MLB Power Rankings: Week 7

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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. New York Yankees
Record: 29-13
Last Week: 1

Having dropped both halves of Sunday’s doubleheader against the White Sox, along with Monday night’s series opener versus the Orioles, the Yankees are losers of three straight games for the first time in 2022. But don’t tell Aaron Judge that this team is in for a sudden downturn. He went deep twice off O’s starter Jordan Lyles on Monday to lift his MLB-leading home run total to 17. The impending free agent slugger is batting .325/.398/.715 through 40 games played.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 28-13
Last Week: 2

They lost in ugly walk-off fashion Sunday afternoon in Philly, but the NL West leaders rallied for a 10-1 dismantling of the Nationals on Monday in D.C. and have now won eight of their last nine games while pushing their MLB-best run differential all the way up to +97. 11 teams in MLB history have registered a +97 run differential or better through the first 41 games of a season, and seven of those teams went on to win the World Series. That list includes the 2020 edition of the Dodgers.

3. New York Mets
Record: 29-15
Last Week: 3

There’s no skating past the news that Max Scherzer will be out 6-8 weeks after suffering an oblique strain last Wednesday versus the Cardinals. But the Mets won three of four against St. Louis and then two of three out in Colorado before cruising to a 13-3 rout Monday night at San Francisco. This team has been beaten in a series only once so far in 2022. Perhaps even more impressively, New York has won 14 straight games following a loss, the longest such streak in MLB since 2011.

4. Houston Astros
Record: 27-16
Last Week: 6

Prior to a lackluster 6-1 loss to the Guardians on Monday, the Astros took three of four from the Rangers over the weekend. Justin Verlander continued his early-season brilliance Saturday versus Texas with eight strikeouts over six scoreless frames. He is now 6-1 on the year with a 1.22 ERA, 0.716 WHIP, and 49/9 K/BB ratio in 51 2/3 innings. That ERA is tops in the majors, and his park-adjusted ERA+ of 300 also paces all MLB starters. He’s probably the AL Cy Young favorite at age 39.

5. Los Angeles Angels
Record: 26-17
Last Week: 5

They did get swept by the Rangers to open last week’s slate, but the Angels bounced back to take two of three from the A’s over the weekend. Patrick Sandoval was lights-out in Sunday’s series finale against Oakland, giving up just one earned run while working into the eighth inning. He has a 1.79 ERA on the season, which is sixth-best among all pitchers with at least 40 innings. Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani both homered in that game and Raisel Iglesias got the save. Textbook.

6. Milwaukee Brewers
Record: 26-16
Last Week: 4

Milwaukee lost Sunday’s series finale against the Nationals and Monday’s series opener versus the Padres, though this dip in the rankings has more to do with injuries than anything else. Offensive sparkplug Willy Adames is still sidelined with a high ankle sprain and swing-and-miss specialist Freddy Peralta could miss multiple months after suffering a right shoulder strain over the weekend. As of Tuesday, the Brewers are only two games up on the Cardinals for first place in the NL Central.

7. San Diego Padres
Record: 28-14
Last Week: 7

The pesky Padres keep figuring out different ways to win and have run their record in May to 14-6 with five straight victories, many of them in thrilling fashion. Manny Machado recorded a career-high four extra-base hits (three doubles and a triple) on Sunday versus the Giants and scored his 34th run of the season on Monday against the Brewers. The star third baseman is slashing .365/.440/.604 through 182 plate appearances this year. He’s your MVP frontrunner in the National League.

8. Minnesota Twins
Record: 26-16
Last Week: 10

Minnesota rallied from a late six-run deficit to pull off a 7-6 victory and a weekend series sweep of the Royals on Sunday before earning a 5-4 walk-off win over the Tigers on Monday. Proving to be one of the more well-rounded teams in baseball this season, the Twins currently rank ninth-best in combined OPS at .718 and eighth-best in combined ERA at 3.41. Entering play on Tuesday, they are up 4 1/2 games on the White Sox for first place in the American League Central standings.

9. Tampa Bay Rays
Record: 24-17
Last Week: 9

After losing a weekend series to the Orioles, the Rays could use a spark. And that may soon come in the form of 22-year-old right-hander Shane Baz. He missed all of April and most of May while recovering from March surgery to remove loose bodies from his pitching elbow, but Baz began a rehab assignment last Thursday at Triple-A Durham and appears on track for an early-June return. He put up a 2.03 ERA and 18 strikeouts over his first 13 1/3 major league innings late last season.

10. Toronto Blue Jays
Record: 22-20
Last Week: 8

The tumble continues for the Blue Jays. They did take two of three from both the Mariners and Reds last week but lost in extra innings on Monday night in St. Louis and are just barely clinging to a top-10 spot in these NBC Sports EDGE MLB Power Rankings at only two games above the .500 mark. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is in a serious funk, with zero extra-base hits over his last 68 plate appearances going back to May 5. He’s batting .213 with a .610 OPS (.280 SLG?!) since the final day of April.

11. St. Louis Cardinals
Record: 24-18
Last Week: 11

Nolan Gorman and Matthew Liberatore are both up, possibly for the long haul, but the recent production from veteran first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is the lead story here. He clubbed a walk-off grand slam on Monday night against the Blue Jays and is batting .390 with a 1.180 OPS across his last 106 plate appearances dating back to April 27. Shrinking the sample size, his 22 RBI over the last 12 games are the most by a Cardinals player in a 12-game span since Scott Rolen in 2004.

12. Chicago White Sox
Record: 21-20
Last Week: 13

Back above the .500 mark, the White Sox took two of three from the Yankees over the weekend, including a doubleheader sweep on Sunday in which Johnny Cueto and Michael Kopech both made spotless starts. Cueto kept New York off the board for six innings in the early tilt and is up to 12 shutout frames since debuting for Chicago last Monday. Kopech yielded just one hit across seven scoreless innings in the nightcap while lowering his season ERA to a stingy 1.29 through eight rotation turns.

13. San Francisco Giants
Record: 22-19
Last Week: 12

The injuries are adding up in a hurry, as LaMonte Wade (knee) hit the IL on Friday, followed by Curt Casali (concussion) on Saturday, Brandon Belt (knee) on Sunday, and Austin Slater (wrist) on Monday. So too are the losses, as the Giants have now dropped five straight games, including back-to-back thrashings by the Padres and Mets. They are 15-5 against teams with losing records and 7-14 against teams with winning records. That won’t play well in the battle for the NL West.

14. Atlanta Braves
Record: 19-23
Last Week: 14

This was supposed to be a big turnaround month for the reigning World Series champions, but they are 9-11 since the calendar flipped to May after going 10-12 in April. That includes a 7-3 loss to the Phillies on Monday in which Tucker Davidson gave up five runs on four hits and four walks while lasting only 2 2/3 innings. Braves starters have posted a combined 4.44 ERA. That ranks 23rd among all 30 clubs, ahead of only the Cubs, Orioles, Rockies, Royals, Pirates, Nationals, and Reds.

15. Philadelphia Phillies
Record: 20-22
Last Week: 16

Inching back up toward the .500 mark, Philly netted a walk-off win in Sunday’s series finale against the Dodgers and then rode another encouraging Zack Wheeler start to a series-opening defeat of the division-rival Braves on Monday. Wheeler missed the first week of the regular season due to a shoulder scare and had some stumbles early on, but the ace right-hander boasts a 1.38 ERA and 40/6 K/BB ratio over his last 32 2/3 innings (five starts) going back to his final turn in April.

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16. Boston Red Sox
Record: 19-22
Last Week: 21

Coming off a 6-1 homestand against the Astros and Mariners, including a four-game sweep of Seattle, the Red Sox will ride a season-best five-game winning streak into Tuesday night’s series opener at the White Sox. Trevor Story has gone nuclear with seven home runs, 17 RBI, four stolen bases, and 12 runs scored over his last 11 games. He is one of only two players in Red Sox history to have at least six homers and four steals in any 11-game stretch. The other? Mo Vaughn!

17. Arizona Diamondbacks
Record: 22-22
Last Week: 19

They got swept by the Dodgers in a rough four-game set to open last week’s slate, but the Diamondbacks have since won four of their last five against the Cubs and Royals. Ketel Marte went 2-for-4 with a walk, two RBI, and two runs scored in Monday night’s 9-5 defeat of Kansas City and continues to turn the dial up offensively after a dreadful April. The dynamic 28-year-old second baseman is slashing .356/.427/.589 over his last 82 plate appearances. He has 18 runs in his last 20 games.

18. Colorado Rockies
Record: 19-22
Last Week: 17

Kris Bryant is again experiencing back pain, just a few days after returning from a nearly four-week stay on the IL, and the Rockies have lost 11 of their last 14 games entering play on Tuesday. In positive news, on Saturday rookie catcher Brian Serven became the first player in MLB history to have two multi-run homers in the same game for his first two career hits. He also joined Trevor Story as the only two players in Colorado history whose first two major league hits were home runs.

19. Cleveland Guardians
Record: 18-20
Last Week: 18

Triston McKenzie worked around quite a bit of hard contact to deliver seven innings of one-run ball in a 6-1 victory over the Astros on Monday night at Minute Maid Park. Jose Ramirez did his usual thing too with a double, a two-run homer, and a pair of run-scoring groundouts. The star third baseman currently sits at the very top of the overall RBI leaderboard with 41, which is all the more impressive when you look at the names surrounding him in the Guardians’ lineup on a given day or night.

20. Seattle Mariners
Record: 18-25
Last Week: 15

If the Mariners can match Monday night’s 7-6 defeat of the A’s with another win on Tuesday, it will be their first string of back-to-back victories since late April. They were 11-6 when they beat the Rays on April 26 at Tropicana Field and have since lost 19 of their last 26 games while falling to seven games under .500. The imminent return of Kyle Lewis (knee) might help some. He batted .314/.415/.629 with three home runs and 12 RBI over a 10-game rehab assignment at Triple-A Tacoma.

21. Miami Marlins
Record: 18-22
Last Week: 20

Sandy Alcantara threw his first nine-inning complete game since September 8, 2019 on Sunday afternoon against the Braves as the Marlins managed to avoid a three-game sweep. But keep an eye out on the status of Jazz Chisholm, who leads Miami in a wide range of offensive categories but was forced to leave Sunday’s victory over Atlanta with renewed discomfort in his left hamstring. He missed around three weeks between late April and mid-May because of a left hamstring strain.

22. Texas Rangers
Record: 18-22
Last Week: 26

Texas had a four-game winning streak cooking last week before the Astros rolled into Arlington over the weekend and took three of four. Martin Perez started Friday’s game, the only win of the series for the Rangers, and worked nine scoreless innings for his first shutout since way back in 2014. The 31-year-old boasts a 1.64 ERA through 49 1/3 innings (eight starts) this season and is shaping up as a strong trade chip for a team that will likely do more selling than buying at the August 2 deadline.

23. Chicago Cubs
Record: 17-24
Last Week: 23

Powered by timely big flies from Patrick Wisdom and Frank Schwindel, the Cubs avoided a four-game weekend series sweep with a 5-4 win over the Diamondbacks on Sunday and then topped the Reds by a score of 7-4 on Monday. Wisdom and Schwindel are the first pair of Cubs teammates to hit back-to-back home runs in consecutive games since Ernie Banks and Jim Hickman in 1969. Remember when Schwindel was optioned to Triple-A Iowa for a brief moment earlier this month?

24. Detroit Tigers
Record: 14-27
Last Week: 22

They’ve lost four of their last five while falling back to 13 games under the .500 mark, but it’s worth shining a light on Alex Faedo amid all the doom and gloom in Detroit. The 26-year-old right-hander is one of only five Tigers pitchers since 1949 to allow no more than seven runs over his first 21 career major league innings. Drew Smyly, Jeff Weaver, Kip Young, and Bill Glibreth are the others. Faedo, the 18th overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, has a 3.00 ERA through four big league starts.

25. Baltimore Orioles
Record: 18-25
Last Week: 27

The arrival of top prospect Adley Rutschman has seemingly stirred up a bit of newfound swagger for the O’s, who’ve won four of their last five games versus the Yankees and Rays. Rutschman tripled for his first career hit on Saturday -- the first catcher to do so since Brad Davis of the Marlins in 2010 -- and then scored the winning run on Rougned Odor’s walk-off chopper in the 11th inning Sunday. Soon enough we’ll see Grayson Rodriguez, baseball’s No. 1 pitching prospect.

26. Oakland Athletics
Record: 17-27
Last Week: 24

Now at a season-worst 10 games under .500, the A’s are probably already plotting out plans for an aggressive sell-off ahead of the August 2 trade deadline. Heck, that blueprint has likely been in the works since the spring. Frankie Montas, their biggest trade chip, departed his last turn in the rotation on Saturday versus the Angels after taking a comebacker off his right (throwing) hand. He did do a side session on Monday and is expected to be ready to go this Thursday against the Rangers.

27. Pittsburgh Pirates
Record: 17-24
Last Week: 25

The fine folks at MLB Pipeline just released their latest Top 100 list and it features six different Pirates prospects: Nick Gonzales (No. 18), Henry Davis (No. 20), Oneil Cruz (No. 22), Quinn Priester (No. 51), Liover Peguero (No. 62), and Roansy Contreras (No. 67). The rugged fanbase in Pittsburgh is clamoring for an imminent callup of Cruz, who got off to a poor start at Triple-A Indianapolis after being left off the Opening Day roster but has an .879 OPS in his last 67 plate appearances there.

28. Kansas City Royals
Record: 14-27
Last Week: 28

Salvador Perez landed on the injured list last week after suffering a left thumb sprain in the first half of a doubleheader against the White Sox. Unfortunate as that news is, it has cleared the path for MJ Melendez to get his first real major league closeup. The young catcher blasted 41 home runs in 124 games last year between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha, and he’s already gone deep twice since Salvy went on the shelf. But, uh, the Royals have also lost five straight.

29. Washington Nationals
Record: 14-29
Last Week: 29

Washington has failed to win more than two consecutive games all year. The record was 7-16 in April, and the Nats are now 7-13 in May after getting shellacked by the Dodgers on Monday night in D.C. All of this losing might be weighing heavily on Juan Soto, who is batting just .203 with a .675 OPS over his last 69 plate appearances dating back to May 6. His season OPS is down to .833. For context, the young slugger hit .322/.471/.572 (1.042 OPS) in 198 games between 2020-2021.

30. Cincinnati Reds
Record: 12-29
Last Week: 30

Vladimir Gutierrez served up four earned runs over four innings in Monday night’s loss to the Cubs as he fell to 0-6 through seven starts and watched his season ERA rise to 8.70. He’s obviously not the only Reds player struggling at the moment. Their combined team ERA of 6.44 is by far the worst of all 30 major league clubs, and the Cincinnati offense will head into play on Tuesday showing a wretched .217/.291/.353 collective batting line through 1,483 plate appearances.