Milwaukee Brewers 'the surprise' among MLB elite

The nation is starting to pay attention to the success that the team in Major League Baseball's smallest market is having this year.

USA TODAY's panel of nine baseball writers puts together a regular power ranking of the sport's 30 teams, and the Brewers have jumped to No. 4 in their rankings.

"The Milwaukee Brewers, unremarkable but steady all season, boast the best record in the National League," wrote Gabe Lacques, who calls the Brewers "the surprise" of their poll.

"At 35-20, the Brewers have built a 4 1/2-game lead in the NL Central, featuring a consistent rotation, the bullpen dominance of Josh Hader and standout contributions from off-season acquisitions Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich, who have not disappointed."

This confirms that the nation sees the evidence we wrote about last week, showcasing all of the Brewers' accomplishments so far that notes how the Brewers truly are for real this season.

Milwaukee is the only team in the National League currently residing in the USA TODAY top 5.

Their top 5 rankings:
1) Boston Red Sox
2) Houston Astros
3) New York Yankees
4) Milwaukee Brewers
5) Seattle Mariners.

The Brewers' two archrivals, the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, are certainly in striking distance at 10 and 11 respectably, and both are still within five games of the NL Central lead with approximately two-thirds of the season remaining, so there will be no awarding World Series trophies in May.

That said, the Brewers aren't just "turning up the heat." They are sustaining it, and the nation is seeing the fire.

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