Apr 24, 2014, 2:16 PM EST
Here are this week’s MLB Power Rankings featuring thoughts on each team from Mark Zuckerman, Chase Hughes and myself, Steve Roney:
1. Atlanta Braves (LW: 1) – Roney: The game-calling might not be quite there, but Evan Gattis is making sure they don’t miss Brain McCann too much.
2. Milwaukee Brewers (LW: 3) - Zuckerman: If Braun keeps hitting and rotation keeps dominating, this team can contend this year.
3. Texas Rangers (LW: 14) – Hughes: Choo, Fielder and Darvish are all of to good starts. Also, watch out for 23-year-old lefty Martin Perez (3-0, 1.86).
4. St. Louis Cardinals (LW: 4) – Zuckerman: Not hitting much yet, but three starters have ERAs under 2.00.
5. Oakland Athletics (LW: 2) – Hughes: Kazmir, Chavez and Gray – the A’s top three starters – have sub-2.00 ERAs after four starts apiece. Yeah, that’ll do.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers (LW: 6) – Hughes: Dan Haren is 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA through four starts. It helps to play the D-Backs twice early on, but are you serious?
7. New York Yankees (LW: 10) – Roney: I don’t care about pine tar, but you can’t use your books and notes on a take-home exam in full view of the professor and expect to get away with it.
8. Washington Nationals (LW: 7) – Roney: Similar to Kirk Gibson, Matt Williams clearly means business. If they begin to trade away useful players for not being “cultural fits,” however, we’ll know there’s a problem.
9. Detroit Tigers (LW: 8) – Zuckerman: Dombrowski couldn’t have screwed up the shortstop situation any more than he did trading for (and now releasing) Gonzalez.
10. San Francisco Giants (LW: 5) – Hughes: Matt Cain is back to is old self, but Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong are holding the Giants back.
11. Los Angeles Angels (LW: 22) – Hughes: We just saw them here in D.C. If Pujols keeps it up, my World Series pick may not look too crazy after all!
12. Colorado Rockies (LW: 17) – Hughes: When Troy Tulowitzki is healthy, he can’t be stopped. Through 21 games he’s hitting .388 with four home runs, 19 runs and 16 RBI.
13. Kansas City Royals (LW: 26) – Zuckerman: Only SEVEN homers as a team enteringWednesday? That can’t keep up if they’re going to contend.
14. Tampa Bay Rays (LW: 15) - Roney: If the Rays are still here in a couple months, what’re the odds that someone blows them away for David Price?
15. Toronto Blue Jays (LW: 9) – Roney: Mark Buerhle didn’t look this good even when he was tossing no-hitters in Chicago. He’s been unreal so far.
16. Boston Red Sox (LW: 19) – Roney: Different catcher, same game: everyone is running on the Red Sox. Christian Vazquez, where are you?
17. Baltimore Orioles (LW: 11) – Roney: Nelson Cruz, Ubaldo Jimenez. You win some, you lose some (so far).
18. Pittsburgh Pirates (LW: 16) – Zuckerman: Grilli was so good for them last year, but veteran closer is a real concern right now.
19. San Diego Padres (LW: 23) – Hughes: The Padres come to Washington for a four-game series up next. They have the third-best team ERA (2.70) so far.
20. Chicago White Sox (LW: 10) – Zuckerman: Young ace Sale on the DL with an elbow strain. Not good news on the South Side.
21. Cincinnati Reds (LW: 21) – Zuckerman: A .257 OBP for Billy Hamilton isn’t going to cut it. Can’t steal first base.
22. Miami Marlins (LW: 27) – Roney: The only thing more absurd than Red Sox fans pining for a Giancarlo Stanton trade is the fact that he actually will be traded sooner than later.
23. New York Mets (LW: 18) – Roney: Sandy Alderson finally unveiled his secret weapon: Welcome back, Bobby Abreu!
24. Philadelphia Phillies (LW: 24) – Roney: I don’t think there’s a GM in baseball who would swap rosters with Ruben Amaro. He’s really general-managed himself into a corner while trying not to get fired.
25. Minnesota Twins (LW: 25) – Zuckerman: Old pal Suzuki has 14 RBI in 16 games for Minnesota.
26. Cleveland Indians (LW: 20) – Zuckerman: The Nyjer Morgan experiment didn’t quite work out: Sent to AAA after nine games.
27. Seattle Mariners (LW: 13) – Hughes: Even with Robinson Cano off to a decent start, the Mariners are hitting .222 as a team and getting on base at a .277 clip. They still can’t hit.
28. Houston Astros (LW: 28) – Hughes: Jarred Cosart is supposed to be a big part of the Astros’ future in terms of pitching. So far he holds a 7.36 ERA through four outings. Not good.
29. Chicago Cubs (LW: 27) – Zuckerman: Nothing encapsulates 100 years of Cubs misery at Wrigley Field like blowing a 3-run lead in the 9th inning on the centennial anniversary.
30. Arizona Diamondbacks (LW: 30) - Hughes: Paul Goldschmidt may finish in the top five of NL MVP voting again, and he plays on what could be the league’s worst team.
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.
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