Surging Mets join Giants, Dodgers at top

Surging Mets join Giants, Dodgers at top


MLB Power Rankings: Mets join Giants, Dodgers at top originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

WASHINGTON D.C. — Major League Baseball got its wish Sunday night, as the game of the week had MLB atop the trending list even though the NBA playoffs are going on.

Unfortunately, it was because Angel Hernandez was screwing up so many calls on Sunday Night Baseball that Kyle Schwarber lost his cool and got ejected.

That’s not the type of attention MLB wants — or should want, at least — but through the season’s first month, there have been a lot of reasons to celebrate. The NL West looks ready to provide another summer of drama, both New York teams are good at the same time, and the young Toronto Blue Jays have lived up to the hype.

From an individual standpoint, Byron Buxton looks set to become a superstar, and that would be fantastic for the game. Mike Trout and Justin Verlander are back, and Seiya Suzuki and Jazz Chisholm are giving the game new stars to market, and having a lot of fun in the process.

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Yes, baseball is mostly in a good place early on, something you’ll see as we do our first in-season ranking of all 30 clubs:

30. Cincinnati Reds (3-13): They were the National League’s version of the A’s in the offseason, stripping big salaries away and trading off veterans. They might feel they actually didn’t go far enough. Luis Castillo, their best trade chip, hasn’t pitched yet because of shoulder soreness. Tyler Mahle, another popular name in the offseason, has a 6.88 ERA.

29. Washington Nationals (6-12): With awful contracts in their rotation, very little young talent at the big league level, and a bottom 10 farm system, it’s hard to find a team with a worse long-term outlook. It’s only a matter of time before the Juan Soto trade rumors get serious.

28. Kansas CRoyals (5-9): It turns out the Zack Greinke reunion was a good idea. He has a 2.25 ERA through his first three starts back in Kansas City.

27. Pittsburgh Pirates (8-8): David Bednar, the older brother of 2021 Giants first-rounder Will, has turned into a nasty closer. He has 12 strikeouts in eight scoreless innings this season.

26. Baltimore Orioles (6-10): They’re third in the American League in ERA behind the Yankees and Mariners, but they just lost ace John Means to Tommy John surgery.

25. Arizona Diamondbacks (6-10): Madison Bumgarner’s velocity is up a bit and he’s off to a great start, with opposing hitters totaling just 12 hits and two earned runs so far. The 10 walks in 18 innings are unusual for him, though.

24. Texas Rangers (5-10): Good for them for spending big during an ugly offseason, but so far it hasn’t paid off. Corey Seager has a .596 OPS and Marcus Semien is down even lower at .500.

23. Detroit Tigers (6-9): Miguel Cabrera finally got to 3,000 hits and 500 homers, and now he can turn the Face of the Franchise label over to Petaluma’s Spencer Torkelson, who has three homers in his first 46 big league at-bats.

22. Miami Marlins (7-8): Old friend Steven Okert dominated the Giants when he faced them the first weekend, and he continues to look like an impact left-handed reliever. Okert has seven strikeouts and one run allowed through his first six appearances.

21. Cleveland Guardians (7-8): Bay Area native Steven Kwan was one of the best stories of the first week of the season, but the real breakout in Cleveland has come from second-year utility man Owen Miller. The 25-year-old has a 1.431 OPS through 10 appearances.

20. Chicago Cubs (7-9): The Power Rankings Committee (of one) will spend all year tracking the Bizarro Giants. So far, it’s a mixed bag. Seiya Suzuki has been a star, posting a 1.180 OPS in his first month in the big leagues. The other player the Giants sought, Marcus Stroman, has allowed 13 earned runs in 13 1/3 innings.

19. Minnesota Twins (8-8): Former Giants breakout star Dereck Rodriguez has had a rough start to the year. He made one relief appearance and gave up three runs in four innings, all on homers. The Twins DFA’d him a couple of days later.

18. A’s (9-8): The worst part about them tearing it down every few years is that they’ve proven to be as good as anybody at finding talent, they just trade it all away eventually. Daulton Jefferies and Paul Blackburn have led a rotation that has them above .500 despite a very tough opening road trip.

17. Boston Red Sox (7-9): The Giants really, really wanted Trevor Story, although so far they might feel like they lucked out that he chose a long-term deal in Boston. Story is batting .234 with no homers, while the Giants have gotten two homers and solid all-around play from Thairo Estrada, who has soaked up every inning at second base.

16. Colorado Rockies (10-5): The Rockies have a versatile right-handed hitter that the Giants really should have kept, and it’s not Kris Bryant! Connor Joe has followed last season’s breakout by batting .327 with three homers through 13 games. Had he come along a year or two later in San Francisco, perhaps the Giants could have given him more runway. Bryant is still looking for his first homer for the Rockies, who are off to a good start.

15. Philadelphia Phillies (6-10): With two doubles so far, Jean Segura is up to 225 for his career.

14. Los Angeles Angels (9-7): They can make a strong claim to having the two best players in baseball in reigning MVP Shohei Ohtani and three-time MVP Mike Trout, who is back and as good as ever. Trout has a 1.141 OPS and four homers through 12 games.

13. Chicago White Sox (6-9): Another contender off to a slow start, they can at least blame injuries for a second straight year. Eloy Jimenez was carted off the field over the weekend and will miss 6-8 weeks with a hamstring strain.

12. Seattle Mariners (10-6): They were right to put super-prospect Julio Rodriguez on their Opening Day roster, but so far he’s batting .196 and striking out nearly half the time. Jarred Kelenic, another top prospect, is hitting .154.

11. Atlanta Braves (7-10): Alex Dickerson spent all of last season searching for the swing he had the previous two years and he hasn’t found it yet in Atlanta. Dickerson has just two hits in his first 25 at-bats.

10. Houston Astros (7-8): It’s been a slow start in Houston, but Justin Verlander looks like Cy Young-winning Justin Verlander again. The 39-year-old is back from Tommy John surgery and has a 1.89 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning in three starts.

9. San Diego Padres (10-7): They finally got Mackenzie Gore, one of the game’s top prospects a couple of years ago, figured out. The young lefty has allowed just two runs and has 10 strikeouts in his first two big league starts.

8. St. Louis Cardinals (9-5): Nolan Arenado has never finished higher than third in the MVP voting, but few have been better than him this month. Arenado has a .364/.426/.727 slash line with five homers.

7. Tampa Bay Rays (9-7): The Giants had high hopes for Matt Wisler, but his short run in San Francisco was a disaster. He was really good in Tampa Bay last season, though, and this year he has a 2.45 ERA through seven appearances.

6. Milwaukee Brewers (10-6): The Giants pop into town for just one game and have the misfortune of facing reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes, who has a 2.37 ERA and 22 strikeouts through his first three starts.

5. New York Yankees (10-6): They’re tied for the best record in the AL despite some truly awful starts for big names. Nobody is struggling more than Joey Gallo, who has zero homers and 22 strikeouts through 48 at-bats.

4. Toronto Blue Jays (10-6): Kevin Gausman has a 2.89 ERA through three starts, and his methods remain the same. Opponents hit just .133 off the game’s best splitter last year with the Giants, and this year opponents are hitting … just .133 off his splitter.

3. Giants (11-5): They won 107 games in large part because they took care of business against the worst teams in the league, and so far they’re doing that again. The lengthy road trip has included sweeps of the Guardians and Nationals. The next big test comes next week at Dodger Stadium, but first, the Giants get two against the A’s and three more against the Nationals, plus a long-awaited off day at home.

2. New York Mets (12-5): Last week’s series with the Giants was a big one, as they’re two of the top three teams in the Majors by winning percentage and run differential early on. The Mets took three of four and looked like a pretty complete team.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (11-4): They are second in the Majors in runs scored. They are first in fewest runs allowed. This isn’t rocket science.

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