MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Red-hot Padres and Dodgers battle for top spot at the quarter-mark of the baseball season

CBS Sports

As we approach the end of May, we’re roughly one fourth of the way through the season. We often in this space discuss how things tend to even out over the course of 162 games and recently there appears to have been a lot of evening out. Some lesser teams who got off to very good starts have tapered off. We don’t really need to name names right now because I’m feeling the power of positivity (actually, you’ll notice the extended bad stretches mentioned toward the bottom of the rankings below). 

On the other end of the spectrum, some of the teams we thought as powers heading into the season are really hot right now. 

It’s safe to say the Dodgers are back. Their sequencing has been pretty funny, though. We could divide them up into three sections of the season right now with records of 13-2, 5-15 and 11-1. Despite that stretch where it felt like they were going to lose every single night, they are back on pace to win 100 games and have the second-best run differential in baseball. They’re still banged up, too. After sitting alone at the top for weeks and them tumbling down to the late teens, they are back in the conversation for number one. 

The Yankees started the season 5-10. Since then they are 23-9 (the best record in baseball in that span) and are currently riding a six-game winning streak after sweeping the White Sox. They are now within striking range of the top spot. 

The Rays are a half-game ahead of the Yankees in the standings, as they are riding the longest winning streak in baseball at 10. Seven of those 10 have come against pretty tough competition, too. It’s been quite the string after they were sitting 19-19. The defending AL champs are back in the conversation for number one. 

None of those teams get the top spot this week, though. That distinction goes to the San Diego Padres, for I’m pretty sure is the first time ever since I took over The Official Power Rankings here on CBS Sports (2012). They’ve won nine straight and 12 of their last 13. They sport the best run differential in baseball and haven’t really been full strength much at all. They’ve dealt with the adversity and emerged stronger than ever. And Fernando Tatis Jr. is out of his freaking mind right now (11 for his last 14 with four homers and 12 RBI). 

Bask in the sunlight, San Diego. It’s a breathtaking view from the top. 

Biggest Movers

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1


Padres

I really love the Ryan Weathers/Dinelson Lamet piggyback situation, given the circumstances (protecting the young arm in Weathers and health concerns with Lamet). Chris Paddack has been great lately, too. 5 30-17

2


Dodgers

I’m not sure how it’ll shake out long term, but the Albert Pujols experience so far has been pretty fun. 7 29-18

3


Red Sox

The Red Sox have won seven of their last 10 and still lost their lead in the AL East. Three teams within a half-game on May 24 is pretty awesome, though. 1 29-19

4


Yankees

In his last two seasons with the Yankees, D.J. LeMahieu hit .336/.386/.536. This season he’s at .260/.347/.347. The offense as a whole has been inconsistent, but the hunch here is if LeMahieu gets it going again, everyone else falls in line. 6 28-19

5


Rays

Randy Arozarena is heating up! In his last eight games, he’s hitting .351 with two doubles, three homers and nine RBI. 6 29-19

6


White Sox

Not a very confidence-inspiring series in the Bronx. It is just one series, though. They’re still the best team in their division. 5 26-19

7


Astros

Last weekend they swept the Rangers in four games. This weekend they were swept by the Rangers. Just when they were looking fixed and playing consistent baseball, too. 5 26-21

8


Athletics

I mentioned last week the upcoming schedule was pretty weak. So far the A’s are 2-1 on a stretch that includes only the Angels, Mariners, Rockies, Diamondbacks, and Royals until June 18. This is where a major contender would get fat. Will these A’s? 5 28-20

9


Giants

That wasn’t exactly the “pay more attention to us” series they were looking for, huh? They’ll get another crack at the Dodgers in just a few days. Is that good news, though? 4 28-19

10


Cardinals

This absolutely could be a small-sample anomaly, but I just noticed the Cardinals are 3-7 against teams above .500 and 20-10 against those below (they are 3-3 vs. the exactly-.500 Brewers). On one hand, it’s good to beat up on the bad teams. That’s what good teams do. On the other, the schedule should even itself out, right? 3 26-20

11


Blue Jays

Starting last Tuesday, the Blue Jays had a chance to announce their presence in the AL East contention picture with authority. They were looking at a 10-game stretch against the Red Sox, Rays and Yankees. So far they are 1-5. 3 23-22

12


Indians

Franmil Reyes has done some heavy lifting for this terrible offense and now he’s out 5-7 weeks. Tough break. 24-20

13


Cubs

The Cubs are 13-7 in May and all seven losses have only been by one run; three of them in extra innings. 6 24-22

14


Mets

Yeah, it’s a bad stretch, but they aren’t at full strength and are still in first place. Ebbs and flows and all that. Oh, and here’s a no-hitter watch in advance: Jacob deGrom returns from the injured list Tuesday. He’ll face the Rockies in Citi Field. The Rockies hit .209 on the road and are brutal against righties. 1 21-19

15


Braves

Are they fixed or were they just beating up on a weakling in the Pirates? This has been the toughest team to figure out all season. 1 23-24

16


Brewers

Prior to Sunday, Christian Yelich was 0 for 11 with seven strikeouts since returning from the injured list. Sunday he went 2 for 4 with a home run. They are a totally different team with him in the lineup at his MVP-level, so this is something to watch. 23-23

17


Marlins

Cody Poteet was taken in the fourth round in 2015. He’s spent parts of six seasons in the minors and obviously that doesn’t include the lost 2020 season. He’s thrown over 500 innings in the minors. He’s now 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA through two big-league starts. A tip of the cap, sir. 4 22-24

18


Phillies

The Phillies are in another rut and they are pretty banged up, too. The news gets even worse. They are about to embark on a 10-game road trip. They’ve gone 8-14 on the road so far this year. 3 23-24

19


Royals

They won four of five, but the coolest moment of the week was the huge ovation they gave Lorenzo Cain in Kansas City. 4 22-23

20


Rangers

Good grief, Adolis Garcia. In 29 games, he has 14 homers and 38 RBI with a .603 slugging percentage. Clutch? Of course. He had a walkoff homer on Friday and walkoff single Sunday. 5 22-27

21


Nationals

Congrats on the Beltway championship! 1 20-23

22


Reds

Remember that 6-1 start? Vaguely, right? They’ve played like a 102-loss team since. 4 20-25

23


Angels

Mike Trout games played 2013-16: 157, 157, 159 and 159, respectively. Then it was 114, 140 and 134. And now he’s out around two months. And I’m sad. 1 20-27

24


Tigers

The Tigers had actually won nine of their last 11 games before dropping a pair in K.C. over the weekend. They’ve earned the modest promotion. 6 18-28

25


Mariners

They just lost six in a row and were outscored by 36 runs. That’s about as bad a week as you could wish on your worst enemy. 8 21-26

26


Twins

The Twins won in extra innings on Sunday, moving their record in extras to 1-8. The streak is over! 3 17-29

27


Rockies

The Rockies are 16-12 at home and 2-17 on the road. They have seven road games coming this week. Uh oh. 1 18-29

28


Pirates

On April 27, the Pirates climbed above .500 at 12-11. Since then, they’ve gone 6-17. 1 18-28

29


Diamondbacks

This is an almost impressive tailspin. The Diamondbacks have lost eight straight and since May 2 have gone 3-17. 5 18-30

30


Orioles

Since May 5, the Orioles have gone 2-13. 4 17-29



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