As the first month of baseball comes to an end, it's safe to say that this isn't exactly what people like to call a " consistent" start to a season.
Teams such as Detroit, Cleveland, Florida, and New York (Yankees) have started in positions not many expected.
Detroit and Cleveland, who many thought were the obvious favorites of the AL Central, don't have a record over .500. The Marlins, with low payroll and all, have jumped out to a lead in the NL East over the Mets, Phillies, and Braves.
Even stranger... the Rays are over .500!
Here are the Official Power Rankings of April:
1. Chicago Cubs:
- Simple explanation. Pitching wins games. One Ted Lilly gets back on track, the rotation with Zambrano and Dempster will be something to reckoned with. Also, Kerry Wood is fitting well at the closing position. Did I mention Alfonso Soriano isn't even back yet?
2. Arizona Diamondbacks:
- Really the D-Backs have done just as well as the Cubs to start the season, but I gave the edge to the Cubs' stronger offense. Still, the rotation of Webb, Haren, and Randy Johnson is arguably the best in the league.
3. Oakland Athletics:
- With Frank Thomas on board, the only worries for Oakland is consistency from the rotation and bullpen. If all stay healthy, this club should end up playing in October. The A's are my official dark horse of the season.
4. Los Angeles Angels:
- This team is going to be scary good when John Lackey is healthy and Vlad Guerrero gets hot. The Angels and A's should be in for a tough competition against each other for winning the West.
5. Boston Red Sox:
- Boston being Boston. Do you really think this team won't end up in the playoffs? ...That was a rhetorical question.
6. St. Louis Cardinals:
- Definitely a team who could go either way in the season. No matter, Albert Pujols will always one of the best in the league, and he will keep this team in playoff contention all year.
7. Baltimore Orioles:
- I understand that the Orioles have gotten off to a great start, and I respect that. But I honestly don't expect this team to continue their level of playing for all of the season. Eventually, Boston and New York will take the reigns of the East.
8. Chicago White Sox:
- A team with talent at both pitching and batting. It's going to be tough for this team to win the Central if the Indians and Detroit gets hot.
9. Philadelphia Phillies:
- Chase Utley and Pat Burrell have been magnificent to say the least. If these two can stay at a high level all year, who knows how far this club can go if Ryan Howard can get on track. They don't have much time to wait for Howard though. With Atlanta, Florida, and New York all in their division, it's inevitable to say that the this division will be coming down to the wire.
10. Florida Marlins:
- No doubt that it's been a great start for a team with only a fraction of money compared to the rest of the organizations. But just like the Orioles, it seems highly doubtful this team will be able to say at the level of playing it's currently at all season, especially with the competition in the NL East. Still, I'm happily surprised by this team's early success.
11. Milwaukee Brewers:
- Another team who has start strong, but most likely won't be able to compete at that level for the whole season. Chicago and St. Louis are too strong of competition for Milwaukee to be able to win their division. Gagne and the rest of the bullpen won't be able to hold this team together in tight games.
12. Tampa Bay Rays:
- Seriously, how can you not give respect to this team? They are above .500 and have shown signs of some young, promising talent. With Longoria and company, this team might have a shot of some success this year. (Be advised: Boston and New York most likely won't allow that to happen)
13. Atlanta Braves:
- This is a team loaded with experience and talent from veterans. With Chipper Jones and John Smoltz playing like rookies again, this club seems destined for success. Let's hope they can hold it together for the whole season and stay healthy.
14. New York Mets:
- Even with Johan Santana, it looks like the pitching is the weakest spot for the Mets this year. A somewhat porous bullpen and only one consistently strong starter, this team is going to have a tough time making it to the playoffs with the competition they will be playing against in their division. Still, David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Delgado won't go down without a fight.
15. Cleveland Indians:
- A team with more potential than anyone. They started off the wrong foot, but if C.C can get back to Cy Young ability and the bats get swinging, this team will be back in the AL Championship. Sabathia, Carmona, Lee, Westbrook, and Byrd are arguably the best rotation in the game. It seems probably that Cliff Lee is the early favorite for comeback player of the year. Expect a dual against the Tigers for the division.
16. Detroit Tigers:
- This team has more firepower than anyone. Whether they use it, that's the question. A great rotation with a satisfactory bullpen. Like I said though, the firepower will single handily keep this team alive throughout the season.
17. Seattle Mariners:
- Like the Tigers, this team had much higher expectations. My biggest question is beyond Ichiro who is going to be getting on base? Overall, this team I don't believe is as good as what people thought they were.
18. New York Yankees:
- Even though somehow this team will most likely make the playoffs (you know, since their the Yankees and all..), this team really isn't as good as how much their payroll is worth. Currently, Wang is their only truly consistent pitcher, and Abreu has been leading the offense. Like I said though, they'll manage to get into the playoffs no sweat.
19. Cincinnati Reds:
- I'm sure many question the Reds being higher than others, but they actually do have a strong rotation and offense. If both can actually get on the same page, this team might exceed their expectations. Only problem is that there is no way they will be able to compete with St. Louis and Chicago.
- This team isn't the same team who made that semi-legendary playoff run. This team is going to somehow have to beat out the Diamondbacks for the division if they want to get back to the World Series. The wild card of the NL seems certain to either go to the East or Central. All the teams after the Rockies I don't believe have any shot whatsoever of making the playoffs.
21. Houston Astros:
- There is a large drop off from 20 to 21 in the rankings. The Astros simply lack explosiveness and pitching all together, yet they are getting by currently. This will be a sub .500 team all year and will never make a splash.
22. Los Angeles Dodgers:
- For a team with a higher payroll, why doesn't this team do so well? Oh that's right... they spend their money by signing players like Andruw Jones.
23. Kansas City Royals:
- What's this? Not the last team in the Central? Heck, at least it's improvement for KC. Let's just take baby steps for progress, OK?
24. San Diego Padres:
- This team has a good pitcher in Jake Peavy and a lackadaisical offense to contribute. This is the definition of what you call underachieving in the league this season.
25. Minnesota Twins:
- This team has nobody to talk about. Johan and Torii are gone, so who's left? This team is officially the new lower level of the AL Central.
26. San Francisco Giants:
- OK, so I just watched this team play tonight, and honestly there is nobody in their offense, yet along field, who's name sounds somewhat considered "star player". With Bonds gone, this team has nothing besides Lincecum. I will say though, the 2B Velez is possibly the fastest baseball player I've ever seen.
27. Toronto Blue Jays:
- Well, Roy Halladay is good.
28. Texas Rangers:
- Josh Hamilton has been a pleasant surprise for the Rangers, and also a regrettable one for the Reds. This team in fact actually does have a few good young players. Unfortunately, this might be the worst pitching core in the league.
29. Pittsburgh Pirates:
- This team will be bruised heavily in a tough NL Central. At least the rotation has been semi-pleasant though.
30. Washington Nationals:
- This team has a just as good approval rating as it's neighbor, the White House, does.
Well, there you have it. The official rankings of the first month of the MLB.
And now, my official early prediction of the World Series:
Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians
... We have a long way to go, but that's my early thought. Of course, anything can happen.