By Ben Verlander
FOX Sports MLB Analyst
There is also, for the first time in more than a month, a big shift at the top of my power rankings.
MLB Power Rankings: The Dodgers finally take the top spot
Ben Verlander explains why the Dodgers have supplanted the Yankees for the No. 1 spot in his MLB Power Rankings.
So, without further ado, let’s get to the rankings!
The Angels are holding on by a thread, having lost five in a row and seven of their last 10. To many, they shouldn’t be on this list. To me, they still deserve another week in the Top 10. Riddled with injuries of late, the Angels are just now starting to see some guys come back. Most notably, Taylor Ward, returned Sunday and immediately homered for his first hit back. With the bullpen faltering, they’ve been struggling in one-run games, but I still believe the Angels are a good team and capable of turning it around.
Tampa Bay just continues to win and even took a series against a New York Yankees squad that has been on top of my power rankings for the last month or so. The Rays pitch really well, and they score enough runs to win ballgames. That’s a good recipe for success.
Not enough people are talking about the Twins. They weren’t expected to win the AL Central this season yet here we are, a couple of months in, and they hold a five-game lead over the White Sox. Minnesota’s most prized offseason acquisition, Carlos Correa, is playing great of late. Byron Buxton is a star. And Joe Ryan could win Rookie of the Year in the AL. The Twins are a lot of fun and very good.
Mike Trout and Aaron Judge among superstars who have stepped up
Ben’s list also includes Red Sox slugger Trevor Story, Dodgers star Mookie Betts and the Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr.
After being outside the top 10 for the first time all season, the Blue Jays went on a tear last week and find themselves back on the list. We all know they are one of the most talented teams in baseball, but now they are playing like it again. If this offense keeps rolling, they’ll find themselves moving up this list soon.
Concern is piling up around this Brewers team. A squad that is built around its starting pitching will now be without two of its “big three”. Freddy Peralta will have a “lengthy absence” due to his shoulder injury, and now Brandon Woodruff finds himself on the IL as well. For now, they are still safely within the Top 10.
Pitching has carried the Astros so far this season. The biggest difference this year has been the bullpen. Houston’s relief corps has gone from middle of the pack in 2021 to one of the best in baseball this season. That has helped the Astros win one-run games at a much higher clip this season. There is certainly an argument for this team being better than the AL champion team from last season.
The Padres reach their highest spot on the list this season, and the No. 4 ranking is much deserved. What they have done so far has been incredible in the absence of Fernando Tatis Jr. Manny Machado has started this season with the second-best average (.357) in Padres history to this point, only behind the legendary Tony Gwynn. The pitching is dangerous, the lineup can put up runs in bunches, and manager Bob Melvin is working wonders for this team.
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The Mets keep sustaining injuries, but keep winning ballgames. I’ve been saying this team is different, and now we are seeing why. They are capable of losing key pieces and having other guys pick up the slack. Despite all the injuries, the Mets still have a huge lead in the NL East. In a month or so, it will be like the best trade acquisition of all time (without actually having to trade anyone), because around the same time they could be getting Jacob DeGrom and Max Scherzer back in their rotation. What they’ve been doing without them is extremely impressive.
The concerns are piling up in the Bronx. The Yankees are still a very good baseball team and have the most wins in baseball, but the bullpen is becoming an issue. The offense is going to have to pick up the slack while they figure it out. Chad Green is out for the year, and Aroldis Chapman is on the IL for a bit. For the first time in over a month, the Yankees are out of the No. 1 spot. This is less about them playing poorly, however, and more about the new No. 1 team playing great.
It is wild how good the Dodgers have been. In less than two months, the Dodgers have a plus-117 run differential. Nobody else is even close. The Yankees are at plus-73, and nobody else is better than plus-60. I have been saying that I didn’t believe the Dodgers had even begun to scratch the surface of how good they can be. Now, with the resurgence of Mookie Betts, who is back to looking like his MVP self, the surface has officially been scratched for the Dodgers. The most talented roster in MLB is now playing like the most talented team as well, and it’s scary.
Ben Verlander is an MLB Analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the “Flippin’ Bats” podcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2013. He spent five years in the Tigers organization. Follow him on Twitter at @BenVerlander.
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