We’re not even a week-and-a-half into the 2011 Major League Baseball season, so it’s still too early to truly separate contenders from pretenders.
Teams like the Indians and Orioles are off to tremendous starts, while teams we expected to contend, like the Red Sox and Braves, have stumbled a bit out of the gate.
So, as of April 11, how are things shaking out?
1. Texas Rangers (9-1, 1st place, AL West)
Despite several questions coming out of Spring Training, the Texas Rangers have picked up right where they left off last season.
Their prolific offense has had much to do with this, as they lead the league with 42 extra-base hits through just 10 games. Nelson Cruz leads the league with five home runs, and ranks second with 10 runs batted in.
2. Philadelphia Phillies (7-2, 1st place, NL East)
Philadelphia has had its fair share of injury issues already this season, but they’ve fought through it to the tune of an early 7-2 record.
The much-heralded pitching staff hasn’t lit the world on fire quite yet, but the offense has picked up the slack.
3. Colorado Rockies (6-2, 1st place, NL West)
Cy Young candidate Ubaldo Jimenez may be on the DL, but pitching has actually been Colorado’s strong suit early on.
Despite calling the notoriously friendly hitter’s park Coors Field home, the Rockies rank fourth in the Majors in team ERA with a spectacular 2.86 mark.
4. Cincinnati Reds (6-3, 1st place, NL Central)
The defending NL Central champion Reds got off to a hot 5-0 start, but have dropped three of their last four since then.
Joey Votto, your 2010 National League MVP, is boasting a robust .455 average with a pair of home runs and six runs batted in as of Monday afternoon.
5. New York Yankees (5-4, 2nd place, AL East)
The Yanks had a chance to go into Boston and dig their arch rivals an early grave over the weekend, but came out of it having lost two of the three games.
Russell Martin, an under-the-radar free agent acquisition who came over from the Dodgers over the winter, has gotten off to a tremendous start. He’s started all nine games behind the plate, and is hitting .300 with three home runs and eight RBIs already.
He hit five longballs in just 97 games last season.
6. Cleveland Indians (7-2, 1st place, AL Central)
Cleveland didn’t have particularly high aspirations prior to Opening Day, and things looked increasingly bleak after being beaten 15-10 on opening day by the White Sox.
However, they’ve reeled off seven straight wins and are looking down at the rest of the division.
7. Baltimore Orioles (6-3, 1st place, AL East)
The O’s certainly have plenty of young talent, but many expected them to struggle to find their way in the loaded AL East this season.
They’ll be up against a real test starting Tuesday when they travel to the Bronx to take on those mighty Yankees.
8. Toronto Blue Jays (5-4, 3rd place, AL East)
Needless to say, the Kyle Drabek era has gotten off to a fine start in Toronto.
The 23-year-old Drabek, the prize piece for the Jays in the Roy Halladay trade, has allowed just seven hits and two earned runs while striking out 12 in 13 innings so far this season.
9. Chicago White Sox (6-3, 3rd place, AL Central)
The bats have been carrying the ChiSox so far in 2011.
They lead the Majors with 62 runs scored through the first nine games of the season, and have a ridiculous .367 team on-base percentage.
10. Kansas City Royals (6-3, 2nd place, AL Central)
Jeff Francis, who fell off the map due to injuries over his last few seasons with the Rockies, has resurfaced with KC, and has been extremely impressive through his first two starts.
He doesn’t yet have a win, but he’s given up just three earned runs in 13.2 innings of action with eight strikeouts.
11. Florida Marlins (5-4, 2nd place, NL East)
The Fish received a scare Friday night in Houston when Bill Hall aggressively slid into second base, injuring Florida’s All-Star shortsop, Hanley Ramirez.
Luckily, it looked worse than it was. Ramirez suffered a bruised leg in the collision, and will likely return to the Marlins’ lineup Tuesday.
12. Los Angeles Dodgers (5-4, 2nd place, NL West)
Matt Kemp, who fought through a disappointing 2010 season, appears to have regained his “fantasy stud” status.
Through the first nine games, Kemp is hitting a robust .438 with a home run, four RBI and six stolen bases.
13. San Francisco Giants (4-5, 5th place, NL West)
The defending champs have been a bit slow off the starting blocks, but there are plenty of bright spots.
Tim Lincecum appears to have picked up right where he left off following last year’s playoffs, and Pablo Sandoval, who came into Spring Training in better shape than ever, has 12 hits in his first 30 at-bats of the season.
14. Milwaukee Brewers (5-5, 2nd place, NL Central)
Chris Narveson is helping to pick up the slack for the injured Zack Greinke, and has thrown 13 scoreless innings with 14 strikeouts over his first two starts of the season.
15. Chicago Cubs (4-5, 3rd place, NL Central)
The Cubs have been fine at the plate so far, but the performance of their starting pitching has to be of some concern.
Matt Garza, Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster all have ERAs of at least 5.25 through two starts apiece.
16. Los Angeles Angels (5-4, 2nd place, AL West)
How ’bout that Jered Weaver?
The Angels’ ace dazzled the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon, striking out 15 in 7.2 innings while giving up just one run on four hits. For the season, he’s now 3-0 with an ERA of 0.87.
17. San Diego Padres (4-4, 3rd place, NL West)
The Padres still can’t hit, but their pitching hasn’t lost a step from last season to this.
They’re 24th in the league in runs scored, but also rank third in team ERA.
18. Washington Nationals (4-5, 3rd place, NL East)
The Nats haven’t been spectacular, but they did take two out of three from the Mets in New York over the weekend. That’s pretty hard to do, right?
19. New York Mets (4-5, 4th place, NL East)
Ike Davis, who burst onto the scene as a rookie last season, is still good at baseball, it appears.
He’s hitting .364 with a homer and 10 RBIs already, and has an OBP of .436.
20. Oakland Athletics (4-5, 3rd place, AL West)
Think they can pitch in Oakland?
They’re fifth in the league with a 2.96 ERA as a team, and appear to have agreed to a five-year, $30 million contract extension with ace Trevor Cahill.
21. Atlanta Braves (4-5, 5th place, NL East)
ATL was a trendy World Series pick this spring, but things haven’t necessarily gone according to plan quite yet.
The Braves are in the bottom-10 in the league in runs, batting average, slugging, on-base percentage and home runs.
22. Pittsburgh Pirates (5-5, 3rd place, NL Central)
Jose Tabata was considered by many to be a fantasy sleeper headed into 2011, and so far, he’s proven them right.
Tabata is hitting .342 with a pair of home runs and a .457 on-base percentage through 10 games.
23. Boston Red Sox (2-7, 4th place, AL East)
Boston was finally able to get off the schneid over the weekend with the Yankees in town, taking two of the three games.
Josh Beckett looked like his old, dominant self Sunday night, tossing eight scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts while giving up two hits.
24. Detroit Tigers (3-7, 5th place, AL Central)
The Tigers haven’t started the season the way they may have hoped, but they are getting plenty from MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera.
Cabrera is hitting .382 with four home runs and nine RBI so far.
25. Minnesota Twins (3-6, 4th place, AL Central)
Minnesota’s offense hasn’t shown up yet.
The Twins rank 29th in the Majors in runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
26. St. Louis Cardinals (3-6, 5th place, NL Central)
The Cardinals could’ve easily swept the Giants over the weekend, but wound up dropping two of the three games.
Instead, Ryan Franklin blew two saves, one of which happened because Colby Rasmus couldn’t catch a routine fly ball that would’ve ended the game Saturday. Brutal.
27. Arizona Diamondbacks (4-4, 4th place, NL West)
The D-Backs have won three of four games, and have scored a total of 29 runs in those three victories.
28. Seattle Mariners (2-7, 4th place, AL West)
The Mariners were a terrible offensive team last season, but they’re even worse to start this season.
Their runs per game, batting average, slugging and on-base percentage as a team are all lower than they were in 2010.
29. Houston Astros (2-7, 6th place, NL Central)
Not much to like about anything the Astros have done this season.
The starting pitching has come around a bit, but the bullpen and hitting is awful. Just awful.
30. Tampa Bay Rays (1-8, 5th place, AL East)
Nobody really expected the Rays to topple the Yankees or Red Sox in the AL East after undergoing several roster changes during the winter, but they were at least expected to be competitive.
1-8 is not competitive, fellas.