MLB Power Rankings Week Four: Dodgers, A’s in top spots

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Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

As we enter the fourth week of the Major League Baseball season we approach the point when we can take the current results for teams and individual players a bit more seriously. The small sample size qualifiers still linger, however, and to construct MLB Power Rankings for week four of the season is to attempt to blend the current results that might be misleading with the projected results for teams that seem to be overachieving or underachieving thus far. With that in mind, here are the Week Four Power Rankings:

1.  Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles Dodgers (12-7)

Even with the drama with Yasiel Puig and his extraordinary and frightening journey to the United States, and even with an injury to defending Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw, they are still the most loaded team until they give us a reason to believe otherwise. It is worth pointing out, though, that seven of their wins have come against the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks.

2. Oakland Athletics Oakland A’s (13-5)

The struggles of expensive closer Jim Johnson did little, if any, damage to the overall quality of Oakland’s pitching staff. Their 2.48 ERA as a team leads the American League by a wide margin (Kansas City is second with a 3.20 team ERA). Their average run differential per game (+1.77, per Baseball Prospectus) leads all of baseball by a wide margin. This is the best team in baseball right now, and if not for the belief that the Dodgers will be the best team in baseball over  the long run, the A’s would top this list.

3. Atlanta Braves Atlanta Braves (12-6)

The Braves are winning with their usual formula: pitching. The only reason it feels unusual is because their staff was hit hard by injuries before the season started. Ervin Santana has been spectacular through three starts. Their exceptional team ERA (2.40 ERA) is only outdone by their ridiculous 2.90 team FIP (fielding independent pitching).

4. Detroit Tigers Detroit Tigers (9-6)

It feels a little bit like this team is treading water so far, but the overall quality of their roster keeps them in the top five. That quality will only be improved when they inevitably sign Stephen Drew to play shortstop (the team released Alex Gonzalez this week).

5. St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis Cardinals (11-8)

Among the best teams in all of baseball in runs allowed per game (3.32), the Cards just need their offense to catch up a little bit (3.89 runs scored per game). It’s easy to believe that will happen with the overall quality of their lineup.

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Tags: Atlanta Braves Boston Red Sox Detroit Tigers Los Angeles Dodgers Milwaukee Brewers MLB MLB Power Rankings New York Yankees Oakland Athletics San Francisco Giants St. Louis Cardinals Tampa Bay Rays Texas Rangers Washington Nationals

  • Justin Schultz

    The team with the best record in baseball is No. 7? Wowzer.

    • Hayden Kane

      I know – it does seem harsh. I just still think that top 6 is so much better than the rest that I’m not quite ready to include the Brewers with them. But it will be hard to justify it for much longer if they keep it up.

      • Ross

        I personally think you have them ranked too low based on pitching alone. Their team era is outstanding. And 20 games is a good enough sample size to take it seriously. Especially given how dominant the bullpen has been (minus the one game against the pirates). Also I think the dodgers are horribly overrated right now. They are 7-1 against the D-Backs and 5-6 against everyone else. That ain’t great…

        • Hayden Kane

          Thanks for the comment, Ross, and those are both definitely fair points. I am taking the Brewers seriously, I just still think that top 6 is a notch better. I might end up being wrong, but that’s where I’ve got it for now. As for the Dodgers, your point is definitely fair on that, but I think their talent will win out over the long haul against opponents other than the DBacks.

          • Ross

            Fair points. Just trying to stir the pot a bit. If we are talking long haul and potential, the Dodgers are the best team in baseball. However, as a what have you done for me lately ranking, I’d have the A’s and Brewers 1-2. But that’s where difference in perspective and difference in opinion come into play.

          • Hayden Kane

            That’s the balancing act that’s interesting (and fun to debate) early in the season as you try to weigh recent results with the long haul. A’s 1 and Brewers 2 would make sense based on results so far, for sure, if that weighed in more…as I said in here, I know the Brewers might make me look foolish. But that’s the fun of it, right?

  • Jimmy DeMarco

    Before I make any comments, is this power rankings based on your belief of what you think a team will be and where they will finish?
    As opposed to an actual week to week ranking of how well each team does or doesn’t do?

    • Hayden Kane

      Good question Jimmy – I would say it’s focused more on the big picture rather than week to week results, but it is my best attempt to blend what happened that week with who will be at the top in the long haul. I think that’s what makes the Brewers hard to judge…