After one week of play, the Tigers are No. 1, the Twins are at the bottom and the Nationals are stuck in the middle in SI.com's first Power Rankings of the 2015 regular season.
One team stands above the rest in our inaugural regular season Power Rankings: The Detroit Tigers. Thanks to some prodigious offense and strong pitching, the Tigers are off to a 6–0 start, with three-game sweeps of the Twins and Indians. Detroit and Kansas City are baseball's only two undefeated teams after one week of play, but the Tigers grabbed the top spot in our rankings with five of our six first-place votes. The Royals sit at third, with the Red Sox just between the two AL Central rivals in the second spot. St. Louis and Toronto round out the top five.
Detroit has already shown that it will be a force with which to be reckoned in the AL. The Tigers lead all of baseball in runs per game at 7.8, have the league's best OPS+ at 178 and are a staggering +31 in run differential. Leading the way is, of course, Miguel Cabrera, who bashed his first two homers of the season on Sunday and has 13 hits in 25 at-bats. His line to begin the season: a cool .520/.586/.840 with a team-high eight RBIs. He's not the only Tiger off to a hot start: Shortstop Jose Iglesias is hitting .526, second baseman Ian Kinsler is at .440 and rightfielder J.D. Martinez already has three homers in 28 trips to the plate. The pitching has also been stellar: Detroit's 2.00 ERA is second only to the Braves' 1.83.
While Detroit occupies the top spot, team that led our pre-spring-training Power Rankings—the Nationals—debuts at 15th this week. Expected to cruise through the season on the backs of a stellar pitching staff, Washington is instead off to a 2–4 start, losing its opening series to the Mets and dropping two of three to the lowly Phillies. That last series has to sting for the Nationals, who were shut down by journeyman starter Jerome Williams on Friday, then saw their bullpen collapse on Saturday in an extra-inning defeat. Washington narrowly avoided the sweep on Sunday, again losing a late lead but prevailing, 4-3, in 10 innings.
It's not pitching ailing the Nats, however, who have a brilliant 2.32 ERA through 54 1/3 innings. Instead, it's the offense that has let the team down: Washington is tied with the Twins for worst run production (2.17 per game) in baseball, and its .194 batting average is dead last. Several regulars are off to ugly starts, particularly shortstop Ian Desmond (.136/.208/.227) and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (.130/.231/.261), but the worst offender might be second baseman Dan Uggla, who has just two hits in 18 at-bats with no walks or RBIs. The pending return of rightfielder Jayson Werth from the disabled list should give the offense a boost, but the Nationals' lineup will likely continue to sputter until centerfielder Denard Span (who could be back this month after having abdominal surgery last month) and third baseman Anthony Rendon (who is listed as week-to-week while recovering from a sprained MCL in his left knee) are also back.
At least the Nationals have reason to believe they will turn things around. For our No. 30 team, however, the first week suggested that this year will be much like the last. Coming off a 92-loss 2014, Minnesota is off to a 1–5 start in '15, getting swept by Detroit and then dropping two of three to the White Sox. Nothing's working for the Twins in the early going: They can't hit (team batting average of .197), have no power (just one homer through six games, that belonging to Brian Dozier) and have been brutal on the mound (MLB-worst 5.88 ERA). The latter is most worrisome for Minnesota, which had the second-highest ERA in baseball last year and will be without Ervin Santana (PED suspension) and Ricky Nolasco (elbow pain) for an extended stretch. The rotation's lone bright spot so far: Tommy Milone, who threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings to beat the White Sox last Friday and give the Twins their lone win of the season's opening week. He'll need to be the second coming of Sandy Koufax, however, for Minnesota to avoid a long stay at the bottom of the AL Central and our rankings.
(NOTE: The SI.com Power Rankings are voted on by SI's baseball experts. Last Week's ranking reflects the team's standing in our pre–spring-training Power Rankings.)