* (+/-) denotes how much each team rose or fell from previous week’s power rankings.
1.) (+5) Milwaukee Brewers (15-5): A new big four is “brewing” in Milwaukee composed of Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy, and Aramis Ramirez. These four’s potent play accompanies a staff with a stellar 2.69 ERA — third lowest in MLB.
2.) (-1) Los Angeles Dodgers (12-8): Matt Kemp is back and playing well, coming into Monday with an admirable .205/.314/.477 slash line. If you had bet me Juan Uribe and Dee Gordon would lead the team in Fangraphs WAR through 20 games, you would be rich.
3.) (=) Oakland Athletics (13-6): They have the best record and run differential in the American League, but have benefited from a light schedule to begin the year. The Cleveland Indians are the only team they have faced that posted a record north of .500 in 2013, and they dropped two of three to them on their home turf.
4.) (=) Atlanta Braves (13-6): When does regret start sinking in for the Cleveland Indians? Aaron Harang, who Cleveland released in spring training, has posted a sub-human 0.70 ERA through four starts. The rest of the rotation is not too shabby, either, as no one has an ERA above 3.00
5.) (+3) St. Louis Cardinals (11-9): They struggled against inferior competition the first two weeks but were put to the test in week three squaring off against two elite teams in baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals. The defending N.L. Champions were present and went 4-3 this week.
6.) (-4) Detroit Tigers (9-7): What is wrong with Miguel Cabrera? He’s posted an abysmal .220/.292/.356 clip with a reasonable .279 BABIP. I guess we should just hand Mike Trout the American League MVP.
7.) (-2) Washington Nationals (11-9): Matt Williams is instilling a not-so-latent message that if you do not give 110% every play, you will be benched. Lackadaisical efforts will no longer be tolerated, as they shouldn’t be.
8.) (+3) New York Yankees (11-8): Ivan Nova will miss the rest of the season undergoing Tommy John surgery, otherwise, the season has been flawless for New York. Their offense is living up to expectations and the pitching is transcending them.
9.) (+1) San Francisco Giants (11-9): It was imperative their rotation improve from last year if they yearned to compete. Relying on bounce-back seasons from Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, and Ryan Vogelsong, the Giants found a diamond in the rough with seasoned veteran Tim Hudson. While one Tim’s struggles persist, the other is solidifying himself as one of their premier top of the rotation starters. In 3o innings, he has compiled a 2.4o ERA, conspicuously benefiting from the spacious confines of AT&T Park.
11.) (+2) Toronto Blue Jays (10-9): This team is getting it done with touted players Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie, and Colby Rasmus struggling. Jose Bautista and Melky Cabrera have compensated for their lackluster performances and Mark Buehrle and Drew Hutchinson are proving to be as good as any 1-2 punch in the bigs.
12.) (+8) Colorado Rockies (11-10): Two crucial pieces in the early going, Michael Cuddyer and Brett Anderson, will be out of service, but this team’s offense may be potent enough to sustain the two losses in the coming weeks.
13.) (+1) Baltimore Orioles (9-9): What is it about Red Sox’ pitching that Nelson Cruz thrives so much against them? Eight of his 18 hits in an Orioles’ uniform have come against Boston. Too bad his success against Boston does not resonate to the rest of the team as Baltimore is 3-4 against the defending World Champions to commence the season.
14.) (+3) Kansas City Royals (9-9): This team has so much offensive prowess and yet, they rank 26th in slugging percentage. As much as we would like to believe Jon Heyman cursed this team when he predicted them to win the World Series, the truth is the 2014 success of the K.C. Royals lives and dies with their offense.
15.) (-8) Tampa Bay Rays (9-10): A .694 OPS supplied by 2013 Rookie of the Year Wil Myers is not going to cut it. The big difference from a Wild Card team in 2013 to top dogs of the American League East was supposedly a full year of Myers. That has not come to fruition thus far but improvement from the young outfielder will be a key element for the Rays’ 2014 prosperity.
16.) (-7) Boston Red Sox (9-11): It’s been an adequate week for Boston posting a 4-3 record. The runners in scoring position woes became less of an issue, albeit their starting rotation, Lester excluded, has been getting shelled. The difference maker has been the effectiveness of the bullpen — Chris Capuano, Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara, and Craig Breslow all have 0.00 ERAs.
17.) (+7) New York Mets (10-9): Attention fantasy baseball owners: If no one has picked Jenrry Mejia up in your league, the time to do so is now. He’s anchoring a strong rotation with a marvelous 3-0 record and 1.99 ERA. Oh, and goodbye, Ike Davis.
18.) (-3) Cleveland Indians (9-10): David Murphy has mashed an imposing .291/.355/.509 slash and may be the best (cost per win) pickup of the offseason (offensively, of course).
19.) (-1) Chicago White Sox (10-10): Well, this team still has scored the most runs through three weeks of play. Their starting pitching has been mediocre but their bullpen has been so atrocious, they sit under .500.
20.) (+2) Cincinnati Reds (8-11): Reds’ fans, how does it feel to finally have a manager that makes reasonable managerial decisions? Joey Votto is where he belongs in the 2-hole and is tantalizing the baseball with a .317/.450/.556 line.
23.) (+3) Miami Marlins (9-11): The team from South Beach has been playing well from an offensive and pitching standpoint. They rank fifth in runs scored and sixth in quality starts after a stupendous week of baseball.
24.) (-5) Pittsburgh Pirates (9-11): Slowly but surely, Andrew McCutchen is getting back on track. The first two weeks, to his dismay, did not go as planned. However, a hot third week boosts his line to a respectable .273/.400/.455 mark. Ike Davis’ arrival should alleviate concern on who is going to be their starting first basemen for the foreseeable future.
25.) (+3) Minnesota Twins (9-9): This team projected to be an all-around dismal squad, but their offense has other plans. Currently, they have scored the third most runs and have the best on-base percentage in baseball.
26.) (-14) Seattle Mariners (7-12): The Mariners’ hot start should serve as a reminder that the baseball season is young and not to get ahead of yourself based on small sample size. They lost six consecutive games coming into Monday’s game against the Houston Astros.
27.) (-4) Philadelphia Phillies (9-10): Ryan Howard (.868 OPS), Jimmy Rollins (.862 OPS), and Chase Utley (1.123 OPS) are playing like All-Stars, flashbacks to a 2008 Phillies’ utopia when they were perennial All-Stars.
28.) (+1) Chicago Cubs (6-12): Instead of listing which Cubs’ players are not playing well, it would be easier to tell you the ones who are. This includes Emilio Bonifacio, Anthony Rizzo, Travis Wood, Jason Hammel, and Jeff Samardzija.
29.) (-2) Arizona Diamondbacks (5-17): Three weeks in and the D’Backs are here. This is a placement I never fathomed I would entertain for Arizona given the amount of talent this team has.
30.) (=) Houston Astros (6-14): A presumed steal when dealing Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes for Dexter Fowler, it does not seem that way anymore. Lyles is pitching splendidly and Barnes is playing good baseball as the Rockies’ fifth outfielder. Fowler has churned a weak .207/.270/.345 line.
Tags: Boston Red Sox