Yankees in top spot to start year

Updated: April 2, 2012, 11:46 AM ET
Week:

ESPN.com

A new season awaits. Could a new champion be crowned once it's all said and done? We shall see.

The New York Yankees sit atop of our first MLB Power Rankings of the season.

The Texas Rangers, who fell just short of winning the World Series last year, are at No. 2. The Albert Pujols-led Los Angeles Angels are third, while the Detroit Tigers (No. 4) and Tampa Bay Rays (No. 5) round out the top five.

This week's voters were Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider, Tim Kurkjian of ESPN The Magazine, David Schoenfield of the SweetSpot Blog Network and ESPN.com and Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. Nearly all team comments come courtesy of the fan bloggers on the SweetSpot Blog Network. Meanwhile, you can rank the teams yourself.

2012 Power Rankings: April 2
RANKTEAM / RECORD TRENDINGCOMMENTS
1
--

Last Week: NR
The lineup has made it through spring training with no significant injuries and they have a strong rotation even with Michael Pineda's shoulder landing him on the DL. The Yankees are poised for a strong season. -- Rob Abruzzese: Bronx Baseball Daily
2
--

Last Week: NR
It's safe to say that many are eagerly awaiting Yu Darvish's first start of the regular season in exactly one week. -- ESPN.com
3
--

Last Week: NR
The additions of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson should make the Angels a huge threat in 2012. -- Hudson Belinsky: Halos Daily
4
--

Last Week: NR
The Tigers have operated all spring with the knowledge that they are expected to run away with the division. Now it's time for Justin Verlander & Co. to prove that last season wasn't a fluke and they are the dominant club in the AL Central. -- Josh Worn: Walkoff Woodward
5
Rays
0-0
--

Last Week: NR
A starting rotation that consists of James Shields, David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore and Jeff Niemann should keep the Rays in the thick of the AL East race for much, if not all, of the 2012 season. -- ESPN.com
6
--

Last Week: NR
A season that ended in turmoil and an offseason that didn't make things any better by losing the manager and GM will quickly be forgotten by a fast start. If the Red Sox can avoid another poor start the attention will be on baseball and not all the other stuff. -- Troy Patterson: Fire Brand of the AL
7
--

Last Week: NR
Ian Kennedy came out of nowhere to win 21 games for the Diamondbacks last season. Can he have similar success in 2012? -- ESPN.com
8
--

Last Week: NR
Despite a rash of injuries, the Phillies are still the clear favorites in the NL East behind baseball's best starting rotation. -- Bill Baer: Crashburn Alley
9
--

Last Week: NR
Despite Chris Carpenter being out indefinitely, the Cardinals break camp confident, mostly healthy and more aggressive on the bases. -- Matt Philip: Fungoes
10
--

Last Week: NR
Here's the Giants' game plan for success in 2012: Don't stink so much on offense. After finishing last in the National League in runs scored (570) last season, the Giants will absolutely have to improve on offense to stand a chance. -- Chris Quick: Bay City Ball
11
--

Last Week: NR
The Marlins will begin the year with a healthy rotation and a much more dynamic top of the lineup. They're set to begin with Josh Johnson as their Opening Day starter and Hanley Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton as their No. 3 and 4 hitters in the lineup. -- Dave Gershman: Marlins Daily
12
--

Last Week: NR
The darlings of spring training, the Jays are firing on all cylinders heading into the regular season. Built to win in 2013 and beyond, the Jays could make some noise in the AL in 2012 if they can manage to stay healthy throughout the season. -- Matthias Koster: Mop-Up Duty
13
--

Last Week: NR
Despite winning the NL Central last season, the Brewers had one of the worst left sides of the infield in the majors, as Casey McGehee and Yuniesky Betancourt combined for just 0.8 fWAR. If Aramis Ramirez and Alex Gonzalez can equal their combined 4.7 fWAR from last season, it'll go a long way toward replacing departed star Prince Fielder. -- Jack Moore: Disciples of Uecker
14
--

Last Week: NR
The Braves are hoping bounce-back years from Jason Heyward and Martin Prado propel them into the playoffs. Though they have injury concerns with their pitching, they hope their great pitching depth allows them to deal with a reasonable amount of DL time from the starters. -- Franklin Rabon: Capitol Avenue Club
15
Reds
0-0
--

Last Week: NR
A rash of injuries to the bullpen has dampened enthusiasm a bit, but Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips & Co. expect 2012 to be a special season. -- Chad Dotson: Redleg Nation
16
--

Last Week: NR
Stephen Strasburg had a rough spring, as he was 1-4 with a 4.18 ERA in six starts. The Nats had better hope the bad numbers don't continue once the games begin to count. -- ESPN.com
17
--

Last Week: NR
There is only one pitcher who managed to throw a no-hitter on Opening Day -- Cleveland's Bob Feller in 1940. While Justin Masterson may not be able to match that performance, he will hopefully do better than Fausto Carmona/Roberto Hernandez on Opening Day 2011. Carmona/Hernandez surrendered 10 ER and 11 hits in 3 IP as the Tribe lost to the White Sox 15-10. -- Stephanie Liscio: It's Pronounced Lajaway
18
--

Last Week: NR
After a largely disappointing 2011 season, the Rockies have no expectations for 2012. Their season hinges on a pitching staff full of unknowns. One thing is for certain: The Rockies' offense will need to shoulder most of the load in 2012. -- Travis Lay: Blake Street Bulletin
19
--

Last Week: NR
Andre Ethier heads into the final days of spring training with 15 extra-base hits (in 48 at-bats) and an .896 slugging percentage, tops among MLB players. -- Jon Weisman: Dodger Thoughts
20
--

Last Week: NR
New manager Robin Ventura has brought a sense of calm to the White Sox, but all indications point to it being a long year on the South Side. -- ESPN.com
21
--

Last Week: NR
Once again in 2012, the Royals will field the youngest roster in the majors. Dayton Moore has had a busy spring, signing Salvador Perez, Alcides Escobar and Alex Gordon to long-term extensions as the team readies itself for a run at contention in the AL Central. -- Craig Brown: Royals Authority
22
--

Last Week: NR
Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau have both really heated up late in the spring. With a tough early schedule, the Twins are hoping the success (and health) carries over. -- Nick Nelson: Twins Daily
23
--

Last Week: NR
Optimism is running high after an offseason of minor but important additions. Once A.J. Burnett returns to make the rotation whole, the Pirates will feature three strikeout pitchers (Burnett, Erik Bedard and James McDonald), while Clint Barmes has been installed at shortstop to eat up the many ground balls that will be induced by Jeff Karstens and Kevin Correia. -- Paul Sporer: Pitt Plank
24
Cubs
0-0
--

Last Week: NR
The Theo Epstein/Jed Hoyer era begins this week. A new front office will hopefully bring change to Chicago and produce the championship Cub fans have longed for all their lives. -- Joe Aiello: View from the Bleachers
25
--

Last Week: NR
The season-opening series in Japan did little to persuade anyone that the Mariners will be a better offensive club in 2012. Apart from solo home runs from Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak and a four-hit game from Ichiro, the M's lineup looked abysmal. Thankfully, there are 160 games left to play. -- Taylor Halperin: Pro Ball NW
26
--

Last Week: NR
Edinson Volquez will make the Opening Day start for the Padres. He was the Reds' Opening Day starter last season. -- ESPN.com
27
Mets
0-0
--

Last Week: NR
The Mets have question marks at the front and back of their starting rotation, in the bullpen, up the middle and in left field. However, everything else looks A-OK! -- Joe Janish: Mets Today
28
--

Last Week: NR
A .500 record still looks unattainable for Baltimore, given its current composition and the strength of its opponents in the AL East. Once again, the Orioles fan base will likely spend the summer looking for hope in the minors (Dylan Bundy/Manny Machado) and debating the merits of trading their top commodity (Adam Jones). -- Nick Faleris: Camden Depot
29
--

Last Week: NR
A's fans should savor the team's league-leading run differential (+1) because come Wednesday and Thursday, reality will set in as actual good teams start to take the field in earnest. -- Jason Wojciechowski: Beaneball
30
--

Last Week: NR
The lineup is filled with inexperience and doesn't even have much upside. The staff ace (Wandy Rodriguez) has a losing record for his career and an ERA over 4.00. New owner Jim Crane and new GM Jeff Luhnow are working hard to rebuild, but this last year in the NL is going to be another very long season for the Astros. -- Austin Swafford: Austin's Astros 290 Blog