Buoyed by baseball's best and hottest offense, the Dodgers have jumped past the Cardinals to grab first place in this week's Power Rankings.
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.
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.
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
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.
Biggest Faller: Marlins
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.