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MLB Power Rankings: The Yankees Dethrone the Scuffling Dodgers

For the first time all year, we have a new No. 1 team.

The Angels and Reds each threw no-hitters last week. The former served as a symbolic step forward and made the club’s shortcomings of the recent past feel ever so distant. The latter was pulled off by a team in the midst of a historically awful start, in front of an announced crowd of just over 10,000, and, remarkably, resulted in a loss. If there’s a lesson to be learned from these true statements, it’s this: baseball, like life, has a sick sense of humor sometimes.

Here’s Week 5 of SI’s power rankings.

New York Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton hits a three-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in New York.

30. Cincinnati Reds (Last Week: 30)

It was actually a good week for the Reds (at least by Reds standards). Cincinnati took two out of three from the first-place Brewers as part of a 5–1 stretch, with the offense finally coming to life. Then, of course, Sunday’s dubious no-hitter happened. Rookie starter Hunter Greene put it best afterwards when he said of the game’s outcome, “It is what it is,” an axiom that is technically always accurate but only sometimes appropriately applied. This was one of those times.

APSTEIN: The Reds Are the Worst Team in MLB, With Little Reason for Hope

29. Washington Nationals (LW: 29)

A 6–7 start that might have portended a modest level of respectability has totally evaporated from the nation’s capital. Washington has lost 17 of its last 23, and hasn’t won more than two games in a row all season. Juan Soto has been his typical productive self, though hasn’t gotten much help: Seven of his eight home runs have been solo shots. The woeful results have obscured a fun breakout season from 34-year-old outfielder Yadiel Hernández, who’s hitting .333/.370/.516 in 100 plate appearances.

VERDUCCI: Inside the Mind of Juan Soto, MLB’s Best Hitter

28. Kansas City Royals (LW: 26)

What’s a quick remedy for one of the league’s worst offenses? A weekend trip to Coors Field. Perhaps it's the Rockies pitchers more so than the environment, but the Royals bats woke up in their series win over Colorado. Close Scott Barlow hasn’t had many leads to protect, but he’s performed well, posting a 1.15 ERA and holding opposing hitters to a .185 batting average. He’d make for a good trade chip if Kansas City continues to fade toward the bottom of the pack as the deadline draws closer.

27. Baltimore Orioles (LW: 25)

For the first time since getting swept by the Yankees in a three-game set April 26–28, the Orioles lost a series over the weekend, dropping three straight to the lowly Tigers. It was a surprising run of competency for a club that’s done a lot of losing in recent years. Not coincidentally, that stretch has seen Cedric Mullins rediscover his 2021 form. Since April 29, the center fielder is batting .339/.358/.554 with three homers and three stolen bases in 15 games.

26. Detroit Tigers (LW: 27)

The Tigers became the last team to reach the 100-run mark for the season during Sunday’s 5–1 win over the Orioles, completing the series sweep. While the offense has been abysmal, there’s been some reason for optimism on the pitching side. Lefty Tarik Skubal was electric again on Sunday, striking out 11 hitters to lower his ERA to 2.50.

Pittsburgh Pirates’ Ke’Bryan Hayes (13) hits into a fielder’s choice off Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Art Warren(not shown), driving in a baseball game’s only run, during the eighth inning in Pittsburgh, Sunday, May 15, 2022.

25. Pittsburgh Pirates (LW: 28)

You know it’s your week when you win without getting a hit. It’s fitting that it was third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes who drove in the go-ahead run on Sunday with a fielder’s choice. The 25-year-old has easily been the best Pittsburgh regular this season, finding his stride in the batter’s box while playing strong defense. When he finally learns to tap into his power, watch out.

24. Texas Rangers (LW: 20)

Mitch Garver’s arrival in Arlington seemingly blocked Jonah Heim’s path toward regular playing time, but the switch-hitter has hit his way into the lineup. Heim’s elite contact rate and control of the strike zone give him a high offensive floor, making him one of the few Rangers hitters producing to this point of the season.

23. Oakland A’s (LW: 24)

If not for a two-out, walk-off three-run homer from Luis Barrera on Saturday—the first home run of his career, no less—the A’s would have suffered a four-game sweep at home to the Angels over the weekend. The Oakland offense went quiet after that, scoring just two runs total in the following two games. In the final game, the A’s squandered a dominant outing from Frankie Montas, who struck out 12 over six innings on Sunday.

22. Chicago Cubs (LW: 23)

Since putting up three touchdowns against Pittsburgh on April 23, the Cubs bats have fallen silent. Chicago has averaged just 2.7 runs per game in its last 18 contests, scoring one run or fewer seven times during that stretch. Rookie outfielder Seiya Suzuki has batted a mere .172/.226/.293 in that span, with 20 strikeouts in 62 plate appearances.

21. Boston Red Sox (LW: 22)

The Red Sox took two of three from the Rangers over the weekend, their first series win in their last eight chances. The miserable start for Trevor Story continues, however, with the two-time All-Star batting .156/.245/.267 through 12 games this month.

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20. Colorado Rockies (LW: 16)

At 24, starter Chad Kuhl posted an 8–11 record with a 4.35 ERA for the Pirates in 2017, though he largely has been unable to replicate that form since. Pittsburgh declined to tender him a contract after last season, and now he’s making the most of his change of scenery with Colorado. Kuhl is 3–1 with a 2.88 ERA through six starts, and his slider has proven to be a real weapon: hitters are batting .075 against it so far this season, with a 46.4% whiff rate.

19. Arizona Diamondbacks (LW: 21)

The Snakes are still pitching well, though the bats remain mostly quiet. Among the many slumping hitters is Ketel Marte, whose 20.7% strikeout rate is the highest of his career. After posting a .543 slugging percentage from 2019 to ’21, he’s managed just a .371 mark so far in ’22.

VERDUCCI: How Diamondbacks Pitching Coach Brent Strom Is Fixing Last Year’s Worst Team

18. Miami Marlins (LW: 18)

Joey Wendle has adapted well after his intrastate trade sent him from Tampa Bay to Miami. The 32-year-old has cut his strikeout rate nearly in half from a year ago, and he has a career-best 8.0% walk rate.

Seattle Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the New York Mets during the seventh inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 15, 2022, in New York.

17. Seattle Mariners (LW: 17)

The Mariners thrived in close games last season, and lately have been living on the edge. Each of their past four wins have come by one run, providing much needed respite in the midst of a tough stretch. Julio Rodríguez has caught fire during May, with Sunday being his best game to date, as he reached base in all five plate appearances and hit his second home run.

16. Atlanta Braves (LW: 15)

Finally, some signs of life from Charlie Morton. The veteran allowed an opposing slash line of .298/.395/.479 through his first five starts, but has since turned in back-to-back solid outings. Slow starts happen, but they’re more concerning when the player in question is 38 years old. Saturday’s two-hit, nine-strikeout game against the Padres offered reasons to believe the Atlanta righthander still has more left in the tank.

15. Chicago White Sox (LW: 13)

Chicago’s hot streak came to an end thanks to the buzzsaw that is the Yankees. Prior to New York’s coming to town, the White Sox had won eight of their previous 10 games thanks to some strong pitching performances. Their offense ranks 28th in runs scored to this point, though they should benefit from the recent return of Andrew Vaughn.

14. Cleveland Guardians (LW: 14)

An abbreviated 2020 debut gave way to some ’21 regression, but young righthander Triston McKenzie appears ready to assume a larger role in Cleveland’s rotation. The lanky 24-year-old took a tough-luck loss on Sunday, surrendering three runs through seven innings, but still has a sub-3.00 ERA through 36 1/3 innings.

13. Philadelphia Phillies (LW: 19)

Even in the midst of an objectively successful week, the Phillies showed that old habits die hard. They were one strike away from a four-game sweep of the Dodgers in Los Angeles when their bullpen imploded. Still, the offense has more than done its part, with Jean Segura in particular swinging a hot bat of late.

12. Toronto Blue Jays (LW: 12)

Since taking two out of three against the Astros, the Blue Jays have lost nine of their last 12 games as their bats have gone cold. Alek Manoah was the latest tough-luck loser on Sunday. He gave up three runs (one earned) in six innings against the Rays, with a key sixth-inning error by Matt Chapman opening up the floodgates. Manoah has allowed two earned runs or fewer in all seven of his starts this season.

11. Minnesota Twins (LW: 12)

That the Twins rank fifth in the majors with a 3.34 ERA is quite an accomplishment, especially considering they’ve gotten just 14 2/3 innings from Sonny Gray. Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober and Chris Paddack have all delivered in their opportunities thus far, helping spur Minnesota to early control of the AL Central.

St. Louis Cardinals’ Paul Goldschmidt, left, congratulates Tommy Edman as he crosses home plate after hitting a solo home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in St. Louis.

10. St. Louis Cardinals (LW: 10)

After hitting just one home run in April, Paul Goldschmidt is starting to tap into his power. The six-time All-Star is batting .362/.455/.702 through 13 games in May, with three home runs and 10 extra-base hits. St. Louis looks to be well positioned to give the Brewers a good chase for the NL Central crown, though I’m not too sure about this new relief pitcher they have for the late innings.

9. Tampa Bay Rays (LW: 6)

Navigating a full season without Tyler Glasnow was always going to be a challenge, but the emergence of Shane McClanahan as a bona fide ace certainly makes things easier for the Rays. The lefthander leads the majors with 58 strikeouts through seven starts, and his changeup has been a big reason why. Opposing hitters have yet to get a hit against it this season, with a whiff rate of 52.8%.

8. San Diego Padres (LW: 5)

Manny Machado’s strong start has been the headliner among individuals for San Diego, but Eric Hosmer’s resurgence has been just as vital. The 32-year-old hasn’t exactly thrived since signing a huge contract ahead of the 2018 season, but has come out of the gates swinging in ’22. He’s pulling the bar more often than he ever, though he still hits the ball on the ground too often. Perhaps regression is in store, but he still has an expected batting average (.315) and slugging percentage (.464) that would represent big improvements compared to his results for most of his Padres tenure.

7. Milwaukee Brewers (LW: 4)

Christian Yelich’s resurgence is a major relief for the Brewers, but it’s hard to overlook the hot bat of Rowdy Tellez. The 27-year-old has the second-highest expected slugging percentage (.738) among qualified hitters, trailing only Aaron Judge (.744).

MARTELL: Christian Yelich Is Back in MVP Form

6. San Francisco Giants (LW: 8)

Since returning to the lineup from a seven-game absence, Brandon Belt’s bat has been slow to pick up the pace. He has just one extra-base hit in 29 plate appearances this month after slugging .470 in April. The Giants’ six-game winning streak came to an end after they dropped their last two games in St. Louis.

Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani reacts after striking out Boston Red Sox’s Trevor Story during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Thursday, May 5, 2022, in Boston.

5. Los Angeles Angels (LW: 7)

The age-old question—“What would happen if you surrounded Mike Trout with good starting pitching?”—finally appears to have an answer: You get a good team. Angels starters rank second in the league in fWAR and fourth in ERA (2.97). They trotted out three rookie pitchers last week in Reid Detmers, Chase Silseth and Jhonathan Diaz. None allowed a run, while Detmers threw a no-hitter in his 11th career start. If that’s how the Angels develop pitching now, their stay among the top of the league could be a long-term one. Also, Shohei Ohtani is out of his early-season offensive funk. Since he picked up three hits against the Orioles on April 24, Ohtani is slashing .296/.360/.531 with five home runs in 21 games. He hit his 100th career homer Saturday vs. the A’s. Then hit No. 101 the next day.

APSTEIN: Hitter, Pitcher, Prankster: Shohei Ohtani Is a Triple Threat

4. New York Mets (LW: 3)

Though staying on the field has proven to be a challenge, Brandon Nimmo has always done one thing exceptionally well: get on base. The 29-year-old continues to work the count as good as anybody, sporting a 14.8% walk rate. He’s now combined that with a career-low 15.6% strikeout rate, and is enjoying a strong start to the season atop the Mets’ lineup.

3. Houston Astros (LW: 9)

A 12-game win streak sent the Astros near the tippy-top of this list, and in a tie with the Angels for first place in the AL West. Houston has thrived on the strength of its pitching: Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez and Luis Garcia all have ERAs under 3.00, while the bullpen has the league’s second-best ERA (2.69).

2. Los Angeles Dodgers (LW: 1)

The Dodgers were a whisker away from getting swept at home to the Phillies in the same week that they dropped two out of three against the Pirates. It speaks to the strength of the roster that a week like that still ended with Los Angeles atop a division that’s been stronger top-to-bottom than any other in baseball. For now, the only penalty is a one-spot demotion in the power rankings, leaving the throne vacant for a new team for the first time all year.

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge celebrates with teammates after hitting a walk-off three-run home run during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in New York. The Yankees won 6-5.

1. New York Yankees (LW: 2)

At long last, the Yankees ascend to the top. They are the only team still sporting single-digit losses, and they have not lost consecutive games since April 10 and 11. New York has the best ERA in the league (2.74), ranks fifth in runs scored (167) and first in wRC+ (122). The Dodgers entered the season with a perceived healthy bit of separation between themselves and the rest of the pack. It took a little more than five weeks for the Yankees to surpass them, and given their current form, it could be a good while longer before they relinquish their perch to someone else.

More MLB Coverage:
The Yankees Are the Class of MLB This Season
• Inside the Reds’ Historically Bad Start to the Season
Hitter, Pitcher, Prankster: Shohei Ohtani Is a Triple Threat
Five-Tool Newsletter: Gleyber Torres Is Better Than Ever
MLB Hitters Are Not Living Up to Expectations