Hard to stay on top in Power Rankings
For third consecutive week, a new team ascends to No. 1
It's only April, but Atlanta's Julio Teheran is already making a strong pitch to be included among the game's best starters.
His numbers speak for themselves.
Teheran has allowed just one run in his past 24 innings and has posted a 2.58 ERA in the 32 starts he's made over the past calendar year. Only Clayton Kershaw and Jose Fernandez have posted a better ERA during that span.
Overall, Atlanta's starting rotation leads the big leagues in several categories this season, and that could help explain why only the Brewers have a better record in baseball.
But are the Braves the best team in the National League? Fans in Milwaukee, St. Louis and Washington might disagree.
How do the Braves compare to their counterparts in the American League?
It's time to hear your voice.
For the fourth consecutive season, MLB.com has set up a panel of experts to vote on the top 15 teams each week. The group includes MLB.com vice president and executive editor Carlton Thompson, executive editor Matthew Leach, columnists Mike Bauman, Hal Bodley, Anthony Castrovince, Richard Justice, Tracy Ringolsby, Phil Rogers and Lyle Spencer along with reporters Alyson Footer and Jesse Sanchez.
What do you think? Agree, disagree? Have your opinion counted by submitting your Power Rankings.
1. Braves: Things are heating up in Hotlanta. Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton and Evan Gattis have combined for 19 home runs and 46 RBIs to pace the offense. Andrelton Simmons continues to play Gold Glove-caliber defense and is also pitching in at the plate. But as the saying goes, "good pitching beats good hitting," and the Braves sure can pitch. The rotation is among the Major League leaders in several categories, and Craig Kimbrel has eight saves in nine chances.
2. Brewers: Milwaukee has the best record in baseball and lead the NL Central by 4 1/2 games, but the Crew will play short-handed this week. Outfielder Ryan Braun is nursing a right rib cage strain. Shortstop Jean Segura is also on the mend after being struck in the face on Saturday by Braun's bat.
3. Giants: The NL West-leading Giants are riding a four-game winning streak, and once again, the pitching has been stellar. Giants relievers rode a 19-inning scoreless streak until it was snapped Sunday and it appears Ryan Vogelsong is back on track. The No. 5 starter has struggled with consistency but allowed just two hits in seven shutout innings on Sunday.
4. Athletics: It's been quite a turnaround for Jed Lowrie. The shortstop is 18-for-52 (.346) with seven doubles, a home run and nine runs scored in his last 12 games, after going 2-for-18 (.111) in his previous seven contests. The A's have lost two in row but remain tied with the Rangers for the top spot in the AL West.
5. Rangers: It's been an eventful month in Texas. The Rangers swept the A's in three games but then dropped two of three to the Mariners. The good news for Texas? Matt Harrison, pitching for the first time in more than a year because of injuries, allowed two runs on just three hits in six innings Sunday.
6. Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka has made a seamless transition from Japan to Major League Baseball and is quickly emerging as one of the top pitchers in the game -- and a must-see mound presence. He's 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings. The Yankees have won two in a row and lead the second-place Orioles in the AL East by 2 1/2 games.
7. Tigers: Detroit's starting pitching and Miguel Cabrera understandably get most of the attention, but it has been a team effort for the AL Central leaders this year. Third baseman Nick Castellanos has a .412 (7-for-17) batting average with runners in scoring position. Two of those hits were home runs, and since April 9, he's driven in 11. Also, Rajai Davis has hit safely in eight of his last nine games, batting .400 (14-for-35) with six runs scored, two doubles, one home run and five RBIs.
8. Nationals: It's been an injury-plagued month for the Nats, and that's part of the reason they sit in the middle of the pack in the NL East standings. On Sunday, Bryce Harper joined Wilson Ramos, Ryan Zimmerman and Scott Hairston on the disabled list with a sprained left thumb.
9. Cardinals: The St. Louis offense could be coming alive. After scoring fewer than four runs in seven consecutive games, St. Louis broke out for seven on Sunday to spark a series win over the Pirates. Only the Braves have a better starting rotation ERA (2.24) and batting average against (.210) than the Cardinals.
10. Mets: The Amazin's are in sole-possession of second place in the NL East, and their pitching is a big reason why. New York's rotation has 17 quality starts, and the starters have yielded fewer than four runs in 12 of the past 13 games. Over his last three starts, Dillon Gee went 2-1 with a 0.86 ERA.
11. Rockies: Colorado won two of three from the Dodgers over the weekend and now boasts a 5-5 record against the NL West heading into a matchup with Arizona. What's more, the Rockies are 8-4 at home this season, and Jorge De La Rosa is once again pitching like a staff ace.
12. Dodgers: Los Angeles has seen better days. The Dodgers have lost six of 10 and are now tied with the Rockies for second place in the NL West. But things are looking up. Ace Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Monday and should be rejoining the rotation soon enough.
13. Twins: Minnesota is fourth in the Major Leagues in runs scored per game, likely buoyed by also leading the Majors in walks. It also helps that catcher Kurt Suzuki is off to a hot start offensively, leading all big league backstops with 19 RBIs.
14. Angels: Albert Pujols joined the 500 home run club last week and is hitting .366 with five long balls and 12 RBIs in his last 10 games. He's also racked up 15 hits over that span. Overall, the Halos finished their nine-game, three-city road trip with a 4-5 record.
15. Phillies: Successive series wins -- two of three against the D-backs after taking three of four against the Dodgers earlier in week -- has Philly on a bit of a roll. Cliff Lee continues to show pinpoint control on the mound and A.J. Burnett is finding his groove, throwing three quality starts since being diagnosed with a hernia earlier this month.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.