MLB Guardian Liberty Voice Power Rankings: Detroit Tigers on the Prowl
The MLB season is reaching the end of the second week, and the Guardian Liberty Voice Baseball staff provides their latest power rankings. Last week, most in the GLV baseball staff thought that the St. Louis Cardinals were the dominant team in the league. A slow week by them, and the well-rounded play of the Tigers, catapults Detroit into first. The Cardinals drop to second, slightly above the Washington Nationals, who are tied for the best record in baseball.
Several teams made large jumps in the rankings, but none was as big as that of the 7-2 Milwaukee Brewers. Milwaukee is tied for the best record in baseball, and this led to a 14 place jump in the rankings to the No. 11 spot. The San Francisco Giants also made a pretty sizeable jump, moving from 14 to 6.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, GLV writers seemed to have lost a little faith in the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Cincinnati Reds. The Red dropped seven spots, as did Boston, while the Yankees fell six places.
The Astros still bring up the rear, but only six of the 10 staff writers had them in last in this ranking, as opposed to nine last week.
1. (+2) Detroit Tigers: The Tigers grab the top spot in this week’s Power Rankings, and with good reason. They have the best record in the American League, and are getting contributions from every part of their line-up. Torii Hunter already has three homeruns, and the team is fourth in hitting and ninth in pitching. The only concern is that closer Joe Nathan has blown two save chances, but got the win in both. – Robert Pannier, The Tigers Tale
2. (-1) St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals are in a major slump at the plate and still have a winning record. They drop a spot in the rankings, but most writers maintain them as one of the top three teams in the Major Leagues. – Mick Varner, Cardinals Corner
3. (+2) Washington Nationals: The Nationals come in at No. 3 in the GLV Power Rankings, but they currently are tied for the best record in baseball, with the Milwaukee Brewers. 2B Anthony Rendon, RF Jayson Werth, and 1B Adam LaRoche have been run producing machines, combining for 24 runs and 25 RBI in the first 9 games of the season. Washington’s bullpen has been simply lights out, and starter Gio Gonzalez has begun the season showing that he is the real ace of the staff. – Robert Pannier, Nationals Nation
4. (-2) Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers have done a solid job weathering the injury storm, but Matt Kemp has looked great since his return and Puig and Beckett are days away. The loss of A.J. Ellis behind the plate hurts, but until they prove otherwise, the injury bug does not seem to be affecting them. – Justin Hussong
5. (+3) Oakland Athletics: The recent struggles of Jim Johnson are troubling to say the least, now the Athletics will try the “Closer by Committee” approach. Not exactly what Billy Beane expected after forking out $10 million a year. – Rich Peters, The Oakland A’s Insider
6. (+8) San Francisco Giants: The Giants offense is rolling, their bullpen is dominant, but their success rides on the shoulders of Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong. If these two can regain their form, and the Dodgers continue to struggle, the Giants can be real contenders. – Rich Peters
7. (-1) Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays are tied for the AL East division lead, and are doing so on the backs of their pitching staff. They are sixth in the league in ERA, at 2.97, despite the fact that ace starter David Price is struggling. If he gets on a roll, watch out! Evan Longoria is making himself an early MVP candidate, with a .371 average. – Robert Pannier
8. (+5) Pittsburgh Pirates: So far so good for the PIrates. Starling Marte is staking a claim to being the best player on a team that has the reigning NL MVP, and Francisco Liriano is proving that last season was no fluke. – Mick Varner, The Pirates Parcel
9. (0) Atlanta Braves: Great starting pitching has led the Braves to a strong start. Ervin Santana’s debut adds a dominating presence to go along with an already formidable rotation. However, the offense has mostly been bad, but they will likely bounce back because of their history of streakiness. – Glen Parris, Bravos Beat
10. (-6) Boston Red Sox: Two decent series victories over Baltimore and Texas have sandwiched a shocking sweep at the hands of the upstart Milwaukee Brewers at Fenway. Boston has hit into the most double plays in the league so far, but it is just a matter of time before they start driving in those tough runs and embarrassing teams like they are accustomed to. – Justin Hussong
11. (+14) Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers are the hottest team in baseball at the moment. At 7-2, they are tied for the best record in baseball. Ryan Braun is proving he is a real threat at the plate, even without PEDs. As a team, Milwaukee is third overall in hitting. – Mick Varner, Brewers Beat
12. (-5) New York Yankees: Injuries have hit, and David Robertson’s absence has already cost the team a win. On the bright side, Jeter looks healthy, the top half of the lineup has been solid, and Tanaka is as good as advertised. – Brian Moore, Bronx Boulevard
13. (-2) Texas Rangers: The Rangers have started out slowly, primarily because of the struggles of their pitching staff. Starters Yu Darvish and Robert Ross have looked very impressive, but the cupboard is pretty bare after that. Texas is hitting ninth overall, and has received great production out of Shin-soo Choo, Alex Rios, and Elvus Andrus, but Prince Fielder and J.P Arencibia have looked lost at the plate. – Robert Pannier, Rangers Round-up
14. (+5) Seattle Mariners: The Mariners are fourth in baseball in ERA, despite the fact that starter Hisashi Iwakuma has been on the DL since the season began. Felix Hernandez and James Paxton are both 2-0, and Hernandez has a 1.88 ERA, while Paxton’s is slightly higher at 2.25. This team could be a real contender when Iwakuma returns, but they need someone to step up at the plate, and support Robinson Cano. – Robert Pannier
15. (+1) Cleveland Indians: The Indians starting rotation has been deplorable to start out the year, but they have gotten great work out of their bullpen, and this is the reason that Cleveland finds itself at 5-5. Michael Brantley is showing that he is developing into one of the best young players in the game. The Tribe needs Nick Swisher to turn things around. – Robert Pannier, The Tribe Tribune
16. (-6) Baltimore Orioles: With the AL East getting off to the start everyone assumed it would, the Orioles are playing just as well as everyone else in their division. Look for more to shake up soon as another division round robin is set for the upcoming week and a half. – Ryne Vyles
17. (-2) Kansas City Royals: The Royals are getting great pitching, but the offense is letting them down early on. Bruce Chen, Jason Shields, and Jeremy Guthrie have all pitched extremely well, but the lack of run support has kept all but Guthrie out of the win column. Kansas City ranks twenty-seventh in runs scored, and this is hurting the teams win total. – Robert Pannier, The Royals Proclamation
18. (-1) Los Angeles Angels: After a real slow start, the Angels finally got rolling and posted a strong second week. They also suffered a key loss when Josh Hamilton injured his thumb sliding in to first. He will miss 6-8 weeks, and during his absence, JB Shuck will be brought back to the big team to take his spot. Shuck had a fantastic 2013, but his bat is not nearly as big as Hamilton’s. Shuck and Collin Cowgill will both see time in the outfield, and should fill in relatively well. Despite their strong week, the Halos still receive only a middle-of-the-road spot in our rankings. – Chris Chisam, The Halo Heartbeat
19. (-7) Cincinnati Reds: The Reds just have to tread water until they get healthy. Only Ryan Ludwich is hitting above .300, and Joey Votto, Billy Hamilton, and Jay Bruce are hitting way below their expected performance. The pitching staff has been great, with the exception of ace Homer Bailey. – Mick Varner, The Reds Rundown
20. (+2) Toronto Blue Jays: The Jays are at .500, which is quite an impressive feat, considering the team is ranked twenty-sixth in hitting and twentieth in pitching. The fact that they are fourth in homeruns has helped to hide some glaring deficiencies. Mark Buehrle and Melky Cabrera are living up to the expectations the Jays had for them since last season. – Robert Pannier, From the Blue Jays Perch
21. (+5) Colorado Rockies: Despite suffering a 15-3 loss to the White Sox on Tuesday, the Rockies had a good week. After losing three or four to begin the season in Miami, the “Rox” took two out of three from the Diamondbacks and White Sox at Coors Field. Colorado is trying to hold it together until getting two left-handed pitchers back in the starting rotation off of the disabled list. Tyler Chatwood hopes to be back by April 13, while Jhoulys Chacin looks for a return in the late days of the month. The Rockies have no small task in front of them, as they head to San Francisco to take on the red-hot Giants in a three-game weekend series. – Chuck Podhaisky, The Rockies Rundown
22. (+5) Miami Marlins: The Marlins have dropped their last four, but their surprising 5-1 start proves this team can compete. They have arguably the best pitcher in baseball in Jose Fernandez, who has been unbelievably good. It is the hitting that has been a real surprise so far. Miami was dead last in most offensive categories last season, but they are sixth in hitting, fifth in runs, and fourth in doubles this year. Giancarlo Stanton is taking his game to a whole new level, leading the NL in RBI (13). – Robert Pannier, Marlins Matters
23. (0) Chicago White Sox: The 5-5 White Sox are blistering the ball, batting .287 this season. A pleasant surprise has been rookie Jose Abreu, who already has two home runs and literally hit the cover off of the ball Thursday. – Jeremy Mika, Dirty Laundry
24. (-4) New York Mets: The Mets bullpen took a big hit losing Bobby Parnell. They will be even more dependent on David Wright for offense, and on their rotation to give them innings. – Brian Moore, Metropolitan Avenue
25. (-7) Arizona Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks this season have been outscored in eight losses by a combined 30 runs and that does not bode well for any team. The only bright spots thus far for the Diamondbacks are the big bats of 1B Paul Goldschmidt and OF Mark Trumbo. – Ryne Vyles
26. (-5) Philadelphia Phillies: Chase Utley is off to a hot start, hitting .464, with 2 HR and 6 RBI. SS Jimmy Rollins has chipped in eight RBI, but Ryan Howard is doing virtually nothing. The starters have struggled out of the gate, including Cliff Lee, and it may be time to trade him while the team can still get a sizeable return. – Robert Pannier
27. (+4) San Diego Padres: The Padres are third from the bottom in hitting in MLB, which is ruining the credible performance of the pitching staff. Closer Huston Street has been perfect so far this season, and starter Andrew Cashner is 0-1, despite a 2.25 ERA. A little help from the offense would be nice, but only one regular is hitting above .300 (SS Evereth Cabrera at .333), and four are hitting below .200. If the hitters provided any support, San Diego would be in the thick of this race. – Robert Pannier
28. (0) Minnesota Twins: Chris Colabello has cooled off after being named co-Player of the Week for the AL. Joe Mauer has not found his stroke since moving to first, but third baseman Trevor Plouffe has looked incredibly impressive early on. The pitching has been horrific, currently ranked dead last, with a 6.31 ERA. Only one starter has an ERA under six. – Robert Pannier, Twins Speak
29. (-1) Chicago Cubs: Nobody predicted the Cubs pitching this season to be so strong, but everyone did predict the weak offensive firepower. The 3-6 Cubs have scored just 33 runs the entire season, all but negating the 3.50 E.R.A that pitchers have posted thus far this year. Take away the nine runs scored by Emilio Bonifacio during his current tear and the Cubs are averaging just 2.5 runs per game. – Jeremy Mika, Ivy Line
30. (0) Houston Astros: While the Astros are in last place in the AL West, they have shown a lot more fight than many expected, and are actually just a half game out of third place. Scott Feldman has been a straight up stud in his two starts, and Dexter Fowler has been everything the Astros could have hoped for when they traded for him. – Robert Pannier
The Guardian Liberty Voice Baseball Writers MLB Power Rankings comes out every Saturday.
Commentary by Robert Pannier
Guardian Liberty Voice Senior Baseball Analyst