MLB Power Rankings: The Red Sox have a tight grip on the No. 1 spot

Yahoo Sports

The Red Sox more than doubled their loss total this week — but that’s bound to happen when you start the season on such a hot streak that you lose only two games in the first three weeks.

Still, not even a few losses were enough to unseat Boston as the top team on this week’s Yahoo Sports MLB Power Rankings. There’s a shake-up in the top five, as the Houston Astros have rebounded and the Los Angeles Angels ran into a tough foe (those aforementioned Red Sox). But nothing changed at the tip-top of our list.

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Here’s our full 30 for this week. Come back next Wednesday and see if anybody can take down the Red Sox.

The Red Sox lost a few games this week, but not enough to move them from the No. 1 spot in this week’s power rankings. (AP)
The Red Sox lost a few games this week, but not enough to move them from the No. 1 spot in this week’s power rankings. (AP)

1. Red Sox (17-5; last week: 1)
The Red Sox keep the hands-down No. 1 spot — even after managing to more than double their loss total last week. Though, that’s not a terrible thing because they’d only lost two games prior to that. For the Red Sox, as good as they are, one of those losses needed to be a no-hitter.

2. D-backs (16-6; last week: 3)
No J.D. Martinez? No problem. The Diamondbacks have picked up where they left off during last year’s regular season. David Peralta’s .316 average and A.J. Pollock’s team-leading five homers and 17 RBIs are a big reason why. It’s not just Paul Goldschmidt.

3. Astros (17-9; last week: 5)
After a slow start, the Astros lineup is starting to heat up. In the last 10 games, the team has scored at least six runs seven times. That’s partially a result of facing the Mariners and White Sox, but it also could be a sign the Astros are going to start firing on all cylinders again.

4. Angels (16-9; last week: 2)
After a hot start, the Angels were taken down a peg by the Red Sox and Giants last week, losing five of six games. Rebounding after a tough week against stiff competition would go a long way to make the Angels look more like legitimate contenders. They’ve already taken two from the Astros and play the Yankees next.

5. Mets (15-6; last week: 4)
Here’s the scary thing: The Mets have been dominant with Yoenis Cespedes looking completely lost at the plate. He leads the league in strikeouts with 39, and has seen his strikeout rate double. When he does make contact, it usually ends in a home run, which explains why he has 21 RBIs. If he gets back on track, an already dominant Mets team will be even more of a force.

6. Indians (12-9; last week: 6)
The Indians aren’t quite setting the world on fire with their bats. They’ve scored the fourth-fewest runs in the league, but it’s a testament to how good their pitching is that they’re performing this well. Their 2.92 team ERA is one of the best in the league — and if the bats come around, look out.

7. Yankees (13-9; last week: 8)
The Yankees are the definition of holding steady. They were seventh two weeks ago, eighth last week and seventh again this week. We’ve seen them start to hit more — Giancarlo Stanton appears to be finding a groove and Didi Gregorius is on fire — so if that’s the case, they could be moving up.

8. Blue Jays (14-8; last week: 7)
Aaron Sanchez has been a mystery thus far. His strikeout and walk rates are nearly identical, and his velocity is down. Both of those things point to disaster, but Sanchez has a pretty solid 3.86 ERA. Getting him back on track would be crucial, but we’re hesitant to say he’s there just yet.

9. Brewers (15-9; last week: 18)
Because sometimes the schedule is on your side: The Brewers have won seven in a row this past week against the Reds, Marlins and Royals. You still have to win those games and the Brewers did. Now let’s see if they can keep their groove going.

10. Cubs (11-9; last week: 9)
The Cubs look great at times, meh at others. They’ve been hit hard by Mother Nature, which we suspect hasn’t helped them find consistency. Nonetheless, we’re not overly worried about the Cubs in the grand scheme of things.

The Cardinals are just below the top 10 in this week’s Yahoo Sports power rankings. (AP)
The Cardinals are just below the top 10 in this week’s Yahoo Sports power rankings. (AP)

11. Cardinals (13-9; last week: 14)
Tommy Pham’s breakout from last season looks to be legitimate. He’s managed to increase his walk rate while cutting his strikeout rate. That gain might stick, as Pham is also making more contact this season. It took a while, but Pham looks like a threat to be a perennial All-Star moving forward.

12. Phillies (14-8; last week: 15)
The Phillies have been maligned for beating up on bad teams, but, hey, it’s better than losing those games. There’s still work to be done, but Philadelphia has come a long way since the first week of the season. Gabe Kapler seems to have found his stride and Rhys Hoskins has asserted himself as one of the best hitters in baseball.

13. Pirates (12-10; last week: 11)
The Pirates continue to look better than everybody expected. The Gregory Polanco breakout looks to finally be here and Corey Dickerson seems to be a fine pick-up.

14. Braves (12-10; last week: 17)
The Braves are surprisingly above .500 without the best prospect in baseball. No more! Ronald Acuña Jr. made his major-league debut Wednesday. He won’t fix the team’s issues in the bullpen, but he’ll be a must-watch for Braves fans whether the team continues to contend or eventually drops off.

15. Dodgers (11-11; last week: 19)
We’re officially concerned about Kenley Jansen. The performance has been bad and the velocity has been spotty. But perhaps the most worrying thing is that Dave Roberts turned to Pedro Baez to pitch the ninth in a tie game at home Tuesday night. When you’re going with Baez over Jansen, that’s going to raise some eyebrows.

16. Rockies (13-12; last week: 10)
Who are the Rockies? The team that drops two of three to the Padres? Or the team that takes three of four from the Nats? We’re still not sure.

17. Nationals (10-14; last week: 13)
Speaking of The Nats: They are a team with World Series expectations, but they’re just slipping week after week. They’ve lost nine of their last 13 and in the past two weeks have dropped from eighth to 17th in our rankings.

18. Twins (8-10; last week: 12)
After splitting a crucial series with Cleveland, the Twins have lost five straight games. They were swept by the Rays and are in danger of being swept by the Yankees. After that, the club will have to hope heading back home is the cure for whatever ails them right now.

19. Mariners (13-10; last week: 16)
Good news: The M’s have won more games than they’ve lost. Bad news: Their path to playoffs is looking much tougher with the Angels playing well and the A’s being a surprise. It’s very early, of course, but the Mariners have the longest postseason drought in the game, so people are watching.

Don’t look now, but the Oakland A’s could be a surprise team of 2018. (AP)
Don’t look now, but the Oakland A’s could be a surprise team of 2018. (AP)

20. A’s (13-11; last week: 20)
Even before the no-hitter, Sean Manaea was showing signs of a breakout. The biggest difference was with his walk rate, which has nearly been cut in half this season. His current performance is not sustainable — you didn’t think he would have a 1.23 ERA all season, did you? But if that new walk rate holds, he’s at least a No. 2 for the A’s going forward.

21. Giants (11-12; last week: 22)
Let’s talk about Mac Williamson. After years of underwhelming production, Williamson is on a tear after his recent call-up. It’s a small sample, but it has caught our attention. Williamson completely altered his swing in the offseason and all three of his home runs have been absolute bombs.

22. Tigers (9-11; last week: 26)
We have to question whether Mother Nature has it out for the Tigers this season. The team has played just 20 games and has had six games postponed thus far. One of those was the second game of a double-header, but still … that’s a lot of terrible weather.

23. Rays (8-13; last week: 25)
The Rays, winners of four in a row, look somewhat respectable at the moment. We are not, however, necessarily bullish on that in the long-term.

24. Rangers (8-17; last week: 24)
The Rangers have given up the most runs in MLB this season. They’re tied, actually, with the Marlins. You never want to be tied with the Marlins.

25. Padres (9-16; last week: 21)
The Padres are still a last-place team with a -26 run differential, but in the interest of silver livings: Their team ERA has them sandwiched between the Cubs and Angels at No. 16, and hey, that’s not bad.

26. Orioles (6-17; last week: 23)
The Orioles have had a lot of success grabbing free agents right before the start of the season, but Alex Cobb could be the end of that streak. The 30-year-old righty has a 15.43 ERA over two starts, and his peripherals look terrible. Cobb has a lot of time to figure things out, but the lack of spring training may have hurt him.

27. White Sox (5-16; last week: 27)
It’s fair to say Lucas Giolito is broken again. After it looked like he had taken a major step forward in spring, Giolito’s command has completely deserted him. Giolito has worked hard to make adjustments a number of times already. Another major overhaul may be in order.

28. Royals (5-16; last week: 29)
Mike Moustakas is playing like a man determined to get a big contract this winter. The 29-year-old was on a 14-game hitting streak until going hitless Tuesday. That streak bumped him to .307/.337/.591, with six home runs on the year. At the very least, he’s going to be a huge mid-season trade piece. At most, he finally gets that huge deal he missed out on last winter.

29. Marlins (6-17; last week: 30)
We’ll say what Derek Jeter won’t. This is a bad team that is clearly tanking right now.

30. Reds (5-18; last week: 28)
They are bad, but at least Joey Votto is walking as much as he strikes out now. That’s a good sign he’s about to go on a tear. Other than that, everyone in Cincinnati is just waiting for Nick Senzel to get the call. Hopefully for them, that happens any day now.

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Mike Oz is a writer at Yahoo Sports. Contact him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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