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Mid-May MLB Top 10 Power Rankings

The Top 10

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (27-16, 5-2 last week)

The owners of the best record in baseball had another strong week, sweeping the Atlanta Braves before splitting a four-game set with the Washington Nationals.  The clear highlight of the week was Hyun-Jin Ryu taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning for his second shutout performance of the week. Ryu is clearly a master at the top of his craft, having walked just two hitters on the season and placing third in the league in ERA. Besides Ryu, Walker Buehler turned in a pair of quality starts, allowing just three runs in 14 innings. On the offensive side, Justin Turner picked up the slack in a week where Cody Bellinger failed to drive in a run, hitting five homers and batting .417.

2. Houston Astros (27-15, 6-1 last week)

With the exception of one terrible Colin Mchugh start, the Astros were unstoppable this week. They went 6-1 and finished a 4 game sweep of the Rangers with a 15-5 shellacking on Sunday. Alex Bregman ( 3 home runs, 8 RBI) and Michael Brantley ( 3 home runs, .304 average) both had strong weeks, but it was George Springer who really shined. The likely player of the week hit .519 with 5 homers including a five-hit, two-homer game on Sunday. On the pitching side, Justin Verlander and Brad Peacock both pitched seven shutout innings while Roberto Osuna racked up three saves.

3. Chicago Cubs (24-14, 5-2 last week)

The sky was falling on the north side of Chicago when the Cubs started 1-6, but since then they are an MLB best 23-8. The stretch continued this week when the Cubs took three out of four from the Marlins and two out of three from the red-hot Brewers. This week was anything but conventional, however, as the Cubs won three games by walk-off homers while overall struggling to score runs.  The player of the week and maybe even the season so far is Jon Lester, who tossed two more scoreless outings while lowering his ERA to a league-leading 1.16.

4.  Minnesota Twins (25-14, 5-2 last week)

Arguably the biggest surprise in baseball, the Twins grew their AL Central lead to four games during a solid 5-2 week. As it has been all year, pitching was the story for the Twins, allowing just one run in a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays. Jake Odorizzi continued his fantastic start, twirling 7 shutout innings to lower his ERA to 2.32. On offense, the Twins had four regulars bat over .34o this week, but that was overshadowed by Nelson Cruz’s wrist injury.

5. Milwaukee Brewers (24-18, 4-2 last week)

The Brewers had an up and down week, sweeping the reeling Nationals before losing two out of three from the Cubs.  They didn’t rely on their usual barrage of Christian Yelich home runs and Josh Hader strikeouts, rather leaning on a series of quality starts from Brandon Woodruff, Jouhlys Chacin, Gio Gonzalez, and Zach Davies. Davies in paticular is worth mentioning,  allowing just one run in 6.1 innings in a win vs the Cubs.  A solid starter through his first three seasons in the league, Davies has taken the next step this year. He’s 4-0 with a 1.54 ERA in his first eight starts, helping lead what has been a surprisingly good Brewers rotation.

6. New York Yankees (24-16, 5-2 last week)

A week and a half ago, the Yankees embarked on a ten game stretch against three at the time over .5oo teams in the Twins, Mariners, and Rays. They went 7-3 in that stretch, continuing to defy expectations with a number of all-stars on the DL. The starting rotation, led by solid outings by Masahiro Tanaka and J.A Happ, was again solid this week, while the bullpen was good with the exception of a blowout loss to the Mariners. On offense DJ Lemahieu continues to rake and Gio Ursheala filled in nicely with eight RBIs in 6 games. On the downside, Miguel Andujar went 1-23 and was placed back on the DL.

7. Philadelphia Phillies (23-16, 4-2 last week)

Despite the continued struggles of Bryce Harper and  Aaron Nola, the Phillies keep winning. They went 4-2 this week, taking two of three from both the Cardinals and the Royals.  Zach Eflin and Jerred Eickhoff combined for 17 scoreless innings over two sensational outings. Eflin continues to pick up the slack for mediocre starts from Nola and Jake Arrieta, posting a 2.47 and walking just 1.2 guys per nine innings. Eickhoff has also been great in his four starts, having a 1.5 ERA with just a 1.76 batting average against. The Phillies offense has yet to reach their full potential, but once they do, they could run away with the NL East.

8. Tampa Bay Rays  (24-15, 3-3 last week)

The Rays are starting to come back to earth, going 5-6 in their last 11 while watching both the Red Sox and Yankees cutting in their division lead. Their mediocre 3-3 week was overshadowed by the news that Tyler Glasnow, AL leader in wins and ERA, would miss 4-6 weeks with a forearm injury.  The backend of the bullpen, featuring Jose Alvarado and Diego Castillo, continues to be fantastic, but the Rays need their starting rotation to match them because their offense doesn’t score enough runs. That means that reigning Cy Young winner Blake Snell, who has an ERA nearly two runs higher than it was last year, needs to be better in order for the Rays to contend.

9. Boston Red Sox (21-18, 5-1 last week)

You had to know it wouldn’t last. After starting 6-13, the Red Sox have caught fire, winning 16 of their last 22 including a current 11-2 stretch. There were plenty of highlights from the past week, from Chris Sale’s 14 strikeout performance to Jackie Bradley Jr’s game-saving home run robbery to a three-game demolition of the Mariners in which they scored 34 runs. One shoking stat so far this season for Boston is that Rafael Devers is leading the AL in average. Hitting just .248 with an on base percentage under .300 in 2018, Devers continued to murder American League pitching with a .545 week capped off with three straight three-hit games.

10. St. Louis Cardinals (22-19, 2-5 last week)

The Cardinals have struggled as of late, winning just two of their last eleven games and dropping to third place in the crazy competitive NL Central. Every team goes through stretches like this over the course of a 162 game season, and the Cardinals offense remains terrifying to opposing pitchers. Even Opening Day starter Miles Mikolas, who had a terrible start to the season, is slowing beginning to turn it around. The Cardinals have plenty of time to get back on track, but they need to start doing in fast to keep up with the Cubs and Brewers.

Team that Continues to Move in the Wrong Direction: Washington Nationals

Losing Bryce Harper was a tough pill to swallow for the Nationals, but the addition of Patrick Corbin and the continued progression of Juan Soto were expected to make up it. That has not been the case so far, as a number of key pieces have underperformed, leading to a 16-24 start.   Corbin has settled in nicely in the middle of the Nationals rotations, but aces Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer have been good, not great. Soto is hitting just .243, while only two regulars have an OPS above .800.  The bullpen besides Sean Doolittle has been bad. Leading the disappointment is hyped acquisition Trevor Rosenthal and his 36.00 ERA. Couple that with the injury to star shortstop Trea Turner, and there is no wonder why the Nationals have dug themselves a deep hole.

Hitter of the Week: George Springer

As mentioned earlier, George Springer was on fire last week, batting over .500 with 5 home runs. He now leads the AL with 15 home runs. Springer was a top prospect during the rebuild but has taken sort of a backseat being on the same team as Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman. Springer is making sure everybody circles his name in the lineup.

Pitcher of the Week: Mike Fiers

It can’t get much better than a no-hitter, and Fiers tossed his second career one last week. Is there anybody more likely in big league history to throw two no-hitters? A journeyman back-end starter with neither overpowering stuff on pinpoint control, Fiers has used deception, guts and more than a bit of luck while having not one, but two games for the ages in his career.

Matchup of the Upcoming Week: Astros at Red Sox

An ALCS matchup comes at a time when both teams are hitting their stride. The Astros are annihilating every team in their path, leading the AL in AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS, hits, and total bases while placing second in runs and home runs. Then are the red-hot Red Sox, who lead the majors in essentially every category in May while winning 11 out of 13.  It’s just May, but this is definitely a measuring stick series for both team.

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