MLB power rankings: Week 1


Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The long anticipated 2014 Major League Baseball is in full-swing and the baseball world could not be more elated. After a week of action, there have been unexpected starts, good and bad. Today the first “regular season” MLB power rankings debut and there will be a new list every Monday morning from here on out. The inaugural spring training MLB power ranking debuted a month ago, so the +/- will denote how each team rose or fell from that list. Without further ado, let’s get down to it!

1.) (+3) Detroit Tigers (4-1): Detroit has gotten off to a scorching 4-1 start. Their rotation has been lights-out and they rank first in batting average and slugging percentage as a team.

2.) (-1) St. Louis Cardinals (3-3): With the exception of Shelby Miller, everyone in their rotation pitched splendidly. Their offense has had a rough beginning, albeit it is tough to drop a team with this much depth after a week of regular season baseball.

3.) (=) Los Angeles Dodgers (5-3): They swept the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia, took two out of three from the San Diego Padres, but finally met their match squaring off against the San Francisco Giants.

4.) (+2) Washington Nationals (4-2): Three of Washington’s essential elements have yet to put it together in Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, and Ian Desmond. However, unsung heroes Anthony Rendon, Taylor Jordan, and Tanner Roark have compensated for their lack of production as Washington begins the season 4-2.

5.) (-3) Boston Red Sox (2-4): Despite full-panic mode taking effect from Red Sox Nation, it has only been a week. Take a deep breath and look at the positive. Boston’s offense, particularly with runners in scoring position,  has been their Achilles’ heel, a facet of their team that will be solid despite its slow start. They have gotten five out of six strong starts and if this persists, Boston will be just fine.

6.) (-1) Tampa Bay Rays (4-3): Matt Joyce was one of the lone question marks the Rays confronted going into 2014. Well, he is off to an explosive start with a 1.206 OPS. Tampa sits atop the American League East at 4-3.

7.) (=) Oakland Athletics (3-3): Oakland has managed to rise above the injuries inflicted to their starting rotation. All five starters have pitched exceptionally well. Had it not been for Jim Johnson, this team’s winning percentage would be better.

8.) (+1) Atlanta Braves (4-2): Aaron Harang and David Hale, who aim to effectively replace the injured Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, have pitched a combined 11 and 2/3 innings, allowing zero runs. They have won two series against tough competitors in the Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers.

9.) (-1) Texas Rangers (3-3): The anticipated pitching woes have come to fruition. Texas ranks with the second highest team ERA in baseball at 6.07. Yikes!

10.) (+4) San Francisco Giants (5-2): Second in runs scored and twelfth in ERA, this team finally looks to have all legs working. Brandon Belt is having a pretty darn good start, too.

11.) (+4) Kansas City Royals (2-3): Kansas City has been playing well, although their record does not necessarily show it. They took two of three from the Chicago White Sox and lost in walk-off fashion twice to the number one team, the Detroit Tigers. Salvador Perez has been on a tear with a raw .438/.550/.668 slash line.

12.) (-2) New York Yankees (3-3): They were embarrassed by the Houston Astros to kick off 2014 but rebounded nicely taking two of three from the Toronto Blue Jays. Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, and Masahiro Tanaka all delighted in their 2014 debuts, and a once-thought instability has turned into an asset.

13.) (-2) Cincinnati Reds (2-4): Half the bullpen is on the DL and as a result, Ike Davis hits a walk-off “grand salami.” They sit at 2-4 tied with the Chicago Cubbies in the cellar. They did play close with St. Louis but losing a series to the New York Mets has to sting.

14.) (-1) Baltimore Orioles (2-4): The Orioles have had a tough slate of games to commence the season. Playing against the top two teams in the American League last year is no easy task and Baltimore managed to salvage just one victory in each series. Their potent offense and deep rotation will keep them competitive all year-long.

15.) (+9) Milwaukee Brewers (4-2): This team is blazing-hot coming off a surprise sweep of the defending World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox. Carlos Gomez, Aramis Ramirez, and Jonathan Lucroy cannot stop demoralizing pitcher’s confidence and their pitching has been stupendous with the second lowest team ERA.

16.) (+7) Seattle Mariners (4-2): The emergence of Robinson Cano has had a trickle-down effect on the rest of the club. And the once highly touted prospects seem ameliorated by the presence of the perennial All-Star.

17.) (=) Pittsburgh Pirates (4-2): The Chicago Cubs gave them a run for their money, taking them to extras twice. But Pittsburgh prevailed, materializing two games in the win column. Whilethe opening series was not impressive, winning a series against the National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals was. They have been led by a rotation bound for regression and the hot bat of Starling Marte.

18.) (-2) Cleveland Indians (3-3): 17th in runs scored and 14th in ERA is the epitome of an average ball club. Terry Francona and Co. can thank Jim Johnson for 67% of their wins.

19.) (-1) Toronto Blue Jays (3-4): Toronto has been up-and-down. They split a four-game series with the Rays and dropped two of three to the Yankees. Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista, and Adam Lind are off to torrid starts, while Edwin Encarnacion, Colby Rasmus, and Brett Lawrie are struggling.

20.) (=) Chicago White Sox (3-3): Conor Gillaspie, Tyler Flowers, and Alexei Ramirez are off to booming openings. All three have an OPS north of 1.000, anchoring a lineup positioned with the fourth highest batting average.

21.) (+5) Miami Marlins (5-2): Miami is the hottest team in baseball with a league leading +21 run differential. They won both series against NL West foes led by an offense first in runs and a bullpen and rotation combined with the fourth lowest  ERA. For the first time in a while, it’s good to be a Marlins fan.

22.) (-1) San Diego Padres (2-4): It has been a rough start for San Diego. Nothing is working for the young, talented squad poised for a breakout season. However, it has been a week and they remained competitive against one of the premier teams in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the hottest team in baseball, the Miami Marlins.

23.) (-1) Colorado Rockies (3-4): The script is the same, the Rockies are hitting the ball with force and pitching poorly. Charlie Blackmon is now a household name in the baseball world with a once in a lifetime six hit game.

24.) (-5) Los Angeles Angels (2-4): After getting crushed by the revamped Seattle Mariners, the Angels gave the Astros a taste of the Mariners’ medicine. L.A. outscored Houston by 14 runs in the first two games of the series but failed to complete the sweep, losing Sunday’s game 7-4.

25.) (-17) Arizona Diamondbacks (2-7): Arizona has the worst winning percentage at a paltry .222 and lowest (-22) run differential in Major League Baseball. This can be attributed to the worst ERA in the league at  6.69. Saying Arizona will miss Patrick Corbin‘s presence is the understatement of the year.

26.) (-1) New York Mets (2-4): Wow! This team’s record could have been among MLB’s best had it not been for their dreadful bullpen. They rank first in quality starts and fifteenth in runs scored. While other facets of competitors have been inconsistent, the Mets bullpen will not get much better and will stifle them from accomplishing anything noteworthy.

27.) (=) Philadelphia Phillies (3-3): Chase Utley, the 35-year-old veteran, is keeping Philly competitive with his rigorous .458/.536/.833 clip. They took two of three from the Chicago Cubs and lost two out of three to the Texas Rangers. They sit at an adequate .500 record to end week one.

28.) (+1)  Minnesota Twins (3-3): Four members of their starting nine have OPS’ north of 1.000. This includes Kurt Suzuki, Jason Kubel, Trevor Plouffe, and Chris Colabello, four rather unheralded players. Their pitching remains a thorn in Ron Gardenhire‘s side.

29.) (-1) Chicago Cubs (2-4): Rick Renteria has showcased his managerial skills early on. No matter how late it may be. In the second game of the season, the Pirates had bases loaded with no outs in the bottom frame of the 13th inning. The game was finished and the odds seemed insurmountable. Renteria summoned an outfielder to wedge five players in the infield and it panned out perfectly. Clint Barmes hit a weak groundball and they turned two with a force out at home and first. The game persisted to the 16th and the Cubs ended up losing anyway, but you’ve got to laud the in-game decision-making.

30.) (=)  Houston Astros (3-3): The Astros had an exciting opening series winning two of three against the new, improved Evil Empire. This is about as good as it will get for Astros’ fans.