1. Chicago Cubs (1 in last week’s ranking): Over past 17 starts, Jake Arrieta is 15-0, with a 0.65 ERA and a pair of no-hitters.
2. Kansas City Royals (2): Alex Gordon, winner of four Gold Gloves, ranks on short list of all-time best defensive left fielders.
3. Washington Nationals (3): Second baseman Daniel Murphy is in same hitting groove that made postseason history last season with Mets.
4. Baltimore Orioles (4): Rookie outfielder Joey Rickard latest product of Las Vegas talent pipeline that sent Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant to the majors.
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5. Texas Rangers (11): Pitching and defense fueled three-game sweep of Astros.
6. Chicago White Sox (5): A year after setting franchise record for strikeouts (274), Chris Sale is concentrating on pitch-to-contact efficiency.
7. Los Angeles Dodgers (6): Second baseman Chase Utley emerging as early candidate for NL Comeback of the Year award.
8. Detroit Tigers (7): After a 24-season career that likely will be recognized by Hall of Fame voters, Tigers first-base coach Omar Vizquel aspires to manage.
9. Oakland A’s (21): Taking three of three against Yanks gave A’s first road sweep of Bombers since 2006.
10. St. Louis Cardinals (14): Cards need second baseman Kolten Wong to be right.
11. Pittsburgh Pirates (8): When busy bullpen needed a breather Thursday, ace Gerrit Cole stepped up like, well, an ace.
12. Toronto Blue Jays (9): Reliable starting rotation has made up for slow-starting offense.
13. Arizona Diamondbacks (27): Four-game sweep at AT&T Park sustained D-backs mastery of Giants in San Francisco.
14. Colorado Rockies (23): Rockies will tolerate Trevor Story’s high strikeout rate as long as he continues to crush those pitches his bat doesn’t miss.
15. Cincinnati Reds (18): Reds were no-hit at home Thursday for first time since 1971 — 7,109 games ago.
16. Seattle Mariners (25): Decision to stabilize catching with veterans Chris Iannetta and Steve Clevenger, while Mike Zunino rediscovers his swing in Tacoma, seems to be working for all involved.
17. New York Mets (16): Of the 37 runs the Mets scored last week against Phillies, 28 were off long balls.
18. Boston Red Sox (13): When starters are challenged to get through three innings, every day at Fenway is “May Day.”
19. Cleveland Indians (12): When Danny Salazar retires after a stellar career, few will recall that his record after 63 starts was 24-22.
20. Tampa Bay Rays (26): Former Mariners first baseman Logan Morrison went into weekend hitting .050 (two-for-40), with 17 strikeouts and two walks.
21. Los Angeles Angels (15): Jered Weaver has improved fastball velocity from 79-81 mph radar readings in spring training.
22. Philadelphia Phillies (20): Odubel Herrera’s ability to draw walks should seal his status as everyday leadoff man.
23. Milwaukee Brewers (24): Crew happy with Aaron Hill at third base, and trust that his dormant bat will warm up when the weather in Wisconsin does.
24. San Francisco Giants (10): Going into the weekend, Giants had yet to score their first ninth-inning run of the season.
25. New York Yankees (19): Versus Oakland last week, touted bullpen surrendered eight earned runs in 11 innings.
26. Houston Astros (17): Veterans Carlos Gomez, Luis Valbuena and Evan Gattis failing to compensate for struggles of younger hitters.
27. Miami Marlins (20): Home record of 2-7 makes Marlins the National League version of the Mariners.
28. San Diego Padres (28): If he continues to take the ball every fifth day for a low-scoring team with a subpar bullpen, workhorse James Shields will lose between 15 and 20 games.
29. Minnesota Twins (29): Twins showing some healthy vital signs after Murphy’s Law start to the season.
30. Atlanta Braves (30): Spate of bad bounces in infield has Braves players grousing about shoddy conditions at soon-to-be-abandoned Turner Field.
John McGrath: firstname.lastname@example.org