The 2019 MLB season is officially underway with each team's opening series now complete.
The MLB season is in full swing and it's a Monday morning, which can only mean one thing: MLB power rankings.
It's important to remember in the early going that a team's potential and overall outlook will still carry significantly more weight than anything it has shown over a handful of games. With that in mind, teams were restricted from moving more than four spots in either direction for this first update.
Remember, this is a fluid process. Teams will 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.
Here are the rankings:
Teams That Impressed
The Los Angeles Dodgers were the most impressive team of baseball's opening weekend.
The NL West champions racked up a plus-20 run differential against the Arizona Diamondbacks in a four-game series, piling up 42 runs while hitting .327/.443/.647 as a team and slugging 14 home runs.
The Philadelphia Phillies also made a strong first impression with a sweep of the division-rival Atlanta Braves.
Aaron Nola (6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 8 K) and Jake Arrieta (6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 6 K) both turned in quality starts, while the offense posted a stellar .949 OPS with eight home runs in three games. Newcomers Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen already have two apiece.
The New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays all climb into the top 10 with series wins over a trio of expected contenders in the Washington Nationals, St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros, respectively.
Likewise, the Oakland Athletics, Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres also scored series wins, sending them to the head of the "fringe" pack hovering in the middle of the rankings. Who will emerge from that group as a legitimate contender?
The Seattle Mariners came into the leaguewide Opening Day with a 2-0 record after taking a pair of regular-season games against the A's in Japan, and they kept things rolling by taking three of four from the World Series champion Boston Red Sox.
And how about the Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles—three teams expected to be well off the postseason pace—each taking two of three to kick off the year?
Asdrubal Cabrera (5-for-11, 2 HR) is off to a hot start with his new team in Texas, Jorge Soler (5-for-11, 3 2B) is healthy and swinging it well for the Royals, and the O's bullpen earned both of their victories and a pair of saves while allowing six runs and striking out 20 in 16.1 innings.
Teams That Disappointed
Tough start for the champs.
The Boston Red Sox were outscored 34-24 in their four-game series against the Mariners, dropping three of four in the process. The starting rotation currently has an MLB-worst 13.20 ERA, while the bullpen that everyone pointed to as a glaring weakness has a 2.50 ERA and is 1-for-1 in save chances.
Speaking of bullpens, the Chicago Cubs relief corps already has two blown saves and a pair of losses on the ledger to go along with an unsightly 10.03 ERA. A walk-off wild pitch from Pedro Strop was an ominous way to wrap up the first series of the year.
On the offensive side of things, the Cleveland Indians are hitting .133 with a .407 OPS and just three extra-base hits in 101 plate appearances. The pitching staff is only going to be able to do so much this season.
The Atlanta Braves are the only team still searching for win No. 1. The Cubs come to town Monday as they look to get on the board.
Again, it's just one series; the sky is not falling for any of these teams.
And the four teams we singled out here aren't in any worse shape than the other teams that dropped their opening series. Their struggles from a statistical standpoint just happened to be the most noteworthy and therefore earned a mention.
MVPs of the Week
Hitter: Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
Stats: 10-for-20, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R, SB
Bellinger saw his OPS+ drop from 142 during his first season when he slugged an NL rookie record 39 home runs to 120 last season when he managed just 25 long balls.
A dip in his fly-ball rate (47.1 to 40.2 percent) and a sharp decline in his home run/fly-ball rate (25.2 to 15.2 percent) were among the more obvious culprits.
The Dodgers are four games into the 2019 season, and he's already gone deep four times.
It's an extremely small sample size, but his peripheral numbers look great. That's providing early optimism that a return to elite-level power production could be coming.
The 23-year-old hit a lackluster .226/.306/.528 with four home runs in 62 plate appearances during spring training, so the hot start has also erased any concerns that may have raised.
Pitcher: Jose Berrios, Minnesota Twins
Stats: 1 GS, W, 7.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K
Berrios threw a three-hit shutout against the Baltimore Orioles in his first start of the 2018 season.
While the 24-year-old fell short of matching that performance in the first of what will likely be many Opening Day starts in his career, he was still plenty dominant.
He outdueled Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber (7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER) and finished with a Game Score of 84.
The aforementioned three-hit shutout was the only outing by a Twins starter all of last season to register a better Game Score, checking in at 86.
With some of the most electric stuff in baseball and another year of experience under his belt, this might be the start of something big for Berrios in 2019.
Must-See Upcoming Matchup
Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers (Friday-Sunday)
It took a bonus Game 163 for these two teams to decide the NL Central last season.
The Cubs won the season series 11-9, but the Brewers got the last laugh with a 3-1 victory on Oct. 1 to clinch the fourth division title in franchise history.
Reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich has picked up right where he left off, going 6-for-12 with four home runs in the team's first four games. Relief ace Josh Hader nailed down a pair of saves in the opening series against the Cardinals, striking out seven over three perfect innings.
Javy Baez (6-for-14) and Kyle Schwarber (5-for-12) both homered twice in the Cubs' series against the Texas Rangers, while Jon Lester looked sharp in his first start with six strong innings.
Can the Cubs rebound from a series loss to the Rangers? Can the Brewers keep things rolling against another NL Central foe?
One thing is for sure: Nothing sparks early momentum like a series win over a division rival.