The aim of these MLB Power Rankings is not to get caught up too much in any one week or any one series. The Orioles win three in a row? It doesn’t mean they’re all of a sudden a top-10 team.
Baseball and its fans know better than that. Anybody can get hot for a week. The worst team can beat the best team on any given day. What we’re trying to do here is rank which teams are really the best in the long view.
I say all that to fully admit this week that I’m being a little more reactionary than usual. The top of the Power Rankings is so tight that I’m looking for something — even something small — that separates our top teams.
In particular, it’s the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros, who have looked like the no-brainer best two teams in baseball this season. The Minnesota Twins are close. The New York Yankees could still be the most dangerous when their Voltron powers fully form. And you can’t really count out teams like the Red Sox, Cubs and Brewers. That goes for all of the top 10, honestly.
But this week I tried to focus on the Astros and the Dodgers and figure out who deserved to spend the next seven days as our No. 1 team. Elsewhere, in the Power Rankings you’ll find jumps for the Braves and Rangers, while the Padres and Nationals each fall down a tier.
Here’s how I see all 30 teams this week:
THE TOP 10
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (48-24; last week: 1)
The Dodgers edge the Astros for No. 1 this week. In the micro-view, the Dodgers took three of four over the weekend from the Cubs, who are another really good team. The Astros, meanwhile, beat the Blue Jays. So the Dodgers are No. 1. For this week, anyway.
2. Houston Astros (48-24; last week: 2)
Look, I still like the Astros. A lot even. I like the lineup. I like Gerrit Cole striking out 10 Blue Jays the other night. I like rookie Yordan Alvarez hitting bombs. They’ve got the Yankees for four games starting Thursday, maybe that could be their road to No. 1.
3. Minnesota Twins (47-22; last week: 3)
The Twins keep piling up wins, but they’re against teams like the Royals, Tigers and Mariners lately. Wins are wins, so pile away, but that’s not helping them make an argument to leapfrog Houston or L.A.
4. New York Yankees (43-27; last week: 4)
Do you like home runs? A lot? Then you should probably start watching some Yankees games. They have two of the best dinger mashers in the game about to return from the injured list in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Now they’ve traded for AL homer leader Edwin Encarnacion. The second most homers in the AL? Those belong to Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez.
5. Tampa Bay Rays (43-28; last week: 5)
Even though they’re not as hot as they once were, the Rays still own the best ERA in baseball by a good margin. Their 3.02 ERA is nearly a quarter of a run better than the Dodgers’ 3.25. Don’t dismiss the Rays.
6. Atlanta Braves (42-30; last week: 9)
The Braves have won 10 of 11, including two of three over the weekend against the Phillies. Now they have a 2.5-game lead in the NL East with Dallas Keuchel on the way and the young stars looking strong. Watch out, National League.
7. Milwaukee Brewers (40-31; last week: 6)
The Brewers lost two of three against the Giants this weekend. Can’t do that and keep your spot as the second-best NL team when the Braves are playing this good. Consolation: They still have Christian Yelich and he’s still really, really good.
8. Chicago Cubs (39-32; last week:7)
The Cubs were riding high off a sweep last weekend of the St. Louis Cardinals. Then they went to the West Coast and ran into some problems. The Rockies beat them in two of three, then the Dodgers beat them in three of four.
9. Boston Red Sox (39-34; last week: 10)
The Red Sox have won five in a row, but then you remember that the last three were against the Orioles.
10. Philadelphia Phillies (39-32; last week: 8)
For all the offseason hubbub, the Phillies are … fine. They’re not great. They’re not bad. They’re in playoff contention, but they’re not blowing anybody away. This about sums it up: Their ERA is 15th best in MLB and they’re 16th in runs scored. They’re … fine.
11. Arizona Diamondbacks (38-35; last week 12)
12. St. Louis Cardinals (36-34; last week: 11)
13. Texas Rangers (38-33; last week: 16)
14. Cleveland Indians (37-33; last week: 13)
15. Colorado Rockies (37-33; last week: 14)
Credit to two teams that don’t get a lot of it: The D-backs and Rangers. Their early-season successes haven’t turned into flukes yet. The D-backs are hanging with the top NL teams, including taking two of three from the Phillies. The Rangers probably aren’t going to the playoffs or anything, but they split a four-gamer with the Red Sox last week and haven’t lost a series since Memorial Day.
STUCK IN THE MIDDLE
16. San Diego Padres (35-37; last week: 15)
17. Los Angeles Angels (35-37; last week: 20)
18. Oakland A’s (36-36; last week: 17)
19. New York Mets (34-37; last week: 18)
20. Chicago White Sox (34-36; last week: 21)
The Padres have fallen under .500 again and the dream is starting to look less and less likely. The Angels get a bump after a couple of impressive wins over the Dodgers. And the White Sox split a series with the Yankees in their quest for .500.
IT’S NOT LOOKING GOOD DOWN HERE
21. Washington Nationals (33-38; last week: 19) 3-3
22. Cincinnati Reds (31-38; last week: 23)
23. San Francisco Giants (30-39; last week: 25) up a little
24. Pittsburgh Pirates (32-39; last week: 22) 2-5
25. Seattle Mariners (31-44; last week: 24) 3-3
It’s a tough reality: The Nats are a bottom-10 team right now. Things are so bad there are stories out there talking about whether they’d trade Max Scherzer. In that sense, the problems for the Reds, Giants, Pirates and Mariners don’t seem so bad. No one expected them to be good.
26. Toronto Blue Jays (26-45; last week: 28)
27. Miami Marlins (25-44; last week: 26)
28. Detroit Tigers (25-43; last week: 27)
29. Kansas City Royals (23-48; last week: 29)
30. Baltimore Orioles (21-50; last week: 30)
Congrats to the Orioles for getting halfway to 100 losses in just 71 games. That’s quite a pace. The Tigers have lost four in a row and their run differential (-132) is almost as bad as Baltimore’s (-151).
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