Apr 17, 2014, 1:16 PM EDT
Here is our first installment of MLB Power Rankings featuring thoughts on each team from Mark Zuckerman, Chase Hughes and myself, Steve Roney:
1. Atlanta Braves - Zuckerman: If only they could play the Nationals every single night.
2. Oakland Athletics – Roney: Who would’ve thought trading for a closer wouldn’t work out? Taste of your own medicine, Billy?
3. Milwaukee Brewers – Hughes: The Brewers are the early surprise in Major League Baseball. Their MLB-best 2.17 team ERA suggests they are no fluke.
4. St. Louis Cardinals – Hughes: Their offense is off to a slow start, but who needs runs when you have Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha?
5. San Francisco Giants – Roney: I’m just going to leave this right here, Nats fans: Pablo Sandoval has had both hamate bones removed, one each in 2011 and 2012. Total HR since the start of 2012: 28.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers – Roney: The way Dee Gordon is playing (1.006 OPS, 10 SBs), they may not need Alex Guerrero to do any sort of Puig impression midseason. That’s a very good thing.
7. Washington Nationals – Zuckerman: If only they never had to play the Braves.
8. Detroit Tigers – Hughes: The Tigers are second to last in the majors in runs scored (42) and have a lineup that features only three players under the age of 31. We’ll see if that catches up to them.
9. Toronto Blue Jays - Zuckerman: Buehrle off to a dominant start, would be a huge boon for Jays after disappointing ’13.
10. New York Yankees – Zuckerman: Can they actually win with an infield of Johnson, Solarte, Anna and Sizemore?
11. Chicago White Sox – Hughes: MLB’s best offense so far, the White Sox could be the real deal with rookie Jose Abreu in the middle of their lineup.
12. Baltimore Orioles – Zuckerman: Tillman: Great so far. Rest of rotation: Umm…
13. Seattle Mariners – Roney: The new second baseman (Cano) is working out pretty well – might the old one (Ackley) finally be turning the Alex Gordon/Eric Hosmer corner?
14. Texas Rangers – Roney: Ron Washington has to be on the hottest seat in MLB, right? Unlucky for him, this might be the worst rotation of his tenure.
15. Tampa Bay Rays - Zuckerman: Tommy John surgery for Moore. Just a punch in the gut for Tampa Bay.
16. Pittsburgh Pirates – Hughes: The NL Central will be tough this year, but once they get Andrew McCutchen going, they’ll be fine.
17. Colorado Rockies – Roney: Charlie Blackmon: April flash in the pan du jour, or another example of the age-27 breakout?
18. New York Mets – Zuckerman: Terry Collins somehow gets more from his guys than anyone expects.
19. Boston Red Sox – Zuckerman: Too early to panic, but they need to get it going soon.
20. Cleveland Indians - Hughes: 26-year-old starter Zach McCallister could be in line for a breakout year. Through three starts he is 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA.
21. Cincinnati Reds – Hughes: Despite their losing record, the Reds have to be encouraged by Joey Votto’s start to the season. He’s hitting .327 and has four homers, nine RBI and a 1.062 OPS.
22. Los Angeles Angels – Roney: Stop me if you’ve read this before, but Josh Hamilton is on the DL. SO much fun debating which of their albatross contracts is the worst…
23. San Diego Padres – Roney: When the Rizzo-for-Cashner trade went down two years ago, I thought Josh Byrnes was playing Kevin McHale to Epstein’s Danny Ainge. Now, I love it for The Friars.
24. Philadelphia Phillies – Zuckerman: They can’t even take advantage of a brilliant start by Lee.
25. Minnesota Twins – Hughes: The Twins are in last place in the AL Central at 6-7. This could be the deepest division in baseball behind the AL East.
26. Kansas City Royals – Hughes: The Royals are once again seeing inconsistency from their starting rotation. It has held them back for years, and appears to be a problem once again.
27. Miami Marlins – Zuckerman: Bullpen is killing them right now.
28. Chicago Cubs – Zuckerman: The Cubs are in their third season under the leadership of Theo Epstein and seem to be making zero progress. At least Anthony Rizzo is off to a nice start.
29. Houston Astros – Hughes: The Astros just called up top prospect George Springer, a slugging outfielder who nearly pulled off a 40-40 season in the minors. He’s a favorite for Rookie of the Year.
30. Arizona Diamondbacks – Roney: League-leading 6 HRs, .196 AVG, .250 OBP. Yup, that’s who Mark Trumbo is.
NL EAST STANDINGS
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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