Power Rankings: Cardinals jump over Tigers, Mets to take first place

1:21 | MLB
Power Rankings: Cardinals jump over Tigers, Mets to take first place
Monday April 27th, 2015

The third week of our Power Rankings features a new team at No. 1. Coming off a 4–2 week that featured series victories over the Nationals and Brewers, the Cardinals jumped over the Tigers and held off the Mets for top honors, earning three of the seven first-place votes. New York slides in at runner-up, still with the best record in baseball but smarting after losing two of three Subway Series games to the Yankees over the weekend. The Dodgers dropped from second to third, the Royals jumped a spot to No. 4, and Detroit took a small tumble to fifth place.

St. Louis may be sitting pretty in the rankings, but the outlook isn't as rosy on the field, where the Cardinals must contend with the loss of Adam Wainwright to an Achilles tendon injury. Wainwright, who hurt himself taking an at-bat in Saturday's win over Milwaukee, is likely done for the year, leaving St. Louis with a gigantic hole to fill in its rotation. That starting five has been the Cardinals' greatest strength so far: The team leads the majors in rotation ERA at 2.39, but with Wainwright (1.44 ERA in 25 innings so far this year) now done, St. Louis will need to keep up that early strong start to hold off a competitive NL Central. Young arms Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez have so far carried the Cardinals: Wacha has a 1.33 ERA through 20 1/3 innings, and Martinez has been just as good, posting a 1.35 ERA with 21 whiffs in 20 frames. Both 23-year-olds, however, will likely face innings limits down the road, leaving St. Louis with an uncertain pitching future.

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While the Cardinals try to figure out how to patch together their rotation, the Rays are seeing theirs come together beautifully. Tampa Bay ripped off five wins in six games last week to move into a tie for first place in the AL East and from 21st to 10th in this week's rankings, thanks in large part to its pitching. Rays hurlers gave up just 13 runs over 54 innings last week, and Tampa's rotation now boasts a 3.45 ERA, third-best in the AL. Chris Archer has led the way for the Rays: The righthander has a brilliant 0.84 ERA and 37 strikeouts through 32 1/3 innings and hasn't allowed an earned run in his last four starts. He hasn't been alone in his strong start, though, with fellow righty Jake Odorizzi contributing a 1.65 ERA in 27 1/3 innings over four starts. And reinforcements are coming for Tampa, with Drew Smyly off the disabled list after a bout of shoulder tendinitis and Alex Cobb now throwing bullpen sessions as he recovers from forearm tendinitis. Those two plus Archer, Odorizzi and the rehabbing Matt Moore (who is expected to return in June from Tommy John surgery) could combine to give Tampa the AL's best rotation.

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Tampa isn't the only team in Florida flying high right now. The Marlins have jumped all the way from 28th to 14th in this week's rankings, thanks to a five-game winning streak and a sweep of the division rival Nationals. It helps that Giancarlo Stanton is back to his old self: After a slow start (.239 average with 17 strikeouts through April 19), the Miami slugger hit a scalding .348/.423/.870 with three homers last week. But he's had some help, primarily from the infield trio of Dee Gordon, Martin Prado and Adeiny Hechavarria. Gordon leads the team with a .390 batting average and has already racked up eight steals; Prado has eight hits and six RBIs in his last 23 trips to the plate; and Hechavarria was a one-man wrecking crew last week, batting a cool .500 (12-for-24) with a homer and 10 RBIs. That's helped overcome some shakiness in the rotation (Miami's starting five has a collective ERA of 4.11) and gets the Marlins back into the early race in the NL East.

  • 1
    1St. Louis Cardinals
    last week: 3
    points: 204
    High Vote: 1st (3x)
    Low Vote: 3rd (2x)

  • 2
    2New York Mets
    last week: 4
    points: 195
    High Vote: 1st (3x)
    Low Vote: 7th

  • 3
    3Los Angeles Dodgers
    last week: 2
    points: 186
    High Vote: 1st
    Low Vote: 7th (2x)

  • 4
    4Kansas City Royals
    last week: 5
    points: 180
    High Vote: 2nd (2x)
    Low Vote: 16th

  • 5
    5Detroit Tigers
    last week: 1
    points: 179
    High Vote: 3rd
    Low Vote: 8th (2x)

  • 6
    6Pittsburgh Pirates
    last week: 9
    points: 169
    High Vote: 2nd (2x)
    Low Vote: 11th

  • 7
    7San Diego Padres
    last week: 6
    points: 166
    High Vote: 4th
    Low Vote: 11th

  • 8
    8New York Yankees
    last week: 15
    points: 158
    High Vote: 3rd (2x)
    Low Vote: 21st

  • 9
    9Chicago Cubs
    last week: 11
    points: 154
    High Vote: 6th
    Low Vote: 10th (3x)

  • 10
    10Tampa Bay Rays
    last week: 21
    points: 149
    High Vote: 5th
    Low Vote: 13th

  • 11
    11Houston Astros
    last week: 16
    points: 131
    High Vote: 8th
    Low Vote: 17th

  • 12
    12Los Angeles Angels
    last week: 17
    points: 125
    High Vote: 6th
    Low Vote: 16th (3x)

  • 13
    13Boston Red Sox
    last week: 8
    points: 123
    High Vote: 4th
    Low Vote: 20th (2x)

  • 14
    14Miami Marlins
    last week: 28
    points: 109
    High Vote: 8th
    Low Vote: 23rd

  • 15
    15Oakland Athletics
    last week: 12
    points: 106
    High Vote: 11th
    Low Vote: 26th

  • 16
    16Baltimore Orioles
    last week: 7
    points: 103
    High Vote: 10th
    Low Vote: 22nd

  • 17
    17Toronto Blue Jays
    last week: 14
    points: 102
    High Vote: 14th
    Low Vote: 19th (2x)

  • 18
    18Atlanta Braves
    last week: 10
    points: 93
    High Vote: 12th
    Low Vote: 26th

  • 19
    19Chicago White Sox
    last week: 22
    points: 93
    High Vote: 13th
    Low Vote: 22nd

  • 20
    20Colorado Rockies
    last week: 18
    points: 87
    High Vote: 13th
    Low Vote: 24th

  • 21
    21Washington Nationals
    last week: 13
    points: 69
    High Vote: 8th
    Low Vote: 27th

  • 22
    22Seattle Mariners
    last week: 20
    points: 58
    High Vote: 13th
    Low Vote: 28th (2x)

  • 23
    23Cleveland Indians
    last week: 24
    points: 57
    High Vote: 20th
    Low Vote: 28th

  • 24
    24Cincinnati Reds
    last week: 23
    points: 56
    High Vote: 14th
    Low Vote: 25th (4x)

  • 25
    25Arizona Diamondbacks
    last week: 19
    points: 54
    High Vote: 19th
    Low Vote: 29th

  • 26
    26Texas Rangers
    last week: 25
    points: 45
    High Vote: 23rd (3x)
    Low Vote: 27th

  • 27
    27San Francisco Giants
    last week: 27
    points: 42
    High Vote: 20th
    Low Vote: 27th (3x)

  • 28
    28Minnesota Twins
    last week: 26
    points: 40
    High Vote: 18th
    Low Vote: 27th (2x)

  • 29
    29Philadelphia Phillies
    last week: 29
    points: 13
    High Vote: 29th (6x)
    Low Vote: 30th

  • 30
    30Milwaukee Brewers
    last week: 30
    points: 9
    High Vote: 28th
    Low Vote: 30th (6x)

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