Our weird season is certainly weird, especially for someone trying to rank the teams as earnestly as possible. Any hope of ever even trying to lean on some version of a transitive argument is already lost. Watch.
The Rays just took three of four from the Yankees. The Rays also were swept by the Orioles, who were swept by the Marlins, who lost two of three to the Mets, who are 2-5 against the Braves, who split four games with the Rays, who, again, took three of four from the Yankees, who swept the Orioles.
And I've gone cross-eyed. We could do something similar in the Central and the West, too (the Royals swept the Twins? Really?). As such, the rankings are gonna be tough and still rely heavily on a team's roster instead of judging by current record (sorry, Marlins fans).
There are, however, a small handful of teams that many expected to contend who have looked bad enough to worry this start might be indicative of a bad season.
The Diamondbacks offense outside the Marte Party looks rough; Madison Bumgarner looks worse; and there are reasons to worry in a big way about Robbie Ray and Luke Weaver (who is really close to being an opener at this point). Concern level: High
The Astros are 6-9, their pitching staff is completely patchwork; they probably won't get Justin Verlander back if I had to guess; the offense hasn't been as strong as in past years; and they already trail the A's by 5 1/2 games. Concern level: Moderate
The Nationals offense has been terrible (Juan Soto can only do so much); Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg have already battled health issues; Sean Doolittle has fallen apart and the bullpen was already thin. I have a feeling my NL bust pick here leading into the season was correct. Concern level: High
The Reds and Brewers have both struggled at times. They are both under .500 and already trail the Cubs by more than a series. Concern level for Reds: Low. I trust they'll play better moving forward. Concern level for Brewers: Moderate. I just don't think they will pitch or hit well enough.
Have the Rays' righted the ship? That was quite a series against the Yankees to pull them back to .500. Before that, things weren't looking too promising and Charlie Morton is hurt now. Concern level: Low-ish.
Now, onto the rankings.
|Unfortunately, Ramon Laureano (likely) got himself a big suspension and he was having a monster year. Still, this team is awesome and incredibly fun to watch.||7||33-21|
|It dawned on me when looking through their game logs how much I take them for granted and I'm not alone. Doesn't it kind of feel like they should be better? And yet, they are 11-5 (a 162-game pace of 111 wins) and have gone 4-0-1 in series.||--||39-16|
|The loss of Mike Soroka stings, but they are still, at present, chugging along looking like the great team we thought they'd be.||1||33-22|
|Strong rotation, strong offense, thin bullpen with only a few reliable arms? Bring on the seven-inning doubleheaders!||1||32-23|
|After an 8-1 start, the Bronx Bombers have gone 2-5. Giancarlo Stanton is hurt while Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres badly struggle at the plate. They'll still be elite, but not untouchable.||4||32-23|
|10-2 and the promise of grabbing the incredibly prestigious number one spot in the Official Power Rankings, but then they lose to the Pirates and get swept by the Royals. How incredibly #2020 of them.||3||34-22|
|It'll be interesting to see how they fare before their series against the Dodgers kicks off on Aug. 21. They don't face a team at or above .500 until then (though it's possible the Diamondbacks and Astros play more like their preseason expectations moving forward instead of how they've played so far).||1||24-30|
|My goodness, Fernando Tatis. He's got eight homers and is slugging .810. Don't get too distracted to see the seemingly rejuvenated Wil Myers or the filth of Dinelson Limet.||1||34-21|
|If this was a normal, 34-start season, Shane Bieber would be on pace for roughly, by my count, a billion strikeouts and like 15 walks.||1||31-24|
|I still just can't trust that offense to produce on a regular basis, but the run prevention is there and they're already back to within two games of the Yankees.||10||36-20|
|Trevor Bauer, Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo have combined for 93 strikeouts and 18 walks in 59 1/3 innings.||4||28-28|
|Edwin Encarnacion is hitting .200 with 13 strikeouts in 30 at-bats. He also prevents Eloy Jimenez from the DH spot and that kid seems intent on destroying his body in left field.||1||34-21|
|Just as I said last week, it's really hard to know what to do with them in the rankings.||1||27-25|
|Three homers in the last four games for Christian Yelich definitely has things looking up a bit, even if one of those was due to Eloy Jimenez's play in left.||1||27-27|
|Their five straight losses included back-to-back walk-offs and two blowouts. Rough week. They still have too much firepower to drop them further just yet.||6||28-27|
|My guess is they will start getting beaten down in the next two weeks. Tigers fans, just ignore my comments, though, and enjoy your team!||2||22-31|
|Steven Matz, Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha have been terrible. The rotation is just too thin.||6||25-30|
|I'll tell you what, if they take the series against the Braves next weekend (and depending also on how they fare against the Blue Jays), I'll start trying to buy in. I just can't yet.||3||28-27|
|Jose Iglesias coming out over here like prime Tony Gwynn has been something.||--||23-32|
|I guess on the bright side there hasn't really been all that much that has gone well? Surely that has to change, right?||6||23-32|
|Going just on winning percentage, the Phillies have played a ridiculously tough schedule so far in the Marlins, Yankees and Braves.||1||27-29|
|Madison Bumgarner has a 9.35 ERA and has allowed seven homers in 17 1/3 innings.||4||21-34|
|Mitch Moreland has only played seven games, but he's slugging .935, thanks in part to playing hero on Sunday.||5||21-34|
|Are things picking up for Vlad Jr.? He's hitting .333/.417/.524 in August.||8||28-27|
|Mike Minor was a Cy Young contender last year. This year he's 0-3 with a 6.89 ERA. He doesn't have much longer to turn things around.||2||19-36|
|They were 3-10 and heading for another stint in the 30-hole, but then somehow the Royals crushed the Cubs on Thursday and swept the mighty Twins over the weekend. They do have quite the stable of power arms.||4||22-33|
|It's only 11 games, but Donovan Solano is hitting .455 with a .636 slugging percentage.||10||27-27|
|I was excited for Jo Adell to come up, but Sunday was rough. He struck out in all four plate appearances and also had a ball hit inside his glove, jump out and end up over the fence for a four-base error (basically a home run, just not how it's ruled statistically).||3||25-31|
|Very encouraging outing from Justus Sheffield on Sunday against what had been a red-hot Rockies team.||5||24-31|
|Awful. Just awful. I'm not sure what more to even say.||1||16-39|