Shea’s MLB Power Rankings (as of 13/04/2011)
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The first instalment of the MLB power rankings is here! In case you’re new to reading power rankings, the main principles to know are that (a) they reflect relative strength of a team and (b) they’ll diverge from the standings more as the season progresses. Let’s get to it.
1. Texas Rangers (9-2): I predict that the Rangers won’t hold the top spot for long. Josh Hamilton’s broken shoulder stings and the pitching staff is playing way over its head.
2. Cleveland Indians (8-3): Cleveland’s early-season success is s cute story but I’m not fully buying it. Orlando Cabrera leading the charge offensively? He’s old. It won’t last. And it’s too soon to tell if all the prospects have truly arrived as viable major-leaguers.
3. Colorado Rockies (7-2): Seeing Troy Tulowitzki smash the ball is no surprise. But it’s especially encouraging to see pitchers like Jorge De La Rosa picking up the slack while Ubaldo Jimenez is out.
4. Cincinnati Reds (8-3): Joey Votto hitting .415, the team playing great defense and Edinson Volquez piling up strikeouts? About par for the course.
5. Philadelphia Phillies (7-3): Ryan Howard is hitting early in the season for a change. Does that mean he’ll club 80 homers?
6. Chicago White Sox (7-4): I think the 7-4 start is legit. Deep pitching staff, great power and, if Gordon Beckham continues to break out, that’s gravy.
7. New York Yankees (5-4): Still think the Bronx Bombers will need to trade for another starting pitcher. But how about Russell Martin’s return to All-Star form behind the plate?
8. Kansas City Royals (6-4): Doubt they have the horses to keep up the solid start – but it’s exciting to see Alex Gordon finally showing signs that he belongs in the big leagues.
9. Los Angeles Angels (6-5): Vernon Wells is hitting .091. The Angels have no hope of making the playoffs if their big gamble doesn’t pay off.
11. San Francisco Giants (5-6): The defending champs may be forcing the issue on rookie Brandon Belt. He may not be ready for prime time. And their outfield defense his horrible with Aubrey Huff pushed out to right.
12. Los Angeles Dodgers (6-5): I still worry about this team’s offense but Jonathan Broxton’s return to ninth-inning prominence is a nice story.
13. Baltimore Orioles (6-3): Two straight losses. The luster is wearing off the hot start. The Orioles’ young pitching staff will take its lumps.
14. Seattle Mariners (4-7): Two straight wins for the Mariners. Could Michael Pineda be a top Rookie of the Year candidate given his arsenal of pitches?
15. Pittsburgh Pirates (5-5): The early-season offensive surge, led by Neil Walker and Jose Tabata, isn’t a fluke.
16. Toronto Blue Jays (5-6): So much for the 4-1 start. This team still has the talent to win at least 80 games but it’s young and raw, like Baltimore.
17. Minnesota Twins (4-6): Francisco Liriano’s early struggles are very concerning. He has to be nothing short of an ace for Minny to win the AL Central again.
18. Detroit Tigers (4-7): The Tigers have some good players but they lack depth; that weakness gets exposed when supporting players like Rick Porcello are ineffective.
19. Atlanta Braves (5-6): They’ll be fine. Dan Uggla never plays well in April. He’ll get his 30 homers.
20. Washington Nationals (5-5): Fluking into a .500 record but it won’t last. Ryan Zimmerman is hurt and they have no Stephen Strasburg all season.
21. Florida Marlins (5-5)
22. Oakland Athletics (5-6)
23. Tampa Bay Rays (3-8)
24. Boston Red Sox (2-9)
25. Chicago Cubs (5-6)
26. Arizona Diamondbacks (5-5)
27. San Diego Padres (4-6)
28. New York Mets (4-6)
29. St. Louis Cardinals (4-7)
30. Houston Astros (3-8)