MLB Power Rankings: Week 3

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Welcome to the NBC Sports EDGE MLB Power Rankings, a weekly feature that will run every Tuesday through the end of the 2022 regular season. These rankings are not fantasy-driven in any way, though I do tend to sprinkle in fantasy-relevant nuggets here and there. Who’s hot, who’s not, who to watch -- that sort of thing. Send any and all complaints to me on Twitter: @drewsilv.

Please believe me when I tell you that I do not hate your team.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 12-4
Last Week: 1

It seems like ages ago that the Dodgers lost two of three in their season-opening series at Coors Field. Since then, they have won 11 of 13 games, including a 4-0 outclassing of the Diamondbacks on Monday night in which Walker Buehler struck out 10 batters with no walks and only three hits allowed across nine full shutout frames. Only a week ago Freddie Freeman was struggling in his new home, but he is 13-for-32 (.406) with three homers and eight RBI over his last eight games.

2. Toronto Blue Jays
Record: 11-6
Last Week: 2

Toronto has yet to lose a series this season and got a good jump on a four-game set with the visiting Red Sox on Monday with a 6-2 win that was highlighted by Bo Bichette’s go-ahead grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning. Bichette entered the night batting just .217/.239/.290 through 16 games, but there was never really a doubt that the 24-year-old shortstop would find it in a big way. Kevin Gausman starts Tuesday versus Boston, carrying a sparkling 0.73 FIP.

3. New York Mets
Record: 13-5
Last Week: 3

Beyond the encouraging news about Jacob deGrom -- follow-up imaging tests showed significant healing in his right shoulder -- the Mets just became the first team to reach 13 wins and boast a combined starter ERA of 2.29 through 18 turns. Max Scherzer worked seven scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts on Monday night in St. Louis, and the offense rallied for five runs in the top of the ninth inning to earn a thrilling 5-2 comeback win. Good … things … are … happening?

4. Milwaukee Brewers
Record: 10-7
Last Week: 7

Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta draw most of the headlines out of Milwaukee’s high-octane rotation, but Eric Lauer is quickly making a name for himself too. He struck out 13 batters over six scoreless innings on Sunday versus the Phillies, joining Teddy Higuera from the 1980s as the only two left-handers in Brewers history to record 13 strikeouts in a game. Lauer has a 2.23 ERA with 99 strikeouts over his last 97 innings dating back to June 27 of last year.

5. New York Yankees
Record: 10-6
Last Week: 8

Yankees fans were very down on the squad this time last week, but they went out and took two of three at Detroit and then swept a three-game weekend series against the visiting Guardians. Sunday’s game was a party -- a 10-2 victory party -- as Anthony Rizzo, DJ LeMahieu, and Tim Locastro all homered to back a vintage performance from Gerrit Cole. The ace right-hander racked up nine strikeouts over 6 2/3 scoreless frames while lowering his early-season ERA from 6.35 to 4.00.

6. Tampa Bay Rays
Record: 9-7
Last Week: 9

On account of injuries and Tampa Bay’s nontraditional approach to rotation and bullpen roles, Shane McClanahan became the first Rays pitcher to earn a win in 2022 with his seven sharp innings in a 5-2 win Monday versus the Red Sox. McClanahan holds a 2.45 ERA through four starts and an AL-leading 31 strikeouts in 22 innings. Going back to his official debut in on April 29, 2021, the 24-year-old left-hander has a 3.28 ERA and 172 punchouts in 145 1/3 total major league frames.

7. Houston Astros
Record: 7-9
Last Week: 6

They’ve lost five of their last six games, but the reigning American League West champions did enjoy a brief moment of celebration when Jeremy Pena launched a walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday against the visiting the Blue Jays. The rookie shortstop has an .811 OPS with three home runs through his first 62 major league plate appearances. Kyle Tucker is batting just .169 with a .571 OPS, but he ranks 82nd percentile or better in xBA, xwOBA, and xSLG.

8. Atlanta Braves
Record: 7-10
Last Week: 5

It was announced late Monday night that Eddie Rosario will undergo a laser procedure to correct blurred vision and swelling in his right eye and could be sidelined for the next 3-4 months, a large chunk of the 2022 campaign. The news fits the all-around mood for the reigning World Series champs, who have yet to win a series this year. Rosario was the 2021 NLCS MVP and re-upped for $18 million shortly after the lockout ended. Maybe all the more reason to rush Ronald Acuña Jr. back?

9. San Francisco Giants
Record: 12-5
Last Week: 10

They lost three of four to the Mets to begin last week’s slate, but the Giants then rallied for a three-game weekend sweep in Washington and battled their way to a late 4-2 victory on Monday night in Milwaukee. Joc Pederson seems to be enjoying his new digs. The left-handed-hitting outfielder signed a one-year, $6 million contact with San Francisco after the lockout ended and has batted .362 with a 1.179 OPS and six home runs through 51 plate appearances.

10. Chicago White Sox
Record: 6-9
Last Week: 4

That was about as miserable of a road trip as a team can have -- a team of this caliber that entered as a heavy favorite in the AL Central. They got swept by the Guardians and Twins last week and will lug a seven-game losing streak into Tuesday’s series opener against the visiting Royals. Maybe some home cooking will spark a turnaround, but the White Sox are going to be without Eloy Jimenez for a stretch after he blew out his hamstring on Saturday. The estimated timetable is 6-8 weeks.

11. San Diego Padres
Record: 10-7
Last Week: 11

It’s not an imminent milestone watch at all, but Manny Machado looks like the best bet to become the next member of the 3,000 hit club given his age and durability. The 29-year-old third baseman already has 21 hits in 17 games this year -- up to 1,446 hits for his career -- while showing an overall .339/.423/.565 season slash line. Machado has appeared in at least 153 games in every full year since 2015 while averaging 176 hits per 162 games played in that span. Only 1,554 more to go.

12. Seattle Mariners
Record: 10-6
Last Week: 15

In their quest to end a 20-year postseason drought, the longest such drought in North American sports, the Mariners are currently alone in first place in the American League West and hold the best run differential of any American League team at +18. Ty France was named co-AL Player of the Week after going 13-for-26 (.500) with three home runs and 10 RBI in a span of six games. For the season, France is batting .375 with a 1.116 OPS, five homers, and 19 RBI over 16 games.

13. St. Louis Cardinals
Record: 9-6
Last Week: 14

It might be somewhat telling that the Cardinals are 7-3 against the Pirates, Royals, and Reds, and 2-3 against the Brewers and Mets. Granted, they were within a strike of beating Max Scherzer on Monday night before Giovanny Gallegos blew it in brutal fashion in the top of the ninth. The starting rotation has been surprisingly steady with a combined 3.30 ERA through 73 2/3 innings. Miles Mikolas leads the way at an ERA of 1.21. There are more positives than negatives 15 games in.

14. Los Angeles Angels
Record: 10-7
Last Week: 16

Mike Trout returned to the starting lineup on Friday after missing much of last week with a bruise on the top of his left hand. He then clubbed two home runs on Saturday versus the Orioles for his first multi-homer game since August 10, 2020. It was the 21st multi-homer game of his career, breaking a tie with Vladimir Guerrero and Tim Salmon for the most multi-homer games in Angels franchise history. Including his check-swing triple from Monday night, Trout is batting .326 with a 1.132 OPS.

15. Boston Red Sox
Record: 7-10
Last Week: 13

At risk of tumbling out of the top 15, the Red Sox have lost five of their last six games versus the division-rival Blue Jays and Rays. The pitching staff was supposed to be Boston’s biggest weakness, but it’s offensive troubles that are the main source of consternation right now. As a team, the Sox rank 19th in batting average (.225), 27th in on-base percentage (.274), and 21st in slugging percentage (.347) here into the third full week. Trevor Story is hitting .234/.294/.298 in 51 plate appearances.

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16. Philadelphia Phillies
Record: 7-10
Last Week: 12

Philly had lost nine of its previous 12 games before rolling to an 8-2 win over the Rockies on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park. Bryson Stott made the Opening Day roster out of camp, but he was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Monday afternoon after recording just four hits and one walk over his first 31 major league plate appearances for a .133/.161/.167 slash line. Zack Wheeler has allowed 12 runs on 17 hits and four walks through 12 2/3 innings (three starts) for an ERA of 8.53.

17. Minnesota Twins
Record: 8-8
Last Week: 17

Byron Buxton missed five games after tweaking his right knee on a slide into second base April 15 at Boston, but he returned to action last Thursday in Kansas City and has since gone 7-for-13 (.539) with three home runs and seven RBI in three games. That includes a 469-foot walk-off three-run shot Sunday versus the White Sox. Since the beginning of 2019, the Twins are 124-73 with a +233 run differential when Buxton plays and 94-109 with a -97 run differential when he doesn’t.

18. Cleveland Guardians
Record: 7-9
Last Week: 19

So much for that upstart Guardians offense. Cleveland has lost four straight and been outscored 22-7 across those four losses. Steven Kwan was the talk of baseball into the second week of the season, but he’s slashing just .172/.242/.276 over his last 33 plate appearances dating back to April 13. Franmil Reyes has only two extra-base hits (both homers) in 61 total plate appearances for an OPS of .489. Myles Straw tallied four stolen bases through six games but has recorded none since.

19. Colorado Rockies
Record: 10-6
Last Week: 21

Connor Joe extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a leadoff homer in the top of the first inning Monday night at Philadelphia. It came in an 8-2 loss for the Rockies, but they won four of six last week versus the Phillies and the Tigers, and they’re off to one of the better starts in franchise history with 10 wins through 16 games. Joe, who had an average draft position in the 300s this spring, is slashing .322/.412/.627 across 68 plate appearances as Colorado’s new tablesetter.

20. Detroit Tigers
Record: 6-9
Last Week: 18

Looking past the Tigers’ disappointing recent team results -- five losses in their last seven games -- Miguel Cabrera became the 33rd all-time member of the 3,000 hit club when he poked a single to right field in the first half of a doubleheader this past Friday versus the Rockies. Cabrera will very likely finish as only the third player in MLB history to record 3,000 hits, 500 doubles, and a .300 or better career batting average. The other two: Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. Legendary status.

21. Chicago Cubs
Record: 7-9
Last Week: 20

That rollicking 21-0 rout of the Pirates on Saturday made for a fun afternoon at Wrigley Field, but the Cubs lost the other three games of the four-game weekend set and have dropped seven of their last 10 leading into Tuesday’s series opener at Atlanta. Marcus Stroman, the biggest offseason pickup for Chicago beyond Seiya Suzuki, will handle the first game versus the Braves and try to shrink his 8.78 ERA. The soon-to-be 31-year-old has allowed 13 runs -- 12 earned -- over his last 8 1/3 innings.

22. Oakland Athletics
Record: 9-8
Last Week: 24

On the rise for a second straight week, the A’s carried greatly diminished expectations into the 2022 campaign after an offseason of shedding high-level talent but sit a game above .500 entering Tuesday’s series opener at San Francisco. Frankie Montas, Paul Blackburn, Daulton Jeffries, and Cole Irvin have combined for a 2.58 ERA in 14 starts covering 76 2/3 innings. Dany Jimenez was barely on the fantasy radar at all coming into the year but he sure is now with his three saves.

23. Kansas City Royals
Record: 5-9
Last Week: 22

Having been swept by the Mariners over the weekend, the Royals are now 3-9 since earning consecutive wins against the Guardians to open the 2022 regular season. Adalberto Mondesi has managed to stay healthy here into the third full week of meaningful games and currently ranks third on the stolen bases leaderboard with five successful swipes, but the fleet-footed infielder is not exactly lighting up box scores. As of Tuesday afternoon, Mondesi’s batting line sits at .125/.176/.125.

24. Miami Marlins
Record: 7-8
Last Week: 23

Any other fantasy managers experiencing FOMO over not having enough shares of Jesus Sanchez? The 24-year-old outfielder is batting .310 with a .924 OPS and seven extra-base hits (three homers, two doubles, two triples) through 14 games played. Not bad for a guy who had an average draft position of 244.9 this spring on Yahoo. Jazz Chisholm, more of a household name at a 79.7 Yahoo ADP, has raced out to a 1.067 OPS with four home runs and four stolen bases in 13 games.

25. Arizona Diamondbacks
Record: 6-11
Last Week: 25

Including the numbers -- or lack thereof -- from Monday night’s shutout loss to the Dodgers, the Diamondbacks are currently batting .185/.279/.314 as a team. They’re tied with the Orioles for the most strikeouts of any offense. Ketel Marte has been especially disappointing in the weeks following his five-year, $76 million extension agreement with Arizona. The 28-year-old went 0-for-4 with a strikeout on Monday versus Los Angeles and has a slash line of 156/.225/.234 through 17 games.

26. Texas Rangers
Record: 6-10
Last Week: 26

Jon Gray went back on the injured list last week, this time with a knee sprain, just one appearance after returning from a 10-day IL stint to heal a blister. The only big offseason pitching addition for a club that spent $500 million on offense, Gray will again be missed from a rotation that owns a combined 5.71 ERA, worst among all American League teams. That mark did improve a bit in the Rangers’ 6-2 defeat of the Astros on Monday, but the general 2022 blueprint is not encouraging.

27. Washington Nationals
Record: 6-12
Last Week: 27

Make it a five-game losing streak for the Nationals, who dropped the final two games of last week’s four-game set against the Diamondbacks before getting swept by the Giants over the weekend. Nelson Cruz is finally showing his age here in his 18th major league season. The 41-year-old slugger does have two home runs and nine RBI but is slashing just .169/.260/.262 (.520 OPS) through 74 total plate appearances. He was signed to a one-year, $15 million free agent deal in March.

28. Pittsburgh Pirates
Record: 8-8
Last Week: 29

Dillon Peters, Wil Crowe, Heath Hembree, Chris Stratton, and David Bednar combined to allow just one run over the final six innings of Sunday afternoon’s 4-3 win over the Cubs as the Pirates wound up taking three of four at Wrigley Field. Pittsburgh’s bullpen corps has been surprisingly effective in the early going this season, boasting a collective 3.31 ERA in 73 1/3 innings if you erase the laughable outcome of Diego Castillo’s desperation relief appearance from Saturday’s blowout loss.

29. Cincinnati Reds
Record: 3-13
Last Week: 28

Nick Lodolo tallied seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball on Sunday afternoon at Great American Ball Park as Cincinnati earned a 4-1 victory over the Cardinals and snapped a grueling 11-game early-season losing streak. Colin Moran’s run-scoring sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first inning gave the Reds their first lead since April 10. They had gone 99 full innings without a higher run tally than the opposition. It’s going to be a long summer in Southwest Ohio.

30. Baltimore Orioles
Record: 6-10
Last Week: 30

John Means announced Saturday on his personal Twitter account that he is headed for Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery and the 13-15 month rehab process that typically follows that procedure. Means, the only Orioles pitcher selected within the top 400 picks of the average Yahoo draft this spring, had posted a 3.61 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 141/28 K/BB ratio in 154 2/3 innings (28 starts) since the beginning of 2021. Does his absence expedite the arrival of Grayson Rodriguez?