As the weather starts to heat up, so does the baseball landscape. We are starting to see teams tumble further away from the rest of the pack, while the true contenders continue their surge forward. The biggest event of notoriety in the majors will soon not be on the field, it will be on the players. The MLB has tweaked their enforcement of foreign substance rules so that players are checked randomly and repeatedly for the rest of the season. While juicing the baseballs again could be a simpler solution to the anemic batting seen around the league, the MLB has decided instead to crack down on pine tar and other foreign substances that have often been ignored. How will this impact performances; only time will tell.
But one thing is for sure, it is Monday, which means it is time for your updated MLB Power Rankings.
Week 10 MLB Power Rankings
1) San Francisco Giants (37-22) ( Last Week: 4 )
Not only is this team tied for the best in the league when it comes to their record, but their resume packs a punch too. Not only are the San Francisco Giants achieving all of this in the toughest division in baseball, but they also added a series win over the red-hot Cubs, taking three of four. The Giants don’t play a team at or above .500 until June 26th, which gives them a great chance to create more distance between them and the rest in the NL West.
2) Tampa Bay Rays (38-23) (1)
Even with a team batting average of just .228, good for 24th in the MLB, this team gets just enough support for their pitching staff. Seeing their starters are at most giving up a batting average of .250 to opponents, they don’t need to score that much to stay in the win column. Like the Giants, they’re doing it all in a tough division too. If you don’t have Tyler Glasnow on your Cy Young radar, you should start. While his 4-2 isn’t much, he does boast an ERA of 2.69 with over 12 strikeouts per nine.
3) Boston Red Sox (36-23) (3)
With the tough task of keeping pace with the Rays, the Red Sox started off slow, but finished the week off in dominant fashion. While they could only salvage their last game in a four-game stint against Houston, their three-game sweep of the Yankees means much more than just three wins over their rivals. The way J.D. Martinez, Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts are playing right now, they’re going to be hard to beat. If Alex Verdugo can keep it up as well, this might just be the favorite to make it out of the American League.
4) Chicago White Sox (36-23) (5)
While the White Sox did lose two of three to Cleveland, they did take care of business against Detroit. They have a nice four game lead in the AL Central. Friendly reminder; this team is doing this without star outfielder Eloy Jimenez. Lance Hendricks is likely the favorite for reliever of the year as he has as many saves (15) as hits allowed in 26 appearances with only a 1.85 ERA.
5) Oakland Athletics (35-26) (9)
The A’s may have had an easy week against Seattle and Colorado, but all you can ask is they take advantage, which they did. Their pitching staff has posted a quality start in nearly half of their games (46%), which is all you need with the power bats of Matt Olson, Mark Canha and Ramon Laureano. The only question is if they can finally make it work in the postseason.
6) San Diego Padres (36-25) (2)
It was a tough start to the week for the San Diego Padres, as they were swept in three games at Wrigley before only being able to split a four-game series against the Mets. They will have a chance to redeem themselves with another series against Chicago this week at Petco Park. What is it with this team having troubles with the NL Central though?
7) Los Angeles Dodgers (34-25) (6)
The Los Angeles Dodgers were able to take a much-needed series from St. Louis, coming into the week off a three-game losing streak to their rival Giants. They weren’t able to finish strong as a series loss to Atlanta put a damper on their week. Like the Padres, long-term consistency seems to be their issue. They should be able to find that with their next 12 games against sub-.500 teams.
8) Chicago Cubs (33-26) (7)
It pains me to say this as a Brewers fan, but people really need to start paying attention to the Cubs again. This team just feels different, and in a good way. Maybe the lack of expectations takes a weight off of their shoulders, or maybe it’s just the bats finally waking up. Either way, this team deserves some overdue respect. While they are at number eight, they won’t be here long if they keep playing like this.
9) Milwaukee Brewers (33-26) (12)
The Brewers seem to have finally figured out their batting issue….for now. They are finally getting support for their pitching staff, which is long overdue seeing their ace Corbin Burnes has seven quality starts in ten games, a 1.97 ERA and yet a 3-4 record. They are 9-1 in their last 10 games, but how much weight are we actually going to give to games against Washington, Detroit and Arizona?
10) Cleveland Indians (31-26) (11)
How do you follow up a great series win against your rivals and the division leaders? By losing a series to the damn Orioles and giving up 18 runs in a game, of course! This team is good, but it is troubling how inconsistent they are. If they want to grab a playoff spot, they need to start finding a way to win games against bad teams.
11) Houston Astros (33-26) (14)
The Houston Astros went 5-2 this week against Boston and Toronto, which is pretty impressive seeing how those two teams are playing recently. The Astros do have to face Boston again, but do get the MLB equivalent of a bye week against the Twins. Houston is hitting well, but their bullpen is losing them too many games. Whether that’s on the pitchers for not going deep enough into games or not, they need to clean that up to make another deep run.
12) New York Mets (29-23) (10)
For those like me who thought the New York Mets were overrated, they did a good job to split a four-game stand with San Diego. Whether that is due to San Diego not doing too well lately or the Mets playing well remains to be seen. They have a short two-game series against Baltimore before they run it back with San Diego again for three more. If they can replicate their success, they might finally get some respect around the league.
13) Toronto Blue Jays (30-27) (15)
The numbers, at least run differential, say that they should be better than 13th in the MLB, but somehow this team finds themselves hovering around the .500 mark. While they are in a gauntlet of a division, they seem to be great some weeks, then lackluster at best the next. They have too much talent on paper to be where they are.
14) St. Louis Cardinals (31-29) (8)
Remember when everyone thought that getting Nolan Arenado automatically made them the favorites in the NL Central? Yeah, even he can’t cover some of the problems they have this year, and have had since they imploded against San Diego in the playoffs. Losing to the Dodgers in a series isn’t bad, but getting swept in four to the Reds is alarming to put it lightly. Already 2.5 back of the joint leaders in the division, St. Louis needs some big wins this week with matchups against the Indians and Cubs.
15) New York Yankees (31-29) (13)
I don’t know what’s more entertaining: the fact that the Yankees are only 31-28, or the fact that they have only scored more runs than four teams with three of those teams playing fewer games than the Yankees. It seems that they have forgotten that you can’t just throw money at a problem and expect it to go away. Power is good, but when you can’t get guys on base, even the best pitchers can’t win games.
16) Kansas City Royals (29-28) (17)
I get that teams can’t always win games that they should. There are way too many variables at play for the best team to always win out. With that being said, the Royals seem to be the one team that have the most problems with it. For a team that was for a brief time first in the entire MLB, splitting a four-game series with the Twins isn’t cutting it. We’ll see if they keep it up with a three-game series against the Angels on deck.
17) Cincinnati Reds (28-29) (21)
The Reds as a team have the fifth-highest batting average in the majors. Unfortunately, there’s this thing called pitching that’s pretty important too. While their sweep over the Cardinals is nice, they have another test on deck with Milwaukee. Can someone put out a BOLO on Luis Castillo? Their “ace” is 2-8 with an ERA over 6.5. Hot bats can only get you so far.
18) Atlanta Braves (28-29) (18)
If Nick Castellanos ever decides to slow down, Ronald Acuna will likely be the clear cut MVP favorite. We knew he was good, but 17 home runs and 35 RBI’s in just 53 games is another level. The hitting has always been there, it’s the pitching that needs to come through. Their team ERA of 4.47 must get better if they want a real chance at the NL East crown.
19) Seattle Mariners (30-31) (16)
With Ty France now coming back down to earth, Seattle either needs everyone to step up a bit, or someone to start taking over again if they want to stay in the hunt. With no star batters and with a team ERA good for 23rd in the majors, there isn’t a good chance of a random hot streak that gets them a wild card berth.
20) Los Angeles Angels (27-32) (20)
The Tin Man needed a heart, the Lion needed courage, and the Angels need pitching. Sadly, I don’t see a way this spontaneously changes for them. Their team ERA is somehow only better than the Diamondbacks and no amount of hitting can change that, especially when their team average is simply middle of the pack. Mike Trout is the Aaron Rodgers of the MLB, someone needs to get him out of there.
21) Philadelphia Phillies (28-30) (22)
While they do pose a better record than some above them, this team fails to ever impress over a duration longer than a single series. With the Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants on the schedule after their upcoming series against Atlanta, they could experience quite the tumble if they don’t fix something. Bryce Harper is hitting .273 with 7 home runs and 14 RBI’s in only 40 games, but is that really worth over 26 million a year? I don’t think many Phillies fans would think so.
22) Detroit Tigers (24-35) (25)
It seems all a team needs to get going is for me to call them one of the most pathetic teams in the league. Once cellar dwellers, the Tigers have actually been decent recently. While they have only won two of their last six, it is important to note they came against the Brewers and White Sox.
23) Washington Nationals (24-32) (23)
The Nationals are just like every other team in the past 10 or so slots that has some serious consistency issues. They did well to split with Atlanta, before getting smoked against the Phillies over three games while giving up 17 runs over their last two games. With the Rays and Giants up next and Trea Turner finally starting to cool down, another tough week may be ahead for the Nationals.
24) Pittsburgh Pirates (23-35) (27)
For a team like the Pirates, a series win over the Marlins is a good start. Unfortunately that success may quickly become a thing of the past with the Dodgers and Brewers on deck. While this team is nothing better than below average, they do have some promising players in Adam Frazier, Bryan Reynolds, and Ke’Bryan Hayes. Too bad they’ll likely all be traded for scraps in about a year or so.
25) Miami Marlins (25-33) (19)
A 2-8 record over the past ten games pretty much sums up the Marlins, and with every day, it looks like last year’s postseason run was nothing more than a fluke. Teams like the Brewers show you can make do even if one part of your game is lacking. However the Marlins don’t even have that as their team batting average and ERA are both 22nd or lower. Maybe it wasn’t smart to trade their stars for unproven prospects after all?
26) Minnesota Twins (24-35) (24)
The Twins put their fan base through the ringer in a new way this week by somehow losing a series to a team that had lost 14 straight coming in. The one game they won was in extra innings too. While they did rebound by taking two of three from Kansas City, it appears this is not just a cold spell for Minnesota. Sorry Twins fans, it may be another 10 years before you win a playoff game, much less a series.
27) Colorado Rockies (24-36) (28)
The Rockies have been 5-5 over their last ten games, but that’s mostly due to a lack of competition outside of the Athletics series. Unfortunately for Colorado, Charlie Blackmon isn’t getting any younger, Trevor Story’s trade return is much less with his current .255 batting average, and this team has no pitching. If ownership doesn’t start doing their job, they could be the next Detroit: constantly rebuilding to no avail.
28) Texas Rangers (23-38) (26)
Everything is bigger in Texas, including the cold streaks apparently. Winners in only one of their last ten, the MLB schedule cruelly has them up against the Giants, Dodgers, and Astros for their next seven. This team is on cellar dweller watch in next week’s power rankings for sure. I would expand, but their is nothing redeeming about this “team.”
29) Baltimore Orioles (21-38) (30)
Congratulations Orioles! You got your first win this past week since May 16th! Give yourself a hand! Surprisingly enough, they not only won a game, but took a series this week. Granted, the series win was against the Minnesota Twins so that really isn’t saying much but at least it’s something. If there is one thing to hang their hats on, it’s that going into Monday, they have scored more runs than the Yankees with one less game played.
30) Arizona Diamondbacks (20-41) (29)
I understand this team has had to go up against the Mets and the Brewers this week. At the same time, the Orioles are actually winning now, so the Diamondbacks are really the only team bad enough to deserve the last place spot. This team just sucks and I think the play above perfectly sums up how their season is going so far.