- Los Angeles Dodgers (Previous: 4)
NL MVP front runner Cody Bellinger is pacing the way for this explosive offense. He leads the league in WAR, AVG, OBP, OPS, HR’s, RBI’s and Runs. This has led to the Dodgers being top five in practically every offensive category, and the first team to 20 wins in the MLB. Walker Buehler is off to a bit off a slow start, but their pitching has been very serviceable – with reliever Dylan Floro posting a 0.00 ERA through 13 appearances.
2. Houston Astros (Previous: 3)
Houston’s offense was highly touted entering the season, and it has delivered. They are tied for a league high .820 OPS, and Michael Brantley has been a great addition to this team with his .331/.380/.517 line. Another great addition was Roberto Osuna, who posts a 0.73 ERA, 0.24 WHIP and .077 OAVG. Justin Verlander has been among the league’s best starters, and Gerrit Cole leads the league in strikeouts. Houston will continue to be a favorite to win the World Series.
3. Tampa Bay Rays (Previous: Honorable Mention)
Kevin Cash is currently leading the team with best winning percentage in the MLB. Their pitching has been unbelievable, allowing a league best 88 runs in 28 games. Tyler Glasnow is likely the front runner for AL Cy Young, and paired with 2018 winner Blake Snell, newly acquired Charlie Morton and Cash’s interesting “opener” approach, this staff has been dominant. Tampa also leads the majors in run differential at +46. I had this team in my honorable mention for pre-season rankings after a 90-win 2018, and I believe this team is no fluke.
4. St. Louis Cardinals (Previous: 9)
St. Louis is the hottest team in baseball, winning 9 of their last 10 games. They are led by fantastic hitting, as Paul deJong is making a statement to the league with his 1.010 OPS. Marcell Ozuna is on pace for a bounce back year, with 10 HRs and 28 RBIs already. Relievers John Gant and John Brebbia have also stepped up, each with ERA’s below 1.00.
5. New York Yankees (Previous: 2)
This season has been defined by injuries for the Yanks, but they are still finding success. Domingo German has stepped up the most, as he’s 5-1 with a 2.56 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and .157 OAVG. James Paxton has had back to back starts with 6+ IP, 0 ER and 12 K’s and Luke Voit is red hot, taking home last week’s AL Player of the Week. The duration of the injuries for Judge, Stanton and Severino will be crucial, but as of now the Yankees are remaining well balanced and just behind the Rays in the AL East.
6. Minnesota Twins (Previous: Not Ranked)
Rocco Baldelli is doing something very interesting in Minnesota, as the Twins currently sit at 17-10. Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler and Nelson Cruz all post .920 + OPS’ and at least 5 home runs. Jose Berrios is proving to be bright, young pitcher with a 2.97 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. He is one of my favorite players in the league and someone that people should have on their radar for an upcoming breakout star. I don’t know that I am convinced the Twins will remain atop the AL Central but they are certainly pesky and a team to keep an eye on.
7. Philadelphia Phillies (Previous: Honorable Mention)
When it comes to the best 3-4 lineup punch in the majors, the title could very well reside in Philadelphia. The Phillies obviously landed Bryce Harper this offseason, and he’s off to a good start with a .878 OPS, 6 HRs and 20 RBIs. However, Rhys Hoskins is having an even more impressive start with a 1.001 OPS, 8 HRs and 24 RBIs. These two have a ton of pop in their bats and will be a ton of fun to watch as the year continues. One cause of concern is Aaron Nola’s early struggles, but after all it is only May 1st. This team will without a doubt be in contention for the NL East title if they remain healthy.
8. Cleveland Indians (Previous: 6)
In my preseason rankings I praised Cleveland’s pitching staff, and they have had mixed results. Mike Clevenger didn’t give up a run in his two starts prior to getting injured, Trevor Bauer leads the AL in hits per nine, but Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco have had early struggles. I expect them both to figure it out (as Kluber was my preseason Cy Young pick). Jose Ramirez has been terrible and Francisco Lindor has played in only 9 games do to injury. Cleveland is a team that I could see rising next month.
9. Seattle Mariners (Previous: Not Ranked)
This is the most shocking team to me so far, as Seattle leads the league in runs scored. That can be attributed to their whopping 60 HRs for the team, and a 1.195 OPS from Dan Vogelbach. Vogelbach is not the only one off to a hot start, as 8 players have at least 5 HRs for the Mariners. Marco Gonzales has been great on the bump, posting a 5-0 record with a 2.80 ERA. Pitching depth is a concern, but I’m intrigued by Scott Servais’ squad.
10. Chicago Cubs (Previous: 5)
Chicago was my preseason pick to make it to the World Series based on their experience, but two guys who have really caught my attention are Willson Contreras and Jason Heyward. Contreras had a disappointing 2018, as he didn’t make the jump into an, “elite catcher.” However, the 26 year old currently has a 1.043 OPS, and Heyward has a .932 OPS of his own. The Cubbies will have a tough road ahead playing in the competitive NL Central, but can certainly find themselves at the top of the NL Central when all is said and done.