Bay Area retains top two spots in Rankings
Unparalleled run differential has A's on top; Giants next with MLB-high wins total
Another week into the season, and the West is (still) one.
The left coast is where the top squads in each league reside, with the Bay Area's A's and Giants headlining the MLB.com Power Rankings for the second time in as many weeks. The top five remain unchanged, with the Blue Jays, Brewers and Angels occupying the third, fourth and fifth spots, respectively.
Though the Giants have lost three straight, they maintain a 6 1/2-game lead over the second-place Dodgers in the National League West, the largest first-place margin in baseball. Oakland, winners of back-to-back games, is tied with Toronto for the second-largest margin at 4 1/2 games.
St. Louis made a jump in the past week, leaping from No. 10 to No. 6, and Detroit dropped a spot behind the Redbirds. The Tigers are followed by the red-hot Royals, who have closed the gap in the American League Central, and the Dodgers and Nationals.
Seattle, Miami, Atlanta, Baltimore and Cleveland round out the top 15.
For the fourth consecutive season, MLB.com has set up a panel of experts to vote on the top 15 teams each week. The group includes MLB.com vice president and executive editor Carlton Thompson, executive editor Matthew Leach, columnists Mike Bauman, Hal Bodley, Anthony Castrovince, Richard Justice, Tracy Ringolsby, Phil Rogers and Lyle Spencer, along with reporters Alyson Footer and Jesse Sanchez.
What do you think? Agree, disagree? Have your opinion counted by submitting your own Power Rankings.
1. Athletics: When it comes to run differential, no one in baseball comes close to Oakland's plus-132 mark. The A's are six games over .500 at home and nine games over on the road. After taking two out of three from the Yankees over the weekend, Oakland can make a statement against the Rangers and Red Sox this week.
Last week: 1
2. Giants: The team with the highest win total (43) and winning percentage (.614) also boasts the widest gap over any divisional foe even after a weekend skid at the hands of the surging Rockies. Colorado and Los Angeles are both formidable challengers in the NL West, but San Francisco owns the best run differential in the Senior Circuit (plus-54).
Last week: 2
3. Blue Jays: Toronto salvaged a split with a win over Baltimore on Sunday, keeping the Orioles at bay (4 1/2 games back) in the contentious AL East. The only way the Blue Jays can keep that distance is if they stay hot at the plate. On Sunday, Toronto scored at least three runs in a game for just the third time in nine contests.
Last week: 3
4. Brewers: Milwaukee still has a 3 1/2-game lead in the NL Central, but there are plenty of talented and proven teams chasing the Crew, so they must maintain their ability to take series regularly in order to stay atop the standings. The Brewers' loss to the Reds on Sunday snapped a streak of seven consecutive series that Milwaukee either won or split.
Last week: 4
5. Angels: The Halos are the top-ranked second-place team in this week's Power Rankings, but in order to climb much higher -- either in the Rankings or in the standings, which matter more -- they'll have to right their wrongs on the road. The Angels have lost nine of 13 on the road, and they haven't come away from a visiting series as victors since they won both contests of a two-game set in Philadelphia from May 13-14.
Last week: 5
6. Cardinals: St. Louis pulled off a statement sweep this weekend against the Nationals in what has developed into a strong cross-division NL rivalry over the last few years. Matt Adams, who missed 13 games with a left calf strain, has homered three times in his first three games off the DL despite going yard just three times in his first 194 at-bats of the season.
Last week: 10
7. Tigers: Remarkably, Detroit walked off in its first two victories of the season but didn't do so again until Sunday. J.D. Martinez's game-winning sacrifice fly gave the Tigers a series victory over the surprising Twins, but there's no doubt the bullpen (last in baseball with a 4.78 ERA) still needs work.
Last week: 6
8. Royals: Nobody made a more significant jump this week than red-hot Kansas City, which owns baseball's longest winning streak (seven games) entering Monday. The power is coming around -- the Royals hit two more homers on Sunday and have now belted 14 long balls in their last 16 games. Greg Holland has 20 saves in 21 chances.
Last week: 15
9. Dodgers: The Dodgers missed out on a chance to sweep the last-place D-backs with a loss on Sunday because of some miscues in the field, and Los Angeles saw its season-high stretch of seven games without an error come to an end.
Last week: 11
10. Nationals: The way it's been going, any trip to Busch Stadium for the Nats likely means a drop in the Power Rankings. Washington is 3-19 in St. Louis since 2008 (including the postseason), but the club is still just one game back of first-place Atlanta in the NL East. A pair of games against the Astros could serve as a tune-up before seven straight games against division leaders (four vs. Atlanta and three vs. Milwaukee).
Last week: 7
11. Mariners: Seattle came away from a tough weekend series against the division-rival Rangers with one win thanks to Sunday's stellar performance from All-Star Hisashi Iwakuma and a big game from Kyle Seager. It was the Mariners' first victory in six games, and Seager is now 16-for-32 with three doubles, three homers and 11 RBIs in his last eight games against the Rangers. His four hits on Sunday tied a career high.
Last week: 8
12. Marlins: It's long been known that if Miami is going to win, the club will need some help behind Giancarlo Stanton. The Marlins got that on Sunday, when Casey McGehee delivered the game-winning hit after the Pirates opted to walk Stanton, who leads the NL in home runs (18) and RBIs (54). It helped snap Miami's three-game losing streak.
Last week: 9
13. Braves: The Braves are the lowest-ranked first-place team in baseball, with just a one-game lead in the NL East standings ahead of both the Nationals and the Marlins. A late rally on Sunday night against the Angels helped to keep those division rivals at bay, and Evan Gattis' power surge (15-game hitting streak, with seven homers in that span) has helped fuel the offense.
Last week: 12
14. Orioles: The O's didn't completely whiff on an important homestand, but they didn't do much with it, either. Over a 10-game stretch at home that included four games against the first-place Blue Jays, Baltimore went 5-5, including 2-2 against Toronto. The starting rotation has turned in a quality start in nine of 10 games.
Last week: 14
15. Indians: The Tribe will need more production from Nick Swisher in order to compete in the AL Central this year, and the veteran slugger gave the Indians a flash of power late Sunday with a go-ahead home run in extra innings against the Red Sox. It was his fourth homer of the year, and his first since May 16. Swisher had been 1-for-12 entering that at-bat.
Last week: 13
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.