MLB Power Rankings: The Dodgers are coming for the Astros' No. 1 spot
Who should be ranked No. 1? There are two very good choices
A rather obvious top three has emerged in the Official Power Rankings, thanks in part to some teams that have hovered around those spots faltering in recent weeks (what up, Yanks and Rox?).
The Diamondbacks have not faltered and sit comfortably in the three spot. They are on fire right now, having won 16 of their last 19.
They are, however, clearly not as good as the top two teams, who look neck and neck right now.
The Astros have owned the top spot for a while. Through that 42-16 start, they had an Astrodome-sized lead at the top. They went through a rough patch and lost seven of 10 immediately thereafter but never lost the top spot, as the huge lead just shrunk. Since then, though, they've won six of their last eight games. Keep in mind they've had rotation injuries and will be getting Dallas Keuchel and maybe even Collin McHugh back after the All-Star break. They have weathered those issues, including Lance McCullers being on the DL. That'se the sign of a great team.
Basically, in order to take over the top spot, some team was going to have to steal it.
The Dodgers have been trying their damnedest to do just that. They have won 17 of their last 19 games.
So who is the best team in baseball right now?
There's really no wrong answer so long as you are choosing between these two titans.
The Astros have the better record by a half-game.
The Dodgers are hotter and have a better run differential (+138 to +117).
The Dodgers are outstanding at home and only three games over .500 on the road -- and they've played seven more games at home than on the road. Meantime, the Astros are 29-9 on the road and have had a more balanced home-road schedule thus far.
Going by the winning percentage of opponents, the Astros have played a top-five schedule in terms of difficulty while the Dodgers aren't even in the top 15.
It's close, but I'm sticking with the Astros at least for one more week. Still, there's no wrong answer among these two.
||The most unlikely .300/.400/.500 guy in baseball has gotta be utility man Marwin Gonzalez. He came into the season hitting .257/.298/.389. He's at .317/.404/.583 in 2017.||--||52-26|
||They haven't been to the World Series since 1988, when Clayton Kershaw was less than a year old. Numerous Dodgers weren't even born yet. It would be nearly another seven years before Cody Bellinger was born. Is this the team that finally makes it back?||1||52-27|
||Every once in a while, their defense seems to implode. It's a possible concern moving forward. Still, things look beautiful here overall. Fun team.||1||50-28|
||Only nine pitchers in MLB history have won at least three Cy Youngs (Clemens, Johnson, Carlton, Maddux, Koufax, Martinez, Palmer, Seaver and Kershaw). Max Scherzer appears ready to join that list.||3||46-31|
||I suppose a losing streak was bound to happen, just as it probably is with the Diamondbacks. The true test is how the Rockies bounce back for an extended stretch. They've built up lots of credit on the wild-card front.||3||47-33|
||There are consistency issues here. The Red Sox won a series in Houston but then lost a series in Kansas City and then to the Angels at home. Stuff like this has happened all year.||--||43-34|
||Man, they've really gotta quit running Tyler Clippard out there in high-leverage situations (of course, after I wrote this initially, Dellin Betances blew Tuesday's game).||2||41-34|
||They aren't sellers. Quit obsessing over your favorite team trading for Chris Archer.||3||41-38|
||Excellent work to bounce back and repay the Indians with a sweep just a week after getting swept. Still a ways to go here, though.||4||39-36|
||Just when it looked like they were waking up, the Indians have lost four of five, including a three-game sweep at the hands of the Twins.||2||40-36|
||There has been only one player in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits, 1,500 runs, 1,500 RBI, 500 home runs and 600 doubles. It was Hank Aaron. Adrian Beltre currently has 2,969 hits, 1,440 runs, 1,593 RBI, 450 home runs and 599 doubles. Only the home runs might be an issue there, but if we drop the HR requirement down to 450, only Stan Musial and Carl Yastrzemski join Aaron. We're watching a special player.||1||39-38|
||While a bunch of people like to yuck it up about Jon Lester's issues in throwing to first base, the Cubs have far bigger problems in controlling the running game. Their names are Miguel Montero and Jake Arrieta.||3||39-38|
||If you haven't yet noticed, do yourself a favor and go check out the year Corey Knebel is putting together. Silly.||3||41-38|
||Take a look at that rotation and try to explain how this team is over .500 right now. Amazing.||4||41-40|
||No shame in the six-game winning streak being ended by a pair of losses to the Astros, but a loss to the Phillies? C'mon!||--||39-40|
||Sign of hope? Kevin Gausman worked 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the Blue Jays on Tuesday. Granted, you'd like to see him get deeper into the game to inspire more confidence, but he came in with a 6.47 ERA.||--||38-38|
||I'm definitely rooting for Mike Moustakas to get to 40 home runs. The Royals are the only team that have never seen a 40-HR season.||--||37-38|
||I still feel like there's a strong possibility of a second-half run, but they just can't build momentum past .500.||4||36-40|
||Winners of eight of their last 10 games, the Braves are really starting to make some strides.||3||37-39|
||Christian Yelich's career slugging heading into last season was .406. He slugged .483 last season at age 24 and it looked like his in-game power was really rounding into shape. He's sitting at .394 right now. He's a good player, but a sub-.400 SLG out of a three-hole hitter just isn't good enough.||3||35-40|
||One of the more fun things we'll see this season happened this past Saturday, when the A's had three players (Matt Olson, Jaycob Brugman and Franklin Barreto) hit their first career MLB home run in the first three innings.||4||35-42|
||Josh Harrison is good again. Andrew McCutchen seems to have gotten things figured out. Starling Marte will return from his PED suspension in just a few weeks, too. Hang around in the terrible NL Central and you never know.||3||35-42|
||The Cardinals are 5-15 in June when they don't play the Phillies, yet sit just 4 1/2 games out of first. Welcome to the 2017 NL Central!||3||35-41|
||The Mets had seven starting pitching options heading into spring training. If Robert Gsellman goes on the disabled list as expected, six of those seven will have spent time on the DL. Take care of Jacob deGrom, please, baseball Gods!||2||34-42|
||The good news: They've won two straight. The bad news: They lost eight in a row before that.||4||34-42|
||Jose Quintana's June ERA is 1.59. Just in time for the hot trade rumors.||2||33-43|
||Only 12 players have 20 home runs this season so far. One of them is Reds right fielder Scott Schebler.||--||32-44|
||Reliever Brad Hand could be a very nice under-the-radar trade addition for a contender. He's pitching to a 2.59 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and has 51 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings this year.||--||31-46|
||Guess who leads the majors in strikeout-to-walk ratio? Jeff Samardzija, with 117 strikeouts to only 13 walks.||--||29-51|
||They went 3-4 last week, so that's progress.||--||25-51|