There’s a ton of movement in this week’s MLB power rankings, but teams appear to be separating themselves in the middle of May.
1. Houston Astros (26-15) | Last week: 4 (+3)
The Astros look like the best team in baseball right now, as they’re coming off a 6-1 week, and they’re first in the majors in run differential (1.7). Justin Verlander is basically only allowing home runs when he allows runs right now, but he didn’t allow any (and only one hit in seven innings) against the Rangers a few days ago to improve to 6-1.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (27-16) | Last week: 1 (-1)
There probably isn’t a hotter pitcher in baseball right now than Hyun-jin Ryu. The Dodgers starter’s last three outings:
8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER
9 IP, 4 H, 0 ER (complete game shutout)
8 IP, 1 H, 0 ER
If Ryu can pitch close to this well in October, Walker Buehler heats up, and Clayton Kershaw stays healthy, LA’s pitching staff will be really tough to score on.
3. Chicago Cubs (24-14) | Last week: 3
The Cubs are an MLB-best 15-5 in their last 20 games, and they’re coming off a big series victory against the Brewers, including a great 15-inning win on a walk-off blast by Willson Contreras on Saturday. Chicago didn’t need much more momentum, but they have it ahead of a road trip.
4. Minnesota Twins (25-14) | Last week: 5 (+1)
The Twins did as they should have done against inferior opponents by going 5-2 against the Blue Jays and Tigers, but the level they did it at was exceptional. Minnesota had three shutout victories in a four-game span to start last week.
5. Philadelphia Phillies (23-16) | Last week: 6 (+1)
The Phillies dropped the first game of each of their three-game series against the Cardinals and Royals, but they bounced back to win the final two games of those series for a 4-2 week. Now they return home for four games against the Brewers and three against the Rockies.
6. Tampa Bay Rays (24-15) | Last week: 2 (-4)
The Rays picked up a series win against the Diamondbacks before dropping two-of-three against the Yankees, but they drop four spots in the power rankings with teams playing well above them.
7. New York Yankees (24-16) | Last week: 8 (+1)
You can make an argument for the Yankees being ahead of the Rays in the power rankings after their series win at Tropicana Field. They’re likely to have a chance to take first place in the AL East with another series versus the Rays late this week.
8. Milwaukee Brewers (24-18) | Last week: 9 (+1)
After starting the weekend series at Wrigley Field with a 7-0 win, that was a tough way to end the weekend after a 15-inning loss then a Sunday loss. It won’t get much easier for the Brewers as they go to Philly for four games before heading to Atlanta for three.
9. Boston Red Sox (22-19) | Last week: 12 (+3)
The defending champs received some trouble from the Orioles to start the week, but they bounced back with five straight wins to climb within striking distance of the Rays and Yankees in the division. Boston scored 34 runs in their three-game sweep of the Mariners.
10. Pittsburgh Pirates (20-17) | Last week: 16 (+6)
The pitching of the Pirates helped get them a couple of 2-1 wins against the Cardinals to power the team winning three-of-four against the Cardinals. Pittsburgh has bounced back in a big way from their ugly losing streak a couple weeks ago.
11. Cleveland Indians (21-18) | Last week: 10 (-1)
In the past 11 games, the Indians haven’t scored more than five runs once. The offense simply needs to get better if Cleveland is going to push Minnesota in the AL Central.
12. St. Louis Cardinals (22-19) | Last week: 7 (-5)
The Cardinals scored six runs to start the week, six runs to end the week, and 17 runs in a game in between, but they had run totals of one, zero, one, and one the other four games, which ultimately led to an inconsistent 2-5 week.
13. San Diego Padres (22-19) | Last week: 13
After a 3-3 week, the Padres are the only team in the top 27 of the power rankings aside from the Cubs to have no movement up or down. They’ll look to make a push up the NL West standings when they face the Dodgers for two games starting tomorrow.
14. Atlanta Braves (21-20) | Last week: 11 (-3)
It didn’t help having to face the Dodgers to start the week, but the Braves had a four-game losing streak. They were able to win three in a row after the bad start to the week, but they fell farther behind the Phillies in the NL East.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks (22-19) | Last week: 14 (-1)
The Diamondbacks were held to four runs or fewer in each of their previous seven games, leading to a 2-5 week. Arizona remains home all this week, so this could be a tipping point for them.
16. Colorado Rockies (19-21) | Last week: 17 (+1)
Colorado’s offense is hot, with run totals of 12, 12, and 10 in three of their last four games; but they’ll need to stay hot with a trip to Boston to face a just-as-hot Red Sox team for two games.
17. New York Mets (19-20) | Last week: 18 (+1)
The Mets continue to hover around .500 after a 3-2 week, and they’ll look to knock the Nats really far down the standings to start this week.
18. Los Angeles Angels (19-21) | Last week: 23 (+5)
The Angels had a prime opportunity to string series wins together, and they got the job done against the Tigers and Orioles on the road. The great Albert Pujols became the third player in MLB history to record 2,000 RBI last week, and one of those players (Alex Rodriguez) used PEDs.
19. Oakland Athletics (19-23) | Last week: 21 (+2)
The Athletics also needed to get a couple of series victories, which they were able to do against the Reds and Indians. This week is a good chance for Oakland to keep it going against the reeling Mariners and the Tigers.
20. Seattle Mariners (20-23) | Last week: 15 (-5)
Facing the Yankees and Red Sox on the road is extremely difficult, and the Mariners were only able to get one win in seven days as they drop three games below .500. After an amazing start to the season, Seattle might not be able to get back on track if they don’t do so soon.
21. Washington Nationals (16-24) | Last week: 19 (-2)
The Nationals were able to split a four-game series with the Dodgers, so hopefully that’ll build some momentum as they return home to face the Mets and Cubs this week. Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto returned to the lineup last week, but the Nats are still dealing with a bunch of injuries.
22. Cincinnati Reds (18-23) | Last week: 26 (+4)
The Reds were able to have an above-.500 week, including a series win over the Giants that included a Yasiel Puig homer off of Madison Bumgarner. Luis Castillo threw six shutout innings with 11 strikeouts to improve to 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA this season.
23. Detroit Tigers (18-20) | Last week: 24 (+1)
Despite 3.5 runs per game and a -1.2 run differential, the Tigers remain just two games below .500 after a 3-4 week. It’ll likely be difficult for the pitching to hold up against the Astros to start this week.
24. Chicago White Sox (18-21) | Last week: 27 (+3)
The White Sox went 4-3 in series against the Indians and Blue Jays, and they’ll face those two teams again this week in an interesting stretch in the schedule.
25. San Francisco Giants (17-23) | Last week: 25
Trade winds appear to be picking up for Madison Bumgarner, and there should be plenty of teams interested in the accomplished left-hander.
26. Texas Rangers (17-21) | Last week: 22 (-4)
The league-leading offense of the Rangers couldn’t get much going against an elite Astros pitching staff, which could be an indication that Texas won’t seriously compete late in the season. They’ll look to bounce back against the Royals and Cardinals.
27. Toronto Blue Jays (16-24) | Last week: 20 (-7)
The schedule sets this up as a week for Toronto to get on track, but it probably has to start with the offense. The Jays are scoring just 3.5 runs per game this season.
28. Kansas City Royals (14-27) | Last week: 28
Considering the opponents (Astros and Phillies), the Royals did well to pick up a couple of wins last week.
29. Baltimore Orioles (14-26) | Last week: 29
The Orioles started and ended the week with victories, but they weren’t able to get in the win column in their other four games.
30. Miami Marlins (10-29) | Last week: 30
Miami started their week with a win, too, but they were held to run totals of 2, 2, 1, 2, and 1 the next five games (all losses).