TSN.ca MLB Power Rankings
Updated: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 4:05 PM
The Braves, Brewers, A's, Rockies and Yankees are up early, while the Red Sox, Indians, Pirates and Diamondbacks are below expectations in the first regular season edition of the TSN.ca MLB Power Rankings.
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This Week1Last Week10Atlanta Braves13-7
Three starting pitchers on the shelf? No problem. The Braves have a 2.16 ERA and the rotation boasts four starters -- Aaron Harang (!!), Ervin Santana, Alex Wood and Julio Teheran -- with an ERA under 2.00 thus far.
Key Injuries: RHP Kris Medlen (elbow), RHP Brandon Beachy (elbow), LHP Mike Minor (shoulder).
This Week2Last Week12Milwaukee Brewers15-6
The early returns from the pitching staff have been great, as the Brewers rank second in baseball with a 2.59 ERA, and while the starting staff has been good, Francisco Rodriguez has been lights-out as the closer. Even with declining velocity, K-Rod is striking out batters (13.09 K/9) like he did as a rookie.
Key Injuries: None.
This Week3Last Week15Oakland Athletics13-7
One of the stories of the season could be authored in Oakland, where 30-year-old journeyman Jesse Chavez, who made two career starts prior to this year, has been very effective (1.38 ERA, 0.92 WHIP in four starts) as a rotation replacement.
Key Injuries: RHP A.J. Griffin (arm), RHP Jarrod Parker (elbow).
This Week4Last Week22Colorado Rockies12-10
Mashing at home is nice, as the Rockies, as a team, have a .985 OPS at Coors and a .662 OPS on the road. SS Troy Tulowitzki has been particularly outrageous, hitting .556 with a 1.714 OPS in nine games at home.
Key Injuries: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (shoulder).
This Week5Last Week16New York Yankees12-8
Tons of questions persist about an iffy lineup, but the Yankees are better than expected if only because of starting pitchers Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka, two unknowns coming into the year that have combined for a 1.71 ERA.
Key Injuries: LHP Ivan Nova (elbow).
This Week6Last Week1St. Louis Cardinals12-9
Not hitting a ton, with Allen Craig, Jhonny Peralta and Matt Carpenter off to slow starts, but they can pitch, with Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller all with ERAs under 3.60 and K/9 rates over 8.00.
Key Injuries: LHP Jaime Garcia (shoulder), RHP Joe Kelly (hamstring).
This Week7Last Week14Texas Rangers13-8
Even in the face of a long list of injuries, the Rangers have cobbled together a pitching staff and are hitting enough, despite 1B Prince Fielder hitting .208 with a .688 OPS.
Key Injuries: RHP Tanner Scheppers (elbow), 3B Adrian Beltre (quad), LHP Joe Saunders (ankle), C Geovany Soto (knee), LHP Matt Harrison (back), 2B Jurickson Profar (shoulder), LHP Derek Holland (knee).
This Week8Last Week3Los Angeles Dodgers12-9
2B Dee Gordon tends towards a higher batting average on balls in play, because of his speed, but his current BABIP of .418 is unsustainably high. Nevertheless, he's a pleasant surprise offensively, hitting .369 with a dozen steals.
Key Injuries: RHP Chad Billingsley (elbow), C A.J. Ellis (knee), LHP Clayton Kershaw (back).
This Week9Last Week17Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim10-10
Maybe we can pump the brakes a bit on stories about the decline of 1B Albert Pujols, who has hit six home runs in the past nine games, giving him a .956 OPS through 20 games.
Key Injuries: LF Josh Hamilton (thumB), RF Kole Calhoun (ankle).
This Week10Last Week4Tampa Bay Rays10-10
With injuries decimating the rotation, the Rays are forced to lean heavily on LHP David Price and RHP Chris Archer. Yes, Archer, who had 27 career starts coming into the season.
Key Injuries: RHP Alex Cobb (oblique), LHP Matt Moore (elbow), RHP Jeremy Hellickson (elbow).
This Week11Last Week6Detroit Tigers10-7
After signing a monster contract extension in the offseason, 1B Miguel Cabrera is off to an uncharacteristic start, hitting .235 with a .709 OPS. The last month in which he posted numbers worse than those? August, 2007 (.229 AVG) and September/October, 2004 (.677 OPS).
Key Injuries: SS Jose Iglesias (shins), LF Andy Dirks (back).
This Week12Last Week25Toronto Blue Jays11-9
Oddly enough, it's been pitching that has helped the Jays to their strong start, and the top three ERAs in the rotation belong to veteran LHP Mark Buehrle (0.64 ERA), sheltered rookie RHP Drew Hutchison (3.60) and resurrected RHP Dustin McGowan (4.85). If they get something out of Brandon Morrow and/or R.A. Dickey, maybe the Jays could be in business.
Key Injuries: DH Adam Lind (back), RHP Casey Janssen (abdominal).
This Week13Last Week8Cincinnati Reds9-11
SS Zack Cozart has a .273 on-base percentage since the start of last season, worst in the National League among players with at least 600 plate appearances. Good thing 1B Joey Votto, at .434, is the best.
Key Injuries: RHP Mat Latos (knee), LHP Aroldis Chapman (face).
This Week14Last Week13Kansas City Royals10-9
The hype follows rookie RHP Yordano Ventura, and deservedly so, for his electric stuff, but soft-tossing LHP Jason Vargas has been tremendous (1.24 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 16 K, 29 IP) in his first four starts.
Key Injuries: CF Lorenzo Cain (groin).
This Week15Last Week26Miami Marlins10-11
Aside from RF Giancarlo Stanton crushing baseballs (6 HR, 26 RBI, .923 OPS), the other Marlins outfielders -- CF Marcell Ozuna (.312 AVG, .845 OPS) and LF Christian Yelich (.333 AVG, .820 OPS) -- have been pretty good too.
Key Injuries: None.
This Week16Last Week29Chicago White Sox10-11
The White Sox have been surprisingly competitive, but they had better hope that ace Chris Sale's time on the DL is short because he's so much better than the rest of what is really a patchwork rotation.
Key Injuries: RF Avisail Garcia (shoulder), LHP Chris Sale (flexor muscle), RHP Felipe Paulino (shoulder).
This Week17Last Week20Philadelphia Phillies10-10
2B Chase Utley (1.086 OPS) and 1B Ryan Howard (.880 OPS) are hitting, but the rest of the lineup is struggling, as all three starting outfielders have an OPS under .700.
Key Injuries: LHP Cole Hamels (shoulder).
This Week18Last Week24San Diego Padres10-11
The offence is a rumour, but the Padres are getting the pitching, especially out of the bullpen, where their 1.80 reliever ERA is best and Padres relievers have allowed one home run in 60 innings of work.
Key Injuries: LHP Cory Luebke (elbow), CF Cameron Maybin (triceps), LF Carlos Quentin (knee), RHP Josh Johnson (forearm).
This Week19Last Week9San Francisco Giants11-10
The good news for the Giants is that veteran RHP Tim Hudson (2.40 ERA, 0.77 WHIP) has been great. Not so good that RHP Tim Linecum (6.43 ERA, 1.48 WHIP) and RHP Ryan Vogelsong (7.71 ERA, 1.96 WHIP) aren't showing signs of reversing recent downward trends.
Key Injuries: 2B Marco Scutaro (back).
This Week20Last Week7Washington Nationals11-10
The underlying numbers suggest there's nothing to worry about with LF Bryce Harper (who has one home run and a .704 OPS) and RHP Stephen Strasberg (5.33 ERA), but they are off to slow starts.
Key Injuries: None.
This Week21Last Week2Boston Red Sox9-12
A lot of Red Sox hitters are off to slow starts including, sadly, CF Grady Sizemore, whose on-base pecentage is .269. After three years off, I suppose he gets some slack, but even in his last two partial seasons, his OBP hovered in that range too.
Key Injuries: 3B Will Middlebrooks (calf), RF Shane Victorino (hamstring).
This Week22Last Week27Minnesota Twins9-10
The Twins are actually hitting a bit, but their pitching staff remains horrible, with their rotation of Kyle Gibson, Kevin Correia, Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes and Mike Pelfrey -- a lot of new faces/arms -- combining for a 5.76 ERA, worst in the American League.
Key Injuries: LF Josh Willingham (wrist), RF Oswaldo Arcia (wrist).
This Week23Last Week11Cleveland Indians9-11
This is an unpleasant turn of events for the Indians, with hyped RHP Danny Salazar struggling (7.85 ERA, 1.96 WHIP) as is hyped 3B/C/DH Carlos Santana (.525 OPS).
Key Injuries: None.
This Week24Last Week5Pittsburgh Pirates9-12
Were hitting so poorly that they decided adding 1B Ike Davis would help. Fortunately, it already has, as Ike bashed a grand slam against Cincinnati, but it says something when your offensive boost is supposed to come from a first baseman who hit .205 with a .660 OPS last season.
Key Injuries: LHP Wandy Rodriguez (knee).
This Week25Last Week28Chicago Cubs7-12
There is some reason for optimism, particularly with a pitching staff that has some decent starters. Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood and Jason Hammel all have an ERA of 2.60 or better. Problem lies with an offence that isn't scoring enough (3.79 runs per game).
Key Injuries: RHP Jake Arrieta (shoulder).
This Week26Last Week18Baltimore Orioles9-10
After teams were clamouring to add RHP Ubaldo Jimenez in the offseason, he opens this year with zero command, walking 13 and giving up five home runs in 21 1/3 innings.
Key Injuries: 3B Manny Machado (knee).
This Week27Last Week23New York Mets10-10
Five Mets starting position players have an OPS under .620, lowlighted by RF Curtis Granderson, who is hitting .116 with a .442 OPS, with three times as many strikeouts (24) as hits (8).
Key Injuries: RHP Matt Harvey (elbow), CF Juan Lagares (hamstring).
This Week28Last Week21Seattle Mariners7-13
The Mariners' .276 on-base percentage is worst in the American League, while their five stolen bases, total, is tied for worst in baseball. Sure, they get fewer chances, but 5-for-11 is also the worst success rate for attempted steals.
Key Injuries: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (finger), RHP Taijuan Walker (shoulder), LHP James Paxton (lat).
This Week29Last Week30Houston Astros7-14
To no one's surprise, the Astros aren't good, but they have a little bit of pitching, which is more than can be said for an offence scoring 3.05 runs per game, worst in the American League.
Key Injuries: RHP Scott Feldman (biceps).
This Week30Last Week19Arizona Diamondbacks5-18
Things have gone spectacularly off the rails for the Diamondbacks, with veteran righthanders Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy and Bronson Arroyo all struggling out of the gate as they've combined for a 7.46 ERA.
Key Injuries: LHP Patrick Corbin (elbow),