May is here now and the 2019 Major League Baseball season is starting to wake up. Things are starting to feel more routine, which in turn means things are also starting to become less dependent on a small sample size.
There’s a little more of a body of work at this point, but as I assess the league each week for the Yahoo Sports Power Rankings, I’m not totally against a hot streak or a whim. I’m not necessarily going to proclaim the Red Sox fixed because they’ve won seven of 10, but I am starting to believe that what we’re seeing from teams like the Cubs and Twins lately can be who they really are.
Those two teams caught my eye the most this week. Obvious reasons for the Cubs. They haven’t lost since our last installment, rattling off seven straight wins, including a sweep of the very-good St. Louis Cardinals that ended with a 13-5 pounding Sunday. The Twins, on the other hand, have been exceeding expectations since the start of the season but it’s starting to look more real now and that’s reflected in their spot this week.
Here’s how I see MLB this week:
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (22-14; last week: 1)
The Dodgers are my default No. 1 these days until someone comes and takes the crown from them. There’s nothing terribly exciting to mention this week but they remain an overall solid team — the best offense in the game and a top 10 pitching staff. They’ve had good wins as well as a plentiful amount of them, plus they have one of the best run differentials in the league. They check all the boxes.
2. Houston Astros (20-14; last week: 3)
The Astros are my default AL team these days, but the Twins are close behind. The Astros did lose three of four to the Twins this week, but crushed the ball in Mexico against the Angels. When the Astros are at their best, I still don’t think many teams can beat them.
3. Minnesota Twins (20-12; last week: 8)
A nice bump for the Twins this week, who last week I dismissed as winning a lot of games against the Orioles. Still true, but then they played the Yankees and Astros and held their own. You may not think of them as a big power team, but they’re third in MLB with homers. The run differential is there. The pitching is in the top half of the league. They look legit.
4. Tampa Bay Rays (21-12; last week: 2)
It’s still early enough in the season that I’m not going to fully excuse a ho-hum week, so the Rays — still MLB’s best team by winning percentage — drop a little bit after splitting series with the Orioles and Royals this week. Gotta do better than that, dudes, to stay in the Top 2.
5. Chicago Cubs (19-12; last week: 11)
Take that, computers! The Cubs, burned by computer predictions before the season started, seem to have finally put it together. They vaulted into first place in the NL Central during their winning streak and despite their early struggles have the best run differential in baseball now.
Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (40) points towards the bleachers after hitting a solo homer against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday, May 5, 2019 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. (Getty Images)
6. Milwaukee Brewers (20-16; last week: 7)
The Brewers are an interesting team. They’ve played the toughest schedule in the league so far, and they’ve looked like one of the best teams, but their run differential is -10. I go with the eye test here instead, knowing the Brewers are better than that.
7. Arizona Diamondbacks (20-14; last week 14)
In a year where the Rays and Mariners are the AL surprise teams, we’re probably not talking enough about the D-backs, who have been quite good lately. They swept the Yankees in two games this week, then took two of three from the Rockies. Surprisingly, they’ve scored the third most runs in MLB.
8. St. Louis Cardinals (20-14; last week: 4)
Well, this is rich. The D-backs rank just ahead of the Cardinals, whom they traded Paul Goldschmidt to this winter. The Cardinals are good and Goldy has fit right in, but St. Louis is coming off a tough sweep at the hands of the Cubs.
9. New York Yankees (19-14; last week: 5)
I gave the Yankees a big bump last week for all their wins despite all their injuries, but I’m bringing them back down to reality a bit this week. Losing to the D-backs is part of that, but so is their schedule overall. They’ve had the fifth-easiest schedule so far. They’ve got the Mariners and Rays next.
10. Philadelphia Phillies (19-14; last week: 6)
The Phillies continue to win, which is good, but there’s nothing terribly impressive about them. Their offense and pitching are both middle of the pack. Bryce Harper isn’t killin’ it. This week, they won games against the Tigers and Nationals. They’re keeping their Top 10 spot, but it’s not a stronghold.
11. Cleveland Indians (18-14; last week: 10)
12. San Diego Padres (19-16; last week: 12)
13. Seattle Mariners (19-17; last week: 9)
14. Atlanta Braves (18-16; last week: 15)
15. Boston Red Sox (17-18; last week: 18)
The Red Sox are creeping up the rankings still after that terrible start. The defending champs have won three in a row (against the White Sox, but still) and seven of their last 10. Even Chris Sale finally got a win this week.
Boston Red Sox’s Xander Bogaerts, right, celebrates his grand slam with teammate Eduardo Nunez (36) against the Chicago White Sox in Chicago, Sunday, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Haynes)
16. Pittsburgh Pirates (16-15; last week: 21)
17. New York Mets (16-18; last week: 13)
18. Texas Rangers (16-16; last week: 22)
19. Colorado Rockies (16-19; last week: 20)
20. Toronto Blue Jays (15-19; last week: 17)
The Vlad Jr. hype has died down a bit as the Jays have been hit hard the last week. They lost five of six against the Angels and Rangers, while Vladdy is hitting just .167 and is yet to homer.
21. Washington Nationals (14-19; last week: 16)
22. Oakland A’s (15-21; last week: 19)
23. Los Angeles Angels (15-19; last week: 23)
24. Cincinnati Reds (14-20; last week: 24)
It’s hard to tell whether this is just an early-season oddity, but the Reds actually have a +15 run differential. The fact that they can hit three homers on three consecutive pitches probably helps.
25. Detroit Tigers (15-16; last week: 25)
26. San Francisco Giants (15-19; last week: 27)
27. Chicago White Sox (14-18; last week: 26)
28. Kansas City Royals (12-23; last week: 28)
29. Baltimore Orioles (12-22; last week: 29)
30. Miami Marlins (9-24; last week: 30)
Want to know how bad it’s been for the Marlins this year? They’ve scored 90 total runs so far, which is easily the lowest in the league. The Mariners, who lead the league, have scored 194. Ouch.
More from Yahoo Sports:
Read the original article at https://sports.yahoo.com/mlb-power-rankings-how-much-should-we-believe-in-the-cubs-and-twins-142429965.html?src=rss.