MLB Power Rankings: Can anyone top this high-flying AL team?

While the Yankees continue to inch closer to 50 wins on the season thanks to their powerhouse offense, other teams have seen a change in momentum.

The Dodgers are not only coming off a tough series sweep this past weekend but are now faced with playing the remainder of the season without a vital member of their rotation. In Milwaukee, the Brewers have fallen from the top of their division. Meanwhile, Boston is building on its wave of success, and Atlanta has finally gotten going after a slow start.

Where does all of that leave us 10 weeks into the 2022 season?

Our expert panel has combined to rank every team in baseball based on a combination of what we’ve seen so far and what we already knew going into the 162-game marathon that is a full baseball season. We also asked ESPN MLB experts David Schoenfield, Bradford Doolittle, Joon Lee, Jesse Rogers and Alden Gonzalez to weigh in with an observation for all 30 teams.

Week 9 | Preseason rankings

1. New York Yankees

Record: 46-16

Previous ranking: 1

Look at any metric, and the Yankees are the best team in baseball. New York ranks among the top teams in the majors in wOBA, home runs, ERA, WHIP, run differential and opponent batting average. Among the surprises for the team this year is catcher Jose Trevino, who ranks fourth on the team in WAR behind Josh Donaldson, Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Rizzo. Free-agent pickup Matt Carpenter has been outstanding since joining the Yankees lineup as well. — Lee

2. New York Mets

Record: 41-23

Previous ranking: 3

Pete Alonso has been an RBI machine, with 59 through the Mets’ first 63 games (he’s played 62 of them), giving him a pace of 151. That would shatter the team record of 124, shared by Mike Piazza (1999) and David Wright (2008). The only others to drive in 120 were Alonso in 2019 and Robin Ventura in 1999. The last player to drive in 150 runs in a season was Alex Rodriguez for the Yankees in 2007 and the last NL player was Sammy Sosa in 2001. Not surprisingly, Alonso has been at his best with runners in scoring position: .368/.481/.877, nine home runs, 44 RBIs (through Tuesday). — Schoenfield

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 39-23

Previous ranking: 2

The Dodgers’ weekend in San Francisco went about as poorly as one could imagine. They were not only swept by their bitter division rivals, but they ultimately gave up sole possession of first place in their division and, most importantly at this point, lost Walker Buehler to a flexor strain. Buehler probably won’t return until September, which means the Dodgers will be without both their most important starter and their most important reliever (Blake Treinen) for the majority of what remains of this season. Thankfully for them, Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson have really stepped up. — Gonzalez

4. San Diego Padres

Record: 40-24

Previous ranking: 6

The Padres got some bad news recently on Fernando Tatis Jr., who still hasn’t been cleared to pick up a bat and begin the process of working his way back to the lineup. But the Padres continue to roll regardless. Their deep and talented starting rotation boasts the third-best ERA in the majors, their defense leads the sport in outs above average, and Manny Machado continues to play at an MVP level. The Padres — granted, still in need of offense — have won 10 of their last 13 games. — Gonzalez

5. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 37-25

Previous ranking: 5

Kevin Gausman, who Toronto signed this past offseason, continues to establish himself as an ace. The righty ranks among the top pitchers in all of baseball, leading all pitchers in WAR while posting a 2.67 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP in 12 starts. His 1.75 FIP also suggests that he’s been pitching better than his stats show. He and Alek Manoah have been among the best duos leading the top of a rotation in all of baseball. — Lee

6. Houston Astros

Record: 39-24

Previous ranking: 4

It wasn’t the greatest week for the Astros, who dropped home series against Miami and Seattle and then started a road trip with a loss at Texas before Wednesday’s win. Luckily, Houston has built a huge buffer atop the AL West. Of more concern is a thumb injury suffered by rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena, which landed him on the IL — though it doesn’t appear too severe. In the meantime, the Astros will deploy veteran Aledmys Diaz at shortstop and recently-acquired Mauricio Dubon should get more time in a utility role. This happens at a time when Houston is facing a challenging part of its schedule. Next up: the White Sox, Mets and Yankees over an 11-game span. — Doolittle

7. Atlanta Braves

Record: 37-27

Previous ranking: 13

The Braves’ 8-2 win on Wednesday, powered by two Austin Riley home runs, was their 14th in a row, matching the second longest in franchise history since 1900, behind only a 15-game win streak in 2000. While they are beating up on some of the, umm, less impressive teams out there (1-0 vs. Arizona, 4-0 vs. Colorado, 2-0 vs. Oakland, 4-0 vs. Pittsburgh, 3-0 vs. Washington), they are beating them convincingly, outscoring them by a remarkable 101 to 41. Give credit to the Braves’ player development system, as Michael Harris has raked since coming up to play center field (.328) and Spencer Strider, who fanned 11 on Wednesday, has a 2.75 ERA since moving to the rotation with 31 K’s in 19.2 IP. — Schoenfield

8. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 37-28

Previous ranking: 7

It was only a matter of time before the Cardinals overtook Milwaukee for first place in the NL Central. Here’s the scary part: St. Louis still isn’t at its peak. The team managed to shake off a series sweep by the Rays to win 5 of its last 7 games. The Cardinals will be in the market for pitching next month and are likely to go bigger than their 2021 additions of Jon Lester and J.A. Happ. They’re dangerous — mostly thanks to Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. — Rogers

9. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 35-27

Previous ranking: 9

The Rays are still chugging along despite the absence of Wander Franco, Brandon Lowe, Mike Zunino and J.P. Feyereisen — who are all on the injured list. Another notable breakout pitching star for the team has been Jason Adam, who played for five different organizations over the last 10 years before landing in Tampa Bay this offseason. He has put up a 0.72 ERA and 0.64 WHPI in 25 innings coming out of the bullpen this season. — Lee

10. San Francisco Giants

Record: 35-27

Previous ranking: 10

The Giants swept the Dodgers over the weekend and went on to reel off five consecutive victories thanks in large part to a pitching staff that has allowed only six earned runs in 45 innings during that stretch. In that time, the Giants also activated first baseman Brandon Belt and sent starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani out on a rehab assignment. — Gonzalez

11. Minnesota Twins

Record: 37-28

Previous ranking: 11

Minnesota’s lead in the AL Central has dwindled as Cleveland has caught fire behind them in the division race. It’s just been a half-game at a time, here and there, but the Twins’ margin has fallen from five games at the beginning of the month to 2 1/2 games by the end of play Tuesday. If you like good races, that’s a timely development, as the Twins and Guardians are set to play each other eight times in 10 days beginning June 21. Minnesota looks like it’ll be a little healthier than in recent weeks by the time that stretch arrives. Then again, second baseman Jorge Polanco has been battling back trouble lately, and it’s too soon to declare the Twins’ health crisis over. — Doolittle

12. Boston Red Sox

Record: 34-29

Previous ranking: 12

Watch out for the Red Sox. After road series wins over the Angels and Mariners, Boston continues climbing up towards the Blue Jays and Rays in the division standings. Much of that has been driven by the performance of third baseman Rafael Devers, who is hitting .354/.408/.701 with 13 homers and 16 doubles since the beginning of May. — Lee

13. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 35-29

Previous ranking: 8

The Brewers’ eight-game losing streak came to an end on Sunday, but not before they dropped into second place in the NL Central thanks to an offense that ranked 25th in OPS and a pitching staff that ranked 29th in ERA last week. The Phillies and Nationals bludgeoned them while Josh Hader finally looked human, giving up two home runs in the same inning to blow his first save of the season in the fourth loss of the streak. This is probably who Milwaukee really is — a team fighting for a wild-card spot — but they can always turn it around in a weak NL central. — Rogers

14. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 32-31

Previous ranking: 15

While Tuesday’s 11-9 loss to the Marlins felt like a Joe Girardi loss with a late-game bullpen collapse, the Phillies still won nine of the first 10 games under new manager Rob Thomson. That stretch included sweeps of the Angels and Brewers, and the team slugged 20 home runs, with Bryce Harper leading the way with five home runs and 14 RBIs. Indeed, Harper has taken very well to the full-time DH role, with an OPS+ that has inched past his 2021 number. — Schoenfield

15. Cleveland Guardians

Record: 31-27

Previous ranking: 14

The Guardians still don’t have a winning streak longer than four games this season, but the slow simmer is gradually heating up to a boil during a soft portion of Cleveland’s schedule. That’s about to change. After the Guardians finish their current series at Colorado, they head further west to take on the Dodgers. After a stop at division rival Minnesota on the way home, Cleveland then begins an 11-game home stand against Boston, Minnesota (a five-game series) and the Yankees. We’re about to find out if Cleveland can transition its success against lesser lights into wins against MLB’s elite. — Doolittle

16. Miami Marlins

Record: 28-33

Previous ranking: 20

After posting a 2.64 ERA in 133 innings and making the All-Star team as a rookie in 2021, Trevor Rogers continues to struggle this season, with a 5.87 ERA. His changeup and slider have remained effective, but his four-seam fastball has been getting hammered, even though he’s throwing it a little harder (94.7 to 94.5 last year) and with a high spin rate. But batters are hitting .330 with eight home runs off it compared to .222 with five home runs in 2021. — Schoenfield

17. Chicago White Sox

Record: 30-31

Previous ranking: 16

A borderline panic has descended upon the south side of Chicago as the White Sox’s disappointing start to the season endures. Frustrated by some of Tony La Russa’s more enigmatic decision making, and even more esoteric explanations, chants calling for his dismissal started erupting during Chicago’s home games. The frustration is easy to understand.

And while it’s also easy to point out that the White Sox have been treading water while trying to get to a healthier place, the sad reality is that the injury treadmill keeps spinning with no signs of slowing down. The current drama is centered around the forearm strain that sent closer Liam Hendriks to the IL. The extent of the injury is unclear at this point but if it’s a bad one, the White Sox are really in trouble. While Kendall Graveman can step in to close, an already thin relief staff would be exposed that much more. — Doolittle

18. Texas Rangers

Record: 29-33

Previous ranking: 18

Texas had one of those “are they back in the playoff race or not” weeks. The answer is yes. They’re not above .500 yet but the Angels have opened the door for them to take over and stay in second place in the NL West. In a suddenly weak division, they should stay competitive for a wild-card spot throughout the summer. The Rangers are getting good production from rookie second baseman Ezequiel Duran, as he slugged around .500 with an OPS over .800 this past week. — Rogers

19. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 29-35

Previous ranking: 17

The Angels activated Taylor Ward off the injured list on Tuesday, making their lineup mostly whole (though Anthony Rendon is playing with a right wrist that seemingly hasn’t fully healed). Their starters have remained healthy — as have their key relievers — and they have already fired their manager. In other words, they’re out of excuses. If they truly believe they’re contenders, and that their first six weeks weren’t some mirage, they need to play like it again. — Gonzalez

20. Seattle Mariners

Record: 28-35

Previous ranking: 19

Logan Gilbert continues to make a strong bid for the All-Star team. He threw six scoreless innings against the Twins on Tuesday to run his record to 7-2 with a 2.22 ERA. After that outing, he ranked sixth in ERA, third in innings, seventh in batting average allowed, sixth in OPS allowed and 13th in strikeout rate among AL starting pitchers. One thing to watch: His Statcast metrics tell us he’s been hit harder than his actual results (expected batting average of .267 versus actual of .209). — Schoenfield

21. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 30-35

Previous ranking: 21

Carson Kelly returned from the injured list over the weekend, prompting Daulton Varsho to move from behind the plate to a more regular outfield role. There, he joined top prospect Alek Thomas to form a dynamic outfield mix that D-backs manager Torey Lovullo likened to his days with the Red Sox, when Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. played together. Varsho (.745 OPS) and Thomas (.778 OPS) have also been hitting. — Gonzalez

22. Colorado Rockies

Record: 27-36

Previous ranking: 24

The Rockies haven’t had many positives lately, but they got one on Sunday: German Marquez, the ace of their staff, held the Padres to only two runs in seven innings and didn’t issue a walk — after walking a combined 10 batters in his previous three starts. The outing dropped his ERA from 6.49 to 6.09. The Rockies hope it can finally get him on track. — Gonzalez

23. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 27-37

Previous ranking: 25

The biggest story around the Orioles has been the Angelos family feud, with Louis Angelos suing his family for control of the team. The lawsuit has sparked rumors that the Orioles could be moved or sold. Team owner Georgia Angelos has publicly stated ownership’s commitment to staying in Baltimore, citing their investment in Camden Yards. The family’s fight over control of the team’s future puts into perspective the importance of the current rebuild in bringing fans back to the ballpark with a new generation of stars like Adley Rutschman and Grayson Rodriguez. — Lee

24. Chicago Cubs

Record: 23-39

Previous ranking: 22

The free fall continues for the Cubs, who don’t have enough healthy arms to compete on a night in and night out basis. Wade Miley, Drew Smyly and Marcus Stroman have been pretty much useless since joining the team. The good news is Kyle Hendricks spun a great outing on Tuesday after taking some extra days between starts. Willson Contreras continues to look good as well — giving the Cubs some trade chips come July. — Rogers

25. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 25-37

Previous ranking: 23

Pittsburgh was doing OK until a nine-game losing streak, that ended with Wednesday’s win, halted any progress towards .500. The funny thing is, the Pirates didn’t drop in the standings. But you know things are going poorly when you’re swept by the Tigers, even if it’s just a two-game series. The Pirates hit eight home runs from June 8-14, which isn’t terrible, but their .189 batting average was last in the league. In four of the losses, they scored one run, including a 9-1 loss to the Cardinals Tuesday in which they notched just one hit. — Rogers

26. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 23-40

Previous ranking: 27

By this time next week, the Reds may be out of last place in the NL central. Does that say more about them or the division they reside in? The answer might be both, as Cincinnati is just 15-16 in its last 31 games — but that’s been good enough to close the gap with the Cubs and Pirates above them. Tyler Mahle had a heck of a week, tossing 15 innings while giving up just one run between two starts. He and Hunter Greene give Cincinnati hope. — Rogers

27. Detroit Tigers

Record: 24-38

Previous ranking: 26

The Tigers began their current homestand hoping to leverage some home-cooking into enough wins that it would re-establish them as a longshot wild-card contender. After dropping the first two series of that stand, Detroit will face Texas for four games before hitting the road. And the Tigers better bring their big suitcases: June 20 marks the beginning of a 29-game stretch that includes 22 road games. That’s the bad news. The really bad news: Detroit will start it with a 8-18 road record and an away-from-home run differential that anoints the Tigers as easily baseball’s worst road team thus far. Things could be about to get ugly. — Doolittle

28. Washington Nationals

Record: 23-42

Previous ranking: 28

The long season for the Nationals just got worse as Stephen Strasburg came off the IL, made one start and allowed seven runs, and then returned to the IL with a stress reaction in his ribs. The Nationals set no timetable for his return, so he remains at 31 1/3 innings pitched three years into his seven-year, $245 million contract. The Nationals have allowed the most runs in the majors and with an ERA over 6.00, the rotation has a chance to be one of the worst of all time. — Schoenfield

29. Kansas City Royals

Record: 21-41

Previous ranking: 30

Since we last checked in, the Royals matched their season high with a three-game winning streak and still managed to dig a little deeper in their relentless search for rock bottom. They then embarked on their sixth losing streak already this season of four or more games. Any good news? Well, sure. MJ Melendez continues to show he belongs in the bigs. Also, Bobby Witt Jr.’s season continues to gather momentum at the plate and while his early defensive metrics have lagged since he took over at shortstop, there’s every reason to believe he will remain the Royals’ answer at that position for a very long time. — Doolittle

30. Oakland Athletics

Record: 21-43

Previous ranking: 29

Oakland looks primed to be among the worst teams in all of baseball for the remainder of the season, with Frankie Montas likely spending now until the trade deadline auditioning for his next role. On the bright side, Christian Bethancourt has been one of the best comeback stories the last few weeks. Bethancourt was once a top prospect in baseball, appearing in the Futures Game, but he last appeared in the majors in 2017 before a stint in the KBO with the NC Dinos. In June, Bethancourt is hitting .343 with four homers in 35 at-bats. — Lee

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