Power Rankings: Mets surge with Harvey as Reds drop
We know, we know. It's early.
It's too early to get overly excited about a team going gangbusters right out of the gate. And it's too early to panic about that preseason favorite pick sliding to the bottom of the standings.
But it's not too late to argue about who the best teams are in baseball, and with 12 or so games in the books, things are starting to settle just a bit in the MLB.com Power Rankings presented by The All-New Chrysler 200. The Tigers still reign supreme with the best record, but there's also been plenty of reshuffling in the middle of the order, so to speak.
The Braves have been a pleasant surprise so far, hanging in there despite lowered expectations after a winter of dealing. On the other hand, more was expected from the Mariners and Nationals, who are in the top 20, but not as high as we would have predicted a few weeks ago.
Biggest jump: Cubs (20th to 9th) and the Mets (16th to 5th): Both jumped 11 spots. The Cubs were doing fine before hot prospect Kris Bryant was called up, so it'll be interesting to see what they do now with a more complete team. The Mets are glad to have Matt Harvey back, but he's not the only one carrying them. Both teams should be interesting all year. Special shout out to the Astros, who have cracked our top 20 for the first time -- ever.
Biggest fall: Reds. They weren't ranked in the first week, then they jumped to sixth last week. Now they're back down to 15th after a rough week against the Cubs and Cardinals. That could change by this time next week, though. Cincinnati has four coming up against the Brewers, who have won twice so far.
Our top 20:
1. Tigers: Pitching will ultimately determine who's still left standing in September, but for the first two weeks of the season, the Tigers have had all kinds of fun thanks to their big-bopping lineup. In their first six games, they averaged 7.8 runs per game and then "cooled off," so to speak, averaging 2.4 runs in their next five. Then, Yoenis Cespedes caught fire against the White Sox on Sunday, hitting two home runs and helping his team to a 9-1 win. Absolutely everything is working for the 10-2 Tigers, who, for the second straight week, are our No. 1.
2. Cardinals (5th last week): After an opening week that produced one rainout and two off-days, the Cardinals are now on a normal schedule and in a groove. They ended week two with sole possession (for whatever that's worth after 10 games) of first place in the National League Central, and timely hits and long balls are starting to roll in.
3. Dodgers (3rd): Zack Greinke pitches with some sort of flu bug and wins. A limping Yasiel Puig logs two hits, draws a walk and scores a run. The pitching staff has injury concerns, but still, the Dodgers are winning. And that bullpen everyone's been skeptical about? Simply harmonious. As are the Dodgers, who are, for now, the best in the NL West.
4. Royals (2nd): Six of the Royals' nine wins this season have been in comeback fashion, and after taking two of three from the A's over the weekend in a series where there were almost as many ejections as runs scored, the Royals are sitting pretty behind the Tigers in the American League Central with a 9-3 record.
5. Mets (16th): The Mets? The Mets?! Yep. They were hyped during Spring Training, and now they're producing. It helps that every Harvey start is declared "Matt Harvey Day" in certain circles. One ace can't do everything, but fortunately for the Mets, contributions are pouring in from all over the roster. Injuries to Jerry Blevins and Travis d'Arnaud have tempered the optimism just a little, but in the meantime, the 10-3 first-place Mets are unquestionably in our top 5.
And the rest: 6. Orioles; 7. Red Sox; 8. Padres; 9. Cubs; 10. Nationals; 11. Athletics; 12. Braves; 13. Angels; 14. Rockies; 15. Reds; 16. Yankees; 17. Pirates; 18. Blue Jays; 19. Mariners; 20. Astros.