Baseball Essential MLB Power Rankings: April 18th, 2016

Source: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America

Source: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America

3. Baltimore Orioles (8-3, +15 Run Differential)
Record for Week: 3-3
Previous Ranking: 1

While the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves finally got their first wins this week, the Baltimore Orioles were finally handed their first pair of losses this week as well. After starting the season 7-0, the Orioles lost two in a row to the Red Sox before getting back on track with another win on Friday night. The Orioles offense has been firing on all cylinders as expected, while the pitching staff has exceeded all expectations to this point. Just about every one of the Orioles starting position players is above league average according to wRC+, while most of the pitching staff has held up a lot better than expected. It remains to be seen if the Orioles can sustain such a performance over a whole season, but they certainly couldn’t have started much better.

Best Hitter of the Week: Mark Trumbo 10/29, 1.263 OPS, 5 HR, 11 RBI
Worst Hitter of the Week: Matt Wieters 3/18, .508 OPS, 0 HR, 2 RBI

Best Pitcher of the Week: Brad Brach 4.1 IP, 0 ER, 5 K, 2 W
Worst Pitcher of the Week: Chris Tillman 5.1 IP, 6 ER, 1 K

Upcoming Schedule: vs. Blue Jays (3), @ Royals (3)

2. Chicago Cubs (9-3, +40 Run Differential)
Record for Week: 4-2
Previous Ranking: 2

Despite being only number two on this list, no team in baseball has a better run differential than the plus 42 run differential the Cubs are currently sporting, with 71 runs scored and only 29 runs against, both number two in the league. The Cubs have been scoring runs in bunches to this point, and limiting the runs being scored. Only the Cardinals have scored more runs so far, while only the Nationals have given up less runs. As a team the Cubs are clicking on all cylinders, just as was anticipated prior to the season. At this point, the only real negative to the season so far is the injury to Kyle Schwarber, but, with the depth to back him up, the Cubs should be more than fine in the long term.

Best Hitter of the Week: Jorge Soler 6/15, 1.276 OPS, 2 HR, 4 RBI
Worst Hitter of the Week: Ben Zobrist 1/18, .273 OPS, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SB

Best Pitcher of the Week: Jake Arrieta 15 IP, 3 ER, 14 K, 2 W
Worst Pitcher of the Week: Clayton Richard 1.1 IP, 2 ER, 1 K

Upcoming Schedule: @ Cardinals (3), @ Reds (4)

1. Washington Nationals (9-2, +27 Run Differential)
Record for Week: 6-1
Previous Ranking: 9

No team in baseball has been hotter than the Washington Nationals. Winners of six straight, the Nationals are clicking on all cylinders early in the season. At least some of their success can be attributed to their easy schedule to this point, with six games against the Braves and Phillies, but even so, the Nationals are still playing good baseball. Both Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy have been leading the offensive charge, while Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, and Joe Ross have all been dominant on the hill collectively. The Nationals schedule won’t toughen up until the end of April/early May, so they should stick around as one of the strongest teams in baseball at least until then. With the Mets sputtering, the Nationals are firmly atop the National League East, and will likely stay there for the foreseeable future.

Best Hitter of the Week: Bryce Harper 9/25, 1.254 OPS, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 2 SB
Worst Hitter of the Week: Danny Espinosa 2/22, .283 OPS, 0 HR, 3 RBI

Best Pitcher of the Week: Max Scherzer 13 IP, 5 ER, 13 K, 2 W
Worst Pitcher of the Week: Yusmeiro Petit 1.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 K

Upcoming Schedule: @ Marlins (4), vs. Twins (3)

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