Monday, April 13, 2009

MLB Power Rankings - Week 1

(note: This ranking is not based only on record this early in the year. It is a combination of expectations and results. As the season progresses this will change.)

1. Tampa Bay Rays
Previous Rank: 1
Record: 3-3
They keep their spot at the top despite going 3-3 because they went 2-1 at Fenway and they are adding back B.J. Upton this week. Longoria is off to making my MVP prediction look pretty good.

2. Chicago Cubs
Previous Rank: 4
Record: 4-2
The offense has looked very good despite a slow start by Milton Bradley and missing Geo Soto for most of the week. Marmol will be the closer by the middle of May at least.

3. Los Angeles Angels
Previous Rank: 5
Record: 3-3
To take go .500 playing Oakland and Boston without Lackey, Santana and Escobar while dealing with the death of Nick Adenhart is quite the feat.

4. Boston Red Sox
Previous Rank: 2
Record: 2-4
Playing the Rays and Angels is a rough start to the season. We will get more of an idea after they face Oakland and Baltimore this week.

5. New York Yankees
Previous Rank: 3
Record: 3-3
This lineup needs A-Rod back in the lineup badly. Going 3-3 against Kansas City and Baltimore is not a very impressive start to the season.

6. New York Mets
Previous Rank: 8
Record: 3-3
A very noticeable difference with K-Rod and Putz in the back of the lineup. Santana is off to a very good start so far in the season.

7. Toronto Blue Jays
Previous Rank: 14
Record: 5-2
Offense is off to a blistering start, but it will be interesting how much off that is due to facing the Detroit and Cleveland pitching staffs. I still don't think they can make the AL East a 4 team race.

8. Florida Marlins
Previous Rank: 21
Record: 5-1
If their pitching staff stays healthy this could be a very dangerous team that could steal a wild card. Josh Johnson outdueling Johan Santana was a fun game to watch.

9. Atlanta Braves
Previous Rank: 15
Record: 5-1
Rookie Jordan Schafer is off to a very good start going .348-2-3. Glavine getting hurt may be a blessing in disguise at it clears the path for stud Tommy Hanson to get the call. The NL East looks like it could be a 4-team race all summer if Chipper can stay healthy.

10. Minnesota Twins
Previous Rank: 7
Record: 3-4
This team really needs Joe Mauer back to provide some consistency in a lineup filled with streaky hitters. The bullpen hasn't caused problems yet, but it has not introduced a lot of confidence.

11. Los Angeles Dodgers
Previous Rank: 9
Record: 4-3
Kemp and Loney are off to good starts which when combined with Manny makes this a really dangerous lineup. Taking 2 out of 3 at Arizona was also a good sign.

12. Philadelphia Phillies
Previous Rank: 6
Record: 3-3
The poor starts by Hamels and Myers raises a lot of questions as they don't have any depth behind them. This team is going to need a lot of offense from Utley and Howard this year to repeat as division champs.

13. Detroit Tigers
Previous Rank: 17
Record: 4-3
Miguel Cabrera is determined not to repeat the slow start of last year and Armando Galarraga looks like the real deal. Pitching depth could be their downfall.

14. St. Louis Cardinals
Previous Rank: 20
Record: 5-2
If Carpenter stays healthy with Pujols this team is dangerous. They look to be the 2nd best team in the NL Central. It will be telling to see how they do when they aren't facing Pittsburgh or Houston.

15. Chicago White Sox
Previous Rank: 12
Record: 3-3
If they can ride the Bartolo Colon revival they can be dangerous. It helps when they got of hitting well. The lack of a leadoff hitter could be a problem down the road.

16. Arizona Diamondbacks
Previous Rank: 10
Record: 2-4
They better hope Brandon Webb gets healthy and returns to form or else this team does not stand a chance. The lineup is also off to a less than stellar start.

17. Milwaukee Brewers
Previous Rank: 13
Record: 2-4
The offense should produce a lot of runs but the rotation is a serious question mark. Jeff Suppan is not going to win them a division.

18. Texas Rangers
Previous Rank: 19
Record: 3-3
The offense is an absolute machine especially considering Chris Davis has gotten off to a terrible start, but the lack of pitching will stop them from competing in the AL West.

19. Oakland Athletics
Previous Rank: 16
Record: 2-4
They are relying on a way too young pitching staff and Matt Holliday is off to a slow start but Trevor Cahill looks like the real deal.

20. Cleveland Indians
Previous Rank: 11
Record: 1-5
The pitching staff is brutal giving up 49 runs in 6 games. Cliff Lee is not going to repeat as AL Cy Young. They are starting off very similar to Detroit last year.

21. Cincinnati Reds
Previous Rank: 18
Record: 2-3
They don't look ready to make a Rays-like jump this year but Aaron Harang's return to form is very good to see for Reds fans. The offense should look better when Bruce and Encarncion get going.

22. Seattle Mariners
Previous Rank: 26
Record: 5-2
If King Felix and Bedard stay healthy this will be a very annoying team to face as they both have amazing stuff, but they can't rely on Endy Chavez hitting .379.

23. Kansas City Royals
Previous Rank: 24
Record: 3-3
This team is not brutal but they don't have the look of a contender in the AL Central. Alex Gordon and Billy Butler are still complete disappointments.

24. Baltimore Orioles
Previous Rank: 29
Record: 4-2
To go 4-2 against the Rays and Yankees is certainly impressive the problem is that they will still have to face them plenty and they will have B.J. Upton and Alex Rodriguez. Prospect Adam Jones is off to a very good start.

25. Colorado Rockies
Previous Rank: 25
Record: 3-3
Troy Tulowitzki is off to a good start and Franklin Morales and Ubaldo Jiminez had really good 1st starts, but they are not a competitor this year.

26. San Francisco Giants
Previous Rank: 22
Record: 2-4
Two bad starts by Lincecum are not really encouraging but he should be able to turn it around. The real problem is bad starts by Randy Johnson and Barry Zito.

27. San Diego Padres
Previous Rank: 28
Record: 5-2
I can not explain the start except that this team still has Jake Peavy and Chris Young. I am willing to bet they don't go 5-2 heading to face the Mets and Phillies.

28. Houston Astros
Previous Rank: 23
Record: 1-5
It is not fun for a bad team to start off with the Cubs and Cardinals, but this is a bad team that will likely be moving some key parts in Oswalt, Berkman and Carlos Lee.

29. Pittsburgh Pirates
Previous Rank: 30
Record: 3-3
Not a bad first week and if Zach Duke and Paul Maholm can repeat their starts this team may not be the worst in baseball.

30. Washington Nationals
Previous Rank: 27
Record: 0-6
This team is absolutely brutal. They have no pitching giving up 45 runs in 6 games so far. It is going to be a long summer in Washington.

Stud of the Week: 1B Miguel Cabrera, DET
Stats: .520 3 HR 10 RBI
Honorable Mention: Evan Longoria, Albert Pujols, Emilio Bonifacio, Kyle Lohse, Josh Johnson

Dud of the Week: LHP Carl Pavano, CLE
Stats: 1 IP 81.00 ERA 3 BB 6 HA
Dishonorable Mention: Andy LaRoche, Chris Davis, Scott Olson, Cole Hamels, Chien-Ming Wang

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