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MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand Entering Week 4

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2017

Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) celebrates after hitting a home run in the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Wednesday, April 19, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

We are now three weeks into the 2017 MLB season, and teams are starting to show their true colors.

Hot starts from the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks are looking more and more like the real deal as they continue to win games. Others, like the Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins, have regressed back toward expectations.

Then there's the Toronto Blue Jays and San Francisco Giants—two teams that looked like serious contenders at the start of the season but continue to scuffle.

As teams get more games under their belt, there won't be as much wholesale shifting in these weekly rankings. For now, things continue to shuffle from top to bottom.

As always, this is 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.

With that in mind, here's an updated look at where all 30 teams stand heading into this week's action:

  Updated Rankings 
1img Cubs (10-8)img
2img Astros (13-6)img1
3img Nationals (13-5)img2
4img Orioles (12-5)img2
5img Red Sox (11-8)img1
6img Rockies (13-6)img1
7img Indians (10-8)
img2
8img Yankees (11-7)img2
9img D-backs (12-8)img3
10img Dodgers (9-10)img8
11img Mets (8-11)img3
12img Tigers (10-8)img1
13img Cardinals (9-10)img7
14img Mariners (8-12)img
15img Pirates (8-10)img1
16img Rangers (9-10)img3
17img Marlins (10-8)img1
18img Reds (10-9)img
19img Brewers (9-11)img2
20img Phillies (9-9)img8
21img Rays (10-10)img6
22img Athletics (10-9)img7
23img White Sox (8-9)img
24img Giants (6-13)img9
25img Royals (7-11)img3
26img Blue Jays (5-13)img5
27img Twins (8-10)img2
28img Angels (8-12)img2
29img Braves (6-12)img5
30img Padres (8-12)img

    

Biggest Risers

With another strong start last week, Jeremy Hellickson is now 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA and 0.71 WHIP on the year.
With another strong start last week, Jeremy Hellickson is now 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA and 0.71 WHIP on the year.Gary Landers/Associated Press

Philadelphia Phillies (up eight spots)

With a series win over the New York Mets and a sweep of the Atlanta Braves, the Phillies climb eight spots after falling to No. 28 last week. They've pulled their record back to .500 in the process.

The pitching staff is falling into place, and that could help them hover around the .500 mark going forward.

New closer Hector Neris converted both of his save chances last week as he looks to bring some stability to a bullpen that struggled early. Joaquin Benoit and Jeanmar Gomez, meanwhile, both pitched well in setup roles.

With Clay Buchholz out an estimated four to six months after undergoing forearm surgery, Zach Eflin joined the starting rotation and allowed just six hits and three earned runs over 12 innings of work in two starts.

The offense is nothing to write home about, and the Phillies desperately need Maikel Franco (.171 BA, .572 OPS) to start hitting. But there's enough talent on this roster for them to stay somewhere around the No. 20 spot the rest of the way.

    

St. Louis Cardinals (up seven spots)

The Cardinals were our "biggest faller" just one week ago, but they did a nice job righting the ship. They swept the Pittsburgh Pirates before taking three of four from the Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend.

The return of Trevor Rosenthal has been a boon for what was a struggling relief corps. He's quickly assumed the eighth-inning setup role ahead of closer Seung-Hwan Oh—who went 5-of-5 on save chances last week.

Meanwhile, the unheralded trio of Mike Leake (4 GS, 3-1, 1.32 ERA), Michael Wacha (3 GS, 2-1, 2.41 ERA) and Lance Lynn (4 GS, 2-1, 2.70 ERA) continues to carry the starting rotation.

Manager Mike Matheny will need to continue to find ways to get spring training standout Jose Martinez at-bats; he's now 11-for-29 with two doubles on the year. And the offense as a whole is still finding its footing.

That said, as long as they keep pitching, they'll have a chance to contend.

    

Oakland Athletics (up seven spots)

The week ended with a thud for the A's, as they lost 11-1 to the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, but not before they won the first three games of that series. That came after they took two of three from another divisional foe in the Texas Rangers.

Ryon Healy was a strong contender for AL MVP of the Week honors, going 11-for-21 with four doubles and one home run to help lead an offense that slugged nine home runs in seven games.

On the mound, the A's have already used seven different starting pitchers, but they'll welcome that number growing to eight with ace Sonny Gray pulling ever closer to returning.

He'll ramp up to 75 pitches in his next rehab outing with Triple-A Nashville on Thursday. He could join the big league rotation for the series against the Minnesota Twins at the start of May, per John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Oakland sits three games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West.

    

Biggest Fallers

The San Francisco Giants will be without ace Madison Bumgarner for the foreseeable future.
The San Francisco Giants will be without ace Madison Bumgarner for the foreseeable future.Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

San Francisco Giants (down nine spots)

After a strong showing last September, it was only a matter of time before Ty Blach found his way into the Giants' starting rotation. A significant injury to ace Madison Bumgarner was not the way Giants fans envisioned that happening, though.

An off-day dirt bike accident resulted in bruised ribs and a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder, which is expected to keep the big left-hander sidelined for the next six to eight weeks, per Chris Haft of MLB.com.

That's just salt in the wounds of what's been a dreadful 6-13 start that includes a minus-20 run differential.

Manager Bruce Bochy offered up the following to reporters on where the team's mindset needs to be to turn things around:

I don't want these guys to feel pressure because we're not scoring a lot of runs and right now there's nothing clicking. Let's be honest: It's been a rough start, and we're not very good right now. I'm not saying we're not very good—we are good, but we have to find a way to come out of this.

What you have to be careful of is you can't let any kind of complacency set in and say, 'It's early. We'll be OK.' I don't want to hear that, either. We have to come out with some sense of urgency. All these games are important. You have to stay away from that attitude, too.

A four-game series with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers this week will provide them with an opportunity to build some positive momentum—or to fall even further.

    

Los Angeles Dodgers (down eight spots)

Anyone else think it's Julio Urias time?

The Dodgers' prized young left-hander is currently pitching for Triple-A Oklahoma City in an effort to keep his inning total down once again.

However, the big league rotation has scuffled to a 4.28 ERA overall, and both Hyun-Jin Ryu (3 GS, 0-3, 5.87 ERA) and Kenta Maeda (4 GS, 1-2, 8.05 ERA) have been ineffective.

Or maybe it's Cody Bellinger time?

The team's top prospect is hitting .344/.425/.641 with five home runs and 14 RBI in 17 games playing alongside Urias in Triple-A.

Meanwhile, Yasiel Puig has gone ice-cold after a torrid start, Andrew Toles continues to look more like a fourth outfielder and Joc Pederson left Sunday's game with groin tightness, so there's room to upgrade in the outfield.

One way or another, this team needs a spark.

After splitting a two-game series with the Colorado Rockies and dropping two of three to the Arizona Diamondbacks over the weekend, they're now four games back in the NL West and under .500.

    

MVPs of the Week

AL MVP: SP Corey Kluber, CLE

Stats: 1 GS, W, 9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K

Slow starts are nothing new for Corey Kluber.

The Cleveland Indians ace was 0-3 with a 6.16 ERA through three starts last season, and he was 1-1 with a 6.38 ERA over his first three outings this year.

He kicked it into gear last week, though, tossing a three-hit shutout against the Chicago White Sox on Friday. It was his fourth career shutout and his third of the three-hit variety.

      

NL MVP: RF Bryce Harper, WAS

Stats: 23 PA, 9-for-18, 4 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 9 R, 7 BB

Harper is hitting .400/.524/.815 with six doubles, seven home runs and 20 RBI on the year. He's also walked more times (17) than he's struck out (13) and leads the majors with 22 runs scored.

Among his three long balls last week were a pair of blasts against Atlanta Braves ace Julio Teheran. That's nothing new, as he's now 15-for-33 with seven home runs against the two-time All-Star. His other home run came off Matt Harvey, who he'd previously gone 1-for-26 against.

It's too soon to say Harper is on his way to another NL MVP Award, but he has to be considered the way-too-early favorite.

"You don't win MVP Awards in April, but you can sure put some distance between yourself and the rest of the field with the kinds of performances Harper has turned in over the past few days," Mark Simon of ESPN.com wrote.

   

Stats of the Week

Let's dive right into some of the better nuggets from around the league:

Boston Red Sox rookie Andrew Benintendi went 5-for-5 Sunday as he continues to show hitting acumen that belies his age.

Jeremy Frank @MLBRandomStats

Andrew Benintendi is the youngest #RedSox player with five hits in a game since Tony Conigliaro in 1967.

He's also the first 22-year-old with a five-hit game since Manny Machado in 2014.

All five of those hits were singles, though. Perhaps you prefer a bit more power? You're in luck.

Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo is more likely to have a five-strikeout game than a five-hit game, but he destroyed a baseball last week.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Joey Gallo's HR was the fastest off the bat of any HR since we began tracking in 2009 (123.6 MPH). https://t.co/qhfsZzIcbM

And here's the video:

Gallo wasn't the only one hitting bombs.

Eric Thames became the first Milwaukee Brewers player since Jeromy Burnitz in 1997 to homer in five straight games when he took Chicago Cubs starter John Lackey deep Monday.

Pitchers need love too, so a few more tidbits for your consideration:

MLB Stat of the Day @MLBStatoftheDay

Pitchers to post 14+ Ks in a game while throwing fewer than 100 pitches: Javier Vazquez (2003) Stephen Strasburg (2010) Dan Straily (2017) https://t.co/HJQV8xKvcZ

That's a level-10 difficulty trivia question, folks.

Syndergaard now has 38 strikeouts since he last issued a walk, dating back to the end of last season.

   

Must-See Upcoming Matchup

Jake Arrieta took a no-hitter into the eighth inning the last time he faced the Red Sox.
Jake Arrieta took a no-hitter into the eighth inning the last time he faced the Red Sox.John Minchillo/Associated Press

Chicago Cubs at Boston Red Sox (April 28-30)

There are a ton of good matchups on tap this coming week, including Orioles at Yankees, Astros at Indians, Yankees at Red Sox, Dodgers at Giants, Mets at Nationals and Rockies at Diamondbacks.

There are also a handful of terrific head-to-head pitching matchups to watch, most notably Chris Sale vs. Masahiro Tanaka on Wednesday and Max Scherzer vs. Jacob deGrom on Friday.

It's tough to top Cubs vs. Red Sox, though.

The two teams have not met since 2014, when the Cubs swept a three-game series highlighted by Jake Arrieta taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning as part of his coming-out party that year.

Arrieta will take the ball in the opener Friday, and while we won't see Jon Lester or Chris Sale in this series, it still figures to be a great three-game set between two teams that were among the favorites to win it all when the season began.

     

All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted and current through Sunday, April 23.

Have thoughts on our new power rankings format or looking for someone to yell at about where your favorite team was slotted in the latest rankings? I'll meet you the comment section.