MLB Power Rankings: Who's the New No. 1 Team After Week 8?

Sean ZerilloCorrespondent IIMay 15, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: Who's the New No. 1 Team After Week 8?

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Another week of baseball's regular season is in the books.

    As we cross the midway point of May, teams can start to properly evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and pundits can begin to properly analyze player statistics as small sample sizes become firmer representations of player performance.

    Among the more interesting headlines this week was the call-up of Royals top prospect Eric Hosmer and the announcement that Angels first baseman Kendry Morales is done for the season.

    The Detroit Tigers Justin Verlander also made his case to become the first pitcher since Johnny Vander Meer (1938) to pitch two consecutive no-hitters.

    With that in mind let's take a look back at the week that was and find out which team stands atop baseball after eight weeks of play.

    Data Courtesy of:

30. Minnesota Twins

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    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Record: 12-25

    Pythagorean Record: 10-27

    Last Week's Record: 0-6

    The Twins offense has been putrid, averaging just 3.1 runs per game.

    They're still awaiting the return of Joe Mauer from the disabled list and Justin Morneau from the land of the forgotten.

    Their pitching, however, has been absolutely abysmal.

    Minnesota has the worst expected fielding independent pitching (xFIP) of any team in baseball. Their mark sits at 4.58, a full three-tenths of a run behind the Kansas City Royals (4.22).

    This was considered to be a playoff contender in the preseason. But now the Twins will have to fight their way out of baseball's basement. 

29. Houston Astros

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Record: 15-24

    Pythagorean Record: 16-23

    Last Week's Record: 2-4

    The Astros have continued to struggle in baseball's largest division.

    They have reason to be confident in the back end of their bullpen, however, with the ascendancy of Mark Melancon into the closer role.

    Incumbent Brandon Lyon is on the disabled list, but he already has four blown saves and has never been able to strike batters out.

    Melancon, 26, has a devastating curveball and can strikeout over a batter per inning.

    He could hold the fort in Houston for a while. For this sake, hopefully the team around him gets better.

28. San Diego Padres

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    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Record: 16-23

    Pythagorean Record: 17-22

    Last Week's Record: 3-3

    The Padres have survived largely off of the contributions of their bullpen, which is perhaps the best and deepest in all of baseball.

    The group is led by closer Heath Bell and the always underrated Mike Adams (16:2 strikeout to walk ratio over 19 innings).

    If they continue to lag behind the Dodgers and the Giants in the NL West, Bell should find himself on another club before year's end.

    Adams appears to be the replacement in waiting.

27. Baltimore Orioles

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Record: 18-20

    Pythagorean Record: 16-22

    Last Week's Record: 4-2

    Veteran signees Vladimir Guerrero and Derrek Lee have really struggled to get it going, but Baltimore has still averaged close to four runs per game.

    Their pitching has been poor, however, with the fifth worst xFIP in all of baseball (4.06).

    Jake Arrieta is a legitimate talent, but youngster Zach Britton is getting by right now just on luck (5-2, 2.42 ERA but a 29:16 strikeout to walk ratio in 52 innings).

    They'll be looking up at Boston, New York, Toronto and Tampa all season, once again.

26. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Record: 18-21

    Pythagorean Record: 16-23

    Last Week's Record: 2-4

    The Pirates preseason decision to move Andrew McCutchen to the No. 3 spot proved to be a failure.

    The 24-year-old center fielder struggled early on, but has continued to shine since being moved back into the leadoff hole.

    With seven doubles and seven homers thus far, McCutchen finally appears to be developing into the power threat that scouts always thought he could be.

    While not particularly fast or strong, Andrew McCutchen has 30-30 potential. He'll be the face of the pirates for the next decade.

25. Seattle Mariners

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    Record: 16-23

    Pythagorean Record: 16-23

    Last Week's Record: 0-5

    The Mariners look little better than the squad that won an American League low 61 games last season.

    One of the biggest problems for Seattle last year was a lack of power in the middle of their lineup.

    That problem appears to be solved both for this year and the years to come with the apparent breakout of first baseman Justin Smoak.

    Smoak joined the Mariners last season as part of the Rangers package for Cliff Lee.

    He owns a good plate discipline and is hitting .286 with nine doubles, six homers and 24 RBI so far, providing some much needed protection for Ichiro in Seattle's batting order.

24. Washington Nationals

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Record: 18-21

    Pythagorean Record: 18-21

    Last Week's Record: 2-4

    Newcomer and highly paid outfielder Jayson Werth is off to an odd start with the Nationals, hitting just .223 with six homers. Unfortunately, that leads the team in both categories.

    The Nationals are scoring just 3.7 runs per game and could desperately use the return of star third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

    Z-Pack has been on the disabled list since April 10th with an abdominal tear.

    Their starting rotation of Jason Marquis, Jordan Zimmerman, Jon Lannan, Tom Gorzelanny and Livan Hernandez can eat innings and be reliable but won't fight for anything above a .500 record.

    Stephen Strasburg should be shelved until at least August as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

    When he returns next year, this could be a team on the rise. Especially once they call up Bryce Harper midway through 2012.

23. Chicago Cubs

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Record: 17-21

    Pythagorean Record: 16-22

    Last Week's Record: 3-3

    Alfonso Soriano started to cool off this month after finishing April with an eye-popping 10 homers.

    Soriano has always had the power (46 homers in 2006), but he rarely goes on binges like this.

    He's been helped by strong performances from middle infielders Starlin Castro and Darin Barney but has been the only source of power in an otherwise quiet Cubs lineup.

    Their pitching has been middle of the road as well.

    Manager Mike Quade can turn this group into a playoff team, but they need to play more consistently.

22. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Record: 16-22

    Pythagorean Record: 18-20

    Last Week's Record: 1-5

    The Diamondbacks have the pieces in place to be a dominant team in the future. For now, they're merely a mediocre team with a bunch of potential stars.

    Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson appear to be fixtures atop the rotation. They were acquired separately via trade (From the Yankees and White Sox respectively), but both have already flashed the skills of top arms.

    Stephen Drew is one of the more underrated middle infielders in baseball, and right fielder Justin Upton has as much talent as any player in the game.

    But Joe Saunders and Armando Galarraga do not deserve rotation spots on any legitimate team. And the D'backs bullpen, after J.J. Putz, can be wildly inconsistent.

    They'll likely get to the playoffs, just not this year.

21. Chicago White Sox

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Record: 16-24

    Pythagorean Record: 17-23

    Last Week's Record: 4-2

    Despite adding Adam Dunn as their designated hitter, the White Sox offense has struggled to score runs for most of the season.

    An offense that features Paul Konerko, Carlos Quentin, Alex Rios, Adam Dunn and Alexei Ramirez should rarely have trouble scoring.

    With a pitching staff of Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Edwin Jackson and Gavin Floyd, the Sox also shouldn't have trouble staying in games.

    The real headache for Chicago has been their defense and bullpen. The two have combined to blow six saves already this season.

    Chicago is the lowest ranked team on this list that I genuinely expect to compete for their division by season's end.

    They better get going before it's too late and Detroit and Cleveland pull away.

20. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Record: 19-21

    Pythagorean Record: 17-23

    Last Week's Record: 4-2

    Amid the divorce proceedings of their owners and their organization falling under MLB control, the Dodgers have gotten off to a slow start.

    Their bullpen has been atrocious.

    Incumbent closer Jonathan Broxton is on the disabled list with an elbow injury. Top setup man Hong-Chih Kuo has hit the DL with anxiety problems.

    Outfielders Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp have gotten off to hot starts, however. And starter Clayton Kershaw has continued to show that he's one of the best young arms in the game.

    The Dodgers may yet turn it around, but they'll need their top two relievers and leadoff hitter (Rafael Furcal) to come back at full strength.

19. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Record: 18-21

    Pythagorean Record: 19-20

    Last Week's Record: 4-2

    By virtue of Prince Fielder's contract expiring at the end of the season, the Milwaukee Brewers will be in "win now" mode all year.

    Now that newly acquired ace Zack Greinke has returned from injury, Milwaukee features one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball.

    Yovani Gallardo, and Greinke could both be legitimate Cy Young contenders. Shawn Marcum is among the best No. 3 starters in the league, and Randy Wolf is very underrated as a No. 4.

    With Ryan Braun playing like an MVP candidate, the Brew Crew should be back in the hunt this year before long.

18. Oakland Athletics

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Record: 20-19

    Pythagorean Record: 20-19

    Last Week's Record: 3-2

    The A's currently sit above .500 thanks in large part to their pitching staff which owns the best xFIP in the American League (3.52).

    They have a tremendous young rotation led by Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez and Tyson Ross.

    However, Oakland has averaged only 3.5 runs per game on offense, which is tied for the second worst mark in the American League.

    New arrival Josh Willingham leads the team with six homers and 22 RBI, but he's surrounded by a cast that has managed a dismal .655 team OPS.

    Billy Beane will need to find another bat (perhaps Carlos Beltran?) if he has any hope of making the postseason in 2011.

17. New York Mets

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Record: 18-21

    Pythagorean Record: 19-20 

    Last Week's Record: 3-3

    The Mets are no easy out, what with Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay and an improving Ike Davis leading their offense.

    The team has managed just 4.3 runs per game, but they've received steady contribution from a variety of sources each night.

    Reyes has been their best performer, with a .318/.354/.482 triple slash line, with 13 doubles, six triples, one homer and 12 steals.

    The Mets should continue slugging, but there remains a strong possibility that both Reyes and Carlos Beltran are traded before July 31st.

16. Kansas City Royals

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Record: 20-19

    Pythagorean Record: 21-18 

    Last Week's Record: 2-4 

    Though they finished below .500 for the week, the Royals took two out of three against the Yankees in New York.

    Kansas City has been one of baseball's pleasant surprises early on, thanks in large part to the long awaited emergence of Alex Gordon, and the success of noted anti-saberist Jeff Francoueur (.295 average, eight homers).

    The Royals have averaged 4.8 runs per game this season, good for fifth best in baseball.

    They do own the second worst xFIP in baseball, however, and there is reason to be concerned about closer Joakim Soria.

    The ninth inning specialist has seen his fastball drop nearly two MPH from last season (91.9 --> 90.1), and his swinging strike rate also continues to decline (13.2 percent in 2009, 9.5 percent in 2010, 5.7 percent in 2011).

    If I were the Royals, I would sell while he still has full value.

15. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Abelimages/Getty Images

    Record: 19-20

    Pythagorean Record: 20-19

    Last Week's Record: 4-2

    Don't blame Jose Bautista if the Blue Jays finish below .500 this year.

    The slugger had a 100:116 walk to strikeout ratio during his breakout 54 home run campaign a year ago.

    Thus far in 2011, Bautista owns a 35:19 rate, with an incredible .358/.517/.798 triple slash line and 13 homers.

    His home run tally and OPS pace the major leagues thus far in 2011, making Bautista perhaps the best hitter in baseball right now.

    Toronto's pitchers have been getting a bit unlucky thus far. Once that changes, the Blue Jays could be a sleeper in the wild card hunt.

14. San Francisco Giants

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Record: 22-17

    Pythagorean Record: 19-20

    Last Week's Record: 5-1

    The defending champions currently sit on top of their division, but they actually own a negative run differential so far this season (minus-2).

    The Giants finished 2010 with a plus-114 differential, good for second best in the National League.

    Behind ace Tim Lincecum, their pitching has been stout this season, registering the third best xFIP in baseball (3.34).

    Unfortunately, at an average of 3.5 runs per game, they have the lowest scoring offense in the National League.

    The return of Cody Ross should help a bit, but the Giants still lack any punch in their lineup.

    GM Brian Sabean is rumored to be in pursuit of the Mets' Jose Reyes. He would serve as an elite table-setter for Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval (when he returns) to drive in.

13. Tampa Bay Rays

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    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Record: 23-16

    Pythagorean Record: 23-16 

    Last Week's Record: 3-3

    Yes, the Rays currently sit on top of the AL East, above the Red Sox, Yankees and Blue Jays.

    Yes, their actual record and Pythagorean record suggest that the Rays have played exactly to their talent level.

    But much of their success thus far this season can be explained away by good luck.

    Tampa's staff has generated the third worst xFIP in the major leagues (4.21), yet they've somehow only surrendered 3.5 runs per game (second best in the AL).

    Don't get me wrong, David Price and James Shields are both top of the line starters.

    But rookie Jeremy Hellickson has been the beneficiary of some luck, and the re-tooled Rays pen (following the offseason losses of Grant Balfour, Rafael Soriano, Joaquin Benoit and Dan Wheeler) will start getting shelled if they keep pitching as they have been.

    Matt Joyce is also hitting .360, and Ben Zobrist leads the team with eight homers.

    The Rays will stay afloat this year, but I think the hot start is more aberration than anything else. They just lost too many pieces from last season.

12. Los Angeles Angels

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    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Record: 22-18

    Pythagorean Record: 22-18 

    Last Week's Record: 3-3

    Mike Scioscia has rode pitchers Jered Weaver and Dan Haren early in the year. The strategy has seemingly paid off, as the two have combined for 10 wins and over 120 strikeouts.

    Beyond that, the Angels staff (and their lineup) has been pretty mediocre.

    This is a middle of the pack team in all regards except defense, where the Angels are probably one of baseball's better units.

    After all, they currently employ three center fielders in the outfield.

    Their offensive leader has been second baseman Howie Kendrick, who has exploded for an .888 OPS with 12 doubles and six homers thus far.

    Kendrick, who has a sweet swing and power to all fields, should continue to produce.

    He just can't be the only one. And with Kendry Morales now out for the year, I don't think the Angels have enough offense to make the playoffs.

11. Florida Marlins

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Record: 23-15

    Pythagorean Record: 21-17 

    Last Week's Record: 4-2

    Eight years after their second of two World Series titles, the Florida Marlins once again look poised to make a run at a championship.

    They have incredible starting pitching, led by Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez and Ricky Nolasco.

    Johnson, already an ace and multiple time All-Star, added a curveball to his repertoire this offseason that has made him even more dominant than he already was.

    Through 55.1 innings this season, Johnson owns a 53:18 strikeout to walk ratio with a groundball rate over 50 percent.

    He's just 3-1 on the year, but once star shortstop Hanley Ramirez comes around, those wins could start piling up.

    The fact that the Marlins are eight games above .500 without their best player giving them anything is very telling.

    The fish are only going to continue to improve.

10. Detroit Tigers

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Record: 22-18

    Pythagorean Record: 21-19

    Last Week's Record: 5-0

    Few teams in baseball are as hot as the Tigers right now.

    Detroit has gone 9-1 since they began their series with the Yankees on May 2nd.

    In that time, starting pitcher Justin Verlander, who appears to be vying for his first Cy Young, threw one no-hitter and reached the sixth inning of what would have been his second consecutive.

    The Tigers have continued to receive steady contribution in the lineup from first baseman Miguel Cabrera. They've also been aided by the breakout of catcher Alex Avila.

    Rookie second baseman Scott Sizemore, a recent call-up, should continue to provide a nice spark at the top of the lineup.

    With Verlander, Max Scherzer and worm-burner Rick Porcello, the Tigers should stay in AL Central contention all year long.

9. Colorado Rockies

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Record: 20-17

    Pythagorean Record: 20-17 

    Last Week's Record: 2-4

    The Rockies finished May with a 17-8 record, but they've gone just 3-9 since the calendar turned.

    Troy Tulowitzki really cooled off after his blistering start and is now hitting just .261.

    The team has received a nice boost from veteran first baseman Todd Helton, who owns a .902 OPS over 113 at-bats at the age of 37.

    There is reason to be concerned about Ubaldo Jimenez, however, because he's issued 22 walks in his first 30 innings this year.

    Add in the fact that Ubaldo's fastball velocity is down to 92.8 MPH (from 96.1 MPH last season), and the evidence suggests that the Dominican star may be hiding an injury.

    The Rockies have a deep lineup and pitching staff but could use a bounce-back from Carlos Gonzalez and his early season struggles.

    Either way, this team should give the Giants problems all year long.

8. Texas Rangers

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Record: 20-19

    Pythagorean Record: 21-18

    Last Week's Record: 2-3

    Despite playing without reigning American League MVP Josh Hamilton for most of this young season, the Rangers have played some good baseball in 2011.

    Their most important player thus far has been offseason signee Adrian Beltre, who has hammered nine homers and driven in 30 runs while playing gold glove caliber defense.

    Disgruntled veteran Michael Young has channeled his anger into his bat, hitting .351 with an .896 OPS and 30 RBI.

    Injury concerns abound for starters CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis, however, as both are coming off of big innings pitched increases from last season.

    Lewis is seemingly already showing the wear and tear, as both his velocity and strikeout numbers are down this year.

    Once Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz return, Texas will have a loaded lineup.

    But they might still be one starting pitcher away from getting back to the World Series.

7. Atlanta Braves

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Record: 22-19

    Pythagorean Record: 25-16

    Last Week's Record: 3-3

    In terms of looking like an elite team, the Atlanta Braves have been the National League's surprise this season.

    Although they are the reigning NL wild-card winners, few expected the Braves to legitimately challenge the Phillies this year for the NL East crown.

    So far in 2010, Atlanta owns the best run differential in baseball (plus-41) and consequently the best Pythagorean record.

    With an xFIP of 3.20, their pitching staff ranks as the second best in baseball behind the rival Phillies.

    The surprise offensively has been future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, who is less than a year removed from major knee surgery.

    Jones has recovered miraculously, with 13 doubles, four homers and an .831 OPS this year. His presence has motivated his team to try to win him one final World Series title.

6. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Record: 22-18

    Pythagorean Record: 24-16

    Last Week's Record: 3-3

    No offense in baseball has scored more runs than the St. Louis Cardinals this season.

    The redbirds have crossed the plate 217 times, besting division rival Cincinnati by six runs. The Tigers and Royals are tied for third, each with 187 runs.

    What's surprising then is that slugger Albert Pujols has only managed a .771 OPS thus far.

    One would have to imagine that if the Cardinals are leading baseball in scoring, then Albert Pujols is leading their offense.

    Instead, his slack has been picked up by Matt Holliday and Houston Astros exile Lance Berkman.

    With a .342 average, 10 homers and 33 RBI (1.104 OPS), Berkman appears to have put his awful 2010 behind him.

    With good hitters now batting both in front of and behind Pujols, the Cardinals offense will be dangerous all year long.

5. Cleveland Indians

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Record: 24-13

    Pythagorean Record: 23-14

    Last Week's Record: 2-3

    Raise your hand if you thought the Cleveland Indians would lead the AL Central for even one day this season? How about two? Three?

    Alright cool, thanks for playing everybody.

    How exactly have the Indians gotten off to such a good start? It's a bit confounding, really.

    Their xFIP ranks them 19th in baseball, but the Indians run prevention is aided by a staff with a 47.2 percent ground-ball rate; and good infield defense from Orlando Cabrera, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jack Hannahan.

    Their offense has been vitalized by the return of their best player Grady Sizemore, who has six homers in his first 78 at-bats since undergoing micro-fracture surgery last year.

    Center Fielder Michael Brantley also appears to be emerging as a threat at the top of the lineup.

    Brantley is adept at finding his way on-base (.372 mark in 2011), and he's capable of stealing over 40 bags a season. He also has emerging power, though he is more of a line drive hitter.

    I don't expect the Indians to keep playing at their current pace, but odd ways they have won games suggests that this may be 2011's surprise playoff team.

4. Cincinnati Reds

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    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Record: 22-17

    Pythagorean Record: 23-16

    Last Week's Record: 5-1

    As I mentioned previously, the Reds have had far and away the second highest scoring offense this season.

    It is a fearsome group of hitters, with the versatile Drew Stubbs at the top and Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto encompassing the heart.

    Johnny Gomes and catcher Ramon Hernandez are both 20-homer hitters as well, making this perhaps the deepest lineup, one through nine, in the National League.

    The Reds xFIP also ranks as the ninth best in baseball, proving that this offensive juggernaut can win games in different ways.

    Edinson Volquez may be having control problems, but Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey have each looked tremendous in their first two starts of the year.

    With Francisco Cordero, Aroldis Chapman, Nick Massett and specialist Bill Bray, the Reds also boast an effective group of relievers.

    Cincinnati is an extremely well-rounded club and one of the primary contenders to represent the National League in the World Series.

3. New York Yankees

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Record: 20-17

    Pythagorean Record: 21-16

    Last Week's Record: 2-4

    After a hot start the Yankees have stalled out a bit. But because of their talent, that only means that they're just a few games above .500.

    Teams thin on pitching can't afford to lose major contributors to their starting rotation, but the revival of Bartolo Colon has at least offset the loss of Phil Hughes to arm fatigue and decreased velocity.

    It remains to be seen whether Hughes will return this year.

    In his stead, the stem-celled miracle that is Colon's right arm has fired a 41:10 strikeout to walk ratio over his first 43 innings.

    Alongside the ever-consistent C.C. Sabathia, the Yankees have managed to stick around the middle of the pack in pitching.

    With an offense like theirs, that's all they really need.

    With 12 homers thus far, center fielder Curtis Granderson is leading the Yankees in all three triple crown categories.

    This has helped the Yankees to a major league leading 58 homers; besting second place Cincinnati by a full 11 bombs.

    If Derek Jeter can give them anything, this is a 95-plus win team.

2. Boston Red Sox

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Record: 19-20

    Pythagorean Record: 19-20

    Last Week's Record: 4-2

    You may think it's ridiculous that the Boston Red Sox are No. 2 in these power rankings despite finding themselves below .500 eight weeks into the season.

    But is it that absurd considering that Boston were the preseason favorite to represent the American League in the World Series?

    Considering the Red Sox dug themselves a 2-10 hole to start the year, their 17-10 run since suggests a level of play much closer to their true talent.

    A 17-10 pace over 162 games equates to 102 wins. Certainly there were a lot of pundits out there who thought the Red Sox would win 100-plus games before the season began.

    Although their pitching has struggled (4.04 xFIP, 23rd in baseball), Boston has probably the most stacked lineup in recent memory.

    First Baseman Adrian Gonzalez has seven homers in his past eight games, and leadoff man Jacoby Ellsbury has hit nearly .400 in that span.

    By the end of the season, Ellsbury could be considered the best leadoff hitter in baseball.

    This Red Sox team is starting to come around, and they havn't received much production from Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis or $100 million man Carl Crawford to this point.

    This is a scary team that is beginning to realize it's potential. Their ranking in my poll is one of pre-emptiveness, but it will soon be justified in the wins column.

1. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    Record: 25-14

    Pythagorean Record: 23-15

    Last Week's Record: 3-3

    The Phillies already own the best record in baseball, and they're still without arguably their best hitter in second baseman Chase Utley.

    Utley is still recovering from a tear in his right knee but is supposedly progressing well and will likely return before the end of May.

    In his stead, slugger Ryan Howard has picked up the offense with his 9 homers, and Shane Victorino has bounced back from a poor 2010 with an .846 OPS (six doubles, five triples, six homers) and eight steals.

    Obviously the key to this Phillies team is their elite pitching, with starters Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt.

    Oswalt currently finds himsef on the disabled list, but that hasn't stopped the Phillies from racking up the best xFIP in baseball (3.18) so far.

    Their bullpen is still awaiting the return of Brad Lidge from the disabled list. With the exception of interim closer Ryan Madson, this unit is easily the weakness of the team.

    But with great starting pitching and a thundering lineup, the Phillies are on top of baseball, as everyone expected, for the time being.