Hot start puts Tigers in top spot

Updated: April 7, 2014, 11:31 AM ET
Week:

ESPN.com

Fresh off a 4-1 first week of the season, the Detroit Tigers jumped five spots to take over the No. 1 position in our Power Rankings. The Tampa Bay Rays, who began the season as the top American League team in the rankings, rose one spot to No. 2.

The St. Louis Cardinals, our No. 1 team to start the season, fell two spots to No. 3. The Atlanta Braves, ranked 12th to begin 2014, moved up eight spots to No. 4. The San Francisco Giants rose 10 spots to take over the No. 5 position and round out our top five teams.

This week's voters were Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider, Tim Kurkjian of ESPN The Magazine, David Schoenfield of the SweetSpot Blog Network/ESPN.com and Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. Most of the team comments come courtesy of the bloggers on the SweetSpot Blog Network. How do you rank all 30 teams? Go ahead and rank them yourself.

Tell us what you think about the Power Rankings. Use the hashtag #ESPNMLBPOWER.

2014 Power Rankings: April 7
RANKTEAM / RECORD TRENDINGCOMMENTS
1
5
Last Week: 6
The Tigers wrapped up a successful first homestand, going 4-1. Torii Hunter swung a hot bat, slugging home runs in three consecutive games. Something to keep an eye on: Tigers relievers have allowed nine runs over five games, and they've all come in the ninth inning. -- Alexandra Simon, Walkoff Woodward
2
Rays
4-3
1
Last Week: 3
The Rays went 4-3 on their first homestand of the season. The club won in similar fashion: pitching, defense and timely hitting. They also lost in similar fashion as they were shut out twice. Tampa Bay was active off the field as well, signing budding star pitcher Chris Archer and veteran shortstop Yunel Escobar to contract extensions. -- Tommy Rancel, The Process Report
3
2
Last Week: 1
The Cardinals have yet to find a rhythm on the mound (1.90 K/BB is 14th in the NL) and groove at the plate (.281 OBP is 11th), but they've managed a 3-3 start against division foes Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. -- Matt Philip, Fungoes
4
8
Last Week: 12
No need to worry about the pitching any longer. The Braves' so-called makeshift rotation and bullpen has the second-best team ERA in baseball (1.56), the best WHIP (0.92), and Ervin Santana makes his Braves debut this week. The offense -- outside of Freddie Freeman -- needs some work, but there are promising signs coming from the killer-U's (Upton, Upton and Uggla). -- Martin Gandy, Gondeee
5
10
Last Week: 15
With their biggest offseason free-agent signing being Michael Morse, I didn't think the Giants did enough to improve their subpar offense from 2013. However, through the first week of the season, they sure have proved me wrong. It appears the Giants' greatest strength in 2014 could indeed be their offense, as San Francisco leads the majors with 11 homers and is second only to Miami with 38 RBIs. -- Andrew Tweedy, West Coast Bias
6
1
Last Week: 5
The Nationals offense looked like world-beaters against the Mets (22 runs in three games), Little Leaguers versus the Braves (five runs in three games). With the Marlins and Braves up this week, the Nats offense has a lot to prove, perhaps without Ryan Zimmerman. -- Harper Gordek, Nationals Baseball
7
5
Last Week: 2
Good news: Matt Kemp returned to the field Friday. Bad news: He started the game because the enigmatic Yasiel Puig showed up late to the park. Puig also needlessly slid headfirst into first base on a grounder Saturday and has a swollen thumb to show for it. Good news: Kemp homered twice Sunday. -- Diane Firstman, Value Over Replacement Grit
8
6
Last Week: 14
Wait, was that Edinson Volquez pitching a gem Sunday and helping the Pirates to a series win over the Cardinals? Yes, yes it was. Volquez, who had 5.71 ERA last season, allowed three hits and one run in 5.2 innings. Tony Watson was credited with the win in relief. Winning a Volquez-Adam Wainwright matchup was a big early win for the Pirates. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
9
5
Last Week: 4
While Xander Bogaerts (.502 OBP) and Mike Napoli (.925 OPS) have exploded out of the gate, the rest of the offense has lagged behind. Dustin Pedroia and Daniel Nava have combined for zero walks in 55 plate appearances, David Ortiz is nursing a calf issue and Will Middlebrooks is on the DL. It's only six games, but getting swept in their first home series for the first time since 1984 isn't good. -- Brett Cowett, Fire Brand of the AL
10
15
Last Week: 25
A 5-2 opening week, even if it was at home against the Rockies and Padres, is still a positive event. Jose Fernandez picked up right where he left off last season, striking out 17 and walking only two in his first two starts (12.2 innings). And 35,188 fans came out on a Saturday afternoon in April to watch him pitch. -- Diane Firstman, Value Over Replacement Grit
11
12
Last Week: 23
Robinson Cano is hitting .391 with a .500 OBP, but the biggest positives are strong starts from cleanup hitter Justin Smoak (two home runs, eight RBIs) and Dustin Ackley (.292/.346/.542). -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
12
5
Last Week: 17
The Indians started the season by winning a series against a team that's supposed to be a playoff contender, losing a series to a team that's supposed to spend the season in the basement, and scoring nearly half of their runs in the ninth inning. And over the last five games, the starting rotation has a 7.66 ERA. They still managed to finish the week at .500. -- Susan Petrone, It's Pronounced "Lajaway"
13
6
Last Week: 7
After starting the season with two losses against the Astros, the Yankees finished their first trip of the year with a 3-3 record. Strong performances by young pitchers Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka carried the team through the first week of the season, but now the big-money sluggers must prove that the Bronx Bombers can live up to their name as they head back to New York. -- Michael Eder, It's About the Money
14
1
Last Week: 13
The Royals were last in the AL in home runs last season -- 32 fewer than any other team -- and haven't homered in their first five games. In this day of defensive shifts and dominant pitchers, it's hard to score runs on an offense that relies on batting average. Stay tuned. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
15
7
Last Week: 8
Nothing came easy for Jim Johnson in his first week as the A's relatively high-priced closer. Even in his Sunday save, he put two runners on before getting out of the jam. Even if the A's wind up having to demote him, though, they have a deep relief corps to draw from. -- Jason Wojciechowski, Beaneball
16
7
Last Week: 9
Yu Darvish became the fastest pitcher to record 500 career strikeouts in his first start of the season, getting the Rangers to 3-3. After a quick trip to Boston, the Rangers will have a 10-game homestand with a winnable slate against the Astros, Mariners and White Sox. -- Brandon Land, One Strike Away
17
1
Last Week: 18
The Brewers are off to a 4-2 start despite playing the Braves and Red Sox. Ryan Braun's right thumb is acting up again, but Yovani Gallardo's 12 2/3 shutout innings are a big part of the reason the team leads all of baseball with a 1.45 team ERA. -- Ryan Topp, Disciples of Uecker
18
4
Last Week: 22
A disappointing start to the season -- Jose Reyes played half an inning before heading to the DL with hamstring tightness, the thin rotation delivered only two quality starts and the team went 3-4 against division rivals Tampa Bay and New York. -- Matthias Koster, Mop-Up Duty
19
Reds
2-4
8
Last Week: 11
Five of Cincinnati's first six games have been one-run affairs. The Reds emerged from that stretch with only two wins, however, and now they face having to play nine straight games against 2013 playoff teams. -- Chad Dotson, Redleg Nation
20
4
Last Week: 16
Josh Hamilton is off to a fast start, going 9-for-18 in his first five games with two home runs and even a stolen base for good measure. The Angels' pitching staff is leading the AL in strikeouts, but it also has given up the third-most walks. -- Jeff Mays, Halos Daily
21
--

Last Week: 21
The Rockies' starting pitching minus "ace" Jorge De La Rosa has been happily adequate. Charlie Blackmon has gotten the most time in center field, but leaves one lefty on the bench and without Boone Logan, only one lefty in the bullpen. That might be fine if managing playing time for other outfielders and the bullpen had been happily adequate. -- Richard Bergstrom, Rockies Zingers
22
12
Last Week: 10
Winning two of six games against the two best clubs in baseball would be only irritating if it were June. Therefore, it should not be a soul-crushing series of events in April. Sit back, it is a long season. -- Jon Shepherd, Camden Depot
23
3
Last Week: 26
Concerns regarding the aging core of the Phillies' lineup were temporarily quieted by their 35-year-old second baseman's superhuman performance during the first week of the season. Chase Utley will bring an 11-game hitting streak dating back to September and an obscene .458/.536/.833 slash line with him to Philadelphia for Tuesday's home opener. -- Corinne Landrey, Crashburn Alley
24
Mets
2-4
--

Last Week: 24
Through their first six games, Mets hitters have struck out 61 times and drawn 18 walks. On the bright side, slick-fielding Juan Lagares is hitting .350 with a 1.117 OPS. -- Joe Janish, Mets Today
25
2
Last Week: 27
Robin Ventura has seen his most reliable returning reliever -- Nate Jones -- hit the DL and the remaining group allow 31 baserunners in 15.2 innings. His offense is fine, though. The White Sox have scored five or more runs five times already, which didn't happen until April 25 last year. -- James Fegan, The Catbird Seat
26
6
Last Week: 20
The Padres have scored 12 runs in six games, hitting a meager .189 with just seven extra-base hits. Chase Headley and Jedd Gyorko have combined for one RBI in 44 at-bats. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
27
8
Last Week: 19
The D-backs avoided getting swept by the Giants and Rockies, but now have far and away the worst run differential in the majors (minus-22). Pitching has continued to be a problem (6.33 runs per game), but the silver lining is the offense, especially Chris Owings (.367 average), Paul Goldschmidt (.462 OBP), and Mark Trumbo (1.139 OPS), who tied a D-backs record with a HR in four straight games. -- Ryan P. Morrison, Inside the 'Zona
28
1
Last Week: 29
Surprising offensive production was the story of the first week for the Twins, who tallied 38 runs in six games (finishing 3-3) thanks in large part to Chris Colabello's league-leading 11 RBIs. -- Nick Nelson, Twins Daily
29
1
Last Week: 30
Inconsistent offense (two games scoring six or more runs, three games scoring two or fewer) led to a 3-3 week. Houston homered five times Sunday, after totaling four in their first five games. One more game hosting the Angels, then 12 of next 15 are on the road. -- Diane Firstman, Value Over Replacement Grit
30
Cubs
2-4
2
Last Week: 28
Before Sunday's series finale with the Phillies, the Cubs had posted a total of eight runs all season. By day's end that number had doubled. -- Joe Aiello, View from the Bleachers

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