Hot clubs rising in latest Power Rankings

April 26th, 2021

As the first month of the season nears a close, the National League West Division is proving to be as interesting as expected, but for more reasons than the obvious Dodgers-Padres showdown that has given us everything we wanted, and a little more on top of that.

Most of the focus has been on those two clubs, but there seems to be a little something extra cooking in the wild, wild West. Four of the five teams in the division have at least a .500 record, and everyone -- including the 8-13 Rockies -- has a plus run differential.

Who’s off to the most surprising start of the bunch? That would have to be the Giants -- the second-place Giants -- who are 14-8 and have won six of their past eight games. In an odd scheduling quirk, they have even more of an opportunity to gain more ground, soon -- six of their next nine games are against the Rockies, the one sub-.500 team in the NL West.

Now, a little more on those Dodgers and Padres. How good has the season series been so far? The teams have played 68 innings, and in 55 of them, the lead by either team has not been greater than two runs. We’d be hard-pressed to find a seven-game postseason series that has been that close.

Biggest jump: Two teams jumped 13 spots: the A’s, from 15 to 2, and the Royals, from 20 to 7. Since the A’s are in the top five, we’ll dedicate this space to the Royals, who, at 13-7, have the third-best record in baseball, behind only the Dodgers (15-7) and the A’s (14-8). This is their best start since 2015, when those Royals opened the season 14-6. And we know how that season turned out.

Biggest drop: The Reds dropped 14 spots, from No. 4 to No. 18. They’ve lost seven straight and over the course of one week have slipped from first in the NL Central to last. While Cincinnati was probably playing a little over its head with its hot start, it’s unlikely it’s as bad as its 0-7 slide would suggest, either. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, and in this division, the race is probably not ending in a landslide. Stay tuned.

Power Rankings top 5

1) Dodgers (1 last week)
By Dodgers standards, the past week was just so-so -- at one point, they had lost four of five, and they just lost three of four at home to the Padres. But they still own the best record in baseball at 15-7, which simply indicates they had plenty of wiggle room, thanks to the red-hot start that produced only two losses in their first 13 games.

2) A’s (15)
Oakland’s 13-game winning streak came to an end with an 8-1 loss to the Orioles on Sunday, but that hardly matters big picture-wise. The A’s 0-6 start, where everything went wrong, soon gave way to a two-week tidal wave in the opposite direction. Plenty had to go right during that stretch, but if we had to sum it up in one sentence, we’d probably go with this one: During the streak, the A’s outscored opponents, 81-36.

3) Padres (2)
Get used to seeing Fernando Tatis Jr.’s name mentioned over and over (and over) when we roll out these weekly power rankings. He seems to give us something new to gush about every day, and he’s had quite a week: five homers, six RBIs and a .435 average (10-for-23) over his past six games.

4) Red Sox (3)
The Sox finished up their lengthy homestand at 5-5, riding a strong outing by Eduardo Rodriguez in the Fenway finale Sunday. “Steady Eddie” struck out eight Mariners over seven innings, stretching his streak of pitching at least five innings in a start to 32. In 23 innings this season, Rodriguez is 4-0 with a 3.52 ERA and he has yielded two walks against 26 strikeouts. The Sox are 10-9 when pitchers other than Rodriguez start.

5) Brewers (5)
Speaking of aces carrying the day, Brandon Woodruff continued the Brewers’ newfound tradition of stomping out the Cubs, throwing six scoreless frames in a 6-0 win on Sunday. Woodruff has a 1.55 ERA and 0.72 WHIP in five starts this year. After allowing three runs over four innings in his first start, he’s allowed just two runs over 25 innings.

The rest of the field of 30:

  1. White Sox (10 last week)
  2. Royals (20)
  3. Mets (8)
  4. Rays (9)
  5. Braves (7)
  6. Cardinals (13)
  7. Yankees (11)
  8. Twins (6)
  9. Astros (12)
  10. Blue Jays (17)
  11. Giants (18)
  12. Angels (14)
  13. Reds (4)
  14. Phillies (16)
  15. Cubs (22)
  16. Mariners (21)
  17. Indians (19)
  18. Marlins (23)
  19. D-backs (29)
  20. Pirates (27)
  21. Nationals (24)
  22. Orioles (26)
  23. Rangers (28)
  24. Tigers (25)
  25. Rockies (30)

Voters: Alyson Footer, Anthony Castrovince, Jesse Sanchez, Mark Feinsand, Nathalie Alonso, Mike Petriello, Sarah Langs, Andrew Simon, David Venn.