Posted: April 18, 2011 by The Cheap Seat Fan in MLB
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For the third consecutive week there is a change at the top as the young season sorts itself out, yet three of the top five spots feature teams that have remained there from the beginning of the season still. In a surprising turn, the AL Central remains the top division by representation in the top half of the poll, with 4 of it’s 5 teams ranked 12 or better, while it’s defending champ is nowhere to be found for quite a while. The ever-changing AL West is on the rise as well, while the NL Central continues to be a mess that changes it’s look daily.

Behind the combined effort of guys like Astrubal Cabrera (and his AL leading 14 RBI), the Indians are cruising.

Enough with the intros though, here’s how all 30 MLB teams are looking from the CHEAP SEATS, and which hitters and pitchers are the best at what they do currently below. (Sorry for the lack of pics, technical difficulties set in. Be better again next week)

1. Rockies (5): The hottest team in baseball makes a play to move to the top of the charts this week, which is what six wins in one week will do for you. Troy Tulowitzki is picking up right where he picked up last year, and what is most scary is that their ace Ubaldo Jimenez was on the DL the entire time. He returns this week, so their reign at the top may not be short lived.

2. Phillies (2): Cy Young…er…Roy Halladay is cruising along, and now Cliff Lee (3 hit, 12 strikeout shutout on less than 100 pitches vs. the Nationals) is getting into the act as well. However, will their advantage continue to be as potent as it is if Roy Oswalt’s back injury forces him to join the numerous other out of action Phils?

3. Yankees (4): Another weekend, another big series for the Bombers. This time they took some revenge out on the Rangers from last year’s ALCS loss, taking 2 of 3 last weekend. However, Alex Rodriguez had his first injury flare up of the season, so stay tuned to them as well.

4. Indians (7): The keep winning (an AL-high 11 wins), and thus remain as the biggest surprise of the young season. And now they sit upon the top of the AL Central, with their biggest talent in Grady Sizemore, returning to the lineup finally.

5. Angels (12): Dan Haren and Jared Weaver seem to have forgotten how to lose, and the Halos took  5 of 6 match ups with the White Sox and Indians this past week as a result.

6. Rangers (1): They fall from #1 after a tough week on the road against the Yanks and Tigers, losing both series. What’s more is than losing any of those games is that they lost MVP Josh Hamilton to a broken arm in the process. They have to rally to ensure this past week isn’t the constant result with him out the mix.

7. Royals (8): Is it too early to say what’s happening in Kaufmann is legit? After thumping Felix Hernandez around (5 runs in 5 innings) this weekend, and still not having lost a series yet this season, the time may be now for the Royals already.

8. Reds (6): They remain atop the bland NL Central, but after an easy early slate, tussle with the Cardinals (maybe literally…) and another showdown with the D’Backs await. An early proving ground is on deck for this club.

9. Giants (14): The steady rise of the champs continues, as they haven’t lost a series since the season opener vs. the Dodgers. They took 2 of the 3 against their old rivals last week in a rematch of that series for good measure.

10. White Sox (3): Home isn’t always where the heart is apparently. The Sox dropped 5 of 6 six games at the Cell last week, including two extra inning affairs with the A’s, before being swept by the red hot Angels over the weekend.

11. Marlins (18): The Fish stood their ground in matchups within the East last week, taking 3 of 5 against the Phillies and Braves, and showing they won’t be an easy out this year.

12. Tigers (24): Fortunes swung in the Tigers favor finally this season, and they won the close ones, building a four game winning streak of games decided by 2 or less runs.

13. Orioles (9): Ugly week for the O’s, dropping all five contests they took the field for, albeit against some tough comp in the Yanks and Indians. But 5 L’s is still 5 L’s.

14. Athletics (17): Their bats woke up some finally, and gave their pitchers a chance to win some games. They don’t need much support, and when they get it they don’t waste it.

15. Cardinals (26): Their west coast swing continued last week, with much better results overall in Arizona and LA. Lance Berkman and Albert Pujols combined for 10 homers to fuel a 5 win week, as they move into second place in the NL Central.

16. Nationals (23): A weekend sweep of the Brewers took the Nats over .500 and continued their early season success that’s made them one of the more surprising NL teams early.

17. Blue Jays (10): They had back-t0-back showdowns with struggling Boston and Seattle clubs, yet only 2 wins to show from it. Their pitching has the wake up, and in a hurry.

18. Brewers (13): What gives? After rounding into shape after a slugging start, the Brewers are right back where they began. A weekend sweep at the hands of the Nationals leaves them as one of the biggest question marks in baseball.

19. Braves (20): Freddi Gonzalez’s club can’t pull it together for any consistency so far, with a pair of two game winning streaks being the most the frequent efforts they’ve been able to muster so far.

20. Padres (19): San Diego is struggling to find their identity so far this year. They traded wins and losses all week after dropping their first two contests of the week against the Reds.

21. Dodgers (11): Matt Kemp’s walk-off home run on Sunday saved them from a four game sweep at home at the hands of the Cardinals, but they tumbled down the NL West standings last week during a five game losing streak.

22. Rays (30): After as bad of a start as can be imagined, with no offense to be spoken of, the Rays blew up on the scene last week. After a 16 run Monday in Boston, they began a 5 game winning streak that was sparked by a 3-homer week from Johnny Damon.

23. D’Backs (15): They lost and won slugfests vs. the Cardinals early in the week that more resembled an NFC West showdown between the two cities than National League baseball. That same offense alluded them in the weekend however, losing a series vs. the Giants.

24. Cubs (25): Scored an impressive win on Saturday, ending the Rockies 7-game winning streak, but it came in the midst of more inconsistency from the club. They alternated wins and loses all week, and continued to struggle to find an identity early on.

25. Red Sox (16): The Sox continued to try to find a way to remedy their early season woes, which even included benching Carl Crawford and hitting Jed Lowrie and J.D. Drew lead off. It’s still too early to panic, but it’s definitely time for some concern on what exactly is going on here.

26 . Pirates (21): The Bucs continue to spring some surprising victories (such as winning their weekend series against the Reds), but continue be just as liable to do that as they are to not show up entirely (outscored 10-1 in two L’s vs. the Brewers early in the week).

27. Mariners (29): They ended their 7-game skid with two wins versus the Jays, but then handed 3 of 4 to the Royals over the weekend as a follow up.

28. Astros (28): Still have managed to land consecutive victories all season, which explains why they remain in the cellar of the NL Central.

29. Mets (25): The 7-game losing streak the rode through most the week is the longest in the NL all year, and their offense could desperately use Jason Bay right about now, as he continues his minor league rehab work.

30. Twins (27): Paging Joe Mauer, Paging Joe Mauer….your Twins need you badly. They served as the “Get Right” match up for the Rays, who were in this spot last week, and have already bumped closer Joe Nathan from the ninth inning, after he has blown three games already with an ERA that’s over 8.00.

M-V-ME: The best of both Leagues thus far

N.L.: Troy Tulowitzki: The Rockies have taken off once again in the same style he finished last season in. His 7 home runs lead the Major Leagues, and he has been the catalyst in a seven-game win streak that has made Colorado the standard bearer in the West by 5 games.(Runners Up: Joey Votto, Matt Kemp)

A.L.: Alex Gordon: Is this what we’ve been waiting for here? After years of being heralded as the savior for the Royals, the second coming of George Brent even, Gordon is having a tremendous season. He is one of several KC bats that is filling up box scores nightly, but he gets the nod over all others because he is top 5 in average, FBI & runs scored, and leading in doubles. Considering he’d all but been left for dead coming into this year, this is a great sign for the guys in blue.(Runners Up: Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera)


N.L.: Roy Halladay. More of the same from Doc. He carried a shutout into the ninth inning against the Nationals before surrendering a few runs, but still held on for his first complete game victory of the year. Coming into play today his 1.23 ERA tops the NL.(Runners Up: Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw)

A.L.: Jared Weaver. More of the same from Weaver, who is pairing with Dan Haren to be the most intimidating 1-2 punch in all of baseball so far. He became the first pitcher to reach 4 wins, and is in the top 5 of virtually every significant pitching stat.(Runners Up: Dan Haren, Josh Beckett)

  1. Oates says:

    Praise Ted Williams!!! The Royals are playing Grrrrrreat baseball, word to Tony the Tiger (not Tony the Human). We’ve been in every game this season & won 2/3rds of them so far. Even our losses have come in very winnable games! This week we got the Indians & Rangers so there should be a little more definition of where we are as team & how legit we might be. Gordo out there swinging the bat like we are back in Nebraska, Frenchy still lights out, Francis, even with his dminished velocity, is out there getting outs. Bruce Chen continued resurgence from last season. Betitmit still an XBH machine! My only concern this week remains Hoch & Davies inability to avoid the big inning & then Yost’s bullpen usage as of late. He used Crow, Collins, Jeffress in back to back days, on the 2nd game it was a 7-0 lead they were charged w/ protecting. The next day we used Blake Wood in the 1-1 ballgame in the 7th, who immediately continued his slump. I’d have like to seen Yost save our lockdown pitchers for close games & allow our strugglers in the bullpen to get their pitches in a 7-0 game. Otherwise, good managing & great baseball being played.

    And as always…Go Royals!

    • Never Tony the Human! But its a very fiery team that plays hard every game. That counts for something. There are some guys living up to their potential, and others simply just playing consistent. Those are the elements of a good team that can stay successful. Think the Reds & Padres a year ago.

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