MLB Power Rankings (5/14)

Last week

A new number one and a sliding NL powerhouse highlight the latest edition of Baseline Times MLB Power Rankings.

1) New York Yankees (28-12) 1

For the first time all year the Red Sox are not in the top spot on here, and to make matters worse for Boston, it’s their arch rivals in the Bronx that have dethroned them. The Yankees have simply been unbelievable for the better part of a month now, and their mid week series win over the Red Sox secured them of this ranking. New York already has four players with double digit home run totals, and they’ve just been bludgeoning the opposition to death almost daily. They’ll take tonight off before embarking on an eight game road trip beginning in Washington tomorrow.

2) Boston Red Sox (28-12) 1

The Bo-Sox are no longer number one, but number two almost sounds too harsh. Realistically them and the Yankees are almost a 1 and 1A situation at present. And the fact that they are 3-3 head to head so far only adds more intrigue to what should be an incredible race all year long. Honestly it wouldn’t be surprising to see them back on top of New York next week, as they have a tremendous opportunity to string some wins together in the days ahead. Their next 10 games are against Oakland, Baltimore, and Tampa Bay.

3) Houston Astros (26-16) 1

As was easily predicted, the Astros down week two weeks ago, did not carry over into this past one. Houston five of six games from the A’s and Rangers, priming them for a huge showdown with the Angels beginning tonight.

4) Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (24-16) 1

The Angels have a realistic chance to overtake Houston for first place in the AL West. All they’ll have to do is beat the champs head to head this week in a series Houston will throw Lance McCullers, Gerrit Cole, and Justin Verlander at them. It’s an important three game stretch for this team, as for seven weeks they’ve been proving they can hang with the Astros, but if they want to show their biggest rivals they’re a legitimate threat to win this division, it will have to be done head to head.

5) Milwaukee Brewers (24-17)  3

The Brewers are establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the National League, as both Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain have been everything the club could have hoped they’d be when they acquired the pair in the off-season. We should soon have a better handle on where Milwaukee stacks up in the NL heirarchy as six of their next nine games are with Arizona.

6) Arizona Diamondbacks (24-16) 3

The D’backs weren’t going to win every series all year, but still, their sudden downturn this past weekend was stunning. Arizona dropped all four games to the suddenly surging Nationals, and the task in front of them  is proving the series was nothing more than a fluke as they move ahead.

7) Chicago Cubs (21-16) 2

Chicago has been better of late, but they certainly haven’t taken off yet. Playing two bad teams (Miami and the White Sox) this past week got them pointed in the right direction as they won five of those six games, but the road ahead isn’t necessarily easy. The Cubs depth, particularly in the bullpen, will be tested in the upcoming week, as they play eight games in three cities in seven days.

8) St. Louis Cardinals (22-16) 2

The Cardinals first week with Yadier Molina in the disabled list did not go all that well. St. Louis dropped four of six games to the Twins and Padres, and to make matters worse, Adam Wainwright’s long awaited return from the DL could not have gone much worse. The veteran righty lasted only 2 1/3 innings and walked six yesterday, before coming out of the game after potentially reaggravating his elbow injury. St. Louis is already talking about him missing his next start, and this situation certainly bears watching moving forward.

9) Atlanta Braves (24-15) 2

The team with the best record in the National League is the 5th NL team to be ranked on this list, and that should tell you just how well the Braves are flying under the radar right now. Atlanta is getting terrific starting pitching, and their young offensive core is simply mashing the baseball. The Braves’ next four games are with the Cubs, and if they continue to play well in those contests it will be hard for them to remain the best kept secret in baseball.

10) Seattle Mariners (22-17) 2

Everything had been going so smooth for Seattle of late that Mariners’ fans would tell you something was inevitably bound to go wrong. Those fears were realized yesterday, when star second baseman Robinson Cano was hit by a pitch and broke a bone in his hand, an injury that will likely require surgery and send him to the shelf for several months. Losing Cano certainly changes the attitude around this team, who surprisingly currently sit only 2.5 games back of the Astros in the AL West.

11) Cleveland Indians (20-19) 1

The rhetoric around the Indians is getting redundant, but it really is becoming concerning how they can’t seem to pull away in the woeful American League Central. Cleveland continues to just chug along on a win one, lose one pace, and it is only a matter of time before another divisional team should be able to take advantage.

12) Philadelphia Phillies (23-16) 3

Philadelphia has outperformed expectations all year, doing it in large part with breakout seasons from Odubel Herrera and Aaron Nola, but everything with the Phillies is not rosy. Their 23-16 record is impressive, but it’s concerning that closer Hector Neris has now blown two straight dominant starts from Jake Arrieta, and for a team that will need every win they can get to realistically sneak into the playoffs, those games could come back to bite them.

13) Toronto Blue Jays (21-20) 6

The Blue Jays are still this high out of respect for what they had done to this point, but this was not a good week for baseball’s lone Canadian team. Toronto lost series home series to both the Mariners and Red Sox, and after taking today off they’ll have to aim to get back on track in New York against the Mets.

14) Washington Nationals (24-18) 3

What the Nationals just accomplished out in Arizona this past weekend sent shots around the baseball world that they are back. In four games against the team that previously had the best record in the NL, Washington won all four while limiting the Diamondbacks to only seven runs total. The Nats have a funky week ahead as they are off both Monday and Thursday, bracketing a two game set with the game’s hottest team; the Yankees.

15) Colorado Rockies (22-19) 2

The Rockies went just 2-4 this past week, but the best news for them came away from their own team, as thanks to the Diamondbacks getting beat up by the Nationals, Colorado is now only 2.5 games out in the NL West. With divisional road games coming up with San Diego and San Francisco the Rockies will look to get themselves back on a winning trajectory, while also attempting to gain further ground on first place Arizona.

16) Pittsburgh Pirates (23-17) 3

The Pirates have struggled to get a ton of love so far in 2018, but the way they’ve so drastically outperformed expectations is starting to get my attention. This past week they took four of five games from the White Sox and Giants, and with more games with the White Sox ahead, followed by four games with San Diego and three with Cincinnati, we may be looking at this team differently by the end of the month.

17) New York Mets (19-18) 3

The Mets went 17-9 in the season’s first month but have gone just 2-9 in May, a trend you’d like to hope will correct itself eventually. New York just inexcusably lost two of three to the dreadful Reds before splitting a rain abbreviated two game series with Philadelphia, and they’ll try to get things pointed in the right direction when they send Noah Syndergaard to the mound against the team that drafted him, Toronto, Tuesday night.

18) Minnesota Twins (17-19) 3

The Twins were a playoff team a year ago that got off to a horrific start, but they have finally begun to show signs of life. This past week they won two straight in a short series with the Cardinals before splitting a four game set with the Angels, and continued strong play moving forward should make them a threat to the Indians in the AL Central, as they currently trail Cleveland by only 1.5 games.

19) San Francisco Giants (20-21) 3

For a second there the Giants were trying to convince us they could potentially be a contender, but that was likely short lived. San Francisco’s trip to the east coast was a disaster, as they lost all four in Philadelphia before dropping two of three in Pittsburgh, and they’ll have to hope for better days ahead on their seven game home stand that begins today.

20) Oakland Athletics (19-21) 2

The A’s didn’t play all that well last week, but you can hardly blame them for that. Oakland’s schedule was brutal as they lost five of six to the Astros and Yankees, a week that just accentuated they are not good enough to play with the big boys in the American League.

21) Los Angeles Dodgers (16-24) 1

There isn’t much left to say about the Dodgers that hasn’t been said already in 2018. This team is without question the biggest disappointment in the game this year, and while they have too much talent to be written off completely, it was tempting to do just that after watching them unbelievably be swept in four games by Cincinnati.

22) Detroit Tigers (17-22) Same

Number 22 is without question the Tigers spot, they own this place in the power rankings. And that’s not really a good thing. Detroit has been steadily okay but not good, pretty much exactly how they were viewed in March. This week they get the Indians at home three times, and if they can somehow sweep them maybe they can become a factor in an underwhelming AL Central. Maybe.

23) Tampa Bay Rays (16-22) Same

Tampa Bay got off to a terrible start, played better for a few weeks, but they are currently heading on a downward trajectory again. In the recently completed week they lost twice to Atlanta and dropped three of four to the Orioles, who embarrassed the Rays 17-1 yesterday.

24) Texas Rangers (16-26) 1

The Rangers went 3-3 this past week but that was a marked improvement for a team that currently has a .381 winning percentage. Things may get a little better for them in the days ahead though, as they recently activated second baseman Rougned Odor from the disabled list.

25) San Diego Padres (16-26) 1

San Diego actually played pretty well this week, dropping a series to the Nationals before bouncing back to split a four game weekend set with St. Louis. They are not good by any means, but they’ve at least been reasonably competitive, and they’ll become more interesting later in the year when their off the charts farm system starts bubbling prospects to San Diego.

26) Kansas City Royals (13-27) Same

Kansas City’s starting pitching has been getting hammered all year, something that has been arguably the biggest factor in them losing more than twice the amount of games they’ve won. This past week they gave up at least five runs in every game they played, and 11 runs twice. Yikes.

27) Cincinnati Reds( 14-27) 3

How about the red hot Cincinnati Reds! Unbelievably Cincinnati has won their last six games, evicting them from the power rankings basement, and making their record not look quite as embarrassing as it was.

28) Baltimore Orioles (13-28) 1

Without Manny Machado the Orioles would be borderline unwatchable, but they did go an impressive 5-2 against the Royals and Rays this past week. The Phillies and Boston are up next, though, so don’t expect the wins to continue.

29) Miami Marlins (14-26) 2

The Marlins try hard, but they are just not very good. Last week they were simply over-matched by both the Cubs and the Braves, and they’ll try to bounce back by contributing to the Dodgers misery beginning tomorrow. A silver lining for Miami this year has been the dominance of a couple of their relief pitchers, most notably Kyle Barraclough, who should be a very marketable asset in July.

30) Chicago White Sox (10-27)  2

The White Sox are the new cellar dwellers, as they really don’t have much of anything going for them right now.