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MLB's hottest lineup tops latest Power Rankings

@alysonfooter
April 8, 2019

It’s time to reveal our second Power Rankings of the new season, and judging from the dramatic shifting of more than a dozen teams from one week to the next, it’s clear that the only thing that our voting panel can agree on is that we agree on almost nothing.

It’s time to reveal our second Power Rankings of the new season, and judging from the dramatic shifting of more than a dozen teams from one week to the next, it’s clear that the only thing that our voting panel can agree on is that we agree on almost nothing.

That’s to be expected. We vote from week to week with two tasks in mind: consider what’s happened recently, while keeping an eye on the bigger, long-term picture. For example, a bad first week isn’t going to suddenly knock the Red Sox out of our top 20. Conversely, a hot start by a team not realistically expected to contend -- Detroit, for example -- won’t catapult it into the top five.

These criteria have made our polling a little … well, messy, to be honest, due to a wacky, wild first week and a half. What do we make of the Red Sox’ 3-8 start? Or the Cubs, at 2-7? What about the Mariners, who have the best record at 9-2?

Biggest jump: The big winner was the Mariners, who jumped from No. 25 to No. 16, and rightfully so, considering they have the best winning percentage in the game and only two losses so far. Have we underestimated the Mariners as rebuilders, when maybe we should be calling them re-toolers?

(Honorable mention: The Phillies, who jumped eight spots from No. 10 to No. 2. The Bryce Harper era has started well. Let’s also not forget Rhys Hoskins and his 1.284 OPS to complement a .346 batting average.)

Biggest drop: Well … it’s the Indians. And they dropped a lot, from No. 7 to No. 14. A little harsh? Maybe. But it’s notable that the Indians have had a rather favorable schedule to start the season and they did record a four-game sweep this weekend, but it was against a very light-hitting Blue Jays lineup. Offensively, the Indians are struggling. Entering their game Sunday, everyone not named Carlos Santana was collectively slashing .147/.235/.229.

Power Rankings Top 5:

1) Dodgers (4 last week)

If we’re basing this on short-term results and long-term projections, there is no reason for any team to top the defending National League champs. Logic tells us the offensive tear the Dodgers have been on since Opening Day can’t continue forever, but hasn’t it been fun to watch? Even before their high-scoring affair with the Rockies on Sunday night, Los Angeles led the NL in on-base percentage, slugging and home runs. Through nine games last year, they had four home runs and ended up setting a franchise record with 235. This year, through nine games, they have 22, and they added two more on Sunday, including Cody Bellinger’s seventh of the season.

2) Phillies (10)

As we mentioned earlier, the Phillies have been off and running since Opening Day, sweeping the Braves in their first series, splitting a two-gamer with the Nationals and taking two of three over the weekend from the Twins. The Phils have yet to lose consecutive games, and they’ve been coming through in the clutch. Philadelphia's .455 on-base percentage with runners on base is 45 points higher than the league's second highest.

3) Astros (1)

The Astros' offense got off to a sluggish start in the form of a 2-5 road trip to open the season. Apparently, all Houston's lineup needed was some home cooking and a few games at their familiar digs in downtown Houston to get their act together, which they did during a three-game sweep over the A’s. Alex Bregman is a microcosm of the season so far. He was 1-for-15 to start the year and is since 11-for-20 and on a six-game hitting streak.

4) Brewers (9)

The Brewers are off to a better start than some may have expected, considering the absence of two key relievers in Jeremy Jeffress, who’s due back soon, and Corey Knebel, who’s out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. A combination of Josh Hader, who has been typically dominant in the ‘pen, and high production from key figures in the lineup -- Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, Ryan Braun -- have kept the Brewers a step ahead in the NL Central.

5) Rays (11)

The Rays already had the lowest ERA in baseball by a large margin before they shut out the Giants on Sunday. Now their collective ERA is 1.88 over 91 innings this season, having allowed 19 earned runs so far. Also, Tampa Bay hasn't lost a series yet. It's the first time in club history that the Rays have won three straight to open a season.

The rest of the top 20:

6) Yankees (3)
7) Red Sox (2)
8) Mets (13)
9) Cardinals (8)
10) Nats (5)
11) A's (16)
12) Twins (15)
13) Cubs (6)
14) Indians (7)
15) Braves (14)
16) Mariners (25)
17) Rockies (12)
18) Padres (20)
19) Rangers (22)
20) Pirates (19)

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.