As the calendar flips to June, teams are beginning to cross the 50-game threshold for the 2022 season. The more baseball we see this year, the more data we have to confirm (or disprove) what expectations we held during the preseason. As such, the fire hydrant of statistics that’s constantly churning during the age of information can start to take on more meaning.
Here’s a check-in on where things stand as we embark on another new month.
30. Cincinnati Reds (Last Week: 30)
The Reds have improved their play considerably during May, winning 13 of their last 22 games. They remain in the basement, though, in large part due to pitching troubles. Cincinnati ranks last in the majors in walks (4.34) and home runs (1.36) allowed per nine innings.
29. Washington Nationals (LW: 29)
Juan Soto finally snapped a 15-game homerless streak during Sunday’s 6–5 win over the Rockies, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a double. Even with that strong outing, his .236 batting average sticks out this far along in the season. The gap between Soto’s expected batting average (.283) and his actual one is the 20th-highest among qualified hitters, while his BABIP (.239) is 17th-lowest. Perhaps some positive regression is in store.
28. Kansas City Royals (LW: 28)
There hasn’t been a lot that’s gone right for the Royals through the season’s first two months, but star rookie Bobby Whitt Jr. is starting to show why he was such a highly touted prospect. Since April 21, Whitt is hitting .273/.312/.523 with six home runs, six stolen bases and 19 extra-base hits in 34 games.
27. Pittsburgh Pirates (LW: 27)
What is going on with Bryan Reynolds? An All-Star starter last year, the 27-year-old has looked nothing like his old self to start 2022. Reynolds oddly has been exposed on fastballs this year, batting .198 with a 26.0% whiff rate on heaters to date. He hit .339 with a .610 slugging percentage against fastballs last year, so he’s certainly capable of doing much better.
26. Detroit Tigers (LW: 26)
Detroit’s offensive issues have really spoiled what’s been an encouraging start by the team’s pitching staff. The Tigers rank last in the majors in wRC+ (78), slugging percentage (.319) home runs (25) and stolen bases (nine).
25. Baltimore Orioles LW: 25)
Adley Rutschman will likely be the headlining Orioles player for the rest of the season, but he’s not the only young player to keep an eye on. Austin Hays is just 26 years old but is already in his fifth big-league season. He had a solid 2021 campaign but has taken a step up so far this year, cutting down his strikeout rate to 15.3% while posting a .297/.361/.455 slash line.
24. Oakland A’s (LW: 24)
The A’s overcame a 4–0 deficit and won on a walk-off single by Jed Lowrie to avoid getting swept at home by the Rangers. Oakland has had the worst offense in the American League so far, ranking last in wRC+ (83) and hitting a mere .215/.280/.331 as a team.
23. Chicago Cubs (LW: 23)
For a former top-10 pick, Ian Happ has had a relatively low profile throughout his career. He’s been a solid contributor for most of his career, but appears to have taken a step up in 2022. Always a free swinger, Happ has cut down considerably on his strikeout rate, lowering it to 22.2% compared to a career mark of 30.8% prior to this season. Happ will be a free agent after the 2023 season, so it will be interesting to see if the Cubs view him as part of their long-term plans or whether he’ll be considered as a trade piece at some point in the near future.
22. Colorado Rockies (LW: 22)
The concept of the Three True Outcomes has been on the forefront of modern baseball for the better part of this century. Rockies center fielder Yonathan Daza is the inverse of that idea. Through his first 113 plate appearances this season, Daza has struck out just nine times, walked eight and has zero home runs. He’s also rocking a .353/.407/.402 slash line that should keep the 28-year-old in the everyday lineup for some time.
21. Seattle Mariners (LW: 20)
Sunday marked a step in the right direction for left-hander Marcos Gonzales. Though Seattle lost to Houston, 2–1, the left-hander was sharp, allowing just two runs on five hits through 7 1/3 innings. Since inking a four-year, $30 million deal ahead of the 2021 season, Gonzalez hasn’t been as effective as he had been in years past. He’s seen a huge dip in his ability to miss bats, with a strikeout rate of just 13.1% compared to 19.2% from 2018 to ‘21.
20. Miami Marlins (LW: 18)
Since ripping off seven straight wins to end April, Miami has cooled off considerably, posting a 7–18 record in May. The Marlins have not won more than two consecutive games during that stretch, and the starting rotation is a big reason why. Apart from Pablo López and Sandy Alcantara, none of the other starters have consistently been effective.
19. Arizona Diamondbacks (LW: 19)
The Arizona pitching staff has suffered through some serious regression in recent weeks, posting a 4.94 ERA since the start of May. After giving up just five runs with 34 strikeouts through his first six starts, Merrill Kelly has surrendered 17 runs in 17 innings over his last four outings, with just 13 strikeouts and 11 walks. His ERA has risen from 1.22 to 3.67 during that stretch.
18. Texas Rangers (LW: 21)
It took 45 games, but it finally happened: Marcus Semien hit a home run. The former All-Star has endured a miserable start to his Rangers career, but signs of life from his once powerful bat might be surfacing at long last. Semien is batting .311/.360/.444 with four stolen bases over his last 11 games, which is a very small and specific sample size but at least suggests that better times could be ahead after a downright miserable first month and a half.
17. Cleveland Guardians (LW: 16)
Triston McKenzie continues to come into his own as a front-line starter. The lanky right-hander took a tough-luck loss on Sunday to close out an impressive month. In five games during May, McKenzie went 3–2 with a 2.12 ERA and 28 strikeouts, holding opposing hitters to a .155 batting average. Opponents are hitting just .125 against his curveball, which he’s thrown a career-high 21.3% of the time.
16. Philadelphia Phillies (LW: 14)
The Phillies were assembled to be a powerful hitting team, defense be damned. The offense has been middle-of-the-pack so far, but the defense has lived up to the billing: Philadelphia ranks dead last in defensive runs saved (negative-28) and outs above average (negative-20), and also has the fourth-largest gap between their team ERA (4.11) and FIP (3.61).
15. Chicago White Sox (LW: 13)
Despite the significant financial investment the team made to sign him, parting ways with Dallas Keuchel was a necessary decision for the White Sox to make. The former Cy Young Award winner hadn’t performed at a level that warranted a roster spot for some time, and his release will help Chicago make up ground in the AL Central in the long run. The immediate road ahead is difficult, though, with games against the Blue Jays, Rays and Dodgers on the horizon.
14. Boston Red Sox (LW: 17)
The Red Sox continue to climb up the power rankings and back toward .500. Boston got a much-needed bounceback from Nathan Eovaldi after the right-hander gave up five home runs in one inning against the Astros on May 17. In two starts since, Eovaldi has allowed just four earned runs with 17 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings, highlighted by a complete game against the Orioles on Saturday.
13. Atlanta Braves (LW: 15)
It took until after the All-Star break for the Braves to get above .500 last season, and they appear to be following a similar path this year. Atlanta has had a winning record after starting 2–1, but the team has yet to find any type of consistency. Through nearly two full months, the Braves have not yet won or lost more than two consecutive games.
12. San Francisco Giants (LW: 9)
Dropping four of six against the Padres and Mets is not such a terrible outcome, but losing two out of three against the Reds is certainly a troubling result for a Giants team in need of some positive momentum. San Francisco’s bullpen hasn’t been sharp to date, posting the sixth-highest ERA (4.38) in the majors.
11. St. Louis Cardinals (LW: 10)
Paul Goldschmidt’s early MVP candidacy has deservedly gotten plenty of attention, but the bounceback season from Tommy Edman has been just as crucial for the Cardinals’ success. Edman has a career-best 40.3% hard-hit rate and has nearly doubled his walk rate from a season ago. He’s particularly feasted on offspeed pitches, posting a .368 batting average to date.
10. Los Angeles Angels (LW: 7)
The Angels have fallen on lean times here, losing nine of their last 12 games. Four of those losses have been one-run defeats, including each of their last three games. The bullpen in particular has hit a rough patch: The group gave up 10 earned runs in 16 innings during a four-game sweep against Toronto, blowing save chances in the last three games.
9. Toronto Blue Jays (LW: 12)
Toronto is riding high on a five-game win streak after scoring a road sweep of the Angels. After a sluggish April, Bo Bichette has turned things around in May. Through 25 games this month, the shortstop is hitting .289/.327/./529 with five home runs and 10 doubles.
8. Tampa Bay Rays (LW: 11)
The Rays always develop pitchers you’ve never heard into game-changers, and this year is no exception. Shane McClanahan and Drew Rasmussen are the headliners in the rotation, but Jeffrey Springs has emerged as another impact arm. After beginning the year as a relief pitcher, Springs has transitioned into the rotation and more than held his own. He’s allowed just five runs in 20 1/3 innings through four starts, reaching the 80-pitch mark in each of his last two times out. The 29-year-old had previously been designated for assignment not once but twice by the Rangers and Red Sox.
7. Minnesota Twins (LW: 8)
The Twins had something of a pyrrhic victory during Sunday’s 7–3 win over Kansas City. Center fielder Royce Lewis exited the game after crashing into the wall tracking down a catch, while starting pitcher Sonny Gray had to be pulled with right pectoral soreness. Lengthy absences from either would hurt, but that’s particularly true of Gray. The right-hander has given up only three runs in 19 innings over his last three outings, with 19 strikeouts and just one walk.
6. San Diego Padres (LW: 5)
Joe Musgrove’s emergence as a bona fide ace deserves plenty of attention, but MacKenzie Gore has been almost just as electric. The former No. 3 pick dominated the Pirates on Sunday, striking out nine batters over seven shutout innings. Gore has allowed one run or fewer in six of his first eight starts, and has given up only one home run all season—not bad for a 23-year-old. He, Musgrove, Yu Darvish and Sean Manaea are as effective a top four as any in the majors.
5. Houston Astros (LW: 4)
The Astros have cooled off a bit, going 8–7 since their 11-game winning streak. They avoided a sweep at the hands of the Mariners on Sunday thanks to a strong start from Luis Garcia. The right-hander has a 2.45 ERA with 37 strikeouts over 33 innings in his last six starts, though his 3.38 season-long ERA somehow ranks fifth among Houston’s impressive collection of starting pitchers.
4. Milwaukee Brewers (LW: 6)
Is there a more electric back-end bullpen combo than Josh Hader and Devin Williams? The duo has combined to strike out 55 of the 132 batters it has faced this season, good for a 41.7% strikeout rate. Neither pitcher has given up a home run yet, while Hader has allowed just three hits all year.
3. New York Mets (LW: 3)
The Mets swept the Phillies over the weekend to maintain a stronghold on the NL East. Of the seven players with over 100 plate appearances, six have a wRC+ above 110, and four—Pete Alonso (145), Brandon Nimmo (145), Jeff McNeil (144) and Francisco Lindor (134)—top 130. That group does not include Luis Guillorme, who has hit .408/.473/.531 through 56 plate appearances this month.
2. New York Yankees (LW: 2)
As if the Yankees didn’t need any more lights-out relief pitchers, Clay Holmes has entered the building. The 29-year-old who posted a 5.57 ERA across four seasons with the Pirates has been dominant to start 2022, giving up just one run with 26 strikeouts and two walks through 24 2/3 innings this season. Holmes has been nails since taking over closing duties from the injured Aroldis Chapman, giving manager Aaron Boone an interesting decision on his hands once Chapman returns.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (LW: 1)
We can’t confirm or deny that the Dodgers are regular readers of these power rankings each Monday, but it’s starting to feel like that might be the case given their recent form. The team has won 13 of its last 15 games since being dethroned from the No. 1 spot two weeks ago, and have a run differential that’s more than twice as high as any other team in the National League. After feasting on sub-.500 teams for the better part of May, a four-game home series against the Mets over the weekend should provide a worthy opposition and make for must-see TV.
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