Brewers climb into No. 1 spot

Updated: April 21, 2014, 11:59 AM ET
Week:

ESPN.com

The Milwaukee Brewers, winners of three straight and 13 of their last 16 games, move up one spot and into the No. 1 position in our Power Rankings. The St. Louis Cardinals, meanwhile, climb three spots to No. 2

The Atlanta Braves, who sit atop the National League East, rise four spots to grab the No. 3 position, while the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics come in at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

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 21
RANKTEAM / RECORD TRENDINGCOMMENTS
1
1
Last Week: 2
After back-to-back ninth-inning comebacks in Pittsburgh, the Brewers are 7-1 in games decided by two or fewer runs. Ryan Braun: six home runs in the state of Pennsylvania, zero elsewhere. -- Curt Hogg (@CyrtHogg), Disciples of Uecker
2
3
Last Week: 5
The Cardinals won a series against the division-leading Brewers but managed only a split against the Nationals due in part to shabby fielding. The Cardinals' offense, ranked 12th in NL with .302 wOBA, has yet to fully blossom. -- Matt Philip (@fungoes), Fungoes
3
Braves
12-6
4
Last Week: 7
The ERA of every Braves starting pitcher is under 3.00; four of them have an ERA under 2.00. Aaron Harang (0.70 ERA) and Ervin Santana (0.86 ERA) are first and second in the National League in ERA. No Braves' starting pitcher has given up more than three earned runs in any start. If momentum is only as good as the next day's starter, then the Braves have cornered the market. -- Martin Gandy (@gondeee), Gondeee
4
3
Last Week: 1
The Dodgers are now 7-1 against the Diamondbacks and 5-6 versus the rest of the league. A flu-stricken Josh Beckett pitched five scoreless innings Sunday to lower his ERA to 2.57. Clayton Kershaw had a successful simulated game Sunday and will likely go out on a minor league rehab assignment next. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
5
3
Last Week: 8
The A's have the best run differential in baseball, as they're clicking on all cylinders. Fun fact: The lowest slugging percentage ever posted by a player hitting for a .400 OBP in a season (min. 300 PA) is .317 by Miller Huggins in 1913. Nick Punto is currently hitting .276/.400/.276. -- Jason Wojciechowski (@jlwoj), Beaneball
6
3
Last Week: 3
In case you're wondering, Miguel Cabrera has just one home run and is batting .220 with a .292 on-base percentage through 15 games. -- ESPN.com
7
Giants
11-8
2
Last Week: 9
The Giants' inability to score (12 runs in six games) during a 3-3 week against the Dodgers and Padres has raised huge question marks around the offense. Hunter Pence (.181 BA), Buster Posey (.238 BA) and Pablo Sandoval (.171 BA) will need to step up their production in the heart of the order if the Giants are to keep pace with the hot-hitting Dodgers. -- Andrew Tweedy (@WCBGiants), West Coast Bias
8
8
Last Week: 16
The Rangers were able to win seven of 10 on a homestand and will head out on the road to Oakland and Seattle tied for the third-best record in the American League. Adrian Beltre should return Friday, which figures to significantly boost the offense. -- Brandon Land (@one_strike_away), One Strike Away
9
3
Last Week: 12
The Yankees began last week by sweeping a rainout-induced doubleheader against the Cubs, as Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda led the way in two shutouts. Then they managed a four-game split in Tampa despite a rough middle two games in which they were outscored 27-6. While Ivan Nova's UCL tear put a damper on the 4-2 week, the Yanks did get Mark Teixeira back. -- Matt Bove, (@IIATMS), It's About the Money
10
4
Last Week: 6
Since coming back as a starter thanks to Ryan Zimmerman's injury, Danny Espinosa has put up a .310/.355/.552 line. After hitting .158/.193/.272 in the majors and .216/.280/.286 in Triple-A last year, this is the welcome surprise the Nats need to keep themselves on the Braves' heels. -- Harper Gordek (@harpergordek), Nationals Baseball
11
9
Last Week: 20
Yordano Ventura struggled Sunday as the Royals ended a five-game winning streak. Considering Billy Butler is slugging .230, Mike Moustakas is hitting .125 and the team has hit six home runs in 17 games, a 9-8 record isn't bad. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
12
Rays
9-10
8
Last Week: 4
The Rays earned a split against the Yankees despite two of the four games being started by replacement starting pitchers. They scored just three runs in the bookend games, but the much-maligned offense exploded for 27 runs in the middle two contests. Monday's off day will allow them to reset the patchwork rotation that needs to hold the fort at least another month. -- Tommy Rancel (@TRancel), The Process Report
13
3
Last Week: 10
Ryan Braun victimized Jason Grilli in the ninth twice over the weekend with a game-winning home run Saturday and game-tying home run Sunday. After losing just four games all of last season that they led heading into the ninth, the Pirates now have two in 2014. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
14
--

Last Week: 14
Home runs and defense kept the Orioles afloat and in the race last season. Although early, being 29th in home runs and in the bottom third in range has led them to last place in the AL East. -- Jon Shepherd (@CamdenDepot), Camden Depot
15
4
Last Week: 19
The Blue Jays have issued the third-most walks (75) in the majors, punctuated by a 12-walk nightmare in Minnesota on Thursday. At least Jose Reyes is back from the DL. -- Callum Hughson, Mop-Up Duty
16
Rockies
10-10
1
Last Week: 17
The Rockies have juggled injuries while tiptoeing around a .500 record. It's possibly an illusion since they have played only one winning team this year. For their next trick, they take their act (most runs scored/third most runs allowed in the NL) against the Dodgers with a Giants encore. -- Richard Bergstrom (@rockieszingers), Rockies Zingers
17
4
Last Week: 13
While the offense has been trying to warm up from an icy start, Jon Lester has been in the zone. The southpaw has pitched to the tune of a 2.17 ERA, with an Uehara-like 29/4 K/BB in 29 innings. Speaking of Koji, he, Junichi Tazawa and Chris Capuano -- yes, that Chris Capuano -- have combined to hurl 24 2/3 scoreless innings. The arms are electric, but the bats need to power up. -- Brett Cowett (@BACowett), Fire Brand of the AL
18
Angels
8-10
--

Last Week: 18
Despite owning only the 22nd-best OBP in the majors and 26th-best batting average with runners in scoring position, the Angels have still scored the second most runs in baseball, primarily due to an MLB-best 29 homers. If they can get a few more guys on base in front of their thumpers and get some positive regression with RISP, this could be a devastating offense. -- Andrew Karcher, Halos Daily
19
Reds
8-10
5
Last Week: 24
The Reds have won five of their last seven games, thanks in large part to the hottest hitter in the big leagues, catcher Devin Mesoraco. In nine games since returning from the DL, Mesoraco is hitting .515/.553/.970 with six doubles, three homers and 11 RBIs. -- Chad Dotson (@dotsonc), Redleg Nation
20
Padres
9-10
6
Last Week: 26
Taking two of three from the Giants was nice, but the offense continues to struggle. Time for Jedd Gyorko (.145 BA), Chase Headley (.190 BA) and Will Venable (.246 OBP) to start hitting so Bud Black can stop batting Xavier Nady cleanup. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
21
Mets
9-9
1
Last Week: 22
While Curtis Granderson hit the game-winning sacrifice fly in the 14th inning to win Sunday's game for the Mets, he has been far from an impact player. He has 20 strikeouts and is batting .127 in his first 63 at-bats this season. -- ESPN.com
22
7
Last Week: 15
The Indians split a rain-shortened series against the Tigers and returned home only to find that the offense had apparently stayed behind in Detroit. David Murphy's three-run double in Sunday's game helped the Tribe avoid a sweep by the visiting Blue Jays and further helped to exorcise the ghosts of his abysmal 2013 season. -- Susan Petrone, It's Pronounced "Lajaway"
23
12
Last Week: 11
Ahh, the optimism of that 3-0 start against the Angels seems so long ago. The Mariners lost Friday on a Giancarlo Stanton grand slam in the ninth, got shut out on two hits Saturday and blew a 2-1 lead in the eighth Sunday. They have lost eight of nine, Robinson Cano has one home run, most of the rotation is injured, and the bullpen has been bad. When does Seahawks season start? -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
24
1
Last Week: 25
The Phillies hung on for a win Sunday (barley) and Cole Hamels is coming back this week, but there's not much good news otherwise. Considering how much trouble his offense and bullpen have given him, it might not be a bad idea for Ryne Sandberg to start checking his ceiling for anvils. -- Michael Baumann, Crashburn Alley
25
4
Last Week: 21
It's amazing how a 16-2 Sunday victory can put a nice bow on a troubling week. The White Sox lost two series, sent a starter to the DL and had Adam Eaton leave two games early with hamstring troubles. They're still the best offense in the AL (5.58 runs/game), even if Alexei Ramirez's MVP-level production and Tyler Flowers' .606 BABIP aren't going to stay for long. -- James Fegan (@TheCatbird_Seat), The Catbird Seat
26
3
Last Week: 23
The Marlins lost two of three to the Nationals before sweeping the road-weary Mariners. Henderson Alvarez hurled a two-hit, 90-pitch complete game shutout Saturday, reversing his early-season funk. Five regulars are now hitting at least .300, and the team's .273 average is second in the majors. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
27
--

Last Week: 27
The top half of the Twins' lineup is clicking, as leadoff man Brian Dozier leads the majors in runs scored while cleanup slugger Chris Colabello is pacing the AL with 20 RBIs. -- Nick Nelson, Twins Daily
28
2
Last Week: 30
The Diamondbacks are in free fall, getting swept by the Mets before edging out the Dodgers for just a single win in extra innings in a weekend series. While the bullpen and offense have started to show signs of life, the starters' ERA remains far and away the worst in the majors at 7.50. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@InsidetheZona), Inside the 'Zona
29
Cubs
5-12
--

Last Week: 29
In his four starts this season, Jeff Samardzija has given up just four earned runs but has received just seven runs of support total in those games. The result is an ERA of 1.29 and an 0-2 record. -- Joe Aiello (@VFTB), View from the Bleachers
30
Astros
5-14
2
Last Week: 28
The Astros scored 14 runs total in an 0-6 week. George Springer got called up and had at least one hit in each of his first five games. Meanwhile, first-base prospect Jonathan Singleton entered Sunday at .343 with seven homers, 23 RBIs and a 1.205 OPS. The bullpen has been horrendous, yielding a .283/.369/.438 line with a 5.34 ERA. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit

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