We now we have three solid weeks of baseball action in the books, and it looks like it’s time to look at how the top 16 teams stack up. MCeezy did a premature power rankings four games into the year, and it looks like that will likely be the last time the Giants and A’s lead the way. I’d love to see Battle of the Bay Part II, but unsurprisingly I don’t see anyway that would happen.
#1 Tampa Bay Rays – Nobody should be surprised to see the Rays playing so well or at the top of the rankings. We knew they could score runs, but we didn’t know that they’d have Garza and Price dominating the way they have! The Rays are 9-1 on the road including a sweep of the ailing Red Sox. They are trying to make a push in what could be the final year they are all together. I hope they do, and that’s why I picked them to win it all!
#2 Minnesota Twins – Who needs Joe Nathan!?!
Losing him hasn’t hurt them on their way to one of their best starts in recent memory at 13-6. Rauch has been a huge pickup for fantasy teams, and has been great for the Twins closing out games. Justin Morneau looks like he’s finally healthy and back to his old MVP form. Mauer wants to continue off his stellar 2009 campaign, and has kept that MVP form thus far. Maybe Nike should look into getting these two guys some MVPuppet commercials.
#3 New York Yankees – They just lost their first series of the year, but this biggest concern should be Vasquez, who has been terrible donning the pinstripes compared to his solid 2009 season in Atlanta. It’s just reminding us that moving from the NL to the AL East isn’t a good move (see Brad Penny). Tex still isn’t hitting, but he will eventually…
#4 St. Louis Cardinals – Speaking of Penny, going from the Sox to the Cards seems to have helped him regain his form (3-0, 0.95 ERA). They’ve have great offensive players that don’t need to be mentioned, and now a trio of solid pitchers. Even Piniero is pitching well. Dave Duncan know how to mold pitchers to their strengths!
#5a Oakland Athletics – 12-8 doesn’t seem like that noteworthy of a start, but there is noway before the season started you could convince me that they would be atop the west for this much of April or any of it for that matter. Since 1992, they have only started 12-8 once, so there’s some reason for renewed but reserved optimism in Oakland. Their new style of play has them winning sooner than expected. Lots of injuries already though, and hopefully it’s not a sign that 2007-09 injury plagued seasons are going to continue. Gio has the highest ERA of 3.68 out of all their starters, which is amazing! This stat sums up the main reason they lead the league in starters ERA, and are close enough to win any given game.
#5b. San Diego Padres – Bud Black seems to have his guys playing some great baseball. This is the second team in a row that everyone, including myself, had very low expectations for. You may want to call their owner Uncle Scrooge with their $38M payroll, but the guys in there are playing smart, and have been opportunistic on the base paths, and helped them score some runs! It’s surprising how good their offense has been, and just like the A’s they are stealing bases, and have guys hitting for good averages. We will see if that starting pitching can hold up…
#7 Philadelphia Phillies – Considering the circumstances, I’m somewhat surprised they are in the lead of the NL East by 1 ½ games. They’ve had a ton of injuries to their starting pitchers and throw in J-Roll, and you’ve got a shell of the team they had in the postseason last year. Doc Halladay is trying his best to keep them on track, and is finally giving Lincy a true run for his money in the Cy Young race.
#8 San Francisco Giants – Wow, the California teams are tearing it up, although, I don’t see it staying this way for the next rankings, but for the time being three are in the top ten, and the Dodgers, aren’t even in the top 16!
The Giants still need some hitting only scoring 1.4 runs per game in their last 8. It’s gotta be tough for Cain, who has pitched well, but ends up being the tough luck loser more often than not. If they can find some consistent production in their batting order, they have a great chance of winning the NL West, especially if Zito pitches like he’s worth the money they gave him. Maybe they should’ve tried to take a flier on Cust when he was released by the A’s…
#9 New York Mets – Whaaa? I wouldn’t have thought it a week ago, but they’ve won six of their last seven, and look like a team that spent $136M on their players. Their pitching has been surprising, and Pelfry has an amazing 0.69 ERA with a scoreless streak spanning 24 innings. Jose “Ole” Reyes looks like he wants to be a force in the league again, lets see if he can stay off the DL. If Beltran ever comes back, and their pitching continues, they have a shot in the NL East…
#10 Los Angeles Angels – Kendy is proving that last season was no fluke. He’s firmly replaced Vlad as the teams power hitter in the middle of the order. The big question about the Angels is their pitching. They are making Weaver into the ace, but there isn’t all that much behind him. They still are the favorite to win the west, and were the first team to win a series against the Yankees last week, so they should be moving up in the rankings as the season goes along.
#11 Colorado Rockies – The Rockies hit a little slide last week or they very well could’ve been above the Angels in my rankings. Ubaldo followed up his no-no by shutting out the Nats through 7 innings. The unexpected loss of their team president, Keli McGregor on Tuesday, may have added to the off week. It will be interesting to see if the platoon of outfielders ever works itself out.
#12 Florida Marlins – I’m sure some aren’t surprised by Nolasco and Nunez’s hot starts, but it caught me off guard almost as much as Cantu’s freakish RBI fest to start the year. I’ve always like the Marlins even though they dump their whole team every four years, I just love the way they restock so well, and refill the big leagues with stars. I also have a mancrush on Hanley. I could go either way with this team since they are still pretty young. Are they going to break out like the Rays did two years ago?
#13 Washington Nationals – They won’t be this high up for long, because they are about to start a long road trip, but either way baseball is relevant in Washington for once. It looks like this team has some promise, at least in the confides of their home ballpark. In case you were wondering Strasburg is 2-0 with a 0.73 ERA in double A ball. There actually might be something good happening in Washington. We will know more after the road trip.
#14 Detroit Tigers – They haven’t had the best road trip, but they were in every game they played except one 11-3 loss to Seattle. Verlander finally made it through six innings in a game as well, so that’s a promising sign for their ace. It’s surprising that Willis has outpitched Porcello. I don’t see that trend continuing, but maybe Porcello doesn’t have what it takes!
#15 Toronto Blue Jays – I guess we will see who deserves this spot more as they square off against the Red Sox to start the week. I wasn’t sold on Romero, but it looks like he’s an ace in the making. Alex Gonzalez is bound to fall back to Earth right?!? Fred Lewis might help them, but I saw a handful of his games in a Giants uni, and that wasn’t too pretty. The amazing part about the Jays early success is they’ve done almost all of it without Aaron Hill who was supposed to be their biggest bat in the lineup, with him back are they competitive in the AL East? Probably not so enjoy the ride while it lasts my Canadian friends…
#16 Chicago Cubs – You can’t fault the offense for the Cubs woes, because they’ve been a bright spot so far this year, and if you asked SI over on The Fantasy Geek, you would probably see that old man Lou as the Cancer bringing them down. I can’t argue that, especially after benching star pitcher Carlos Zambrano, who has been their mose consistent pitcher over the years no matter how volatile he is on the mound. Maybe their pitching is starting to settle down, and sweeping Milwaukee by outscoring them 25-4 will ignite something in them. Sweeping the Brewers, who I thought were pretty good, made me put them at the end of my rankings!