MLB power rankings: Yankees, Dodgers, Mets hold top spots

MLB power rankings: Yankees, Dodgers, Mets hold top spots

Frank “The Tank”, Ricard might say We’re going to streak .

Or we’ve been stuttering, at least for some teams. There are many ebbs, flows and streaks in a six-month season. However, there have been some notable runs in the league recently. The Angels put together a franchise-record 14-game losing streak that cost their manager his job, while the Phillies won eight straight games immediately after firing Joe Girardi. The A’s lost 10 straight while the Braves have won their last 11. I don’t know what this all means except that the baseball calendar is very unpredictable.

Now that we have another week of the season, let’s take a look at each club’s top newcomers so far this year.

Jun 6, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; New York Mets left fielder Mark Canha (19) advances home on a two-RBI triple hit by third baseman Eduardo Escobar (not pictured) during the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

30. Kansas City Royals (Last Week: 30)

The Royals didn’t exactly break the bank with offseason acquisitions, so highlighting a new arrival is a bit of a challenge. Zack Greinke is proving his age by posting a 5. 05 ERA through his first 10 starts with a fastball averaging 88.5 miles per hour that hitters have feasted on to the tune of a . 354 batting average. Although Amir Garrett wasn’t exactly a lights-out hitter, he did have strong underlying metrics (2. 55 expected ERA) prior to Sunday’s rough outing (three earned runs in 2/3 innings), so let’s go with him.

29. Oakland A’s (LW: 27)

Once upon a time, Christian Bethancourt was considered one of the game’s best prospects. He appeared in the Futures Game and debuted for the Braves in 2013 at age 21, but never found his footing. He last appeared in the majors with the Padres in ’17, and later played for the NC Dinos of the KBO. He was signed by Oakland to a minor league contract this offseason and has been one of the most impressive comeback stories of the season. Bethancourt hit his fourth homer of the season during Sunday’s 6-3 loss to Cleveland, and entering this week, his season slash line is .269/.310/.454.

28. Cincinnati Reds (LW: 29)

Few probably predicted that Brandon Drury would be Cincinnati‘s home run leader on June 13, but that’s exactly how the first couple months have played out. The 29-year-old joined the Reds on a minor league contract this offseason, and so far has made the most of his chance at regular playing time. Drury added two more hits on Sunday, and has hit safely in his first 11 games to start the month.

27. Washington Nationals (LW: 28)

Nelson Cruz has done exactly what the Nationals brought him in to do: bring a veteran presence and drive in runs, even though that hasn’t led to many wins. The soon-to-be 42-year-old ranks second on the team with 35 RBIs, and has a wRC above league average (100) for the 15th consecutive season. As the Nats slip further to the back of the pack, there are sure to be more than a few contending teams reaching out to inquire about the veteran slugger before the trade deadline.

26. Pittsburgh Pirates (LW: 24)

The Pirates lost again on Sunday, and although Jose Quintana surrendered three homers over five innings, he’s still been their best offseason pickup so far. Through 12 starts, the lefthander has a 3. 53 ERA with 50 strikeouts.

25. Detroit Tigers (LW: 26)

Detroit‘s big-ticket signings–Javier Baez and Eduardo Rodriguez–haven’t panned out to this point, which has played a big role in the team’s poor start. Andrew Chafin, the Tigers’ newly acquired reliever, is the only one who has performed well. The left-handed reliever has a 2. 51 ERA through his first 19 appearances, with no home runs allowed. He signed with the Tigers on a two-year, $13 million with an opt-out after this season, so could be a useful trade chip a couple months from now if they don’t think he’ll stick around for next year.

24. Chicago Cubs (LW: 22)

Seiya Suzuki cooled off considerably after a blistering April and hasn’t played since May 27 with a finger injury, so the Cubs selection here is closer David Robertson. The 37-year-old pitched only 18 2/3 innings from 2019 to ’21 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he has been lights out this season after signing with Chicago this winter. Robertson has struck out 35.6% of hitters he’s faced so far, and has an expected batting average against of .160.

23. Baltimore Orioles (LW: 25)

For what seems like forever, the notion of the Orioles having good pitching has felt like a pipe dream. The Orioles are ranked in the middle of the pack for pitching fWAR (4.9) with a not-terrible 4. 22 team ERA. 356 Team ERA. Jordan Lyles has not been a star, but he’s been very serviceable with a 4. 97 ERA and 4. 22 FIP through 12 starts. He has reduced his use of the long ball this season (1. 21 HR/9) after allowing 1.9 HR/9 in 2021.

23. Colorado Rockies (LW: 23)

Kris Bryant’s seven-year, $182 million deal is off to a terrible start, as the former Cub has only played in 17 games while dealing with a back injury. The Rockies have gotten much better early returns on the one-year, $3 million contract it gave to pitcher Chad Kuhl, who’s posted a sharp 3. 70 ERA through his first 11 starts.

21. Chicago White Sox (LW: 19)

Not a lot has gone right for the White Sox lately, as the team has lost 10 of its last 15 games. The whole of relief pitching has been a problem, but Kendall Graveman has done a lot. The righthander signed a three-year, $24 million deal this offseason, and so far, he has delivered with a 2. 60 ERA over his first 26 appearances. He’s been able to keep the ball on the ground at a stellar 56.8% clip.

20. Arizona Diamondbacks (LW: 20)

After a strong start to the year, Arizona‘s pitching staff has regressed all the way toward the back of the pack. Zach Davies has been trending in the opposite direction. After a difficult April, he has been solid and posted a 3. 71 ERA with an opponents’ OPS of . 655 since the start of May.

May 22, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Seattle Mariners third baseman Eugenio Suarez (28) reacts after hitting a solo home run against the Boston Red Sox during the ninth inning at Fenway Park.

Eugenio Suarez ranks third among all American League third basemen with 11 home runs this season.

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19. Seattle Mariners (LW: 21)

The gem of Seattle‘s offseason haul–reigning Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray–has largely been a disappointment. Third baseman Eugenio Suarez has been a pleasant surprise, batting .235/.331/. 452 with a team-high 11 home runs.

18. Texas Rangers (LW: 17)

The Rangers spent most of their money on Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Jon Gray, but Martin Perez has been their biggest get. The lefthander has improbably emerged as a Cy Young Award contender after years of putting up back-end-of-the-rotation numbers. With a 2. 18 ERA, and has the lowest home run rate (0. 24 HR/9) among qualified starting pitchers–not bad for a guy making just $4 million this season.

17. Miami Marlins (LW: 18)

The Marlins saw their five-game winning streak come to an end on Sunday with a 9-4 loss to the Astros. If Joey Wendle hadn’t been injured so often, he would have been recognized here. The Marlins (LW: 356 saw their five-game winning streak end on Sunday with a 9-4 loss to the Astros. The reigning World Series MVP is tied for the team lead with 12 homers and has a 116 wRC in 233 plate appearances.

16. Los Angeles Angels (LW: 14)

It was probably telling that the Angels‘ front office thought they were onto something when they made Michael Lorenzen their first starting pitching acquisition of the offseason. The righthander had been almost exclusively a relief pitcher since 2016, but the team immediately made clear its plans to use him in the rotation. Lorenzen posted a 6-3 record with a 3. 45 ERA through his first 10 starts. He leads the team with 60 innings pitched on the year.

15. Philadelphia Phillies (LW: 16)

The Phillies finally lost a game in the post-Girardi era with Sunday’s 13-1 beatdown against the Diamondbacks. Philadelphia has been plagued with bullpen woes for a long time. We’ll split the honors with Corey Knebel, Brad Hand, and share the honors of best newcomer. They have combined for a 2. 76 ERA over 42 1/3 innings, helping stabilize the late innings for a team that will likely be on the edge of the playoff race for most of the summer.

14. Cleveland Guardians (LW: 15)

Cleveland made a remarkably few amount of offseason acquisitions, so the pickings are pretty slim in this department. Enyel de Los Santos, righthander, was signed to a minor league contract. This was a smart move. The 26-year-old, who had amassed a career 6. 06 ERA before joining the Guardians, has posted a 2. 76 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 16 games so far.

VERDUCCI: Don’t Underestimate Jose Ramirez and the Guardians

13. Milwaukee Brewers (LW: 5)

It’s been something of a tailspin for the Brew Crew of late. Milwaukee snapped an eight-game losing streak with a win over the Nationals on Sunday. The Brewers have the fourth-most production from their catchers this season. Omar Narvaez, the incumbent, splits duties with Victor Caratini (who was acquired in trade from San Diego) on Sunday. Caratini has hit .244/.351/. 427 through his first 97 plate appearances while playing his typically strong defense.

12. Boston Red Sox (LW: 13)

It’s remarkable that Trevor Story is even in consideration here after his dreadful start with the Red Sox. A terrible April has been replaced by a productive May and June. Story didn’t hit his first home run with his new team until May 11, but he’s taken off from that game onward. In that span, he is slashing a .239/.331/. 551 nine homers and is a perfect 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts.

11. Tampa Bay Rays (LW: 10)

In typical Rays fashion, it appears they’ve unearthed a dominant relief pitcher out of nowhere. Jason Adam had bounced around five different organizations–including two stints with the Royals–over 10 years before landing with Tampa Bay on a one-year, $900,000 deal this offseason. He has a 0. 72 ERA in 25 innings so far, with a 33% strikeout rate and no home runs allowed. Adam has more than doubled his changeup and slider usage this year compared to 2021, with devastating results: opposing hitters have a combined . 096 batting average against the two offerings.

Jun 10, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Kenley Jansen (74) throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the ninth inning at Truist Park.

Kenley Jansen ranks second in the majors with 18 saves this season.

10. Atlanta Braves (LW: 12)

Though he seemed to make Dodgers fans plenty nervous in high-leverage situations in recent years, new closer Kenley Jansen has been reliable so far for the defending champs. The veteran closer notched his 18th save on Sunday as Atlanta ran its winning streak to 11 games. Jansen has a 3. 25 ERA and 0. 90 WHIP through 27 2/3 innings to start the season, with a 35.2% strikeout rate that stands as his highest since 2017.

9. Minnesota Twins (LW: 9)

Carlos Correa has hit safely in all four games since he’s come off the COVID-19 injured list, going 8-for-15 with three home runs. Aside from the missed time, he’s been largely as advertised, batting .303/.372/. 465 in 39 games. The Twins are are 24-15 when Correa is on the field and 11-12 without him.

8. San Francisco Giants (LW: 11)

The two highest-profile players the Giants added this offseason–Carlos Rodon and Joc Pederson–have both paid off, which is a key reason why they are firmly in the mix despite playing in a stacked NL West. They swept the Dodgers to pull within 3 games of first place. Rodon struck out eight batters over six shutout frames during Sunday’s 2-0 win, while Pederson leads the team with 13 home runs and is batting .333/.412/. 683 over his past 20 games.

7. St. Louis Cardinals (LW: 7)

None of the Cardinals‘ offseason acquisitions have really popped over the first two-plus months, and it’s a testament to their returning players that the team has performed so well thus far. Nick Wittgren, a free agent signed by St. Louis, has been in more games than any other St. Louis pitcher, but Wittgren has an unseemly 5. 79 ERA over 25 appearances. He has struggled lately, with nine runs allowed in his nine last innings. But, prior to that, he had a 3. 77 ERA across his first 18 appearances (14 1/3 innings). He also remains one of the most difficult pitchers in the league to make hard contact against, ranking in the 99th percentile in opponents’ barrel rate.

It’s also worth noting here that Albert Pujols, despite his overall .214/.319/. 378 slash line, is still crushing left-handed pitching. In 42 plate appearances against lefties, he’s hitting .351/.381/.595. Due to injuries to Dylan Carlson, Tyler O’Neill, and the struggles of Corey Dickerson, he’s been facing more righties than he expected. That said, Pujols should slide back into that mostly-platoon role now that Carlson and O’Neill are back healthy and top hitting prospect Nolan Gorman is on the big league roster.

6. Toronto Blue Jays (LW: 8)

The Blue Jays let Robbie Ray walk in free agency and signed Kevin Gausman instead. The move has been a success. Ray is slipping while Gausman remains an ace. The righthander holds a 2. 67 ERA through his first 12 starts, with an even stingier 1. 75 FIP that suggests he’s actually pitched better than his results indicate.

5. Houston Astros (LW: 4)

After a few solid yet uneven seasons as the closer in Philadelphia, reliever Hector Neris has performed well after signing with the Astros on a two-year deal this offseason. Neris recorded his 12th hold with a perfect eighth inning in Sunday’s win over the Marlins to help Houston avoid a sweep. Neris leads the majors with 28 appearances this season, and has held opponents scoreless in 23 of them.

4. San Diego Padres (LW: 6)

Trading for Sean Manaea just before the start of the season is exactly the type of bold move general manager A.J. Preller is well-known for his wise moves, and they have been successful through the first two months. The lefthander has a 3. 52 ERA with 71 strikeouts over 11 starts, and has given up three earned runs or fewer in six of his last seven starts. The Padres have an opportunity to gain ground in the coming weeks with a very manageable schedule before welcoming the Dodgers to Petco Park for a four-game set beginning on June 30.

3. New York Mets (LW: 3)

Steve Cohen and the Mets‘ front office spared no expense in bringing in top-end talent this offseason, and many of those players have delivered during their first season in Queens. We will give the nod to Mark Canha for his steady presence in the batter’s circle. Canha has long been one of the toughest outs in the league, and so far he’s posted a .301/.374/. 379 slash line through his first 195 plate appearances. Max Scherzer’s return to the mound will be key for the Mets, but for now, Canha has been the most consistent of the new arrivals.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers (LW: 2)

Like the Mets, the Dodgers‘ offseason was marked by high-profile acquisitions. Tyler Anderson is the most notable among the rest. While Freddie Freeman has produced at a typical (if not vintage) rate, he’s still a good player. Anderson is 7-0 with 3. 07 ERA through his first 58 2/3 innings, and actually leads all Dodgers pitchers in fWAR (1.4). Anderson has never had an ERA lower than 4. 37 since he was a rookie in 2016, but he’s on his way to breaking that streak this season. He’s altered his pitch mix to throw more changeups and honed his control to the tune of a 3.8% walk rate–sixth-lowest among pitchers with at least 50 innings. Anderson has allowed two runs or less in seven of nine starts this season.

Jun 10, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees catcher Jose Trevino (39) reacts to getting the game winning hit during the thirteenth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Yankee Stadium.

Before this year, Jose Trevino had been a light-hitting catcher with an elite glove throughout his career. Now, he ranks second on the Yankees with a 148 wRC (minimum 100 plate appearances).

1. New York Yankees (LW: 1)

The Yankees are on an absolute tear, winning 11 of their last 12 games and outsourcing opponents by 56 runs during that stretch. Aaron Judge is on pace for 65 home runs, and his 24 homers are six more than anybody else. Surprisingly, Jose Trevino is second in fWAR (1.7) among the team’s hitters. The 29-year-old catcher was acquired in an April trade from the Rangers, and has posted a .309/.356/. 505 slash line through 104 plate appearances. Add that to the ludicrous start that Matt Carpenter is having, and it’s no wonder this team is on pace to win 119 games.

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