Published On: Mon, Apr 9th, 2018

MLB Power Rankings: Red Sox ride historic start to No. 2 spot

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Welcome to the second edition of theScore’s MLB Power Rankings for the 2018 season. Rankings will be published every other Monday throughout the season, with the next installment coming April 23.

1. Houston Astros

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
8-2 1 (-)

More like the Houston Ace-tros, amirite? So far, the Astros’ mighty rotation boasts a microscopic 1.83 ERA, with newcomer Gerrit Cole allowing just one run (0.64 ERA) with a whopping 22 strikeouts through 14 innings.

2. Boston Red Sox

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
8-1  5 (+3)

Sure, the Red Sox look good, having won eight in a row since their Opening Day loss (including an epic comeback victory Sunday), but you would expect the reigning American League East champs to look good against Florida JUCO teams. (A week-and-a-half into the season, they’ve only played the lowly Marlins and lowlier Rays.)

3. Arizona Diamondbacks

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
7-2 9 (+6)

After fielding the National League’s second-stingiest pitching staff in 2017, the Diamondbacks have picked up right where they left off, limiting their opponents to two runs or fewer in six of their first nine games.

4. New York Yankees

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
5-5 3 (-1)

The Yankees haven’t been the powerhouse baseball fans expected early on, but the Judge-Stanton-Sanchez trio will surely lift its collective .224 batting average.

5. Washington Nationals


RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
4-5 6 (+1)

He’s back, kids. Nine games into the season, Bryce Harper is ripping up the Senior Circuit again with an NL-best six homers and 1.535 OPS. We’re guessing he’s not gonna slow down any time soon.

6. Los Angeles Angels

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
7-3 8 (+2)

It’s all about Shohei Ohtani right now, which is crazy, considering the Angels have baseball’s best player in Mike Trout. This is a must-watch team with these two stars on the field together.

7. Chicago Cubs

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
5-4 4 (-3)

That’s the Yu Darvish we all know and love. After a brutal performance in his debut, Darvish was electric in his second start, helping the Cubs take three of four games from the Brewers.

8. New York Mets

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
7-1 15 (+7)

Heading into the season, everybody knew the Nationals were going to win the NL East. The Mets’ 7-1 start – including a three-game sweep of Washington this weekend – suggests otherwise.

9. Los Angeles Dodgers

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
3-6 2 (-7)

The defending NL champions have started slow, getting swept in Arizona and nearly doing the same in San Francisco. Perhaps this group can take inspiration from the 2017 Dodgers, who started last year 20-22 before going on to a 105-win season and taking the pennant.

10. Cleveland Indians


RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
4-5 7 (-3)

The temperature isn’t the only thing that’s near-freezing in Cleveland, as Jose Ramirez and his frigid bat are 2-for-33 (.061) to begin the 2018 campaign.

11. Milwaukee Brewers

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
5-5 10 (-1)

Turns out the Brewers needed that excess outfield depth after all, as Christian Yelich’s pesky oblique sent him to the DL. Even without Yelich and closer Corey Knebel, they’ve stayed ahead of the Cubs through the first week-plus, setting up what should be a fun NL Central race.

12. Minnesota Twins

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
4-3 14 (+2)

No thanks to Lance Lynn, Minnesota has jumped out to a quick start following last year’s surprising playoff appearance. The team’s marquee free-agent signing was shelled for five runs in four innings during his horrendous debut last week.

13. Toronto Blue Jays

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
6-4 13 (-)

Talk about making a strong first impression. Combined, newcomers Yangervis Solarte (1.086 OPS), Curtis Granderson (.962 OPS), and Aledmys Diaz (.783 OPS) have already smacked four homers, six doubles, and one triple, propelling Toronto’s supposedly thin offense to a 110 wRC+ thus far.

14. St. Louis Cardinals

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
4-5 11 (-3)

Paul DeJong’s record-breaking contract extension is paying early dividends, as the Cardinals shortstop has mashed three homers and reached base in each of the team’s first six games.

15. Colorado Rockies


RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
5-5 12 (-3)

The Rockies are the definition of mediocrity 10 games into the season. Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon are hitting, Trevor Story is not, and the starting rotation – outside of Jon Gray – has been below average. Nothing new to see here, really.

16. Pittsburgh Pirates

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
7-2 24 (+8)

Not to take anything away from the Pirates, but their hot start can be largely attributed to poor competition. Racking up victories against the Tigers and Reds isn’t too difficult these days, but hey, wins are wins, and Jameson Taillon’s complete game shutout Sunday was undoubtedly impressive.

17. San Francisco Giants

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
4-4 20 (+3)

Madison Bumgarner? Jeff Samardzija? Who needs ’em? The Giants opened the season with consecutive 1-0 wins against the Dodgers thanks to Ty Blach and Johnny Cueto. That, coupled with Andrew McCutchen’s brilliance, has kept the team above water – for now.

18. Atlanta Braves

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
6-3 21 (+3)

Winners in each of their first three series, the Braves have actually been baseball’s top offensive team, per wRC+ (130), with youngsters like Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies, and Preston Tucker each playing a big role in their hot start.

19. Seattle Mariners

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
4-3 16 (-3)

Robinson Cano, Dee Gordon, and Jean Segura have all produced thus far. Nelson Cruz was, too, prior to his ankle injury. Unfortunately, the starting rotation, led by none other than King Felix and James Paxton, has floundered.

20. Texas Rangers


RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
4-7 17 (-3)

The free-agent additions to the Rangers’ rotation have been terrific, as Mike Minor and Doug Fister have combined for a 2.79 ERA through their first four starts. The same can’t be said, however, for mainstays Cole Hamels and Martin Perez, neither of whom has managed a quality start.

21. Philadelphia Phillies

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
3-5 18 (-3)

Not even Gabe Kapler could get in the way of the Phillies during their 20-run outburst against the Marlins on Saturday. Of course, Kapler did pull Jake Arrieta after just 75 pitches on Sunday and the Phillies lost to Miami, but it’s all a learning curve for Philly’s beloved skipper.

22. Baltimore Orioles

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
4-6 19 (-3)

The good news: Dylan Bundy has been absolutely dynamite and finally looks to be blooming into an ace. The bad news: The Orioles have to start someone else for 80 percent of their games.

23. Chicago White Sox

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
3-5 26 (+3)

It’s shaping up to be a long season again on the South Side, but one early bright spot is Matt Davidson. It’s not just his three-homer Opening Day and 1.114 OPS, though: Davidson’s walked six times in his first eight games. He didn’t take his fifth walk of 2017 until May 4.

24. Oakland Athletics

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
4-7 23 (-1)

While leading all batters in WAR through the first few games isn’t that instructive, it’s certainly interesting to see that Matt Chapman was the first hitter to accrue 1 WAR. He currently boasts a 1.119 OPS.

25. San Diego Padres


RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
2-8 22 (-3)

As if spiraling to a 2-8 record and losing Wil Myers to the DL wasn’t a bad enough way to start the Eric Hosmer era, San Diego dropped Saturday’s contest in truly humiliating fashion on a walk-off pop-up that landed barely 30 feet from the plate.

26. Detroit Tigers

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
4-4 29 (+3)

Not only are the Tigers not below .500, they’ve also seen some encouraging signs from Miguel Cabrera, who’s hitting .276/.353/.483 (135 OPS+) with four extra-base hits through eight games. That’s something!

27. Miami Marlins

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
3-6 30 (+3)

Ohtani has hit three home runs in four games as a DH. The Miami Marlins – who, by the way, lost 20-1 on Saturday – have collectively hit three home runs in their first nine games.

28. Kansas City Royals

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
2-5 28 (-)

Lucas Duda is responsible for both of the Royals’ home runs this season. This team isn’t good, but hey, at least Kelvin Herrera looks untouchable out of the bullpen. “Up that trade value, baby,” – GM Dayton Moore, probably.

29. Cincinnati Reds

RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
2-6 27 (-2)

Cincinnati lost Eugenio Suarez to injury less than one month after extending the third baseman and has a logjam in the outfield thanks to its continued commitment to starting Billy Hamilton and his .240 OBP.

30. Tampa Bay Rays


RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
1-8 25 (-5)

The Rays are so horrifically bad that, in lieu of some pithy analysis, here’s a riddle: A cowboy rides into town on Friday. He stays three days and leaves on Friday. How does he do it?

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)



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