As of May 31, the baseball season is almost one-third of the way through. Therefore, this is a good time to come up with power rankings after the first two months. The bottom of the power rankings are easy, since the Houston Astros and Miami Marlins will accompany the bottom two slots for some time, but the top 10 in baseball is much trickier.
The St. Louis Cardinals have pulled clear with the best record in baseball, and they clearly have the best pitching staff. This is more impressive since a case could be made for the top three teams to be from the same division. If there were power rankings for divisions, the NL Central would be a surprising leader, thanks to the Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates.
The AL East is well represented by the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, even as both once and future powerhouses are cooling down a bit. The Texas Rangers once had the biggest divisional lead in baseball, yet it has cooled too while the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels have heated up.
There’s still no sign of the Washington Nationals in the top 10, as they are trying to stay hovered over .500 while keeping the Atlanta Braves In sight. Yet the most surprising divisional leader has been the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West, even with the defending champion San Francisco Giants lurking back.
Baseball’s power rankings are subjective, even it is obviously clear who’s at the bottom and right on the top. Here is a list of the possible top 10, who are a successful two months down in their World Series quests with only four months to go until October.
10. Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks came from nowhere to nearly make the NLCS in 2011, and are trying to do it again in 2013 behind ace Patrick Corbin.
9. Oakland Athletics
The Athletics were far behind the Texas Rangers weeks ago, but Josh Donaldson has helped the A’s climb right back on the doorsteps of first place, which worked for them late last year.
8. New York Yankees
Hiroki Kuroda is one of the rare healthy Yankees who have helped New York thrive without its biggest bats. However, five straight losses and a four-game sweep at the hands of the New York Mets this week are cause for concern.
7. Detroit Tigers
While Miguel Cabrera aims for another Triple Crown, the Tigers have the loftier goal of another pennant or even a World Series win this time. At first place in the AL Central, the Tigers are on track.
6. Atlanta Braves
The Braves and Justin Upton roared out of the gate in April, then cooled a bit, but are now firmly established in first place in the NL East — as long as the Nationals don’t wake up.
5. Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox have retaken their place on top of the AL East, after their window of opportunity appeared to be closed. But an unbeaten Clay Buchholtz has helped open it again for Boston.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates
For the third straight year, the Pirates are spreading early hope that this could be their first winning season since 1992. The last two years didn’t pay off, yet the Pirates didn’t start like this in 2011 and 2012, as they now have the second best record in baseball.
3. Texas Rangers
Mitch Moreland and the Rangers still don’t need Josh Hamilton to rule the AL West, although they still need more to erase their last three ugly October endings.
2. Cincinnati Reds
The Reds round out a trio of NL Central teams that may be the best in baseball right now. But the Reds will get to face one of them this weekend in the Pirates, which gives Joey Votto and company a chance to get back into second.
1. St. Louis Cardinals
The Reds and Pirates both still have to look up to the Cardinals, and a major league best pitching staff led by Adam Wainwright. St. Louis hardly revolved around pitching in the Albert Pujols/Tony La Russa years, but the Cardinals seem to be more adaptable now – to the tune of the best record in baseball.