MLB POWER RANKINGS Presented by @sportsguychris
I am thrilled and very excited to be back to writing after a bit of a hiatus! There are several articles in the works to get everyone caught up on my adventures from the last month. Of course the NCAA tournament is well in our rear-view (a BIG congrats to Tony Bennett and Virginia!), and now the focus of the sports world is on the NBA playoffs (I am a huge Bucks fan so Paul Pierce can eat it - #FearTheDeer baby!). Of course the NBA playoffs aren't the only thing in the world of sports that's heating up, as the MLB season has over a full month in the books and most teams have played at least 35 games.
Now that we have a few weeks of baseball under our belts, it's the perfect time to roll out this year's first MLB "Power Rankings". There will be plenty more subsequent editions to follow, as we still have a long, long way to go in the baseball season. The start of the 2019 campaign has brought with it a few surprises and a few clubs that have seemingly picked up where they left off last season. The defending champs have finally got to .500 after a horrible start to the season, the Dodgers have the best record in the NL (no surprise there), and the Brewers & Cubs are once again atop the NL Central.
There's plenty to cover so let's get to it. Each edition, I will rank the top 15 teams and give a brief summary of their play of late. The rankings are based on how teams are trending as of late with their play, and are not necessarily picks to make the playoffs, just how I see the top 15 teams in baseball to this point. There are indicators next to each team as well highlighting whether they are trending up, down, or even as of late. Without further ado, here is the first edition of the MLB Power Rankings presented by @sportsguychris:
1 LOS ANGELES DODGERS (25-15) ⬆️
The Dodgers lead the NL in runs scored and are second to the Brewers in Home Runs and are third in slugging %. The bats are certainly producing once again in southern California, and so is the pitching- LA ranks 5th in the league in ERA and second in strikeouts. It's all added up to the best record in the National League and top spot in the 'power rankings'. Cody Bellinger has been one of the best players in baseball to this point as well and appears locked in an early-season MVP duel with Milwaukee's Christian Yelich.
2 TAMPA BAY RAYS (23-13) ↔️
The Rays were the "sexy" pick if you will, by a lot of preseason pundits to possibly win the AL East, and have not disappointed early in the season. They own one of the best records in baseball (right there with the Dodgers & Twins) and own the best team-ERA in baseball at 2.99. They are also tied for the league lead in saves, meaning this team's strategy of the "opener" seems to be working out just fine. Tampa appears to have picked up where they left off last year, where they had a particularly strong second half to the season -keep an eye on this team.
3 HOUSTON ASTROS (23-15) ⬆️
The Astros are 2nd in all of baseball in run differential (at +49 heading into Friday) with the Yankees. While they are just 6-4 in their past 10, that stat is particularly impressive when taking into consideration only 13 of their first 34 games have come at home. They are 10-3 thus far in Houston, and are in the midst of 7 straight at home as well as 17 of their next 23 overall. Watch out AL West the Astros are about to take off.
4 CHICAGO CUBS (22-13) ⬆️
The Cubbies have won 10 of 11 and are the hottest team in baseball at the moment. A slow start out of the gates is well in the rear view by now as they've passed both the Brewers and Cardinals for the NL Central lead. The bats are starting to come around during the recent stretch, and they now rank 3rd in the league in runs scored and 4th in HRs. Their team ERA ranks 4th in the league as well.
5 MILWAUKEE BREWERS (23-16) ⬆️
The BrewCrew started the season out very hot going 8-2 right out of the gates. After a tough stretch against the Dodgers and Cardinals the second time around, they seem to have turned it back on and are now one of the hottest teams in all of baseball having won 6 straight. The pitching is the biggest question mark, but the addition of Gio Gonzalez (after being a key contributor last year down the stretch for the Brewers) to the rotation has already provided a boost. Oh and then there's the sizzling Christian Yelich. Get ready - the Brewers & Cubs are both red-hot and set to do battle this wknd.
6 ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (22-16) ⬇️
The Cardinals were the hottest team in baseball until cooling as of late, dropping their last 6 of 8 (including a sweep at Wrigley to the Cubbies over the wknd). The 11-2 stretch that preceded it was quite impressive though, and it appears that the NL Central is looking very much like another 3-way slugfest between the Cards, Cubs, and Brewers.
7 MINNESOTA TWINS (23-12) ⬆️
The Twins continue to surprise and own the best record in the AL - a 1/2 game better than the Rays. They lead the Indians by a couple of games and are 7-3 over their last 10 overall. They are also the only team in the AL Central with a positive run differential on the season (+44). RH Jake Odorizzi is off to a stellar start (4-2, 2.78 ERA) as well.
8 ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (22-16) ↔️
The Diamondbacks started the season very slow (6-9), but have won 16 of 23 since that slow start and appear to be the closest threat to the Dodgers in the NL West after the Padres have cooled since a hot start. They are still lacking consistency at the plate however, having scored 8+ runs 10 times thus far, but have only scored 2 or fewer 8 times. They are averaging just 2.5 runs per game over their past 4 overall.
9 NEW YORK YANKEES (22-15) ↔️
It's tough having the Yankees at #9, it feels like they should be higher. But this year's Yankees aren't last year's and they have been hit hard by injuries - in particular - their starting pitching. The Yankees are a threat no doubt, but there are major questions in the area of pitching depth at the moment. That lands them at #9 for now...
10 PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (21-15) ↔️
The Phillies are just 7th in the NL in team-ERA and 12th in strikeouts, and are tied for 6th in runs scored, and tied for 10th in Home Runs. Not exactly numbers that make you sit back and say, watch out for this team. They've scored 2 runs or fewer in 11 of their 36 games as well, and need to find consistency at the plate. That being said, they have a total of 7 players that have made at least 28 plate appearances this year that are hitting between .279 and .406. The NL-East appears to be wide open with the Braves off to a slower than expected start and the Mets on a recent skid.
11 SAN DIEGO PADRES (21-17) ↔️
The Padres shocked everyone out of the gate - going an NL-best 11-5 through their first 16. Since then they've come back down to earth a bit (10-12), but there is still a lot to like about this young team. They are tied for third in the league in HRs (52), are 2nd in the league in ERA, and first in saves with 15.
12 CLEVELAND INDIANS (20-16) ↔️
The Indians remain locked in with the Twins early in the season in the AL Central. They currently rank 4th in the AL in team-ERA and 3rd in strikeouts, which helps to make-up for a rather lackluster offense that ranks 2nd to last in the league in runs scored with just 118 (heading into the beginning of the week), 2nd to last in HRs, and dead-last in batting average at just .211 on the season heading into Monday. The good news? They play in the once-again weak AL Central.
13 SEATTLE MARINERS (20-20) ⬇️
The Mariners started the season red-hot shooting out to a Major League-best 13-3 start. Then the Astros came to town and swept them and ever since it's been a downward spiral. The 7-17 stretch has been tough to figure out, the M's do still lead the AL in both runs scored with 204 and in Home Runs with 68 (as of Tuesday) - 11 better than the Astros. The pitching has faltered a bit as they allowed 10+ runs four times in a recent 10-game span. Which version will show up the rest of the way?
14 BOSTON RED SOX (19-19) ⬆️
The defending champs managed to sneak onto the list and crack the top-15. After a 3-9 start to the season that had many in beantown worried, the Red Sox have managed to settle in and get back to playing solid baseball. They are quietly creeping their way back into the mix, and are an AL East-best 8-2 over their past 10.
15 ATLANTA BRAVES (18-20) ⬇️
It's been a rather quiet opening to the season for the Braves, and while the offensive numbers remain solid, the pitching has been lagging early on in the 2019 campaign. With a team-ERA of 4.29 (just 9th in the NL) & an NL-worst 141 walks allowed by the pitching staff, Atlanta has plenty to clean up to get back to last year's form. And they have now lost 4 straight.
As always, I want to thank everyone for their support, as noted earlier, I have several other articles in the works and will have those out shortly. In the mean time, I would love to hear all of your thoughts below in the comments section- who do you have on top? As always, happy reading & writing to everyone in Scorum land!