1. Texas Rangers (23-12) The Rangers have held the top spot in all three of my rankings. Josh Hamilton is hitting the ball better than anybody since the days of Bonds, Sosa and McGwire. It is hard to dispute this is the best all around team in all of baseball.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (23-11) I have stuck with the Dodgers with the number two spot in all three of my polls so far. I will continue to state that I felt this was a playoff team all along. The chemistry of the new additions (Capuano, Harang, Ellis) have worked well in the clubhouse (as I had suggested in the offseason). The only concern is the bullpen. They have demoted Javy Guerra as their closer, replacing him with Kenley Jensen. Mike McDougal has been released. If they can square away the bullpen, they can maintain their early stance as best team in the NL.
3. St Louis Cardinals (20-14) The Cardinals continue to get phenominal starting pitching. Carlos Beltran is off to a tremendous start. Outside of Chris Carpenter, they have managed to stay healthy, something division rivals have not been able to do.
4. Tampa Bay Rays (21-14) If you want the teams ranked in order of best to worst record now, you have to go somewhere else. The Rays are the best team in the division right now, but that could change. They have managed to stay afloat after the injury to Evan Longoria. Among the AL East, they have the most consistent starting rotation to this point. As you will see with numbers 5, 6 and 9, the margin is not by very much.
5. New York Yankees (19-15) The Yankees have been a little bit up and down, and thats mostly because of their starting pitching. Phil Hughes has pitched well of late and the team should get some more consistency with the return of Andy Pettitte. Robinson Cano is hitting very well and the team will be scary again if A-Rod and Teixeira get going.
6. Baltimore Orioles (22-13) The Orioles are in first place, and Buck Showalter has them believing in themselves. Though I agree that they have taken the right steps and may be able to beat the poor expectations, they are not in the same league as the Rays and Yankees. Ranking them 6th is showing them respect, but they have to maintain this for a little longer before I rank them ahead of the other two teams.
7. Washington Nationals (21-13) The Nationals are at a crossroads. After the devastating injury to catcher Wilson Ramos, joining OF Jayson Werth on the indefinate DL, the Nats have some major offensive holes to fill. The starters have still pitched well, but it will be interesting to see how they handle the games where the team that does not score.
8. Atlanta Braves (22-13) The Braves are back in first place. The lineup has performed better than expected. As time goes by, they may get their chance of taking over the NL East with the recent Nationals injuries.
9. Toronto Blue Jays (19-16) The Blue Jays have been under the radar because of the play of Baltimore, but they clearly have what it takes to compete. Unfortunately, if they finish forth, there is no way they can make the postseason. I like the starting pitching and they do have the offense to beat the top AL teams.
10. New York Mets (19-15) The Mets have played an exciting style of baseball; they are a team that is never out of a game. Their offense and starting pitching have been giving them a chance to win almost everyday. Though they have already exceeded expectations, they can be even better if they get something out of their bullpen. That is their biggest problem.
11. Miami Marlins (18-16) The Marlins are starting to look like the team that was assembled in the offseason. Carlos Zambrano was been great, and their starting pitching has been very consistent overall. I see this team making its run soon.
12. Cleveland Indians (18-16) Derek Lowe is a surprising 5-1 and the bulk of their production is coming from the 2B, SS, 3B combo of Jason Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jack Hannahan. Despite the inevitable addition of Johnny Damon, I don't feel that comfortable with this team winning the AL Central.
13. Detroit Tigers (17-17) Justin Verlander is giving them a chance while a lot of things are not going right. Doug Fister returns to the rotation and it will be a matter of time before the Tigers start winning a lot more games than they lose.
14. Cincinnati Reds (17-16) Another one of my preseason favorites has struggled to stay consistent, partially because of the play of St Louis and Houston. Jay Bruce has 10 HR and LHP Aroldis Chapman has 31 Ks in 17 IP.
15. San Francisco Giants (17-17) The Giants have managed to score runs this season, despite the unfortunate injury to 3B Pablo Sandoval. Like many other teams, they have to figure out the back of the bullpen which is not the same without Brian Wilson. Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla have held their own so far.
16. Philadelphia Phillies (16-19) The offense continues to struggle, costing the team very good starting pitching performances. It is starting to look like this is what the Phillies are offensively. GM Ruben Amaro has hinted that the team could be sellers if it keeps this up.
17. Los Angeles Angels (15-20) The Angels are playing better lately, I think its a matter of time before they move above .500. The play of Albert Pujols continues to be a surprise and the deeper into the season it gets, the more it is becoming a concern.
18. Oakland Athletics (18-17) I am not ready to anoint this team yet, especially with Yonesis Cespedes on the DL. Jarrod Parker is a nice addition to the rotation and they have enjoyed the unexpected success of Bartolo Colon and Tommy Milone. Manager Bob Melvin is proving this is a better all-around team than I think.
19. Chicago White Sox (16-19) The White Sox have had two blasts from the pasts, with Adam Dunn equaling his HR total from last season and Jake Peavy looking like he did 5 years ago. If they can continue to get some consistent starting pitching and figure out the bullpen, they may be able to win more games.
20. Arizona Diamondbacks (15-20) The D'Backs are off to a tough start, playing without CF Chris Young and RHP Daniel Hudson. The NL West is going to be competitive, but despite the losing record, they are still in the middle of the race.
21. Boston Red Sox (15-19) The Red Sox have been up and down on the field. They have been a circus off it. A couple of good series could put them back in the AL East race, but a couple of bad ones could put some distance between the other teams and Bobby V's bunch.
22. Milwaukee Brewers (15-19) The Brewers have had some tough injuries to SS Alex Gonzalez and 3B Mat Gamel, with both expected to be out for the season. Not surprisingly, they have struggled to score runs. At least Ryan Braun is off to a good start. They need to acquire a bat if they expect to contend this season.
23. Pittsburgh Pirates (16-18) The Pirates were picked by some to surprise this season. Pedro Alvarez has shown some of his power early and James McDonald and Erik Bedard have finally given them a one two punch at the top of their rotation. Add in star CF Andrew McCutchen and you have some identity, something the Pirates have not had in years.
24. Houston Astros (15-19) The Astros have surprised some people by not losing every game. They have a lot of unknown young players such as CF Jordan Shaffer, SS Jed Lowrie, 2B Jose Altuve, LF JD Martinez and RHP Bud Norris that could keep this team respectable. They should still finish last in the division, but the Cubs should make it interesting.
25. Colorado Rockies (13-20) There are thing that are easy to like with the Rockies such as their offense and Jamie Moyer. I don't trust their manager in a big spot and they need to get a little more out of players such as 3B Chris Nelson and RF Michael Cuddyer. Is this team better than their record? I cannot tell right now, but if it isn't, Jim Tracy may be on the hot seat soon.
26. Seattle Mariners (16-20) The Mariners took the third game in their NY series against the Yankees. This is a young team that has to work out some kinks. Felix Hernandez was off to a great start until Friday against the Yankees and Jesus Montero is showing the 25-30 HR bat, something vital to the Mariners lineup.
27. Kansas City Royals (13-20) I continue to say the Royals are better than their record. If they have a good week, I could see them jumping up the rankings. If you forget their 12 game losing streak, they are 13-8 in all other games.
28. Chicago Cubs (14-20) It is great that Carlos Marmol has been replaced as the team's closer. Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza continue to pitch well, but they have little other bright spots, perhaps just SS Starlin Castro and RF Brian LaHair.
29. San Diego Padres (12-23) I have been right on with the Padres. This is a team with no identity and with 1B Yonder Alonso off the a bad start, it is hard to be excited about this team.
30. Minnesota Twins (10-24) The Twins have been as bad as their ranking, in spite of getting some production from Justin Mourneau and Joe Mauer. Their pitching is terrible and its tough to see them