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MLB Power Rankings: Dodgers take down Cardinals for top spot
1:30 | MLB
MLB Power Rankings: Dodgers take down Cardinals for top spot
SI.com Staff
Monday May 18th, 2015

There's a new No. 1 team in this week's Power Rankings, as the hard-hitting Dodgers dethroned the Cardinals for the top spot. Led by baseball's best offense, Los Angeles grabbed six of our seven first-place votes, ending St. Louis' three-week reign at the top. The Cardinals didn't fall far, landing at No. 2, with the Royals staying steady at No. 3. Two new teams round out the top five, with the Astros moving up to No. 4 after falling to No. 6 last week, and the Nationals continuing their climb up the leader board by grabbing hold of the fifth spot.

We're No. 1: Dodgers

It's not hard to see why Los Angeles has emerged as baseball's best team to date. Its offense has been on fire all season, ranking third in runs per game (5.03), second in home runs (54) and first in on-base percentage (.349), slugging percentage (.470) and OPS+ (124). Six of the team's eight regulars on offense have an OPS+ of 132 or better, with only Jimmy Rollins (72) and Juan Uribe (59) failing to contribute much at the plate. On top of that, the Dodgers are getting a boost on the bench from Justin Turner (.294/.392/.588 in 79 plate appearances) and Alex Guerrero (third on the team in home runs with six). That L.A. is this good offensively despite getting nothing from Rollins or Uribe and despite losing Yasiel Puig (hamstring) and Carl Crawford (oblique) to injury, is a frightening thought for the rest of the National League West.

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That said, it's imperative that Rollins start producing as soon as possible. The Dodgers can paper over Uribe's slow start by using Turner and Guerrero at third base, but they has no such in-house solution for Rollins—not yet, anyway. Top prospect Corey Seager is on the horizon at shortstop and destroyed Double A to start the season, hitting .375/.407/.675 in 86 PA there to earn the bump to Triple A. But Seager is just 21 years old, and his first taste of the Pacific Coast League has yielded a .281/.324/.344 line so far—certainly not bad, but an indication that he needs a bit more time on the farm. As such, the Dodgers need Rollins to pick up the pace offensively.

• REITER: Matt Kemp opens up on his departure from Dodgers

Cellar Dweller: Brewers

Milwaukee doesn't have the game's worst record—that dubious honor belongs to the Athletics, who at 13–26 are one loss worse than the Brewers on the year—but that's a hollow consolation for the Brew Crew. Things had been looking up for Milwaukee: Since bottoming out at 4–17 back on April 28, the team went 8-4 through May 11, including a pair of three-game win streaks. Starting last Tuesday, however, the Brewers lost four of five games, including an embarrassing 14–1 pasting by the Mets on Saturday. Pitching remains a big problem for Milwaukee, which gave up 34 runs in six contests last week and have allowed a league-high 198 runs overall. The team's 4.73 ERA is third-worst in baseball, as is its 87 ERA+. What's worse is that the Brewers' veteran starters have been sinking their potential trade value in the process: Matt Garza (5.41 ERA) and Kyle Lohse (5.04) aren't exactly enticing other teams to come calling for them.

Biggest Riser: Giants

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San Francisco finally looked like a defending World Series champion last week, winning four of six games to move above .500 and jump seven spots in our rankings from No. 19 to No. 12. The offense scored 44 runs in six games, including 30 in a three-game weekend sweep in Cincinnati. The return of Hunter Pence provided the biggest boon. Pence had not played this season after breaking his forearm when he was hit by a pitch in spring training. He made his season debut on Saturday, and in two games against the Reds he picked up four hits and a home run in eight at-bats. He now gives the Giants an imposing middle of the order along with Buster Posey and a resurgent Brandon Belt (.395/.464/.640 in the last month of play).

That offense will need to stay hot to match up with the Dodgers in an important three-game home series starting Tuesday. San Francisco is 4–2 this season against its longtime rival but still trails Los Angeles in the standings by 4 1/2 games entering Monday. A Giants sweep or series win would help keep the division race close at a time when the Dodgers look unbeatable.

• CORCORAN: Bryce Harper takes over early lead in NL MVP race

Biggest Faller: Marlins

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It was a rough week in Miami. The Marlins went just 1–5, losing two of three to the Dodgers and then getting swept at home in three games by the Braves. In Sunday's finale, they came within one out of being this year's first no-hitter victim against Shelby Miller. That bad stretch dropped Miami 10 spots in the rankings, from No. 14 to No. 24, and was enough to cost Mike Redmond his job as manager. General manager Dan Jennings has been tapped to take over in the dugout.

It's a strange move for the Marlins—Jennings has no prior managerial experience in either the minors or majors and isn't a former player, either—but it's clear Miami is desperate to shake up a team that is just 16–22 and scuffling on both sides of the ball. The Marlins rank ninth in the NL in runs scored and 10th in the league in ERA.

  • 1
    1Los Angeles Dodgers
     
    last week: 2
    points: 209
    High Vote: 1st (6x)
    Low Vote: 2nd

  • 2
    2St. Louis Cardinals
     
    last week: 1
    points: 200
    High Vote: 1st
    Low Vote: 3rd (4x)

  • 3
    3Kansas City Royals
     
    last week: 3
    points: 190
    High Vote: 2nd (3x)
    Low Vote: 11th

  • 4
    4Houston Astros
     
    last week: 6
    points: 183
    High Vote: 4th (4x)
    Low Vote: 7th

  • 5
    5Washington Nationals
     
    last week: 8
    points: 180
    High Vote: 2nd
    Low Vote: 8th

  • 6
    6Detroit Tigers
     
    last week: 7
    POINTS: 178
    High Vote: 3rd
    Low Vote: 7th (4x)

  • 7
    7New York Mets
     
    last week: 5
    POINTS: 171
    High Vote: 6th (5x)
    Low Vote: 8th (2x)

  • 8
    8New York Yankees
     
    last week: 4
    POINTS: 154
    High Vote: 8th
    Low Vote: 10th

  • 9
    9Chicago Cubs
     
    last week: 15
    POINTS: 152
    High Vote: 5th (2x)
    Low Vote: 13th (2x)

  • 10
    10Tampa Bay Rays
     
    last week: 9
    POINTS: 148
    High Vote: 8th (3x)
    Low Vote: 14th

  • 11
    11Los Angeles Angels
     
    last week: 16
    POINTS: 137
    High Vote: 6th
    Low Vote: 18th

  • 12
    12San Francisco Giants
     
    last week: 19
    POINTS: 123
    High Vote: 10th
    Low Vote: 17th

  • 13
    13Pittsburgh Pirates
     
    last week: 13
    POINTS: 122
    High Vote: 11th (3x)
    Low Vote: 17th

  • 14
    14Minnesota Twins
     
    last week: 12
    POINTS: 108
    High Vote: 11th
    Low Vote: 20th (2x)

  • 15
    15San Diego Padres
     
    last week: 11
    POINTS: 106
    High Vote: 10th
    Low Vote: 20th (2x)

  • 16
    16Toronto Blue Jays
     
    last week: 10
    POINTS: 102
    High Vote: 12th (2x)
    Low Vote: 24th

  • 17
    17Baltimore Orioles
     
    last week: 18
    POINTS: 98
    High Vote: 16th (5x)
    Low Vote: 20th

  • 18
    18Seattle Mariners
     
    last week: 21
    POINTS: 91
    High Vote: 13th
    Low Vote: 21st (2x)

  • 19
    19Atlanta Braves
     
    last week: 24
    POINTS: 76
    High Vote: 15th
    Low Vote: 26th

  • 20
    20Boston Red Sox
     
    last week: 22
    POINTS: 75
    High Vote: 12th (2x)
    Low Vote: 27th (3x)

  • 21
    21Chicago White Sox
     
    last week: 27
    POINTS: 74
    High Vote: 12th
    Low Vote: 26th

  • 22
    22Cincinnati Reds
     
    last week: 20
    POINTS: 73
    High Vote: 14th
    Low Vote: 25th

  • 23
    23Arizona Diamondbacks
     
    last week: 17
    POINTS: 64
    High Vote: 17th (3x)
    Low Vote: 28th

  • 24
    24Miami Marlins
     
    last week: 14
    POINTS: 61
    High Vote: 19th
    Low Vote: 25th

  • 25
    25Cleveland Indians
     
    last week: 25
    POINTS: 46
    High Vote: 21st
    Low Vote: 26th (3x)

  • 26
    26Texas Rangers
     
    last week: 26
    POINTS: 44
    High Vote: 22nd
    Low Vote: 27th

  • 27
    27Oakland Athletics
     
    last week: 23
    POINTS: 42
    High Vote: 22nd
    Low Vote: 30th

  • 28
    28Philadelphia Phillies
     
    last week: 30
    POINTS: 21
    High Vote: 25th
    Low Vote: 30th

  • 29
    29Colorado Rockies
     
    last week: 29
    POINTS: 16
    High Vote: 28th (2x)
    Low Vote: 29th (5x)

  • 30
    30Milwaukee Brewers
     
    last week: 28
    POINTS: 11
    High Vote: 27th
    Low Vote: 30th (5x)

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