Power Rankings: Rangers No. 1; trio debuts
Indians, Royals, Marlins crack Top 15 for first time in 2011
The baseball season is usually unpredictable, and it's always full of surprises.
Who would have guessed that the Rangers would have only one loss after nine games and that the Indians would be riding a seven-game winning streak?
Did you predict the Red Sox and the Rays would be at the bottom of the American League East standings at this point?
And who saw the Baltimore Orioles coming?
Watch out, the wild National League West is living up to its reputation.
Who has the power this week?
Welcome to this week's edition of the 2011 version of the MLB.com Power Rankings, where fans can now rank their top 15 teams and view their picks right alongside the picks from the experts at MLB.com. Together, the picks from the fans and experts form the "MLB.com Energy Power Rankings presented by Reebok ZigTech."
Fans who participate in the rankings have a chance to win two tickets to watch a team of their choice during the 2011 regular season.
For the second consecutive season, MLB.com set up a panel of experts to vote on the top 15 teams each week. Two former Major League players -- Larry Dierker and Jeff Nelson -- are part of the process, as is Carlton Thompson, vice president and executive editor of MLB.com. Former general manager and current MLB.com analyst Jim Duquette, along with MLB.com columnists Mike Bauman, Hal Bodley, Anthony Castrovince, Dave Feldman, Alden Gonzalez, Marty Noble and Jesse Sanchez are also part of the group. Results will be revealed every Monday through the rest of the regular season.
Agree? Disagree? The power is yours.
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The Rangers are playing with confidence and are out to prove that last year's AL pennant was not a fluke. They've always been a club that hits. Now, they can also pitch and play consistent defense.
The Phils are known for their pitching, but they are also hitting .334 with a .380 on-base percentage and a .484 slugging percentage through nine games. They've also averaged 5.9 runs.
The Reds have lost three of their past four games but still could be the best all-around team in the NL. Joey Votto, the reigning NL MVP, is hitting .455.
The Yankees lost two of three to the Red Sox over the weekend, and shortstop Derek Jeter is still trying to find his groove. He's hitting .206 and continues to make adjustments at the plate.
The Rockies are showing improvement on the road. They went 31-50 away from Coors Field last season. They are 3-1 so far this year.
The Red Sox are off to a slow start, but the club is too talented, the pitching is too good and it's way too early in the season to count them out.
Atlanta's offense could use a jumpstart. The Braves have scored two runs or fewer in five of their past seven games and batted .229 through the season's first 10 games.
The starting pitching has been effective, and the bullpen's flexibility could prove to be a real strength. The White Sox have also led in all nine games this season.
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval is hitting .400 with four RBIs and one home run, but the reigning World Series champions are looking up from the bottom of NL West standings. They are poised for a winning streak.
There's plenty of optimism in Baltimore. The O's lead the AL East with a 6-3 record and are 40-26 since Buck Showalter took over as manager in August. Coincidence?
Cleveland rocks. It also pitches and hits. The Indians are riding a seven-game winning streak and are off to their best start since going 11-1 in 2002.
The Angels can challenge the Rangers for the AL West title if they can stay healthy and maintain continuity in the lineup this season. The club placed shortstop Erick Aybar on the disabled list Sunday.
The Dodgers (5-4) have been as advertised. They lack power on offense but have strong starting pitching and a deep bullpen. They also play in a division where anything can happen -- the NL West.
Don't count out the Royals in the race for the AL Central title. The club is playing with confidence, and closer Joakim Soria said it best when he noted the club is playing "like we don't have anything to lose."
The Marlins are near the top of the standings in the NL East and expect a boost when shortstop Hanley Ramirez returns to the lineup. Will they rally around Ramirez?
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.