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MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand at the End of May

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2017

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, center, Carlos Correa, right, and Alex Bregman (2) celebrate their win over the Baltimore Orioles in a baseball game, Friday, May 26, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

It was an impressive week for the league's best teams, as the top four spots in our weekly power rankings remain unchanged for the first time all season.

However, that doesn't mean there weren't a number of teams making significant moves.

That includes the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins jumping back up into the top 10, while the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers have their arrows trending in the other direction.

With nearly two months in the books, we're starting to get a more clear picture of who's a contender and who's a pretender here in 2017. There's still a lot of season to be played, though.

As always, this is a fluid process, as teams rise and fall based on where they were ranked the previous week. If a team keeps winning, it will keep climbing—it's as simple as that.

With that in mind, here's an updated look at where all 30 teams stand:

 Updated Rankings 
1img Astros (35-16)img
2img Rockies (33-19)img
3img Nationals (30-19)img
4img Yankees (29-18)img
5img Dodgers (31-20)img2
6img D-backs (31-21)img
7img Red Sox (27-22)img6
8img Twins (26-20)img6
9img Brewers (27-23)img
10img Cardinals (24-23)img
11img Cubs (25-24)img1
12img Orioles (25-23)img7
13img Rays (27-26)img3
14img Indians (25-23)
img3
15img Blue Jays (23-27)img8
16img Rangers (25-26)img8
17img Reds (24-25)img9
18img Angels (26-27)img1
19img Giants (22-30)img1
20img White Sox (23-26)img
21img Tigers (23-27)img6
22img Pirates (23-28)img3
23img Mariners (22-29)img2
24img Braves (21-27)img2
25img Royals (21-28)img
26img Mets (21-27)img1
27img Athletics (22-27)img
28img Marlins (18-30)img
29img Padres (19-33)img
30img Phillies (17-31)img2

 

Biggest Risers

Tim Adleman threw a gem for the Reds on Friday, allowing just one hit over eight shutout innings.
Tim Adleman threw a gem for the Reds on Friday, allowing just one hit over eight shutout innings.John Minchillo/Associated Press

Cincinnati Reds (up nine spots)

The Reds continue to yo-yo up and down the rankings, and they were perhaps a bit underrated heading into last week in the No. 26 spot despite being just three games under .500.

However, it's still clear that the rebuilding club will need to win in spite of a shaky starting rotation. They rank last in the majors with a 5.77 starters' ERA, and the staff struggled once again last week.

While Tim Adleman (8.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER) was brilliant in his lone start, the rest of the rotation pitched to a 6.23 ERA and 1.42 WHIP with one quality start in five games.

Despite that, the club picked up a pair of series wins over the Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies, and with several middle-of-the-pack teams struggling last week, that's enough to make a significant leap up the standings.

Cincinnati enters the upcoming week with a plus-seven run differential and just one game below the .500 mark and 2.5 games back in the NL Central standings.

At the very least, a strong performance against the Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves would solidify their standing as a team that belongs a notch above the league's bottom tier.

    

Toronto Blue Jays (up eight spots)

Speaking of yo-yoing up and down the rankings, the Blue Jays are seemingly featured here on a weekly basis, bouncing between the league's biggest risers and fallers.

They're once again on the rise this time around after sweeping a quick two-game set with the Milwaukee Brewers and then claiming a series win over what was a red-hot Texas Rangers club.

Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki were activated from the disabled list on Friday for the start of that Rangers series. Donaldson (calf strain) had been sidelined since April 13, while Tulowitzki (hamstring strain) had not played since April 21.

Both players had one hit in the series as they look to shake off some rust.

Meanwhile, the patchwork starting rotation remains a concern, but the bullpen has been mostly terrific of late. Danny Barnes, Jason Grilli, J.P. Howell, Aaron Loup, Ryan Tepera and Robert Osuna combined for 13.1 scoreless innings last week, allowing just four hits while striking out 17.

Despite all the injuries and early-season struggles, the Blue Jays are just four games under .500 and three games back in the too-early wild-card standings, so they're by no means sunk.

  

Biggest Fallers

Mike Napoli struck out 10 times in 22 plate appearances last week.
Mike Napoli struck out 10 times in 22 plate appearances last week.Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Texas Rangers (down eight spots)

The Rangers took home "biggers riser" honors last week when they climbed seven spots amid a stretch that included 11 wins in 12 games.

A sweep at the hands of the Boston Red Sox and a series loss to the Blue Jays sends them tumbling back down to the middle of the pack, though.

Struggling starter A.J. Griffin—who has a 6.85 ERA in five starts this month—made it just 1.1 innings last time out before leaving with an intercostal injury that landed him on the disabled list. Dillon Gee was recalled from the minors to take his spot on the roster, and he appears to be the leading candidate to step into the rotation.

Meanwhile, with Adrian Beltre expected to finally return to action sometime this coming week, the team will have a decision to make on where to play slugger Joey Gallo.

The 23-year-old continues to strikeout at a dizzying rate (69 K, 36.9% K-rate), but he's also done plenty of damage with an .830 OPS and 15 home runs, trailing only Mike Trout and Aaron Judge (16) in that category among AL hitters.

After a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Rangers will welcome the first place Houston Astros to town for an exciting weekend tilt.

    

Baltimore Orioles (down seven spots)

The Orioles have now lost seven straight after being swept by the Twins and Astros last week.

That's enough to drop them out of the top 10 in these rankings, and just like that, a team that looked like one of the best in the league early on is now just two games over .500.

"We just haven't been doing much offensively," manager Buck Showalter told Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com. "It's a real tribute to their pitchers and us not swinging the bat real well right now."

Chris Davis (2-for-22, 11 K), Adam Jones (1-for-16), Seth Smith (2-for-20) and Welington Castillo (3-for-20) were among the biggest culprits for a team that hit .220 and scored just 16 runs in six games.

The pitching staff didn't exactly pick up the slack either.

Alec Asher replaced Ubaldo Jimenez in the starting rotation on Sunday, then promptly allowed six earned runs in two innings of work. Further complicating that situation, Jimenez then followed him out of the bullpen and tossed six strong innings. 

At any rate, the O's picked a bad time to hit the skids with the New York Yankees and Red Sox coming to town during the upcoming week. They'll need to right the ship quickly or risk rapidly slipping down the AL East standings.

    

Detroit Tigers (down six spots)

The Detroit Tigers played eight games last week and only managed to walk away with one victory each against the Astros and White Sox.

Another poor outing from Jordan Zimmermann on Sunday (5.0 IP, 8 H, 7 ER) raised his ERA to 6.4790th among 93 qualified starters.

Manager Brad Ausmus didn't mince words when asked if he's confident that Zimmermann can get things turned around.

"It really doesn't matter how confident I am," he told reporters. "He's going to have to do it. We need him to pitch better. We're a much better team when he pitches better. We've got to find a way to get Zimm back to pitching that way."

Clearly, he was not the only one to blame for last week's struggles.

The offense has gone ice cold with a .207 average and 23 runs scored in those eight games last week, and Justin Verlander (5.2 IP, 9 H, 6 ER) was shelled his last time out.

That said, they'll have a golden opportunity to turn things around this coming week with series against the Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox.

  

MVPs of the Week

AL MVP: SP Ervin Santana, Minnesota Twins

Stats: 1 GS, W, 9.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K

Who are you and what have you done with the real Ervin Santana?

The 34-year-old improved his ERA to an MLB-best 1.80 on Tuesday night against the Orioles with his second complete game shutout of the season.

He's also allowed just 4.0 hits-per-nine-innings over his first 10 starts with opponents hitting just .134 against the Twins veteran ace on the year.

With a reasonable $13.5 million salary for next season and a $14 million team option in 2018, Santana is shaping up to be one of the most coveted arms on the summer trade market. He won't be available if the Twins keep rattling off wins, though.

     

NL MVP: CF Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies

Stats: 12-for-30, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 6 R

There might be no hotter hitter in the month of May than Charlie Blackmon.

With another stellar performance last week, he's now batting .371/.396/.648 with 15 extra-base hits and 21 RBI in 112 plate appearances as one of the leading candidates for NL Player of the Month honors.

That included a two-homer game against the Phillies on Tuesday and a four-hit performance in a 10-0 shellacking of the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.

"I just try to simplify things," Blackmon told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post on his hot start. "I've stopped thinking so much. I just try to stay loose."

Whatever he's doing, it's clearly working.

  

Stats of the Week

Let's dive right into some of the better nuggets from around the league.

We'll start in the NL West, which is shaping up to be a terrific three-team battle.

The Rockies are off to an NL-best 33-19 start, and perhaps the biggest reason for that unexpected success has been the performances of rookie pitchers Antonio Senzatela, Kyle Freeland, German Marquez and Jeff Hoffman.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Rockies rookies: 18-6 this season. That's most wins through end of May since 1958, when MLB first defined rookie status. (via @eliassports)

They're not the only ones seeing significant contributions from a rookie, though, as the Los Angeles Dodgers have gotten a big boost from top prospect Cody Bellinger.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Cody Bellinger hits 10th career HR in his 31st game, quickest Dodgers player to 10 HR in the Modern Era (since 1900) (Via @EliasSports) https://t.co/ncqMGWegzO

And we can't forget about the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are 10 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2011 season and eight wins ahead of their pace from a year ago when they started 23-29.

Under the category of things we already know that are still fun to talk about, Giancarlo Stanton has a decent amount of power.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Giancarlo Stanton' hit a 462-foot Hr last night. It's his 25th career 460-foot HR, which is 11 more than the next-closest TEAM since 2010 https://t.co/ueQTuNki8c

Here's the latest bomb that sparked that graphic:

In one of the funnier moments so far in 2017, Rays outfielder Steven Souza Jr. made what I guess we'll call a valiant effort on this diving attempt:

What have you got for us, Statcast?

#Statcast @statcast

@SouzaJr We checked: You needed to cover 73 feet and came up … 23 short. 0% catch probability, but a five-star effort!

And finally, I'll leave you with this GIF of Twins pitcher Jose Berrios, because I've watched it at least 100 times and you should too.

Rob Friedman @PitchingNinja

Jose Berrios, nasty Strikeout of Trumbo (92mph Sinker sandwiched between 2 slices of filthy Curveballs). https://t.co/bpwCKjbMSl

Ridiculous.

  

Must-See Upcoming Matchup

Chris Sale makes his return to Chicago on Tuesday.
Chris Sale makes his return to Chicago on Tuesday.Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Chris Sale vs. Chicago White Sox (Tuesday, May 30)

In the past, this section has been dedicated to team-specific matchups and intriguing pitcher duels.

This time around, the spotlight is squarely on one player as Chris Sale gets set to face the White Sox for the first time since going from Chicago to Boston during a winter meetings blockbuster.

From an emotional standpoint, Sale is treating it like any other game.

"I don't have time to think about that right now," he told reporters. "Get ready for it like any other start. I've pitched there a lot so I should be alright."

The 28-year-old is enjoying a dominant first season with the Red Sox, going 5-2 with a 2.34 ERA and leading the AL in WHIP (0.808), strikeouts (101) and innings pitched (73.0).

In what would be one of the better troll moves in recent MLB memory, White Sox fans are petitioning for the team to wear the same throwback jerseys that Sale infamously destroyed in the clubhouse last summer.

David Price will also make his season debut in the series opener on Monday.

       

All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted and current through Sunday, May 28.

Have thoughts on our new power rankings format or looking for someone to yell at about where your favorite team was slotted in the latest rankings? I'll meet you in the comments section.

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