MLB Power Rankings Week 10: Red-hot AL team makes No. 1 debut - ESPN

MLB Power Rankings Week 10: Red-hot AL team makes No. 1 debut

Vinnie Pasquantino, Bryce Miller and Francisco Lindor ESPN

It's a new week in our MLB Power Rankings -- and we have a new No. 1 atop our list!

After the Phillies usurped the Dodgers two weeks ago, the red-hot Yankees have now taken over that spot. Since May 1, New York has won 25 of its 32 games.

While the top teams continue to dominate, the rest of the league continues to falter, as only 11 clubs have a record over .500 -- seven in the American League and only four in the National League. Will the tide change as we get deeper into summer baseball?

Our expert panel has combined to rank every team in baseball based on a combination of what we've seen and what we already knew going into the 162-game marathon that is a full baseball season. We also asked ESPN MLB experts David Schoenfield, Bradford Doolittle, Jesse Rogers, Alden Gonzalez and Jorge Castillo to weigh in with an observation for all 30 teams.

Week 9 | Preseason rankings

1. New York Yankees

Record: 44-19
Previous ranking: 2

The Yankees' starting rotation took a hit when Clarke Schmidt landed on the injured list with a right lat strain last week. Clarke and his 2.52 ERA will be on the shelf for at least two months. That news puts a dent in the Yankees' starting pitching depth, but they have a reinforcement by the name of Gerrit Cole on the way. Cole was sharp Tuesday in his first rehab start since being diagnosed with nerve irritation and edema in his right elbow in mid-March. He threw 45 pitches over 3⅓ scoreless innings for Double-A Somerset and will make at least another rehab start before returning to the Yankees. His rotation replacement, meanwhile, might start the All-Star Game. Luis Gil is 8-1 with a 1.82 ERA -- the second-best mark in the majors -- across 12 starts. -- Castillo

2. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 44-19
Previous ranking: 1

The Phillies will see their depth tested with Brandon Marsh (hamstring) and Kody Clemens (back spasms) landing on the IL, joining Trea Turner (hamstring), who remains without a timetable for his return. The injuries to Marsh and Clemens aren't serious, but the Phillies' bench was already a little weak with Whit Merrifield, Cristian Pache and backup catcher Garrett Stubbs all providing little offense. Veteran outfielder David Dahl, an All-Star with the Rockies in 2019, got the call. He has battled a ton of injuries in his career and played four games in the majors last season and none in 2022. He went 3-for-5 with a home run in his first two games. -- Schoenfield

3. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 39-21
Previous ranking: 4

The Orioles received a double dose of terrible news this week: Starters John Means and Tyler Wells were both lost for the season with UCL damage that requires Tommy John surgery. Both pitchers have undergone the procedure before. Means, a veteran lefty, started the season on the IL but had recorded a 2.61 ERA in four starts in May before undergoing the surgery Monday. Baltimore still has the rotation to contend this season. That Corbin Burnes acquisition looks better by the day, with the 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner posting a 2.26 ERA in 13 starts. Grayson Rodriguez, Cole Irvin, Kyle Bradish, Albert Suarez and Dean Kremer (once he returns from injury) round out a group that should help keep the Orioles in the division race. -- Castillo

4. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 38-25
Previous ranking: 3

Shohei Ohtani is riding something of a minislump, slashing .212/.278/.394 over his past 17 games (though he did hit an impressive homer against Paul Skenes on Wednesday). It could be the typical lull any hitter, regardless of how gifted, goes through over the course of a season. Or it could be the bruised hamstring he has been playing through. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts compared it to the back ailment Ohtani went through earlier in the season. "When his back was bothering him a little bit, you saw some funkier swings, a little bit more chase," Roberts told reporters. "Hamstring bothering him a little bit, you see a little bit of the same thing." -- Gonzalez

5. Cleveland Guardians

Record: 40-20
Previous ranking: 5

Steven Kwan returned last Friday after missing nearly a month and went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. He scored two more runs in Tuesday's come-from-behind 8-5 win over the Royals, a game in which the Guardians trailed 5-0. Kwan had been off to a great start, hitting .353 before going on the IL. Meanwhile, David Fry, 28, continues to rake. He made the team as a third-catcher/utility guy, but after slashing .383/.513/.750 with seven home runs and 18 RBIs in May, he has hit his way into more or less regular status, starting at catcher, left field, first base and DH so far. He did hit .317 at Triple-A last season, but that was in just 29 games. Nobody saw anything like a 1.000 OPS coming. -- Schoenfield

6. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 36-26
Previous ranking: 6

The injury to starter Robert Gasser is concerning. The lefty was having a tremendous rookie season before elbow problems shelved him. He had given up just eight earned runs over five starts while compiling a 16-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The good news is Jakob Junis and Joe Ross are making their own ways back from injury, but Milwaukee could be in the hunt for a starter come July. Their cushion in the division will give the Brewers a chance to assess from within -- Aaron Ashby could get another look -- before any decisions need to be made. -- Rogers

7. Atlanta Braves

Record: 34-25
Previous ranking: 7

The rotation continues to carry the Braves. Max Fried has reeled off three straight great starts for wins: a complete-game win over the Cubs, eight shutout innings against the Nationals and then a career-high 13 strikeouts (in just seven innings) against the Red Sox. Reynaldo Lopez continues to roll along with a 1.73 ERA. Chris Sale did get hammered against the A's on Saturday but had won seven starts in a row with a 1.17 ERA before that. Charlie Morton, 40, has been solid enough. The only problem has been the fifth and sixth spots, which have seen a rotating cast of characters. Bryce Elder, an All-Star last season, got sent back down to Triple-A for the second time this season, while Ray Kerr has gotten a couple of starts and Spencer Schwellenbach just made his MLB debut. -- Schoenfield

8. Kansas City Royals

Record: 36-26
Previous ranking: 8

On paper, the Royals' bullpen has been thin all along. Still, with the starters routinely posting quality starts, they were able to get by riding a couple of hot arms to navigate the late innings. For most of the season, those arms have belonged to John Schreiber and James McArthur. Lately, though, those righties have been less dependable and the lack of depth in the bullpen has been exposed. During a 3-7 stretch beginning on May 25, only the White Sox posted a worst bullpen ERA. Kansas City managed one save and one hold during that span with four blown saves. As general manager J.J. Picollo sets out to improve the Royals' roster between now and the trade deadline, the bullpen has moved ahead of the weak-hitting outfield on the list of priorities. -- Doolittle

9. Seattle Mariners

Record: 35-28
Previous ranking: 9

The Mariners have one of baseball's best rotations, an easy strength to point to when trying to understand how they could continue to lead the AL West despite a punchless offense and thin bullpen. However, don't overlook criminally underrated manager Scott Servais when fishing for explanations. The old analytical maxim is that winning one-run games is basically a 50-50 proposition. Well, since Servais took over as skipper in Seattle in 2016, the Mariners have gone 227-172 in one-run encounters. That supposedly unsustainable pattern has continued big-time in 2024 -- they are 13-5 in one-run games this season. Perhaps this is not a reflection of Servais' abilities at all. But if that's the case, it'd be an awfully big coincidence. -- Doolittle

10. Minnesota Twins

Record: 33-28
Previous ranking: 12

Royce Lewis finally returned to the Twins' lineup Tuesday after severely straining his quad three innings into Opening Day. And, right on cue, the third baseman homered and walked twice in three plate appearances in a loss to the Yankees. The solo shot was the Twins' only run of the night. With that performance, Lewis was 3-for-3 with two home runs in two games this season -- and then he hit another home run on Wednesday. There is no question he can hit. It's about him staying healthy. If Lewis, Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton & Co. can avoid the IL, the Twins have more than enough firepower to chase down Cleveland in the AL Central race. -- Castillo

11. San Diego Padres

Record: 32-33
Previous ranking: 10

The Padres' rotation absorbed a major blow over the weekend when both Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish landed on the IL. Darvish is dealing with a groin strain, a relatively minor injury that shouldn't keep him out too long. Musgrove, however, suffered a recurrence of the elbow inflammation that forced him to miss close to three weeks this season. He could be out longer this time, though the extent of his injury is unknown. The good news: Rookie right-hander Adam Mazur came up from the minor leagues and held the Angels to one run in six innings in his debut. -- Gonzalez

12. Texas Rangers

Record: 30-32
Previous ranking: 15

As the champion Rangers continue to slide back into mediocrity, the struggles of their injury-riddled offense have gone from concerning to alarming. Less than a month ago, Texas was on pace to score a respectable 827 runs this season. When the Rangers lost to Detroit at home on Tuesday, scoring a lone run for a second straight game, that run pace dipped to a season-low 706. Last year's Rangers scored 881 runs. The regression has been widespread, continuing even as Corey Seager's bat has started to heat up over the past couple of weeks. The Rangers' aggressive approach might be wearing thin. Last season, they swung at the first pitch 32.3% of the time, ranking eighth in MLB, and posted a .978 OPS when doing so. This season, through Tuesday, they've gone after a whopping 38.7% of first pitches, most in baseball, and have an .832 OPS when doing so. -- Doolittle

13. Boston Red Sox

Record: 31-31
Previous ranking: 11

Apologies for getting repetitive here, but Boston's season can be summarized with one of two points just about every week: The rotation has been spectacular -- especially considering the external expectations -- and the injuries just won't stop. The story this week is injuries again.

Infielders Vaughn Grissom and Romy Gonzalez were placed on the IL with hamstring strains. Outfielder Wilyer Abreu, a top-three AL Rookie of the Year candidate, landed on the IL with a sprained right ankle after slipping on the dugout steps at Fenway Park. Veteran reliever Chris Martin was placed on the IL as he deals with anxiety. The Red Sox are already without Lucas Giolito, Trevor Story and Garrett Whitlock for the season. Outfielder/DH Masataka Yoshida and first baseman Triston Casas have been out since late April. Tyler O'Neill was on the IL with knee inflammation until Wednesday. It's been ugly. -- Castillo

14. Detroit Tigers

Record: 31-31
Previous ranking: 18

The Tigers drafted Spencer Torkelson first overall out of Arizona State in 2020. He was looked upon in many circles as a can't-miss hitter, primed to hold down the middle of the Tigers' lineup for years to come. On Monday, almost four years to the day since selecting him, the Tigers sent Torkelson back down to the minor leagues. Torkelson, now 24, has slashed just .201/.266/.330 through 230 plate appearances this season. He amassed 31 home runs in 2023, but his .758 OPS suggests he didn't necessarily set the world on fire then, either. Said Tigers manager A.J. Hinch: "We hope that we find some consistency with his swing, his setup, his approach, quality contact, just his overall offensive contribution." -- Gonzalez

15. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 29-33
Previous ranking: 17

Jordan Montgomery was struggling, Eduardo Rodriguez was still out, Merrill Kelly remained on the IL, and then the D-backs received even more bad news for their rotation: Zac Gallen, their ace, exited his start last Thursday with a right hamstring strain that had given him problems earlier this season and was placed on the 15-day IL the next day. The D-backs have relied on Ryne Nelson and Slade Cecconi to fill in for their rotation, but the pair has combined for a 5.51 ERA. Needless to say, they'll have to step up. Two of the NL wild-card spots remain wide open, and the reigning NL champs can't afford to lose much ground. -- Gonzalez

16. Chicago Cubs

Record: 31-31
Previous ranking: 14

The Cubs aren't quite at the point of making dramatic changes, as their offense is slowly coming out of its May slumber. Ian Happ has emerged from a quiet month but the team could benefit from Cody Bellinger, Seiya Suzuki and Dansby Swanson all getting hot at the same time. Swanson, in particular, has been a ground ball/pull machine but a late home run Saturday night did propel Chicago to a much-needed win over the Reds. Swanson has had few of those moments this season, but the Cubs will need more of them -- they've dropped their past six series before facing the lowly White Sox this week. -- Rogers

17. Houston Astros

Record: 28-35
Previous ranking: 16

Righty Hunter Brown seems to be hitting his stride and the timing couldn't be better. The injury-battered Astros' rotation now must navigate the rest of 2024 without Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy after the club announced both veteran righties will undergo season-ending elbow surgery. As GM Dana Brown scrambles to staff the rotation, he at least can hope that Brown's recent leap is real. Since the beginning of May, Brown has posted a 3.62 ERA while averaging 10 strikeouts per nine innings. For now, he slots alongside Framber Valdez and the less-dominant-than-usual Justin Verlander as Houston's rotation big three. Ronel Blanco continues to hold his own but rookie Spencer Arrighetti has turned up with a sore calf, which could put the Astros in even more of a pitching bind. -- Doolittle

18. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 29-31
Previous ranking: 21

Rookie Masyn Winn has been everything the Cardinals expected and then some. It's not easy to be a rookie shortstop for a team with playoff aspirations but he has been their best all-around player, which is saying something on a team that employs Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. Perhaps his best quality is simply his poise at such a young age. It also doesn't hurt to have a rocket for an arm, a good eye at the plate and a little speed to boot. Right now, he would be the Cardinals' All-Star among their position players. -- Rogers

19. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 31-31
Previous ranking: 19

Tampa Bay doesn't have a shortage of underperforming position players. But the case of Randy Arozarena is fascinating and might define the Rays' 2024 season -- whether they decide to stay the course for October or turn their attention to 2025 and get aggressive at the trade deadline. Arozarena is a 29-year-old proven performer in pressure situations (see: his postseason numbers and 2023 World Baseball Classic run) making $8.1 million this season and under team control through 2026. Contenders hungry for outfield help -- and there are several -- should want a player with his profile and résumé. But he's also slashing .169/.285/.319 with a 83 wRC+. That might not matter if a team thinks it can get him back on track for when it matters most. -- Castillo

20. San Francisco Giants

Record: 30-33
Previous ranking: 13

Blake Snell made three starts, posted an 11.57 ERA, spent about a month on the IL with an adductor strain, came back, posted a 7.50 ERA in three more starts, and now he's on the IL again with basically the same injury, which he suffered against the Yankees on Sunday. Two days later, the Giants suffered their sixth consecutive loss -- a rut that immediately followed a dominant 12-game stretch that had vaulted them back into the wild-card race. "That was a terrible game by us," manager Bob Melvin told reporters after Tuesday's 8-5 loss to the division-rival Diamondbacks. "... It's a bad game in a bad stretch." -- Gonzalez

21. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 29-33
Previous ranking: 22

Is the ship finally righting itself in Cincinnati? There are plenty of good signs that point to that, including a series win in Chicago last week followed by another one in Colorado. And don't forget the sweep of the Dodgers at home recently. This all comes after the Reds went 9-18 in May, but you have to start somewhere -- and the Reds are actually playing good baseball for the first time this season. In fact, their biggest weakness on the season has been a strength over the last week as they led the NL in OPS, a stat that hasn't been kind to them until now. -- Rogers

22. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 29-32
Previous ranking: 20

Alek Manoah's nightmare two-year stretch took another turn for the worse when he left his start last Wednesday with elbow trouble. The right-hander was placed on the IL with a UCL sprain after undergoing an MRI and is slated to seek a second opinion on the elbow, with no word on the results yet. Manoah, 26, had rebounded from a dreadful 2023 season in which he pitched to a 5.87 ERA in 19 starts and was demoted to the minors after finishing third in AL Cy Young Award voting in 2022. Manoah has a 3.70 ERA in five starts this season following a stint in the minors. Whether he makes a sixth start remains to be seen. -- Castillo

23. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 29-32
Previous ranking: 23

With all the attention Skenes has received, it's time to turn back to another rookie pitcher: Jared Jones. Spinning six shutout innings against the mighty Dodgers is no easy task -- but that's exactly what Jones did Tuesday, lowering his ERA to 3.25. He gave up three hits and three walks in that game while doing the unthinkable: striking out Shohei Ohtani twice while getting him to hit into a double-play grounder in another at-bat. It was a season-defining performance for the 22-year-old. -- Rogers

24. Washington Nationals

Record: 27-34
Previous ranking: 24

Trevor Williams, who is 5-0 with a 2.22 ERA, was placed on the IL with a right flexor strain and prospect DJ Herz was called up to take his place in the rotation. Herz, 23, allowed four runs and seven hits in four innings in his MLB debut against the Mets on Tuesday. He was drafted by the Cubs out of high school and came to the Nationals at last year's trade deadline in the Jeimer Candelario trade. He topped out with a 95.6 mph fastball against the Mets and while he held batters to a .176 average in Triple-A, he also walked 29 batters in 36 innings while averaging just four innings a start. -- Schoenfield

25. New York Mets

Record: 27-35
Previous ranking: 25

Needless to say, May was an ugly month for the Mets as they finished 9-19 with a minus-42 run differential. June didn't start out well either, with a 10-5 loss to Arizona on Saturday and then a 5-4 loss on Sunday as Jake Diekman served up a two-run homer in the ninth to Ketel Marte. That was the sixth loss for the Mets in a game they had led entering the ninth inning (all since May 1) -- yes, most in the majors. They had just two such losses last season. After a hot start, Reed Garrett has allowed runs in five of his past seven outings. Adam Ottavino allowed runs in seven of his 14 outings since May 1. Rookie Dedniel Nunez has impressed, however, with 19 K's in his first 11⅔ innings and has already been thrust into higher-leverage usage. -- Schoenfield

26. Oakland Athletics

Record: 25-38
Previous ranking: 27

The ice-cold Athletics need all the good news they can get and they might have found something in journeyman slugger Miguel Andujar. The one-time Yankees phenom has had a baffling big league career. Andujar has enjoyed extended stretches when he has looked like one of the better righty power hitters around. He's also had long stretches plagued by injuries and struggles that have kept him shuttling from team to team and between the minors and the majors even as he draws closer to his 30th birthday. So far, Oakland is enjoying the happy part of the Andujar pendulum, getting a .341/.333/.537 slash line and 12 RBIs in his first 10 games with the team. As his OBP being lower than his average attests, the free-swinging Andujar hasn't exactly turned over a new leaf in the plate discipline realm but, for now, he is producing. -- Doolittle

27. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 24-38
Previous ranking: 26

The listless Angels might get oft-injured Anthony Rendon back soon, as the third baseman is nearing a return to baseball duties. He could be joined at that stage of injury rehab by Mike Trout, who began running on a treadmill in late May. The news on both of L.A.'s cornerstones has come in trickles, the lack of urgency perhaps because the Angels have sunk so fast in the standings that it hardly seems to matter. While they haven't always been elite, they have never been truly dreadful. But this season might change that. The franchise record for losses is 95 (1968 and 1980). This year's Angels have been on pace to lose more than 100 since the last week of April. -- Doolittle

28. Colorado Rockies

Record: 21-40
Previous ranking: 28

The Rockies get a lot of grief on these Power Rankings -- and basically every other outlet that covers baseball -- but let's give them their due. Their May was ... well, decent, at least. They went 14-13 that month, a better record than the Cubs, Rangers, Diamondbacks and Braves. Ezequiel Tovar, their cornerstone shortstop, carried an .863 OPS. Cal Quantrill and Austin Gomber, two of their starters, pitched to a 1.23 ERA in 58⅓ innings. It was a good month. Sure, it was followed by five consecutive losses at the start of June, but let's focus on the positives here. The opportunities to do so have been few and far between. -- Gonzalez

29. Miami Marlins

Record: 21-41
Previous ranking: 29

When the Marlins signed Avisail Garcia to a four-year, $53 million contract before the 2022 season, it was a rare dip into free agency for the Bruce Sherman ownership group (and remains the biggest free agent deal under Sherman). Garcia was coming off a decent 2021 season, but he had been inconsistent throughout his career and it was a risky signing. After hitting .217/.260/.322 in two-plus seasons, the Marlins finally designated Garcia for assignment on Tuesday, still owing him close to $25 million.

You also have to wonder how long the team will stick with veteran shortstop Tim Anderson, who has been awful at the plate. At this point, the Marlins have to start thinking about fixing the hole at short for 2025. Maybe it's time to just play Vidal Brujan there to see what he can do on a regular basis (although the Marlins probably, and correctly, view him more as a utility player). The bright spot: At least they finished with a winning record (14-13) in May after that disastrous April. -- Schoenfield

30. Chicago White Sox

Record: 15-47
Previous ranking: 30

Let's look at some positives in Chicago:

  1. Erick Fedde has been good since coming back from South Korea.

  2. The team might have found its future catcher in Korey Lee, acquired from Houston last July.

  3. Paul DeJong is a decent trade candidate if a contender has an injury up the middle. He leads the team in home runs.

  4. Michael Kopech could bring a decent return if he has a few solid weeks in the back end of the bullpen.

  5. Luis Robert Jr. returned after missing time with an injury and promptly hit a 448-foot home run Tuesday.

We'll ignore all the bad going on with the White Sox this week. -- Rogers