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MLB Week One Power Rankings: National League Central

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The season is underway and the National League Central has lived up to its billing as one of the most competitive divisions in all of baseball. When I first wrote up our preseason rankings I noted that teams are sure to shuffle throughout the season and with one week there are plenty of changes already. Here is a look at where the team’s currently rank:

5. Milwaukee Brewers

Nothing went right for the Brewers during week one. The team struggled to hit and was often buried by poor starting pitching performances. Making matters worse their star catcher, Jonathan Lucroy has been marred in a 2-23 slump to start the season. Though the team is built around the longball, they are 12th in the NL with three home runs, 11th in the league in runs and 9th in the league with a .223 batting average.

With a 2-5 start this team currently ranks at the bottom of the Central, but with bats ready to breakout out they shouldn’t stay down for long. Monday’s big win against Adam Wainwright could help to get them back on a roll.

4. Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates started out ice cold in their opening series, scoring just eight runs and getting swept by the Cincinnati Reds. After solid season last year, Josh Harrison is batting just .217 and Starling Marte is batting just .115 (with 14 strikeouts) and though he has shown some power with his two home runs, Andrew McCutchen‘s injured knee is troubling.

Expected to contend the entire year for the division, the Pirates are looking to climb the ladder very soon. They finished the week by winning two of three against the Brewers and they were able to knock of the undefeated Pirates on Monday behind budding ace Gerrit Cole. Don’t expect them to be down for long.

3. Cincinnati Reds

In my preseason rankings I had the Reds dead last in the division, but their solid showing to start the year has helped them move up the ranks. Todd Frazier has continued to take the next step as a superstar at third base, and Joey Votto is currently healthy and looking like his old self at the plate.

They started the year with a sweep against the Pirates and though they lost the next series against St. Louis, they were able to get off to a much better start than anyone expected.

2. Chicago Cubs

The Cubs entered the season on a mission to prove that they are ready to contend and the team has looked for real from day one. Though newly acquired ace Jon Lester has struggled in his first two starts, number two starter Jake Arrieta showed in his first start that last year wasn’t a fluke. They battled the Cardinals to a series split in the first series of the season, were able to win a series against the very pesky Colorado Rockies over the weekend with a thrilling walkoff win on Sunday and had a walkoff win against the Reds Monday to start that series.

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These “kids” have proven that they can hit and with many more prospects on the way, this team is going to be around for a long time.

1. St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals got off to a slow start at the plate, but things have started to change over the last few days. Over the weekend Matt Carpenter and others began to heat up. With many young bats gaining another year of experience and the addition of Jason Heyward, the lineup should be tougher than ever.

Through six games this team is only .500, but they are not going to give up the top spot easily. They beat Reds’ ace Johnny Cueto over the weekend and with pesky players throughout the roster, this team still remains the scariest to face.

Next: MLB Preseason Power Rankings: National League Central

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