MLB Power Rankings: Yankees, Astros, Mets Jockey for No. 1 Spot; Dodgers Slide

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2022

MLB Power Rankings: Yankees, Astros, Mets Jockey for No. 1 Spot; Dodgers Slide

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    With a pair of series losses by the Los Angeles Dodgers, the No. 1 spot in this week's MLB power rankings was up for grabs, and the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels jockeyed for position as the top-tier teams.

    Further down the rankings, the Arizona Diamondbacks quietly pushed their way into the upper half on the strength of a stellar pitching staff, while the Colorado Rockies headed in the other direction after their hot start.

    There was a good deal of shuffling once again as small sample sizes start to turn into clear long-term pictures.

    If a team is winning, it will climb the rankings. If a team is losing, a slide is inevitable. The beauty of this exercise is that it's a fluid process and things will continue to change.


    Note: Statistics and analysis reflect games through Sunday. Team records have been updated to include Monday's results.

Nos. 30-26

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    Tarik Skubal
    Tarik SkubalIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    30. Cincinnati Reds (9-26)

    Previous Rank: 30

    The Reds are 6-4 in their last 10 games since starting 3-22, though their week ended on a low note when they didn't allow a hit but still lost, something that has happened just six times in MLB history. The lineup had sprung to life with 10 runs last Monday and 14 Wednesday, but Cincinnati still has a ways to go to climb out of this spot.


    29. Detroit Tigers (13-23)

    Previous Rank: 29

    Left-hander Tarik Skubal has a 2.50 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP and 45 strikeouts in 39.2 innings following two more strong starts, and he is trending toward being the club's most likely All-Star Game representative. A three-game sweep of the Orioles over the weekend was just the Tigers' second series win of the season.


    28. Washington Nationals (12-25)

    Previous Rank: 26

    The Nationals have lost four straight series since taking two of three from the Giants, scoring two or fewer runs six times during that stretch. Veteran slugger Nelson Cruz, who figures to be a popular target at the trade deadline, had three multihit games last week as he woke up from an early slump.


    27. Kansas City Royals (12-21)

    Previous Rank: 27

    The Royals have not won consecutive games since April 20, but they did take two of three at Coors Field over the weekend. Leadoff hitter Whit Merrifield went 10-for-31 last week after starting the season with a brutal .140/.183/.170 line through 25 games. Getting him going would provide a major spark.


    26. Boston Red Sox (14-21)

    Previous Rank: 25

    The Red Sox snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over the Braves last Tuesday and went 3-2 last week, but they still have a long way to go to climb into the American League East race. Right-hander Nick Pivetta has turned in back-to-back quality starts after posting a 7.84 ERA in his first five outings, and Rafael Devers is coming off his best week of the season at the plate.

Nos. 25-21

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    Paul Blackburn
    Paul BlackburnLachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

    25. Chicago Cubs (14-20)

    Previous Rank: 28

    The Cubs bottomed out at No. 28 in these rankings last week, but after picking up series wins over the Padres and Diamondbacks on a quick West Coast road trip, they are trending in the right direction. Justin Steele (7 GS, 4.50 ERA, 28.0 IP) and Scott Effross (16 G, 2 HLD, 1.20 ERA, 15.0 IP) deserve mention for their contributions to the pitching staff.


    24. Oakland Athletics (15-23)

    Previous Rank: 24

    With doubleheaders Tuesday and Saturday, the Athletics played a whopping nine games last week, and they came away with a 5-4 record. With 6.2 innings of five-hit, one-run ball against the Angels on Saturday, right-hander Paul Blackburn has a 1.67 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in 37.2 innings as one of the biggest under-the-radar standouts of the early season.


    23. Baltimore Orioles (14-22)

    Previous Rank: 22

    The O's scored just three runs in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Tigers over the weekend, but they did take two of three from the Cardinals. Baltimore might not be a contender, but it is far more competitive than its 110-loss group of a year ago.


    22. Miami Marlins (16-19)

    Previous Rank: 18

    After a promising 12-8 start, the Marlins fell to 3-11 in May following series losses to the Diamondbacks and Brewers. Second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. and starting pitcher Pablo Lopez are off to terrific starts, but Miami has struggled to find consistency.


    21. Pittsburgh Pirates (15-20)

    Previous Rank: 23

    The Pirates took two of three from the Dodgers to kick off last week before splitting a four-game series with the Reds. Veteran Jose Quintana lowered his ERA to 2.19 through 37 innings with two strong starts, and his one-year, $2 million contract is shaping up to be one of the steals of the offseason.

Nos. 20-16

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    Ronald Acuna Jr.
    Ronald Acuna Jr.Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    20. Texas Rangers (15-19)

    Previous Rank: 20

    The Rangers matched their April win total with a 7-5 start in May, and the pitching staff started to fall into place with Martin Perez, Dane Dunning and Taylor Hearn throwing the ball well. The lineup, on the other hand, continued to disappoint with three or fewer runs in 20 of their first 33 games.


    19. Seattle Mariners (16-20)

    Previous Rank: 19

    The Mariners finally demoted the struggling Jarred Kelenic to Triple-A last week, calling up veteran Steven Souza Jr. to take his place in right field. Seattle went 4-3 after losing six straight at the beginning of the month, and it took two of three at the Mets over the weekend.


    18. Atlanta Braves (16-20)

    Previous Rank: 17

    The defending champions are still searching for their first winning streak longer than two games, and with a 2-3 showing and a series loss to the Padres last week, they continued to tread water. Ronald Acuna Jr. is back on the sideline with a groin injury, but an MRI on Saturday did not reveal anything serious.


    17. Colorado Rockies (17-18)

    Previous Rank: 13

    The Rockies have slid down the rankings since they spent four straight weeks in the top 10, peaking at No. 4, and they dropped out of the top half following series losses to the Giants and Royals. The rotation has regressed after a terrific start and ranks 25th in the majors with a 4.73 ERA.


    16. Cleveland Guardians (16-17)

    Previous Rank: 15

    After stumbling through a seven-game losing streak in late April, the Guardians went 9-4 to claw back to .500. The lineup has been better than expected thanks to Owen Miller, Steven Kwan and Andres Gimenez, and a favorable week lies ahead as Cleveland hosts Cincinnati and Detroit.

Nos. 15-11

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    Alek Thomas
    Alek ThomasChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    15. Chicago White Sox (17-17)

    Previous Rank: 14

    With Lucas Giolito joining Lance Lynn on the injured list, veteran Johnny Cueto made his White Sox debut Monday. After a six-game winning streak, Chicago went 2-4 to slide back below .500. How much longer before the front office will end the Josh Harrison experiment in favor of promoting one of the promising young infielders in the system?


    14. Toronto Blue Jays (19-17)

    Previous Rank: 10

    The Blue Jays are 4-9 in May while averaging 3.2 runs per game, and despite a roster loaded with offensive stars, no one is hitting. Their 1-4 showing last week was capped by a shutout loss in which they managed just six baserunners. They'll look to build momentum when they welcome the Mariners and Reds.


    13. Philadelphia Phillies (17-18)

    Previous Rank: 21

    With a plus-18 run differential and an MLB-leading .750 OPS, the Phillies are better than their record. And when they went 5-2 with series wins over the Mariners and Dodgers last week, the tide finally seemed to turn. They have a tough week ahead as they play host to the Padres and Dodgers.


    12. Arizona Diamondbacks (18-18)

    Previous Rank: 16

    The D-backs are 12-6 in their last 18 games, and the starting rotation (2.51 ERA) continues to be one of the biggest surprises in baseball. In the lineup, top prospect Alek Thomas has made an immediate impact since being called up, hitting .368/.400/.684 with three doubles, one home run and three RBI in his first 20 plate appearances.


    11. Minnesota Twins (21-15)

    Previous Rank: 9

    An injury to Carlos Correa opened the door for top prospect Royce Lewis to take over at shortstop, and he's hitting .281 with a 114 OPS+ in 32 plate appearances through nine games. The only team with a winning record in the American League Central, the Twins are 13-8 at home, but they'll need to have success on the road this week against the A's and Royals.

Nos. 10-6

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    Shane McClanahan
    Shane McClanahanSteph Chambers/Getty Images

    10. San Francisco Giants (21-14)

    Previous Rank: 11

    It looks like the Giants front office found another diamond in the rough in outfielder Luis Gonzalez, whom they claimed off waivers from the White Sox in August. The 26-year-old is hitting .349/.397/.492 for a 155 OPS+ in 73 plate appearances. A 4-2 week and sweep over the Rockies lifted San Francisco back inside the top 10.


    9. St. Louis Cardinals (19-15)

    Previous Rank: 12

    The Cardinals won a fun one on Sunday Night Baseball to finish a series win over the Giants, and that was enough to jump three spots and back into the top 10. With Paul DeJong demoted to the minors, rookie Brendan Donovan will have an opportunity to seize the starting shortstop job. He went 6-for-13 with four doubles and a home run last week.


    8. Tampa Bay Rays (21-15)

    Previous Rank: 7

    The Rays improved to 7-2 against the AL East with a weekend series win over the Blue Jays, and they'll have a great chance to jump up into the top five this week as they face the Tigers and Orioles. Twenty-five-year-old left-hander Shane McClanahan was tied with the White Sox's Dylan Cease for the MLB lead with 58 strikeouts in 38 innings entering Monday.


    7. San Diego Padres (22-13)

    Previous Rank: 6

    With Blake Snell expected to return from the injured list Wednesday, the Padres have decisions to make with Yu Darvish, Sean Manaea, Joe Musgrove, Mike Clevinger, Nick Martinez and MacKenzie Gore in the starting rotation mix. San Diego has not lost consecutive games since April 16, and it's 12-6 with a plus-21 run differential on the road.


    6. Milwaukee Brewers (23-13)

    Previous Rank: 5

    The Brewers went 4-5 on their nine-game road trip, including a series loss to the Reds in which they allowed 28 runs in three games. They rebounded nicely with a series win over the Marlins, and now they'll spend a week at home against the Braves and Nationals. Shortstop Willy Adames is nursing a sprained left ankle.

Nos. 5-1

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    Chase Silseth
    Chase SilsethThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    5. Los Angeles Dodgers (22-12)

    Previous Rank: 1

    Series losses to the Pirates and Phillies knocked the Dodgers out of the No. 1 spot, and veteran starter Clayton Kershaw also landed on the injured list with SI joint inflammation. L.A. still leads the majors in run differential (plus-70), but a slide was inevitable after last week's struggles.


    4. Los Angeles Angels (24-14)

    Previous Rank: 4

    The Angels are 10-5 with a plus-37 run differential in May, and the vastly improved pitching staff received another boost when right-hander Chase Silseth allowed just one hit in six innings in his MLB debut Friday. With four straight series wins and four shutouts in their last 11 games, L.A. made a strong case for a spot in the top tier.


    3. New York Mets (23-13)

    Previous Rank: 3

    The Mets dropped two of three to the Mariners over the weekend for their first series loss, and they've gone 7-6 with a minus-two run differential over their last four series. Catcher James McCann and breakout starter Tylor Megill landed on the injured list last week, so we'll get to see how this talented group handles a downturn in momentum.


    2. Houston Astros (23-13)

    Previous Rank: 8

    The Astros ripped off an 11-game winning streak before suffering a 13-6 loss to the Nationals on Saturday, but they bounced back with an 8-0 win Sunday to secure their fourth straight series victory. The starting rotation has been untouchable, Yuli Gurriel finally woke up at the plate, and the bullpen is rounding into form.


    1. New York Yankees (26-9)

    Previous Rank: 2

    Since starting 7-6, the Yankees have been baseball's best team, going 18-3 with a plus-67 run differential and racking up eight straight series wins. Sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are swinging hot bats, Nestor Cortes is a bona fide American League Cy Young Award candidate, and the bullpen leads the majors with a 2.50 ERA.

Complete Rankings

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    Quinn Harris/Getty Images

    1. New York Yankees
    2. Houston Astros
    3. New York Mets
    4. Los Angeles Angels
    5. Los Angeles Dodgers
    6. Milwaukee Brewers
    7. San Diego Padres
    8. Tampa Bay Rays
    9. St. Louis Cardinals
    10. San Francisco Giants
    11. Minnesota Twins
    12. Arizona Diamondbacks
    13. Philadelphia Phillies
    14. Toronto Blue Jays
    15. Chicago White Sox
    16. Cleveland Guardians
    17. Colorado Rockies
    18. Atlanta Braves
    19. Seattle Mariners
    20. Texas Rangers
    21. Pittsburgh Pirates
    22. Miami Marlins
    23. Baltimore Orioles
    24. Oakland Athletics
    25. Chicago Cubs
    26. Boston Red Sox
    27. Kansas City Royals
    28. Washington Nationals
    29. Detroit Tigers
    30. Cincinnati Reds

Highlight of the Week: A No-Hitter and a 'No-Hitter'

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    Reid Detmers
    Reid DetmersIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Left-hander Reid Detmers became the first pitcher to throw a solo no-hitter in 2022 last Tuesday when he blanked the Tampa Bay Rays on 108 pitches.

    The Los Angeles Angels' first-round pick in 2020 at No. 10 out of Louisville, Detmers recorded just two strikeouts, the fewest in a no-hitter in 11 years.

    "When you create soft contact, your defense gets bigger," Angels manager Joe Maddon told reporters.

    The 22-year-old rookie entered his Tuesday start with a 5.32 ERA in five outings, but the unlikelihood of his no-hitter paled in comparison to what happened just a few days later.

    On Sunday afternoon, Cincinnati Reds rookie Hunter Greene twirled 7.1 innings of no-hit ball against the Pittsburgh Pirates, though he did walk five batters, including back-to-back bases on balls with one out in the eighth inning before he was lifted for Art Warren.

    Warren walked the first batter he faced before allowing an RBI groundout to Ke'Bryan Hayes. He escaped further trouble, but when the Reds failed to score in the top of the ninth, the Pirates won 1-0 despite failing to record a hit.

    Since Cincinnati did not pitch nine innings, it didn't count as a no-hitter, and the Reds walked away with another loss.

    It marked just the sixth time a team has allowed zero hits and lost and the first since 2008 when Los Angeles Angels starter Jered Weaver and Jose Arredondo combined for eight no-hit innings in a 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Team of the Week

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    Bryce Harper
    Bryce HarperHarry How/Getty Images

    C Tyler Stephenson, CIN
    (9-for-22, 3 2B, HR, 7 RBI)

    1B Rhys Hoskins, PHI
    (12-for-32, 4 HR, 10 RBI)

    2B Jean Segura, PHI
    (9-for-22, 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 3 SB)

    3B Rafael Devers, BOS
    (9-for-22, 5 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI)

    SS Andrew Velazquez, LAA
    (8-for-23, 3 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 SB)

    OF Giancarlo Stanton, NYY
    (10-for-24, 2B, 4 HR, 12 RBI)

    OF Aaron Judge, NYY
    (9-for-26, 3 HR, 8 RBI)

    OF Tyler Naquin, CIN
    (10-for-25, 4 2B, 3B, 6 RBI)

    DH Bryce Harper, PHI
    (14-for-23, 6 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 3 SB)

    SP Reid Detmers, LAA
    (1 GS, W, CG, SO, 9.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K)

    SP Justin Verlander, HOU
    (2 GS, 2 W, 13.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 10 K)

    SP Tarik Skubal, DET
    (2 GS, 2 W, 13.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 16 K)

    SP Jose Quintana, PIT
    (2 GS, W, ND, 13.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 10 K)

    SP Nestor Cortes, NYY
    (2 GS, W, ND, 15.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 18 K)

    RP Scott Barlow, KC
    (3 G, 2/2 SV, HLD, 3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K)

Way-Too-Early Award Rankings

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    Pablo Lopez
    Pablo LopezJim Rassol/Associated Press

    AL MVP

    1. Mike Trout, LAA
    2. Aaron Judge, NYY
    3. Jose Ramirez, CLE


    NL MVP

    1. Manny Machado, SD
    2. Nolan Arenado, STL
    3. Bryce Harper, PHI


    AL Cy Young

    1. Nestor Cortes, NYY
    2. Justin Verlander, HOU
    3. Kevin Gausman, TOR


    NL Cy Young

    1. Pablo Lopez, MIA
    2. Corbin Burnes, MIL
    3. Miles Mikolas, STL


    AL Rookie of the Year

    1. Jeremy Pena, HOU
    2. Joe Ryan, MIN
    3. Steven Kwan, CLE


    NL Rookie of the Year

    1. Seiya Suzuki, CHC
    2. MacKenzie Gore, SD
    3. Luis Gonzalez, SF


    Stats courtesy of and Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.