Every week, we ask all of our baseball writers — both the local scribes and the national team, more than 30 writers in all — to rank the teams from first to worst. Here are the collective results, the TA30.
A good power rankings is like an Angel Hernandez strike zone: just enough in there for everyone to leave upset. So either strap in prepared to do your best Kyle Schwarber impression, or prepare to be pleasantly surprised.
It’s still quite early to make any large-scale observations. Is this hot new starter for real? Has everyone’s sexy bounce-back candidate found their expected success? But this we know: Miguel Cabrera is the newest member of the 3,000 hit club and might be the last new inclusion in that group for a while. And everyone’s predictions for the season still have plenty of time to be right.
Fabian Ardaya takes on the NL teams, and Steve Berman weighs in on the AL Squads. It can be quite difficult to get 30-plus writers to agree on anything, but The Athletic’s baseball staff agrees — this is our best guess at being right.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Record as of 4/25: 11-4
Last Power Ranking: 1
There are reasons to poke holes at the Dodgers’ start. Andrew Heaney, who looked like he might have found something in his first two outings, is now on the injured list. So too is their top reliever, Blake Treinen. Mookie Betts had a big night on Friday but on the whole, has been slow getting going. Their lineup has generated a bunch of chances while only being able to convert on those maybe once a night before Sunday’s barrage.
But the reason you stockpile superstars is it gives you insurance. So even if Justin Turner is off to a cold start, you have Freddie Freeman swinging the bat well and slugging homers against his old club. While Max Muncy is finding his footing after suffering a torn UCL last season, Cody Bellinger is looking not like 2021 Cody Bellinger, giving the club another useful bat.
“This is the craziest lineup I’ve been part of,” Bellinger said. Turns out that what’s on paper can turn into reality sometimes.
So the Dodgers, even with their early-season questions, are first in our rankings. You’ll be shocked to read that our crew of writers say the Dodgers are, in fact, Good.
2. New York Mets
Record as of 4/25: 12-5
Last Power Ranking: 3
In this week’s episode of America’s most compelling sitcom, the New York Mets are feeling themselves a bit. Their push to exploit baseball’s market inefficiency (trying to spend and win baseball games) is working: the top two payrolls in baseball hold the top two spots in our rankings.
Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco look great. Some of their free-agent additions are settling in well (Max Scherzer, it turns out, is still quite good). Their pitching looks incredibly deep for a unit that is missing the best pitcher in baseball in Jacob deGrom.
They showed up against a good ball club in the Giants and took that series. They’re off to an impressive start (getting to face Arizona twice in April will help most teams’ record) and have shown they are what we thought they could be given their payroll.
“We can compete with the best,” Scherzer said this week.
Angst should be low, except for the fact that Luis Guillorme shaved his beard. So long, sweet prince.
Beardless Luis Guillorme. pic.twitter.com/VzqpNr6uqW
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 19, 2022
3. Toronto Blue Jays
Record as of 4/25: 10-6
Last Power Ranking: 2
Toronto came into this season with high expectations, and the early predictions — including this site’s — put the Jays squarely in the crosshairs of folks who wondered if the hype was justified — understandable, considering this group hadn’t won anything.
But here they are, marching along in the way one would expect from a contender. They haven’t lost a series, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is putting up MVP-type numbers (.351/.409/.649 with five homers), Kevin Gausman already looks like an ace — unless the ace is actually Alek Manoah — and the bullpen has been lights out.
Well, mostly. Jeremy Peña hit a walk-off two-run homer against Jordan Romano on Sunday after the Blue Jays took the lead in the top of the 10th, and José Berríos (6.35 ERA, 2.03 WHIP) hasn’t looked like the guy they acquired last season. Still, this team seems primed to go on a run. Does anyone expect a lineup this potent to score just 4.1 runs per game the rest of the way?
4. San Francisco Giants
Record as of 4/25: 11-5
Last Power Ranking: 4
The Giants ran the power rankings table for much of last summer, so it seems like we’re giving them the benefit of the doubt. And why not? They’re off to a strong start with much of the same team that won 107 games last season. They have as good a pitching staff as anyone in baseball, even with Alex Cobb going down with a groin issue. And apparently we were not alone in calling Logan Webb a “sleeper” breakout pick this year. Brandon Belt, who has seemingly hit everything the last two years, finally figured out how to hit on his birthday.
There have been some early offensive concerns, but their lineup isn’t at full strength (and their 2010, 2012 and 2014 title banners didn’t come while they were hitting the daylights out of the ball, anyway).
“We will hit home runs,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “I have zero doubt of that.” Considering that San Francisco led the National League in that category last season, there’s good reason to believe that.
They’ve played in enough lopsided baseball games to rankle not one but two clubs about baseball’s unwritten rules. I think they’ll take that. The NL West should be fun again this season.
5. New York Yankees
Record as of 4/25: 10-6
Last Power Ranking: 7
Yankees fans had an interesting week. They loudly booed Gerrit Cole in Detroit as he walked to the dugout after getting pulled in the second inning (of a game the Yankees won). They showered the Guardians with trash on Saturday (after a game the Yankees won).
That’s a lot of crankiness surrounding a team that’s tied for first in the AL East with Toronto, and has a starter in Nestor Cortes who’s been as dominant this season as anyone (1.15 ERA and 14.4 K/9). Cole reminded everyone that his poor start to the season wouldn’t last, throwing 6 2/3 shutout innings on Sunday.
The Yankees won 10-2 on Sunday, marking the first time they’ve scored more than five runs in a game since their season-opening 6-5 win over the Red Sox. A few more games like that could quiet some of the criticism of guys like Joey Gallo. OK, maybe that’s too big of an ask. But after an off-day Monday, they’ll host the Orioles and Royals. Perhaps Yankees fans will be a little less volatile when we check the rankings a week from now.
6. St. Louis Cardinals
Record as of 4/25: 9-5
Last Power Ranking: 9
This will be my first full season covering baseball in which the team I cover doesn’t employ Albert Pujols, leaving me quite familiar with the player Pujols has been for the past decade in Anaheim (and briefly in Los Angeles). But the defining image of my initial love of baseball involves Pujols donning a St. Louis Cardinals uniform.
I’m sure I’m not alone in this, which is what made the tale of how Pujols landed back in St. Louis so special.
St. Louis isn’t necessarily stuck in the past, either; they have some exciting stuff coming up in the minors. Jordan Hicks, erstwhile heat-slinging closer, is trying his hand as a slightly less heat-slinging starter. That speaks to some of the injuries that the Cards have taken to their rotation, but they’ve made it work. They catch the baseball as well as any team in the league, which will help any starter they throw out there.
7. Milwaukee Brewers
Record as of 4/25: 10-6
Last Power Ranking: 13
Christian Yelich is such a fascinating player in 2022. Outside of Cody Bellinger, there might not be a player I’m less sure of what to expect out of in the sport. The “Belli vs. Yeli” marketing campaign seems long gone, but Yelich has still worked his way into being a productive player despite being nowhere near the MVP levels he reached in 2019. He’s off to a fine start — nothing too great, with no clear struggles either.
Perhaps his ability to hit fastballs will be the key.
The Brewers are a good baseball team, just as they have been for years now. They might be the favorites to win the division again but the second highest-ranked NL Central club on our list. For this iteration of this club to break through, they’re going to need their former MVP to play more like his old self.
8. San Diego Padres
Record as of 4/25: 10-7
Last Power Ranking: 12
The team is still eagerly awaiting the return of Fernando Tatis Jr. to the lineup, but until then, it’s a collection of talented players who have played well so far. Eric Hosmer even hit a few balls in the air this week, which might reinvigorate the “Will the Padres shed Eric Hosmer’s contract?” conversation that has been going on for what feels like an eternity.
That would clear up some playing time for some of the Padres’ exciting young players — though it appears new manager Bob Melvin already doesn’t have a problem doing so. MacKenzie Gore looks legit. C.J. Abrams is up with the big club and earning some starts, along with a rotation that looks prolific if it can ever all get healthy at the same time. It’s exciting to see.
Climbing into postseason contention will mean being able to beat some of their tougher opponents in the NL West. The Padres snapped a losing streak to the Dodgers on Saturday night that had spanned since last June, for example, and still dropped Sunday’s series finale. Kind of hard to get to where you want to go when you put yourself in that kind of hole.
9. Tampa Bay Rays
Record as of 4/25: 9-7
Last Power Ranking: 10
They didn’t look like themselves during the previous week in series losses to the A’s and White Sox — particularly against the A’s, who outscored the Rays 31-16 — but they bounced back this past week with series wins against the Cubs and Red Sox.
The lineup hasn’t looked too imposing other than Wander Franco, who’s slashing .349/.364/.635 with three home runs. (What’s the over/under on All-Star appearances for Franco at this point? Ten?) But a bigger concern has been their starters’ inability to give them any length, which is why they’re a potential trade partner with the A’s if (OK, when) they decide to unload Frankie Montas.
This is a team that doesn’t necessarily expect their starters to go old-school distances in games. Or even start every game, since this is also a team that is famously fond of using relievers as openers. Still, it had to be nice to see Shane McClanahan look like a staff ace on Sunday when he went seven innings in a 5-2 win against Boston. A potentially huge key for the Rays: Shane Baz, who can rejoin the rotation in June, resumed throwing off of flat ground on April 16.
10. Seattle Mariners
Record as of 4/25: 10-6
Last Power Ranking: 15
Since the last time we rapped with you about our rankings, Ty France went 13-for-26 with three homers, including a five-hit performance on Saturday.
As someone who covered the A’s every day throughout the second half of last season, when the Mariners ran up a 12-game winning streak against the club, nothing positive the Mariners do this season would surprise me. Some loved their offseason. Others thought they should’ve done more. But the AL West appears to be wide open, and the Mariners have a strong record without the benefit of facing Oakland yet. I’m expecting 90+ wins, and I’m not kidding.
Thanks to France, with help from J.P. Crawford and a resurgent Eugenio Suárez, the Mariners are top-five in the AL in just about every offensive category. The pitching staff has been strong, with a team ERA just over 3.00. They’re also having “a lot of fun,” although that seems fairly common these days for anyone facing the Royals. With the Seahawks in rebuilding mode, the Mariners have a strong opportunity to gain some traction in a city that still doesn’t have an NBA team for some reason.
11. Atlanta Braves
Record as of 4/25: 7-10
Last Power Ranking: 8
Development plans aren’t always linear. Kyle Wright was the fifth overall selection in the MLB Draft five years ago and debuted a little more than a year later. The sailing hasn’t been all that smooth since, but he’s righted things now with a lethal curveball that makes an already deep Braves rotation even deeper. Another former top prospect, Travis Demeritte, found his way back to Atlanta this week as well, making his major league debut.
That, of course, was far from the most notable reunion the Braves had this past week. They got to visit old friend Freddie Freeman, who hugged, cried and homered against his old club. As for any potential drama between the two sides?
“I know there’s storylines and everyone wants to run and say this and that but the only storyline for me today was I was just happy to see my friends again,” Freeman said Monday night.
Atlanta dropped two of three over their perennial playoff foes in Los Angeles (and dropped two of three against Miami, too). They are three games under .500 for the season with a negative run differential. I’m sure folks will take that rationally. Our voters did, keeping them in the upper half of teams. They will surely rise soon.
12. Houston Astros
Record as of 4/25: 7-8
Last Power Ranking: 6
Losing three straight series and falling below .500 will cause a rankings drop, and a team that once boasted enviable depth is being tested — most recently with Jose Altuve hitting the injured list with a hamstring strain.
But we know better than to count out the Astros, especially this early. Rookie shortstop Jeremy Peña has been the team’s best position player, while Carlos Correa has … not been the best position player for the Twins. Justin Verlander has a 1.89 ERA while allowing fewer than five hits per nine innings. Cristian Javier has been so dominant in relief that he’ll get his first start of the season on Wednesday against the Rangers. Alex Bregman looks like he did a couple of years ago and Michael Brantley can still hit .300 in his sleep.
The Astros may not be light years ahead of the rest of the division anymore, but don’t be surprised if they still end up on top.
13. Los Angeles Angels
Record as of 4/25: 9-7
Last Power Ranking: 14
The Angels have been a winning club so far in 2022, which is pretty impressive since Shohei Ohtani hasn’t been playing like an MVP. He’s shown flashes, like his two-homer game on April 15 and his flirtation with perfection on April 20 in Houston, when he tied his career-high with 12 strikeouts over six innings. But compared to the absurd standard he set in 2021, he hasn’t been the same player. Yet.
Ohtani will be fine, and Mike Trout is still Mike Trout (1.141 OPS and four homers).
Will Joe Maddon move Ohtani down in the order? We’re talking about a manager who walked Corey Seager with the bases loaded to motivate his club, so your guess is as good as ours. The better question might be when it’ll be time to drop Anthony Rendon a spot or three. He walked four times in the Angels’ 7-6 win on Sunday, but it might make sense to have Ohtani protecting Trout as opposed to a guy who’s hitting .200 and slugging .356 after a poor 2021 campaign.
Clearly the top priority is to get your best players as many plate appearances as possible, but maybe Ohtani and Trout should be protecting Rendon in this lineup to see if they can unlock what he was with the Nationals? Maybe that suggestion is a little too wild.
The starting pitchers haven’t given them much other than Noah Syndergaard and Ohtani, but the bullpen has been solid and the Angels have shown a surprising penchant for base thievery this season. Ohtani’s consistency at the plate will come; if Rendon can get back to the player he was two years ago and they can figure out the rest of their rotation, the Angels may have staying power.
14. Boston Red Sox
Record as of 4/25: 7-9
Last Power Ranking: 11
Red Sox fans are starting to get restless (a shocking development), as the team has displayed a habit of scoring in bunches or not at all. Bostonians never appreciate getting routed on Marathon Monday, either.
The starters are all averaging fewer than five innings per start. Trevor Story’s offensive output so far leads one to wonder if those much-discussed home and road splits while he was with the Rockies were an indicator that he might not be a nine-figure player, at least offensively.
The bullpen has been unexpectedly strong, however, and the relievers will need to keep it up with the Blue Jays hosting Boston Monday to start a four-game series that seems bigger than any set in April should be.
15. Chicago White Sox
Record as of 4/25: 6-9
Last Power Ranking: 5
It’s difficult to have a worse week than the South Siders, who’ve lost seven in a row. They dropped two games in blowout fashion, two by a score of 2-1, and capped their worst week ever with a brutal walk-off loss in Minnesota.
Injuries occur everywhere, to every team, in every sport. But the White Sox seemed uniquely devastated by the news that Eloy Jiménez would miss 6-to-8 weeks with a hamstring injury that caused many in the clubhouse to wipe away tears.
The White Sox were the overwhelming favorites to repeat as AL Central champs, and that probably remains the case because no one else in the division scares anyone. But it’s starting to look like their talented outfield is also very injury-prone. Lucas Giolito returned on Sunday and struck out nine over four innings, but they won’t get Lance Lynn back for at least another month. Liam Hendriks hasn’t looked nearly as dominant so far as he did over his previous three seasons, either. Tony La Russa has some work to do.
16. Cleveland Guardians
Record as of 4/25: 7-8
Last Power Ranking: 17
Just because Cleveland hasn’t won a World Series since 1948 doesn’t mean they’ll take just any old parade, especially one marked by beer showers courtesy of well-lubricated Bronx bleacher creatures. Also, who throws an ice cream cone, let alone at a visiting reliever? Honestly.
Despite Steven Kwan striking out twice for the first time in his career against the Yankees on Saturday, he’s still shattering preseason expectations with a robust .341 average and more walks (nine) than strikeouts (six). Somehow Kwan has a higher B-Ref WAR (1.2) than José Ramírez (0.7), which is saying something since Ramírez is slashing .362/.415/.690.
It’s hard to gain a handle on the Guardians for a variety of reasons. They won four in a row, then got swept by the Giants. They responded by sweeping the White Sox, and then the Yankees swept a three-gamer against them over the weekend. They have two of the most intriguing starters who don’t strike out a lot of guys in Zach Plesac and Cal Quantrill, while closer Emmanuel Clase has had a rough go despite possessing some of the most electric stuff in the game. The record is probably indicative of what they are in 2022, but they’ve been far from boring.
17. Colorado Rockies
Record as of 4/25: 10-5
Last Power Ranking: 19
The Rockies are an art form, a beautiful franchise that goes beyond understanding what is normal for a baseball team. They operate differently, and often perplexingly. It’s compelling.
They’ve also collected a lot of good, solid baseball players. Sure, they’ve alienated some (a lot) of their stars of old. They signed Kyle Freeland to an extension — an acknowledgment of sorts of the difficulties luring quality pitching to Coors Field — but badly misjudged Jon Gray’s market in letting him walk this winter for nothing. They are still paying Nolan Arenado’s salary this season, but also convinced Kris Bryant to call Denver home.
It doesn’t make sense. But the roster isn’t awful, and they’ve played good ball, so here they are.
18. Philadelphia Phillies
Record as of 4/25: 6-10
Last Power Ranking: 16
One of these years, the Phillies’ merry-go-round of center fielders will come to a stop. For a lineup that is just jam-packed with good hitters, their seeming inability to find one at that spot is perplexing.
Bryce Harper is playing hurt, which has forced Nick Castellanos to play more outfield than is ideal even for the “hit-until-you-field-better” roster-building philosophy for this club. Bryson Stott’s arrival has come with some hiccups. They’re hoping things trend upward for Alec Bohm, too.
The lineup shuffling has started, with Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto and now Jean Segura taking their cracks at the leadoff spot. There’s urgency this season with the Phillies, as if the entire sport is waiting for the organization to finally get things together and contend. But for all the preseason hype, they’ve already dropped into the bottom half of our rankings.
At least they have this highlight:
The Phillies are now 3-0 in 4/20 games at Coors Field.
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) April 20, 2022
19. Minnesota Twins
Record as of 4/25: 8-8
Last Power Ranking: 20
This week was hugely successful, and not just because they capped it with a sweep of the reeling White Sox. Ask any Twins fan what they expected to hear after Byron Buxton left the first inning of that April 15 game in Boston after a hard slide into second and you would’ve been hard-pressed to find anyone who didn’t immediately shake their head and mutter “ACL.”
Nope! Buxton returned less than a week later and showed why he’s considered by many to be a top-5 guy (let’s all say it in unison) when healthy. He went 4-for-4 with a homer on Saturday, then on Sunday, he took Hendricks deep. OK, that’s burying the lede. Down 4-3 in the 10th inning, Buxton hit a walk-off three-run homer. And this home run had everything. It left his bat at 112 mph and soared high into the Minnesota sky before landing in the top deck in left. The distance (469 feet) was nice, but anyone in attendance would swear that it traveled 500 feet with ease.
Some wondered whether the Twins did enough to fortify/create their 2022 rotation. The biggest name of the bunch, Sonny Gray, didn’t look great before going on the injured list. But Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer have looked closer to themselves in their prime than anyone had a right to expect, and the Twins are probably still interested in a trade for Montas.
Minnesota even has a fun clubhouse these days. In other words, after a sweep and seeing Buxton go nuclear, Twins fans are definitely behind White Sox supporters in the angst olympics.
20. Miami Marlins
Record as of 4/25: 7-8
Last Power Ranking: 22
I like a lot of what the Marlins have built. Their pitching is good. They have some talented position players. Heck, they just won a series against Atlanta. But I don’t know what their next step is, either. What do they need to see out of Don Mattingly this year? Whatever that cap is might ultimately come down to payroll.
In the meantime, they might be the team with the worst record that still gets me to eagerly flip on their games on MLB TV. Their pitching is that good, and Jazz Chisholm Jr. is electrifying to watch.
Also, please just make their City Connects their full-time uniforms, please and thank you.
21. Chicago Cubs
Record as of 4/25: 7-9
Last Power Ranking: 18
The Cubs might still be scoring runs from Saturday’s thumping of the Pirates at Wrigley Field. Turns out, they can knock the ball around a bit. Seiya Suzuki certainly has so far (and the Giants probably wish they had his bat in their lineup right now).
So are the Cubs … [lowers voice] back? Probably not, at least not yet. It is April, after all, so Jed Hoyer probably isn’t going to flip his restacked farm system for impact big-league talent just yet. He also won’t likely have to ship off three of the cogs of their first title winner in 108 years this summer, so 2022 is already an improvement for Cubs fans.
Speaking of Cubs who won’t have to buy a drink in Chicago after 2016, Jake Arrieta announced his retirement this week, which gives me another excuse to highlight the ridiculous run of pitching he had in the latter half of 2015: a 12-1 mark, with a 0.75 ERA and 113 strikeouts over his last 15 starts, which included a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium.
22. Detroit Tigers
Record as of 4/25: 6-9
Last Power Ranking: 21
We probably won’t see many more of these contracts, but the Tigers reaped the benefits of a big-money deal that lasts until a player turns 40-plus this week. Everything about the way Miguel Cabrera approached and surpassed the 3,000-hit milestone was picture-perfect, including the way he diffused the crowd (or attempted to, anyway) after Aaron Boone intentionally walked him on Thursday when Cabrera was sitting on 2,999.
Pressure? What pressure? Cabrera is batting .319. It’s a soft .319, but his job this season was to get to 3,000 hits as soon as possible and he didn’t seem deterred by the gravity of that rare accomplishment. At all.
Tigers fans deserved this. This team hasn’t reached the postseason since 2014. It probably won’t in 2022, either. But as Cabrera basks in the nationwide acclaim for his otherworldly career offensive numbers, the Tigers are one of many American League teams with an eye toward the future. Spencer Torkelson is showing signs that he’ll be a 30-homer guy for years to come after a tough start to his first major-league season, and Riley Greene should be fully recovered from his fractured foot by June. It’s tough to remain patient when a team has been bad this long, but at least Cabrera gave the home crowd several moments they won’t forget.
23. Oakland Athletics
Record as of 4/25: 9-8
Last Power Ranking: 23
The baseball gods brought the A’s offense back to earth this week, which is what happens when you play your first games in Oakland where the marine layer has the same effect on fly balls. But they’re still over .500 and at least A’s fans get to watch Cristian Pache and Nick Allen play defense.
Let’s focus on the elephant in the room, or the (feral) cats in the stadium, who have plenty of room to roam these days.
Way too much has been made of the A’s attendance numbers, which were completely predictable and are the way they are by design. It’s a cheap way to get retweets, posting photos and videos of a nearly empty multipurpose stadium that owners (MLB and NFL) believe no longer has a purpose. The attendance jokes are already old, so hopefully, people will tire of mentioning the empty seats because the root problems aren’t going away.
The A’s followed an unpopular lockout by dealing their most popular players as soon as they could. Season-ticket holders were asked to renew their seats at prices so high that it didn’t make sense, especially since it was no secret that the main goal of the offseason was to reduce payroll by a similarly excruciating percentage.
The first two home series of the season were against the Orioles and Rangers. The third game of the Orioles series was moved from 6:40 p.m. to 3 p.m. due to rain concerns with less than 24 hours’ notice. Parking in the Coliseum’s gigantic lot is still $30. Open concessions stands are few and far between, and none are open in the upper deck. So the crowd of roughly 17,500 for the home opener was made to look like a sellout if you checked out the lower concourse, where lines were ridiculously long and caused fans to be away from their seats for a couple of innings if they wanted refreshments.
The fans still made plenty of noise that night, and handing out gold rally rags was a nice touch. But A’s fans are long past the point of being fed up, and they have every right to be.
24. Kansas City Royals
Record as of 4/25: 5-9
Last Power Ranking: 24
The Royals followed a terrible effort during the week of April 11 with a series win over the Twins to start the past week, and then … maybe we should just ignore what happened over the weekend against the Mariners.
The offense has been “abysmal,” and that includes what we’ve seen from a player many consider the best prospect in the game. But we can’t go all negative here, even though doing so is probably warranted, because Bobby Witt Jr.’s four-game hitting streak could be a sign that a sub-Mendoza average could be a distant memory as soon as a week or two from now.
The Royals aren’t hitting much, and they aren’t pitching well, either (particularly with the fastball). At this point, the best silver lining we can come up with is that they’re in the AL Central, where no team seems even close to dominant.
25. Texas Rangers
Record as of 4/25: 5-10
Last Power Ranking: 25
They won their first series of the season over the weekend when they took two of three from Oakland, and the way they did it was kind of startling — they held the A’s, who looked frisky offensively over the first week and a half, to just three runs and 10 hits in the series.
The Rangers, like too many teams today, are geared toward seasons after 2022, but they hoped that their expensive middle-infield acquisitions would at least make them competitive. It hasn’t quite worked according to plan, with Marcus Semien batting .183 with a .500 OPS and Corey Seager not hitting much better: .241 with an OPS of .596. They have six extra-base hits between them.
Nathaniel Lowe is keeping the offense afloat with 28 hits in 15 games (24 singles, though). If Seager needs a reminder that he’s a better offensive player than he’s shown thus far, he can always walk over to Matt Moore’s locker and reminisce.
26. Pittsburgh Pirates
Record as of 4/25: 8-8
Last Power Ranking: 28
The good news: if you wipe out their 21-0 loss to the Cubs on Saturday, the Pirates’ run differential would be only -7.
I didn’t realize José Quintana was on the Pirates until I read last week’s power rankings, which also expressed shock that Quintana was on the Pirates. The rest of their rotation is a lot of “hope this guy figures it out,” which is always a fun dynamic for a rebuilding club. Sometimes you find a Jose Altuve. A lot of times you don’t. But the promise is the fun part that makes it watchable.
Daniel Vogelbach being the beefiest leadoff hitter in history is fun. Ke’Bryan Hayes’ defense also makes them very watchable, and luckily for Pirates fans they’ll get to keep watching it for a while — hopefully long enough for him to be on the next great Pirates team. Building that team will likely require spending money, which Pittsburgh’s ownership is not one to do.
27. Washington Nationals
Record as of 4/25: 6-12
Last Power Ranking: 26
The Nationals have not played good baseball to date, but their biggest error of the season came across the timeline early last week when the Federal Aviation Administration forgot to inform local police that they’d be doing a flyover at Nationals Park for Military Appreciation Day, leading to evacuations at the U.S. Capitol.
Their bullpen is banged up. Patrick Corbin’s ERA has reached double digits through his first four starts; no pitcher in baseball has allowed more runs since the start of 2020. Josh Bell exited Saturday’s game with a hamstring issue. Their lineup construction of Remembering Some Guys has made them interesting from afar, but not to the extent that makes most of the non-Juan Soto parts of the roster all that fun to watch.
It’s been bleak. But for fans of niche baseball random weirdness, there’s this:
This is the Washington Nationals’ 18th season.
Over their first 17, they had 4 catcher’s interferences.
This year already, they have 3.
— Joe Trezza (@JoeTrezz) April 21, 2022
28. Arizona Diamondbacks
Record as of 4/25: 6-10
Last Power Ranking: 27
I’ll be honest: the NL West is going to be a gauntlet the next few years, and it’s hard to foresee the next time the Diamondbacks make a serious run at it. The good news is that I’m often wrong and things can sometimes change quickly.
But this year’s club? It’s not going well. They can thank the Reds for keeping them company at the bottom of some of the league’s offensive leaderboards, at least.
They did sign a former carpenter (not Matt, who remains in the Rangers organization) who was happy to get released in February and whose fastball has reached triple digits. If anything, it’s a cool story, and Cam Booser is a cool name.
29. Baltimore Orioles
Record as of 4/25: 6-10
Last Power Ranking: 30
This week wasn’t half-bad for a team that figures to hang out in the No. 29-30 spot of these rankings for the entire season. After taking a series against the Yankees the previous weekend, the Orioles just won two of three in Anaheim.
They’ve pitched surprisingly well so far (3.15 ERA, 0.6 HR/9), but the offensive production has been meager — as we saw during a sleepy four-game series in Oakland where the Orioles scored seven runs. The pitching staff took a hit when John Means left his April 13 start with left forearm tightness, which will force him to undergo Tommy John surgery on Wednesday.
The Orioles have a couple of starters in Triple A who are knocking on the door, and Means’ injury will likely accelerate their respective opportunities to reach the majors. Top prospect Adley Rutschman reported to High-A Aberdeen on Sunday for a rehab assignment, which means his eventual call-up could be on the horizon. And for Orioles fans, following the prospects has been what it’s all about. Asking fans to have patience for the better part of a decade doesn’t seem like the best business model, but major-league teams know best.
30. Cincinnati Reds
Record as of 4/25: 3-13
Last Power Ranking: 29
Where are you gonna go, Reds?
Right now, the answer is the bottom of the standings and our rankings. Sunday marked the first time they won a game (after 11 consecutive losses) since their club president put his foot in his mouth. They’ve barely even held a lead. Their feel-good story of the week, Tommy Pham breaking a long season-opening hitless streak, was short-lived. Luke Voit then bowled over Tyler Stephenson at the plate, which lead to Pham informing Voit he can “get down real well.”
Things are so bleak in Cincinnati that C. Trent Rosecrans assembled an “all-IL team,” which surely includes some names who will be on the trade block once they return.
They may not be the worst team in baseball in true talent. But the vibes are not great!
(Photo of Houston’s Alex Bregman: David J. Phillip / AP Photo)