MLB Power Rankings: The Yankees, Twins and Angels are sitting high; Cardinals and White Sox hit some bumps


Every week,​ we​ ask all​ of our baseball​ writers​ — both the​ local​ scribes​ and the national team,​ more​ than​​ 30 writers in all — to rank the teams from first to worst. Here are the collective results, the TA30.

April is the dumbest baseball month. It’s all nonsense. Misdirection and puffs of smoke. Things you know in your heart in your hearts to be true will be proven false three weeks later. Your sleeper picks before the season are making you look good, but they’ll make you look ridiculous by the All-Star break. Players who aren’t washed up look like they are, and players who are washed up will find a second wind and produce for the next three or four years. Nelson Cruz had a .691 OPS as a 31-year-old in April 2012. Looked like it might have been the end of the line for him.

We know nothing in April.

The arrogance of these rankings. The supreme arrogance.

But that keeps the lights on as long as you click, which you did, because you’re reading this now. Grant Brisbee will be handling National League duties while Levi Weaver has you for the American League. Without further ado, here are some definitive, unambiguous, inarguable power rankings.

Please don’t argue with them.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record as of 5/2: 14-7
Last Power Ranking: 1

They could be better.

That’s the terrifying thing about the Dodgers and their record. Although their 2.29 team ERA entering Sunday is, uh, a little unsustainable, it’s reasonable to assume that they’re going to keep preventing runs at a superior clip. Their hitters can do a whole lot more, though, and they probably will. History’s Greatest Lineup™ is off to a comparatively slow start, with a bunch of OPS in the low .700s for some of their best hitters (Trea Turner, Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger) and some inexplicably abysmal numbers for others (Max Muncy, Justin Turner).

Maybe Justin Turner has aged out of All-Star production, and maybe Muncy’s meteoric rise will end up like meteors typically do (burning up upon reentry), but they should be fine. They should all be fine. And with Clayton Kershaw drinking from Ponce de León’s canteen, it would appear that the Dodgers are, in fact, at it again. 

2. New York Yankees

Record as of 5/2: 16-6
Last Power Ranking: 5

Welcome to Yankees Letter week! Here’s an overview of the topic. You can read Evan Drellich’s take on what it says about Rob Manfred. Or you can just read the entire letter for yourself. Alternately, you can skip it altogether and read about the diverging paths of the two big left-handed Italians acquired at the deadline last year: Anthony Rizzo is going buck wild, while Joey Gallo’s injured groin is just the latest setback in a weird year for the slugger.

Speaking of Italians (Sicilian, specifically) I’ve just fallen victim to one of the classic blunders: focusing on the negative when there’s a lot going well! They’re riding a nine-game winning streak entering play Monday, and the rotation appears to be more stable than it has been in years. For all the hand-wringing about the Yankees’ confusing offseason moves, they’re climbing the power rankings faster than the team that most of us picked to win the American League this year. Will the Blue Jays catch them? Inconceivable!

3. New York Mets

Record as of 5/2: 16-7
Last Power Ranking: 2

Well, well, well. If it isn’t the consequences of my own transactions.

In this case, the consequences are the positive kind, and the Mets are trending upward. They no-hit the Phillies, and even though it was a combined no-hitter that won’t inspire a documentary in 30 years, it was funny. They’re getting a lot from their offseason pickups, and they have the best record in the National League because of it. Mark Canha is getting on base. Chris Bassitt and Max Scherzer have pitched quite well. Only Starling Marie is scuffling a bit, but he’ll start hitting any minute now. This is a good baseball team, by almost every indication.

It isn’t a proper Mets team if there isn’t something other than the results to talk about, though. It would appear that the team is tired of getting plunked, and they’re showing gumption. Exhibiting gumption. Look, I’m not entirely sure which verb to pair with “gumption,” but just know the Mets’ gumption is off the charts.

We’ll see how the gumption holds if the wins dry up, but right now, this looks like the Mets team that people expected when they were dominating the offseason, not the one they expected when the Jacob deGrom news broke.

If only they had the best record in New York, though …

4. San Francisco Giants

Record as of 5/2: 14-8
Last Power Ranking: 4

The Giants do not have the best run differential in baseball. They’re fourth in baseball. They aren’t the top-scoring team in baseball anymore. They’re tied for second. Only six teams have allowed fewer runs. Probably fine.

But the Giants did get shellacked by the Nationals in two out of their three games this weekend. And this happened when four of their nine lineup spots were filled by emergency-use-only players who were in the minors on Opening Day, which is something of a Rorschach test for you. Does that mean that they’ve been simply unlucky with COVID-19, or is it an indictment of their organizational depth? Before you pick the first one, remember how much of their expected lineup was supposed to be 34 and older in the first place. They were always going to have to dip into this depth, one way or another.

Still, a bad Giants week looks like a decent week for a lot of teams, so maybe don’t read too much into it.

If you’re wondering what it’s going to take to get the Giants into the top spot, though, the answer is simple: Not that.

5. Toronto Blue Jays

Record as of 5/2: 15-8
Last Power Ranking: 3

Blue Jays fans, you’re not going to like hearing this, but the team’s good results thus far remind me a lot of another team: the 2016 Texas Rangers. That team went 95-67, but thanks to a lot of those wins coming in one-run games (we called it “cluster luck” at the time), they finished the season with a run differential of just plus-eight.

… and then got absolutely mauled by the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALDS.

Run differential isn’t the end-all, be-all of stats — sometimes guys just come up clutch in close games — but it’s not nothing, either. At this time of year, it’s just a vaguely threatening presence over the shoulder, never communicating its wants or needs, opting instead to just bellow a low howl once in a while to remind you it hasn’t gone anywhere. Think of it like you do of winter or a petrol gauge — you can ignore it for now, but eventually, it will have to be reckoned with.

6. Milwaukee Brewers

Record as of 5/2: 15-8
Last Power Ranking: 7

Here was how we left the Brewers at the end of last season.

Fast forward to the start of 2022, and the Brewers are 15-8. They are pitching. They are winning. And, yes, they scored a whole bunch of runs this last week. Do not read too much into them getting shut out by the Cubs on Sunday.

Still, take a second to look at the Brewers’ biggest offensive contributors right now. There’s Hunter Renfroe (OBP well under .300), Christian Yelich (OPS under .700), Rowdy Tellez (OBP just over .300) and Willy Adames, who only recently broke out. Even when you’re trying to list the good things for the Brewers, there’s only one inescapable conclusion: These fellers sure make a lot of outs.

They’re still one of the better teams in the National League, but it’s not hard to wonder about a team this close to world domination. Was there not anything more they could have done this offseason to address their lineup inconsistency? That’s an honest, rhetorical question asked by someone who isn’t an expert on the franchise, and their production over the last week might have answered it with a hearty, “Shut up, nerd.”

Because when a team is this good at chucking the ol’ horsehide, there should be some runs for them, as a treat.

7. San Diego Padres

Record as of 5/2: 15-8
Last Power Ranking: 8

The Padres are in second place in the NL West as of this writing, just percentage points behind the Dodgers. If this was a powers ranking from May 2, 2021, it wouldn’t be remarkable at all. As is, it might draw an earnest “hmmmmm” or “well, well, well” from you. But let this be a reminder that last year was the freaky one. That shouldn’t have happened! Even before you throw the goofy Giants into the mix, we should all agree that the Padres should have been more of an NL West force last season.

They’re an NL West force again. Or maybe they’re just a presence. It’s a fine line, but the Padres are somewhere in there.

Even if Eric Hosmer isn’t prime Joey Votto, there are plenty of positive developments to trumpet. Ha-seong Kim looks like the potential star the Padres thought he was. MacKenzie Gore looks like a baby Clayton Kershaw again, just a couple of years after he was supposed to. This was the team that was supposed to have everything before last season, and they really didn’t lose that much.

My next powers ranking is scheduled for May 29. Let’s see if they’re still doing this stuff before getting too goofy. Last year was just that much of a letdown.

8. Los Angeles Angels

Record as of 5/2: 15-8
Last Power Ranking: 13

Look at the Angels, trying to reverse the discourse. While the Astros remain the favorite until proven otherwise, the Mariners and Rangers both made drastic moves this offseason to improve their teams. The Angels already had their big guns, but have found a gem in Taylor Ward, who is hitting an even .400 this season and has taken over the leadoff spot in Anaheim. Now if they can just keep everyone healthy until Archie Bradley, Griffin Canning and David Fletcher return, they migh—oh, come on.

9. Tampa Bay Rays

Record as of 5/2: 12-10
Last Power Ranking: 9

Fun with winning percentages: If a team hits a total of 89 games in either the win or loss column, their winning percentage will be right around 50 points above or below .500. In the 24 previous years, the Rays have only fallen into that middle ground — between .450 and .500 — on four occasions (most recently in 2017). Say what you will about the Rays, but they’ve rarely been mediocre. 

So imagine our confusion when we look up and see the Rays at 12-10 and in third place in the AL East. Come on, Rays! You’re only 25, this is much too early to find stability and contentment in simply appreciating each moment of the day while finding a healthy work-life balance. At least let Brett Phillips pitch more often? Do it for all of us.

10. Minnesota Twins

Record as of 5/2: 13-9
Last Power Ranking: 19

Carlos Correa having trouble finding his swing? Carlos Correa is fixing his swing. Joe Ryan’s a fastball-only guy? Not anymore. Stumble out to a 3-6 start? How about a seven-game winning streak to make it the Twins’ best start since 2011? Kenta Maeda pops in from a rehab assignment to enjoy the winning streak, only to see it end? Sorry, won’t happen again. Here’s two more wins against the Rays and would you look at that: The Twins have the biggest division lead in baseball, and jump a whopping nine spots in the power rankings. 

11. St. Louis Cardinals

Record as of 5/2: 12-9
Last Power Ranking: 6

Have you checked out the stats from the Cardinals’ hitters this year? Good gravy, their lineup is a mess. Dylan Carlson, Tyler O’Neill and Paul DeJong are all far below the Mendoza Line. Yadier Molina is just over, but he has a .208 average (bad) and a .208 OBP (uncomfortably bad).

And, of course, they’re doing just fine.

The Cardinals are 12-9, they have a top-10 run differential and they’re just a couple games behind the Brewers in the NL Central. The definition of Cardinals Devil Magic has shifted, and where they used to bully their way into the NLCS or World Series because of players they invented in a brainstorming session the night before, they’re now more of a threat to hang around and squeak into the postseason because of weirdness.

There are positive things happening in St. Louis, including Tommy Edman’s emergence and Albert Pujols’ good-timey vibes, but there’s no real way they should be on pace to win 92 or 93 games with half of their lineup struggling so badly. Here they are, though.

They have … a fighting chance, you might say.

12. Houston Astros

Record as of 5/2: 11-11
Last Power Ranking: 12

As Dusty Baker closes in on 2,000 career wins as a manager and Justin Verlander dashingly waltzes into his Nolan Ryan Legacy Years, the Astros have nevertheless looked far more vulnerable in 2022 than they have in quite some time. Jeremy Peña has been very good at shortstop, and has been better at the plate than the traditional numbers would indicate. But man, it has felt weird to see Astros lineups with no Carlos Correa, no George Springer and no Jose Altuve (though they hope he might be back as early as Monday). 

At least Yordan Alvarez has kept it on monster mode.

13. Seattle Mariners

Record as of 5/2: 12-10
Last Power Ranking: 10

For all the surprises and unexpected things from the first month of the season, this one is about what I would have guessed. The Mariners are above .500, but not yet dominating the AL West. There have been some pleasant developments, and there have been some unpleasant ones. Like the strike-zone treatment of Julio Rodríguez that — after returning from a stint on the COVID-19 IL — Scott Servais finally had to address publicly. It’s almost surely a coincidence that a few days later, Rodríguez got his first big-league home run. Correlation, yes. Causation, almost certainly not.

But it’s easy to point backward and say, “Yeah, that’s what I thought would happen.” Only the most fearless among us will make specific predictions about how the season will turn out while we’re still in the first week of May.

[looking around while the silence grows awkward]

Oh no, that’s it; that’s the end of the entry. I’m absolutely not doing it.

14. Atlanta Braves

Record as of 5/2: 10-13
Last Power Ranking: 11

This is the beauty of the 2021 season. This is the curse. You do not get to have an opinion on the Braves right now. Maybe July or August if they win a bunch or lose a bunch and remove all doubt. But probably not until Halloween or so.

Until then, you’ll have doubt. The Braves finished April with a 10-12 record. Seems discouraging, except it also seems kind of championship-y. We’ll just have to see! They have Ronald Acuña Jr. back, which is a pretty big deal, they’re getting contributions from late bloomer Travis Demeritte and they are the literal returning champs. Don’t sell them short. 

They’ve sure been uninspiring to this point, though. Which is just what they want you to think. Maybe.

15. Miami Marlins

Record as of 5/2: 12-9
Last Power Ranking: 20

Surprised by the Marlins’ eight-game winning streak and early season success? Well, I’m not, he writes arrogantly, hoping that you don’t read any other prediction under that link. But a team with this much pitching and just enough offensive intrigue shouldn’t surprise you.

Are they better than the Mets? The Braves? The Phillies? Dunno. But I’m pretty sure they deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the other possible contenders. The Mets look like they’re a level above right now, but the level right below contains the Marlins, and they still have the potential to rub elbows with anyone in that top tier.

Just imagine what might happen if half of their lineup stops hitting like a pitcher from 1968.

16. Philadelphia Phillies

Record as of 5/2: 11-12
Last Power Ranking: 18

Combined no-hitters are the ultimate indignity. This is a baseball truism that will only get more obvious in the future. With a standard no-hitter, you can chalk it up to sheer dominance from the other guy.  With a combined no-hitter, the story shifts to a team that simply couldn’t get a hit, regardless of the look that’s thrown at them.

The Phillies will move on, as all teams do, because a shift in momentum is always a game away in this silly sport, and the roster should hit. It’s also worth noting that the defense has been average, according to the numbers. Not apocalyptic, and not even bad. Perfectly average.

If the defense can be average, and if Zack Wheeler can rediscover his superior command, there might be something here.

A couple hits every so often would help, though. That is my professional baseball analysis.

17. Boston Red Sox

Record as of 5/2: 9-14
Last Power Ranking: 14

I think it’s fair to say that few people expected the Red Sox to be as good as they were in 2021. Similarly, I don’t think many people expected them to jump out to a disappointing and pitfall-fraught 9-14 start in 2022, either. The offense was supposed to be better than this, and — while we’re on the topic of things nobody expected — did anyone predict Travis Shaw being designated for assignment so that Franchy Cordero could be added

I don’t know that the Red Sox are quite to the point of “time to write about the prospects all season long” — there should be enough talent to avoid that fate.

But just in case …

18. Colorado Rockies

Record as of 5/2: 13-9
Last Power Ranking: 17


What do you call a Rockies team that gets absolutely pummeled on the road and then demolishes bad teams at home? You call them the Colorado Rockies. And that’s what happened this week, with an embarrassing four-game performance against the Phillies and a three-game sweep of a broken Reds team at Coors.

In order to be convinced about the 2022 Rockies, you’ll need to see them beat half-decent teams on the road and excellent teams at home. The Rockies were a combined 5-14 against the Dodgers and Giants at Coors last year, and they were a combined 5-16 on the road against the Padres, Reds and Mets, which was a triumvirate of half-decent NL teams last season.

The record is shiny. It’s fine if you want to ignore how the Rockies have been outscored and focus on the record. It’s early. Dream a little.

But Kris Bryant is hurt and it’s probably prudent to wait before going all-in on the ’22 Rockies. See if they can undo the typical Rockies paradigm of being world-beaters at home and dog food on the road.

Still, what do you want, for them not to win? All things considered, this is a 90th-percentile start to the season.

19. Chicago White Sox

Record as of 5/2: 8-13
Last Power Ranking: 15

It’s not like the White Sox don’t have any good excuses for their slow start. The injury bug has been picking off players one by one, to a devastating degree. But among the remaining troops, the lack of offensive output has not been what anyone would have expected from the White Sox. Not that there haven’t been bright spots hello, Vince Velasquez — but it’s hard to paint the early results with anything but a glum paintbrush. The Fightin’ La Russas have dug themselves into an early 4.5-game hole, and it will require some determination (and some offense) to dig out of it.

20. Cleveland Guardians

Record as of 5/2: 10-12
Last Power Ranking: 16

I have frequently given grief in this space to the powers that be in Cleveland, given how winnable the AL Central has felt in recent years and how willing they seem to be to punt talent instead of slamming the gas pedal down and hoping they cross the finish line before the vehicle disintegrates. Here’s the best I can do to make nice: Near the time this hits the press, we’re going to know the results of the AL Player of the Month, Pitcher of the Month, Reliever of the Month and Rookie of the Month. 

I voted in two categories, and José Ramírez (Player) and Steven Kwan (Rookie) got my votes. Shane Bieber — despite a velo dip — has a realistic shot at the pitcher award, and while I don’t think Trevor Stephan will win the Reliever award, he should still be in the conversation. 

Those individual performances haven’t been enough to help the Guardians keep up with the Twins, though. Cleveland was swept in succession by the Yankees and Angels before turning things around and sweeping the A’s over the weekend. 

Also, I would be remiss not to tell you: You should really read this story about former bench coach Brad Mills’ grandson Beau Bear. Be prepared, it is not an easy read, but it’s a worthwhile one. 

21. Chicago Cubs

Record as of 5/2: 9-13
Last Power Ranking: 21

The Cubs aren’t awful. If that seems damning with faint praise, it’s not supposed to. A team that trades away Javier Báez, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant should be in a doom spiral. They’re 9-13, which isn’t going to get them back to the World Series, but a cold-blooded rebuild should have a team that’s 6-16, at least. That’s not going on here. The Cubs have a perfectly clean run differential. Not awful.

The organization is more focused on player development than anything else, as they should be, and they’re not exactly winning a ton of series, especially against their championship-hungry division rivals. They have issues, to be sure, and they’ll only be addressed when the prospects become reliable major leaguers. 

But they’re not awful. Which they could be. That’s a small victory, but it’s a gift that rebuilding/reloading teams shouldn’t look in the mouth.

22. Oakland Athletics

Record as of 5/2: 10-12
Last Power Ranking: 23

The big story about the A’s this week should be that they are somehow hanging in there around .500 despite a huge sell-off and no major free-agent acquisitions this offseason. Or maybe it should be about Sheldon Neuse and Paul Blackburn, who are both off to fantastic starts. Or maybe one of these two heart-warming stories about A’s rookies. Instead, the biggest story in Oakland this week was that team president Dave Kaval decided it was time to tweet some #opinions.

Fair enough. But something to note: The Giants sold 32,858 tickets to that game, which is 4,475 more tickets than the A’s sold to their entire four-game series against the Orioles earlier in the month.

To be clear, we’re not piling on A’s fans. They have every right to decide not to pay increased prices to see a team owned by a guy who seems hell-bent on alienating them, if not abandoning them altogether. A’s fans are among my favorite in baseball — I cover a division rival and still used space in a column to say nice things about them because I mean it. And look, it’s not Kaval’s fault that team owner John Fisher has treated one of the best fan cultures in the game as a disposable commodity. But man, it’s a real bad look to sit at the foot of the throne and jeer at the starving townsfolk for being indignant at a gluttonous king.

It’s completely valid to point out the A’s attendance woes. But just remember the context: A’s fans deserve better than they’ve gotten, and if they stop showing up as an act of defiance for how they’ve been treated, that’s not on them.

23. Detroit Tigers

Record as of 5/2: 7-14
Last Power Ranking: 22

We like to make jokes here, no? But there’s no joke I could ever make about the Tigers’ rough start that would be funnier than this play. 

… unless you’re a Tigers fan. In retrospect, I really should have thought about who would be reading the Tigers section of these power rankings. Sorry, Tigers fans. Not funny. I meant tragic. There’s no joke I could ever make that would be more tragic than this play. Those tears I’m wiping are because I’m sad, not because I love when baseball gets hammered and can no longer channel its chaotic and horrifying energy into anything but unfettered mayhem. 

24. Kansas City Royals

Record as of 5/2: 7-13
Last Power Ranking: 24

Have you ever assembled a model car? When it first comes out of the box, there’s a beauty to the chaos, as each part is not yet a percentage of a car, but instead just a standalone piece of work. Look at these wheels. This looks like the engine. This part is broken, and is going to require some glue. 

The Royals have assembled a table full of cool parts, and it’s not hard to look at the box and see what they could become. It’s just going to take some time.

25. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record as of 5/2: 10-13
Last Power Ranking: 26

The Diamondbacks aren’t especially good, but can we all agree that they had no business being that bad last season? Their 2021 season was honestly one of the strangest baseball developments I can remember, and if there were a reason to pay attention to them, everyone would agree. It should take a generationally abysmal roster to lose 110 games, and the Diamondbacks didn’t have one of those.

They didn’t have a good roster, of course, and they still don’t. But they’re not generationally abysmal. They have hope for the future, as Corbin Carroll might be their best prospect in the last decade, and they should return to some sort of equilibrium this season. They won’t make you crave Diamondbacks baseball, but they shouldn’t make you recoil from the mere mention of Diamondbacks baseball.

Not making their fans recoil from baseball should be the goal of every rebuilding team. That’s the floor. The Diamondbacks are, at the very least, above the floor.

26. Texas Rangers

Record as of 5/2: 8-14
Last Power Ranking: 25

The Rangers are off to a slower start than they hoped, given the amount of money they spent this offseason. They did take two out of three from Atlanta over the weekend, but Willie Calhoun didn’t play in either win and afterward, he was demoted to Triple A, which prompted a candid interview in which he revealed that he would like to play for someone else, please. 

You could read all the other happenings here, but instead, let’s check in on Nolan Ryan, who was in Arlington for a screening of the new documentary, “Facing Nolan.” 

27. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record as of 5/2: 9-13
Last Power Ranking: 26

The last time I wrote these rankings, I declared that I would write the Pirates capsule first. They’re always waiting there at the end of these, like the Family Circus in the bottom-right of Raylan Givens’ two-page comic spread. No sir, no more.

The Pirates aren’t actually that bad, but they’re also not hitting. At all. They might have two of the most effective relievers in the National League — David Bender and Wil Crowe — but they’re also not preventing runs. They’re in the business of introducing young players to the majors, ready or not, which is fun and a little messy.

At least Ke’Bryan Hayes is signed long term and having a heckuva year so far. Every bad team should have at least one scintillating player to watch, so at least the Pirates are offering that.

28. Washington Nationals

Record as of 5/2: 8-16
Last Power Ranking: 27

After losing eight straight games, the Nationals took a series against the Giants in San Francisco, the first time a team has done that since last August. It was a spirited series, with Victor Robles deciding that he was going to shove the Giants’ disrespect for the unwritten rules right back in their unwritten-rule hole, with bunts all over the place when the Nationals were up big, and good for him. They deserved that, and by “that,” I mean “another team playing just as hard for nine innings.”

This is still a team capable of losing eight straight games, of course, which doesn’t reflect well on them. But as someone who watched all three games they played this weekend, let me confirm that this team has spunk. There are teams that are dead inside because they’re almost certainly not going to contend, and then there are teams like this.

29. Baltimore Orioles

Record as of 5/2: 8-14
Last Power Ranking: 29

Anthony Santander, per Dan Connolly’s latest profile, has many talents.

Drawing, I am reminded, is not one of them

The Orioles are better this year than last year. This is not to say that they are good yet — they’re almost in last place in these rankings, and actual-last place in the AL East, and I’m not sure either of those will change soon — but there are signs that “good” might be on the horizon, which is encouraging for a fan base that has endured some very unwatchable baseball in recent years. 

Oh, yeah, and MASN is finally letting the broadcasters travel with the team again, which is how it should have been all along.

30. Cincinnati Reds

Record as of 5/2: 3-19
Last Power Ranking: 30

 The only teams to start with a 3-19 record or worse in baseball history:

1988 Orioles (1-21)

2003 Tigers (3-19)

1992 Royals (3-19)

1936 Browns (3-19)

This is a very different kind of bad. And what makes it even worse is that one of the only teams to come close was the 2018 Reds, who started 4-18. This team, this franchise, this fan base has been through this. It was right over there. They clawed themselves out of the mud to become relevant again, and they were contending as recently as last season. They were 72-63 and in postseason position on Sept. 1, 2021. 

And now they’re 3-19, which is one of the five worst starts in baseball history. There’s rebuilding, and there’s whatever this is. It just doesn’t seem like a lot of fun.

(Photo of Aaron Judge: Jamie Squire / Getty Images)