It’s Power Rankings, time! Spoiler alert: The Orioles remain awful. It’s also time to experiment with a new style.
30. Orioles (19–45) The good news: The Orioles got their first sweep of the season this past week. (Okay, it was a two-game series against the Mets, but who’s counting?) The bad news: They’re still in last place, and they probably will be for the foreseeable future.
29. Royals (22–44) Kansas City swapped Jon Jay for prospects this week, which is probably the first of several moves that this team will make this season to offload veteran contracts—and the fact that they’ve started so early is as good an indication of where they are right now as anything could be.
28. White Sox (22–41) The White Sox traveled to Fenway Park to face old flame Chris Sale last week. They started Dylan Covey—who not only got the win, but bested Sale in a 1-0 pitchers’ duel. That was the highlight of the White Sox’s week, and it may very well end up as the highlight of their season.
27. Reds (23–43) Both of the Reds’ wins this week were big. The first one came from their longest game of the year so far, a 13-inning match against the Rockies. The second one had a few notable features—it snapped a 13-game losing streak against the Cardinals; it was Anthony DeSclafani’s first win since 2016; it included 11 walks for Cincinnati hitters, a feat that the franchise has only accomplished eight times this century. If none of that feels particularly important, well, nothing is particularly important for the Reds right now.
26. Marlins (23–42) The Marlins have hit fewer home runs than any other team this year, with a team slugging percentage lingering around .350. Can they break the modern-era record worst of .330, from the 1974 San Diego Padres? Probably not, but the outside possibility at least might give you a reason to watch, which isn’t something that the Marlins have been offering very much of lately.
25. Rangers (27–41) With his third victory of the season this week, Bartolo Colón is now tied for the most wins by a Dominican pitcher. Meanwhile, his team still does not have any competition for fewest wins in the AL West.
24. Mets (28–34) By this point, the Mets’ hot start feels like both a distant memory and a cruel joke. (They nearly had the top spot in the first edition of these power rankings!) This last week was the team’s first full one under .500, and it wasn’t pretty. The bottom has fallen out from under the bullpen, Jacob deGrom’s stellar work has continually failed to get any run support, and the injury list remains long. But, hey, they’ve finally cut Adrian Gonzalez loose; maybe Jose Reyes and his .205 OBP will be next.
23. Rays (29–35) A little more than a week ago, the Rays were sitting just over .500. It hasn’t been great since then. Much of the team’s early success came from hot performances from players like Daniel Robertson and C.J. Cron, which never looked like they were built to last, and those have started to crack apart. Meanwhile, the “opener” strategy hasn’t been delivering results, with Wilmer Font and Jonny Venters serving as the most recent first-inning test subjects. And, anyway, the recent focus on the team’s strategy there has sometimes glossed over a fact that’s increasingly hard to ignore: No matter how this pitching staff is packaged, they don’t have anything great to offer.
22. Twins (28–34) The Twins took three of four games against the division-leading Indians last week. If that was at all encouraging, they went on to lose two of three to the bottom-of-the-barrel White Sox.
21. Padres (31–36) The fact that the NL West has less distance between first and last place than any other division says more about the first-place Diamondbacks than it does about the last-place Padres. Still—take this for what you will, but after a recent hot streak, San Diego is only 5.5 games out of first. That hot streak included two separate series against Miami and one against Cincinnati, though, so don’t take it for very much.
20. Tigers (31–36) The Tigers take fewer walks than any other team in baseball—a walk rate of 6.9%.
This has been an attempt to find something interesting to say about this Detroit team. Thank you.
19. Blue Jays (30–35) Last week, news broke that Toronto was considering bringing Vlad Guerrero, Jr. up to Triple-A; a few days later, headlines were updated to reflect that the top prospect out for four weeks with a knee injury. While the teenage phenom continues to tear apart the minors, his major-league counterparts remain in need of his services.
18. Pirates (32–33) It’s almost remarkable how uniformly mediocre this team is—their .500ish record, sure, but also the 99 OPS+ and 96 ERA+ and complete lack of other areas on the stat sheet where they differentiate themselves in any way.
17. Rockies (32–33) With a 2–8 record in their last 10 games, Colorado is the only team in the NL West that had a bad week. Given how bunched together the division is, that’s not the sort of thing that they can really afford. But, uh, at least they still have their really weird set of home-away splits: 11-19 at home, 21–14 on the road.
16. Giants (33–32) Over the last two weeks, San Francisco has been raking, hitting .291/.343/.492 as a group. That gives them baseball’s third-highest OPS in that time. Unfortunately for them, however, the only two teams above them are both in their division. (The Diamondbacks have the top spot, with .880 OPS, and the Dodgers are right behind them at .863.)
15. A’s (34–32) Oakland has just as many wins as Cleveland right now. Unfortunately for the A’s, what’s good enough for a healthy first place in the AL Central only works out to fourth place in the AL West.
14. Phillies (33–30) Here’s a quick quiz: Which of these is the Phillies’ triple-slash from the past two weeks, and which is the worst-in-baseball Orioles’ from the full season?
Answer: Doesn’t the fact that it’s even a question tell you enough about Philadelphia’s recent performance? (The Phillies were Option A. Ouch.)
13. Dodgers (33–32) The Dodgers have finally begun to shake off their early-season woes. As my colleague Jon Tayler wrote last week, though, most of the team’s recent success has come from unlikely sources. (Max Muncy, anyone?) Still, no team has had a hotter offense in the past week—a best-in-baseball 17 home runs and .569 slugging percentage in that time—and they look like they just might be close to cracking the code needed to take control of first place for the first time this season.
12. Diamondbacks (35–29) Paul Goldschmidt has been the best hitter in baseball over the last two weeks—with a line of .463/.532/1.024 and six home runs in his last ten games. That performance has been a big part of Arizona’s ability to recover nicely from a truly dreadful stretch last month and maintain a grip on first place in the NL West.
11. Cardinals (35–28) Marcell Ozuna has finally started to break away from his early-year struggles. In the last two weeks, he’s hit .341/.413/.610—and the fact that this is only almost enough to bring his full-season stats up to league-average (to say nothing of his own career average) is proof of just how rough his start in St. Louis has been.
10. Indians (34–29) Corey Kluber hasn’t walked a batter in a month, and you can’t name a better pitcher in the American League save Justin Verlander, as my colleague Jack Dickey wrote about here. Unfortunately for Kluber, he’s still backed up by the worst bullpen in baseball. To be fair, the team did make some free-agent additions there recently, but considering that those additions were Oliver Perez and George Kontos … maybe it’s more fair not to mention those additions.
9. Angels (37–29) The news that Shohei Ohtani was being sent to the disabled list this week was a serious blow to the Angels, but it makes for a good time to note that the rest of the rotation has had some notable good luck so far when it comes to health. Both Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney have already racked up more innings than they have in any full season since 2015, and each has been performing strikingly well. Knock on wood.
8. Braves (37–28) This week, Atlanta celebrated their most lopsided win of the season so far: a 14–1 drubbing of San Diego. The fact that they lost their other two games in that series and failed to extend a grip on first place were less worthy of celebration.
7. Brewers (39–26) Just over a week ago, the Brewers posted their tightest grip on first place so far this year—a 4.5-game lead over the Cubs. That’s shrunk steadily in the time period since, but they at least can still boast the best bullpen in the National League. Thanks to Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress, they have the highest strikeout rate (28.4%) and the lowest ERA (2.53).
6. Nationals (36–27) Despite a lousy offense over the past two weeks—they’ve hit .218/.278/.336 as a team, with notable slumps from Bryce Harper and Trea Turner—the Nationals haven’t found themselves in the middle of collapse. In that time, their pitching staff has posted a 2.85 ERA and 4.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which might have something to do with it.
5. Mariners (41–24) There’s no reason for this team to be quite as good as they’ve been. By the numbers, they should be closer to .500 than .600 one, let alone one close to .650. (A big part of that? An absurd 21-9 record in one-run games.) But put aside what the Mariners statistically should be, and instead look at what they are—a team that’s been riding a recent stretch of excellent pitching to the top of the AL West, and while all this shouldn’t last forever, it’s worked some serious wonders so far.
4. Cubs (37–25) The Cubs have the best run differential in the National League and the third-best in baseball, behind only Houston and Boston. And yet, for the time being, they’re still stuck in second place in their own division. This team has been underperforming all year, but winning eight of their last ten has helped them catch up, and it should be only a matter of time before their win-loss record starts to better align with their actual level of play.
3. Astros (42–25) No team has dominated its competition quite like the Astros have this year. They’re the only club to enter this week with a triple-digit run differential, and they’re clearing that marker with room to spare—outscoring their opponents by a whopping 127 runs so far. It helps to have the only pitching staff in baseball with a sub-3.00 ERA.
2. Red Sox (44–22) See below, but here enjoy the bonus fun fact that no hitter has had a better last four weeks than Andrew Benintendi (.355/.423/.710).
1. Yankees (42–19) Anyone who claims to have a definitive answer to which team is better between the Yankees and the Red Sox right now is bluffing. The Yankees claim a slightly better offense (115 OPS+ versus 110), but a slightly weaker pitching staff (120 ERA+ versus 125). But New York has won eight of their last ten—and their winning percentage is still just a bit above Boston’s, though they’ve played fewer games due to their early-season weather woes—so they can keep the edge for this week.