Quarter-Season Power Rankings

40 games deep signifies the one-quarter mark of the MLB regular season, a point in which sample sizes are large enough to develop a solid understanding of each teams’ strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, I have decided to come up with my own power rankings based on each team’s current production, as well as for their outlook moving forward. Below are the current standings, followed by my full 30-team power rankings and a brief explanation.

*Team, Record, Win% (Run Differential)

AL WEST

Mariners, 24-17, .585 (43)

Rangers, 23-19, .548 (0)

Angels, 19-23, .452 (-21)

Athletics, 19-24, .442 (-47)

Astros, 17-26, .395 (-25)

AL CENTRAL

White Sox, 25-17, .595 (33)

Indians, 22-17, .564 (37)

Royals, 21-20, .512 (-13)

Tigers, 19-22, .463 (-11)

Twins, 10-31, .244 (-74)

AL EAST

Orioles, 25-15, .625 (30)

Red Sox,  25-17, .595 (55)

Rays, 20-19, .513 (19)

Blue Jays, 21-23, .463 (2)

Yankees, 19-22, .463 (-24)

NL CENTRAL

Cubs, 29-11, .725 (113)

Pirates, 23-18, .561 (9)

Cardinals, 22-20, .524 (51)

Brewers, 18-24, .429 (-36)

Reds, 15-27, .357 (-82)

NL WEST

Giants, 25-19, .568 (3)

Rockies, 20-21, .488 (-7)

Dodgers, 21-22, .488 (12)

DBacks, 20-24, .455 (-5)

Padres, 18-25, .419 (-28)

NL EAST

Nationals, 26-16, .619 (51)

Phillies, 24-18, .571 (-34)

Mets, 23-18, .561 (23)

Marlins, 21-20, .512 (-6)

Braves, 11-30, .268 (-68)

POWER RANKINGS:

30. Atlanta Braves The Braves fired their manager Fredi Gonzalez on Tuesday, but there is no hiding that Atlanta’s current record is the direct result of a drastic rebuild that the front office began over a season ago. It is unlikely that the Braves will lose the 124 games that they are projected for, but expect them to top the 100-loss mark as their young guys continue to develop in the Majors and upper-minors.

29. Minnesota TwinsPoor pitching and a strikeout prone lineup has resulted in a terrible start to the season for the Minnesota Twins. Despite the addition of Byung-Ho Park and the MLB debut’s of various top prospects over the last calendar year, fielding a consistently competitive team has remained an issue. Until they are able to add some top-tier pitching, this team is likely to finish in last place in the AL Central.

28. Milwaukee BrewersAnother team that is openly rebuilding, there is reason to be optimistic about the Brewers’ future given some of its young talent (Jimmy Nelson, Orlando Arcia, Domingo Santana, etc.). That being said, until its better prospects not only reach the MLB, but also find success there, the Brewers will likely continue to share the NL Central basement with the Reds.

27. Cincinnati RedsPitching has been awful (5.72 FIP entering play Friday), but should improve with the return of Homey Bailey, Raisel Iglesias, and Anthony Desclafani. Still, the team is far from contending after its major sell-off over the past year. Expect Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips to be at the center of trade rumors this summer as well.

26. Oakland AthleticsFor all of the raving there has been about Billy Beane over the last decade, his teams have run into some trouble of late. After going all in by acquiring Jon Lester and Jeff Samardzija before the trade deadline in 2014, the Athletics have been unable to repeat that success the past two seasons. While Sonny Gray should improve, and Khris Davis is showing nice pop, Oakland is surely regretting having sent Addison Russel to the Cubs two season ago as they watch them terrorize the National League.

25. Philadelphia PhilliesFans in Philly are surely pleasantly surprised with their team’s performance so far, as they sit third in the NL East at 23-17 in what was expected to be a rebuilding season. Lead by the superb pitching of youngsters Aaron Nola and Vincent Velasquez (2.89 ERA and 2.42 ERA respectively), this Phillies team is not to be taken lightly, especially with positional prospects like SS JP Crawford, OF Nick Williams, and C Jorge Alfaro waiting in the minors. Still, with its current lack of talent in the major league lineup, the team has likely been over-achieving to this point.

24. Los Angeles AngelsIf I had made this list two weeks ago, then the Angels would surely be higher. Now, without Garret Richards or Andrew Heaney in what was already a questionable rotation, the Angels are on the outside looking in when it comes to playoff contenders. Sure they still have Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Kole Calhoun, and Andrelton Simmons among other notables, but without the farm pieces necessary to make a big trade for a starting pitcher, fans should not expect them to move up in the rankings.

23. San Diego PadresIt is tough to put a team like the Padres ahead of the Angels, but the major difference between the two is that San Diego does have a solid pitching staff. When Tyson Ross comes back, he will join Andrew Cashner and James Shields as the veterans in a rotation that also includes the promising start of Drew Pomeranz. Throw in the likes of Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, and Derek Norris, and the Padres have just enough to push towards a .500 record, that is, until they begin shopping players at the trade deadline.

22. Colorado RockiesAs is always the problem in Colorado, pitching will once again be the Achilles heel of this Rockies team. Currently sporting a team ERA of 5.00, which is second worst in the entire league as of the start of games on Friday, it is looking like the Rockies will be missing out on the playoffs yet again. Fans should be excited though, as they are getting great production from the likes of Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado (25 HR between them), both of whom should be at the center of this Rockies lineup for the foreseeable future.

21. Houston AstrosThere is no other way to put it, this team has been disappointing. Ace and Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel has a 5.43 ERA through his first 9 starts, and projected closer Ken Giles has been even worse, with a 6.61 ERA and a blown save (in one chance). Still, with an offense lead by Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and George Springer, and with Lance McCullers recently having returned to the rotation, there is still the possibility that the Astros can go on a run.

20. New York YankeesYear of success and big money spending has finally caught up to the Yankees. The likes of Mark Texiera, CC Sabathia, and Alex Rodriguez, all of whom were instrumental in New York’s 2009 World Series Championship, are being severely overpaid. That being said, they still have a lineup that projected to be above average, and their bullpen trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman should protect the questionable starting rotation just enough to give the team Wild Card hopes should they choose to stay competitive throughout the season.

19. Tampa Bay RaysAs has been the case for years, the strength of this team is its pitching. With a rotation consisting of Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Drew Smyly, Matt Moore, and Matt Andriese, as well as Alex Cobb working his way back and top prospect Blake Snell waiting for his shot at a full-time gig, the Rays’ should maintain competitive in a competitive division. Ultimately though, with how well the Orioles and Red Sox have started their respective seasons, Tampa will need to find some more offense to become serious contenders.

18. Miami MarlinsSome people may not have taken this team seriously when the season began, but they are in fact legitimate contenders for a Wild Card spot. They have great young core in Stanton, Yelich, Ozuna, Realmuto and Hechavarria, as well as an ace in Jose Fernandez. The rest of the rotation may not be outstanding, but Wei-Yin Chen provides durability and consistency, and there is still some upside in the likes of Adam Conley and Justin Nicolino. They are in a tough division, but barring any trade deadline sell-off, they will provide the Nationals and Mets with some competition within the division.

17. Detroit TigersAnother disappointing team to this point, do not expect the Detroit Tigers to stay out of the race for too long. They still have a spectacular lineup (Kinsler, Miggy, V-Mart) that is seeing a breakout season from Nick Castellanos, and it will only get better once Justin Upton heats up. There are still questions in the rotation, but Jordan Zimmerman has brought a level of stability, and an improved bullpen should keep the team in contention throughout the summer.

16. Kansas City RoyalsThe defending world champions did not get off to the most convincing start in 2016; however, at 20-20, there is still optimism that they can make a deep playoff run for the second year in a row. While they no longer have Johnny Cueto or Ben Zobrist, they managed to bring back the homegrown Alex Gordon in left field, and brought in Ian Kennedy to fill out the rotation. With many members of the 2015 team returning, it should be another good season in Kansas City.

15. Arizona DiamondbacksThe Arizona Diamondbacks had quite the offseason, bringing in Zack Greinke on a six year deal, while also pulling of a blockbuster deal for Shelby Miller and signing Tyler Clippard to fill-out the bullpen. While many have questioned the cost of adding players like Greinke and Miller, there is no doubt that these deals have improved this team for the short term. Losing AJ Pollock to start the season was a setback, but this team still has the pieces to be a real threat in the NL West.

14. Toronto Blue Jays Last season at the trade deadline, the Toronto Blue Jays went all-in, adding both Troy Tulowitzki and David Price to what was already a playoff-bound roster. This season, the Blue Jays find themselves in a similar place, as they own one of the Majors’ best offenses, but are missing the one or two pieces necessary to make them legitimate threats in the AL East. Aaron Sanchez (3.29 ERA), J.A. Happ (3.40 ERA), and Marco Estrada (2.61 ERA) have all been more than reliable to this point, and surprisingly, the offense has been what is holding them back (20th in the league with a .708 OPS). Expect the hitting to improve and the pitching to decline, making the Jays AL East competitors, but just short of World Series contenders.

13. Cleveland IndiansThanks to a superb pitching rotation that includes the likes of Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Danny Salazar, the Cleveland Indians are once again in position to make a playoff run. In order to do so, however, they will need, at the very least, for Michael Brantley to return to the team in good form. Without a solid offense to complement their outstanding rotation, they could see themselves finishing without a playoff spot come October.

12. Pittsburgh PiratesWhile the Cubs and the Cardinals get most of the attention in the NL Central, this Pirates roster is not to be taken lightly. With an offense lead by the outfield trio of Andrew McCutchen (8 HR), Starling Marte (.329 AVG), and Gregory Polanco (.928 OPS), and a pitching staff built around ace Gerrit Cole (2.79 ERA) and closer Mark Melancon (14 Saves), the Pirates are a legitimate threat to the Cubs in the central. In addition, this team will only be made better once top pitching prospects Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow are added to the rotation.

11. Texas RangersThe Rangers once again have an above average offense, this time benefitting from offseason addition Ian Desmond (.274/.335/.465) and in-season call-up Nomar Mazara (.305 AVG, 5 HR). The difference in this year’s Rangers team though is that they now have a legitimate ace in Cole Hamels (3.10 ERA, 9.3 K/9). Once Yu Darvish returns from injury in the coming weeks, Texas should get the boost it needs to threaten the Mariners as the team to beat in the west.

10. Baltimore OriolesFans in Baltimore are likely angry to see the Red Sox ranked a spot ahead of them in these rankings, especially since the Orioles currently hold the lead in the division. The run differentials (+55 for BOS and +30 for BAL), however, greatly favor the Red Sox. Furthermore, while Baltimore has gotten good pitching so far from the likes of Chris Tillman (2.61 ERA) and Kevin Gausman (3.00), there is reason to believe that Tillman, if not both of them, will decline given their career track records. Either way, the offense should be strong enough to keep them competitive for the duration of the season.

9. Boston Red SoxMake no mistake, this team will make a strong push for the division crown this season. Unfortunately, their pitching still carries many questions. David Price is sure to improve on his 5.53 ERA this season, but Steven Wright will balance that out, as it is unlikely he will maintain a 2.52 ERA given his 3.30 FIP. The bullpen is no longer a weakness, but Koji Uehara has shown signs of age with his 3.94 ERA, and Carson Smith has rejoined lefty Eduardo Rodriguez on the DL. Like the Orioles, the Red Sox will need to add pitching if they plan to make a deep postseason run.

8. St. Louis CardinalsNo matter how much turnover the St. Louis Cardinals have, they always seem to finish towards the top of the NL standings. This year, despite the loss of John Lackey, the rotation has maintained a middle-of-the-pack performance level, much in thanks to the efforts of Jaime Garcia (2.86 ERA). Furthermore, despite having lost Jason Heyward, who joined Lackey on the rival Cubs, the offense has produced at a high level with the emergence of Stephen Piscotty (.325 AVG) and Aledmys Diaz (1.037 OPS). While Diaz’s current pace likely will not last, improvements in the performance of Adam Wainwright should provide a decent balance.

7. Los Angeles DodgersThe Dodgers are no longer the team to beat in the NL, however, they still have All-Stars all over their roster, whether that be in the rotation where they have baseball’s best pitcher in Clayton Kershaw, the bullpen where Kenley Jansen is pitching in a contract year, or their lineup, which has a balance of veterans (Adrian Gonzalez) and young stars (Corey Seager). But, in order to keep pace with the San Francisco Giants, Japanese import Kenta Maeda will need to continue pitching like a number two starter.

6. Chicago White SoxThe White Sox were many people’s picks as the team to beat in the AL in 2015, but underperformance by their pitching staff led to an extremely disappointing season. This year, with great pitching from Chris Sale and Jose Quintana (1.58 ERA and 1.98 ERA respectively) along with offensive additions in the form of Todd Frazier (12 HR) and Brett Lawrie (.766 OPS), the White Sox may actually prove to be the team to beat in the AL, as they were supposed to be a year ago.

5. San Francisco GiantsThe Giants went into the offseason looking for rotation help behind ace Madison Bumgarner, and they achieved just that by handing out large contracts to not one, but two free agent starting pitchers. This has paid off for them so far, as Jeff Samardzija has a 2.66 ERA and 1.6 WAR in 64.1 IP, and Cueto has topped that with a 2.70 ERA and 2.2 WAR marks through his first 66.2 IP. The usual members are back on offense (Posey, Belt, Crawford, Panik, Pence), making the Giants the apparent team of the NL West.

4. New York MetsThough offense is always a question for the Mets, full-seasons from Yoenis Cespedes (13 HR) and Michael Conforto (.884 OPS) should allow them to score significantly more runs than in the past. Regardless, the true strength of this team is its prolific young pitching staff. Harvey has started slow, but the successes of Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Jacob deGrom, and long-time veteran Bartolo Colon are more than enough to carry the Mets into the postseason.

3. Seattle MarinersEvery year the Mariners enter the season expected to compete for the AL West crown, and every year they seem to under-achieve. This is the year that I believe they will make true postseason push. Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Taijuan Walker, Wade Miley, and Nate Karns form a formidable rotation, while Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, and Kyle Seager amount to a strong middle of the batting order. Jerry Dipoto did a nice job this offseason of improving the team’s defense, bringing in Leonys Martin and Nori Aoki to patrol a large outfield in Seattle. With these additions, it appears that the Mariners finally have enough to top their division.

2. Washington NationalsFor the first time in years, the Nationals entered the season not projected to be at the top of the NL, however, this may be the season in which they are able to compete for that title. Bryce Harper is a superstar, and the Scherzer-Strasburg-Gonzalez trio create a great 1-2-3 at the top of the rotation. With the additions of complementary pieces like OF Ben Revere, 2B Daniel Murphy, and relievers Oliver Perez and Shawn Kelley, and the Cubs better be sure to keep the pedal to the metal in what is a strong National League.

1. Chicago CubsTheo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have put together a monster. There is no glaring hole on this Cubs roster. Even after a season-ending injury to Kyle Schwarber, the offense, from top to bottom, is a battle. Fowler, Heyward, Rizzo, Bryant, and Zobrist represent the top five, and young SS Addison Russel provides depth towards the bottom. 2013 World Series Champions, Jon Lester and John Lackey slot into a rotation behind the hottest pitcher in baseball, Jake Arrieta (1.29 ERA, 63 K in 63 IP). The bullpen could probably benefit from another arm, but Hector Rondon and company have gotten the job done thus far. Could this finally be the year that the Cubs end their World Series drought?

>Per usual, statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.

 

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