MLB Power Rankings: Giants take over as best in baseball, Braves and Orioles climb
1. San Francisco Giants (25-14, previous: 2) – For the first time this season we have a No. 1 team not from Milwaukee as the Giants have been on a tear of late, currently winners of seven of their last 10 games. Coming into the year, it was pretty well known how good their pitching would be, but it’s been their 4.18 runs per game, the third-best in the NL, as the big surprise. If they can keep tearing it up at the plate, they could be at or near the top for a good portion of the season.
2. Milwaukee Brewers (24-14, previous: 1) – With the way the season has gone for the Brewers, losing six of their last 10 is considered a bad stretch for the Brewers Milwaukee’s offense has calmed down of late, as it is now seventh in the NL in runs per game at 4.03. Milwaukee will look to regain the best record in the NL this week with six divisional games, at home against Pittsburgh and then at Chicago against the Cubs.
3. Oakland Athletics (24-15, previous: 4) – Winners of five straight games Oakland has regained its form and is back to being the best team in the American League. Their plus-62 run differential is the best in all of baseball and their 192 runs scored is good for second-most in the American League. There’s no question the A’s will be in the playoff picture for the remainder of the season, the only question is whether or not any team will challenge them in the AL West.
4. Colorado Rockies (23-17, previous: 3) – Colorado can certainly score runs as it has plated 230 runs so far this season. They are the only team to surpass the 200 mark in the NL. They also have the best team batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage in all of baseball. As the summer goes on we will get to see just how far a team can go being led so heavily by its offense.
5. Detroit Tigers (22-12, previous: 5) – Detroit has won seven of its last 10 games to open up a 5.5 game lead in the AL Central as it is the only team with a positive run differential. The Tigers are in the middle of a nine-game road trip, including a weekend series in Boston with the surging Red Sox, which will be a good test in their first meeting since last year’s ALCS.
6. Atlanta Braves (21-16, previous: 10) – After falling out of first place in the NL East for a short time, the Braves have regained the top spot with a sweep of the Cubs over the weekend. This isn’t to say Atlanta is playing its best baseball as it has lost six of its last 10 games overall and has scored the second-fewest runs in the National League with 3.16 runs per game.
7. Los Angeles Dodgers (21-19, previous: 7) – After getting off to a fast start, the Dodgers have been stuck in neutral for the past few weeks, playing .500 ball and allowing the Giants and Rockies to jump them in the NL West. An 8-12 home record is not helping their cause, but fortunately for them nine of their next 11 games will be on the road.
8. Washington Nationals (20-18, previous: 6) – The Nationals offense has struggled of late as they have scored more than three runs just twice in their last nine games. Fortunately for them their pitching has kept them in most of their games with a 3.36 team ERA, fifth in the NL. Washington will wrap up a series in Arizona before hosting the Mets over the weekend.
9. Baltimore Orioles (20-16, previous: 13) – Baltimore has won six of its last 10 games to sit atop the AL East standings, despite dealing with a number of injuries. They’ve been able to win games with solid pitching and defense has they have only averaged 4.14 runs per game, 12th in the American League.
10. Seattle Mariners (20-18, previous: 15) – Seattle continued its impressive play this week, currently winners of seven of its last 10 games. The M’s also boast a solid 12-10 record on the road. They’ve enjoyed this success despite being in the bottom third of baseball in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, but their pitching has been stellar. The Mariners’ 3.61 team ERA is fourth in the AL.
11. Texas Rangers (20-19, previous: 8) – It hasn’t been the season Texas fans have come accustomed to, as currently the Rangers are fourth in the AL West. The Rangers’ pitching and defense has let them down as they are allowing 4.79 runs per game, 12th in the AL. This will be something to keep an eye on moving forward as it seems like their division is much better than in years past.
12. Miami Marlins (20-19, previous: 11) – The Marlins have lost four straight games and that might not even be the worst news of all, as it looks like Miami will lose its ace pitcher, Jose Fernandez, to season-ending elbow surgery. The offense will need to step up even more than it has to start the year as currently they are averaging the second-most runs in the NL at 4.44 per game.
13. Boston Red Sox (19-18, previous: 19) – The Red Sox were finally able to get back to .500 for the first time since the first week of the season and then got over the .500 mark for the first time since April 3 this past week. They’ve now won three straight series’ and things are starting to look up for the defending World Champs – who have received tremendous starting pitching, especially of late as their 3.98 team ERA is fifth in the AL.
14. New York Yankees (19-18, previous: 14) – The Yankees have hit a rough patch, losers of three straight and six of their last 10 games. Things were looking better as they took two of three from the Angels and took the first game in a weekend series with the Brewers, but they haven’t won since. New York does have a number of winnable games coming up with series’ against the Mets, Pirates and Cubs in the next two weeks.
15. Los Angeles Angels (19-18, previous: 26) – Los Angeles has a respectable plus-28 run differential this year, yet is still just a game over .500 and in third place in the AL West. The offense certainly hasn’t been an issue as they are averaging the most runs in the AL with 5.11 per game, but the pitching staff is in the middle of the pack with a team ERA of 3.88.
16. St. Louis Cardinals (19-20, previous: 9) – A year after the NL Central was one of the best divisions in baseball, this year it might be one of the worst as despite being below .500, the Cards are second in the division. On paper, St. Louis has one of the best staffs in the game, but they have been mediocre this year with a team-ERA of 3.50, right in line with the league average.
17. Toronto Blue Jays (19-20, previous: 20) – The Blue Jays have won six of their last 10 and still are the only team in the AL East with a positive run differential. Even though they are fourth in the division they only trail the Orioles by 2.5 games. The AL East is shaping up to be a very balanced division, with all five teams in the mix.
18. Chicago White Sox (19-21, previous: 18) – The White Sox continue to score runs at a record clip as their 201 runs scored leads the American League, but they still haven’t received the pitching and defense to complement their offense as their 4.64 team ERA is 13th in the AL.
19. New York Mets (18-19, previous: 12) – Although the Mets have won two in a row, they lost five straight before that and have lost six of their last 10 games overall. After scoring 10 runs in an 11-10 loss to the Rockies just over a week ago, New York’s offense can’t get much going of late, as it has scored more than four runs just twice in its last nine games. New York will wrap up the Subway Series with the Yankees before traveling down to Washington for a weekend series with the Nationals.
20. San Diego Padres (18-21, previous: 21) – It’s been a season of opposites thus far for the Padres as they have a 3.08 team ERA, which is second-best in the NL. On the flip side, San Diego is only scoring 2.97 runs a game, the fewest in the NL. There obviously needs to be more balance for the Padres to make any noise in the difficult NL West.
21. Kansas City Royals (18-19, previous: 24) – It’s been par for the course for Kansas City this season as it just hasn’t been able to get anything going after many picked them to be the surprise team in the AL Central. Despite averaging the second-fewest runs in the AL (four runs a game), they haven’t been completely blown out of the water, but as the weather starts to get warmer so should the Royals’ bats – or else it could be one long summer.
22. Cleveland Indians (18-20, previous: 25) – After getting off to a horrible start, the Indians have caught fire, winning seven of their last 10. They’ve been getting better pitching of late as in those seven wins, in five of them they allowed four or fewer runs. If they have any hope of contending in the division, their offense will need to improve as they currently average 4.03 runs per game, good for 13th in the American League.
23. Minnesota Twins (17-19, previous: 17) – Minnesota is in one of the most competitive divisions in baseball in the AL Central as besides the Tigers, who have built a five-game lead, just .5 games separates the other four teams. As the Twins look to separate themselves they will need to get better pitching as, currently, their 4.66 team ERA is second-to worst in the American League.
24. Cincinnati Reds (17-19, previous: 22) – Cincinnati is a team that is better than its record would indicate, as there is a lot of talent on the Reds roster — they’ve just been average so far this season, which has them two games below .500. The Reds are currently seventh in the NL in team ERA and 12th in runs scored per game. Cincinnati will host the Padres for three games before departing for a six-game road trip.
25. Philadelphia Phillies (17-19, previous: 16) – Losers of six of its last 10, Philadelphia has fallen into last place in the NL East. Fortunately for the Phillies they took two-of-three from the Mets after being swept by Toronto in the middle of last week – a series in which they were outscored 31-11. Their offense has been struggling of late as since April 16 they’ve scored more than four runs in a game just four times. Sixteen of the Phils’ next 19 games will be at Citizens Bank Park, a place they’ve gone just 6-9 this year.
26. Pittsburgh Pirates (16-21, previous: 27) – The Pirates have won six of their last 10 games, but still sit five games below .500, which isn’t the start they imagined after making the postseason a year ago. After allowing 11 runs to the Giants last Tuesday they’ve allowed more than four runs in just one game since. Pittsburgh will begin a tough six-game road trip by taking on the Brewers and Yankees.
27. Tampa Bay Rays (16-23, previous: 23) – Things are going in the wrong direction for the Rays as they have lost seven of their last 10 games and are in last place in the AL East. In normal years the Rays are in the top five in all pitching categories, but with all the injuries they’ve been faced with that hasn’t been the case as right now they are 10th in the AL in team ERA.
28. Arizona Diamondbacks (15-26, previous: 30) – Arizona has won six of its last 10 games and has started to play more like many thought they would at the start of the season. They still are allowing 5.37 runs per game, however, worst in the NL and more than half a run more than the next worst team.
29. Chicago Cubs (13-24, previous: 28) – With the sudden streak from the Diamondbacks, the Cubs find themselves as the worst team in the National League, losers of seven of their last 10 games. Is it time for general manager Theo Epstein to be put on the hot seat?
30. Houston Astros (12-27, previous: 29) – It’s much of the same for the Astros as they have lost eight of their last 10 games and are back to being the worst team in the American League. Their 3.38 runs per game is by far the worst mark in the league, almost a full three runs behind the Angels.
*All stats and records are as of Tuesday, May 13.
Follow Metro sports writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @RyanHannable