The Call to the Pen staff assembled their power rankings and brought them together for our first weekly edition. Each writer ranked every team from 1st to 30th, with the 1st place vote being worth three points and the last place team earning 0.1 points. The numbers were crunched, and below are your official Call to the Pen power rankings to start the season.
1. Texas Rangers – They were a unanimous decision at the top for our writers.
“Looking good, as expected.” – Lew Freedman
2. Los Angeles Dodgers – Now who saw this coming? Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are tearing it up. Anyone penciling in Kemp as the MVP already? (Just kidding, that would go against every unwritten and written analytical rule).
“Can they sustain it?” – Lew
“The Dodgers are absurdly hot right now. Everything is going right for them; Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp are mashing, and Chad Billingsley is showing that he deserves to be part of a one-two punch with Clayton Kershaw. I didn’t expect them to come out as hot as they are to start the year, but if they continue playing at a high level like this, they may be able to run away with the West. I wonder whether they are truly for real or not though.” – Matt Musico
4. Washington Nationals – Those moves in the offseason are paying off, and I can’t praise the Edwin Jackson signing nearly enough.
“The Nationals are in a pretty interesting spot in this early season. It’s not totally unreasonable to imagine this team contending for a decent amount of time, perhaps even through the summer. How will they handle Stephen Strasburg‘s workload? When and will Bryce Harper crack into the Big League club this season? These are tough, but good problems to have.” – Kyle Davis
“Great start. Good for confidence. Much improved.” – Lew
5. Toronto Blue Jays – Alex Anthopoulos is the arguably the best GM in baseball, with Brian Cashman being close.
6. New York Yankees – Business as usual for the Bombers who certainly know quite a bit about business itself.
7. St. Louis Cardinals – Yadier Molina and Carlos Beltran are going crazy for the defending World Champs, and that’s not even mentioning what David Freese has done in another one of his signature hot streaks.
“Playing a little over their heads. Carlos Beltan not going to (be) Albert II.” – Lew
8. Arizona Diamondbacks – Jason Kubel is looking like a poor signing, not that I criticized the move or anything (I did). But still, the Snakes look good and should win the NL West pretty easily.
9. Atlanta Braves – How ’bout them Braves? Is Brian McCann the best catcher in baseball? Best offensive catcher at least?
10. Baltimore Orioles – So what if they don’t end up playing this well throughout the season? Let’s at least enjoy this early start.
“The Orioles aren’t this good, as they’ve been swept by the only decent team they’ve played thus far. It is good to see them beating the teams they should, but they aren’t likely to stay atop the AL East for long.” – Blaine Blontz
“Good start, but it’s false hope.” – Lew
11. Tampa Bay Rays – Don’t worry, I’m going to go out on the limb and guarantee a playoff appearance for the Tampa Bay Rays. This team is great, and they’re going to be in the top ten soon- most likely by the end of this month.
12. New York Mets – Going 3-0 was the greatest thing that happened to a Mets fan in a some time.
13. Milwaukee Brewers
14. San Francisco Giants – Tim Lincecum is still a good pitcher, but the concerns about his velocity are real and mean that he will never be amazing again. Unless, he completely overhauls his approach to hitters. Don’t rule that out, because “The Freak” is an intelligent pitcher.
15. Philadelphia Phillies – Wait until Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are back, then we can talk about an offense that isn’t useless to supplement Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, and the best rotation in baseball. The Phils aren’t showing off, but they aren’t falling behind (to steal from George Costanza, bonus if you can name the episode).
“Can’t get the bats going. Hurry up Ryan Howard.” – Lew
16. Miami Marlins – Ozzie Guillen is once again a hot topic, and we’ll see what the new-look Marlins can do as the season wears on. I don’t see them getting into the top three in the NL East, you?
17. Colorado Rockies – Jamie Moyer is a true freak of nature.
18. Cincinnati Reds – Zack Cozart is still my pick for NL ROY, but the Reds are showing why the Cardinals are better.
“Can’t hit at all. Ridiculously low production. The pitchers were supposed to be the problem.” – Lew
19. Los Angeles Angels – Give credit to the Angels for getting a bargain off with their reported extension of shortstop Erick Aybar.
“Is Albert going to be Albert?” – Lew
“For all of the things we said about how good the Angels would be this year, they’re not showing that they’re worthy so far. Albert Pujols showed in Spring Training that he was still “The Machine,” but now that the regular season has started, he’s been almost non-existent. He’s the centerpiece of their offense, so until he really gets going, this team will continue to putter.” – Matt
20. Cleveland Indians
21. Chicago White Sox
“Pitching as well as they were supposed to last year.” – Lew
22. Seattle Mariners – Jesus Montero has immediately been their best offensive player, and it isn’t even close. Jury’s still out on who won the deal, but I bet the M’s are elated with their new, young star.
23. Pittsburgh Pirates
24. Boston Red Sox – I know things are looking bad for this team, but I would still rank them in the top 20. Who knows? Maybe Bobby V and the Sox are just that bad. Honestly, Valentine is proving those who said that he isn’t a fit in Boston correct. By the way, I still think Mark Melancon is their best, healthy reliever no matter how bad he has been early on.
“Everything’s going wrong. Pitching shakier than a tall building in an earthquake. Mark Melancon’s ERA after Tuesday was 49.50.” – Lew
“The Red Sox are in trouble. Last year was different, there seemed to be more talent and more of an expectation that they would improve. It’s still early, but things don’t look good in Beantown.” – Blaine
25. Oakland Athletics
26. Kansas City Royals
“The Royals have really struggled out of the gate after taking 2 out of 3 against the Angels on Opening Weekend, but this is what’s going to happen with a young team. It looks like they still need some more time to gel before they hit their stride this year, but with the Tigers off to a hot start, they’re going to have to get going quick before challenging for the division crown becomes a distant memory.” – Matt
27. Minnesota Twins
28. San Diego Padres
29. Houston Astros – J.D. Martinez has been hitting like a fiend, but this team is a lock to lose 100 games and is worse than last year’s bunch.
30. Chicago Cubs – Lew sums it up perfectly in four words.
“As bad as expected.”
Hopefully you enjoyed those rankings, and we would all love for you guys to argue, discuss, and break out those old Mark Grace cards in the comments section.
I would like to say that the good thing about this method is that accounts for all of the different ways to view a power ranking system early in the season. Some people like to give more weight to teams that are doing well, while the “regression model guys” (self-dubbed, by the way) give more weight to the talented teams.
Either way, the Texas Rangers are undoubtedly the best team in baseball right now. Let’s see if this dynasty-quality (yeah, I broke out NBA jargon) team can keep it up over the course of this rigorous, unpredictable 162 game season.