BY Chris Larson
Here we are and it's time for another Top 15 Power Rankings list. Hard to believe how fast the weeks have been going and how quickly time flies anymore!
Nonetheless, we have seen another fantastic week of baseball this past week. The highlight of the week, however, had to have been Sean Manaea's phenomenal no-no that he tossed on Saturday night against the Boston Red Sox. Funny how baseball works sometimes! Beyond that, we saw more great offensive numbers from teams like the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves, stellar pitching performances from several notable guys, and plenty of exciting defensive plays.
Here are this week's Top 15 teams:
1. Houston Astros (16-7) [Ranking Last Week: 4] - The Houston Astros are flying through space right now like a space shuttle straight out of the NASA Space Center. As of this morning, the Astros have won 6 games in a row, have a 7-3 record during their last 10 games, and an impressive +58 run differential. It's certainly hard to not put them as the best team in all of baseball at the moment especially since they're coming off a sweep of the White Sox and continue to kill it when it comes to pitching. Over the last 7 days, the Stro's pitching staff has raked up a team ERA of 1.29 over 63.0 IP, which ranks second behind only the Cleveland Indians, and have an Opponent Batting Average Against of .147 in that span.
2. Boston Red Sox (17-4) [Ranking Last Week: 1] - The Red Sox have hit a minor hiccup as they've lost their past two games, but one of them came against a red hot, Sean Manaea, as mentioned above. Regardless, the Red Sox are still one of the elite teams in all of baseball and continue to far exceed many people's expectations. How about how David Price has performed thus far? Price has a 2.93 ERA after yesterday's outing, but continues to go deeper than he did in many of his starts last year and is back to being the David Price that we used to know. On the offensive side, no one had a better week than Mookie Betts who jacked 4 home runs, recorded 4 RBI, and had a .478 on-base percentage along with 21 extra-base hits through 20 at bats.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks (15-6) [Ranking Last Week: 5] - What a year it has been thus far for the Arizona Diamondbacks who have now recorded 7 consecutive series wins, the most by any team, since the 2005 Chicago White Sox. Up and down Arizona's lineup, the Dbacks continue to get plenty of production and you certainly can't go wrong with the way that Patrick Corbin has been throwing the ball as of late. It would appear that Paul Goldschmidt is back to being his normal self as illustrated by his .429 on-base percentage, David Peralta leads the team with a .310 batting average, and AJ Pollock comes in first in home runs (5) and RBI (16). If Arizona continues to play like this, they could very well be the winners of the NL West which would be no surprise.
4. Cleveland Indians (11-8) [Ranking Last Week: 12] - Out of the 15 teams listed in this week's power rankings, I don't think there's a team that made a bigger jump than the Cleveland Indians. Over the past 7 days, the Indians have the best pitching staff with a cumulative ERA of 1.10 over 41.0 IP and the fourth best Opponent Batting Average Against (.179) over that span. This should come as no surprise, but it's worth noting that both Andrew Miller and Cody Allen still have 0.00 ERA's and that just goes to show how valuable both continue to be for the Tribe. Another thing is the offense has started to heat up a bit which could be dangerous in the weeks ahead.
5. St. Louis Cardinals (13-8) [Ranking Last Week: 8] - With their record, the Cardinals currently sit a top the NL Central and it should be no surprise with the way they've been rolling lately. They have an 8-2 record over their last 10 games along with a +27 run differential for the season and are in the midst of a three-game winning streak. A big reason for the Cardinals surge as of late isn't because they swept the Cincinnati Reds, but whether the combination of Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong at the plate. Molina has a .444 on-base percentage the past 5 games with 10 extra-base hits, while DeJong has 12 extra-base hits, 2 home runs, and 4 RBI. They lost Adam Wainwright to the 10-day DL again yesterday, but with the way they've been playing, it shouldn't cause them to lose steam.
6. Milwaukee Brewers (14-9) [Ranking Last Week: N/A] - The way the Brewers have been playing as of late sort of came out of nowhere given how they had performed prior, but it's a good thing considering that Milwaukee still has its eyes set on a postseason berth. Through 2 games, Jhoulys Chacin posted a 0.90 ERA in 10 IP with 9 strikeouts, which was a huge driving force, and Eric Thames has really started to lit it up at the plate. Over the last 7 days, Thames now has a .450 on-base percentage and when you mix that with the 6 RBI that Ryan Braun has recorded as well as Lorenzo Cain's .538 on-base percentage, you start to see the results like we are currently witnessing. It should be a huge breath of fresh air for Brewer fans who might have been panicked the past few weeks.
7. New York Mets (14-6) [Ranking Last Week: 2] - The New York Mets have dropped down a notch from the powerful team that they were during last week's Power Rankings report, but that shouldn't take away from the talent that they still possess. Over the past 10 games, they have been playing 500 baseball with a 5-5 record, but their pitching staff still has been efficient and currently ranks 11th in baseball with a 3.61 ERA over 184.1 IP. The Mets bullpen had a hiccup a few times this past week, which is why they dropped a few spots, but they still lead the NL East and are still a force in the bigger picture that other teams need to be aware of.
8. Los Angeles Angels (14-8) [Ranking Last Week: 3] - Last week, the Angels were pretty much cruising and were a Top 3 team in baseball, but they sort of took a step back this past week. From an offensive perspective, the Angels currently rank 5th with 113 runs scored, which ties them with the New York Yankees, and have a 4.16 team ERA, good enough for 18th place in the league. Shohei Ohtani was exposed during his start last Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox and wasn't as powerful as he was during his first two starts. The Angels say that was due to a blister that he developed on one of his fingers, but we will see what this week brings and if the Angels can pick up stem again.
9. Los Angeles Dodgers (10-10) [Ranking Last Week: N/A] - The Dodgers didn't even crack the Top 15 list last week, but since then, they have been playing extremely well and definitely deserve to be within the Top 10. Right now, they still sit in third place in the NL West, but if they continue to play the way they have as of late, they could see themselves climb up the ranks in the division sooner than later. A big reason why the Dodgers have experienced a surge as of late is because of the offense that Yasmani Grandal has brought to the team along with the help of Matt Kemp. Grandal has a .448 on-base percentage over the past week, while Matt Kemp has 2 home runs, 6 RBI, 11 extra-base hits, and a .385 batting average over the span of 13 at bats, during that time period.
10. Philadelphia Phillies (11-4) [Ranking Last Week: 7] - Ever since Phillies fans booed Gabs Kapler for his decisions that he made during the first series of the year, the Phillies have defied everyone and really kept their foot on the gas pedal. Right now, they are surging amidst a 4-game winning streak and have won 9 of their first 10 home games, which is the first time that's happened since 1964 when they began playing at Connie Mack Stadium. Both Rhys Hoskins and Odubel Herrera have been on fire at the plate lately and the pitching staff has a 2.32 ERA over 62.0 IP the past 7 days, which is phenomenal and credit to Jake Arrieta, Nick Pivetta, and Aaron Nola. Arrieta was the most effective of all three during his last start posting a 0.00 ERA over 7 IP.
11. Toronto Blue Jays (13-8) [Ranking Last Week: 9] - There hasn't been much change in the Blue Jays ranking over the past week, but they did get showed up a bit by the Yankees this past weekend. That was one concern some had, not myself, but some of their weaknesses did show against New York and that is why they moved down one spot. Regardless, the Blue Jays have a team on-base percentage of .368 the past 7 days along with 7 home runs and 40 RBI over that span and four relievers (Danny Barnes, Roberto Osuna, Seung Hwan Oh, and Tim Mayza) put up a 0.00 ERA over that span. The starting rotation got knocked around a bit, but they still have a lot of potential so we'll see what this week brings.
12. Atlanta Braves (12-8) [Ranking Last Week: 13] - The Braves 600 winning percentage at this point is a pleasant surprise for a team that was expected to be near the bottom league wide and as I wrote about yesterday, the Braves offense, continues to be very impressive especially thanks to left fielder, Preston Tucker. Over the past 7 days through 2 starts, Julio Teheran has been really effective as illustrated by his 0.69 ERA over 13 IP and 8 of the Braves everyday hitters recorded an on-base percentage over .300 the the past week. If Atlanta can continue to get Teheran to perform this way and keep the offense focused, they could stick around until the very end and show that they're ready to contend sooner than later.
13. New York Yankees (11-9) [Ranking Last Week: 14] - Last week, the Yankees ranked second to last in my report, but as the weather has slowly started to warm up, the Yankees have slowly started to play a bit better. They have a 6-4 record over their past 10 games and took 2 out of 3 against the Toronto Blue Jays. It's still a far cry from where many people would have had them pinpointed at this time during Spring Training, but definitely not anything to shy away from. Luis Severino was by far the best starter for the Yankees during the past week with a, 0.00 ERA over 6 innings, and altogether as a team, the Yankees recorded 49 strikeouts during that span. Hopefully they continue to pitch at this level because if they do, they will start climbing up in the rankings.
14. Colorado Rockies (12-11) [Ranking Last Week: N/A] - This is the first time that the Rockies have cracked a regular season Power Rankings list on here for myself, but they have sort been flying under-the-radar ever since the season started. Right now, they sit second in the NL West behind the Arizona Diamondbacks and ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Colorado's offense still ranks among the middle of the pack in runs scored, 16th to be exact with 93 and the pitching staff has a 4.79 ERA to this point meaning it's hard to nail down what's made them so effective, but whatever it is, it's working. The Rockies still haven't shown their true potential, but just like the Phillies, Colorado is a team that others need to be aware of.
15. Chicago Cubs (10-9) [Ranking Last Week: 15] - Since last week's Top 15 Power Rankings report, the Chicago Cubs have not moved up in the rankings and all of us are still waiting for the Cubs to catch fire and start working their way up through the division. As of play this morning, Chicago is fourth in the NL Central and have a 5-5 record over their past 10 games. To this point, their starting rotation is still causing challenges and hasn't been nearly as impressive as it looked on paper at the beginning of the season. Furthermore, as a team, the Cubs have struck over 41 times over the past week in 182 at bats, but still have an impressive team on-base percentage of .397 and slugging percentage of .467 over that period.
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