The All-Star break can be a blessing and a curse for MLB teams. It’s great because it gives everyone an opportunity to step back, look at their team objectively and adjust accordingly. But on the other hand, it means that you have less games to finish up your season with before the playoffs begin in October.
ESPN’s “mlb power rankings espn” is a weekly ranking of the MLB teams. The rankings are based on a number of factors including team performance, player performances, and other factors.
The National League has made a statement at the top of our Power Rankings two weeks into the new MLB season.
This week, which of the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, or New York Mets is ranked first on our list? And, at the bottom of the list, did the Reds’ poor start push them all the way down to No. 30?
Based on what we’ve seen so far and what we already knew coming into the 162-game marathon that is a whole baseball season, our 10-voter panel has ranked every club in baseball. We also asked ESPN MLB analysts David Schoenfield, Bradford Doolittle, Joon Lee, Jesse Rogers, and Alden Gonzalez to weigh in on all 30 clubs with an early prediction.
Week 1 of the season | Preseason rankings
The Los Angeles Dodgers are the number one team in the National League.
1st place previously
The Dodgers’ starting pitching was considered the team’s greatest issue entering into the season, but through the first 12 games, that group has combined for a 2.33 ERA. Tony Gonsolin, their No. 5 starter, held the Braves to one hit in five innings on Wednesday. Andrew Heaney, who had deployed a new slider to give up just one unearned run in his first 10 1/3 innings, was put on the disabled list with shoulder pain just moments before taking the pitch. The Dodgers, on the other hand, do not anticipate this to be a long-term ailment. Gonzalez’s words
New York Mets, No. 2
Previous position: 8
Jacob deGrom isn’t required. The Mets’ rotation had a 1.07 ERA through their first 10 games, the lowest since earned runs were first officially tracked in 1913, and then Max Scherzer pitched seven clean innings as the Mets swept the Giants in a doubleheader on Tuesday. Scherzer has won his first three outings, allowing just one home run and a.150 batting average. After his troubles in 2021, Carlos Carrasco’s impressive start (one run in 1013 innings with 13 strikeouts) is very encouraging. Schoenfield’s
3. The Giants of San Francisco
1st place previously1
Logan Webb’s incredible 24-start winless streak came to an end in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Mets, when he gave up three runs and nine baserunners before recording his 12th out. Webb, on the other hand, should be OK. The greater issue came in the first half of that doubleheader, when freshly signed Alex Cobb went down with an adductor strain and was placed on the disabled list. Cobb has been throwing his sinker into the mid-90s and seemed to be another fantastic pick for the team’s astute front management. The expectation is that this IL assignment will be brief. Gonzalez’s words
3rd place before.
On paper, rival scouts consider Toronto to be the most talented club in the AL East, but there are some flaws. So far, the starting rotation has been up and down, with the exception of Alek Manoah. Despite this, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is hitting as predicted for the Blue Jays, with five home runs in his first 11 games. Lee —
Previous position: 4
The White Sox have sprung out to an early lead in the AL Central, making them firm favorites to win the division again. The fact that they’ve done so despite a sluggish start from their hitters is cause for celebration rather than concern, since there’s little doubt that a semi-healthy version of this White Sox lineup would put up huge offensive numbers. If there’s one guy who should be worried about, it’s extensively utilized utility player Leury Garcia, who has just one hit in his first 23 plate appearances. In certain key metrics, such as barrel rate, anticipated wOBA, and chase rate, Garcia is in the bottom percentile. Doolittle’s quote
Previous position: 2
Even if Justin Verlander’s comeback from injury could not be going any better and Luis Garcia has been strong, the Houston rotation’s early results have been mixed. Framber Valdez has struggled with control in his first three outings, walking ten hitters. Jose Urquidy and Jake Odorizzi have struggled through two starts each at the bottom of the rotation. The duo had a 6.75 ERA and just 3.6 strikeouts per nine innings combined. Their swing-and-miss % was less than half that of the major league average, and Urquidy had allowed the highest contact rate of any qualified pitcher. It’s worth noting that this is a continuation of recent trends for both pitchers, who have had their strikeout rates fall in each season since 2019. Doolittle’s quote
Previous position: 6
Positives include good starts from Luis Severino and Nestor Cortes on the pitching, as well as Aaron Hicks, DJ LeMahieu, and Anthony Rizzo in the batter’s box. However, ace Gerrit Cole has struggled in his first three outings, surrendering eight earned runs in 1113 innings. He only lasted 123 innings against the Tigers on Tuesday, surrendering two runs and walking five hitters. Lee —
Previous position: 9
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With Fernando Tatis Jr. slated to miss the first two months of the season, the Padres needed their starting pitchers and highest-paid position men to step up. So far, that’s essentially what’s happened. On the offensive side, Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer have led the way, while Sean Manaea and Joe Musgrove have dominated in their first three outings. The Padres’ starters have thrown the most innings in the majors so far, which is promising for a club that relied heavily on their bullpen early in the 2021 season. Gonzalez’s words
Previous position: 6
Kyle Wright, the fifth overall selection out of Vanderbilt in 2017, made his big league debut in 2018, but despite playing for the Braves every season from 2018 to 2021, he only made 14 starts and threw only 70 innings. This year might be the year that Braves supporters have been waiting for. He had a solid Game 4 effort against the Astros after being forced into action in the World Series, and he has maintained that momentum into the start of the regular season, allowing two runs in 11 innings through two appearances. The crucial stats are 15 strikeouts and just one walk. His fastball velo has up to 95.0, he mixes his four-seamer with a 94-mph sinker, and he’s induced seven of those 15 strikeouts with his curveball, which he seems to be growing in confidence with. Schoenfield’s
Previous position: 5
If it’s still possible, Wander Franco continues increasing the bar. The Rays’ wunderkind shortstop was hitting.500 through his first 12 games. With a home run and six doubles, he hit 404/.408/.638. Ji-Man Choi, the first baseman, has also been on fire, hitting.423/.571/.769 with two home runs in his first ten games. Lee —
1st place previously4
St. Louis is making progress despite some early rainouts. Over the weekend, the Cardinals split a four-game road series in Milwaukee, thanks to some important home runs. In fact, with a lineup that has taken up where it left off last September during their remarkable run to the playoffs, the Cardinals are averaging the most home runs per game. Albert Pujols gets off to a strong start, including a game-winning home run against the Brewers. Rogers’ comment
1st place previously1
As the Red Sox won four of five games last week, the offense, led by Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and Alex Verdugo, showed signs of life. The pitching staff, on the other hand, remains a question mark. To make a run at October, Boston will need good performances from Michael Wacha, Rich Hill, and Nick Pivetta. Lee —
1st place previously2
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Milwaukee’s record is better than the club has seemed so far, since the offense seems to be simply OK, as it has been for most of the last several seasons. The Brewers had only hit six home runs in 11 games, but a Christian Yelich grand slam against Pittsburgh on Monday helped a lot. The greatest news is that after terrible beginnings, Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff pitched better the second time through the rotation. Is the top of Milwaukee’s rotation capable of carrying the team once more? It will have to wait and see. Rogers’ comment
1st place previously7
The Angels are always on the lookout for top-tier starting pitching, which is why Noah Syndergaard’s early indications have been so promising. In his first two outings, Syndergaard, who signed a one-year, $21 million contract during the winter, has allowed only two runs in 1113 innings. He’s using his changeup more than normal, has only struck out five hitters, and is throwing his fastball at approximately 95 mph, which is two to three ticks behind where he was before Tommy John surgery, but that’s to be expected from a pitcher who hasn’t thrown much in the last two years. Gonzalez’s words
1st place previously5
Over the weekend, the Mariners won two of three games against the Astros in their first home series of the season, including 11-1 and 7-2 victory (sandwiched around a Justin Verlander gem). Julio Rodriguez got his first RBI, but he’s still battling a regular diet of sliders and slow stuff from low and away (just 32 percent fastballs). Rodriguez has long arms and decent bat control, but he stands far off the plate for a contemporary hitter, and pitchers are pounding the outside corner of the plate with over 65 percent of pitches against him coming from the outside half of the zone. Schoenfield’s
Previous position: 21
Is it true that the Rockies are… good? The Rockies, who were largely expected to be also-rans entering into 2022, have been one of the most pleasant shocks in baseball so far, winning eight of their first 12 games while posting the best OPS in the league and averaging more than five runs per game. C.J. Cron, Connor Joe, and Kris Bryant, the newcomer, have all made significant contributions. Gonzalez’s words
1st place previously9
The Detroit offense has continued to struggle, with sub-.200 batting averages across the board. Star free-agent signing Javier Baez, who wound up on the IL with an injured thumb, is one of the batters who has delivered. Nonetheless, as the Tigers and their supporters watch Miguel Cabrera close in on 3,000 career hits, the previous week has provided a thrilling view into the future. Spencer Torkelson started to display the enormous power that made him one of the game’s best prospects by smashing his first two career homers and earning outstanding exit velocity after a few hitless games to start his big league career. Torkelson’s chase rate is about 10% lower than the major league average, which is good. Doolittle’s quote
Previous position: 20
The Cubs established a club single-series record by hitting 17 doubles in Colorado over the weekend, putting them at the top of the stat sheet. That mark reflects the team’s improvement at the plate. Moving ahead, more contact should be the norm, possibly with fewer home runs and strikeouts. To avoid burying the lead, their best hitter by far has been Seiya Suzuki, the team’s early rookie sensation who got on base in each of the team’s first ten games. Rogers’ comment
1st place previously0
The offense is off to a poor start, as manager Joe Girardi decided to start Kyle Schwarber, Matt Vierling, and Nick Castellanos in the outfield at Coors Field for whatever reason, but the early worries revolve on Zack Wheeler. Wheeler’s velocity was substantially down on Sunday, when he suffered the poorest start of his Phillies career. He had been slowed in spring training by shoulder pain (seven runs in three innings). According to MLB.com, he only threw one fastball below the league average of 93.5 mph last season. He threw 10 pitches below that level on Sunday, including one at 91.1 mph. With his fastball, he has only caused two swings-and-misses in two starts. Schoenfield’s
1st place previously8
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It would be premature to say that the league has caught up to Steven Kwan after a few hitless games, just as it would have been early to hail him as a youthful, more contact-oriented Roy Hobbs last week. Kwan will finally reach his level, and it will be some time before we know what is genuine and what isn’t with him. For the time being, his cooling down allows us to spotlight a colleague who is off to an even stronger overall start: Owen Miller. Miller was on a Kwan-like tear before heading to the IL due to COVID-19, except with a lot more additional bases. He doubled in five of the six games he played. He homered twice in the one game he didn’t hit a two-run homer. His exit velocity is among the top five in the majors. The pop is genuine. Doolittle’s quote
1st place previously9
Last season, Trevor Rogers was voted the National League Rookie of the Year, while Jazz Chisholm was undoubtedly one of the most entertaining rookies. On the plus side, Chisholm is off to a solid start, with early indicators such as a higher pursuit rate and a higher hard-hit rate. Rogers, on the other hand, has struggled in his first two starts, allowing seven runs in only 123 innings. He battled with his command and changeup, and the Phillies called him out early in the second inning after a 40-pitch first inning appeared to sap his velocity. Schoenfield’s
1st place previously6
The Twins offense, which appeared great on paper early in the season, has been one of baseball’s ten lowest-scoring units. Minnesota has been afflicted by a slew of negative effects. To begin with, it has maintained its recent tendency of being too dependent on walks and home runs to score runs, ranking 19th in three-true-outcome % as of Tuesday. Only four clubs had a lower home run rate over the same time period, indicating the strategy didn’t succeed. The Twins have also had to cope with some very bad weather in the early going, particularly at home. The runs should start pouring in when the weather heats up, along with the bats of slow-starting key hitters like Carlos Correa, Jorge Polanco, and Max Kepler. Doolittle’s quote
Previous position: 27
Oakland’s roster was destroyed, yet the club was still in first place in the division after two weeks. Righties Paul Blackburn and Daulton Jefferies have pitched well for the A’s, while catcher Sean Murphy and shortstop Elvis Andrus have helped the lineup. Lee —
Previous position: 26
Juan Soto and Josh Bell combined for five home runs and 21 walks in the team’s first 13 games. Only two home runs and 22 walks were recorded by the remainder of the lineup. Soto only had three RBIs, all of which came on solo home runs. No, he hasn’t done much with runners in scoring position, but he was also 0-for-9 with four strikeouts. The expectation was that veteran Nelson Cruz would offer a third big bat, but he’s had a poor start, as has catcher Keibert Ruiz, who has showed outstanding contact abilities in the minors, but at the price of plate discipline (no walks). Schoenfield’s
Previous position: 22
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Bobby Witt Jr. has had a few spectacular moments at the bat, but his overall performance as a major league hitter has been disappointing. He’d struck out 12 times against a single walk in nine games and was still looking for his first major league home run. Witt hasn’t hit any of the three types of pitches: hard, breaking, or soft. He just hasn’t been able to connect. Witt has pursued more than 41% of the time, which is 13% more than the major league average. Witt has a history of being sluggish to get going, including last season at Double-A Northwest Arkansas. To put it another way, nothing you previously knew about Witt has changed. Doolittle’s quote
Previous position: 25
In a month marked by parity to begin the MLB season, the Rangers have stood out for their poor pitching, posting one of the highest ERAs in the league. In their first two rounds through the rotation, Dane Dunning, Martin Perez, and Taylor Hearn all struggled. In 2413 innings pitched, they combined to give up 37 hits. It’s why the Rangers are in last place in the AL West. Rogers’ comment
5-7 on the scale
Previous position: 29
The signing of Ke’Bryan Hayes to a long-term contract could be the greatest thing that has happened in Pittsburgh this season, but they haven’t gone over the cliff yet. Their record was boosted by a series victory against the Nationals, but they’ll be skating on thin ice the rest of the season. However, bringing in Hayes should offer the Pirates some optimism for the future. At the batting and in the field, he’s off to a tremendous start. Rogers’ comment
Previous position: 28
During their first 11 games, the D-backs averaged 0.45 runs per game. That’s correct — 0.45! Their.455 OPS was 258 points worse than the league average. Ketel Marte, David Peralta, Daulton Varsho, Christian Walker, and Pavin Smith, the five players with the most plate appearances, combined for a.182/.293/.318 slash line. Last season, the D-backs had a 110-game losing streak. And it doesn’t seem like things will be any better in 2022. Gonzalez’s words
Previous position: 24
The Reds have gotten off to a bad start, which is to be anticipated when you deplete your team’s talent. Cincinnati ranks worst in the league in terms of hitting (OPS) and second to last in terms of pitching (ERA). That pretty about covers it up. The Reds already had a four-game road series against both the Braves and the Dodgers, plus three more in San Diego, according to the schedule architects. They split with the Braves but were swept by the Dodgers, leaving them bottom in the National League Central. Rogers’ comment
3rd place before.0
Even though the Orioles didn’t have high hopes to begin with, losing John Means to the 60-day disabled list due to a strained left elbow was a setback. The club did, however, win two of three games against the Yankees. Lee —
The “2nd half fantasy baseball rankings” are the second half of the MLB power rankings for week 2. The rankings will be updated every day to show who is on top and bottom of the standings.
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