As we near the end of April, we are starting to see exactly who the contenders are this year. We should all place our bets for the World Series now that we’ve seen these teams in action for almost a month! Just kidding. It is still VERY early in the season. There are always narratives to follow in baseball though, even in April. Will the Dodgers get over this slump? Are the Phillies for real? Do we really have a four horse race in the NL Central? Time will tell. Let’s do our best to assess these teams and see who makes this week’s Power 15.
Biggest Jump: St. Louis Cardinals (13-8) – The Cardinals seem to always be good. Last year was actually the first season since 2011 that they didn’t make the playoffs. Looks like they will be in the playoff hunt this season too, as they currently lead the loaded NL Central. They jump up five spots this week after going 4-1 this week. They find themselves tied for the most home runs in the National League with 30 bombs. They also rank in the top five in basically every offensive AND pitching category in the NL.
Biggest Drop: Seattle Mariners (11-9) and Pittsburgh Pirates (12-10) – What a difference a week makes for the Mariners, who owned last week’s biggest jump! They dropped four spots after going 3-4 this week showing us that they have a consistency problem. The Pirates also drop four spots this week. It appears they are finally falling back to Earth after getting off to that hot start. They went 1-6 this week, bringing them down to 3rd in the NL Central.
More Notable Movement: The Top five teams remain the same this week, but they all switch spots. The Twins and Rockies fall out of the Power 15. The young Phillies and Braves both emerge in the rankings this week. The Phillies have been pitching great all season but lately they are finding ways to score runs, bringing them up to 14-7 on the season and breathing down the Mets’ necks. The Braves are right behind the Phillies though. Atlanta leads the NL in batting average, RBIs and Runs Scored. We don’t know yet just how good these two NL East teams will be but they are sure making a good impression right now.
- Boston Red Sox (17-4) ⇔ I know they just got no-hit on Saturday by a guy I’ve never heard of and they lost two in a row for the first time all season, but the Red Sox still own the best record in the league. Their offense is finally catching up with their pitching as they now lead the majors in batting average, runs, and OPS. The pitching hasn’t slowed down though. They have a 2.75 ERA and their closer Craig Kimbrel is a perfect 5 for 5 in Save opportunities.
- Houston Astros (16-7) ⇑(3) It didn’t take long for the Astros to get out of their “slump.” They went 6-1 this week just to show everyone that they are still the World Champs. Like the Red Sox, Houston’s line up is starting to live up to expectations. Their pitching is still the story this year as they lead the majors with a 2.22 Team ERA.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (15-6) ⇑(5) Weren’t the Diamondbacks supposed to watch the Dodgers run away with the NL West again this year? I’ll be the first to admit that I did not expect Arizona to be good this year. I guess they don’t care much for my expectations though. They just keep winning! Arizona is supposed to be a hitter friendly area, but they actually lead the NL with a 2.75 ERA. We know their line up will get it together at some point but if they keep up this pitching performance, they will be title contenders the whole season.
- New York Mets (14-6) ⇓(2) The Mets aren’t as amazin’ anymore. Even still, they are still the best team in the NL East. They have officially moved Matt Harvey to the bullpen. There’s no telling what effect this will have on their pitching staff, but for now, they still lie in the top ten in most pitching categories. Maybe Harvey will be the next Andrew Miller and help lead the Mets into the postseason…
- Los Angeles Angels (14-8) ⇓(4) The Shohei Ohtani hype train is still running strong. He isn’t the only superstar in Anaheim though. Mike Trout is having a typical Mike Trout season. He’s leading the Angels offense and leading the league in home runs. People in the LA-Anaheim area should be very excited about what this team has done so far. This offense is gonna be a problem for opposing pitchers all season. As long as the pitchers can be just okay, the Angels should find themselves in the playoff race.
- Cleveland Indians (11-8) ⇔
- Toronto Blue Jays (13-8) ⇑(8)
- Chicago Cubs (10-9) ⇑(10)
- St. Louis Cardinals (13-8) ⇑(14)
- Milwaukee Brewers (14-9) ⇑(12)
- Pittsburgh Pirates (12-10) ⇓(7)
- NY Yankees (11-9) ⇑(13)
- Philadelphia Phillies (14-7) ⇑(NR)
- Atlanta Braves (12-8) ⇑(NR)
- Seattle Mariners (11-9) ⇓(11)