Published On: Mon, Apr 23rd, 2018

MLB Power Rankings: Red Sox rise to No. 1 while Angels, Mets crack top 5

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Welcome to the third 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 May 7.

1. Boston Red Sox

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
17-4 8-2 2 (+1)

The Red Sox dropped their first series of the season to Oakland, but they’re still baseball’s best team. They lead MLB in runs, hits, and OPS (despite being no-hit Saturday) and the rotation owns the second-best ERA in the majors. Boston is 6-4 when Chris Sale or David Price starts, and 11-0 when anyone else does.

2. Houston Astros

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
16-7 7-3 1 (-1)

Compared to last year, the Astros’ 109 wRC+ – the eighth-best mark in MLB – seems positively pedestrian, but at least they haven’t been no-hit by an A’s pitcher!

3. Arizona Diamondbacks

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
15-6 7-3 3 (-)

The D-Backs have won all seven series they’ve played so far en route to the best record in the National League. Patrick Corbin has been a revelation on the mound, going 4-0 with a 1.89 ERA and nearly no-hitting the Giants last Tuesday.

4. New York Mets

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
14-6 5-5 8 (+4)

Due to predictably strong starts from Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, the Mets have cruised through the first month of the season. If Matt Harvey can ever reclaim what he has lost, they could be unstoppable, though now that he’s been banished to the bullpen, that may be a tall order.

5. Los Angeles Angels


RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
14-8 5-5 6 (+1)

The Angels were thoroughly embarrassed by the Red Sox – as in, outscored 27-3 during a three-game sweep – but that shouldn’t discourage them amid what’s otherwise been a hot start. They lead the majors in home runs, while Mike Trout is doing Mike Trout things – nine home runs and a 1.088 OPS.

6. Toronto Blue Jays

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
13-8 6-4 13 (+7)

Josh Donaldson’s absence has been shockingly inconsequential thanks to recent call-ups Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who have combined to go 15-for-46 (.326) with 0.58 win probability added through their first 11 games.

7. Cleveland Indians

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
11-8 7-3 10 (+3)

The Indians’ offense has struggled through the first four weeks as Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor, Edwin Encarnacion, and Jose Ramirez have combined to go 59-for-301 (.196). Luckily, the pitching staff owns the second-best ERA in the majors.

8. Milwaukee Brewers

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
14-9 7-3 12 (+4)

While new acquisitions Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich have performed as advertised, it’s Josh Hader’s ascent to bullpen ace that has been most impressive. He’s converted a pair of two-inning saves in Corey Knebel’s absence and has tallied a disgusting 17.8 K/9.

9. Los Angeles Dodgers

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
10-10 6-4 9 (-)

With six wins in their last seven games, the Dodgers are starting to look more like themselves following a dismal start, and if their unlikely early-season stars (e.g. Chase Utley, Matt Kemp, Yasmani Grandal) can continue to produce, they’ll really be cruising once their big boppers lock in.

10. Washington Nationals


RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
10-12 4-6 5 (-5)

Bryce Harper leads the majors in walk rate (27 percent) after being issued 27 free passes through his first 22 games. He hasn’t let it frustrate him much, either, as he’s still taking advantage of the pitches he can handle with an NL-best 1.098 OPS.

11. Chicago Cubs

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
10-9 5-5 7 (-4)

The Cubs caught a lucky break Sunday after one-time MVP Kris Bryant avoided serious injury following a German Marquez pitch to the head. He doesn’t appear to have a concussion, but is still being evaluated. Chicago can’t afford to lose him and his 1.003 OPS as the club hovers around .500.

12. New York Yankees

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
11-9 6-4 4 (-8)

Ignoring the asinine boos being showered upon Giancarlo Stanton, it’s worth heaping extra praise on his outfield counterpart Aaron Judge. He’s crushed six home runs and has actually improved his strikeout rate (24.7 percent) to start. Any concerns about regression appear premature.

13. St. Louis Cardinals

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
13-8 8-2 14 (+1)

The Cardinals sit first in the NL Central thanks in large part to playing the Reds. St. Louis is 7-0 against Cincinnati this season and 6-8 against everyone else.

14. Colorado Rockies

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
12-11 6-4 15 (+1)

Wade Davis has done exactly what the Rockies paid him to do: shut it down in the ninth inning. It’s been tight, too, as the Rockies have called on him to close the door for a save in nine of the team’s 12 victories (an MLB high).

15. Philadelphia Phillies


RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
14-7 8-2 21 (+6)

Believe it or not, only five teams have received a higher percentage of quality starts thus far than the Phillies (50 percent), whose rotation also boasts the lowest ERA (3.01) in the National League. Trust the process.

16. Minnesota Twins

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
8-8 4-6 12 (-4)

Joe Mauer’s power may never return, but he’s still as tough an out as you’ll find. He has yet to go deep this season, but he’s walked 16 times in 70 plate appearances, including three more times Sunday, raising his OBP to a lofty .471.

17. Pittsburgh Pirates

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
12-10 3-7 16 (-1)

The Pirates were punching above their weight class, leading the NL Central before getting socked in the mouth in a four-game sweep by the Phillies. They’ve only won once in their last seven games, dissolving most of the team’s early optimism.

18. Atlanta Braves

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
12-8 6-4 18 (-)

The Jose Bautista era is set to begin in Atlanta after the club agreed to a deal that will see the six-time All-Star play third base. Until he’s ready for the majors – which could be as soon as this week – Ryan Flaherty’s holding down the hot corner, hitting .362/.471/.500 with five doubles in 18 games.

19. Seattle Mariners

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
11-9 5-5 19 (-)

Mitch Haniger is stuck in the logjam of AL batters tied for second in homers with seven long balls. He had a similarly hot start to 2017 before an injury at the end of April derailed his entire season.

20. Oakland Athletics


RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
11-11 7-3 24 (+4)

Just as we all expected, Jed Lowrie leads the majors in hits (33) and RBI (23), and is third in WAR (1.6) behind Trout and Manny Machado. Oh, and Sean Manaea tossed the first A’s no-hitter Sunday since Dallas Braden’s perfect game.

21. San Francisco Giants

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
9-12 4-6 17 (-4)

The Giants’ revamped lineup has been a dud so far, eking out a meager .292 OBP and just 3.14 runs per game on account of early-season struggles from Hunter Pence, Brandon Crawford, and newcomer Andrew McCutchen.

22. Detroit Tigers

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
9-11 5-5 26 (+4)

The Tigers sit 2 1/2 games behind the Indians in the AL Central despite a 9-11 record. It’s probably the closest they’ll be all year. Miguel Cabrera looks a lot better this season, batting .300/.398/.457 with two home runs, 14 RBIs, and a 132 wRC+.

23. San Diego Padres

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
8-15 4-6 25 (+2)

Christian Villanueva has arguably been the biggest surprise in baseball this year, having hit .355/.444/.774 (236 wRC+) with seven homers. Too bad the rest of San Diego’s position players have combined for minus-0.6 WAR.

24. Texas Rangers

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
8-15 4-6 20 (-4)

Bartolo Colon leads Rangers starters in WAR (0.4) and ERA (2.59). While the numbers are decent, if your best pitcher is a 44-year-old who was brought in on a minor-league deal, it’s not difficult to understand why you’re in your division’s basement.

25. Tampa Bay Rays


RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
8-13 5-5 30 (+5)

Since losing Kevin Kiermaier and Matt Duffy to the disabled list on back-to-back days, the Rays have actually improved, going 4-1 against the Rangers and Twins.

26. Baltimore Orioles

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
6-16 2-8 22 (-4)

The Orioles sit 23rd in runs scored and 29th in runs allowed, a combination that’s already left them 11 1/2 games back in the division. At least Machado continues to hit, homering five times in his last four games.

27. Chicago White Sox

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
4-14 1-9 23 (-4)

Patience is a virtue. Patience is a virtue. Patience is a … wait, Lucas Giolito has walked how many through his first 20 innings? Nineteen? As promising as the future core is, they’re not ready for prime time just yet.

28. Miami Marlins

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
5-16 2-8 27 (-1)

Derek Jeter may not agree, but trading away your four best players for a collection of prospects is not in line with aiming to contend in the immediate future. This will be a long, slow process. At least Lewis Brinson showed flashes recently with three homers in the Milwaukee series.

29. Kansas City Royals

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
5-15 2-8 28 (-1)

It took the Royals until their 15th game of the season for someone other than Mike Moustakas or Lucas Duda to hit a home run. Only the Giants, White Sox, and Reds have scored fewer runs than Kansas City’s 68.

30. Cincinnati Reds

RECORD LAST 10 PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
3-18 1-9 29 (-1)

Bryan Price is out. Jim Riggleman is in. That’ll surely save the irredeemable Reds, who can’t hit or pitch, and don’t even have that good of a farm system.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)



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