MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 MLB Teams Stand After 1 Month

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2016

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 MLB Teams Stand After 1 Month

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    Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

    One month of the 2016 MLB season is in the books, but there's still a lot of baseball to be played.

    April was dominated by the city of Chicago, as the Cubs and White Sox have separated themselves from the pack here in the early going.

    The Washington Nationals and New York Mets appear ready for a tight battle in the NL East, while the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners have been two of the hottest teams on the American League side of things as they battle for AL West supremacy.

    We're still dealing with a relatively small sample size at this point, so one strong week of play can often result in a significant climb up the rankings with so many teams clustered together with similar records.

    The same goes for a rough week sending a team falling down the rankings, but one thing remains true: These rankings are a fluid process, with teams rising and falling based on where they were ranked the previous week. If a team keeps winning, it will keep climbing—it's as simple as that.

    So with April officially in the rearview, here is a look at where all 30 MLB teams stand.

30. Atlanta Braves (6-18, Previous: 30)

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    Jhoulys Chacin
    Jhoulys ChacinAdam Glanzman/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2-4

    You can argue about the placement of more than a few teams in these rankings, but the Atlanta Braves at No. 30 is not one of them.

    In fact, there's a good chance they'll be taking up permanent residence at the bottom of the MLB totem pole in 2016.

    There is no shortage of stats to illustrate their ineptitude through the season's first month, but a shocking lack of power is the one that jumps off the page.

    Colorado Rockies rookie standout Trevor Story hit six home runs in his first four games. The Braves are still searching for their sixth home run as a team, a full 24 games and 809 at-bats into the season.

    There have been a few individual bright spots, most notably bargain-bin starter Jhoulys Chacin, who could turn himself into a valuable trade chip if he keeps it up. His 3.27 ERA is currently accompanied by a sterling 1.52 FIP, 1.182 WHIP and 9.4 K/9.

    As a whole, though, all signs point to it being a long season in Atlanta.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Nick Markakis (.302/.406/.430, 26 H, 11 2B, 19 RBI, 9 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Jhoulys Chacin (1-1, 3.27 ERA, 1.182 WHIP, 23 K, 22.0 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Hunter Cervenka (2 HLD, 0.00 ERA, 0.789 WHIP, 8 K, 6.1 IP)

29. Minnesota Twins (7-18, Previous: 29)

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    Byung Ho Park
    Byung Ho ParkJim Mone/Associated Press

    Last Week: 2-4

    For all of those glass-half-full fans, if you remember, the Minnesota Twins got off to a similarly sluggish start last season before ripping off a terrific second month.

    A 10-12 April was followed by a 20-7 May, and the Twins will need to put together a similarly impressive rally this year if they hope to climb back into contention in a tough AL Central.

    The offense has slowly rounded into form after a rough start, but it is still hitting just .222 with runners in scoring position. Given the overall talent on the roster, there is plenty more room for improvement.

    With Kyle Gibson (shoulder) and Ervin Santana (back) both on the disabled list and Tommy Milone demoted to the bullpen, the rotation currently features three new faces in last year's standout rookie Tyler Duffey and prospects Jose Berrios and Alex Meyer.

    The bullpen is also dealing with the loss of Glen Perkins (shoulder), and it's converted just two of nine save chances on the year despite a solid 3.26 ERA from the relief corps as a whole.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Joe Mauer (.321/.453/.440, 27 H, 5 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 8 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Ricky Nolasco (1-0, 3.25 ERA, 0.904 WHIP, 24 K, 27.2 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Byung Ho Park (.227/.288/.561, 15 H, 4 2B, 6 HR, 8 RBI, 9 R)

28. Milwaukee Brewers (9-15, Previous: 28)

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    Jimmy Nelson
    Jimmy NelsonCharles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 1-4

    From a win-loss standpoint, it doesn't appear the Milwaukee Brewers will have much to play for this season outside of battling the Cincinnati Reds to avoid a last-place finish in the NL Central.

    However, from a roster standpoint, it's still an important season in the club's rebuilding efforts.

    Most of the Brewers' top trade chips have already been shipped out for prospects, with two notable exceptions in catcher Jonathan Lucroy and outfielder Ryan Braun.

    Braun is an interesting case. He's off to a terrific start this season, but he is also 32 years old and in the first year of a five-year, $105 million extension that was signed all the way back in 2011.

    Despite that financial baggage and his PED history, a potential Braun trade "is becoming more realistic," according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

    Braun can veto a trade to every team except the Dodgers, Angels, Marlins, Diamondbacks, Padres and Giants, per Rosenthal.

    As for a more immediate reason for fans to get excited, highly touted shortstop prospect Orlando Arcia is currently hitting .308 in Triple-A and should be on his way to Milwaukee in the very near future.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Ryan Braun (.333/.409/.577, 26 H, 4 2B, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 12 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Jimmy Nelson (3-2, 3.16 ERA, 1.213 WHIP, 25 K, 31.1 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Ramon Flores (.149/.216/.170, 1 2B, 5 RBI, 3 R)

    The offensive numbers aren't great with Flores, but he's been terrific defensively with 4 DRS and a 56.0 UZR/150.

27. Cincinnati Reds (10-15, Previous: 25)

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    Raisel Iglesias
    Raisel IglesiasDavid Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 1-5

    In 2012, the Cincinnati Reds won 97 games thanks to some terrific health on the starting pitching front, as their Opening Day rotation started 161 of 162 games.

    Already this season, they've used eight different starting pitchers. Timothy Adleman became the latest hurler to earn a starting nod, taking the ball on Sunday in place of the recently shelved Raisel Iglesias.

    To his credit, the 28-year-old Adleman notched a quality start with three hits and two earned runs allowed over six innings of work. Nevertheless, it's not a good thing when a team is on starting pitcher No. 8 by May 1.

    Meanwhile, superstar first baseman Joey Votto has been a shell of himself with an awful .229/.327/.313 line in April. To his credit, he seemed driven to improve while talking with C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

    It’s not something I’m OK with. I’d rather quit and leave all the money on the table than play at a poor level. I’m here to play and be part of setting a standard. It’s something I’ve always taken pride in. I love to play at a really high level. So far this year, it’s not been that. I will not be a very satisfied, happy person if I don’t perform at the level that I expect.

    Props to him. That's the kind of example you want your superstar player to be setting for a young roster on a rebuilding team.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Zack Cozart (.361/.355/.556, 26 H, 8 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 13 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Raisel Iglesias (1-1, 3.49 ERA, 1.447 WHIP, 29 K, 28.1 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Robert Stephenson (2-0, 3.00 ERA, 1.083 WHIP, 4 K, 12.0 IP)

26. Houston Astros (8-17, Previous: 24)

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    Jose Altuve
    Jose AltuveTroy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-4

    No team was more disappointing over the first month of the season than the Houston Astros. They've stumbled out of the gates amid lofty expectations after their surprise run to an AL wild-card spot a year ago.

    The bulk of the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of their pitching staff.

    The starting rotation ranks 26th with a 4.92 ERA, and they've managed just nine quality starts in 25 games.

    Getting last year's rookie standout Lance McCullers back healthy should help. He's set to start an extended spring training game on Monday as he continues on the rehab trail.

    "I'm encouraged by the continual good news, which is something that we've needed to hear," manager A.J. Hinch told Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle.

    Meanwhile, the bullpen has taken a significant step back as well, with its ERA as a group climbing from 3.27 last year to 4.61 so far this season. Prized offseason acquisition Ken Giles has struggled to a 9.00 ERA, blowing his only save chance and also taking two losses.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Jose Altuve (.305/.400/.611, 29 H, 11 2B, 6 HR, 13 RBI, 20 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Will Harris (3 HLD, 0.82 ERA, 0.727 WHIP, 11 K, 11.0 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Tyler White (.250/.314/.500, 19 H, 4 2B, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 6 R)

25. San Diego Padres (9-16, Previous: 27)

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    Wil Myers
    Wil MyersJake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-4

    Despite their losing record last week, the San Diego Padres move up two spots thanks to a weekend series win against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

    Not much was expected from the Padres this season after their efforts to contend last year came up well short and they did some retooling in the offseason.

    The win-loss record may not reflect it, but there have been plenty of positives to take away from the first month of action.

    Tops on that list is a resurgent Wil Myers, who has made the move to first base this year after a pair of injury-plagued seasons. He leads the team in batting average (.300) and hits (30) while ranking second in home runs (five) and RBI (13).

    On the other side of the ball, left-hander Drew Pomeranz has gone 2-3 with a 2.48 ERA, 1.138 WHIP and 11.2 K/9 in five starts after being acquired from the Oakland A's in exchange for first baseman Yonder Alonso.

    He was outdueled by Clayton Kershaw on Sunday but allowed just three hits and one earned run in seven innings of work.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Wil Myers (.302/.343/.510, 29 H, 5 2B, 5 HR, 13 RBI, 14 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Drew Pomeranz (2-2, 2.86 ERA, 1.318 WHIP, 31 K, 22.0 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Ryan Buchter (3 HLD, 0.79 ERA, 1.059 WHIP, 16 K, 11.1 IP)

24. New York Yankees (8-15, Previous: 21)

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    Starlin Castro
    Starlin CastroAdam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 1-5

    The New York Yankees continue their precipitous slide down these rankings after a weekend series sweep at the hands of the rival Boston Red Sox.

    Since starting the season 4-2 and averaging 6.33 runs per game in the process, they've gone 4-13 and plated a paltry 2.53 runs per game over their last 17 contests.

    Heads will roll if things don't improve soon, and hitting coach Alan Cockrell would seemingly be the first on the chopping block.

    Big picture, this is not a team with good enough pitching for its offense to struggle this badly.

    The Yankees ranked second in the majors in runs scored a year ago and will need a similar performance from their lineup going forward if they have any shot at contending.

    "Track record tells you it’s going to turn around," manager Joe Girardi told David Lennon of Newsday. "I’m not in the business of losing faith in them. That’s not my job."

    Hitter of the Month

    • Starlin Castro (.305/.345/.488, 25 H, 4 2B, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 4 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 2.87 ERA, 0.957 WHIP, 28 K, 31.1 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Ronald Torreyes (.381/.381/.524, 8 H, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R)

23. Arizona Diamondbacks (12-15, Previous: 15)

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    Jean Segura
    Jean SeguraRoss D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Last Week: 2-5

    After splitting a four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Arizona Diamondbacks suffered a three-game sweep at the hands of the Colorado Rockies, causing them to tumble down the rankings.

    Hyped offseason additions Zack Greinke (5.50 ERA) and Shelby Miller (8.49) continued to struggle, and as a result, the starting rotation ranks 29th in the league with a 5.66 ERA and has just 10 quality starts in 27 games.

    That's meant an MLB-high 108.2 innings of work for the bullpen, which has already cycled through 16 different relievers in an effort to keep fresh arms available.

    Daniel Hudson (11 G, 0.77 ERA), Tyler Clippard (11 G, 2.45 ERA) and Brad Ziegler (11 G, 5/5 SV, 3.18 ERA) have been a terrific late-inning trio, but the rest of the relief corps has been a revolving door between Triple-A and the majors.

    On the plus side, Jean Segura has returned to an All-Star level after being acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers, while Yasmany Tomas (.867 OPS, 7 2B, 5 HR) appears ready for a breakout performance in his second season.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Jean Segura (.333/.362/.523, 37 H, 5 2B, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 12 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Daniel Hudson (1-0, 4 HLD, 0.77 ERA, 0.514 WHIP, 10 K, 11.2 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Brandon Drury (.294/.310/.588, 20 H, 6 2B, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 8 R)

22. Cleveland Indians (10-12, Previous: 12)

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    Francisco Lindor
    Francisco LindorDavid Richard-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 1-5

    Another team that suffered a big drop in this week's rankings, the Cleveland Indians fall out of the top half after losing a series to the lowly Minnesota Twins and then getting swept by the Philadelphia Phillies over the weekend.

    However, there's hope for better days ahead, thanks to the return of All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley.

    The 28-year-old made his season debut last Monday, and while he was just 2-for-17 with a double in his first week of action, he's capable of making a huge impact in the middle of a lineup that was lacking punch over the first month.

    "If it was up to me, I’d try to play every single day," Brantley told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN after a scheduled off day on Sunday. "That’s my mentality. But at the same time, you have to be smart. It’s a long season. It’s a grind. The healthier I am each and every day, the better I’m going to be for my teammates."

    With Corey Kluber back on track with consecutive quality starts, the Indians now need Cody Anderson (4 GS, 7.65 ERA) and Trevor Bauer (1 GS, 4.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER) to step things up at the back of the rotation, especially with Carlos Carrasco (hamstring) sidelined.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Francisco Lindor (.293/.359/.378, 24 H, 4 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 12 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Danny Salazar (2-1, 2.35 ERA, 1.043 WHIP, 26 K, 23.0 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Tyler Naquin (.341/.356/.477, 15 H, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 8 R)

21. Los Angeles Angels (12-13, Previous: 23)

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    Mike Trout
    Mike TroutKelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    The Los Angeles Angels began last week with a bang, sweeping a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals, but they dropped two of three to the rival Texas Rangers over the weekend.

    That leaves the club one game under .500, but it's in a good position to climb as it gets set to take on the Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays this coming week.

    Offensively, the team is still looking for some support alongside Mike Trout (.894 OPS), Yunel Escobar (.809 OPS) and Kole Calhoun (.793 OPS), and it's averaged 3.56 runs per game while hitting .239 as a club.

    With the worst farm system in baseball, improvements will likely have to come from within.

    Meanwhile, the pitching staff has been solid with a 3.64 team ERA that ranks 10th in the majors.

    However, it's currently without closer Huston Street, who landed on the disabled list last week with an oblique strain. Standout setup man Joe Smith, who saved 15 games in 2014, will take over ninth-inning duties in his absence.

    "It's never a good thing when you lose your closer, but that's why there's seven of us out there," Smith told Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times. "Everyone has to step up and do a little bit more than you were asked to before."

    Hitter of the Month

    • Mike Trout (.291/.386/.523, 25 H, 5 2B, 5 HR, 13 RBI, 12 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Garrett Richards (1-3, 2.35 ERA, 1.272 WHIP, 30 K, 30.2 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Greg Mahle (4 HLD, 1.29 ERA, 1.143 WHIP, 4 K, 7.0 IP)

20. Colorado Rockies (12-12, Previous: 20)

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    Trevor Story
    Trevor StoryRon Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    The roller-coaster ride continued for the Colorado Rockies last week, as they were swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates but did some sweeping of their own over the weekend on the road against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story closed out the month of April as the only two players in baseball with 10 home runs.

    Story is still staring down some likely regression in the weeks and months ahead, but it appears Arenado has taken the next step toward superstardom.

    A significant hike in his walk rate (5.1 to 9.5 percent) and an even bigger dip in his strikeout rate (16.5 to 9.5 percent) show a marked improvement in his approach at the plate, and that's a scary proposition for a guy who launched 42 home runs a year ago.

    Now if only the Rockies could find some pitching.

    Tyler Chatwood (5 GS, 3-2, 2.73 ERA) and Chad Bettis (6 GS, 3-1, 3.89 ERA) have both thrown the ball well, but the staff as a whole remains a complete mess.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Nolan Arenado (.297/.366/.670, 4 2B, 10 HR, 22 RBI, 21 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Tyler Chatwood (3-2, 2.73 ERA, 1.281 WHIP, 20 K, 29.2 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Trevor Story (.261/.324/.696, 4 2B, 10 HR, 20 RBI, 19 R)

19. Tampa Bay Rays (11-13, Previous: 19)

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    Drew Smyly
    Drew SmylyNoah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    As the battle for AL East supremacy continues, the Tampa Bay Rays took two of three from the Baltimore Orioles last week before dropping two of three to the Toronto Blue Jays in their weekend series.

    Despite a 4-10 record as a group, the starting rotation has once again been a strength. It ranks eighth in the majors and fourth in the American League with a 3.37 ERA to go with a 1.074 WHIP and .221 opponent batting average.

    Chris Archer has posted back-to-back quality starts after pitching to a 7.32 ERA in his first four games, while Drew Smyly has been one of the best pitchers in the league with a 2.60 ERA and an AL-best 0.692 WHIP.

    However, what they do on the mound won't matter much if they can't kick things into gear offensively.

    They enter the week with an MLB-worst .221 average and .289 on-base percentage as a team, and they've scored just 3.21 runs per game as a result.

    Logan Forsythe (.337 BA, 1.011 OPS) and Steven Souza (.260 BA, .807 OPS) are the only regulars who are batting at least .260.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Logan Forsythe (.341/.426/.610, 28 H, 8 2B, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 14 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Drew Smyly (1-3, 2.60 ERA, 0.692 WHIP, 41 K, 34.2 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Enny Romero (3 HLD, 1.93 ERA, 0.750 WHIP, 8 K, 9.1 IP)

18. Oakland Athletics (13-13, Previous: 18)

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    Rich Hill
    Rich HillMatt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    Since rattling off a six-game winning streak that was finally snapped on April 23, the Oakland Athletics have gone 3-6 with a minus-14 run differential in their last nine games.

    It's still unclear exactly what we can expect out of the A's this season, but they have a big slate of games coming up the next couple of weeks that could go a long way in flushing out whether or not they're for real.

    They take on a good Seattle Mariners team at home to begin the upcoming week before heading on the road for nine games against a trio of AL East teams in the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays.

    With Eric Surkamp struggling and Chris Bassitt possibly headed for Tommy John surgery, per Ray Hacke of the San Jose Mercury News, Jesse Hahn and top prospect Sean Manaea have joined the starting rotation.

    Hahn scattered three hits over 6.2 scoreless innings in his first start of the season on Saturday, and he could make a significant impact after going 6-6 with a 3.35 ERA and 1.169 WHIP in 16 starts last season.

    "I don't know that we've seen him [pitch much] better than that," manager Bob Melvin told reporters, including Joe Stiglich of CSN Bay Area.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Josh Reddick (.261/.333/.443, 23 H, 4 2B, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 9 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Rich Hill (3-2, 2.42 ERA, 1.269 WHIP, 37 K, 26.0 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Ryan Dull (1 HLD, 1.93 ERA, 0.500 WHIP, 14 K, 14.0 IP)

17. Miami Marlins (12-12, Previous: 26)

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    Christian Yelich
    Christian YelichSteve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 6-1

    Here come the Marlins.

    After a 2-8 stretch saw them dip to No. 26 in these rankings a week ago, the Miami Marlins snapped off a seven-game winning streak on their way to a successful 7-3 road trip.

    That type of result on the road is a far cry from last season, when the team went 41-40 at home but just 30-51 away from Marlins Park.

    However, this season it's been the polar opposite, as the Marlins enter the week with a 2-7 record at home and a 10-5 mark on the road.

    At any rate, the Marlins will be looking to continue their recent run of success as they take on the Arizona Diamondbacks, Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers over their next three series.

    All eyes will be on Adam Conley when he takes the ball on Thursday. He twirled 7.2 innings of no-hit ball his last time out before being lifted with a pitch count of 116.

    The 25-year-old left-hander has a chance to be one of the breakout stars of 2016, and his continued success will be a major boost to what was a questionable back end of the starting rotation.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Christian Yelich (.346/.471/.481, 28 H, 8 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 13 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • David Phelps (2-1, 1 SV/4 HLD, 1.20 ERA, 0.867 WHIP, 16 K, 15.0 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Kyle Barraclough (4 HLD, 0.00 ERA, 0.783 WHIP, 12 K, 7.2 IP)

16. Toronto Blue Jays (12-14, Previous: 11)

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    Josh Donaldson
    Josh DonaldsonChris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Last Week: 2-4

    The Toronto Blue Jays have been hanging around the top 10 in these rankings more on reputation than results, but after another losing week, they finally drop out of the upper half and down to the No. 16 spot.

    A sketchy bullpen continues to be their biggest issue. Their relief corps has gone 0-8 with a 4.04 ERA and five blown saves in 12 chances.

    The setup duo of Brett Cecil (0-5, 3 BS, 5.79 ERA) and Drew Storen (0-1, 10.13 ERA) has been largely to blame, so those two will have to pitch up to expectations going forward.

    The Blue Jays are currently 2-6 in one-run games and 0-1 in extra innings.

    "You have to win some close games now for crying out loud," manager John Gibbons told Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star after the team's 4-3 loss on Saturday, a game where Cecil suffered his league-leading fifth loss of the year.

    On a positive note, outfielder Michael Saunders has been one of the best comeback stories of the season so far.

    After missing all but nine games last year with a knee injury, he's hitting .303/.376/.566 with 12 extra-base hits and 14 runs scored.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Josh Donaldson (.292/.387/.646, 28 H, 8 2B, 8 HR, 20 RBI, 24 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Aaron Sanchez (2-1, 2.59 ERA, 1.149 WHIP, 29 K, 31.1 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Joe Biagini (1.35 ERA, 1.800 WHIP, 7 K, 6.2 IP)

15. Philadelphia Phillies (15-10, Previous: 22)

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    Vincent Velasquez
    Vincent VelasquezChris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Last Week: 6-0

    If ever you needed further proof that the game of baseball is a beautiful, unpredictable mess, how many people out there predicted the Philadelphia Phillies would rank ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays in our first power rankings of May?

    Their minus-16 run differential suggests they'll come back to earth eventually, but that takes nothing away from what they've done over the season's first month.

    At 9-1 in their last 10 games and following series sweeps of the Washington Nationals and Cleveland Indians, the Phillies have earned their place among the league's upper half.

    Their pitching staff currently ranks 11th in the majors with a 3.67 ERA, and that mark is accompanied by a 3.54 FIP, so pitching could be a legitimate strength for this team in 2016.

    Offense is the concern, as the team is hitting .229 and averaging 3.28 runs per game.

    Odubel Herrera has been the lone standout at the plate. He's hitting .301 and has more walks (23) than strikeouts (18) for a .449 on-base percentage that's good for fourth in the majors.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Odubel Herrera (.313/.462/.425, 25 H, 1 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 15 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Vincent Velasquez (3-1, 1.78 ERA, 0.868 WHIP, 33 K, 25.1 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Dalier Hinojosa (1 HLD, 3.27 ERA, 1.182 WHIP, 8 K, 11.0 IP)

14. San Francisco Giants (13-13, Previous: 16)

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    Johnny Cueto
    Johnny CuetoNeville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    So far, the trio of Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija have formed exactly the type of three-headed monster the San Francisco Giants envisioned when they signed the latter two this past offseason.

    Those three have combined to go 10-4 with a 3.15 ERA, 1.221 WHIP and 10 quality starts in 16 games.

    However, Matt Cain (0-3, 7.00 ERA) and Jake Peavy (1-2, 8.61 ERA) have been awful at the back of the rotation, so it may be time for a change.

    Tim Lincecum is finally set to hold his long-awaited showcase this Friday. According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Giants are expected to be among the teams on hand to watch him throw.

    The 31-year-old is looking to return from hip surgery, and for the right price, he might be worth rolling the dice on as a potential replacement for one of those struggling veterans.

    If it can shore up the rotation, this Giants team has the look of a legitimate contender because its offense has been terrific.

    It's currently averaging 5.00 runs per game with a solid .769 OPS as a team.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Brandon Belt (.300/.420/.500, 24 H, 5 2B, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 13 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Johnny Cueto (4-1, 2.65 ERA, 1.045 WHIP, 33 K, 37.1 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Trevor Brown (.267/.353/.600, 1 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 6 R)

13. St. Louis Cardinals (12-13, Previous: 6)

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    Aledmys Diaz
    Aledmys DiazBilly Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 2-5

    The St. Louis Cardinals enter the week as losers of four straight, and they continue to struggle against quality teams.

    Following a three-game sweep by the Washington Nationals, they are now 1-8 against teams with a winning record, and they've been outscored 42-19 in those nine games, according to Mark Saxon of ESPN.

    In fact, that Nationals series marked the first time since June 2013 that they've been swept at home in a series of three or more games, according to Rob Rains of STLSportsPage.com. It was the Texas Rangers who pulled it off last time.

    So what's the issue?

    With an MLB-high 143 runs scored on the year and a healthy plus-34 run differential, the starting rotation has to shoulder most of the blame. It ranks 17th in the league with a 4.37 ERA and has managed only 12 quality starts.

    That's a far cry from last season, when it led the majors with a 2.99 ERA and 106 quality starts. It's something that will have to change if the Cardinals hope to keep pace with the Cubs and Pirates in a tough NL Central race.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Aledmys Diaz (.423/.453/.732, 30 H, 8 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 18 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Carlos Martinez (4-0, 1.93 ERA, 0.857 WHIP, 20 K, 28.0 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Aledmys Diaz (.423/.453/.732, 30 H, 8 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 18 R)

    Tip of the cap to outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker (1.040 OPS, 20 H, 11 XBH) and reliever Seung-hwan Oh (3 HLD, 1.38 ERA, 13.0 IP), who have also been significant rookie contributors.

12. Los Angeles Dodgers (13-13, Previous: 4)

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    Kenta Maeda
    Kenta MaedaGary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 1-6

    If not for Clayton Kershaw, the Los Angeles Dodgers may very well have fallen even further in these rankings, as they were staring down back-to-back series sweeps at the hands of the Miami Marlins and San Diego Padres heading into Sunday's game.

    Kershaw was brilliant against the Padres on Sunday, though, striking out 14 in a three-hit shutout and driving in the only run of the game with an RBI single.

    "You talk about great players putting teams on their back, and that's what he did today," manager Dave Roberts said after the game, per Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times. "He won't say that, but that's what he did today. He wasn't going to be denied. He was going to finish the game."

    It's probably for the best that Kershaw didn't need to turn things over to the bullpen, as the relief corps has been far from reliable so far this year.

    They currently rank 16th in the majors with a 3.84 ERA, and they've picked up five losses and five blown saves along the way.

    On the rehab trail, outfielder Andre Ethier and pitchers Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy are all making solid progress, according to Doug Padilla of ESPN.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Joc Pederson (.266/.390/.469, 17 H, 4 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 12 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Kenta Maeda (3-1, 1.41 ERA, 0.938 WHIP, 28 K, 32.0 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Kenta Maeda (3-1, 1.41 ERA, 0.938 WHIP, 28 K, 32.0 IP)

11. Seattle Mariners (13-11, Previous: 17)

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    Taijuan Walker
    Taijuan WalkerJoe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    The Seattle Mariners are among the hottest teams in baseball, as they've gone 11-5 in their last 16 games and won five consecutive series in the process.

    That's enough to jump them up six spots in this week's rankings, as they're now a half-game out of first in the AL West standings and are challenging for a spot inside the top 10 in these rankings.

    One of the main focuses of the offseason was overhauling a bullpen that ranked 25th in the majors with a 4.15 ERA last season and converted just 45 of 69 save chances.

    So far that's paid dividends, as its new-look relief corps currently sits fifth in the league with a 2.51 ERA, and new closer Steve Cishek is a perfect 6-for-6 on save chances with a 0.82 ERA.

    The starting rotation is also rounding into form nicely, as Wade Miley threw a five-hit shutout last week and young right-hander Taijuan Walker remained hot, as he's now 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA through his first five starts.

    The offense is the biggest question mark at this point. A number of everyday guys are still underperforming, and the team is collectively hitting .227 overall and .215 with runners in scoring position.

    The pieces are all there for this team to be a bona fide contender, though.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Robinson Cano (.226/.301/.516, 21 H, 3 2B, 8 HR, 24 RBI, 12 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Taijuan Walker (2-0, 1.44 ERA, 0.960 WHIP, 25 K, 25.0 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Dae-Ho Lee (.280/.333/.520, 7 H, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R)

10. Baltimore Orioles (14-10, Previous: 9)

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    Manny Machado
    Manny MachadoButch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-4

    After losing a series to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Baltimore Orioles did well to split a four-game series with the Chicago White Sox, and that's enough for them to hold onto a spot inside the top 10 for at least one more week.

    The shaky starting rotation remains their biggest concern, but they received a significant boost in that area last week with the return of Kevin Gausman.

    The young right-hander allowed three hits and one run over five innings in his first start of the year, then followed that up with a quality start of six innings and three runs (two earned) on Saturday.

    This team should continue to pile up runs, and the bullpen trio of Brad Brach, Darren O'Day and Zach Britton is among the best in the business.

    It's all about whether the starting rotation can keep the Orioles in games. To this point, it's managed to do so despite a 4.81 ERA that ranks 25th in the league.

    The Orioles will look to continue that trend as they take on the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics at home this coming week.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Manny Machado (.344/.394/.667, 33 H, 10 2B, 7 HR, 16 RBI, 20 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Brad Brach (3-0, 2 HLD, 1.26 ERA, 0.698 WHIP, 15 K, 14.1 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Joey Rickard (.280/.303/.398, 26 H, 5 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 11 R)

9. Kansas City Royals (13-11, Previous: 3)

22 of 30

    Mike Moustakas
    Mike MoustakasJoe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 1-5

    After jumping out to an 11-5 start, the Kansas City Royals have gone 2-6 in their last eight games. As a result, they find themselves in danger of slipping out of the top 10.

    The offense has gone cold of late, as it was shut out in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday and has topped four runs just once during that eight-game rough patch.

    The starting rotation has not exactly picked up the slack either, recording just one quality start during that eight-game span and none last week.

    The Royals picked up a 4-1 win against a surging Seattle Mariners team Sunday, and they'll look to use that as momentum heading into a tough week ahead.

    "We got some things going on the bases today, we got some big hits, and I think that was one of the key things were missing," first baseman Eric Hosmer told Doug Miller and Jim Hoehn of MLB.com.

    The Royals host the Washington Nationals for three games to begin the upcoming week, as they look to climb back up the rankings with some quality wins.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Mike Moustakas (.273/.333/.580, 24 H, 6 2B, 7 HR, 11 RBI, 11 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Ian Kennedy (2-2, 2.77 ERA, 1.115 WHIP, 23 K, 26.0 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Reymond Fuentes (.238/.273/.238, 5 H, 3 RBI)

8. Boston Red Sox (15-10, Previous: 14)

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    Rick Porcello
    Rick PorcelloDale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 6-1

    With a three-game sweep of the rival New York Yankees and another strong week from the starting rotation, the Boston Red Sox find themselves back in the top 10.

    While David Price continues to settle in with his new team, it's Rick Porcello who has been the ace of the Red Sox staff over the first month of the year.

    Over his first five starts, Porcello has gone 5-0 with a 2.76 ERA, 0.918 WHIP and a 49.4 percent ground-ball rate that is certainly a good sign for the sinkerballer.

    Pitching coach Carl Willis offered up the following to ESPN.com's Scott Lauber while talking about Porcello using his sinker more:

    Look, even the simple things in this game can be difficult. He had to work extremely hard to get the sink back, to get that mindset back, because he had gotten away from it a little bit. But once you get to that point, I think it's simple because it allows him to then be himself and pitch to his strengths. Nothing's simple in baseball at this level, but it's a simple concept, I guess.

    The offense is going to be there for the Red Sox, and one has to assume Price will round into form eventually, so if guys like Porcello, Steven Wright (4 GS, 2-2, 1.37 ERA) and Henry Owens (6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER in his last start) can keep throwing the ball well, they should be in good shape.

    Hitter of the Month

    • David Ortiz (.321/.418/.654, 11 2B, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 12 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Rick Porcello (5-0, 2.76 ERA, 0.918 WHIP, 36 K, 32.2 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Heath Hembree (1 HLD, 0.00 ERA, 0.667 WHIP, 11 K, 9.0 IP)

7. Detroit Tigers (14-10, Previous: 13)

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    Jordan Zimmermann
    Jordan ZimmermannBruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 6-1

    A rough set of outings two weeks ago knocked the Detroit Tigers several spots down the rankings, but they rebounded nicely last week to take three of four from the Oakland Athletics and sweep the Twins in Minnesota over the weekend.

    Their offense has been among the best in baseball, averaging 4.79 runs per game and featuring a revitalized Victor Martinez alongside all of their other weapons.

    It should be even better once Justin Upton remembers how to hit the ball. He showed signs of life last week with a 9-for-29 performance that included a home run.

    The bullpen has also been vastly improved, as it ranks seventh in the majors with a 2.68 ERA and has converted eight straight save chances since blowing one on April 5. 

    The question is the starting rotation.

    Jordan Zimmermann (5-0, 0.55 ERA) has been phenomenal, and top prospect Michael Fulmer picked up the win in his MLB debut on April 29, when he allowed two runs in five innings, but the rest of the staff has been a mess.

    Justin Verlander, Mike Pelfrey, Anibal Sanchez and Shane Greene (who Fulmer was filling in for while he deals with a blister problem) have gone a combined 6-10 with a 5.87 ERA, 1.685 WHIP and six quality starts in 18 games.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Victor Martinez (.329/.393/.645, 25 H, 9 2B, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 12 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Jordan Zimmermann (5-0, 0.55 ERA, 1.061 WHIP, 23 K, 33.0 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Michael Fulmer (1-0, 3.60 ERA, 1.600 WHIP, 4 K, 5.0 IP)

6. Pittsburgh Pirates (15-10, Previous: 10)

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    Juan Nicasio
    Juan NicasioCharles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-1

    The Pittsburgh Pirates kicked off last week by sweeping the Colorado Rockies at home and followed that up by taking two of three from the Cincinnati Reds.

    Their offense continues to be one of the best in baseball, as they lead the majors in team batting average (.290) and on-base percentage (.375), and rank fourth in runs scored (133).

    Young outfielders Starling Marte (.327 BA, .885 OPS) and Gregory Polanco (.315 BA, .961 OPS) both appear ready to take the next step toward stardom, while Andrew McCutchen has started to get things going after another sluggish start.

    Jung-ho Kang will soon give the Pirates yet another weapon, as he's close to returning from the horrific leg injury he suffered last year.

    The starting rotation has been solid for the most part, but top prospects Tyler Glasnow (5 GS, 2-1, 2.08 ERA, 12.8 K/9) and Jameson Taillon (4 GS, 2-0, 1.54 ERA, 8.9 K/9) continue pounding on the door in Triple-A.

    Both young right-handers will be in the rotation at some point this year.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Starling Marte (.323/.374/.515, 10 2B, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 15 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Juan Nicasio (3-2, 3.33 ERA, 1.148 WHIP, 29 K, 27.0 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • A.J. Schugel (1 SV, 4.22 ERA, 1.313 WHIP, 10 K, 10.2 IP)

5. New York Mets (15-8, Previous: 8)

26 of 30

    Noah Syndergaard
    Noah SyndergaardBill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-1

    The New York Mets have gone 11-2 in their last 13 games, including an eight-game winning streak that was snapped on Sunday with a 6-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

    That puts them just 1.5 games back of the Washington Nationals, who were as hot as any team in baseball to begin the year but have cooled a bit of late.

    The Mets starting rotation has fallen a bit short of expectations to this point, which was inevitable given the way it was built up in the offseason. That said, it still ranks third in the majors with a 2.96 ERA, and Noah Syndergaard looks like he could be the breakout superstar of 2016.

    It's the offense that has surprised people.

    After scoring just 20 total runs over the Mets' first eight games of the year, the offense has averaged 5.87 runs over its last 15 games, plating five or more an impressive 11 times during that span.

    Part of that surge can be credited to manager Terry Collins moving second-year outfielder Michael Conforto into the No. 3 spot in the lineup. The 23-year-old is hitting .364/.410/.727 with eight doubles and four home runs when batting third this year.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Michael Conforto (.365/.442/.676, 27 H, 11 2B, 4 HR, 18 RBI, 15 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Noah Syndergaard (2-0, 1.69 ERA, 0.975 WHIP, 38 K, 26.2 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Steven Matz (3-1, 3.86 ERA, 1.524 WHIP, 22 K, 21.0 IP)

4. Washington Nationals (17-7, Previous: 2)

27 of 30

    Bryce Harper
    Bryce HarperBrad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-3

    The Washington Nationals bounced back from being swept by the Philadelphia Phillies to hand the St. Louis Cardinals their first home sweep in nearly two years. That's enough to keep them from slipping behind the surging New York Mets for at least one more week.

    The Nationals currently boast the league's top starting rotation, as their starters' 2.18 ERA is the best in baseball. They've tallied 18 quality starts in 24 games, tied for the most in baseball.

    Joe Ross was one of the breakout stars of the season's first month, as he went 3-0 with a 0.79 ERA and 0.971 WHIP in his first four starts.

    As good as Jordan Zimmermann has been in Detroit so far this year, the emergence of Ross and steady work of Tanner Roark means the Nationals rotation hasn't missed a beat.

    Offensively, the Nationals are still waiting on the likes of Ryan Zimmerman (.219 BA, .603 OPS), Jayson Werth (.213 BA, .717 OPS), Michael Taylor (.190 BA, .546 OPS) and Danny Espinosa (.188 BA, .603 OPS) to wake up, so there's plenty of room for them to improve going forward.

    The Nationals kick off the upcoming week with a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals before heading to Chicago for a huge four-game series with the Cubs in a battle for National League supremacy.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Bryce Harper (.286/.406/.714, 22 H, 6 2B, 9 HR, 24 RBI, 16 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Stephen Strasburg (4-0, 2.25 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 40 K, 36.0 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Sammy Solis (1 HLD, 3.38 ERA, 0.750 WHIP, 2 K, 2.2 IP)

3. Texas Rangers (14-11, Previous: 7)

28 of 30

    Nomar Mazara
    Nomar MazaraJim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 4-2

    The Texas Rangers just keep plugging along, and with series wins over the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels over the past seven days, they move up four spots thanks to a number of teams above them suffering through rough weeks.

    Last week also brought positive news on the Yu Darvish front, as the Japanese star figures to be among the biggest May additions to any team's roster. The right-hander worked two scoreless innings for Double-A Frisco against Corpus Christi in his first rehab start Sunday as he pushes closer to returning to the majors.

    The Rangers staff has done a great job holding down the fort without him. They've gone a combined 12-4 with a 3.22 ERA that ranks fifth in the majors and second in the American League.

    All of their starters have thrown the ball well, but A.J. Griffin has been the big shock, as he's gone 3-0 with a 2.52 ERA in four starts while making his return from Tommy John surgery. That was enough for Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News to call him the "most pleasant surprise of the season" for the Rangers.

    Meanwhile, outfielder Nomar Mazara has emerged as the AL Rookie of the Year front-runner, and the team faces an interesting decision once Shin-Soo Choo returns from the disabled list.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Adrian Beltre (.289/.343/.467, 26 H, 7 2B, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 10 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Derek Holland (3-1, 2.48 ERA, 1.034 WHIP, 18 K, 29.0 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • Nomar Mazara (.333/.392/.460, 21 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 10 R)

2. Chicago White Sox (18-8, Previous: 5)

29 of 30

    Chris Sale
    Chris SaleDan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 5-2

    With a 7-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, the Chicago White Sox became the first team in baseball to 18 wins.

    After shooting up to the No. 5 spot in last week's rankings, they're now legitimately challenging the Chicago Cubs for the top spot in this edition.

    The Crosstown Classic can't come soon enough, though Windy City sports fans will have to wait until July 25-28 for the yearly rivalry series.

    The White Sox starting rotation features three of the league's best pitchers through the season's first month, as Chris Sale (6 GS, 6-0, 1.66 ERA), Jose Quintana (5 GS, 3-1, 1.47 ERA) and Mat Latos (5 GS, 4-0, 1.84 ERA) have all been brilliant.

    The back of the rotation is still a question mark, though.

    Carlos Rodon (5 GS, 1-3, 4.33 ERA) is supremely talented but inconsistent, while John Danks (4 GS, 0-4, 7.25 ERA) is just bad.

    With a middling offense that is still waiting to hit its stride, the White Sox will continue to rely on that aforementioned rotation and a bullpen that sports an MLB-best 1.60 ERA.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Brett Lawrie (.267/.347/.444, 24 H, 7 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 14 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Chris Sale (5-0, 1.66 ERA, 0.684 WHIP, 32 K, 38.0 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • No Rookies

1. Chicago Cubs (17-6, Previous: 1)

30 of 30

    Jake Arrieta
    Jake ArrietaPatrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week: 3-1

    In a weather-shortened week, the Chicago Cubs took two games from the Milwaukee Brewers and split two games with the Atlanta Braves, as they managed to come back late to force extra innings on Sunday but eventually lost.

    The White Sox have narrowed the gap, and the New York Mets are charging hard, but for now the Cubbies are still a relatively easy choice for the top spot in these rankings.

    The Cubs' plus-78 run differential is still tops in baseball by a ridiculous margin. It's over double the plus-38 mark of the Washington Nationals, who rank second in that category.

    The offense is firing on all cylinders, as it ranks second in the majors in runs scored (139) and first in runs per game (6.04).

    Meanwhile, the starting rotation checks in at second in ERA (2.27), first in WHIP (0.969) and first in quality start percentage (78.3 percent).

    A huge four-game series with the Washington Nationals awaits the North Siders this coming weekend, but first they have an equally important three-game set in Pittsburgh against the second-place Pirates.

    Hitter of the Month

    • Dexter Fowler (.347/.474/.613, 26 H, 9 2B, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 19 R)

    Pitcher of the Month

    • Jake Arrieta (5-0, 1.00 ERA, 0.778 WHIP, 32 K, 36.0 IP)

    Rookie of the Month

    • No Rookies

    All standard and advanced stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted. Team statistics accurate as of Sunday, May 1. Hitter, pitcher and rookie of the month stats reflect games played from Sunday, April 3, through Saturday, April 30.

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