though he is just 3-2, Kershaw has again been one of the game's premier pitchers this season, posting a 1.66 ERA and 0.90 WHIP while striking out 52 in 48.2 innings of work.

    The starting rotation has been a major issue for the Dodgers, and while rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu (3-2, 3.71 ERA, 9.9 K/9) has been solid alongside Kershaw, the rest of the staff is a mess.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (3)
    vs. Miami Marlins (3) 

20. Philadelphia Phillies (14-18, Previous: 19)

12 of 31

    Last Week's Results: 2-4

    at Cleveland Indians (0-2)
    vs. Miami Marlins (2-2)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: 2B Chase Utley

    Limited by back problems—among others things—the past few seasons, Utley is finally healthy in the middle of the Phillies lineup.

    He's hitting just .263, but he leads the team with six home runs and 21 RBI, and at 34 he clearly has something left in the tank. Staying healthy is the biggest thing for him at this point.

    Top Pitcher: SP Kyle Kendrick

    With Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay struggling, the Phillies rotation has been an issue over the season's first month, and Kendrick has done his part to help offset those struggles.

    He's 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA through his first six starts, and after going 7-4 with a 3.20 ERA in his final 12 starts last season, he has quietly emerged as a solid starter.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at San Francisco Giants (3)
    at Arizona Diamondbacks (4) 

19. Milwaukee Brewers (14-16, Previous: 18)

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    Last Week's Results: 2-5

    vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (2-1)
    vs. St. Louis Cardinals (0-4)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: CF Carlos Gomez

    After Gomez had a breakout season of sorts last year, the Brewers locked him up with a three-year, $24 million extension this offseason, and it appears to have been a wise move.

    He's currently hitting .372 with a 1.065 OPS and team-high 19 runs scored, but he's far from the only surprise on the offensive side of things. Shortstop Jean Segura (.347 BA, .929 OPS) and Yuniesky Betancourt (7 HR, 22 RBI) have both been great, while Ryan Braun (7 HR, 23 RBI) has produced as usual.

    Top Pitcher: RP Jim Henderson

    After taking over closing duties for a struggling John Axford last season, Henderson once again found himself in that position early this year, and he has seized the opportunity.

    Through 13 games, he has a 1.38 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 13 innings while converting all six of his save chances. Free-agent signing Tom Gorzelanny (17 G, 2.45 ERA) has been a nice addition as well, but this team isn't going anywhere unless the rotation can figure things out.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Texas Rangers (2)
    at Cincinnati Reds (3) 

18. Tampa Bay Rays (14-16, Previous: 17)

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    Last Week's Results: 2-3

    at Kansas City Royals (0-2)
    at Colorado Rockies (2-1)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: 1B James Loney

    The Rays have gotten what they expected to out of Evan Longoria (.301 BA, .892 OPS) and Ben Zobrist (21 RBI, 15 R) so far, but the question was who else would step up.

    Loney has done that so far, hitting .398 with a .987 OPS, as he has turned things around with a move to Tampa Bay, much like Casey Kotchman a couple years ago.

    Top Pitcher: SP Matt Moore

    After an 11-11, 3.81 ERA rookie season that ranked as a mild disappointment, Moore has shown the stuff that made him the game's top pitching prospect in the early going this season.

    He's 5-0 with a 1.95 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 37 innings through his first five starts, and his emergence, as well as Alex Cobb (4-2, 2.79 ERA) stepping up, has helped ease the loss of James Shields.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Toronto Blue Jays (4)
    vs. San Diego Padres (3) 

17. Cleveland Indians (14-14, Previous: 27)

15 of 31

    Last Week's Results: 5-1

    at Kansas City Royals (1-0)
    vs. Philadelphia Phillies (2-0)
    vs. Minnesota Twins (2-1)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: C Carlos Santana

    Santana has seemingly been on the cusp of breaking out for the past three years, and it looks as though that big season is finally here, as he's hitting .379 with a 1.160 OPS to this point.

    The offense has not been the issue in Cleveland, where a number of players are having good seasons. Mark Reynolds (.985 OPS, 9 HR, 26 RBI) is another worthy candidate here.

    Top Pitcher: SP Justin Masterson

    He's been hit hard his last two starts, but Masterson opened the season 4-1 with a 1.85 ERA through his first five starts.

    Essentially the ace of the staff by default, he will need to pitch more like he did to kick off the season if the Indians are to have any chance of being competitive. Others need to step up as well, as the rotation has a combined 4.91 ERA.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Oakland Athletics (4)
    at Detroit Tigers (3) 

16. Seattle Mariners (15-18, Previous: 23)

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    Last Week's Results: 4-2

    vs. Baltimore Orioles (2-1)
    at Toronto Blue Jays (2-1) 

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: 3B Kyle Seager

    Last season, Seager was one of the few above-average producers in the Mariners lineup. He led the team with 20 home runs and 86 RBI, and he's been the team's best hitter again this season.

    Currently hitting .293 with an .844 OPS, he also leads the team with 16 RBI. Newcomer Michael Morse leads the team with nine home runs, but he has cooled considerably after a blistering first couple of weeks.

    Top Pitcher: SP Hisashi Iwakuma

    Iwakuma and ace Felix Hernandez have nearly identical numbers at this point, but Iwakuma gets the nod thanks to a significant advantage in WHIP (0.76 vs. 0.91).

    The Mariners quietly re-signed him to a two-year, $14 million deal this offseason, and that looks to have been a steal, as he's 3-1 with a 1.61 ERA through his first seven starts.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Pittsburgh Pirates (2)
    vs. Oakland Athletics (3) 

15. Arizona Diamondbacks (16-15, Previous: 8)

17 of 31

    Last Week's Results: 1-5

    vs. San Francisco Giants (0-3)
    at San Diego Padres (1-2)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: 1B Paul Goldschmidt

    Goldschmidt was terrific in his first full big league season last year, hitting .286 with 20 home runs and 18 steals, and he has moved ever closer to the upper tier of first basemen in the early going this season.

    He's hitting .295 with an .888 OPS, as he has a team-high five home runs and 21 RBI. The 25-year-old is the most dangerous hitter in a new-look Diamondbacks lineup.

    Top Pitcher: SP Patrick Corbin

    The No. 5 starter job was expected to go to top prospect Tyler Skaggs out of camp, but instead it was Corbin who seized the job with a strong spring.

    That has carried over to the early stages of the regular season, as he's 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 1.08 WHIP through six starts, pairing with fellow lefty Wade Miley to lead the starting rotation.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Los Angeles Dodgers (3)
    vs. Philadelphia Phillies (4) 

14. Pittsburgh Pirates (17-14, Previous: 6)

18 of 31

    Last Week's Results: 2-4

    at Milwaukee Brewers (1-2)
    vs. Washington Nationals (1-2)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: LF Starling Marte

    After Marte looked impressive with 73 total bases and 12 steals in a 47-game audition last season, Pittsburgh handed him the everyday left field job and leadoff spot in the batting order this spring.

    So far, he's done better than anyone could have hoped, hitting .325/.390/.528 with five home runs, 16 RBI and 24 runs while stealing 10 bases.

    Top Pitcher: RP Jason Grilli

    The Pirates' pitching has helped them get off to a solid start, and as good as guys like A.J. Burnett and Jeff Locke have been, it's impossible to ignore Grilli's dominance.

    A journeyman reliever who has been great in a setup role the past two years, the 36-year-old was handed closing duties after the team traded Joel Hanrahan, and he's a perfect 12-of-12 on save chances with a 0.69 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 13 innings.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Seattle Mariners (2)
    at New York Mets (4) 

13. Colorado Rockies (18-13, Previous: 12)

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    Last Week's Results: 3-3

    at Los Angeles Dodgers (2-1)
    vs. Tampa Bay Rays (1-2)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: SS Troy Tulowitzki

    After playing in just 47 games last season due to a nagging groin injury, Tulowitzki entered the 2013 season looking to reclaim the title of best shortstop in baseball, and he is off to a hot start.

    With a line of .348/.435/.663 to go along with seven home runs and 28 RBI, he's been the top producer in a loaded Rockies lineup. Dexter Fowler (.984 OPS, 8 HR) is also worthy of mention, as he's well on his way to a career year.

    Top Pitcher: SP Jhoulys Chacin

    After going 20-25 with a 3.48 ERA over his first two big league seasons, Chacin was limited to just 14 starts last year, and his absence was certainly felt in what was an abysmal Rockies rotation.

    Back healthy this year, he earned the Opening Day start, and he's gone 3-1 with a 2.56 ERA through his first five starts.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. New York Yankees (3)
    at St. Louis Cardinals (3) 

12. Kansas City Royals (17-10, Previous: 14)

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    Last Week's Results: 4-1

    vs. Cleveland Indians (0-1)
    vs. Tampa Bay Rays (2-0) 
    vs. Chicago White Sox (2-0)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: LF Alex Gordon

    Once considered a flop after being taken with the No. 2 pick in the 2005 MLB draft, Gordon has rounded into a terrific all-around player over the past few seasons.

    He's hitting .303 with 20 RBI and 19 runs scored right now, once again serving as a solid table-setter for a talented Royals lineup. Center fielder Lorenzo Cain (.341 BA, .872 OPS) is in the midst of a breakout season as well.

    Top Pitcher: SP Ervin Santana

    The Royals made some bold moves to improve their rotation this offseason, and so far it has paid off big in the early stages of this season.

    Ervin Santana has been the best of the bunch, going 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA in five starts, while James Shields (2-2, 3.00 ERA) and Jeremy Guthrie (4-0, 2.40 ERA) have been among the best in the American League as well.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Chicago White Sox (1)
    at Baltimore Orioles (3)
    vs. New York Yankees (3) 

11. Cincinnati Reds (18-14, Previous: 11)

21 of 31

    Last Week's Results: 4-2

    at St. Louis Cardinals (1-2)
    at Chicago Cubs (3-0)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: CF Shin-Soo Choo

    The Reds had a clear hole in center field and atop the lineup entering the season, and they addressed both needs when they acquired Choo in a trade with the Indians.

    He's hit .331/.463/.551 with five home runs, 13 RBI and 25 runs scored so far, and with a legitimate table-setter atop the lineup, the Reds' potent offense is even more dangerous.

    Top Pitcher: SP Mat Latos

    Johnny Cueto may have held the title of staff ace entering the season, but he has his work cut out for him to keep Latos from claiming that title this year.

    After the Reds gave up a ton to acquire him from the Padres last offseason, Latos had a terrific second half (7-2, 2.84 ERA), and that has carried over into 2013, as he's 3-0 with a 2.23 ERA through seven starts.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Atlanta Braves (3)
    vs. Milwaukee Brewers (3) 

10. New York Yankees (18-12, Previous: 9)

22 of 31

    Last Week's Results: 3-3

    vs. Houston Astros (2-1)
    vs. Oakland Athletics (1-2)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: DH Travis Hafner

    While Robinson Cano has been great once again and leads the team with a .325 average, nine home runs and 19 RBI, it is the contributions of Hafner and Vernon Wells that have been paramount in the team's early success.

    Hafner, signed to a one-year, $3 million deal this offseason, has a .999 OPS with six home runs and 18 RBI in just 79 at-bats, as he has enjoyed a career renaissance after battling injury the past several seasons in Cleveland.

    Top Pitcher: RP Mariano Rivera

    After missing nearly the entire 2012 season with a torn ACL, there were obvious questions as to just how good Rivera would be this season, but he has been his usual dominant self so far.

    Set to retire at the end of the season, the 43-year-old has gone a perfect 11-of-11 on save chances while posting a 2.19 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 12.1 innings.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Cleveland Indians (2)
    vs. Seattle Mariners (3)
    vs. Toronto Blue Jays (3) 

9. Oakland Athletics (18-14, Previous: 13)

23 of 31

    Last Week's Results: 4-2

    vs. Los Angeles Angels (2-1)
    at New York Yankees (2-1)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: SS Jed Lowrie

    Looking to improve their middle infield depth, the A's acquired Lowrie from the Astros this offseason expecting to use him as a super utility man, but he has claimed the everyday shortstop job instead.

    After hitting 16 home runs in 340 at-bats last season, he's off to a great start this year with a .322 average, .909 OPS and 15 RBI.

    Top Pitcher: SP Bartolo Colon

    Despite having a number of in-house options to fill out the rotation, the A's opted to re-sign Colon on a one-year, $3 million deal this offseason, and that has been a great move to this point.

    He's 3-1 with a 3.62 ERA over six starts, and with fellow starters Brett Anderson and Jarrod Parker struggling, his consistent contributions have become that much more important.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Cleveland Indians (4)
    at Seattle Mariners (3) 

8. Washington Nationals (17-15, Previous: 10)

24 of 31

    Last Week's Results: 4-3

    at Atlanta Braves (2-2)
    at Pittsburgh Pirates (2-1)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: LF Bryce Harper

    Any concerns that Harper would succumb to the dreaded sophomore slump have been tabled thanks to a hot start that has him hitting .312 with nine home runs and 18 RBI so far.

    He's the only Nationals player currently hitting over .300, as the team's offense has been somewhat of a disappointment. The pieces are certainly in place for them to turn it around moving forward, though, as they remain as dangerous as any team in baseball.

    Top Pitcher: SP Jordan Zimmermann

    In the shadow of Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, Zimmermann quietly went 12-8 with a 2.94 ERA last season, and he has been even better this year.

    Through six starts, the right-hander is 5-1 with a 1.64 ERA and 0.75 WHIP, as he has been the ace of the Nationals' vaunted staff to this point. At 26, he's just entering the prime of his career, so there's no reason to think his hot start won't continue.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Detroit Tigers (2)
    vs. Chicago Cubs (3) 

7. Atlanta Braves (18-12, Previous: 4)

25 of 31

    Last Week's Results: 3-3

    vs. Washington Nationals (2-2)
    vs. New York Mets (1-1)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: LF Justin Upton

    The Braves' addition of the Upton brothers was among the biggest storylines of the offseason, and while B.J. has struggled to a .154 average, Justin has been a force in the middle of the lineup.

    He currently leads all of baseball with 12 home runs and has an impressive .278/.380/.658 line, as he may finally be putting together that monster season we've all waited for. Surprise contributor Evan Gattis (.872 OPS, 7 HR) deserves mention as well.

    Top Pitcher: SP Mike Minor

    The Braves' pitching staff is once again anchored by arguably the best bullpen in baseball, but their starting pitching has been much more consistent as well.

    The trio of Minor, Paul Maholm and Kris Medlen have all been great, but Minor gets the nod here thanks to a 0.88 WHIP to go along with a 3-2 record and 3.26 ERA.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Cincinnati Reds (3)
    at San Francisco Giants (4) 

6. Baltimore Orioles (19-13, Previous: 5)

26 of 31

    Last Week's Results: 4-3

    at Seattle Mariners (1-2)
    at Los Angeles Angels (3-1)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: 1B Chris Davis

    Though he slowed down some after an incredible start, Davis remains one of the top producers in the American League through the first month of the season with a .327 average, nine home runs and 30 RBI.

    Adam Jones (.331 BA, 22 RBI), Nate McLouth (.313 BA, .900 OPS) and Manny Machado (.309 BA, 21 RBI) have all been great as well, as the Orioles offense has been among the best in all of baseball and has helped them overcome some shaky starting pitching.

    Top Pitcher: RP Jim Johnson

    Johnson came out of relative obscurity last season to lead the American League in saves with 51, while posting a 2.49 ERA and leading a dominant Orioles bullpen.

    It's been more of the same this year, as he has an AL-high 11 saves and a 1.13 ERA, and the bullpen has once again been one of the team's biggest strengths with a 2.79 ERA.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Kansas City Royals (3)
    at Minnesota Twins (3) 

5. Boston Red Sox (20-11, Previous: 1)

27 of 31

    Last Week's Results: 2-4

    at Toronto Blue Jays (2-1)
    at Texas Rangers (0-3)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: 1B Mike Napoli

    One of a handful of veteran additions to the Red Sox lineup this offseason, Napoli has been a force in the middle of the team's lineup so far this season.

    He currently leads the team and ranks third in the American League with 31 RBI, to go along with six home runs and an .881 OPS. David Ortiz is also deserving of mention, as he has played in just 13 games this season but has a .440 average with four home runs and 17 RBI.

    Top Pitcher: SP Clay Buchholz

    One of the biggest questions for the Red Sox entering the year was whether their top two starters in Buchholz and Jon Lester could bounce back from poor showings in 2012.

    So far the answer has been a resounding yes, as Lester is 4-0 with a 3.30 ERA and Buchholz is arguably the top pitcher in the AL with a 6-0 record and 1.01 ERA.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Minnesota Twins (4)
    vs. Toronto Blue Jays (3) 

4. San Francisco Giants (19-12, Previous: 15)

28 of 31

    Last Week's Results: 6-0

    at Arizona Diamondbacks (3-0)
    vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (3-0)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: 3B Pablo Sandoval

    It was an up-and-down first month for the Giants, and after relying on their pitching the past several years, it is their offense that has been far more consistent so far this season.

    They still lack the middle-of-the-order firepower that most contenders boast, but they do have some dangerous bats, with Sandoval leading the way. He's currently hitting .333 with four home runs and a team-high 24 RBI.

    Top Pitcher: SP Madison Bumgarner

    While Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong have struggled, Bumgarner has carried the Giants staff to this point, and he has some of the best numbers in all of baseball.

    Through six starts, he's 3-0 with a 1.55 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 36 strikeouts in 40.2 innings. As good as he already is, it's hard to believe Bumgarner is still only 23 years old. He has as bright of a future as any pitcher in the game.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Philadelphia Phillies (3)
    vs. Atlanta Braves (4) 

3. St. Louis Cardinals (20-11, Previous: 7)

29 of 31

    Last Week's Results: 6-1

    vs. Cincinnati Reds (2-1)
    at Milwaukee Brewers (4-0)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: C Yadier Molina

    Long considered the best defensive catcher in baseball, Molina turned in a breakout offensive season last year, hitting .315 with 22 home runs and 76 RBI to finish fourth in NL MVP voting.

    He's been terrific once again this season, hitting .328 with an .818 OPS, and while the Cardinals get contributions from all over their lineup, he's been their most consistent hitter.

    Top Pitcher: SP Shelby Miller

    The Cardinals are off to a great start this season, and if not for a terrible bullpen (5.45 ERA), they would be far and away the best team in baseball at this point.

    Losing Chris Carpenter and Kyle Lohse would have been devastating for most teams, but the Cardinals were more than prepared thanks to Miller. The rookie right-hander is 4-2 with a 1.96 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 36.2 innings. He has to be considered the NL Rookie of the Year front-runner.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Chicago Cubs (2)
    vs. Colorado Rockies (3) 

2. Texas Rangers (20-11, Previous: 2)

30 of 31

    Last Week's Results: 4-2

    vs. Chicago White Sox (1-2)
    vs. Boston Red Sox (3-0)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: 2B Ian Kinsler

    The Rangers lost some offensive firepower in the offseason, but they still had a number of weapons, with Kinsler atop the lineup among the biggest.

    He's hitting .333 with a .946 OPS so far, adding six home runs, 19 RBI and 19 runs out of the leadoff spot in the lineup. Veteran free-agent signing Lance Berkman (.303 BA, .891 OPS) has been better than expected as well.

    Top Pitcher: SP Yu Darvish

    Surprisingly effective starting pitching has been the biggest reason for the Rangers' success to this point, and the emergence of Darvish as a bona fide ace has been a big part of that.

    In his second big league season, the Japanese import is 5-1 with a 2.56 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 45.2 innings of work. He has to be considered a Cy Young front-runner at this point.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Chicago Cubs (1)
    at Milwaukee Brewers (2)
    at Houston Astros (3) 

1. Detroit Tigers (19-11, Previous: 3)

31 of 31

    Last Week's Results: 6-1

    vs. Minnesota Twins (2-1)
    at Houston Astros (4-0)

     

    First-Month Standouts

    Top Hitter: 3B Miguel Cabrera

    The Tigers lineup has been fantastic so far this season, even with the struggles of Victor Martinez and Alex Avila, and it has once again been Cabrera in the middle of it all.

    The reigning AL MVP currently leads all of baseball with a .385 average to go along with six home runs and 36 RBI. Prince Fielder (8 HR, 32 RBI) and Torii Hunter (.361 BA, 22 R) have been great as well.

    Top Pitcher: SP Justin Verlander

    The starting rotation, outside of Rick Porcello, has been lights out, and once again Verlander leads the staff with a 4-2 record and 1.55 ERA while striking out over a batter an inning.

    Anibal Sanchez (3-2, 1.82 ERA), Doug Fister (4-0, 2.48 ERA) and Max Scherzer (4-0, 3.43 ERA) all deserve mention as well, as the Tigers roster is legitimately scary top to bottom.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Washington Nationals (2)
    vs. Cleveland Indians (3) 

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