It’s that time of year again, baseball season. If this first week is only the introduction on this season, I’m excited to see what else is in store. We had two perfect game bids already, that were unfortunately lost in the 9th and 6th inning, and Chris Davis hit a home run in each of his first four games. And that, my friends, is only the beginning.
So let’s get started.
1. Atlanta Braves
No surprise here, the Braves have the best record in baseball right now at 7-1 and the Upton brothers are on fire. Justin Upton is hitting .423 with 6 home runs and 8 RBIs. If they keep this up, the race for the NL East crown will be very fun to watch.
2. Boston Red Sox
Many predicted going into this season the AL East was going to be one of the toughest to win. Boston is currently on top, with an impressive 5-2 record, but even Toronto in last is only three games back. I’m going to predict this race will consist of a lot of flip-flopping.
3. Texas Rangers
When Houston beat the Rangers on Sunday’s opening night of baseball, I think everyone, Rangers fans included were worried for their team. But that game has turned to be a fluke, and they’ve only lost one time since then. And we can’t forget Yu Darvish’s almost perfect game. While Darvish lost his perfect game, the Rangers have a lot to look forward to in their star pitcher.
4. Oakland Athletics
I can give you two names as to why the A’s have been doing so well: Coco Crisp and Brett Anderson. While Crisp is not putting up league-leading numbers, he is stepping up on his team to get runs and consequently, wins. Crisp has a .333 average, with 3 home runs and 5 RBIs. Pitcher Brett Anderson, with an ERA of 1.38 and 16 strikeouts is being dominant in keeping runners from scoring.
5. Cincinnati Reds
The bats of the Reds have come alive, which is why they’re currently in first of the NL Central by 2 games. Their line up is impressive, 3B Todd Frazier and CF Shin-Soo Choo lead the team in almost every offensive category. Combined, they have 6 home runs, 16 RBIs, and 23 hits.
6. Colorado Rockies
I’m really like what the Rockies have done this season so far. They’re tied for first in the NL West with the Diamondbacks and their offense looks promising. They don’t have a standout player, but collectively as a team have been hitting well and bringing in runs they need. If they can keep this chemistry up they will be a serious playoff contender.
7. Arizona Diamondbacks
And not to forget the Diamondbacks, who as I said are tied for first with the Rockies in the NL West. They have 40 hits as a team, and 32 RBIs. If they can keep this up, the Diamondbacks will make the race to the NL West crown a difficult one.
8. Washington Nationals
Last year’s NL East champion Washington Nationals will probably not repeat their title this year (if you ask me for my opinion). The Nationals have to win against powerful teams, primarily the Braves, if they want to make the playoffs. I know playoff predictions seem very premature, and I’m not writing the Nationals off just yet. I think they will earn the wildcard spot, because of hitters like Bryce Harper who’s hitting .379 with 3 home runs.
9. New York Mets
For the first time in I don’t know how long, the Mets are the better team in the state of New York. Starting the season 5-3 they are currently in the middle of the NL East. Things look good so far, primarily from John Buck, who is hitting .393 with 4 home runs. However, I don’t think this will last. The Mets are in a division with the Braves and Nationals, and I think all the talent on those teams will keep the Mets from playoff contention.
10. Los Angeles Dodgers
During spring training, the Dodgers were predicted to win the AL West by many analysts and experts. And I can see why: the Dodgers’ three batting leaders are hitting well over .300. Crawford is hitting .458 with 6 runs and 2 stolen bases. Their pitching needs to keep doing what they’re doing, Kershaw has 16 strikeouts on the year and Ryu has an ERA of only 2.13. I consider them a serious playoff contender.
11. Kansas City Royals
I’m already looking forward to the AL Central race. While Kansas City currently sits on top, Chicago and Detroit are going to make them fight for it. Their lineup isn’t full of superstars, just a team with powerful bats that can get the job done. Their pitching is the same way, the three current ERA leaders all have averages under 4. They are simply a well-rounded team who’s been doing what it takes from top to bottom of the lineup to win.
12. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox have started the season off strong, so far. They’re 4-3 and only .5 games back from first in the AL Central. Alex Rios has been powerful for Chicago so far, hitting .407 with 4 home runs, 7 RBIs, and 3 stolen bases. If Chicago’s pitching can stay strong and keep opponents from scoring, the White Sox could definitely win the AL Central.
13. Detroit Tigers
Like their divisional rival White Sox, the Tigers started the 2013 season on a positive note. Verlander looks strong as usual with a 2.19 ERA, and Sanchez looks better with a 1.50 ERA. While currently third in the AL Central, if key offensive players like Cabrera and Fielder get their bats going, the Tigers will make sure the winner of the AL Central earns it in a fight to the finish.
14. San Francisco Giants
The season has not started well for your reigning World Series Champions. While we know the Giants can hit, thanks to players like Sandoval, Pagan, Pence, and Posey, I think San Fran’s key to success is pitching. While Bumgarner has an ERA of only 1.32 and 11 strikeouts, Matt Cain currently has an ERA of 8.38 and 10 strikeouts. If the Giants can get their pitching back on track, with help from Tim Lincecum, the Giants will be back in playoff contention.
15. Minnesota Twins
When you hear a team is in fourth in their division, you usually assume their many games back. However, that is the case for the Twins, and they are only 1 game back from AL Central leading Royals. While they only have 4 wins, the Twins have proven they can hold their own with decent teams, winning the series against the Tigers and Orioles. But it’s beating your divisional rival that counts the most, which they can’t seem top do, at least against the Royals so far.
16. Seattle Mariners
How I describe the Mariners so far: average. The Mariners’ top batting leaders have averages of high .200’s to low .300’s: average. Michael Morse, a former National, is proving himself with 5 home runs so far on the year. The Mariners’ pitching is average, Hernandez has a team leading 11 strikeouts on the year, and a 2.57 ERA. While the Mariners’ are sitting in the middle of the AL West, they need to make a move to prove themselves as above average.
17. New York Yankees
Not your usual start for the usually AL East dominant Yankees. But a team plagued by injury to most of their starters certainly doesn’t help. This gives your backups the opportunity to step up and prove themselves. And a 14-1 win over the Indians is definitely a confidence booster.
18. Baltimore Orioles
After going to the playoffs last year for the first time since the 1990’s Orioles fans have high expectations. A 3-4 start isn’t ideal, the O’s are under .500 for the first time since 2011. But I wouldn’t lose hope just yet, for two reasons: the bats of Adam Jones and Chris Davis. Davis broke records hitting a home run in each of the first four games this season. And Jones is hitting .500 with 8 RBIs.
19. St. Louis Cardinals
As I’ve been working on these power rankings, it’s a common theme that so far, pitching is struggling. But that is not the case for the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinal’s three pitching leaders all have impressive ERAs: 2.92, 3.46, 4.50. Usually that is considered average, but this year when teams have ERAs of 6, 8, 10, and 12, that is considered on the better side.
20. Tampa Bay Rays
The AL East race is already tight, and the Rays will have to do a lot to prove themselves amongst the powerhouse’s in their division. A 3-5 start isn’t terrible, but it’s enough to land them fourth in their division. As usual, Zobrist and Longoria are leading the club in batting average. The Rays need to make a move so they are not forgotten in this tough AL East.
21. Cleveland Indians
While technically the Indians are in last in the NL Central, the Indians are only 2 games back. Their batting is average, but their pitching is struggling. While Masterson has an absolutely impressive ERA of 0.69, Jimenez’s ERA is 6.97, and even worse, Myers’ ERA is 12.19. Also, losing to a not-so-impressive Yankees team 14-1 does not help.
22. Philadelphia Phillies
Pitching is a huge problem for the Phillies. While Cliff Lee currently has a commanding ERA of 1.08, Cole Hammels has an ERA of over 10. Because the Phillies pitching isn’t winning the games for them, their bats need to come alive. They have average batting averages, but they need to bring in runs. That’s how you win games. Although 4 games back in the NL East, I predict the Phillies will come around.
23. Los Angeles Angels
A usually heavy hitting Angels team isn’t hitting so heavy just yet. Their leading batting average is only .318, and their leading home run hitter only has two. Their pitchers aren’t doing so well either, all three leaders have ERAs of 4.50 or higher. I wouldn’t count them out yet, they just need to get comfortable and get in their groove.
24. Milwaukee Brewers
Although they started out the season 2-6, I have the Brewers ahead of the Cubs on my rankings. Primarily because the Brewers have two players, Aoki and Segura who are hitting over .400. That is nice to have in your lineup, but when the rest of the team can’t hit to bring in runs, you lose games. Hence why the Brewers are 2-6.
25. Chicago Cubs
For a fan base that understands disappointment, a 3-5 Cubs start is not something I would be totally upset over. One thing I would be very excited about is pitcher Jeff Samardzija. Currently, Samardzija has an ERA of 2.63 and 22 strikeouts. If he can keep that up, the Cubs have a lot to look forward to.
26. Pittsburgh Pirates
A 2-5 start is not promising for any team, but especially not the Pirates. They simply just can’t hit. No one in their lineup is hitting over .300, and Neil Walker, who is third in the team’s batting average, is hitting .083. Yes, I typed that right. They also have only 2 home runs as a TEAM.
27. Toronto Blue Jays
It’s very difficult to play in a division with powerhouse organizations, like the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. It’s also difficult when you have a powerful hitter like Jose Reyes who is hitting .444, and then your second hitting leader is only hitting .296. And to top it all off, you land Cy Young Winner R.A. Dickey, who currently has an ERA of 8.44. The Blue Jays just can’t seem to catch a break.
28. San Diego Padres
Hitting seems to be the problem for the San Diego Padres. The team’s leader in batting average isn’t even hitting above .300. No player has more than 1 home run or 4 RBIs. Their pitchers are not helping out much either, Richard has an ERA of 8.68, and Volquez has an ERA of 10. Many changes need to happen for this Padres team to turn it around.
29. Miami Marlins
It looks like another grim season for the Miami Marlins. Currently in last in the NL East 6 games back, it might not be too soon to write off the Marlins. To Miami’s credit, they keep their games close, but can’t finish and get the extra run across to win the game.
30. Houston Astros
The first game of the season for all of baseball looked to be a major turn around for the Houston Astros. The Astros shocked the baseball world-beating the Rangers on national television. Unfortunately, that’s the only impressive thing they’ve done since then. Well, if you consider ending Yu Darvish’s perfect game bid a good thing. Keep your head up Astros fans, this is only the beginning!