MLB Power Rankings: Dodgers, Giants Surge After Sweeps, While Phillies Plummet

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2022

MLB Power Rankings: Dodgers, Giants Surge After Sweeps, While Phillies Plummet

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    John McCoy/Getty Images

    Last week's MLB power rankings stirred up plenty of thoughts from our passionate readers.

    Crumpled up. Thrown away. A distant memory.

    Welcome to the constant shuffling that is the first few weeks of the MLB season, when the contenders and pretenders have not been clearly defined. A couple of series wins are enough to rocket up the rankings, while a rough patch will send a team plummeting to the bottom.

    As the season progresses, the weekly power rankings will look distinctly different from the MLB standings, as hot and cold streaks play a major factor in where teams land. But for now, with such a small sample size, each club's placement is largely reflective of its record. Run differential was also key in determining where teams fell.


    Note: All statistics and analysis in this article reflect games through Sunday. Team records have been updated to include Monday's results.

Nos. 30-26

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    Hunter Greene
    Hunter GreeneKevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    30. Cincinnati Reds (2-9)

    Previous Rank: 14

    After splitting a four-game series with the Atlanta Braves, the Reds lost six in a row, and they are hitting .180 with an MLB-worst .539 OPS. If nothing else, rookie Hunter Greene is going to be a lot of fun to watch, with an average fastball velocity of 100 mph through two starts.


    29. Texas Rangers (2-7)

    Previous Rank: 28

    The big question after the Rangers shelled out $500 million to sign Corey Seager and Marcus Semien was whether they had enough pitching to be a viable contender. So far, the answer has been a resounding no, as their staff ranks last in ERA (6.19) and opponents' batting average (.292) amid three straight series losses.


    28. Arizona Diamondbacks (3-6)

    Previous Rank: 29

    Since their walk-off win on Opening Day, the D-backs have gone 2-6 with a minus-18 run differential. The offense has been shut out twice, and the pitching staff has surrendered double-digit runs twice. It looks like it will be a struggle for Arizona to avoid the National League West cellar since it lacks impact talent.


    27. Kansas City Royals (3-5)

    Previous Rank: 16

    The Royals rank in the bottom five leaguewide in OPS (.566, 28th) and ERA (5.13, 27th), and they have not done much to inspire hope for a significant step forward. Left fielder Andrew Benintendi (10-for-28) is off to a nice start, and the free agent-to-be could be one of the prizes of the trade deadline.


    26. Minnesota Twins (4-6)

    Previous Rank: 17

    The Twins got lucky when an MRI showed there was no structural damage to Byron Buxton's knee, and the star center fielder should be back in action in short order. His production will be needed since Minnesota has already been shut out twice and scored a lone run in two other games, as offense has somewhat surprisingly been a bigger issue than pitching.

Nos. 25-21

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    Spencer Torkelson
    Spencer TorkelsonMark Cunningham/Getty Images

    25. Washington Nationals (4-7)

    Previous Rank: 22

    The Nationals picked up a nice road series win over the Braves to begin last week, but they followed that by dropping three of four to the Pirates. Right fielder Juan Soto (189 OPS+, 3 HR) and first baseman Josh Bell (185 OPS+, 2 HR, 10 RBI) have been the brightest spots at the plate.


    24. Philadelphia Phillies (4-7)

    Previous Rank: 5

    The Phillies snapped a four-game losing streak with a 10-3 victory over the Marlins on Saturday, only to lose 11-3 to Miami on Sunday. Alec Bohm is 7-for-11 with two doubles, but a three-error performance last Monday pushed kept him off third base until he played the last two innings Sunday.


    23. Baltimore Orioles (3-7)

    Previous Rank: 30

    With a 3.04 ERA that ranks fifth in the majors and a weekend series win over the Yankees that included a walk-off Friday and a shutout Sunday, the Orioles are off to a better-than-expected start. That said, losing ace John Means to the 60-day injured list because of a sprained elbow was a major blow.


    22. Cleveland Guardians (4-5)

    Previous Rank: 15

    The Guardians rank second in the majors with a .799 OPS, and third baseman Jose Ramirez (.457/.500/.886, 8 XBH, 15 RBI), first baseman Owen Miller (.500/.545/.964, 9 XBH, 7 RBI) and left fielder Steven Kwan (.385/.541/.538, 3 XBH, 5 RBI) have been three of baseball's most productive hitters. But the bullpen has scuffled with a 4.03 ERA, three losses and a blown save. In the long run, Cleveland's upside will improve significantly if the offense keeps rolling.


    21. Detroit Tigers (4-5)

    Previous Rank: 18

    After going 0-for-10 with seven strikeouts to begin his MLB career, top prospect Spencer Torkelson went 6-for-15 with two home runs and a pair of multihit performances in his next five games. He moved up to sixth in the order for the first time Saturday, and he could hit cleanup before the end of April. A weekend series win over the Royals provided the Tigers with momentum.

Nos. 20-16

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    Ji-Man Choi
    Ji-Man ChoiQuinn Harris/Getty Images

    20. Miami Marlins (4-5)

    Previous Rank: 27

    Twenty-four-year-olds Jazz Chisholm Jr. (1.234 OPS, 6 XBH, 10 RBI) and Jesus Sanchez (1.018 OPS, 5 XBH, 8 RBI) looked like potential breakout candidates heading into the season, and they are delivering. The rest of the offense had lagged behind prior to Sunday's 11-run explosion, so perhaps that can be a building block.


    19. Atlanta Braves (5-7)

    Previous Rank: 20

    The Braves are still searching for their first series win after splitting four-game sets with the Reds and Padres and losing a three-game set against the Nationals, but there have been plenty of positive takeaways, including strong starts by Matt Olson, Kyle Wright and Spencer Strider. Atlanta will also welcome Ronald Acuna Jr. back in the near future, as he is slated to begin a Triple-A rehab assignment Tuesday.


    18. Tampa Bay Rays (5-6)

    Previous Rank: 2

    The Rays were baseball's final undefeated team when they entered last Monday with a 3-0 record, but they stumbled with series losses to the Athletics and White Sox. First baseman Ji-Man Choi (31 PA, .455/.613/.864, 2 HR, 7 RBI) is raking and has long been an underrated contributor.


    17. Pittsburgh Pirates (5-5)

    Previous Rank: 24

    The Pirates won four of five to close last week, taking three of four from the Nationals to move above .500. They also locked up Ke'Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds with multiyear extensions. Wil Crowe has thrown 9.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen, Michael Chavis is off to an 8-for-16 start, and Jose Quintana looks like a nice scrapheap addition to the rotation.


    16. New York Yankees (5-5)

    Previous Rank: 11

    The Yankees opened the year with 10 straight games against American League East opponents and walked away with a .500 record, including a series loss to the Orioles over the weekend. Despite that, there were plenty of positive takeaways, from strong starts at the plate by Aaron Hicks and Anthony Rizzo to stellar work on the mound by Nestor Cortes and Luis Severino.

Nos. 15-11

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    Justin Verlander
    Justin VerlanderMichael Owens/Getty Images

    15. Milwaukee Brewers (6-5)

    Previous Rank: 25

    With a .213 average and .626 OPS, the Brewers offense has looked like it could once again be a limiting factor. Milwaukee still has the pitching to win the National League Central once the rotation rounds into form, but it might already be time to start wondering if it did enough in the offseason to address the lineup.


    14. Oakland Athletics (6-5)

    Previous Rank: 19

    Despite dismantling the roster after the lockout, the Athletics managed to play .500 baseball through the first two weeks. Anonymous right-handers Paul Blackburn (2 GS, 10.0 IP, 2 ER) and Daulton Jefferies (2 GS, 9.1 IP, 2 ER) have impressed on the mound, while 27-year-old catcher Sean Murphy (10 G, 154 OPS+, 7 XBH, 8 RBI) is off to a great start at the plate.


    13. Seattle Mariners (5-5)

    Previous Rank: 13

    After going 8-11 with a minus-30 run differential against the division-rival Astros last year, the Mariners picked up a series win against Houston by taking two of three over the weekend. The pitching staff has led the way, ranking among MLB's best in ERA (3.14, sixth) and WHIP (1.10, fifth), and 24-year-old right-hander Logan Gilbert has looked fantastic in his first two starts (0.90 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 11 K in 10 IP).


    12. Boston Red Sox (5-5)

    Previous Rank: 26

    The Red Sox won four of five to close last week, including a road series win over the Tigers, and the offense started to flex its muscles with 30 runs during that five-game span. Offseason additions Michael Wacha, Matt Strahm and Jake Diekman have all thrown the ball well to help boost the pitching staff. Wacha has a chance to be an X-factor in the rotation.


    11. Houston Astros (6-4)

    Previous Rank: 3

    The Astros played without Yordan Alvarez (illness) and Ryan Pressly (knee) for most of last week, splitting a two-game series with the D-backs before dropping two of three to the Mariners. Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez have combined to allow 10 hits and two earned runs in 22.2 innings, and they'll be crucial to the pitching staff's success.

Nos. 10-6

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    Seiya Suzuki
    Seiya SuzukiDustin Bradford/Getty Images

    10. San Diego Padres (7-5)

    Previous Rank: 1

    After a 4-1 start, the Padres went 2-4, including a series loss to the Giants and a four-game split with the Braves. The offense plated two or fewer runs six times through 11 games, and that undermined a solid 3.75 ERA by the pitching staff.


    9. St. Louis Cardinals (5-3)

    Previous Rank: 8

    The Cardinals were rained out last Monday and Wednesday, and then they split a four-game road series with the Brewers. Third baseman Nolan Arenado is hitting .433/.514/1.000 with five doubles, four home runs and 12 RBI in 35 plate appearances, but the back of the starting rotation looks like a major question mark.


    8. Los Angeles Angels (6-5)

    Previous Rank: 21

    The Angels went 5-1 last week after losing three of four to the Astros, and the offense is humming with a .771 OPS and 4.9 runs per game. The starting rotation has a 4.34 ERA, but that's a vast improvement over the last few seasons.


    7. Chicago Cubs (6-4)

    Previous Rank: 9

    The Cubs lead the majors in batting average (.281), on-base percentage (.364) and OPS (.811) while averaging 4.9 runs per game. It's a small sample size, but they hit .237 with a .312 on-base percentage a year ago, so it's a welcome sign. Rookie Seiya Suzuki (9 G, .400/.543/.960, 4 HR, 11 RBI) is the real deal.


    6. Toronto Blue Jays (6-4)

    Previous Rank: 4

    The Blue Jays went 4-3 last week, but they have not strung together wins, and an inconsistent starting rotation beyond Alek Manoah has been the biggest issue. Slugger Vladimir Guerrero is off to a red-hot start as he looks to make another run at the American League MVP Award, while closer Jordan Romano has recorded a save in each of the six victories.

Nos. 5-1

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    Carlos Rodon
    Carlos RodonJason Miller/Getty Images

    5. Chicago White Sox (6-3)

    Previous Rank: 7

    With three straight series wins, the White Sox occupy the top spot among American League teams. Even with Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito on the injured list, the starting rotation still ranks fourth in the majors with a 2.68 ERA, and that has helped prop up a slow start by the offense. Former top prospect Andrew Vaughn (7 G, .348/.400/.652, 2 HR, 6 RBI) could be on his way to a breakout season.


    4. Colorado Rockies (7-3)

    Previous Rank: 6

    The Rockies did not win their sixth game until the 18th contest of 2021, so they were 10 games ahead of last year's pace when they improved to 6-2 with a victory over the Cubs on Saturday. The pitching staff ranks 11th in the majors with a 3.62 ERA, and if that continues, Colorado could be the surprise contender of 2022.


    3. New York Mets (7-3)

    Previous Rank: 10

    Despite being without ace Jacob deGrom, the Mets starting rotation is 6-0 with an MLB-leading 1.07 ERA. The offense has also made plenty of noise with a .773 OPS that ranks fifth in the majors, and both Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor are off to nice starts after disappointing campaigns. A tough four-game test against the Giants awaits.


    2. San Francisco Giants (7-2)

    Previous Rank: 12

    The Giants are riding a five-game winning streak, having outscored the Guardians 18-4 in a weekend sweep. The pitching staff is the strength once again with a 2.20 ERA that leads the majors, and newcomer Carlos Rodon has allowed just five hits and two earned runs while racking up 21 strikeouts in 12 innings.


    1. Los Angeles Dodgers (8-2)

    Previous Rank: 23

    After losing their first series to the Rockies, the Dodgers ripped off a six-game winning streak to vault right back to the No. 1 spot in these rankings. The lineup is stacked, the rotation looks sharp, and the new-look bullpen is rounding into form. Expect them to spend plenty of time here throughout the season.

Complete Rankings

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    Robert Gauthier/Getty Images

    Complete Rankings

    1. Los Angeles Dodgers
    2. San Francisco Giants
    3. New York Mets
    4. Colorado Rockies
    5. Chicago White Sox
    6. Toronto Blue Jays
    7. Chicago Cubs
    8. Los Angeles Angels
    9. St. Louis Cardinals
    10. San Diego Padres
    11. Houston Astros

    12. Boston Red Sox
    13. Seattle Mariners
    14. Oakland Athletics
    15. Milwaukee Brewers
    16. New York Yankees
    17. Pittsburgh Pirates
    18. Tampa Bay Rays
    19. Atlanta Braves
    20. Miami Marlins
    21. Detroit Tigers
    22. Cleveland Guardians
    23. Baltimore Orioles
    24. Philadelphia Phillies
    25. Washington Nationals
    26. Minnesota Twins
    27. Kansas City Royals
    28. Arizona Diamondbacks
    29. Texas Rangers
    30. Cincinnati Reds

Highlight of the Week: Clayton Kershaw Flirts with Perfection

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    Associated Press

    For seven innings against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday, Los Angeles Dodgers legend Clayton Kershaw was perfect.

    Then he was done.

    Manager Dave Roberts lifted him from his first start of the season after 80 pitches with a perfect game intact. The 34-year-old had racked up 13 strikeouts in one of his most dominant starts in years.

    "He's pretty honest and understanding of where he was at, how he was feeling, what's at stake—the win, the no-hitter, the potential health risk, all that stuff matters," Roberts told reporters of the decision to pull Kershaw. "There's no right, 100 percent answer, but in this case I felt it was very clear to me the right decision was, 'Give us seven great innings and hand the ball off to the next guy.'"

    Social media disagreed, but Kershaw himself said it was the right decision following the game and the next day after he had had time to digest things.

    "From a fan's perspective, it's tough to swallow," Kershaw told reporters Thursday. "Hopefully when we're winning the World Series in October it'll mean something."

Team of the Week

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    Nestor Cortes
    Nestor CortesGreg Fiume/Getty Images

    C Sean Murphy, OAK
    (9-for-26, 3 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI)

    1B Owen Miller, CLE
    (11-for-22, 6 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI)

    2B Ozzie Albies, ATL
    (8-for-30, 2 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBI)

    3B Jose Ramirez, CLE
    (11-for-23, 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI)

    SS Francisco Lindor, NYM
    (6-for-21, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB, SB)

    OF Seiya Suzuki, CHC
    (7-for-17, 2 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB)

    OF Jesus Sanchez, MIA
    (9-for-23, 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI)

    OF Marcell Ozuna, ATL
    (10-for-30, 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBI)

    DH Shohei Ohtani, LAA
    (8-for-27, 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 2 SB)

    SP Clayton Kershaw, LAD
    (GS, W, 7.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 13 K)

    SP Nestor Cortes, NYY
    (2 GS, 2 ND, 9.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 17 K)

    SP Justin Verlander, HOU
    (GS, W, 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K)

    SP Andrew Heaney, LAD
    (2 GS, W, 10.1 IP, 4 H, R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 16 K)

    SP Alek Manoah, TOR
    (2 GS, 2 W, 12.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 13 K)

    RP Jordan Romano, TOR
    (4 G, 4/4 SV, 4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K)

Way-Too-Early Award Rankings

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    Jose Ramirez
    Jose RamirezJason Miller/Getty Images

    AL MVP

    1. Jose Ramirez, CLE
    2. Ji-Man Choi, TB
    3. Vladimir Guerrero, TOR


    NL MVP

    1. Nolan Arenado, STL
    2. Matt Olson, ATL
    3. Seiya Suzuki, CHC


    AL Cy Young

    1. Justin Verlander, HOU
    2. Dylan Cease, CWS
    3. Brad Keller, KC


    NL Cy Young

    1. Tylor Megill, NYM
    2. Andrew Heaney, LAD
    3. Carlos Rodon, SF


    AL Rookie of the Year

    1. Steven Kwan, CLE
    2. Jeremy Pena, HOU
    3. Matt Brash, SEA


    NL Rookie of the Year

    1. Seiya Suzuki, CHC
    2. Hunter Greene, CIN
    3. Spencer Strider, ATL


    Stats courtesy of and Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.