Three weeks of Major League Baseball are in the books. This first run of baseball since March has seen a little bit of what we expected and a lot of what we never could have fathomed, including the Rockies and Marlins leading their respective divisions.
This powerful surge of surprises has led to quite the fluctuation in some of the positions in the latest MLB power ranking:
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (+0)
Record: 13-7 (.650)
The Dodgers aren’t in first place in the NL West but that shouldn’t be cause for any concern. At least, not yet. Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger, and Max Muncy have gotten out to slow starts but Mookie Betts and Corey Seager are on an absolute tear. Meanwhile, Dustin May has excelled as a starter and Tony Gonsolin has thrown 8.2 innings of scoreless (and promising) baseball.
2. New York Yankees (+0)
Record: 12-6 (.667)
As expected, the Yankees are off to a hot start and not looking back. The pitching has been very good as Zack Britton, Jonathan Holder, and Adam Ottavino have combined for three runs over 21.1 innings of relief and Gerrit Cole, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Jordan Montgomery are a combined 7-1 on the bump. DJ LeMahieu is also batting .431/.479/.569 over 65 at-bats. Of course, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton just landed on the injured list so it will be interesting to see if the Yankees’ success will continue at the same level.
3. Minnesota Twins (+0)
Record: 12-7 (.632)
The home run parade continues in Minnesota as the Twins have tallied 32 long balls. Nelson Cruz and Marwin Gonzalez are performing great at the plate while the pitching has been strong, too. Relievers Tyler Duffey, Randy Dobnak, Matt Wisler, and Tyler Clippard have combined for six earned runs over 45.2 relief innings while offseason addition Kenta Maeda has been brilliant (and underrated) through four starts.
4. Chicago Cubs (+6)
Record: 13-3 (.813)
The Cubs have the best record in baseball under rookie head coach and fan favorite David Ross. Jon Lester, Yu Darvish, and Kyle Hendricks have been brilliant on the mound. The offense has been surprisingly strong, too, with strong performances across the board. Expect the Cubs to be heavy contenders as they prioritize relief pitching at the upcoming trade deadline.
5. Oakland Athletics (+3)
Record: 13-6 (.684)
From late-game heroics to standout fielding plays, the Athletics have been exciting in their race to the playoffs. Mark Canha and Ramon Laureano have excelled at the plate while Frankie Montas and Chris Bassitt have been brilliant on the mound. The Athletics are having a strong season and could boost their playoff push by adding a back-end starter and extra power bat at the deadline.
6. Tampa Bay Rays (-1)
Record: 12-8 (.600)
The Rays have been hit with a few tough losses so far but are ultimately poised to make a solid playoff push. The biggest concern for Tampa Bay is their starting pitching as the unit has allowed 36 runs over 68.1 innings. There is reason to believe the rotation can turn their woes around because starting pitching is usually a strong aspect of the Rays’ club, but they can’t take that risk this time around.
7. San Diego Padres (+14)
Record: 11-9 (.550)
The Padres have emerged as one of baseball’s most fascinating teams with the recent emergence of young star Fernando Tatis Jr. coupled with the reliability of the pitching staff. While the Padres’ record isn’t otherworldly, it’s a sign of what the future holds and proof that they are true contenders with a need to add catching help and perhaps some offensive and pitching depth at the trade deadline.
8. Colorado Rockies (+16)
Record: 12-6 (.667)
Some people might think that putting a team at No. 8 just weeks after an appearance at No. 24 is ridiculous, but excluding the second-best team in baseball would have been equally insane. Colorado’s pitching is decent but the hitting steals the show aqs Charlie Blackmon leads the way with a truly stunning .472/.506.681 plus 34 hits in 18 games.
9. Atlanta Braves (-2)
Record: 11-9 (.550)
The Braves at No. 6 was a tough decision but reflects their roster more than their hitting. The offense and bullpen have been reliable for the most part, with the starting pitching being the clear area of concern. Max Fried is the only active Braves pitcher who has made a start and carries an ERA under 6.75, so the starting rotation must be bolstered incredibly at the deadline if the Braves want to make a legitimate playoff push.
10. Cleveland Indians (+3)
Record: 10-9 (.526)
The Indians have gotten off to an incredibly hot start with much thanks to their lights-out pitching. Shane Bieber has performed very well on the hill, as did Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac prior to being sent home for betraying their team’s safety. The biggest weak point in Cleveland is the offense, with Franmil Reyes the only true bright spot on the unit. The Indians should find themselves in the playoffs but they must add offensive depth.
11. Houston Astros (-7)
Record: 8-10 (.444)
The Astros are off to a slow start but that’s not enough to move them below No. 11. In particular, Jose Altuve has struggled both at the plate and in the field. In fact, most of the offense has been silenced this year outside of Carlos Correa and Michael Brantley. The pitching has been decent but has yet to reach expectations. The Astros have a lot of small issues to address if they want to make a playoff run.
12. St. Louis Cardinals (-7)
Record: 2-3 (.400)
Not much can be said about the Cardinals, who have spent more than two weeks away from baseball due to an organizational coronavirus outbreak. They fell on these rankings due to the successes of teams like the Cubs and Rockies but can claim those spots back with a loud return to the field this weekend.
13. Chicago White Sox (+6)
Record: 10-9 (.526)
The White Sox’ young bats have come alive. Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, and Yoan Moncada are three players that opposing pitchers have already learned to dread. Yasmani Grandal is also reaching base at an impressive .354 clip. Dylan Cease and Dallas Keuchel are off to good starts on the mound but Chicago might want to consider adding even more rotation or bullpen depth ahead of their playoff push.
14. Miami Marlins (+12)
Record: 8-4 (.667)
Similar to the Rockies, putting the Marlins this high is bold, but the numbers don’t lie. Miami has done a good job limiting their opponents in the scoring column while finding ways to get on base. Brian Anderson and Jesus Aguilar stand out on the stat sheet with solid numbers to this point. Miami might have a fascinating decision to make at the deadline.
15. Milwaukee Brewers (-4)
Record: 7-10 (.412)
The Brewers are playing really mediocre baseball right now. There’s not much more that needs to be said. They’ll likely be buyers at the deadline but can’t afford to be too aggressive because their playoff aspirations won’t carry much legitimacy.
16. Texas Rangers (+7)
Record: 8-9 (.471)
The Rangers have crept into second place in the AL West with a 8-9 record. Lance Lynn has been incredible so far but the rest of the rotation behind him can’t say the same. Offensively, the Rangers are lacking in the power department but have been able to get on base at an above-average clip, which is surely a fair trade-off.
17. Washington Nationals (-5)
Record: 6-9 (.400)
The Nationals are not playing good baseball right now and do not like reigning World Series champions. The pitching has been hot but the offense? Not so much. If the Washington bats can come alive and lead the team to a hot winning streak, they should have a playoff spot waiting for him. But that’s a big if, and a lot needs to go right for the Nats if they want to play baseball in the fall.
18. Toronto Blue Jays (+2)
Record: 6-9 (.400)
The Blue Jays were expected to be a sleeper candidate this year but are failing to live up to the hype. Bo Bichette has been fun to watch but ultimately, the offense and pitching have been weak. The Blue Jays might not be selling this year, but they certainly won’t be buying, either. 2020 isn’t the year for the Jays.
19. Cincinnati Reds (-10)
Record: 8-11 (.421)
A lot of people—myself included—hyped up the Reds a lot this offseason. That was an epic fail. The Reds are truly struggling out of the gate and don’t have much time to reverse their woes. Jesse Winker is swinging a hot bat but the offense has otherwise been quiet. The pitching hasn’t been too bad, at least, as Trevor Bauer and Sonny Gray have performed nicely. However, time is running out to ride a hot streak to above .500.
20. New York Mets (-2)
Record: 9-11 (.450)
The Mets are in a challenging position right now. Noah Syndergaard is out for the year, Jacob deGrom was scratched from his Friday start, and Marcus Stroman opted out of the season. However, the offense has been swinging the bat very well and getting on base at a high clip. Rookies David Peterson and Andres Gimenez have also exhibited promise as the teams looks forward to a bright future. 2020 won’t be the Mets’ year, but they should be relevant again soon.
21. Arizona Diamondbacks (-5)
Record: 8-11 (.421)
The Diamondbacks have been truly explosive at the plate, giving their pitchers plenty of run support. It’s not enough. Arizona pitchers have been hammered this year and Madison Bumgarner, Robbie Ray, and Luke Weaver have pitched awful. The Diamondbacks need to get a handle on their pitching because if they don’t, they’ll find themselves at the very bottom of the standings in a season where pitching is critical.
22. Baltimore Orioles (+8)
Record: 10-7 (.588)
Apparently the Orioles can really swing the bat. While Baltimore’s pitching has been mediocre, the offense has been fascinating. Pedro Severino, Renato Nunez, and Jose Iglesias all have OBPs above .400 while Dwight Smith Jr. and Hanser Albert have also been seeing the ball very well. Can they ride this success into the playoffs? Probably not. But it’s still a refreshing sight nevertheless.
23. Philadelphia Phillies (-8)
Record: 5-9 (.357)
The Phillies have underperformed this year to the tune of an ugly .357 win percentage. Bryce Harper is seeing the baseball very well and the starting pitching has been decent, but the bullpen is painful to look at. The Phillies might try to salvage the season by trading for bullpen depth but it will likely be all for naught as the relievers have already dug the team into a deep hole.
24. Kansas City Royals (-2)
Record: 8-11 (.421)
The Royals are hovering right below .500, which is roughly what most people projected. Trevor Rosenthal and Greg Holland have witnessed feel-good success and the bullpen is generally playing good baseball, but none of that matters when your starting pitching is near the worst in the league. Outside of Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield, the hitting has been mostly quiet, too.
25. Los Angeles Angels (-11)
Record: 7-12 (.368)
Mike Trout’s return is a good sign for the Angels but it probably won’t be enough. The pitching has been painful and to add to it, Shohei Ohtani likely won’t toe the rubber again in 2020. If there was a year for the oft-mediocre Angels to make the playoffs, it was this year. But now, it appears that almost all hope is lost for the Halos.
26. Detroit Tigers (+4)
Record: 9-7 (.563)
The Tigers have been playing good baseball as of late. It is unlikely that they will keep this up for the remainder of a 60-game haul, but the solid pitching—specifically from the younger arms—is a refreshing bright spot for Detroit baseball fans and a sign of optimism surrounding the team’s post-retool future.
27. San Francisco Giants (-2)
Record: 8-12 (.400)
The Giants have been playing horrible baseball and nothing suggests that this pattern will change any time soon. Donovan Solano has been incredibly fun to watch (27-for-59); the same can be said about Mike Yastrzemski and Brandon Crawford. Ultimately, though, the Giants are not in a position where they can make a legitimate playoff run and thus will be selling come Aug. 31.
28. Boston Red Sox (-11)
Record: 6-13 (.316)
The Boston Red Sox are one of the most underachieving teams so far this year. Originally a candidate for a Wild Card spot in the playoffs, Boston now owns the worst record in the American League. The Red Sox have had moderate success at the plate but simply cannot pitch, with the lone bright spot in the bullpen being newcomer Phillips Valdez, who has a 0.73 ERA over 12.1 innings.
29. Seattle Mariners (-2)
Record: 7-13 (.350)
If you thought the Red Sox’ pitching was bad, it’s time for you to meet the Mariners, who have a 5.66 team ERA and have allowed 110 runs over 20 games. At least Seattle has seen some flair on offense, though. While not enough to put them in a playoff spot, Seattle’s production at the plate has seen guys like Kyle Lewis and J.P. Crawford possess OBPs above .400. Lewis also leads the team in hits, batting average, and home runs so it is safe to say that the Mariners are excited for their future with the young Georgia-born outfielder on their team.
30. Pittsburgh Pirates (-2)
Record: 4-13 (.235)
The Pirates have been simply terrible. They own the league’s worst on-base percentage, as well as the worst batting average and slugging percentage in the National League. With a horrific offense and pitching unit, the team’s lone bright spot came in the form of second-year third baseman Phillip Evans. However, Evans suffered a broken jaw and concussion last weekend against Detroit and was ruled out for the season. It would be truly shocking if the Pirates didn’t claim the No. 1 pick in the 2021 MLB Draft.
Biggest risers: Rockies (+16), Padres (+14), Marlins (+12)
Biggest fallers: Red Sox (-11), Angels (-11), Reds (-10)