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.