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2022 MLB Power Rankings

Quinn Harris/Getty Images

My 2022 MLB Power Rankings Vol. 1

2022 MLB Power Rankings
The Yankees claim the top spot of my first 2022 MLB Power Rankings. | Quinn Harris/Getty Images

My 2022 MLB Power Rankings Vol. 1

We have now reached the 25 percent of the 162-game 2022 MLB season (for the most part). Out of pure fun, I decided to craft the first rendition of my 2022 MLB Power Rankings.

I should preface by saying these are not an indication of how I think the standings will play throughout the season. It’s still very early, plenty can happen between now and next week, let alone in late September when we figure out who’s advancing to October or not.

Let’s jump into it!

1. New York Yankees (29-12)

The Yankees claim the top spot in my first 2022 MLB power rankings because have the best record in baseball with the best run differential in the American League. Their pitching staff has racked up the league’s best WAR — led by Nestor Cortes, a legitimate CY Young candidate, and Gerrit Cole, who shook off a sluggish start. Aaron Judge might also be front-runner for the AL MVP if the season ended today, too, with Giancarlo Stanton not that far behind him.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers (27-13)

Raise your hand if you had every team in the NL West with two games of being .500 or better through a quarter of the season? Nobody? Same. The Dodgers have been the best team in the most competitive division in baseball, having won seven of their last eight. Mookie Betts is scorching hot — slashing .357/.426/.857 with five homers and 11 RBIs over his last 10 — while Freddie Freeman has been as good as advertised. Despite a slow start from Max Muncy, this lineup is still incredibly dangerous, y’all.

3. Houston Astros (27-15)

Jose Altuve has been one of MLB’s best hitters in the month of May from the leadoff spot while Yordan Alvarez is tied for second in the AL with 12 homers. Both are big reasons why the ‘Stros have won 16 of their last 20. You can’t forget about their rotation, led by Justin Verlander, which is second in the majors in ERA (2.96) and has been reliable all season. Regardless of how stout the Angels have been, it’s Houston’s division to lose once again.

4. San Diego Padres (27-14)

Will this go down as the best year of Manny Machado’s career? He’s on-track to hit 32 home runs, which he’s done five other times in his career already, as well as plate 107 RBIs, which he’s done only once. He’s on-pace to have to career-highs in BA (.374), OBP (.446) — both sitting atop the NL — OPS (1.066), wRC+ (200) and WAR (3.5 through 41 games). There’s going to time with *some* regression — but with the way he’s hitting, I don’t anticipate it happening anytime soon.

5. New York Mets (28-15)

The Mets are off to their best 43-game start since 2007 and the new-fangled energy sparked by new manager Buck Showalter, Max Scherzer and Starling Marte has been a breath of fresh air for Mets Country. Although the injuries to Scherzer — sidelining him for 6-to-8 weeks — deGrom (who has yet to pitch this year) and early-season spark Tylor Megill could cause some regression. I’m still a believer, for now. Their energy this year is just different compared to years past at this time of year.

6. Milwaukee Brewers (26-15)

The Brewers possesses baseball’s top reliever: Josh Hader. He has yet to allow a run in 15 appearances, striking out 21 batters in 13.2 frames. Hunter Renfroe, Rowdy Tellez and Willy Adames have totaled nine home runs apiece, while Christian Yelich is beginning to find his swing again after a dismal (yet injury-plagued) two seasons. Should this ball club stay healthy, they could be a sneaky tough-out. Corbin Burnes and Eric Lauer have also been superb in the rotation, offsetting the struggles that Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta have underwent.

7. Minnesota Twins (25-16)

Minnesota’s dealt with a slew of injuries — most recently Chris Paddack (Tommy John Surgery) and Carlos Correa (briefly) — and yet they’re still finding a way to chug along, sitting atop the AL Central. Rookie Royce Lewis was outstanding in his 11 games at the MLB level, slashing .308/.325/.889 with two homers (one grand-slam) and six extra-base hits in his first 40 plate appearances. But he got demoted for Correa’s return.

8. Tampa Bay Rays (24-17)

Breaking news: The Rays are still really good! They’re still one of the top teams in the American League despite what some preseason projections indicated. They have a sneaky CY Young candidate in Shane McClanahan (I’m actually not sure how sneaky that is or not, now) and have still gotten rock solid production from their lineup, featuring 21-year-old switch-hitting sensation Wander Franco, Ji-Man Choi and Yandy Diaz.

9. Los Angeles Angels (26-17)

In his first four seasons combined, Taylor Ward sported a .230/.305/.388 slash line with 15 homers and 55 RBIs in 159 combined games (534 PAs). Now? He leads all of baseball in OBP, SLG and OPS with nine homers and 23 RBIs in 30 games. Mike Trout is doing Mike Trout things; Shohei Ohtani hasn’t been his 2021 god-like self at the dish, but has still been dominant on the mound. Speaking of dominance on the mound — the Angels are also getting quality starting pitching from Patrick Sandoval, Michael Lorenzen and Noah Syndergaard, among others! Let’s finally get Trout back to the postseason, Anaheim!!

10. Toronto Blue Jays (22-19)

Is Bo Bichette heating up? I think he is. He’s clobbered three homers– including two on Saturday — over his last six games after hitting just three over his previous 35 games. Toronto’s offense has been underwhelming to start, ranking 21st in OPS and 20th in wRC+. But Bichette’s bat getting hot could be contagious for the rest of the lineup, outside of Santiago Espinal, George Springer and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. And for all the speculation about how he would do in his return to the AL East, Kevin Gausman has been one of the baseball’s best offseason acquisitions, sporting a 2.52 ERA with an absurd 57:3 K:BB ratio.

11. St. Louis Cardinals (23-18)

Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt had excellent starts to the 2022 season, though the former has cooled off a bit of late; Miles Mikolas has been sensational while Adam Wainwright is still pitching to sub-3.00 ERA and a sub-3.90 FIP at….age 40? Keep an eye on Brendan Donovan and/or Juan Yepez sneaking into the NL ROY conversation, too. I’m excited to see how this NL Central race unfolds with Milwaukee and St. Louis. 

12. San Francisco Giants (22-18)

The Giants are finally getting bodies back and will, once again, be competing with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres for the NL West crown. They’re on a four-game skid and begin this week with a three-game set against the Mets. Getting Tommy La Stella back from the IL enhances their offense — which ranks 10th in the majors in OPS and T-8 in wRC+ — as well. The pitching staff has been unlucky, having the second-worst ERA-to-FIP differential (0.78).

13. Chicago White Sox (21-20)

What’s going on with the White Sox, who were projected to be one of the best teams in the AL this year? They’ve dealt with some injuries, but the offense has been underwhelming. After ranking T-3 in wRC+ (109) a year ago, they rank amongst the bottom-third in baseball in that category (93) in 2022. Their two doubleheader road wins over the Yankees Sunday puts them over .500; they have yet to be more than one game above .500 since starting 6-3 on April 19 (before losing a doubleheader on April 20). Perhaps the Tim Anderson-Josh Donaldson feud lit a spark?

14. Boston Red Sox (19-22)

If I were to do these 2022 MLB Power Rankings a couple of weeks ago, Boston would be in the 20’s. But it was only a matter of time before the Red Sox lineup — namely Trevor Story — got hot, which has helped their recent surge. Story crushed five home runs in their four-game sweep over the Mariners, finally looking the part of the $140M Chaim Bloom signed him to. They have won nine of their last 12 after starting 10-19. They have a three-game set against the White Sox beginning Tuesday but hit a soft part of their schedule with 10 combined games against the Orioles, Reds and A’s.

15. Atlanta Braves (19-22)

Atlanta just won their third series of the season (!!!) over the Marlins, having won three of their last five. It begins a four-game set with the Phillies followed by another three-game home set against Miami next weekend. The rotation has been good, but the lineup has been subpar. They’re 8-7 with Ronald Acuna in the lineup — who’s obviously their best player when he’s on the field. Maybe his continued presence will ignite some juice into the offense, should he stay healthy.

16. Philadelphia Phillies (19-22)

The only lineup regular who’s been below average has been J.T. Realmuto, who’s hitting like a 31-year-old catcher with a high-workload typically would. Nevertheless, Bryce Harper has hit like he is frothing at the mouth for his second consecutive NL MVP award while Kyle Schwarber, Jean Segura and Rhys Hoskins have begun heating up. They are (still) in-need of better relief pitching, though.

17. Miami Marlins (18-22)

Jesus Sanchez was one of baseball’s fun breakouts at the season’s start. Though he’s slashed .141/.212/.231 over his last 24 games. The Marlins’ rotation top two arms — Sandy Alcantara, who pitched a complete game shutout Sunday, and Pablo Lopez, have been electric atop the rotation. Jorge Soler has hit .304 with five homers and a 1.043 OPS over his last 11 games after a dismal start to the season. Thank the lord that Marlins fans also have Jazz Chisholm, too. He’s objectively awesome.

18. Texas Rangers (18-22)

After inking a seven-year, $175M contract in the offseason, Marcus Semien has been one of the most disappointing hitters in MLB, slashing .182/.243/.234. He has yet to tally a home run in 39 games after hitting 45 (!!) with the Blue Jays a season ago, when he finished third in the running for AL MVP. Martin Perez has, though, in his second stint with Texas — featuring a 1.64 ERA and 2.41 FIP in eight starts.

19. Arizona Diamondbacks (21-22)

Arizona’s lineup has been brutal outside of David Peralta, Christian Walker and Daulton Varsho — sporting the fifth-worst wRC+ and baseball’s second-worst batting average. Their chances at competing for a division title feel slim, but to have any chance at one of the three wild-card spots, their lineup needs to figure it out.

20. Cleveland Guardians (17-20)

The Guardians are wasting another quality Jose Ramirez offensive season as well as breakout seasons from Steven Kwan, Josh Naylor, Andres Gimenez and Owen Miller. The pitching has been subpar, but the ‘pen — specifically Sam Hentges, Trevor Stephan and Emmanuel Clase — has held up their end of the bargain, for the most part.

21. Colorado Rockies (19-21)

Sorry, I just can’t get over the fact that Colorado paid the Cardinals $50M to get rid-off Nolan Arenado just to pay Kris Bryant $182M not long thereafter. Great for Kris, yikes for the Rockies! Colorado has also lost 11 of their last 15 after a hot start. It’s heartwarming to see Daniel Bard still pitching well after all he’s been through plus watching CJ Cron tear the cover off baseballs. Other than that, the Rockies are cooling off faster than the winters in Denver.

22. Seattle Mariners (17-25)

Julio Rodriguez is figuring it out. After beginning the season with a .188/.257/.250 slash line, the 21-year-old is slashing .326/.368/.472 with three home runs and six extra-base hits over his last 24 games. He also leads MLB in stolen bases (12). Ty France has also been outstanding at the plate this year, leading the club with an .871 OPS. It’s still early, but the Robbie Ray acquisition hasn’t panned out well……yet.

23. Oakland Athletics (17-26)

Losing Matt Olson and Matt Chapman in the offseason sucks for A’s fans, yet expected (at some point). At least they were able to fetch a few high quality prospects? Cristian Pache is still figuring it out at the MLB level and has plenty of time to. The A’s have been a tough watch this year, though I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Frankie Montas and Paul Blackburn. Even though it probably won’t, I hope the attendance gets better soon, too.

24. Baltimore Orioles (17-25)

Better pitching, as well as the left field wall moving back and higher, has helped crater run production at Camden Yards. Even Orioles slugger Trey Mancini doesn’t like it — which is telling. Giancarlo Stanton was the first visiting batter to hit a home run to LF last week (because of course he was), but that’s a month-and-a-half into the season. Pretty crazy, huh?

25. Chicago Cubs (16-24)

Seiya Suzuki has cooled off since his roaring start, but the Cubs haven’t gotten enough from its other offseason acquisitions to contend. And I wouldn’t been surprised if Willson Contreras was with a new organization come early August.

26. Pittsburgh Pirates (17-26)

After Sunday’s 18-4 loss to St. Louis, the Pirates have lost three games by 10 or more runs, tied for the most in baseball (Royals). Yikes! Pittsburgh has the fourth-worst wRC+, fifth-worst OPS and the second-worst ERA in the majors. I’ve long been a fan of Bryan Reynolds and Cole Tucker, and they might’ve struck gold with David Bednar. But there’s almost nowhere to go but up for this team.

27. Kansas City Royals (14-26)

At least the Royals can look forward to when Brady Singer and/or Asa Lacy get called up? Maybe. At least they can wait for the breakout of Bobby Witt Jr.? There’s not much else to be excited about in Kansas City outside the future of the team. They have the fifth-worst wRC+ with the 11th-worst batting average, sixth-worst OBP, fourth-worst ERA and the fifth-worst FIP. They’ll also fetch a few more prospects for Andrew Benintendi and (maybe) Hunter Dozier by the deadline — so that’s something!

28. Detroit Tigers (14-26)

The Tigers sport baseball’s second-lowest OPS with the fewest home runs (21) after acquiring Javier Baez and calling up Spencer Torkelson — who leads the team in HRs (4) — at the start of the season. Tarik Skubal has been excellent at the top of the rotation while homegrown starter Alex Faedo has shown flashes as well.

29. Washington Nationals (14-28)

I keep seeing more and more Juan Soto fake trade proposals on the interwebs, so that’s where the Nationals are at. Stephen Strasburg is still rehabbing, which is good news, and Josh Bell is upping his trade value, so maybe the Nats will fetch a good prospect or two for him come August. This could be a long rebuild. At least they won the 2019 World Series?!

30. Cincinnati Reds (12-28)

The Reds might have the worst record in baseball, but they deserve the Mr. Irrelevant tag of my 2022 MLB Power Rankings regardless because you can’t pitch a no-hitter and lose. You just can’t do it. 

Stay tuned for 2022 MLB Power Rankings Vol. 2 (at some point).

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