MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand After Week 2

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2015

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand After Week 2

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    Kathy Kmonicek/Associated Press

    The 2015 MLB season is now two weeks old, and while that gives a slightly larger sample size from which to compile this week's MLB power rankings, the season is still very young.

    When putting together these rankings on a weekly basis, the following factors will be considered:

    • Last week's record
    • Quality of opponent
    • Key injuries/trades
    • Recent performance beyond the last week

    That said, here in the early going, there is an extra factor that comes into play: expectations entering the season.

    If we were to simply base these rankings entirely on each team's performance so far this year, there would essentially be no difference between them and the current standings.

    The goal here is to be as objective as possible, but a certain amount of subjectivity still has to come into play this early in the season for power rankings to work.

    Just remember: This is a fluid process. Teams will rise and fall on a weekly basis, relative to where they ranked the previous week. You keep winning, you keep climbing—it's as simple as that.

30. Milwaukee Brewers (2-10, Previous: 27)

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    Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 1-5

    Not much is going right for the Milwaukee Brewers so far this season.

    Offensively, they are hitting just .217 as a team and averaging 2.5 runs per game, while on the pitching side of things, their starters have gone 2-9 with an NL-worst 5.78 ERA.

    Losing center fielder Carlos Gomez to a strained hamstring doesn't help any, though they do have one of the better fourth outfielder options in the league in Gerardo Parra.

    The Brewers will look to get things on track at home this coming week against a pair of division rivals in the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals.

    Hitter of the Week

    • LF Khris Davis (7-for-20, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jimmy Nelson (0-1, 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K)

29. Philadelphia Phillies (4-9, Previous: 29)

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Last Week: 1-6

    So it looks like the Philadelphia Phillies might have stolen one with this Odubel Herrera fella. The 23-year-old Rule 5 pick entered the season having never played above Double-A, but he won the center field job with a strong spring training and has hit .302/.362/.512 with three stolen bases though his first 13 games.

    Aaron Harang and Jeff Francoeur have proved to be nice low-cost pickups as well, but for the most part, the Phillies look to be right about where everyone expected them to be.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Odubel Herrera (10-for-29, 4 2B, 2 3B, 1 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Aaron Harang (1-1, 3.00 ERA, 12.0 IP, 11 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 7 K)

28. Texas Rangers (5-8, Previous: 28)

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    Last Week: 2-4

    The season may be just two weeks old, but the Texas Rangers have already been bit hard by the injury bug. The current disabled list total stands at nine players, including the starting pitching duo of Yu Darvish and Derek Holland.

    Nick Martinez (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 14 IP) is off to a terrific start, while veterans Colby Lewis and Yovani Gallardo have also been solid. But those final two rotation spots could be a revolving door.

    Offensively, Prince Fielder (.385 BA, .881 OPS) has been great, but the rest of the team is hitting a meager .188. That will have to change if this club is going to have any chance of avoiding the AL West cellar.

    Hitter of the Week

    • C Robinson Chirinos (4-for-14, 2 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Nick Martinez (1-0, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K)

27. Miami Marlins (3-10, Previous: 19)

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    Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-5

    The Miami Marlins entered the 2015 season with legitimate playoff aspirations after a busy offseason, but a 3-10 start has them at the bottom of the NL East standings. That may be enough to put manager Mike Redmond on the hot seat.

    "According to sources who have heard rumblings, Redmond is on the hot seat and the organization is already bouncing around possible replacements," wrote Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.

    While the offense has yet to really get going, the pitching has to be the bigger concern at this point. A 5.10 team ERA puts the Marlins dead last in the majors, and veteran Dan Haren (1-0, 2.08 ERA) is the only starter with an ERA under 4.50.

    Hitter of the Week

    • SS Adeiny Hechavarria (11-for-26, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Dan Haren (1-0, 7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)

26. San Francisco Giants (4-10, Previous: 21)

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    Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 1-6

    After a 3-1 start to the season, the San Francisco Giants have gone just 1-9 over their last 10 games, finally snapping an eight-game losing streak Saturday with a win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    Rookie pitcher Chris Heston, whom the team called on to fill in for the injured Matt Cain, has gone 2-1 with a 0.87 ERA in his three starts. The rest of the team's starters, meanwhile, have gone 1-7 with a 5.43 ERA so far.

    With Jake Peavy joining Cain on the disabled list with a back strain, the team will now have another rotation spot to fill, likely with either Yusmeiro Petit or Ryan Vogelsong.

    The offense is not exactly lighting the world on fire, either, averaging 2.64 runs per game, and right fielder Hunter Pence can't return soon enough from a fractured forearm.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Angel Pagan (10-for-29, 2 RBI, 1 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Chris Heston (1-1, 14.2 IP, 12 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 11 K)

25. Minnesota Twins (5-7, Previous: 30)

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    Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    The Minnesota Twins started the season 1-5 and dropped into the bottom spot in these rankings last week, but series wins over the Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians jumped them up to the No. 25 slot this week.

    Pitching, or the lack thereof, is still a significant concern, as the team has a 4.71 ERA overall and a 5.16 ERA out of its starters. Tommy Milone (2-0, 2.08 ERA) has been the only real standout, though Trevor May did pitch six strong innings in his last start.

    Nonetheless, it was a solid week, and the Twins will look to build off that with series against the Royals and Seattle Mariners on the road this coming week.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Trevor Plouffe (6-for-20, 2 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Kyle Gibson (1-0, 6.2 IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K)

24. Cincinnati Reds (5-7, Previous: 17)

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    PAUL BEATY/Associated Press

    Last Week: 1-5

    There are plenty of positive takeaways from the first two weeks of the season for the Cincinnati Reds.

    Joey Votto is hitting like the Joey Votto of old, Brandon Phillips is also healthy and producing and rookie right-hander Anthony DeSclafani looks like he could be a solid piece of the long-term puzzle.

    However, the offense as a whole is again struggling, with the team hitting .219 and averaging 3.08 runs per game. The same goes for the bullpen, which has posted a 4.36 ERA and has had a hard time bridging the gap to closer Aroldis Chapman.

    Getting catcher Devin Mesoraco back healthy could give the offense a shot in the arm. The 2014 All-Star has not played since April 12 while dealing with a hip issue.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Joey Votto (8-for-20, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Anthony DeSclafani (1-0, 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)

23. Chicago White Sox (4-7, Previous: 20)

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    Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-3

    The Chicago White Sox enter the week with an AL-worst 4.82 ERA as a team, including a 3-5 record and 5.29 ERA from their starting rotation.

    It comes as little surprise, then, that the team is set to promote top pitching prospect Carlos Rodon on Monday, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

    The No. 3 pick in last June's draft, Rodon will work out of the bullpen initially, but don't be surprised if the 22-year-old is part of the rotation before the season is over.

    Unfortunately, he won't do anything to help an offense that, aside from a 12-run outburst on Saturday, has averaged just 2.6 runs per game.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Jose Abreu (6-for-22, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jeff Samardzija (0-0, 8.0 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K)

22. Cleveland Indians (4-7, Previous: 16)

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    Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-3

    With a surprise run to the playoffs in 2013 and a spirited second-half push last season, the Cleveland Indians entered the 2015 campaign with more hype and higher expectations than they've faced in years.

    Starting pitching was to be the team's biggest strength, yet it enters the week ranked 17th with a 4.42 ERA from its rotation. A strong first start of the season from Danny Salazar (6 IP, 2 ER, 10 K) is a promising sign after he opened the year in the minors.

    Offensively, no one with more than 30 plate appearances is hitting over .250. Getting Michael Brantley back in left field on an everyday basis after he missed time early with a bad back will help, but everyone collectively needs to pick up the pace.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Lonnie Chisenhall (5-for-15, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Corey Kluber (0-0, 8.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K)

21. Tampa Bay Rays (6-7, Previous: 25)

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    The Tampa Bay Rays have so far managed to keep their heads above water despite being without starting pitchers Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly and Matt Moore.

    A better-than-expected offense is largely to thank for that, as they enter play on Monday averaging a respectable 3.92 runs per game. That comes with Evan Longoria and Desmond Jennings both hovering around the .200 mark at the plate, as young outfielders Steven Souza and Kevin Kiermaier have led the offensive charge.

    At least one of those aforementioned pitchers appears ready to join the team in the near future as well, as Smyly could return to the mound for the Rays this coming Friday, according to Jeff Elliott of The Florida Times-Union.

    "We’ll wait a couple of days and see how I feel," Smyly told Elliott after his latest rehab start on Sunday. "I want to get back as soon as possible. They’re just being safe, playing the safe card which I understand and appreciate. Hopefully I’ll feel fine and can get back up there and start on Friday."

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Steven Souza (11-for-29, 2 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Chris Archer (1-0, 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 K)

20. Arizona Diamondbacks (7-6, Previous: 26)

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    Last Week: 4-3

    Who didn't have Josh Collmenter throwing the first complete-game shutout of the 2015 season? He was an Opening Day starter, after all.

    After going 0-2 with a 6.52 ERA over his first two starts, the Arizona Diamondbacks' ace by default threw a gem against the San Francisco Giants on Friday, allowing just four hits and one walk while striking out two.

    The Diamondbacks also called up prized offseason addition Yasmany Tomas on Wednesday, though he has been limited to pinch-hit duties to this point and gone 1-for-4.

    "(What) he's doing offensively with our hitting coaches and the strength coach, they're really working hard to get him to where we think he needs to be to be an everyday player," manager Chip Hale told Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Paul Goldschmidt (8-for-27, 1 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Josh Collmenter (1-0, 9.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K)

19. Colorado Rockies (7-5, Previous: 24)

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    Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    While the offense is for real, it's still tough to buy a Colorado Rockies pitching staff that currently ranks 11th in the league with a 3.40 ERA and 10th with a 3.76 mark from its starters.

    The Rockies kicked off last week with a sweep of the San Francisco Giants, pulling them to 7-2 on the season, but they came crashing back to earth over the weekend when the Los Angeles Dodgers swept them.

    L.A. outscored the Rockies 20-6 in that series, and now Colorado will head home, where it is just 1-2 so far this season, to face the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks.

    Second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who won Gold Glove honors last season, continues to be one of the bigger surprises of the year so far with a .463 average over his first 44 plate appearances.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Charlie Blackmon (7-for-21, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Eddie Butler (1-1, 10.1 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 7 BB, 5 K)

18. Oakland Athletics (6-7, Previous: 18)

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    Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    A 3-3 week on the road and a 6-7 start to the season, and it's still far from clear what we can expect from the new-look Oakland Athletics here in 2015.

    They are hitting .280 and averaging 5.15 runs per game, while their starting pitching ranks second in the AL with a 2.61 ERA and has an impressive five shutouts to its credit already.

    When they're good, they're really good, as their run differential of plus-24 is the third-highest total in the league. Now it's just a matter of finding some level of consistency and stringing together a few wins.

    Hitter of the Week

    • C Stephen Vogt (7-for-19, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Scott Kazmir (1-0, 13.1 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 13 K)

17. New York Yankees (6-6, Previous: 22)

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    Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    The first week of the season raised some significant questions for the New York Yankees, and they sat at 3-6 heading into their weekend series with the Tampa Bay Rays.

    Many of those questions still remain, but a three-game sweep has pulled them back to .500 and earned them a handful of spots in this week's rankings in the process.

    The biggest positive takeaway from last week has to be a terrific third start of the season by Masahiro Tanaka. The team's ace failed to pitch beyond the fifth inning in his first two starts and entered Saturday's game with a 7.00 ERA, but he was good for seven shutout innings of two-hit ball.

    This coming week will be a big test, as they open with four games against the Detroit Tigers (10-2) before squaring off against the New York Mets (10-3) for three games over the weekend.

    Hitter of the Week

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K)

16. Houston Astros (6-6, Previous: 23)

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    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    With an improved lineup, the starting pitching was expected to be the biggest weakness for the Houston Astros heading into 2015. But instead, it's been the driving factor behind their 6-6 start.

    They currently rank fifth in the league with a 2.81 team ERA, with the starters going 5-5 with a 3.26 ERA and seven quality starts in 12 games.

    Dallas Keuchel (2-0, 0.90 ERA) and Collin McHugh (2-0, 1.54 ERA) are both off to hot starts after breakout performances a year ago, as they look to prove that they are both for real.

    Now it's up to that improved offense to get going, as the Astros currently rank dead last in the league with a .202 team batting average and are tops with 114 strikeouts for a 25.9 percent strikeout rate.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Jose Altuve (11-for-24, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Dallas Keuchel (1-0, 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K)

15. Toronto Blue Jays (6-7, Previous: 8)

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    Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-5

    Last week was the perfect microcosm of the strengths and weaknesses the Toronto Blue Jays are currently dealing with in their push to contend for an AL East title.

    The team's high-powered offense launched 10 home runs in seven games and averaged 4.57 runs per game, but its starting rotation provided just two quality starts and rookie closer Miguel Castro blew the only save opportunity of the week.

    The rotation is currently has a 5.14 ERA, as veterans R.A. Dickey (0-1, 3.26 ERA) and Mark Buehrle (2-0, 3.75 ERA) have both been solid, but the other three starters all have an ERA north of 6.00.

    At this point, this team is the American League version of the Colorado Rockies teams we've been looking at for the past decade.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Josh Donaldson (11-for-29, 1 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 7 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Mark Buehrle (1-0, 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)

14. Seattle Mariners (5-7, Previous: 3)

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Last Week: 2-4

    Nelson Cruz has certainly done his part for the Seattle Mariners so far this season, hitting .354/.404/.854 with eight home runs and 14 RBI. That included two home runs and a walk-off RBI single against the Texas Rangers on Sunday to propel the M's to a series victory.

    Rough starts from the trio of Taijuan Walker (0-2, 17.18 ERA), Hisashi Iwakuma (0-1, 6.55 ERA) and James Paxton (0-1, 5.40 ERA), as well as closer Fernando Rodney (1-1, 3/4 SV, 12.46 ERA), have been the biggest cause for concern.

    The Mariners are by far the biggest fallers in this week's rankings, down 11 spots, and they'll continue to slide until their pitching staff gets on track.

    Hitter of the Week

    • DH Nelson Cruz (12-for-24, 6 HR, 10 RBI, 7 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Felix Hernandez (1-0, 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 12 K)

13. Chicago Cubs (6-5, Previous: 12)

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    Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    I was among the 32,128 in attendance on Friday afternoon for the debut of Chicago Cubs uber-prospect Kris Bryant, and even though he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and the team lost, there was a buzz in Wrigley Field that has been unmatched in recent years.

    The Cubs asked Bryant to slide immediately into the cleanup spot for a series against the San Diego Padres that saw him face James Shields, Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner. We're still waiting on that first long ball, but he was 3-for-6 with a double in the two games following his inauspicious debut.

    On the less exciting side of things, Jon Lester continues to struggle in the role of staff ace, as he's now 0-2 with a 6.89 ERA in three starts. In fact, three of the team's starters have ERAs north of 5.00.

    With a productive young lineup and a vastly underrated bullpen, it's the rotation that has been the big weakness to this point.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 1B Anthony Rizzo (7-for-22, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Travis Wood (1-0, 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K)

12. Atlanta Braves (8-4, Previous: 14)

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    John Amis/Associated Press

    Last Week: 3-3

    It remains to be seen whether the Atlanta Braves can maintain their hot start, but following up their 5-1 first week of the season with a 3-3 showing against the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays is enough to put them just outside the top 10.

    The trio of Shelby Miller (2-0, 1.69 ERA), Julio Teheran (2-0, 3.71 ERA) and Alex Wood (1-0, 3.93 ERA) have been the biggest strength so far, while the back end of the rotation remains a huge question mark.

    The Atlanta offense has been better than expected, though that was not hard given where expectations were entering the year. The Braves are currently hitting .246 (11th in MLB) with a .719 OPS (10th) and scoring 4.50 runs per game (11th).

    The Braves' current road trip continues this week with series against the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies.

    Hitter of the Week

    • RF Nick Markakis (10-for-16, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Shelby Miller (2-0, 11.0 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 7 K)

11. Pittsburgh Pirates (6-6, Previous: 11)

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    The Pittsburgh Pirates began last week with a hard-fought series against the Detroit Tigers, as they won the first game 5-4 before being shut out twice in a row by scores of 2-0 and 1-0. From there, the offense got things going, outscoring the Milwaukee Brewers 17-7 in a three-game sweep.

    The pitching has been rock solid to this point, with eight quality starts in 12 games and a 2.92 ERA from the bullpen. Charlie Morton continues to make progress in his recovery from hip surgery, as he threw a simulated game on Friday.

    It's the offense that is lagging behind, and stars like Starling Marte (.171 BA, .619 OPS) and Andrew McCutchen (.211 BA, .721 OPS) have been among the biggest culprits. Once they hit their stride, this could still be a team that challenges for the NL Central title.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Josh Harrison (7-for-24, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jeff Locke (1-0, 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K)

10. Los Angeles Angels (5-7, Previous: 10)

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    Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    Splitting the week against the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers on the road is enough to keep the Los Angeles Angels in the top 10 in these rankings for now, and now they head home for series with the Oakland Athletics and then the Rangers again.

    Last year's breakout star, Garrett Richards made his triumphant return on Sunday, allowing five hits and four runs (three earned) over five innings of work. It wasn't a dominant outing by any means, but the stuff is right back where it was prior to knee surgery.

    "I'm done with rehab," Richards told reporters (via Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com). "I'm ready to go. That chapter of my career is over with. Now it's about winning ballgames. That's what I'm concerned about."

    Meanwhile, on the offensive side of things, the team really needs someone other than Mike Trout (.364/.420/.614) to get going at the plate. The rest of the roster is hitting an even .200 on the year.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Mike Trout (8-for-24, 1 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Hector Santiago (1-0, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)

9. Washington Nationals (6-7, Previous: 9)

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Last Week: 4-3

    After dropping their first three series of the season, the Washington Nationals finally won one over the weekend, taking three of four from the Philadelphia Phillies at home.

    With Jayson Werth making his season debut last Monday and Denard Span returning to the mix on Sunday, the lineup is nearing full strength, though the Nats are still waiting on one big piece by the name of Anthony Rendon.

    There is still no clear timetable on when the standout third baseman will return, according to Chris Johnson of MASNSports.com, as he continues to recover from an MCL sprain in his left knee.

    Hitter of the Week

    • SS Ian Desmond (13-for-29, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Max Scherzer (1-0, 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K)

8. Boston Red Sox (7-5, Previous: 6)

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    Last Week: 3-3

    The Boston Red Sox entered their weekend series with the Baltimore Orioles sitting at 6-3 and looking to establish themselves atop the AL East standings. Instead, they closed out the week with back-to-back losses, and they will look to salvage the four-game series on Monday.

    While the offense has been potent as expected, so too has the starting rotation struggled as many predicted.

    Their 6.24 starter's ERA puts the Red Sox dead last in that category, and their staff managed just two quality starts last week. A number of short outings from the starters has put extra pressure on the bullpen, which ranks second with 49.2 innings of work so far.

    They take to the road this coming week with a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays before meeting the Orioles in Baltimore for another weekend series.

    Hitter of the Week

    • DH David Ortiz (6-for-16, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • RP Koji Uehara (1-0, 1/1 SV, 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K)

7. Kansas City Royals (9-3, Previous: 7)

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    Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    The Kansas City Royals ran their winning streak to seven games before losing back-to-back contests and, in the process, a series to the Minnesota Twins. They rebounded to take two of three from the Oakland Athletics over the weekend, so for the time being, they stay put at No. 7.

    Back to that series with the Athletics. A hard slide by Brett Lawrie on Friday at second base led to him getting drilled by Yordano Ventura on Saturday. Ventura was ejected and could wind up facing a suspension. So too could reliever Kelvin Herrera, who was one of five Royals ejected in the series finale on Sunday.

    At any rate, the battle with the Detroit Tigers for AL Central supremacy will continue with series against the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox this coming week.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Lorenzo Cain (9-for-22, 3 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Edinson Volquez (0-1, 7.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)

6. Baltimore Orioles (7-5, Previous: 13)

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    Former Baltimore slugger Nelson Cruz may be off to a hot start in Seattle, but Adam Jones has been the best hitter in the American League to kick off the 2015 season.

    The perennial All-Star is hitting .457/.490/.848 with three doubles, five home runs and 16 RBI over his first 51 plate appearances, and that has gone a long way in helping ease the loss of Cruz for the time being at least.

    It's been a mixed bag on the pitching side of things, but strong starts from Ubaldo Jimenez (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 10 K, 10.2 IP) and Miguel Gonzalez (2-1, 2.55 ERA, 20 K, 17.2 IP) are definitely a positive sign.

    Taking two of three from the Boston Red Sox over the weekend vaulted the Orioles into the top 10 here, and they'll have a chance to prove they are the top dogs in the AL East with another weekend matchup against Boston waiting this week.

    Hitter of the Week

    • CF Adam Jones (13-for-25, 1 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Miguel Gonzalez (2-0, 12.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 15 K)

5. San Diego Padres (8-5, Previous: 5)

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    Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    The San Diego Padres have now won three straight series since dropping two of three to the Los Angeles Dodgers to open the season, and they'll have their first chance at a rematch with those Dodgers this coming weekend.

    The offensive overhaul dominated the offseason headlines, but it's the pitching staff that remains the strength of this team. The Padres currently rank fourth in the league with a 2.79 ERA and have an MLB-high 10 quality starts from their rotation.

    Their depth was on display last week, as Odrisamer Despaigne stepped in for the injured Ian Kennedy (hamstring) and threw seven innings of two-hit, one-run ball.

    Pitching aside, that new-look offense has also been terrific, as the Padres enter the week hitting .271 as a team and averaging 4.54 runs per game. That compared to a .226 average and 3.30 runs per game last season.

    Hitter of the Week

    • LF Justin Upton (7-for-20, 1 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Odrisamer Despaigne (1-0, 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K)

4. New York Mets (10-3, Previous: 15)

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    Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 7-0

    Up 11 spots from last week, the New York Mets sprint into the top five after taking advantage of their schedule and sweeping the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins at home.

    The on-field results were great, but the injury bug bit the Mets hard. David Wright landed on the disabled list on Wednesday with a strained hamstring, and catcher Travis d'Arnaud (fractured hand) and reliever Jerry Blevins (fractured forearm) are both set to join him after suffering injuries on Sunday.

    The d'Arnaud injury means top catching prospect Kevin Plawecki gets the call from Triple-A to be the primary catcher, according to ESPN.com's Adam Rubin (h/t HardballTalk). The 24-year-old entered the season as the No. 63 prospect in baseball, per Baseball America.

    The Mets take on the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees this coming week as they look to extend their current eight-game winning streak.

    Hitter of the Week

    • LF Michael Cuddyer (10-for-21, 3 2B, 1 3B, 4 RBI, 5 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Jacob deGrom (2-0, 13.1 IP, 13 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 K)

3. Los Angeles Dodgers (9-3, Previous: 4)

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 6-0

    Despite a good deal of offseason turnover and less-than-dominant starts to the season from both Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig, the Los Angeles Dodgers have quickly established themselves as one of the best teams in the league once again.

    New second baseman Howie Kendrick in particular is off to a fantastic start, hitting .370/.431/.674 with six doubles, two home runs and 10 RBI. That could mean a long-term extension for the free-agent-to-be, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.

    The offense is currently tops in the NL in both team average (.288) and runs per game (5.25), while their 3.24 team ERA is good for ninth in the league.

    Even the bullpen, which is still without All-Star closer Kenley Jansen (foot), ranks fourth in the league with a 2.17 ERA, as this team really has no clear weakness here in the early going.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 2B Howie Kendrick (10-for-22, 4 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Clayton Kershaw (1-0, 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 K)

2. St. Louis Cardinals (8-3, Previous: 2)

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Last Week: 5-1

    Remember those concerns about the St. Louis Cardinals' rotation people were talking about this spring? Those might have been unwarranted.

    Entering the week, the Cardinals have the best ERA in baseball at an impressive 1.91, as their pitching staff is holding opposing hitters to a .206 average.

    Meanwhile, Matt Carpenter has been absolutely raking out of the leadoff spot, hitting .400/.449/.689 with seven doubles, two home runs, 10 RBI and 10 runs scored.

    As impressive as it has been to this point, this team still has plenty of room to improve, as guys like Matt Adams (.206 BA, .564 OPS), Jason Heyward (.213 BA, .591 OPS) and Kolten Wong (.219 BA, .589 OPS) have yet to get going offensively.

    Hitter of the Week

    • 3B Matt Carpenter (12-for-25, 7 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 6 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP John Lackey (1-0, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K)

1. Detroit Tigers (10-2, Previous: 1)

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Last Week: 4-2

    They lost a couple more games than they did in Week 1, but here in the middle of April, the Detroit Tigers still look like the best team in the majors.

    The offense continues to strike fear into opposing pitchers, as they enter the week hitting .305/.369/.486 as a team and averaging 5.67 runs per game.

    On the pitching side of things, their 2.61 ERA is second in the league and tops in the AL, and offseason acquisition Shane Greene continues to be one of the early season stars.

    The right-hander has gone 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA through his first three starts, allowing just 12 hits, five walks and two runs (one earned) in 23 innings of work.

    They'll look to remain atop these rankings with series against the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians at home this coming week. 

    Hitter of the Week

    • LF Yoenis Cespedes (6-for-22, 1 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 3 R)

    Pitcher of the Week

    • SP Shane Greene (2-0, 15.0 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 K)

    All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted. Hitter and Pitcher of the Week stats cover games played from Monday, April 13 through Sunday, April 19.

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