Every week, the Pitcher List team publishes an update to our MLB Power Rankings, reviewing the biggest risers and fallers of the past seven days. As always, the full rankings can be found at the bottom of this article … but where’s the fun in that?
There weren’t any wild swings in the Power Rankings this week, a la the Red Sox’s massive leap a week ago. The top teams (Rays, Atlanta, Dodgers) remain the same, as do the bottom five (Reds, White Sox, Rockies, Royals, A’s). Most of the shifting this week came in the glorious middle. Four teams moved four spots in our ranks, three of which to the negative. Below are the biggest movers for Week 7.
Movin’ On Up
Rank change: +4 (18 to 14)
The Mariners didn’t set the world on fire last week, going 3-3, but they had a couple of substantial victories. They thumped the Tigers 9-2 and 5-0 in the first two games of their weekend series, then took Game 1 against the Red Sox 10-1. After a slow start, the Mariners are creeping back towards .500 and into the playoff race.
Their pitching staff has been solid all year, especially their bullpen, which has tallied a 2.95 ERA despite only three and one-third innings from Andrés Muñoz. Trevor Gott, Paul Sewald, Justin Topa, and Gabe Speier have all thrived, with ten saves and twenty holds between them. George Kirby and Luis Castillo have pitched like co-aces among the starters, and Logan Gilbert isn’t far behind. The rookie Bryce Miller has also shined, allowing only one earned run over his first three starts.
Last week, the offense began to roar, led by powerful catcher Cal Raleigh, who slugged two HRs and drove in four. Teoscar Hernández, who had been struggling since becoming a Mariner, also had a big week. The ex-Blue Jay slashed .360/.370/.560 over the six games with a home run, three runs, a stolen base, and six RBI. If the offense can find some consistency and the pitching staff holds, the Mariners could run up the standings quickly.
Hittin’ The Skids
Rank change: -4 (9 to 13)
After an improbable start to the season which saw them get as high as fifth in our Power Rankings, the Pirates continue their slide back down the chart. They went 2-3 last week and were shut out twice, dropping their run differential to +13 on the year. The offense has really struggled, scoring only an average of two runs per game in May after averaging almost five and a half in April. Bryan Reynolds has not homered this month after slugging five in April, and Jack Suwinski is batting .132 for the month.
On the mound, Pittsburgh continues to be solid. Mitch Keller has shined in three May starts with a 0.43 ERA and two wins, and Rich Hill continues to defy Father Time. However, things haven’t gone as well for Roansy Contreras and Johan Oviedo, who are a combined 0-4 this month. The Pirates’ hot start is beginning to look like fool’s gold as the club has begun to resemble the team we thought they’d be in the preseason.
Rank change: -4 (6 to 10)
After shooting up the chart last week due to nine victories in eleven games, the Red Sox plummeted back to earth. The Cardinals swept them at Fenway over the weekend, and they lost Monday’s contest to the Mariners 10-1 before rebounding to win the next two games. Boston’s offense has been surprisingly good this season, given the lack of accomplished stars outside Rafael Devers. However, it’s hard to assume that they’ll continue to get the kind of production out of Jarren Duran, Alex Verdugo, Justin Turner, and Masataka Yoshida that they have thus far.
The bigger question is how the club is winning with a bottom-five pitching staff in terms of ERA. No Red Sox starter other than James Paxton, who has pitched all of five innings, has an ERA under 4.00, and most are north of 5.00. The bullpen has been better, but Kenley Jansen, who had been great to start the year, got bombed in his last two outings. He blew two saves against the Cardinals after allowing six runs over a total of one inning pitched.
The Sox are still ranked tenth in our Power Rankings but will need to continue to score runs at a high clip unless their pitching staff turns it around.
Rank change: -4 (14 to 18)
No team in baseball has been as disappointing as the Padres. San Diego was the favorite to win the NL West after beefing up their already potent lineup further this offseason, but sit eight games out in fourth place as of May 18. The Padres’ vaunted offense is 27th in runs scored as they’ve gotten little production beyond Juan Soto, Xander Bogaerts, and Fernando Tatis Jr. Manny Machado has been especially disappointing, batting .231/.282/.372 after putting up MVP-level numbers in 2022.
The Friars starting rotation has been middle-of-the-pack, but their bullpen has been good, led by Josh Hader, who looks like his old self. Nick Martinez has pitched much better as a reliever than a starter, with a 0.61 ERA out of the bullpen compared to 4.01 as the opener. The Padres won only one game last week. The Dodgers swept them over the weekend; then they dropped two of three to the lowly Royals in San Diego. There’s too much talent on this club for them to be this mediocre, but they haven’t figured out how to win yet.
Week 7 MLB Power Rankings
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