With the best record in baseball through Sunday, there's no reason not to consider the Minnesota Twins among the top contenders in the American League.
The Twins offense has been doing the heavy lifting, tied with the Houston Astros for the major-league lead in slugging percentage (.485). Almost a quarter of the way into the season, the Twins' performance can no longer be considered an anomaly.
Minnesota took advantage of the broken market this offseason, quietly securing a handful of above-average players – Nelson Cruz, Marwin Gonzalez, Jonathan Schoop and C.J. Cron – on low-risk, team-friendly deals.
Meanwhile in Cleveland, the three-time defending AL Central champions didn't do much of anything over the winter. The Indians are without Corey Kluber and Mike Clevinger, who are both on the injured list.
Don't be surprised to see the Twins atop the standings come September.
Twins outfielders Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Max Kepler. (Photo: Jesse Johnson, USA TODAY Sports)
RANK (movement from last week)
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (–)
- Walker Buehler through six starts: 3-0, 5.22 ERA.
2. Tampa Bay Rays (–)
- Before you ask, Nate Lowe is not Brandon Lowe's brother – though Nate's actual brother is in fact a prospect in the Rays system.
3. Houston Astros (–)
- Josh Reddick keeping Kyle Tucker at bay with .330 BA through 100 AB.
4. Chicago Cubs (+6)
- Jason Heyward has a .909 OPS through 91 AB.
5. St. Louis Cardinals (–)
- Matt Carpenter enduring another (very) sluggish start.
6. Minnesota Twins (–)
- Leading the majors in slugging (.493) through May 4.
7. New York Yankees (-3)
- Miguel Andujar returns, makes two errors in first game back.
8. Philadelphia Phillies (–)
- Bryce Harper hit .192 in 27 games from April 5 to May 4.
9. Arizona Diamondbacks (+5)
- Ketel Marte already has three multi-homer games this year.
10. Milwaukee Brewers (+2)
- A bit troublesome: Josh Hader gave up 4 HR in first 12 games.
11. Cleveland Indians (-4)
- Think Carlos Santana (.321/.429/.509) missed Cleveland last year?
12. Atlanta Braves (+3)
- Ozzie Albies has taken hold of the leadoff spot and won't be giving it back.
13. San Diego Padres (-2)
- Chris Paddack's first six big-league starts: 1.91 ERA, 35 K in 33 IP.
14. Boston Red Sox (+5)
- Michael Chavis was the injection of life this team needed.
15. Seattle Mariners (-6)
- Bats have cooled off after blistering start to the season.
16. New York Mets (-3)
- Syndergaard and deGrom getting back on track but now the team isn't hitting.
17. Texas Rangers (+5)
- Hunter Pence's resurgence may be the year's best story.
18. Washington Nationals (-1)
- Juan Soto joins Turner, Rendon, Zimmerman on injured list.
19. Pittsburgh Pirates (+1)
- Jameson Taillon heads to the injured list.
20. Toronto Blue Jays (-4)
- No home runs for Vlad Jr. in eight games. Too early to call him a bust?!
21. Colorado Rockies (-3)
- Arenado's first 15 games: 0 HR, 6 RBI. Next 16 games: 9 HR, 21 RBI.
22. Oakland Athletics (-1)
- Matt Olson, out since the Tokyo Series, is nearing a return.
23. Los Angeles Angels (+2)
- It's worth noting that Brian Goodwin (.326/.411/.533) was once a top prospect.
24. Detroit Tigers (–)
- Last year's No. 1 pick Casey Mize (1 ER in 40 IP) just threw a no-hitter in Class AA.
25. Cincinnati Reds (-2)
- Top prospect Nick Senzel is here.
26. Chicago White Sox (–)
- Getting Yonder Alonso (.180 BA in 100 AB) to lure Machado seems to have backfired.
27. San Francisco Giants (–)
- Madison Bumgarner (43 K in 7 GS) boosting his trade value.
28. Kansas City Royals (–)
- Noted pinch-runner Terrance Gore is getting actual at-bats and he's 8-for-20.
29. Baltimore Orioles (–)
- Dylan Bundy is an interesting trade candidate.
30. Miami Marlins (–)
- The Yelich trade gets even worse for Miami with Lewis Brinson's demotion.
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