Jaime Garcia (3-0, 1.44 ERA, 24 strikeouts) is picking up where he left off last year and is one of the favorites to win the NL Cy Young Award.
NOTE: team records updated through Monday morning, April 25.
1. St. Louis Cardinals (12-10) Last Week: No. 6
I love how this team is still managing well without their ace pitcher. Their pitching staff gives up an average of 3.77 runs per game which isn’t bad considering they don’t have Adam Wainwright. As far as their offense goes, it’s been nothing short of phenomenal, averaging 5.18 runs per game. They also lead the majors with a 10 home wins already.
2. Texas Rangers (14-7) Last Week: No. 1
One of only four teams to be in the top 10 in runs scored and fewest runs against. Their offense has improved a lot over the week while their pitching has slipped a little bit. In my opinion, they have the best offensive lineup in the American League.
3. New York Yankees (12-6) Last Week: No. 9
As expected, the Yankees offense continues to stay strong this season. They’ve scored an impressive 109 runs in their first 18 games.
4. Philadelphia Phillies (15-6) Last Week: No. 3
Also expected, the Phillies pitching has started the 2011 season very strong. Through the first 21 games, they have only given up 69 total runs. The Oakland Athletics are the only other team that has given up fewer runs (68). Another positive: they own the league’s best road record at 8-2.
5. Cleveland Indians (13-8) Last Week: No. No. 2
One key reason for the Indians’ great start is the great start individually for Travis Hafner (.348 average, 24 hits, 4 HR, 10 RBI).
6. Colorado Rockies (14-7) Last Week: No. 4
I expect this team to be fighting it out with the Giants for the NL West championship in September. One thing that has impressed me about the Rockies so far is that they are one of only three teams in the majors to already have eight road wins.
7. Cincinnati Reds (11-11) Last Week: No. 5
Their offense continues to work well for them, averaging 5.18 runs per game.
8. Florida Marlins (13-7) Last Week: No. 18
The Marlins pitching staff has started off strong, giving up 72 total runs through their first 20 games. The Phillies are the only other NL team that has given up fewer runs. The Marlins are also the hottest team in the majors. Entering Monday, no other team has won at least eight of their last 10 like the Marlins have.
9. Milwaukee Brewers (11-10) Last Week: No. 17
One name people need to start learning about: Ryan Braun. So far he’s recorded a .375 batting average, 30 hits, seven homers, and 18 RBI. Great numbers through the first 21 games!
10. Oakland Athletics (11-11) Last Week: No. 13
How about the A’s pitching staff? They only give an average of 3.09 runs per game. I would say that they have had the most impressive pitching staff in the majors.
11. Atlanta Braves (11-12) Last Week: No. 14
The Braves pitching staff has started off very impressive in 2011. Through their first 23 games, they have only given up an average of 3.3 runs per game.
12. Kansas City Royals (12-10) Last Week: No. 7
Other than the Rangers, I would say the Royals have had the most impressive offensive lineup in the American League, averaging 5.09 runs per game.
13. Los Angeles Angels (12-10) Last Week: No. 8
The Angels are one of only three teams to already have eight road wins.
14. Detroit Tigers (12-10) Last Week: No. 22
To no surprise, Miguel Cabrera is off to another nice start (.338 average, 26 hits, 5 HRs, 15 RBI).
15. San Francisco Giants (12-10) Last Week: No. 11
Pat Burrell and Pablo Sandoval are looking to be a very nice combination. They have recorded a total of 39 hits, 10 homers, and 21 RBIs together so far.
16. Boston Red Sox (10-11) Last Week: No. 27
Not every Red Sox player is off to hot offensive starts. But Adrian Gonzalez has impressed me with his 24 hits so far. During his days in San Diego, I saw him as a guy who was just all about homers. Looks like that could change a little bit in Boston.
17. Tampa Bay Rays (11-11) Last Week: No. 19
Never would’ve thought that Sam Fuld of all players would be the team’s hits leader through the team’s first 22 games.
18. Toronto Blue Jays (9-12) Last Week: No. 10
Another great start offensively for Jose Bautista. He’s recorded an impressive .364 average with 24 hits, 8 HR, and 11 RBI.
19. Washington Nationals (10-10) Last Week: No. 15
Not much power in their lineup. Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche are the team’s leaders in home runs and they both only have three.
20. New York Mets (9-13) Last Week: No. 26
Not a bad start for David Wright (22 hits, 5 HR, 14 RBI). Anybody think he can be an MVP candidate throughout the season?
21. San Diego Padres (8-14) Last Week: No. 16
The Padres have arguably the worst offensive lineup in the majors. They’ve only scored 63 runs in their first 22 games. Their pitching staff has started off well though, giving up only 73 runs through that same span. If this team actually had a few bats, they would be reasonably good.
22. Los Angeles Dodgers (12-11) Last Week: No. 29
Matt Kemp is absolutely tearing it up in the first month of the season. He’s another guy who I think could be a potential MVP candidate (.402 average, 35 hits, 5 HR, 18 RBI).
23. Chicago White Sox (8-14) Last Week: No. 12
This week I dropped the White Sox farther down than any other team this week. And for a good reason. In a one-week span, the White Sox went from fifth in the majors in total runs scored to 15th. On top of that, their pitching is terrible. They’ve given up 110 runs through their first 22 games. Only four teams have given up more runs entering Monday.
24. Arizona Diamondbacks (8-12) Last Week: No. 20
If it weren’t for the Astros, I would say that the Diamondbacks have the worst pitching staff in the majors. They give up an average of 5.75 runs per game.
25. Baltimore Orioles (8-12) Last Week: No. 23
The O’s offense continues to not meet my expectations. They only average 3.85 runs per game through their first 20 games.
26. Chicago Cubs (10-11) Last Week: No. 21
Not a very good start to the year for the pitching staff. They’ve given up 112 runs through their first 21 games. And their offense isn’t exciting either.
27. Minnesota Twins (9-12) Last Week: No. 28
The Twins probably have the worst offensive lineup in the American League. Through their first 21 games, they’ve only scored 71 runs.
28. Pittsburgh Pirates (9-12) Last Week: No. 24
As expected, the Pirates offense has struggles through their first 21 games, only scoring 77 total runs. And they have only two home wins this season so far. No other team has less home wins than them.
29. Houston Astros (8-14) Last Week: No. 25
In my opinion, the Astros probably have the absolute worst pitching staff in the majors. They’ve already given up 123 runs in their first 22 games.
30. Seattle Mariners (8-15) Last Week: No. 30
Same story for the Mariners: they only average 3.39 runs per game through their first 23 games (fifth-worst in the majors). The also, in my opinion, have the worst pitching staff in the AL. They give up an average of 4.86 runs per game. This teams needs help.
American League Cy Young Award Race:
1. Jered Weaver (LAA): 5-0, 1.12 ERA, 43 strikeouts
2. Dan Haren (LAA): 4-1, 1.46 ERA, 33 strikeouts
3. Brett Anderson (OAK): 2-1, 1.56 ERA, 27 strikeouts
4. Michael Pineda (SEA): 3-1, 1.78 ERA, 21 strikeouts
5. Josh Beckett (BOS): 2-1, 1.93 ERA, 28 strikeouts
6. Justin Masterson (CLE): 4-0, 1.71 ERA, 15 strikeouts
7. Trevor Cahill (OAK): 3-0, 2.30 ERA, 29 strikeouts
8. Matt Harrison (TEX): 3-1, 1.88 ERA, 19 strikeouts
9. Brandon McCarthy (OAK): 1-1, 2.10 ERA, 20 strikeouts
10. Alexi Ogando (TEX): 3-0, 2.13 ERA, 14 strikeouts
National League Cy Young Award Race:
1. Josh Johnson (FLA): 3-0, 1.06 ERA, 33 strikeouts
2. Jaime Garcia (STL): 3-0, 1.44 ERA, 24 strikeouts
3. Roy Halladay (PHI): 3-1, 2.41 ERA, 39 strikeouts
4. Aaron Harang (SD): 4-0, 1.88 ERA, 21 strikeouts
5. Kyle Lohse (STL): 3-1, 2.01 ERA, 22 strikeouts
6. Dustin Moseley (SD): 0-3, 1.40 ERA, 8 strikeouts
7. Roy Oswalt (PHI): 3-0, 1.88 ERA, 21 strikeouts
8. Randy Wolf (MIL): 3-2, 2.64 ERA, 29 strikeouts
9. Kyle McClellan (STL): 3-0, 2.16 ERA, 15 strikeouts
10. Jhoulys Chacin (COL): 3-1, 2.67 ERA, 18 strikeouts
American League MVP Award Race:
1. Jose Bautista (TOR): .364 average, 8 HRS, 11 RBIS
2. Carlos Quentin (CHW): .291 average, 6 HRS, 16 RBIS
3. Adrian Beltre (TEX): .265 average, 7 HRS, 20 RBIS
4. Paul Konerko (CHW): .314 average, 5 HRS, 17 RBIS
5. Howie Kendrick (LAA): .261 average, 6 HRS, 9 RBIS
6. Curtis Granderson (NYY): .294 average, 7 HRS, 12 RBIS
7. Miguel Cabrera (DET): .338 average, 5 HRS, 15 RBIS
8. Russell Martin (NYY): .311 average, 6 HRS, 16 RBIS
9. Mark Teixeira (NYY): .261 average, 6 HRS, 16 RBIS
10. Jorge Posada (NYY): .145 average, 6 HRS, 11 RBIS
National League MVP Award Race:
1. Ryan Braun (MIL): .375 average, 7 HRS, 18 RBIS
2. Troy Tulowitzki (COL): .321 average, 7 HRS, 16 RBIS
3. Matt Kemp (LAD): .396 average, 5 HRS, 18 RBIS
4. Lance Berkman (STL): .377 average, 6 HRS, 15 RBIS
5. Albert Pujols (STL): .250 average, 7 HRS, 7 RBIS
6. Rickie Weeks (MIL): .271 average, 5 HRS, 8 RBIS
7. Alfonso Soriano (CHC): .238 average, 6 HRS, 15 RBIS
8. Pablo Sandoval (SF): .319 average, 5 HRS, 13 RBIS
9. Jonny Gomes (CIN): .217 average, 6 HRS, 16 RBIS
10. David Wright (NYM): .262 average, 5 HRS, 14 RBIS