Brewers race right to the top of Power Rankings
Dodgers, A's, Braves, Giants among the teams making noise early in season
The fans in Milwaukee knew this was a possibility.
The addition of Matt Garza bolstered an already solid starting rotation. The bullpen has long been an important part of the team's success, and of course, there is Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez and Aramis Ramirez.
And don't forget about Jean Segura and Jonathan Lucroy.
But nobody could have predicted this. And in the end, that's what makes baseball so great.
The Brewers entered Monday's series opener against the Cardinals riding a nine-game winning streak, making them the hottest team in the game. At 10-2, Milwaukee also boasts the best record in the Major Leagues. And the Brewers' 1.80 team ERA is the best in the big leagues.
Is Milwaukee the best team in baseball? Or does that title belong to the Dodgers, Braves or Giants? How do the Brewers match up against the A's, Tigers and the other powerhouses in the American League?
It's time to hear your voice.
For the fourth season, MLB.com has set up a panel of experts to vote on the top 15 teams each week. The group includes MLB.com vice president and executive editor Carlton Thompson, executive editor Matthew Leach, columnists Mike Bauman, Hal Bodley, Anthony Castrovince, Richard Justice, Tracy Ringolsby, Phil Rogers and Lyle Spencer and reporters Alyson Footer and Jesse Sanchez.
What do you think? Agree, disagree? Have your opinion counted by submitting your Power Rankings.
1. Brewers: Milwaukee is the hottest team in baseball, as the Brewers have won nine games in a row. Yes, the offense has been sound, but the pitching staff's 1.80 ERA is the best in the big leagues. Broken down, their bullpen has a 0.82 ERA and the starters a 2.22 ERA.
2. Dodgers: Adrian Gonzalez didn't hit his fourth home run of last season until May 10. On Sunday, he hit his fourth home run in as many days as the Dodgers swept the D-backs in three games at Chase Field. Gonzalez credits his power surge to more flexibility in his right shoulder, which was surgically repaired three years ago.
3. Athletics: The two-time defending AL West champions sport the best record in the league. The A's have won six of their past seven games after starting the season 2-3, and they are on a roll. What's more, Oakland's starters have allowed no more than three earned runs in every game.
4. Braves: Atlanta leads the National League East by one game and scored 23 runs in a three-game sweep of Washington this past weekend. B.J. Upton appears to have put his terrible 2013 season behind him, hitting safely in five of the past seven games. He's also batting .267 (8-for-30) with only six strikeouts since starting the season in a 1-for-17 slump, during which he struck out 10 times.
5. Giants: Michael Morse is quickly becoming a fan favorite in San Francisco, and it's easy to see why. The slugger has hit safely in 11 of 13 games, a stretch that included a nine-game hitting streak, and he's helped solidify the middle of the Giants' lineup. But it's impossible to talk about San Francisco's success without mentioning the Giants' pitchers, who have issued only 23 walks in 13 games, an average of 1.8 per game.
6. Nationals: Washington pitchers have struck out 128 batters in 12 games, but overall, the club has had better days. The Nats recently placed third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on the disabled list because of a fractured right thumb. They also managed only 11 runs while being swept by the Braves over the weekend. Denard Span and Wilson Ramos are also on the DL, but there is good news: Doug Fister (lat strain) was expected to throw all of his pitches in a bullpen session on Monday.
7. Tigers: It remains the Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer Show in Detroit, and all eyes are on the two star pitchers. The Tigers are moving up Verlander one day this week, which allows the staff ace to get back into the rhythm of having four days of rest. Scherzer, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner who won his first 13 decisions last season, is winless through three starts. Detroit's offense has scored one run with Scherzer in the game in each of his past three outings.
8. White Sox: First baseman Jose Abreu's snapped an 0-for-10 streak with a single on Sunday, but he's still off to an impressive start, leading the team with four home runs and 14 RBIs. He has struck out 11 times in 13 games, but he continues to make adjustments at the plate and has shown the ability to hit for power to all fields.
9. Cardinals: Sunday's 6-4 victory against the Cubs provided a lift to the Cards in more ways than one. Allen Craig and Jhonny Peralta combined to go 3-for-7, reaching base four times and scoring three runs. They entered the game a combined 6-for-70.
10. Mariners: Despite missing three starters, Seattle ranks second in the AL with a 2.79 ERA and has the lowest opponent's batting average in the Majors at .194. The bullpen has been a major strength, leading the AL with a 2.60 ERA.
11. Yankees: Derek Jeter has a stiff right quadriceps, Brian Roberts is experiencing back discomfort and the Yanks are once again being slowed by the injury bug. The good news? Mark Teixeira could return in a week, Carlos Beltran has found his stroke and rookie starter Masahiro Tanaka is adjusting quickly to the Major Leagues. Tanaka is only the second Yankees pitcher ever to strike out at least eight batters in each of his first two big league starts. The first was Allen Russell in 1915.
12. Blue Jays: The Jays are coming off a season-high 11 runs and season-high 17 hits in Sunday's victory against the Orioles. Toronto is without Jose Reyes (hamstring) until the end of the week and will continue to rely heavily upon the bats of Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus to carry the offense. Bautista has 109 home runs as a Blue Jay and needs six more to tie George Bell for fourth on Toronto's all-time list.
13. Rays: Tampa Bay is tied for the top spot in the AL East with the Yankees and Blue Jays despite numerous injuries. Of the five pitchers projected to be in the Rays' starting rotation, three -- Alex Cobb, Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson -- are on the disabled list. Jake Odorizzi, Cesar Ramos and Erik Bedard, who competed against each other for the fifth spot during Spring Training, are all now in the rotation.
14. Angels: The Halos could be without Josh Hamilton, who injured his thumb sliding headfirst into first base, for as long as eight weeks, so it will be up to Mike Trout and Albert Pujols to carry the load on offense. The Angels have hit 20 home runs in 12 games, including five on Sunday against the Mets. Pujols is five home runs shy of becoming the 26th player in Major League history with 500 career home runs.
15. Twins: Minnesota swept Kansas City in a three-game series over the weekend and sits in the middle of the pack in the AL Central with a 6-6 record. Twins hitters have been patient at the plate and lead the Majors by drawing 59 walks in their first 12 games.