MLB Power Rankings: Week 4

·16 min read

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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: 14-7
Last Week: 1

Still boasting the best run differential (+47) of any team, the Dodgers will narrowly hold on to the No. 1 spot here after a 3-3 week versus the Diamondbacks and Tigers. The highlight of the weekend might have been Tommy Kahnle’s season debut in the sixth inning of Sunday’s win over Detroit. Making his first major league appearance since requiring Tommy John elbow surgery in August 2020, the hard-throwing right-hander retired the side with two strikeouts on just nine total pitches.

2. Toronto Blue Jays
Record: 15-9
Last Week: 2

Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano was named American League Reliever of the Month for April and earned his MLB-best 11th save of the year on Sunday (May 1) versus Houston. Kevin Gausman started Sunday’s game and put up 10 strikeouts with no walks, giving him 41 strikeouts, no walks, and no home runs allowed through 31 2/3 innings. He’s one of only two pitchers in MLB history to begin a season with five straight starts of zero walks and zero homers. The other? Cy Young.

3. New York Mets
Record: 16-8
Last Week: 3

They fell 5-2 to the Braves on Monday, but the Mets have yet to lose a series this season, having taken two of three from both the Cardinals and Phillies last week. This past Friday versus Philly, starter Tylor Megill and four relievers combined on the second no-hitter in franchise history. Max Scherzer then took the mound Sunday in an eventual 10-6 win and added nine more strikeouts to his season tally. He’s at 42 strikeouts, the second-most ever for a Mets starter through five turns.

4. New York Yankees
Record: 17-6
Last Week: 5

Riding a 10-game winning streak, New York is up to the No. 4 spot this week. The first nine of those wins came in a series of three-game sweeps against the lowly Guardians, Orioles, and Royals. But even as the competition got turned up several notches on Monday night in Toronto, the Yanks were able to claim a 3-2 victory. Gleyber Torres provided the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the top of the ninth inning. After a slow start, he’s now 11-for-32 (.344) with 10 RBI in his last 10 games.

5. Milwaukee Brewers
Record: 15-8
Last Week: 4

Milwaukee essentially just got leapfrogged here by the Yankees and their 10-game winning streak. Apologies to the Brewers, who’ve won five of their last six and 11 of their last 14. They put up nine homers and 20 total runs in the first two games of their three-game weekend series against the Cubs before falling flat on Sunday behind Corbin Burnes. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner has only one win through five starts despite a 1.93 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings. He’ll be fine.

6. San Francisco Giants
Record: 14-8
Last Week: 9

Maybe it’s dysfunctional to raise the Giants to their highest spot to date after they just lost two of three to the visiting Nationals over the weekend, but the reigning NL West champions were already inching up anyway. Carlos Rodon will take the bump in Tuesday night’s series opener versus the division-rival Dodgers, looking to build on his stellar early results with San Francisco. The 29-year-old left-hander stands 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA and 38 strikeouts in four starts covering 23 innings.

7. San Diego Padres
Record: 15-8
Last Week: 11

13 of the Padres’ 15 wins so far have come against losing teams -- six of them versus the Reds alone -- but good teams beat up on lesser competition when the opportunity is presented. Manny Machado is off to a terrific start, and Eric Hosmer somehow is too. Ha-Seong Kim probably deserves newfound love in fantasy circles, and Mike Clevinger (elbow, knee) might be back on the radar in a big way soon as he prepares for his season debut on Tuesday evening at Cleveland.

8. Los Angeles Angels
Record: 15-9
Last Week: 14

The lead story could have been that Shohei Ohtani injured his groin on Sunday, but the Angels’ training staff is calling it a minor issue and the two-way superstar is fully expected to avoid the injured list. That certainly would have put a damper on the Halos’ hot start. Even with a 3-0 loss to the White Sox on Monday, they will enter play on Tuesday with a 2 1/2 game lead over the Astros in the AL West. Taylor Ward, barely a consideration in fantasy drafts this spring, is batting .390 with a 1.239 OPS.

9. Tampa Bay Rays
Record: 13-10
Last Week: 6

They dropped two of three to the Twins over the weekend while getting outscored 18-4 across the two losses, but the Rays then bounced back for a 6-1 defeat of the Athletics on Monday night in Oakland. Wander Franco went 2-for-4 in that one with a pair of run-scoring singles, just one day after being scratched from the starting lineup due to minor right hamstring tightness. The 21-year-old shortstop is batting .322 with a .915 OPS over 91 plate appearances in his sophomore campaign.

10. Houston Astros
Record: 12-11
Last Week: 7

It probably wasn’t part of the blueprint to be hovering around .500 into the first week of May, but the Astros do seem poised to go on a run soon. Perhaps that run has already begun. They’ve won five of their last seven games, including a 3-0 shutout win over the division-rival Mariners on Monday at Minute Maid Park. Jose Altuve (hamstring) is back from the injured list. Kyle Tucker, who started the season 4-for-46, has 18 hits in his last 38 at-bats for a .474 batting average and 1.172 OPS.

11. Seattle Mariners
Record: 12-11
Last Week: 12

Logan Gilbert was named American League Pitcher of the Month for April and also worked around some iffy command to push his record to 4-0 in a 7-3 win on Sunday (May 1) at Miami. The 24-year-old right-hander is currently showing a 0.64 ERA, the lowest ERA through five starts of any pitcher in Mariners franchise history. Randy Johnson had a 0.92 ERA across his first five starts in 1995. Julio Rodriguez is providing highlights lately too, with four multi-hit games in the last 10 days.

12. Atlanta Braves
Record: 11-13
Last Week: 8

The reigning World Series champions lost two of three to the Rangers over the weekend before rebounding in a 5-2 defeat of the division-rival Mets on Monday night in Queens. They started the year at No. 1 in these rankings and have sunk all the way to No. 12, but the Braves should now be able to stage a swift ascent with Ronald Acuña Jr. in the fold. Just about 10 full months removed from his ACL tear last July, the 24-year-old superstar stole two bases in his season debut on April 28.

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

St. Louis managed a four-game weekend split with the Diamondbacks and then rode a crisp Steven Matz start to a 1-0 victory over the Royals on Monday afternoon. Nolan Arenado was named the NL Player of the Month for April after batting .375/.444/.681 with five homers, seven doubles, and 17 RBI in 19 games. Keep an eye out on flamethrowing reliever Ryan Helsley, who touched 103 mph on Sunday and boasts 16 strikeouts with no walks and just one hit allowed in 8 1/3 scoreless frames.

14. Minnesota Twins
Record: 14-9
Last Week: 17

The second-hottest team in baseball -- behind the Yankees -- Minnesota has won 10 of its last 11 games against the Royals, White Sox, Tigers, Rays, and Orioles. Carlos Correa smacked a go-ahead RBI single in the top of the sixth inning Monday night in Baltimore and Jhoan Duran earned his first career save with a spotless 10-pitch ninth. Up into the top 15 of these rankings, the Twins might have the goods to keep on rising. They are 3 1/2 games up on first place in the AL Central.

15. Chicago White Sox
Record: 9-13
Last Week: 10

A four-game weekend series split with the Angels qualifies as a very positive result for the White Sox at this point, which is what just occurred thanks to a dominant Dylan Cease outing in a 3-0 shutout win on Monday afternoon. Cease allowed one hit, no walks, and matched his career high with 11 strikeouts across seven scoreless innings. The 26-year-old right-hander holds a 2.48 ERA and 39 strikeouts through 29 innings (five starts) this season. He might be more than just a de facto ace.

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16. Philadelphia Phillies
Record: 11-12
Last Week: 16

Seemingly stuck in the doldrums of mediocrity, the Phillies finished April with an 11-11 record. They were 13-13 at the end of April in 2021 and 13-12 through the opening four weeks in 2019. Concern lingers over Bryce Harper, who continues to be limited to DH duties because of a mysterious elbow ailment that won’t allow him to throw without pain. He did connect for a homer on Sunday, but the .811 OPS he’s showing right now is far below that 1.044 OPS from his MVP campaign in 2021.

17. Boston Red Sox
Record: 9-14
Last Week: 15

Maybe the Celtics can stage a run to the NBA Finals or the Bruins can provide some excitement in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as there’s not much to cheer about right now at Fenway Park. Entering play on Tuesday, the Red Sox are batting .229/.279/.343 in 852 plate appearances as a team with a combined OPS of .622 that ranks 24th among all 30 clubs. Trevor Story, signed to a six-year, $140 million free agent deal in March, is hitting just .217/.316/.290 with zero home runs in 18 games.

18. Colorado Rockies
Record: 13-9
Last Week: 19

This season had been a slog for Brendan Rodgers, but he broke out for an RBI single and three-run double on Sunday at Coors Field to help Colorado complete a weekend sweep of the visiting Reds. It’s really quite amazing that the Rockies are where they are in the standings given the lack of production from $182 million offseason addition Kris Bryant. He was showing just a .689 OPS with zero home runs through 15 games before landing on the IL in late April due to a back strain.

19. Cleveland Guardians
Record: 10-12
Last Week: 18

Jose Ramirez was named American League Player of the Month for April after slashing .342/.411/.722 with one triple, seven doubles, seven home runs, and 28 RBI in 90 plate appearances covering 21 games. But he can’t do it all on his own. Steven Kwan claimed AL Rookie of the Month honors, but the 24-year-old has yet to connect for his first major league homer and is batting just .211/.262/.290 in 42 plate appearances since his headline-grabbing opening week.

20. Miami Marlins
Record: 12-10
Last Week: 24

Miami had won seven straight games against the Braves, Nationals, and Mariners before falling 7-3 to Seattle on Sunday and 5-4 to the visiting Diamondbacks on Monday night. Pablo Lopez started Monday’s game versus Arizona, fresh off being named NL Pitcher of the Month, and took his first loss of the season while surrendering four earned runs over 4 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old right-hander had pitched to a stellar 0.39 ERA across his first four starts covering 23 1/3 frames.

21. Detroit Tigers
Record: 7-14
Last Week: 20

This is not exactly the start that the Tigers envisioned, but strong bullpen work has kept it from complete disaster. Detroit relievers currently boast a combined 1.97 ERA, by far the best mark of any MLB team. Ranked by number of appearances, Michael Fulmer: 0.00 ERA, Joe Jimenez: 2.16 ERA, Alex Lange: 2.35 ERA, Jacob Barnes: 1.08 ERA, Gregory Soto: 1.29 ERA, Drew Hutchison: 1.54 ERA, Will Vest: 2.08 ERA. They’ll be ready whenever the rest of the roster wants to contribute.

22. Chicago Cubs
Record: 9-13
Last Week: 21

They’ve lost nine of their last 12, but the Cubs did avoid getting swept by the Brewers with a 2-0 shutout victory on Sunday and got to celebrate a cool accolade for one of their own on Monday when Seiya Suzuki was named National League Rookie of the Month for April. Suzuki batted .279/.405/.529 with five doubles, four home runs, 14 RBI, 14 walks, and 13 runs scored over his first 21 major league games. His nine extra-base hits were tied for second-most of any Cubs rookie in April.

23. Oakland Athletics
Record: 10-13
Last Week: 22

It looks like the expected downturn is underway in Oakland. Beyond the depressing attendance numbers at what is now apparently called RingCentral Coliseum, the A’s have lost four straight games and seven of their last nine. They’ve managed just four total runs across their last three losses to the Guardians and Rays. Fire up the Frankie Montas trade watch, if the flame ever even went out. He has a 3.49 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 238 strikeouts in 216 2/3 innings since the start of 2021.

24. Arizona Diamondbacks
Record: 11-13
Last Week: 25

Arizona has won five of its last seven versus the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Marlins, and three of those five wins have come on the road. Remember that the D-backs suffered through a record 24 straight away-game losses between May 4 and June 25 last year, finishing with a road winning percentage of just .247 at 20-61. They are playing .500 ball on the road this year at 6-6. Progress! Which is something Ketel Marte could use a dose of -- he’s slashing .151/.213/.279 on the season.

25. Kansas City Royals
Record: 7-14
Last Week: 23

They’ve lost four straight games and nine of their last 11, but the Royals have to be encouraged about what they’ve seen from Bobby Witt Jr. at the close of April and here into the beginning of May. The 21-year-old legged out an infield single at an elite 31.0 ft/sec sprint speed on Monday afternoon in St. Louis to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. He batted just .128/.150/.231 over his first 40 major league plate appearances. In his most recent 40 plate appearances, the line is .316/.350/.395.

26. Pittsburgh Pirates
Record: 9-13
Last Week: 28

Having been replaced by the Reds as the very worst team in the National League Central, the Pirates jump two spots in this week’s rankings. But they were .500 with an 8-8 record last Sunday and have since dropped five of their last six games. Is it too early to make note of Bryan Reynolds’ struggles? The 27-year-old outfielder was named an NL All-Star in 2021 and finished with a shiny .302/.390/.522 batting line, but he’s at just .203/.314/.311 through 86 plate appearances here in 2022.

27. Texas Rangers
Record: 8-14
Last Week: 26

Many teams had tough decisions to make as MLB rosters shrunk from 28 to 26 at the beginning of May, and the Rangers might have brought an end to their relationship with Willie Calhoun in optioning the 27-year-old former top prospect to Triple-A Round Rock. “Gonna go to Triple-A and put myself in a position to get traded,” Calhoun told Levi Weaver of The Athletic after the move was announced. “I do want to be traded.” To be fair, he was slashing just .136/.283/.273 on the young season.

28. Baltimore Orioles
Record: 8-15
Last Week: 30

One of the most intriguing early-season storylines around baseball is that Camden Yards has suddenly gone from a very power-friendly environment to now among the least power-friendly. The deeper left field wall -- and the seemingly-deadened ball -- has helped a patchwork Orioles pitching staff work to a combined 2.13 ERA in 93 innings at home. This all comes on the heels of John Means requiring Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery after just two outings. What a strange sport.

29. Washington Nationals
Record: 8-16
Last Week: 27

Washington took two of three from the Giants over the weekend in San Francisco, but an eight-game losing streak preceded that series at Oracle Park. Looking on the bright side, Victor Robles might be showing some signs of life. He has reached base in 10 of his last 14 plate appearances while tallying five RBI and four runs scored. Granted, the soon-to-be 25-year-old ranks in the bottom-one percentile of all major leaguers in hard-hit rate. He’s fourth-percentile in average exit velocity.

30. Cincinnati Reds
Record: 3-19
Last Week: 29

With their 10-1 loss to the Rockies on Sunday afternoon, the Reds fell to 3-19 on the year with a -65 run differential. It’s arguably -- or perhaps inarguably -- the worst start to a season by any team since baseball was integrated in 1947. For reference, the 2003 Tigers, en route to 119 losses, began that season with a 3-19 record and -63 run differential. And the 1962 Mets, who would go on to rack up a whopping 120 losses, were 5-17 with a -49 run differential through their first 22 games.