MLB 2012: Week One Power Rankings

Week one of my weekly power rankings. After the first week we see some teams (Rays, Cardinals and Tigers) are better than even we could advertise. While others (Yankees, Braves and Red Sox) need to get it together quickly. I’ll have to try and figure out when the last time those three franchises were swept the first three games of the season at the same time. I’m also fully prepared for the backlash from Orioles fans. 

  1. Detroit Tigers– No one in their right mind would willingly pitch to the middle of this order right now. Fielder/Cabrera showing Motown a glimpse of what will be big seasons on offense. Alex Avila (2 HR, .417 BA) is off to a sizzling start as well.
  2. Tampa Bay Rays– Pitching, pitching and then they pitch some more. Price, Hellickson and Shields were just the tip of the iceberg for Tampa as they ushered New York out of Florida with a rare opening sweep. Carlos Pena (2/7/.500) made his return felt in a hurry.
  3. Arizona Diamondbacks– National League West opponents are officially on notice. These guys are for real,and their offense, at least the first week, has been electric. Pitching needs to wake up soon.
  4. St. Louis Cardinals– Perhaps the most impressive team effort of any team on this list. David Freese (1/6/.421) looks primed for sustained success.
  5. Washington Nationals– The real question here isn’t why are they ranked so high. The real question is can they maintain this from week-to-week. Impressive bullpen and rotation showings so far have Beltway fans feeling optimistic.
  6. Los Angeles Dodgers– Did anybody else see how good Chad Billingsley looked in his first outing of the year? Predictions might have to be rethought out if he pitches like that (8.1 IP, 11 K’s, 0ER) consistently).
  7. Cincinnati Reds– Jay Bruce already has three home runs while Joey Votto gets his post contract jitters out of the way. It may be time for them to find a new role for Bronson Arroyo however (10 hits, 4 ER in six innings)
  8. Kansas City Royals– Luke Hovhevar and Jonathan Sanchez pitched well in initial outings after taking 2-of-3 from the LA Angels-of-Albert-Pujols-and-Disney. Hosmer already making his case for an All-Star birth in the home stadium (2 HR, .286 BA)
  9. Texas Rangers– Lose a pitcher and another steps forward for the Rangers. Colby Lewis (9 K’s over six innings, 2 ER) looked good against the White Sox.
  10. Seattle Mariners– Felix Hernandez was fooling no one in the Oakland lineup their second time seeing him. They tagged him for six runs. Chone Figgins appears to have finally arrived from Los Angeles (.412 BA, 4 RBI, SB) which could play a pivotal role in Seattle’s return to respectability.
  11. Miami Marlins– They botched opening day with the Ali fiasco, they Carlos Zambrano is realizing it gets tougher with age and now Ozzie Guillen is already on the hot seat for comments he made regarding his respect for Fidel Castro. It’s almost like he forgot where he was.
  12. Toronto Blue Jays– The Blue Jays will break a lot of hearts if their starting pitching doesn’t catch up with the ability of their relievers.
  13. New York Mets– Break up the Mets! Sweep of the Braves has them riding high. new dimensions at Citi Field help their cause but sustainability will be key. David Wright appears primed for great year (1 HR, .667 BA, 3 RBI)
  14. Philadelphia Phillies– You can’t fool me. I know Philadelphia is missing all that offense provided by Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. Pitching is there, but offense will need to hit better than their ace (Halladay) if they expect to contend for more than the East.
  15. Pittsburgh Pirates- Casey McGeHee might be one of the more underrated pick ups of the offseason. Bullpen continues to be lights out for Pittsburgh. Pedro Alvarez is teetering dangerously close to bust status (.167 BA, 0 BB, 3 K’s)
  16. Houston Astros- When two of the top five hitters on your team are members of your starting rotation there is a problem. That said, enjoy the early success while it lasts unless they can find a way to incorporate Bud Norris and lucas Harrell into everyday roles.
  17. Los Angeles Angels– Royals made meat of two of of the top starters on this team Dan Haren (8.44 ERA, 11 hits, 5 ER) and Ervin Santana (7.94 ERA, 5ER). Will need to get starters on board to compete for the West.
  18. Colorado Rockies- Slow starts out of the gate for CarGo, Helton and Tulo. Old guys Jason Giambi (3 BB, .750 OBP) and Jamie Moyer (2 K’s, 3 ER over five innings) still contributing.
  19. Chicago Cubs- Their bullpen is atrocious. Kerry Wood (27.00 ERA) and Carlos Marmol (20.25 ERA) obviously didn’t get the memo about a new way of doing things in Chicago. Castro, LaHair and Soriano all showed up to play in ’12. Might be time for Geovany Soto to see his way out of Wrigley.
  20. Milwaukee Brewers-Jekyl and Hyde pitching staff performance has three guys with ERA’s of zero and seven with ERA’s of 4.50 and well above. Shame to waste hot start by the hitters because who knows how long Corey Hart (.444 BA, 3 HR) will keep this up.
  21. Atlanta Braves- #FireFredi hash tags are alive and well on Twitter. Confusing moves from the bench and wasted performances on the mound don’t show a team ready to move on from 2011. Jason Heyward rebounded from an 0-for-4 opening day to go go 2-for-6 with a triple, double, 2 BB and an .833 OPS.
  22. New York Yankees- Yankees showed their age a bit in their opening series against the Rays. Mariano gave up a moon shot to Carlos Pena and Jeter, Teixeira and Cano must still have thought they were training. Phil Hughes, CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda all looked slower against the Rays offense.
  23. Boston Red Sox- Trade everyone! or at least figure out what happened to the real guys on this team. Bullpen was an obvious culprit without Andrew Bailey closing as the Sox blew two late leads against the Tigers.
  24. Oakland Athletics– I think the Athletics need to employ a “start with the reliever” tactic on the nights Brandon McCarthy doesn’t pitch. Yoenis Cespedes is crushing the ball (.308, 3 HR, 7 RBI’s) and not making many friends while doing so. Jason Vargas can pout all he wants, this moon shot by Cespedes was something to behold for sure.
  25. Chicago White Sox- Paul Konerko remains only viable bat on offense among underachievers. Encouraging opening efforts from Jake Peavy (6 innings, 5 K’s, 3 ER) and their bullpen leave some hope on the South side.
  26. Cleveland Indians- Bullpen and bats let them down against the Blue Jays. Not a player on this team came away with a remotely respectable showing in offense.
  27. San Diego Padres- Hitting has been respectable but they ran into a buzz saw in Dodgers this weekend. Bullpen will need to be better after posting crooked numbers in crucial situations.
  28. Baltimore Orioles- Scoff, yell, kick and scream all you want. I’m doing everyone a favor by placing the 3-0 Orioles down here. I’m tempering excitement early because they will be here by seasons end. Don’t believe me? Remember just one season ago when they started 6-1? How did the next 13 turn out? 2-11. Just saying.
  29. Minnesota Twins- Ron Gardenhire may want to start posting ads in the Star Tribune for arms at this rate. Mauer may want to post missing signs on milk cartons for his swing at home.
  30. San Francisco Giants- Buster Posey is back (.333 BA, HR) and that’s good news. The bad news is Lincecum (8.44 ERA), Cain (7.55 ERA) and Bumgarner (9.00 ERA) went missing in the desert.

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