Carter's MLB Power Rankings, April 18: Berkman, Cards Move Up 17 Spots

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Carter's MLB Power Rankings, April 18: Berkman, Cards Move Up 17 Spots
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Lance Berkman (.308 average, 6 HRS, 13 RBIS) is starting to find his groove as a Cardinal.

NOTE: all statistics and team records updated through Sunday night, April 17.
 
As I look at the teams at the top of my list, I noticed that most of them are getting the job done with their hitting. Each of the first seven teams in this weeks’ rankings are in the top nine in the runs scored category.

Then you get to the eighth spot and you see the Angels who are getting it done with their pitching. If the Angels’ pitchers continue their success, they could carry the team back to the postseason. Teams like the Reds, Rockies and Cardinals are scoring runs and others like Phillies, Angels, and Rangers are getting it done with their great pitchers.

On a more negative side, teams like the Twins, Orioles and Mariners need to step it up quite a few notches offensively if they want to see themselves in some sort of playoff race over the next few months. The same goes for the Mets, Astros and Diamondbacks who need to start getting better with their pitching.

With that said here’s how I see the top 30 teams to this point. Also I give you my updated races for the Cy Young and MVP awards.

1. Texas Rangers (10-5) Last Week: No. 1
Even though the Rangers don’t have Josh Hamilton for the time being, I still think they have enough bats and enough pitchers to hold the AL West lead for a while. The only competition they have is the Angels.

2. Cleveland Indians (11-4) Last Week: No. 4
A surprise team out of the gate this season. The Indians are getting things done with both their pitching and their bats. Travis Hafner is off to a great start and leading the Tribe’s offense well, and Justin Masterson has emerged into the team’s “ace” pitcher (which I saw coming).

3. Philadelphia Phillies (10-4) Last Week: No. 2
Get use to the Phillies being in the top five for a very long time. Roy Halladay (1.23 ERA, 22 strikeouts) is leading a very strong pitching staff that’s giving up an MLB-low 48 runs to this point.

4. Colorado Rockies (12-3) Last Week: No. 6
This is going to be a team to pay attention to throughout the course of the season. We saw a few years ago that the Rockies can be a legitimate contender for a World Championship. Now it’s looking like the Rockies could be ready for another NL West Championship run and contend for the World Series once again. Oh, and this guy named Troy Tulowitzki isn’t too bad of a baseball player either.

5. Cincinnati Reds (9-6) Last Week: No. 3
The Reds have impressed me this year mainly because of their offense. I think they have the best offensive lineup in the entire majors. If they can do a little better in their pitching department, I could see them as a legitimate World Championship contender.

6. St. Louis Cardinals (8-8) Last Week: No. 23
Looks like Lance Berkman (.308 average, 6 HR, 13 RBI) is starting to find his groove as a Cardinal. As long as Berkman and Pujols stay consistent, then the Cardinals could once again be huge threats to once again win the NL Central.

7. Kansas City Royals (10-5) Last Week: No. 12
Another surprising AL team out of the gate. The Royals are getting it done offensively, scoring 82 runs in their first 15 games

8. Los Angeles Angels (10-5) Last Week: No. 8
This is a good time for the Angels to try and take back the AL West’s top spot with the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton out of the lineup for a while. As long as Jered Weaver and Dan Haren keep up their success, they should stay in the division race throughout the regular season.

9. New York Yankees (9-5) Last Week: No. 14
As I expected, the Yankees' pitching staff has started off a little slow this season, already giving up 68 runs in their first 14 games. This team can stay in the AL East race if their offense stay consistent and if the Red Sox pitching staff continues to struggle.

10. Toronto Blue Jays (7-8) Last Week: No. 7
Not a very exciting team to watch. Both their lineup and their pitching staff are good in my opinion, but not yet “great.” Ricky Romero and Kyle Drabek are playing great and all, but if the Blue Jays are going to rely on them for a lot of wins this year, they can kiss the season goodbye.

11. San Francisco Giants (8-7) Last Week: No. 11
Some are expecting Pablo Sandoval to have a breakout season, while others are expecting the “Kung Fu Panda” to just have an average, or even a below-average year again. I guess we’ll wait and see. He’s started off very well with 4 homers and 10 RBI so far.

12. Chicago White Sox (7-8) Last Week: No. 5
Another team that’s getting it done offensively, scoring 80 runs in their 15 games. Their pitching staff needs a little work though, giving up 76 runs already.

13. Oakland Athletics (8-8) Last Week: No. 15
Gio Gonzalez has started off his season very strong with a 2-0 record, a 0.47 ERA and 14 strikeouts so far. Can he be a true contender for the Cy Young award? I think so. Why not?

14. Atlanta Braves (7-9) Last Week: No. 16
Derek Lowe (1.82 ERA, 19 strikeouts) has started off the year very strong. He’s a key reason why the Braves have only given up only 51 total runs to this point.

15. Washington Nationals (8-7) Last Week: No. 21
The Nationals’ 5-2 surge over the past week has been led by a pitching staff that has kept runs off the scoreboard and issued only 14 walks.

16. San Diego Padres (7-8) Last Week: No. 9
Once again, the Padres’ pitching staff is having a very good season, only giving up 54 runs so far. The problem is that 54 is the same amount of runs the Padres have scored themselves, which is exactly why I have them out of the top half of the rankings.

17. Milwaukee Brewers (7-8) Last Week: No. 19
Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun (combined 8 HR and 16 RBI) are becoming one of the best offensive duos in baseball.

18. Florida Marlins (8-6) Last Week: No. 20
Josh Johnson (2-0, 1.35 ERA, 18 strikeouts) is picking up right where he left off last year.

19. Tampa Bay Rays (6-9) Last Week: No. 30
With many key offensive losses over the offseason, I didn’t expect the Rays to score as many runs as they did last year. Looks like my prediction will be right as they have only scored 54 runs through the first 15 games.


20. Arizona Diamondbacks (6-8) Last Week: No. 10
The Diamondbacks continue to struggle with finding good pitchers. They’ve given up an average of 6.07 runs per game. Not impressive at all.

21. Chicago Cubs (7-8) Last Week: No. 18
Like the Diamondbacks, the Cubs seem to be having trouble with their pitchers. They’ve already given up 79 runs through their first 15 games.

22. Detroit Tigers (7-9) Last Week: No. 25
Looks like Miguel Cabrera (.304 average, 5 HR, 11 RBI) could be making another run at the AL MVP award.

23. Baltimore Orioles (6-8) Last Week: No. 13
With the additions of Mark Reynolds, Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero, I thought the Orioles would end up having a very good offensive team. Turns out it’s been the complete opposite. The O’s are only averaging 3.64 runs per game.

24. Pittsburgh Pirates (7-8) Last Week: No. 17
Looks like were starting to see the same Pirates once again. They’ve only scored 53 runs this season, which ranks 25th in the majors.

25. Houston Astros (5-11) Last Week: No. 29
As I expected, the Astros pitching staff has been pathetic to start the year. Giving up 86 runs through the first 16 games isn’t helping matters in Houston.

26. New York Mets (5-11) Last Week: No. 22
Anybody want to try out to be a Mets’ pitcher this season?

27. Boston Red Sox (4-10) Last Week: No. 28
Before Monday’s morning game, the Red Sox pitching staff has given up a lowly 5.78 runs per game.

28. Minnesota Twins (5-10) Last Week: No. 26
Joe Mauer is on the DL, Joe Nathan is not the closer anymore and the team has scored only 45 runs through their first 15 games. Anybody hitting the panic button on the Twins yet?

29. Los Angeles Dodgers (7-9) Last Week: No. 24
The Dodgers have been out-homered 22-9 this season.

30. Seattle Mariners (5-11) Last Week: No. 27
No other team is in the bottom four in the majors in runs scored and runs allowed again.

American League Cy Young Award Race:
1. Dan Haren (LAA): 4-0, 1.16 ERA, 27 strikeouts
2. Jered Weaver (LAA): 4-0, 1.30 ERA, 31 strikeouts
3. Gio Gonzalez (OAK): 2-0, 0.47 ERA, 14 strikeouts
4. Matt Harrison (TEX): 3-0, 1.23 ERA, 14 strikeouts
5. Ricky Romero (TOR): 1-1, 1.66 ERA, 20 strikeouts
6. Josh Beckett (BOS): 2-1, 1.80 ERA, 23 strikeouts
7. Justin Masterson (CLE): 3-0, 1.33 ERA, 12 strikeouts
8. Kyle Drabek (TOR): 1-0, 1.93 ERA, 17 strikeouts
9. Phil Coke (DET): 1-2, 2.25 ERA, 9 strikeouts
10. Brett Anderson (OAK): 0-1, 2.29 ERA, 13 strikeouts

National League Cy Young Award Race:
1. Roy Halladay (PHI): 2-0, 1.23 ERA, 22 strikeouts
2. Jaime Garcia (STL): 2-0, 1.35 ERA, 20 strikeouts
3. Josh Johnson (FLA): 2-0, 1.35 ERA, 18 strikeouts
4. Chris Narveson (MIL): 1-0, 1.45 ERA, 19 strikeouts
5. Matt Cain (SF): 2-0, 1.42 ERA, 10 strikeouts
6. Aaron Harang (CIN): 3-0, 1.50 ERA, 15 strikeouts
7. Derek Lowe (ATL): 2-2, 1.82 ERA, 19 strikeouts
8. Jhoulys Chacin (COL): 3-0, 1.64 ERA, 14 strikeouts
9. Charlie Morton (PIT) 2-0, 1.64 ERA, 6 strikeouts
10. Dustin Moseley (SD): 0-3, 1.83 ERA, 4 strikeouts

American League MVP Award Race:
1. Howie Kendrick (LAA): .306 average, 5 HR, 7 RBI
2. Miguel Cabrera (DET): .304 average, 5 HR, 11 RBI
3. Paul Konerko (CHW): .322 average, 4 HR, 13 RBI
4. Robinson Cano (NYY): .310 average, 4 HR, 11 RBI
5. Nelson Cruz (TEX): .260 average, 5 HR, 12 RBI
6. Mark Teixeira (NYY): .220 average, 5 HR, 14 RBI
7. Travis Hafner (CLE): .354 average, 4 HR, 9 RBI
8. Jorge Posada (NYY): .163 average, 5 HR, 8 RBI
9. Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE): .279 average, 4 HR, 14 RBI
10. Adrian Beltre (TEX): .250 average, 4 HR, 13 RBI

National League MVP Award Race:
1. Troy Tulowitzki (COL): .364 average, 7 HR, 14 RBI
2. Pablo Sandoval (SF): .340 average, 4 HR, 10 RBI
3. Lance Berkman (STL): .308 average, 6 HR, 13 RBI
4. Rickie Weeks (MIL): .290 average, 4 HR, 7 RBI
5. Ryan Braun (MIL): .327 average, 4 HR, 9 RBI
6. Jonny Gomes (CIN): .261 average, 6 HR, 14 RBI
7. Alfonso Soriano (CHC): .268 average, 5 HR, 12 RBI
8. Justin Upton (ARZ): .304 average, 4 HR, 9 RBI
9. Logan Morrison (FLA): .327 average, 4 HR, 11 RBI
10. Albert Pujols (STL): .239 average, 4 HR, 10 RBI
 

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