Monthly MLB Power Rankings: April

Hello, baseball fans! We’re almost a month into the MLB season, which is nearly long enough to start drawing some preliminary conclusions. Here are some that I’ve come up with so far: Bryce Harper is either a demi-god or the direct descendant of one, Noah Syndergaard very likely has a Samson-type deal going on with his hair, and Joey Votto’s talent has been sucked out by an alien from outer space for the plot of Space Jam 2: Now The Slams Are Grand.

Friends of the site will know that in addition to my distaste for Thin Mints, carrot cake, and Jay Bruce, I have a totally normal, not-at-all-weird-for-a-28-year-old-man affinity for the musical stylings of Taylor Swift. This year, I’m going to be bringing you monthly power rankings, tiered by Swift content, and meshing my two areas of expertise:

“I Knew You Were Trouble” Tier

30) Atlanta Braves (4-14)

29) San Diego Padres (7-12)

28) Miami Marlins (6-11)

27) Minnesota Twins (5-14)

26) Los Angeles Angels (8-11)

Oh, Mike Trout, you poor magnificent Angel you. For reasons incomprehensible to anyone outside the organization, Arte Moreno has surrounded the best baseball player on the planet (non-Washington DC division) with a clown car of has-beens and never-weres. The result is a trainwreck; in baseball, there’s very little a single player can do to raise the level of his teammates. Someone rescue this poor man.

“Everything Has Changed” Tier

25) Philadelphia Phillies (9-10)

24) Milwaukee Brewers (8-11)

23) Cincinnati Reds (9-10)

22) Arizona Diamondbacks (10-10)

Here’s an interesting bunch. In Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Cincinnati, we have our rebuilding squads, teams that are pretty much just happy to stay out of that bottom five for this month while they groom the youngsters for the nebulous promise of “soon.” Then we have the Diamondbacks, whose season so far has gone about as well as one would imagine it would for a franchise that greenlighted these uniforms. They paid five kabillion dollars for Zack Greinke (5.75 ERA), traded their entire farm system for pretty good third starter Shelby Miller (8.59 ERA), and are scraping by near the .500 mark on the strength of an entirely unsustainable hot streak from second baseman Jean Segura. Not great, Bob!

“The Story of Us” Tier

21) Oakland Athletics (10-9)

20) Seattle Mariners (9-9)

19) Tampa Bay Rays (8-10)

18) New York Yankees (7-10)

Mariners fans are a tight-knit bunch, a community welded together by the fires of misery and failure. There are coping guides. There are pamphlets. Their most famous fan is Macklemore. It’s not a pleasant existence. This season the Mariners came in as sort of dark horse in the AL West, with one very smart, attractive, and cool online journalist in particular making them his pick to win the division. And here they are, three weeks into the season, staring up at almost everyone with an ugly record and a seemingly broken King Felix who has lost several ticks off everything he throws. This is the story of Mariners fandom.

“Wildest Dreams” Tier

 17) Colorado Rockies (9-9)

Each month, the Wildest Dreams tier will be reserved for the team(s) that are most outlandishly sitting in or near playoff position. This month’s darlings are the Colorado Rockies, who are ludicrously tied for second place in the NL West, despite having a pitching staff filled with Italian chefs (they serve up meatballs, folks. Try to keep up.) A big part of the Rockies’ hot start is the play of rookie shortstop Trevor Story, who is second in the league in home runs and first in strikeouts! It actually costs $3 per person to read an article about Story that doesn’t include a Story pun, and there are several rather easy Taylor Swift songs just sitting there, so you can feel free to tip as well. You can just PayPal me.

“Shake It Off” Tier

16) Houston Astros (6-13)

15) Boston Red Sox (9-9)

14) San Francisco Giants (9-11)

Here we have our group of preseason favorites who have stumbled to .500-or-worse records out of the gate. While there’s no need to panic in the season’s first month, there’s potentially some real cause for concern for Houston, last season’s breakout team. Dallas Keuchel remains as fun to watch as his name is to say, and Carlos Correa is still one of the game’s best young players, so there’s no need for Apollo 13 jokes just yet. Or ever. You’re better than that.

“I Almost Do” Tier

13) Cleveland Indians (9-7)

12) Pittsburgh Pirates (10-9)

11) Texas Rangers (10-9)

This is fine! All three of these teams would probably like to have a few more wins under their belts here in the early going, but all three are about where we’d expect them to be. The Pirates hit a bit of an early skid, losing 6 of 7 to the Reds, Tigers, and Brewers, but have since righted the ship. Honestly, the most troublesome issue facing Pittsburgh in the early going is whatever the hell is going on with John Jaso’s hair.

“Sparks Fly” Tier

10) Toronto Blue Jays (10-10)

9) Chicago White Sox (13-6)

8) Detroit Tigers (8-9)

7) St. Louis Cardinals (10-8)

6) Los Angeles Dodgers (12-7)

Here’s the thing about the Cardinals: eff the Cardinals. Unfortunately, their success is now a constant but depressing reality on par with global warming and Donald Trump’s campaign. The Cardinals are actually a pretty good baseball team. Their mediocre record, while certainly enjoyable, is a mirage: they are second in the league in run differential (+40).

“Enchanted” Tier

5) Baltimore Orioles (11-6)

4) Kansas City Royals (12-6)

3) New York Mets (10-7)

2) Washington Nationals (14-4)

1) Chicago Cubs (14-5)

The phenom catcher-who-is-actually-a-DH, Kyle Schwarber, is out for the season. The all-world first baseman, Anthony Rizzo, is hitting below the Mendoza line, and big-money free agent Jason Heyward is also off to a slow start. But none of that matters, because the Cubs are a dodeca-headed behemoth whose primary predator is a goat that died 60 years ago. While representatives of the league’s other 29 teams furiously search the ancient scrolls for some prophecy that can bring the unstoppable beast to a halt, the Cubs will continue to ravage their rivals’ straw-covered peasant huts.

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Travis Sarandos is a writer known for his Taylor Swift cover song “Welcome To Milwaukee.” You should follow him on Twitter.

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