Hi I’m Scott Kasper and I’ll be contributing a weekly MLB Power Ranking article. Baseball is back so let’s check out the first power rankings. Let the debate and frustration begin..

4/10/2011

#1 Texas Rangers

The Rangers opened up 2011 with an impressive sweep of the preseason favorite, Boston Red Sox. Although this shouldn’t be much of a surprise as these are the defending AL Champs (minus one Cliff Lee), the Rangers had a quite offseason and seemed to fly under the radar going into Opening Day. Everyone expected the power (16 homers and league leading .565 team slugging) however a team ERA of 2.79 will be what helps them get back into the World Series.

#2 Philadelphia Phillies

Roy Halladay has a 0.69 ERA, and a 0.92 WHIP and is working with a rate of 9.00 K/9 through two games. He’s great, but that’s expected. Ryan Howard is batting .409 and slugging .719 in a lineup many thought was not strong enough to help him. Turns out this lineup can hit just fine after all. Through eight games, they are the Major league leaders in team batting average (.344), runs (56) and on-base percentage(.392). Combined with a historically scary rotation, the Phillies are looking strong.

#3 New York Yankees

Even though Mark Teixiera is only hitting .200 in the young season, he has already sent four “Tex Messages” and has 10 RBI. It took him until early May last season to hit those marks last year. With a lack luster rotation, (other than CC) the Yanks will need their all star lineup to produce that much more. On the bright side, we’ve seen “Good AJ” twice so far this year and 4.1 innings of near perfection from The Sandman.

#4 Colorado Rockies

Ubaldo Jimenez is on the DL after his first (and wildly mediocre) start? Not a good sign for the Rockies. But Wait! A Major league leading ERA of 2.71 has helped the Ubaldo-less Rockies to a 5-2 start. A line-up anchored by Car-Go and Tulo will be decent all year, but for this team to stay in contention all year, it’s the pitching staff that needs to be more consistent.

#5 Cincinnati Reds

After coming on as one of the big surprise teams of 2010, the Reds have started this year off with a solid 6-2 record. However this start comes at the hands of some less then impressive opponents (Brewers, Astros, and D-Backs). Joey Votto made a run at MVP last year and the Reds will need him to do it again if they want 2011 to be another playoff year

#6 Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles were an above .500 team after Buck Showalter came to town and in early 2011, the trend has continued. Opening series sweep of The Defending AL East Champion Rays? Impressive. Taking two out three from the Tigers? Good stuff. Handing the top team in these rankings their first loss? Now we’re talking. I have a feeling this team won’t make the Top-10 on these rankings their home, but for now, there are finding ways to win.

#7 San Francisco Giants

The defending World Series Champs have had a difficult time early on, and own a mediocre 4-4 record. With closer Brian Wilson coming back from injury, and starters Lincecum, Sanchez, and Cain pitching lights out, this is a team with great potential.

#8 Chicago White Sox

The phenomenal pitching performance of Edwin Jackson is so far one of the biggest surprises in 2011. This combined with Carlos Quentin hitting .400 and slugging .800 had the White Sox looking like a formidable team in the AL Central. The big question for this team remains their overall rotation; with the exception of Jackson, the White Sox starters have a combined ERA over 5.00.

#9 Cleveland Indians

Believe it or not, the Indians are 6-2 so far with a sweep of the Boston Red Sox in 2011. With a +13 run differential and a six-game win streak going, these Indians are one the hottest teams in baseball. Their talent level is not quite there to remain this way, but a surprisingly strong lineup has what few fans Cleveland has left getting excited.

#10 Boston Red Sox

My beloved Red Sox are an embarrassing 1-6 with -24 run differential, team Avg. of .215, and a league worst team ERA 7.09. This team will get better and they will remember how to pitch. As almost everyone’s preseason favorite to win it all, Boston has too find the right way utilize their high talent level and their pitchers need to get used to Salty behind the plate.

#16 New York Mets

The Mets rotation has been a bit of a let down so far in 2011, with the exception of Chris Young. Johan Santana shouldn’t even be looked for until late in the season, so this staff is going to have to find a way keep their team in the game. David Wright and Jose Reyes are playing well but the Mets need to find a new winning attitude if there are going to make a playoff push this season.