MLB Power Rankings: A New No. 1 Team and the Red Sox Rapid Rise

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMay 31, 2022

MLB Power Rankings: A New No. 1 Team and the Red Sox Rapid Rise

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    Chris Coduto/Getty Images

    For the fourth time in five weeks, we have a new No. 1 team in our weekly MLB power rankings as a strong showing by the Los Angeles Dodgers vaulted them back into the top spot.

    Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers continued their recent climbs, while the Colorado Rockies' precipitous slide put them in danger of falling into the bottom tier of teams just a month after they resided comfortably inside the top five.

    With nearly two months of the season complete, the line between contenders and non-contenders is starting to become clear, and trade rumblings could start to pick up as the buyers and sellers emerge.

    As always, if a team keeps winning, it will keep climbing 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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    Victor Robles
    Victor RoblesIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    30. Kansas City Royals (16-31)

    Previous Rank: 27

    The Royals snapped a six-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday, and they split the four-game set with the American League Central leaders, but that was not enough to keep them from sliding to the bottom. Expect Andrew Benintendi, Scott Barlow, Josh Staumont to be mentioned frequently in trade rumors in the coming months.


    29. Detroit Tigers (18-29)

    Previous Rank: 29

    Aside from a four-game winning streak that included a three-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles, May has been a disaster for the Tigers. They didn't begin the year with the same lofty expectations as teams such as the Atlanta Braves and Chicago White Sox, but they have still been among the biggest disappointments in baseball after a busy offseason.


    28. Cincinnati Reds (16-31)

    Previous Rank: 30

    Last no longer! Slowly but surely, the Reds are putting that historically awful 3-22 start in the rearview mirror. They split a four-game series with the Chicago Cubs last week before taking two of three from the San Francisco Giants, and they could climb out of the National League Central cellar with more solid play.


    27. Washington Nationals (18-32)

    Previous Rank: 28

    The Nationals tossed a shutout against the Dodgers on Wednesday and then took three of four from the Rockies, but that was their first series win in May. Former top prospect Victor Robles is finally showing promise at the plate with a .355/.429/.452 line and five steals in his last 11 games.


    26. Oakland Athletics (20-31)

    Previous Rank: 26

    The Athletics picked up their second series win of the month when they won two of three at the Seattle Mariners to kick off last week, but then they lost three of four at home to the Rangers. With seven innings of four-hit, one-run, 11-strikeout ball Thursday, trade candidate Frankie Montas improved to a 3.28 ERA and 0.99 WHIP with 66 strikeouts in 57.2 innings.

Nos. 25-21

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    David Bednar
    David BednarJustin Casterline/Getty Images

    25. Colorado Rockies (22-26)

    Previous Rank: 20

    After starting 16-7 and climbing as high as No. 4 in these rankings, the Rockies have been in a free fall in recent weeks. That continued last week with series losses at the Pittsburgh Pirates and Nationals. With a 5.52 ERA in May, the pitching staff has regressed after an impressive start.


    24. Pittsburgh Pirates (20-27)

    Previous Rank: 25

    The Pirates climbed a spot with a series win over the Rockies, and they've continued to play competitive baseball, even if they're on the outside looking in for postseason contention. Closer David Bednar has been one of baseball's most dominant relievers with a 0.75 ERA, 0.67 WHIP and 31-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 24 innings.


    23. Chicago Cubs (19-29)

    Previous Rank: 24

    The Cubs split road series against the Reds and White Sox last week, but they remained closer to the NL Central cellar than they are to relevance. With five innings of five-hit, one-run ball Saturday against the Sox, rookie Keegan Thompson lowered his ERA to 1.58, and he has a 1.03 WHIP in 40 innings.


    22. Baltimore Orioles (21-29)

    Previous Rank: 23

    The Orioles held their own with a 6-8 record in 14 straight games against American League East foes, and they have a respectable 4.10 ERA. Relievers Jorge Lopez (21 G, 6 SV, 1.16 ERA), Dillon Tate (21 G, 6 HLD, 1.88 ERA), Felix Bautista (20 G, 2 SV, 2.25 ERA), Keegan Akin (13 G, 1.71 ERA) and Cionel Perez (18 G, 0.60 ERA) have thrown the ball particularly well.


    21. Cleveland Guardians (20-24)

    Previous Rank: 21

    The Guardians suffered series losses at the Houston Astros and Tigers last week, and they're 11-6 away from Progressive Field. Third baseman Jose Ramirez is squarely in the American League MVP conversation with a .292/.388/.634 line that includes 11 doubles, 12 home runs and 48 RBI in 188 plate appearances.

Nos. 20-16

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    Kyle Lewis
    Kyle LewisSteph Chambers/Getty Images

    20. Miami Marlins (19-27)

    Previous Rank: 19

    After going 12-8 with a plus-10 run differential in April, the Marlins have stumbled. They were 1-4 last week with series losses at the Tampa Bay Rays and Braves. The one-two punch of Sandy Alcantara (10 GS, 2.00 ERA, 67.2 IP) and Pablo Lopez (9 GS, 2.04 ERA, 53.0 IP) is as good as any in baseball, but the back of the rotation has struggled, the bullpen has been inconsistent, and the lineup remains mediocre.


    19. Seattle Mariners (20-28)

    Previous Rank: 22

    The Mariners were 7-17 in May before they took two of three from the first-place Astros over the weekend, with Chris Flexen (7.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER) and Logan Gilbert (7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER) throwing back-to-back gems. Kyle Lewis finally made his season debut Tuesday, and he homered in back-to-back games Friday and Saturday.


    18. Philadelphia Phillies (21-28)

    Previous Rank: 17

    After getting swept by the New York Mets over the weekend, the Phillies are 6-14 against the National League East, though it's worth noting they have yet to play the cellar-dwelling Nationals. Following another strong week, Bryce Harper is hitting .312/.362/.600 with 17 doubles, 10 home runs and 32 RBI and making a case to defend his National League MVP title.


    17. Arizona Diamondbacks (24-26)

    Previous Rank: 15

    The Diamondbacks were outscored 26-8 while getting swept by the Dodgers in four games over the weekend, and they've hit a wall since an 8-2 start in May. Versatile center fielder-catcher Daulton Varsho is day-to-day with a sore right shoulder, but he leads the team with 1.7 WAR in 45 games as one of the under-the-radar breakout stars of the year.


    16. Atlanta Braves (23-26)

    Previous Rank: 16

    The Braves split four games with the Phillies and took two of three from the Marlins to claw ever closer to the .500 mark, which they have not reached since they were 5-5. Shortstop Dansby Swanson had three straight multihit games last week, including a 4-for-5 showing with a home run against Philadelphia, which helped raise his batting average 40 points.

Nos. 15-11

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    Evan Longoria
    Evan LongoriaIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    15. Texas Rangers (23-24)

    Previous Rank: 18

    The Rangers won four straight before a walk-off loss Sunday, and they've quietly gone 15-10 with a plus-16 run differential in May. Second baseman Marcus Semien finally hit his first home run for Texas on Saturday after setting the record last year for homers by a second baseman with 45.


    14. Chicago White Sox (23-23)

    Previous Rank: 13

    The White Sox designated Dallas Keuchel for assignment Saturday in the final season of his three-year, $55.5 million deal after he lasted just two innings Thursday against the Red Sox, allowing seven hits and six earned runs to raise his ERA to 7.88 in 32 frames. A series loss to Boston and two-game split with the Cubs cost Chicago one spot in the rankings.


    13. San Francisco Giants (26-21)

    Previous Rank: 12

    The Giants snapped a five-game losing streak with back-to-back victories over the Mets and a series win, but they followed that with a series loss to the Reds. Veteran Evan Longoria went 7-for-18 with a double, four home runs and eight RBI last week; keeping him healthy and successful in a run-producing role would go a long way.


    12. Boston Red Sox (23-26)

    Previous Rank: 14

    With a 12-2 victory over the Orioles on Sunday, the Red Sox improved to 13-6 with an impressive plus-50 run differential in their last 19 games. Designated hitter J.D. Martinez leads the majors in batting average (.379) thanks to a staggering .434/.491/.647 line in 112 May plate appearances.


    11. Los Angeles Angels (27-22)

    Previous Rank: 7

    Ranked outside the top 10 for the first time in five weeks, the Angels are 3-9 in their last 12 games, including a five-game losing streak to close last week. Over their next 15 games, they will face the New York Yankees, Phillies, Red Sox, Mets and Dodgers. That could be a make-or-break stretch as Los Angeles looks to avoid sliding down the standings.

Nos. 10-6

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    Alek Manoah
    Alek ManoahIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    10. St. Louis Cardinals (27-21)

    Previous Rank: 9

    Few players are swinging a hotter bat than Paul Goldschmidt, who is riding a 20-game hitting streak during which he's batting .446/.472/.880 with eight home runs and 29 RBI in 89 plate appearances. The Cardinals split a two-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays and a four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers to remain just inside the top 10.


    9. Toronto Blue Jays (27-20)

    Previous Rank: 11

    The Blue Jays went 5-1 on a six-game road trip, sweeping a four-game series from the Angels over the weekend and leapfrogging them in the process. Twenty-four-year-old right-hander Alek Manoah has tallied eight quality starts in nine appearances, which trails only Joe Musgrove (nine).


    8. Tampa Bay Rays (28-20)

    Previous Rank: 10

    With a 3.28 ERA this month, the Rays pitching staff once again looks like a major strength. Shane McClanahan leads MLB with 81 strikeouts in 58.1 innings. After losing the first two games of a four-game set with the Yankees, the Rays controlled the damage with wins Saturday and Sunday.


    7. Minnesota Twins (29-20)

    Previous Rank: 8

    With Kenta Maeda, Chris Paddack, Randy Dobnak, Joe Ryan and Josh Winder on the injured list, the Twins' starting pitching depth is being put to the test. Left-hander Devin Smeltzer tossed seven shutout innings against the Royals on Thursday, while Sonny Gray allowed just one run in 13 innings over two starts last week.


    6. San Diego Padres (30-18)

    Previous Rank: 5

    It's only fair that the Padres slid behind the Brewers after Milwaukee came out on top when the two National League contenders squared off over three games last week. A tough week awaits as the Padres visit the Cardinals before a rematch at the Brew Crew.

Nos. 5-1

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    Josh Hader
    Josh HaderDilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    5. Houston Astros (31-18)

    Previous Rank: 4

    The Astros split last week with a series win over the Guardians and a series loss to the Mariners. Justin Verlander turned in his first poor start of the year Friday, allowing 10 hits and six earned runs in six innings. The pitching staff has been great, so getting the lineup firing on all cylinders will be the key.


    4. Milwaukee Brewers (32-18)

    Previous Rank: 6

    A series win over the Padres and a split with the Cardinals earned the Brewers a spot inside the top five. The pitching staff ranks fifth in the majors with a 3.27 ERA and has again been their biggest strength. Closer Josh Hader is a perfect 17-for-17 in save chances and has allowed just four hits with 25 strikeouts in 15.2 scoreless innings.


    3. New York Mets (33-17)

    Previous Rank: 3

    Jeff McNeil (7-for-17, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI), Pete Alonso (7-for-20, 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI) and Francisco Lindor (8-for-23, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 14 RBI) swung it well last week, and when that trio is producing up to its potential, the Mets lineup can be scary. After a series loss to the Giants, New York rallied to sweep the Phillies over the weekend, capping things with a walk-off win.


    2. New York Yankees (33-15)

    Previous Rank: 1

    A 4-3 week that included a series win over the Orioles and a split with the Rays wasn't enough for the Yankees to hold on to the No. 1 ranking, though they could easily recapture it this week against the struggling Angels and the Tigers. Where would New York be without reliever Clay Holmes?


    1. Los Angeles Dodgers (33-15)

    Previous Rank: 2

    The Dodgers are 13-2 in their last 15 games, including a 6-1 showing last week with a four-game sweep at the Diamondbacks. Mookie Betts homered four times to push his total to an NL-leading 14, while bargain signing Tyler Anderson tossed 14 scoreless innings over two starts to improve to 6-0 with a 2.90 ERA in 49.2 innings.

Complete Rankings

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Complete Rankings

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

Highlight of the Week: Joc Pederson Has 3-HR Game After Talking with Barry Bonds

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    Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    Joc Pederson began May by going 4-for-45 with 12 strikeouts in 17 games, dropping his batting average more than 100 points, but everything clicked last Tuesday.

    The veteran left fielder went 4-for-6 with three home runs and eight RBI in a 13-12 victory over the Mets, and afterward he credited a conversation with retired slugger Barry Bonds for putting him in a better head space.

    "Just getting knowledge from such a good hitter and the way he thinks about baseball and hitting, it just helped to connect some dots to free my mind up at the plate," Pederson told reporters. "I'm not ever going to be Barry Bonds. He's the best hitter to touch a bat. But it definitely helped free my mind up in the box."

    Pederson homered again Wednesday and entered the week riding a five-game hitting streak. He's once again making a major impact after getting off to a hot start in April.

Team of the Week

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    J.D. Martinez
    J.D. MartinezBoston Globe/Getty Images

    C Christian Vazquez, BOS
    (12-for-24, 3 2B, HR, 9 RBI)

    1B Paul Goldschmidt, STL
    (10-for-24, 4 HR, 11 RBI)

    2B Jeff McNeil, NYM
    (7-for-17, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI)

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

    SS Bobby Witt Jr., KC
    (10-for-27, 4 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI)

    OF Mookie Betts, LAD
    (11-for-26, 2 2B, 4 HR, 8 RBI)

    OF Joc Pederson, SF
    (8-for-19, 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI)

    OF Chris Taylor, LAD
    (8-for-28, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI)

    DH J.D. Martinez, BOS
    (13-for-24, 2 2B, 3 RBI)

    SP Tyler Anderson, LAD
    (2 GS, 2 W, 14.0 IP, 10 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 14 K)

    SP Sonny Gray, MIN
    (2 GS, 2 W, 13.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 14 K)

    SP Corbin Burnes, MIL
    (2 GS, 2 W, 13.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 16 K)

    SP Shane McClanahan, TB
    (2 GS, 2 W, 12.0 IP, 11 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 16 K)

    SP Jameson Taillon, NYY
    (1 GS, W, 8.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K)

    RP Clay Holmes, NYY
    (3 G, 2/2 SV, 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K)

Way-Too-Early Award Rankings

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    Corbin Burnes
    Corbin BurnesIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    AL MVP

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


    NL MVP

    1. Manny Machado, SD
    2. Paul Goldschmidt, STL
    3. Mookie Betts, LAD


    AL Cy Young

    1. Nestor Cortes, NYY
    2. Justin Verlander, HOU
    3. Martin Perez, TEX


    NL Cy Young

    1. Corbin Burnes, MIL
    2. Joe Musgrove, SD
    3. Sandy Alcantara, MIA


    AL Rookie of the Year

    1. Jeremy Pena, HOU
    2. Joe Ryan, MIN
    3. Julio Rodriguez, SEA


    NL Rookie of the Year

    1. MacKenzie Gore, SD
    2. Seiya Suzuki, CHC
    3. Spencer Strider, ATL


    Stats courtesy of and Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.