MLB Power Rankings: Who is the Best Team in Baseball?
With baseball a full two months in the books, teams are starting to make their runs, before they head into the All-Star break.
With so much parity in MLB, teams with nearly identical records are separated by a few spots, sometimes more.
There are still many teams in realistic contention for their division title, but I will narrow it down to five teams right now that we could see playing in late October.
5. Minnesota Twins
They Twins are leading the AL Central with a 26-20 record, and are just one game up on the Tigers for the division lead.
They're not an elite pitching team, they're 5th in the American League in ERA, but they have a decent rotation capable of keeping team close enough to have a chance to win.
Their pitching will have to improve if they want to hold off Detroit for the division lead, as well as catch the other division leaders to obtain better positioning for the playoffs.
The offense however is a different story.
Minnesota relies heavily on Justin Morneau, and his presence or absence can dictate how far the Twins season will go.
Morneau leads the Twins in every major offensive statistical category including batting average, HR, RBI, and on-base percentage.
Joe Mauer is also having a productive season. While batting .340, he has 48 hits on the year in only 141 at-bats.
After losing their first two games to the Yankees in their current series, the Twins have some work to do if they want to move to the top of this list.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers could be a surprise team to many, but they're the hottest team in baseball right now.
They have gone 17-6 so far in the month of May.
Although 2 ½ games behind N.L. West leading San Diego, the Dodgers are sure to catch the Padres at their current pace.
Pitchers Clayton Kershaw, Hiroki Kuroda, and Chad Billingsley lead a decent rotation ranked 11th in the N.L. in ERA.
Kershaw is the only regular starting pitcher with an ERA under 3.00.
The Dodgers rank in the top three in batting average, runs scored, and on-base percentage, so it comes as no surprise that some players are having solid 2010 campaigns.
Andre Ethier is leading the team with 11 HR and 38 RBI despite playing only 33 games so far this season. That number will remain unchanged, as Ethier was just placed on the 15 day DL yesterday.
Look for players like Matt Kemp and Casey Blake to help fill the void.
The Dodgers have had four straight seasons over .500.
Don't expect that to change this season.
3. Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies, 26-19, are currently in first place in the N.L. East, and are second only behind the Padres in the National League.
Pitching has played a key role, as Roy Halladay has a 6-3 record with a 2.22 ERA.
Cole Hamels has also performed well this year, going 5-2 with 3.92 ERA.
The Phillies also have one of the most potent offenses. They have outscored opponents by 46 runs through the first 45 games.
Right now however, the offense seems to have been in a slump for the past few weeks. The Phillies will have to change that if they want to hold on to a slim lead over the entire division.
Only three games separate them from the bottom of the division, so there is little room for error right now.
Behind Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jayson Werth, the Phillies rank second in batting average in the National League, and third in run production.
The Phillies will undoubtedly look to reach their third straight World Series.
2. New York Yankees
The Yankees, who are 28-18, are 3 ½ games behind the Rays for the AL East lead.
Despite being only 4-6 in their last 10 games, The Yankees have a balanced team, which makes them a difficult to beat.
Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes, who are a combined 11-2 with a 2.67 ERA, lead a solid pitching rotation that is ranked fourth in the American League in ERA.
The Yankees offense, behind Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez, is clearly posing problems for opponents.
Their offense is first in the American League in OBP, second in runs scored (5.3 runs/game,) and third in batting average (.278).
They have six players who have more than 25 runs, so run support will not be a problem for the Yankees.
The Yankees are looking to repeat as World Series Champions, so expect them to play with an even higher intensity throughout the season
1. Tampa Bay Rays
It's no surprise that the Tampa Bay Rays are the #1 team in baseball right now.
The Rays, currently with a 32-15 record and at the top of the AL East, are showing their World Series birth two years ago was no fluke.
David Price is leading a stellar rotation of young pitchers, with a 7-1 record and a 2.41 ERA.
Four of their starting pitchers have an ERA under 3.00, which is putting pressure on opposing offenses to put runs on the board.
The 3.09 ERA held by the Rays pitchers is the lowest in MLB.
And when they have leads, they keep them. Closer Rafael Soriano has converted 13 of 13 saves.
On the offensive end, the Rays are averaging 5.2 runs per game, which is good for third in the American League.
They will have their work cut out for them, as four of their next five series come against teams with winning
With the Yankees and Blue Jays close on their heels, they will have to maintain their consistency.
If they continue to play with the same intensity, expect the Rays to be a tough team to beat this season.