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MLB Power Rankings: Rangers moving up the ladder

Apr 24, 2014, 2:16 PM EST

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Texas Rangers

Here are this week’s MLB Power Rankings featuring thoughts on each team from Mark Zuckerman, Chase Hughes and myself, Steve Roney:

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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.

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  1. Theophilus T.S. - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    To be balanced — not trying for “fair” — Nyjer Morgan was not an “experiment” for Cleveland. He was ABC gum in the dyke while Bourne was on the DL. Once there was no spot for him in the lineup, Cleveland couldn’t afford to have him ticking in the corner of the dugout.

  2. Theophilus T.S. - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    maybe that’s “dike;” I’m not sure.

    • ArVAFan - Apr 24, 2014 at 4:34 PM

      In that sentence “dike” is the correct usage.

  3. NatsLady - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    PROOF READ. *off* to good starts.

  4. therealjohnc - Apr 24, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    Prince Fielder is NOT off to a good start. In fact, he’s off to a terrible start. Not only is he still playing bad defense at first base, but he’s not hitting. He’s walking a bunch, but his batting average is .200 and his slugging percentage is 338 – abysmal for a man playing a power position like first base. His OPS+ is just 86. As a point of reference, his bWAR so far is -0.5. And that’s a cumulative stat, so he’s on a pace (fun with stats!) for a season between -3.5 and -4 bWAR. As much trouble as the Nats have had with LaRoche, they really dodged a bullet by NOT signing Fielder. Man, that contract looks worse every year.

    As a team the Rangers have been able to get by so far, but they’ve actually given up more runs (95 than they’ve scored (94). That’s not a recipe for long term success. Although they just swept Oakland and that’s a feather in their cap, their record has mostly been built on playing mediocre (they took 2 of 3 from the Phillies) to bad (2 of 3 each from the Astros and White Sox, 3 of 4 from the Mariners) teams. I’m not saying that they are terrible, but putting them at #3 just shows that someone isn’t paying attention.

    • adcwonk - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:03 PM

      And after this year, the Rangers are still on the hook *six* more years of $24M/year salary!!!

      It blows me away that some here criticized Rizzo for not signing him.

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