For Yankees fans, there's only one thing better than Aaron Judge's absurd production so far this season, and that's the fact that he's far from the only one mashing.The 6-foot-7 Judge, on pace for an offensive year that would make him the runaway favorite for the American League Most Valuable
For Yankees fans, there's only one thing better than Aaron Judge's absurd production so far this season, and that's the fact that he's far from the only one mashing.
The 6-foot-7 Judge, on pace for an offensive year that would make him the runaway favorite for the American League Most Valuable Player Award, is hardly a one-man show. Several players are contributing to what could turn out to be a special year for the Yankees -- including Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner and Gary Sanchez -- making sure Judge is not carrying the entire offensive load on his massive shoulders. Of course, he's the story of the season in MLB, and he showed why on Monday when he hit a go-ahead homer (his league-leading 22nd) in the eighth inning off the Angels' Bud Norris to give the Yankees a 5-3 win and was showered with "M-V-P" chants after touching home plate.
It was New York's sixth straight victory, and helped propel the club to the top spot in our Power Rankings, taking advantage of some uneven play from the Astros, Nationals and Rockies on Monday to vault into the No. 1 position.
All four clubs have a claim to the top spot, and Houston still has a better record. However, the Yankees have far and away the best run differential in the Majors (+117), dwarfing Houston's +93 mark.
Biggest jump: Well, hello there, Tampa Bay Rays! In a division that features the first-place Yankees and a surging Blue Jays club that is closing in on the .500 mark after a dreadful start, the Rays -- up to No. 12 from 17 last week -- have put together a run that has pushed them over the break-even mark at 34-32. They have one fewer win than the Red Sox and appear to be on an uptick, winning 11 of their past 18 and five of their past six.
Biggest drop: The Cardinals' rapid dive in the standings has affected their ranking here, too. Two weeks ago, they were No. 11. This week, they dropped to 19. A recent winless road trip through Chicago and Cincinnati caused some shakeups within the coaching staff and roster, and the Cardinals responded favorably with a sweep of the Phillies. More encouraging news for Cardinals fans: St. Louis is not close to dropping out of the race in the surprisingly weak National League Central.
Power Rankings Top 5
1. Yankees (5 last week)
There are myriad reasons why the Yankees are first in their division, but in this space, let's all rise for Judge and the 495-foot home run he hit on Sunday that left most everyone, including his own teammates, gaping. After Monday's heroics, he's hitting .347/.453/.728 and is on pace for 58 homers.
2. Astros (1)
The team with the best record in baseball continues to run away with the AL West, and is still 12 games ahead of the Angels even after losing to Yu Darvish and the Rangers on Monday. The Astros' pitching depth has been tested, however, with several key pitchers -- including Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers -- sidelined with injuries. The Astros have now lost five of seven but should have enough of a cushion to weather the injury storm.
3. Rockies (4)
The best record in the NL belongs to the Rockies, who recently enjoyed a seven-game winning streak that included five wins against last year's World Series participants. It's mid-June and the Rockies are winning at a .600-plus clip. This is no fluke; the Rockies are, simply, very good. Among the top performers: Charlie Blackmon, batting .444 (16-for-36) with seven extra-base hits and 14 runs scored over a nine-game hitting streak, and Mark Reynolds, who through Sunday was 10-for-20 with three doubles, three home runs and eight RBIs over his past six games.
4. Nationals (2)
Stop us if you've heard this before: The Nationals have a great rotation, a potent offense and still no answer for the back end of their bullpen. They could have fared a lot better against the Rangers over the weekend with a better performance from their relievers; instead, they were swept. And then on Monday their bullpen couldn't hold an early line as they lost an 11-10 slugfest to Atlanta. Some positive news: Max Scherzer became the third-fastest pitcher in Major League history to strike out 2,000 batters by innings and games.
5. Dodgers (3)
The Dodgers are keeping pace with the first-place Rockies, thanks to 13 wins in their past 19 games. The pitching staff entered Monday leading the NL with a 3.21 ERA and 614 strikeouts. Their starting pitchers were third with a 3.54 ERA, while Los Angeles relievers led the league with a 2.68 ERA.
The rest of the Top 20
6. D-backs (7)
- Red Sox (6)
- Brewers (10)
- Twins (12)
- Indians (8)
- Cubs (9)
- Rays (17)
- Orioles (11)
- Blue Jays (15)
- Tigers (13)
- Mariners (16)
- Rangers (19)
- Mets (NR)
- Cardinals (14)
- Angels (NR)
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.