Bay Area ballclubs sit atop Power Rankings
There's a new No. 1 for the fourth week in a row while Braves fall far from top spot
It's early -- one-month-into-the-season early -- but you can't blame A's fans for being excited, can you?
The same goes for Giants fans, who are already thinking about another World Series title, and dare we say it, another Bay Bridge Series in October?
That's right. Two of the best teams in baseball are separated by 12 miles and one of the most famous bridges in the country.
Could this be their year? Fans in Milwaukee, Detroit and Colorado might disagree. And don't forget about the Braves, Nationals and Dodgers.
Which team deserves to be on top?
For the fourth consecutive season, MLB.com has set up a panel of experts to vote on the top 15 teams each week. The group includes MLB.com vice president and executive editor Carlton Thompson, executive editor Matthew Leach, columnists Mike Bauman, Hal Bodley, Anthony Castrovince, Richard Justice, Tracy Ringolsby, Phil Rogers and Lyle Spencer, along with reporters Alyson Footer and Jesse Sanchez.
What do you think? Agree, disagree? Have your opinion counted by submitting your Power Rankings.
1. Giants: Don't look now, but San Francisco has won five in a row, nine of its past 10, and only the Brewers have a better record in the Major Leagues. The Giants' starting pitchers each worked six innings and allowed one run in the sweep of Braves over the weekend. And here's something else to consider: San Francisco has hit a home run in 11 consecutive games. Last week: 3
2. A's: Oakland has overcome injuries to key players, inconsistent play at times and a short bench to become arguably the best team in the American League. They can thank starters Sonny Gray, Jesse Chavez and Scott Kazmir, whose success makes them a fit among the best pitching staffs in the AL. Last week: 4
3. Tigers: Detroit is riding a five-game winning streak and leads the AL Central by 4 1/2 games. Miguel Cabrera is once again playing like an MVP, batting .378 (17-for-45) during his current 10-game hitting streak. What's more, Torii Hunter is riding an 11-game hitting streak, batting .408 (20-for-49) in that stretch. The Tigers' 17-9 record is their best start to a season since 2006. Last week: 7
4. Brewers: Milwaukee has the best record in baseball and the third-lowest ERA in the National League at 3.01. Closer Francisco Rodriguez is already having a season to remember, and Carlos Gomez has played in every game, all at leadoff. Last week: 2
5. Rockies: Third baseman Nolan Arenado has a 24-game hitting streak, emerging as one of the game's young offensive stars, yet most would still argue he's a better fielder than he is a hitter. And Colorado certainly can hit. The Rox lead the Majors in runs scored and in several other offensive categories. The defense has also been solid all season. Last week: 11
6. Nationals: Washington has lost several key players to injuries and dropped its last two weekend games to Philadelphia. But the Nats still trail the first-place Braves by only a half-game in the NL East. Doug Fister is expected back to bolster what many believe is the best starting rotation in the NL. Last week: 8
7. Dodgers: Yasiel Puig might be the most exciting player in baseball and Zack Greinke could be the best pitcher in the big leagues right now. Beginning last July, Greinke has made 18 consecutive regular-season starts of five or more innings and two or fewer runs. It's the longest such streak in the Majors since 1914. Moreover, Clayton Kershaw is due to return Tuesday in Washington -- six weeks after straining a muscle in his upper back while beating Arizona on Opening Night in Australia.
8. Braves: Atlanta sat atop these rankings a week ago, but a six-game skid has left the team searching for answers -- specifically on the offensive end. The Braves managed just one run in each of their three weekend games against the Giants, going 3-for-21 with runners in scoring position. Half of Atlanta's starters are currently hitting below .250. Last week: 1
9. Rangers: Texas' six-game homerless drought came to an end Friday night, and there's reason to believe things are turning around at the plate for a team that was swept by Oakland earlier in the week. The Rangers burst out for 14 runs against the Angels on Sunday, and the slumping Adrian Beltre and Prince Fielder had three hits apiece. Last week: 5
10. Marlins: Though their seven-game home winning streak -- and their four-game winning streak overall -- was snapped on Saturday, the Marlins remain one of baseball's hottest teams. Miami has received solid pitching and timely hitting to go along with Giancarlo Stanton's power. Stanton's 10 home runs and 36 RBIs lead the NL. Last week: Not ranked
11. Mets: The Mets have crept within a game of first place in the NL East. Jon Niese and Dillon Gee, at the top of the rotation, have been the biggest reasons why. The two have combined to go 5-2 while allowing just five total runs over seven starts, since mid-April. Last week: 10
12. Orioles: A doubleheader sweep of the Pirates on Thursday and a gem from Ubaldo Jimenez on Friday briefly put the O's into first place in the AL East. But they struggled the past two days, dropping two straight to the Twins. Baltimore will need to reverse a recent trend during which its relievers have been on the mound too often. Only Jimenez has lasted more than 5 1/3 innings over the past five games. Last week: Not ranked
13. Yankees: Michael Pineda isn't going to return when his 10-game suspension is up. He has been shut down for a couple weeks because of a Grade 1 strain in a right shoulder muscle, the latest blow to the Yanks' rotation, CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda have struggled, while Masahiro Tanaka has been carrying the load. Last week: 6
14. Cardinals: Adam Wainwright apparently is human, as the Cubs tagged the right-hander for six runs on 10 hits Friday afternoon. The Cards' deep pitching staff shouldn't have much to worry about, though, despite the club sitting at .500. But after losing two of three to Milwaukee, followed by two of three to their arch-rivals in Chicago, St. Louis finds itself already five games out in the NL Central. Last week: 9
15. Angels: On Saturday, C.J. Cron became the first Halos player since Kendrys Morales in 2006 to record three hits in his first big league game. The Angels continue to receive solid outings from their first four starters, who are a combined 11-5, but they can't seem to get much out of Hector Santiago, who fell to 0-5 with another loss on Friday. Last week: 14
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.