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Braves move to top spot in MLB Power Rankings

Scott Cullen
4/23/2014 4:47:09 PM
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Despite having a starting rotation riddled with injuries, the Atlanta Braves have still managed to ride their stellar starting pitching to top spot in the TSN.ca MLB Power Rankings, ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers and Oakland Athletics.

Early-season surprises can shift the rankings dramatically, but the Braves have been getting lights-out stuff from Aaron Harang, Ervin Santana, Alex Wood and Julio Teheran.

The Brewers, ranked at 12 in the preseason, are up to two, with their own impressive pitching, including closer Francisco Rodriguez, who is striking people out, despite decreased velocity.

Like the Braves, the Oakland A's have injuries to deal with in their starting rotation, but they have also received four strong starts from 30-year-old journeyman Jesse Chavez. If Chavez is for real, he could be one of the great stories of this season.

Moving from 22 in the preseason to four, the Colorado Rockies have been raking like nothing else at home. As a team, they have a .985 OPS at Coors Field, compared to just .662 on the road, but they also have the second-best run differential in the National League.

The Toronto Blue Jays are one of the pleasant surprises, following a disastrous 2013 season, and decent pitching has lifted them from 25 in the preseason to 12.

Coming into the year, the rankings were not optimistic for the New York Yankees, pegging the pinstripers at 16, but early returns from starting pitchers Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka have given the Yankees hope, despite a lineup full of holes.

The Yankees rivals, the Boston Red Sox, have stumbled out of the gate and, as a result, are at 21, after opening the season in second spot.

Hopes were higher for the Cleveland Indians too, ranked 11 coming into the season, but they sit at 23, with some of their highly-touted young players struggling.

Following last year's breakout season, the Pittsburgh Pirates came into the year ranked fifth, but quiet bats leave them at 24 with this update.

Finally, no team can compare to the Arizona Diamondbacks for disappointment. They weren't necessarily going to be great, ranked 19th coming into the season, but they are on pace for 35 wins. They even found a way to get ranked below the Houston Astros!

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.




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