MLB Power Rankings: Dodgers on top, Nationals showing signs of life

Welcome to the seventh edition of theScore’s MLB Power Rankings for the 2019 season. Rankings will be published every second Monday throughout the regular season with the next installment coming June 24.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
45-21 8-2 +109 2 (+1)

The Dodgers’ dominance has been viewed almost entirely through the scope of Cody Bellinger’s ascension to superstardom and Hyun-Jin Ryu becoming unhittable. So you’d be forgiven for failing to notice that Joc Pederson has sustained his hot start with an incredible .616 slugging percentage. Or, perhaps most importantly for a team with championship aspirations, that David Freese is suddenly better than Freddie Freeman and Alex Bregman.

2. Houston Astros

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
45-22 8-2 +97 3 (+1)

No Jose Altuve, no Carlos Correa, no George Springer, no problem for the Astros, who continue to win games despite key injuries. Alex Bregman (.934 OPS) and Michael Brantley (.317 AVG) are leading Houston’s offense while the starting rotation and bullpen have been exceptional. Top prospect Yordan Alvarez homered in his debut as the Astros’ organizational depth continues to deliver.

3. Minnesota Twins

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
43-21 6-4 +112 1 (-2)

While the home runs have (rightly) received a ton of attention, Jake Odorizzi has emerged as a legitimate Cy Young contender. He’s won nine consecutive decisions, posting a 1.92 ERA over his 13 starts. The 29-year-old’s 9.98 K/9 would stand as a career best, and he’s limited opponents to four homers over 70 1/3 innings.

4. New York Yankees

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
40-24 5-5 +69  4 (-)

Didi Gregorius ripped his first home run of the year Saturday in just his second game. If he’s fully recovered, the Yankees are going to be even more dangerous. Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge will return eventually, but New York has done an admirable job staying competitive – and often dominant – without them. The Yanks now seem to be turning their attention toward the pitching staff, reportedly contacting the Blue Jays and Giants about Marcus Stroman and Madison Bumgarner.

Nuccio DiNuzzo / Getty Images Sport / Getty

5. Chicago Cubs

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
37-27 6-4 +66 5 (-)

Following a somewhat lethargic start to the season, Chicago is finally hitting its stride. Addressing the dire bullpen situation was paramount, and the Cubs did that by signing Craig Kimbrel – one of the top closers in MLB history – this past week. Steve Cishek, Brandon Kintzler, and Carl Edwards Jr. have been hot of late, but once Kimbrel’s ready the Cubs won’t have to rely on any of them for saves.

6. Tampa Bay Rays

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
40-24 5-5 +96 6 (-)

Tampa Bay continues to hang around the top of the AL East. Brandon Lowe (13 home runs) looks like a serious rookie of the year contender and Austin Meadows (1.046 OPS) is having an MVP season. Charlie Morton and Yonny Chirinos are giving Blake Snell plenty of help in a surprisingly deep Rays pitching staff. The team reportedly came close to landing Craig Kimbrel and the front office appears willing to add talent – a brave new world for a franchise as historically frugal as the Rays.

7. Milwaukee Brewers

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
38-28 7-3 +12 8 (+1)

Only the Dodgers have had a hotter lineup than Milwaukee over the last two weeks. Brewers hitters are rocking a collective .896 OPS, led by none other than Christian Yelich, who’s amassed 1.0 WAR in his past 12 games. But the unsung heroes have been Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas, who both signed team-friendly one-year deals this past winter. They’ve combined for 10 home runs over their past 95 plate appearances.

8. Philadelphia Phillies

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
37-28 4-6 +24 7 (-1)

Nick Pivetta’s return has gone swimmingly. After more than a month in the minors following a dreadful start to the season, Pivetta is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA, 21 strikeouts, and two walks in 20 innings across three starts. The hot streak culminated in the first complete game of his career when he took down the Reds on Saturday. With a restabilized rotation, the focus must now shift to filling the void left by Andrew McCutchen’s season-ending knee injury. Jay Bruce has filled in nicely since being acquired from Seattle (four homers in his first four games) but a move to acquire a less erratic bat can be expected before the deadline.

9. Boston Red Sox

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
34-32 5-5 +34 9 (-)

The Red Sox have dug their way out of an early-season hole, but they haven’t yet managed to string together a big winning streak and close in on New York and Tampa Bay. That could happen if Mookie Betts (.267/.382/.450, 10 HRs, 6 SBs) finds his MVP form. The bullpen has been strong despite the lack of an established closer. Chris Sale and David Price are carrying the rotation and need some help for this team to really get rolling.

Loren Elliott / Major League Baseball / Getty

10. Atlanta Braves

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
36-29 6-4 +15 10 (-)

If Dallas Keuchel can hit the ground running once he’s given the green light, he’ll bring stability that’s been somewhat lacking in the Braves’ rotation thus far. The front end has been reliable, especially rookie Mike Soroka (7-1, 1.38 ERA, 0.87 WHIP), but presumed ace Mike Foltynewicz has been burned by the long ball and southpaw Sean Newcomb took a big step backward and landed in the bullpen. Signing Keuchel could prove to be a major coup.

11. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
34-32 6-4 +56 13 (+2)

The Diamondbacks stormed into Rogers Centre over the weekend and smacked the Blue Jays around, outscoring their opponents 22-4 in a three-game sweep. With the third-best run differential in the NL, Arizona is lurking on the periphery of the playoff race. It helps that Ketel Marte has played the best offensive baseball of his career and Eduardo Escobar has shown his 2018 line wasn’t a fluke. The NL West will remain an uphill battle for the D-Backs, who trail the Dodgers by 11 games, but the wild card is within reach.

12. St. Louis Cardinals

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
31-32 5-5 +7 12 (-)

The Cardinals are flirting with .500 because some big names haven’t lived up to expectations. Perennial MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt (.804 OPS) and three-time All-Star Matt Carpenter (.225 AVG) aren’t putting up the requisite numbers for St. Louis to contend in a tough NL Central. Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty, and Andrew Miller have been average on the pitching front, and that’s just not good enough.

13. Texas Rangers

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
34-30 7-3 +32 15 (+2)

Texas has been a pleasant surprise so far after losing 95 games in 2018. Shin-Soo Choo (.901 OPS) and Hunter Pence (.911), both 36, are leading the offense and the injured Joey Gallo is having an MVP-type season. Starters Lance Lynn and Mike Minor are both top 10 in the majors in WAR. If things go south, the Rangers will have some nice trade chips with which to acquire young talent.

14. Colorado Rockies

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
33-31 6-4 +9 19 (+5)

How about Peter Lambert? The rookie had a stunning debut against the Cubs last week, becoming the first starter in Rockies history to register at least nine strikeouts in his first game. It’s impressive that an organization that’s long had difficulty developing pitchers has built a good amount of depth, especially with Kyle Freeland struggling after his breakout. It may not come as a surprise, but Nolan Arenado is once again in the thick of a crowded NL MVP race.

Denis Poroy / Getty Images Sport / Getty

15. San Diego Padres

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
33-33 4-6 -31 11 (-4)

Without Fernando Tatis Jr. in the lineup, the Padres stayed in the hunt, and that’s what you want from a young team poised to enter its competitive window soon. While Tatis, Chris Paddack, and Manny Machado have rightly garnered most of the headlines, Franmil Reyes’ progression has been an unexpected development. Only three NL teams have hit more home runs than San Diego, and a lot of that is owed to Reyes’ power.

16. Cleveland Indians

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
33-32 5-5 -6 16 (-)

And another Indians arm is down. Carlos Carrasco joined Corey Kluber and Mike Clevinger on the IL this week due to a blood condition, and there’s no real timetable for his return. As the gap in the AL Central widens, it’s looking more and more like the Indians will be sellers at the trade deadline in order to gear up for their next competitive window. On the bright side, Clevinger has started a rehab assignment and should be back with the club soon.

17. Oakland Athletics

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
33-33 4-6 +22 14 (-3)

After the A’s closed out May with an 11-game win streak, it seemed like they truly were the team that won 97 games last year. Since then, Oakland has flopped, posting a five-game losing streak and going 4-8. So, what are they? Marcus Semien, Matt Chapman, and Mark Canha have been remarkable, combining to hit 35 home runs, but Khris Davis seems to have disappeared somewhat and the starting rotation has been unreliable at best. Perhaps the impending arrivals of A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo will settle who these A’s really are.

18. New York Mets

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
32-33 5-5 -13 18 (-)

Mickey Callaway’s job security will continue to be examined as the season progresses. Outside of NL Rookie of the Year favorite Pete Alonso, who has been sensational, the Mets have failed to live up to expectations. New York hasn’t gotten enough from a starting rotation that was supposed to be the team’s strength; Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler aren’t putting up the elite numbers expected of the trio.

19. Washington Nationals

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
30-35 7-3 -10 23 (+4)

Over a third of the way into the season, the clock is ticking on whether the Nationals can turn things around. They probably should have signed Craig Kimbrel two months ago. Instead, they opted to roll with MLB’s worst bullpen by ERA. They’re now six games under .500, looking up at even the lowly New York Mets. A 10-4 run has put them back in the thick of things, but they’ll need to sustain that streak through June to catch the Phillies or the Braves.

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

20. Los Angeles Angels

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
31-35 4-6 -5 20 (-)

Mike Trout is the presumptive AL MVP, but the rest of the Angels’ hitters have been surprisingly dominant this season. Tommy La Stella entered 2019 with 10 career home runs and has hit 15 in 61 games. Even David Fletcher has turned into a dynamite role player, posting a .363 on-base percentage and .434 slugging. And then there’s Shohei Ohtani, who already has six homers in a mere 27 games so far. It almost makes you forget how bad the rotation is.

21. Cincinnati Reds

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
29-35 4-6 +33 17 (-4)

The Reds continue their completely enigmatic season. They sit last in their division but, by third-order win percentage based on run differential, they should be comfortably above .500 and right alongside the Cardinals. Hindering the team’s performance is its 8-13 record in one-run games. That’s expected to even out over a long enough time frame, especially for a club with such a strong bullpen; no team in baseball has a better collective FIP from its relief staff.

22. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
30-34 3-7 -78 21 (-1)

Josh Bell has been a one-man show in Pittsburgh. The slugging first baseman is putting up gaudy numbers – 18 home runs with a .331/.394/.678 slash line. Rookie Bryan Reynolds (.956 OPS in 43 games) is turning a lot of heads, too. The Pirates haven’t gotten enough out of Chris Archer and it seems the likes of Jordan Lyles, Trevor Williams, and Joe Musgrove have passed him on the starters’ depth chart.

23. Chicago White Sox

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
31-33 6-4 -46 24 (+1)

Chicago’s rebuild is progressing nicely. Tim Anderson is making baseball fun again and former No. 1 prospect Yoan Moncada is coming into his own. Catcher James McCann (.872 OPS) is having an All-Star campaign while Jose Abreu continues to provide steady offensive contributions. Right-hander Lucas Giolito might be the best story in the majors this season, evolving from one of the worst starters in 2018 (6.13 ERA) to one of the best (2.47 FIP) in 2019.

24. Seattle Mariners

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
28-41 4-6 -66 22 (-2)

The Mariners have fallen back to earth. Their hot start is a distant memory as they round up the rear of the AL West, and they’ve already started selling off assets by sending Jay Bruce to the Phillies. Expect more to follow. One major trade chip, Edwin Encarnacion, gave fans a reason to cheer Sunday when he became the 56th player to hit 400 career homers.

Jim McIsaac / Getty Images Sport / Getty

25. San Francisco Giants

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
26-38 5-5 -86 27 (+2)

Look away Giants fans, because San Francisco’s regulars just can’t produce at the plate. The team has four everyday players with an OPS under .700 and only one above .800. The Giants are reportedly in sell mode and former world series MVP Madison Bumgarner will be the apple of many contenders’ eyes. Relievers Will Smith, Sam Dyson, and Tony Watson could find new homes before the end of July.

26. Toronto Blue Jays

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
23-42 2-8 -82 25 (-1)

A rebuild is not for the faint of heart, and Blue Jays fans are being reminded just how painful it can be. In the last two weeks alone, the Jays have been swept by the Rays, Rockies, and Diamondbacks while barely putting up a fight offensively. And yet, they took two of three against the Yankees. Go figure. Justin Smoak, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. have propped up an otherwise anemic lineup, combining for seven long balls since the last edition of these rankings.

27. Detroit Tigers

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
24-38 4-6 -109 28 (+1)

The Tigers are hitting .233/.295/.383 as a team and have scored 222 runs in 62 games. Only the Marlins have plated fewer. There are the makings of a serviceable rotation, however, as Matthew Boyd remaCasey Mizeins a fringe Cy Young candidate and rookie Spencer Turnbull continues to impress with his 3.01 ERA over 13 starts. If top prospects Casey Mize and Matt Manning join the team next season, that’s a solid core with Daniel Norris rounding it all out. Restocking the offense will be paramount when the team likely looks to trade closer Shane Greene and outfielder Nicholas Castellanos.

28. Miami Marlins

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
23-40 4-6 -65 29 (+1)

The one silver lining for the Marlins this season has been their collection of young starters in the rotation. But even that took a blow this past week when budding ace Caleb Smith hit the injured list. The 27-year-old right-hander was quickly becoming appointment viewing for Miami fans looking for a glimpse into the club’s future. Prior to going down, Smith boasted an impressive 3.41 ERA and was MLB’s second-best pitcher at getting swings and misses on pitches inside the strike zone.

29. Kansas City Royals

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
20-45 2-8 -72 26 (-3)

When the season opened, it seemed like no team could possibly displace the Marlins and Orioles as the co-masters of baseball ineptitude. Enter the 2019 Royals, currently on pace to lose 112 games. Ryan O’Hearn is still their everyday first baseman with a .185/.288/.320 slash line and one extra-base hit in June.

30. Baltimore Orioles

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
20-45 3-7 -124 30 (-)

Even a horrible team like the Orioles can have moments during a 162-game season, and Pedro Severino hitting three home runs in one game certainly qualifies. Coming into this campaign, the 25-year-old catcher had four career round-trippers. Speaking of backstops, Baltimore selected Adley Rutschman with the first overall pick in the 2019 draft and his arrival can’t come any sooner. The Orioles’ pitching staff boasts a league-worst 5.56 ERA; maybe Rutschman can help extinguish the dumpster fire.