Baseball

MLB Power Rankings: April

MLB Power Rankings: April

The 2014 MLB season is coming up on the first month being in the books. How are the favorites to win the World Series doing you may ask?

One month hardly gives fans an idea of who will come out on top when all is said and done, but all 162 games are equally as valuable whether the victories come in April or September.

Here’s my six-point system MLB Power Rankings, based on performance not potential nor perception, for the month of April though games of April 25:

By Ralph Battiata – @RalphB1471

30. Houston Astros – 1

The Astros have a record of 7-17, currently residing in last place in the AL West division. Houston has lost three consecutive games and have a -51 run differential. With no key starters, a terrible mess in the bullpen, and no solid leadership, the Astros figure to finish last in MLB in 2014.

29. Chicago Cubs – 2.1

The Cubs are in last place in the NL Central division with a 7-15 record. Chicago has lost three straight games and have a -15 run differential. With first-year manager Rick Reneria leading the fifth youngest team in MLB, the Cubbies have gotten off to a cold start.

28. Pittsburgh Pirates – 2.2

The Pirates are the best team to have stumbled out of the gate. With a 9-15 record, Pittsburgh finds itself in fourth place in the crowded NL Central. The Bucs’ have lost four in a row and eight out of their last 10 games. The bats have been slumbering through thus far with a .226 Batting Average and 90 runs in 24 games. Their pitching is solid so they should be able to heat up soon and glide up the power rankings.

27. Seattle Mariners – 2.3

The Mariners are 9-13 thus far in 2014 and are in fourth place in the AL West. Seattle has lost eight out of 10 games and own a -6 run differential. They paid a ton of money in the off-season to bring a winner to Seattle, but with RHP Hisashi Iwakuma on the DL have lacked starting pitching behind Felix Hernandez. The bullpen is 2-6 with a 3.47 ERA and only 4 Saves in 70 IP thus far.

26. Miami Marlins – 2.4

The Marlins are 10-13 and stand in fourth place in the NL East. Miami has lost five out of 10 games and have a +9 run differential. The Fish have been tough at home with a 9-4 record, but have floundered on the road at 1-9. Their deep rotation and excellent defense should make them a feisty bunch throughout the season.

25. San Diego Padres – 2.5

The Padres are in fourth place in the NL West with a 11-13 record. San Diego is 7-6 at home, but 4-7 on the road, has lost five out of 10 games, and has a -19 run differential. The Friars have been held aloft thus far with the #10 ranked defense and the #1 bullpen in MLB with a 4-0 / 2.02 ERA / 71.1 IP stat line. If this holds and their bats heat up to go with their solid starting rotation, they could be a fast riser in the power rankings.

24. Cleveland Indians – 2.6

The Indians are 11-12 in last place in the AL Central. Cleveland is 7-6 at home, but have lost six out of 10 games on the road, have lost five out of 10 games overall, and have a -10 run differential. The Wahoos are still trying to thaw out from the winter as they have put up mediocre hitting and pitching numbers thus far. Terry Francona is one of the best managers in MLB and they are expected to heat up the power rankings by the All-Star break.

23. Philadelphia Phillies – 2.7

The Phillies are in fourth place in the NL East with a 11-12 record. Philadelphia has won six out of 10 games and have a -13 run differential. Philly has been around .500 thus far as they have scored 98 runs in 23 games and have the #7 fielding percentage in MLB. The Phillies have the oldest roster in MLB with an average age of 31.2 and have depth issues on the bench.

22. Toronto Blue Jays – 2.8

The Blue Jays have a 11-12 record and reside in third place in the AL East. Toronto is 7-5 on the road, but 4-7 at home, has lost four in a row, seven out of 10 games, and has a -6 run differential. The Jays have scored the seventh most runs in MLB with 100 in 23 games and have the #2 defense. With four of the most dangerous bats in MLB in SS Jose Reyes, LF Melky Cabrera, RF Jose Bautista, and 1B Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto is poised to strike in the AL East if they can stay healthy and their pitching staff excels.

21. Cincinnati Reds – 2.8

The Reds are in third place in the NL Central with a 11-12 record. Cincinnati has won six out of 10 games and have a +17 run differential. The Red Legs’ starters have a 2.99 ERA in 156.2 IP and have the #3 defense in MLB. Cincy should get on a hot streak once they start scoring more runs per game and their bullpen regains the services of closer LHP Aroldis Chapman.

20. Detroit Tigers – 2.9

The Tigers are 12-8 and due to their record are the leaders of the AL Central thus far. They have lost four out of seven on the road and have a +2 run differential. Under first-year manager Brad Ausmus, Detroit has gotten off to a slow start with the bats as a result of cold weather in the midwest and game postponements that have precluded the Tigers from getting into a groove. They are 22nd in runs scored, 29th in bullpen ERA, and 22nd in defense in MLB .

19. Arizona Diamondbacks – 3

The D’Backs are in last place in the NL West division with a 8-18 record. Arizona is 6-7 on the road, but has been terrible at home with a 2-11 record, and has won 3 consecutive games despite their -56 run differential. The D’Backs have one of the better managers in the National League in Kirk Gibson and have one of the best lineups in the NL West with 3B Mark Trumbo, currently on the DL, in it. Arizona has scored 98 runs in 26 games and the bullpen has a 3.78 ERA in 97.2 IP.

18. Tampa Bay Rays – 3.1

The Rays are in last place in the strongest division in MLB with a 10-13 record. Tampa Bay has lost 3 straight games, and seven out of 10, and have a -2 run differential. The Rays starting rotation has been hit hard by injuries with RHP Jeremy Hellickson starting the season on the DL, LHP Matt Moore tearing the UCL in his elbow and is out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and RHP Alex Cobb on the DL with a strained oblique. They are tied for 11th place in runs scored with 99 in 23 games and manager Joe Maddon always gives them a chance.

17. Boston Red Sox – 3.2

The Red Sox are 11-13 and are in fourth place in the AL East. Boston has won five out of 10 games and have a -8 run differential. They have scored 97 runs in 24 games thus far and have the #8 bullpen in MLB with a 2.89 ERA. The Sox recently got one of their rally starters back in the lineup in RF Shane Victorino and should get better starting pitching in May.

16. Kansas City Royals – 3.3

The Royals are in second place in the AL Central 2.5 games behind Detroit with a 11-11 record. Kansas City has won six out of 10 games and have a -1 run differential. KC is 6-3 at home, but have lost eight out of 13 on the road. The Blue Bloods have one of the best pitching staffs in MLB ranking 6th with a 3.10 ERA overall and the bullpen has held batters to a .214 batting average in 59 IP. Yordano Ventura is possibly the best young starter in the game and is 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 27 Ks in 25 IP.
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15. Chicago White Sox – 3.4

The White Sox have a .500 record at 12-12 and stand in 4th place in the AL Central. Chicago has lost six out of 10 games and have a +2 run differential. The Pale Hose have scored the most runs in MLB with 134 in 24 games and have the #15 defense, but have the second to last pitching staff with a 5.23 ERA in 215 IP. The Sox have overachieved thus far and could be falling back fast if ace LHP Chris Sale (3-0, 2.30 ERA, 29 K, 27.1 IP) is out an extended period of time with a strained flexor.

14. Colorado Rockies – 3.5

The Rockies are in third place in the NL West with a 13-11 record. Colorado is 8-4 at home, but is 5-7 on the road, has won seven out of 10 games, and have a +13 run differential. The Rocks have scored the 2nd most runs in MLB with 131 in 24 games and have the #6 defense. Colorado has one of the more prolific offenses in MLB with MVP candidate SS Troy Tulowitzki cleaning up and LF Carlos Gonzalez hitting third so if they get any semblance of good pitching they could make some noise.

13. Washington Nationals – 3.5

The Nationals are 13-11 and are in third place in the NL East. They have lost six out of 10 games and have a +8 run differential. Washington has the #3 bullpen in MLB with a 2.09 ERA in 81.2 IP and have scored the 6th most runs with 109 in 24 games. The Nats are forecast to win the NL East due in part to their outstanding starting rotation who have been in the middle of the pack in the MLB thus far.

12. Los Angeles Dodgers – 3.6

The Dodgers are in second place in the NL West with a 13-11 record. LA is 8-3 on the road, but is 5-8 at home, has lost six out of 10 games, and have a +5 run differential. The Dodgers have the #5 pitching staff in MLB with a 3.04 ERA in 233.2 IP and closer RHP Kenley Jansen has a 3.21 ERA with 26 Ks in only 14 IP. LA is one of the favorites in Vegas to win the World Series this year and they certainly have the talent to do so.

11. St. Louis Cardinals – 3.6

The Cardinals are 13-11 and stand in second place in the NL Central. St. Louis has won five out 10 games and has a +9 run differential. The Red Birds have the #2 starting rotation in MLB with a 2.36 ERA in 152.2 IP, but their bats have yet to appear as they have only scored 81 runs in 24 games. St. Louis is the reigning NL champs and with the best rotation in MLB they should be contending for another NL pennant in 2014.

10. New York Mets – 3.7

The Mets are in second place in the NL East with a 13-10 record. New York is 6-3 on the road, but is 7-7 at home, has won seven out of 10 games, and has a -3 run differential. The Amazings’ rotation is ninth in MLB in strikeouts with 122 in 142.1 IP and have the #5 defense. The Mets have overachieved thus far, but they continue to believe in Queens.

9. New York Yankees – 4

The Yankees have a 13-10 record and are the current leaders in the AL East. New York has won five out of 10 games and have a -10 run differential. New York is tied for 11th in MLB with 100 runs scored in 23 games, is fifth in hits with 216, and has the #15 defense in MLB. The Yanks spent more money than any other team in MLB this past off-season and is expected to compete for the AL pennant per Las Vegas odds makers.

8. Texas Rangers – 4.2

The Rangers are in second place in the AL West with a 14-9 record. Texas is 9-4 at home, but is 5-5 on the road, has won seven out of 10 games, and has a -2 run differential. The Rangers have scored the 10th most runs in MLB with 99 in 23 games and their rotation is also 10th in MLB with a 3.50 ERA in 144 IP. This is certainly one of the more potent lineups in MLB with LF Shin-Soo Choo leading off, SS Elvis Andrus second, 1B Prince Fielder third, and 3B Adrian Beltre cleaning up.

7. Atlanta Braves – 4.4

The Braves are 15-7 and stand in first place in the NL East. Atlanta has won two in a row, and six out 10 games, and have a +27 run differential. Los Bravos have the #1 starting rotation in MLB with a 1.65 ERA in 152.2 IP, the #11 bullpen with a 3.41 ERA in 58 IP, and the #1 pitching staff in MLB with a 2.14 ERA in 210.2 IP, all without the services of their two of their top starters who are on the DL. Atlanta is a favorite to win the NL East, but their offense has been anemic at times.

6. Minnesota Twins – 5

The Twins are in third place in the AL Central with a 11-11 record. Minnesota has won five out of 10 games and has a +3 run differential. The Twins are riding the #10 bullpen in MLB with a 3.38 ERA in 80 IP and are #4 in runs scored with 122 in 22 games. They have overachieved thus far and are the 14th youngest team in MLB, due in part to their starters, with an average age of 28.6 but have one of the AL’s best managers in Ron Gardenhire.

5. Los Angeles Angels – 5

The Angels have a 11-11 record and are in third place in the AL West. Los Angeles is 8-2 on the road, but has only won three out of nine games at home, has won five out of 10 games, and has a +29 run differential. The Halos have the #11 starting rotation with a 3.62 ERA in 141.2 IP, scored the 3rd most runs with 125 in 22 games, and the #12 defense in MLB. LA has a power-packed offense with OF Mike Trout, 2B Howie Kendrick, DH Raul Ibañez, and 1B Albert Pujols clicking on all cylinders without OF Josh Hamilton who is on the DL.

4. Baltimore Orioles – 5.2

The Orioles are in second place in the AL East with a 11-11 record. They have won five out of 10 games and have a -1 run differential. The Birds are ninth in runs scored with 102 in 22 games, 12th in bullpen ERA at 3.58 in 73 IP, and have the #4 defense in MLB. Baltimore too has one of the better lineups in MLB with RF/DH Nelson Cruz, RF Nick Markakis, CF Adam Jones, and 1B Chris Davis.

3. San Francisco Giants – 5.4

The Giants have a 13-10 record and are in first place in the NL West. They have won two games in a row and have a +8 run differential. San Francisco has scored 98 runs in 23 games, have the #2 bullpen in MLB with a 2.07 ERA in 78.1 IP, and have the #15 defense. The Giants have managed to stay atop the division even with a 4.22 ERA in 138.2 IP from their excellent starting rotation.

2. Oakland A’s – 5.6

The Athletics hold the top spot in the AL West with a 15-8 record. Oakland has won two games in a row and have a +43 run differential. Their starters are fifth in MLB with a 2.96 ERA in 146 IP, are fifth in runs scored with 116 in 23 games, and have the #6 bullpen with a 2.67 ERA in 77.2 IP. The scrappiest bunch in MLB and reigning AL West champs just keep chugging along with their Moneyball system.

1. Milwaukee Brewers – 5.8

The Brewers have the best record thus far in MLB at 17-6 and are in first place in the NL Central. They have won two straight games and have a +24 run differential. The Brew Crew has the #4 starting rotation in MLB with a 2.62 ERA in 154.2 IP, the #4 bullpen with a 2.30 ERA in 70.1 IP, and the #11 defense with a .984 fielding percentage. No question Milwaukee has overachieved as no one expected them to get off to such a hot start. However, their solid rotation of RHP Yovani Gallardo, RHP Kyle Lohse, RHP Matt Garza, and RHP Wily Peralta will keep the Brewers competing and possibly contending in 2014.

Come back next month to see who the up-or-down movers are in the power rankings.

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