The games played throughout the league are all over the place thanks to more postponements than we wanted to see at this point.
That said, it might be time to stop calling this season “young” or “early” at this point.
I mean, by the end of play Wednesday, the Atlanta Braves will have played 20 games, and thus 33% of their season. Atlanta has played 17 games so far and many others are at 16.
This is about the 54-game mark of a full 162-game season, still time to make a move and while the expanded postseason will buffer some teams into the playoffs, it’s probably time to pick it up a notch if you’re a contender that’s come out of the gate slow.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at this week’s power rankings that always attempts to blend future projections with the week’s current schedule in an indication of who we should be backing with our bets this week.
Of course, World Series odds are always included, courtesy of BetOnline, and I’ll start throwing in each team’s record to give us an idea of how they’ve fared to this point.
MLB Power Rankings: Is it Still ‘Early’?
1. Oakland Athletics, 12-4 (+1500)
This week’s schedule: at Angels (3), at Giants (3)
No, it’s not the Dodgers or Yankees atop the leaderboard, but rather the A’s who have rattled off nine straight wins.
They’ve done so on the back of an MLB-best bullpen while some of their star-caliber bats work there way out of some unsustainable slumps.
With a favorable schedule this week, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Oakland atop this list next week.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers, 11-5 (+500)
This week’s schedule: vs. Padres (4), at Angels (3)
It’s the A’s with the best record and move favorable schedule this week, but it’s the Dodgers sporting an MLB-best +41 run differential on the season.
Corey Seager hit the IL with a back issue, but this Dodgers lineup is more than deep enough to make up for it as they gear up for possibly the most exciting series of the week against the rival – and upstart – San Diego Padres.
3. Atlanta Braves, 11-6 (+1500)
This week’s schedule: at Phillies (1), at Yankees (2), at Marlins (3)
After a sluggish start, Ronald Acuna Jr. hit three homers as part of the Braves’ double-header sweep of the rival Phillies on Sunday.
At 11-6, they’re still not in first place in the NL East behind the 7-3 Marlins, however they’ll get a chance to change that narrative this weekend, but not after a mouth-watering two-game set with the Yankees in the Bronx.
4. New York Yankees, 10-4 (+450)
This week’s schedule: vs. Braves (2), vs. Red Sox (3)
The Yankees get to rest up with two off-days this week, which is probably good news considering they just dropped three of four to the rival Rays after dropping two straight to the Phillies last week.
Aaron Judge shares the home run lead with eight and Gerrit Cole has been good, but with a +14 run differential so far, the Yankees aren’t holding much World Series value as the +450 favorites at the moment.
5. Minnesota Twins, 10-6 (+1200)
This week’s schedule: at Brewers (3), vs. Royals (3)
The Twins were sitting pretty at 10-3 heading into a weekend series against the lowly Royals and Kansas City.
A shocking three-game Royals sweep has now handed the Twins four straight losses.
That said, armed with a lethal offense, a deep starting rotation and a quality bullpen, the Twins should be in a position to exact revenge this weekend, this time at home.
6. Chicago Cubs, 10-3 (+1600)
This week’s schedule: at Indians (2), vs. Brewers (4)
Already sporting a four-game lead atop the NL Central, the Cubs own just a +7 run differential despite sporting a potent offense and a rotation that’s been dominant.
Indeed, they’ve remained in first despite a bullpen that ranks 28th with a 7.30 ERA on the season, one that is the single-biggest threat to any contender at this point.
That said, I told you they held excellent value at +2500 in my most recent rankings, and I’d be shocked to see them anywhere close to those odds again.
7. Cleveland Indians, 10-7 (+2000)
This week’s schedule: vs. Cubs (2), at Tigers (3)
The Indians own the league’s best pitching staff with a team 2.03 ERA on the season, and thankfully so as the offense has largely struggled outside of the team’s 13-0 drubbing of the Reds last Thursday.
Their 10-7 record is good enough for just third in the AL Central behind the Twins and the surprising Tigers, but with a +22 run differential they deserve a 12-5 record to Detroit’s 7-6 mark.
They’ll get a chance to switch spots with the Tigers this weekend – a team they have thoroughly punished in recent years.
8. Colorado Rockies, 11-4 (+2500)
This week’s schedule: vs. D-backs (3), vs. Rangers (3)
Hey man, I’m not about to let these Rockies slip any further in these rankings despite what we might think about their status come game 60.
Their +31 run differential is the second-best mark in all of baseball and suggests their deserve every bit of their 11-4 record, and Nolan Arenado hasn’t even gotten going yet.
Offense has been good, but no one saw a fourth-ranked 2.84 staff ERA from the Rockies through 15 games. That number is in jeopardy with all six of this week’s games at home, but the schedule appears to be favorable for them to keep rolling on.
9. San Diego Padres, 9-7 (+2000)
This week’s schedule: at Dodgers (4), at D-backs (3)
As it turns out, we have a nice little three-way race going on in the NL West between the Dodgers, Rockies and these Padres.
No hitter on the planet right now is hotter than Fernando Tatis Jr. who shares the MLB homerun lead with eight alongside Judge while the 21-year-old is slashing .333/.417/.810 with a 232 wRC and 1.7 fWAR in 16 games.
Is that good?
10. Tampa Bay Rays, 8-8 (+1500)
This week’s schedule: at Red Sox (4), at Blue Jays (3)
The Rays early-season slump was turned around when they took three of four from the rival Yankees over the weekend.
Now, it would appear Tampa Bay has a nice opportunity to keep motoring this week in a busy seven-game schedule against fellow AL East clubs in Boston and Toronto who have combined for an 11-17 record and -20 run differential this season.
11. Houston Astros, 6-9 (+1500)
This week’s schedule: vs. Giants (3), vs. Mariners (3)
The Astros’ future outlook has gotten gloomier as the season moves along as their offense and pitching is no where near the levels we’ve seen in recent years.
Injuries have played a major factor on the pitching front, but their 13th-ranked .315 wOBA and T-17th-ranked .163 ISO need to improve big time to support a beat-up pitching staff.
This week’s six-game schedule is a massive opportunity to get things turned around after a weekend sweep from the A’s that now has them riding a five-game losing skid.
12. Chicago White Sox, 8-8 (+1500)
This week’s schedule: at Tigers (3), vs. Cardinals (3)
The White Sox will enter their three-game set in Detroit having dropped four of their last five games as their offense has quieted from a hot start while they’re not hitting for as much power as expected with a .159 ISO on the season.
It could be a three-game week for the south siders with the situation going on with the Cardinals, but three games in Detroit gives the White Sox an opportunity to potentially climb into second place in the AL Central.
13. Detroit Tigers, 8-5 (+12500)
This week’s schedule: vs. White Sox (3), vs. Cardinals (2), vs. Indians (3)
Yes, the Tigers could play eight games in seven days this week if their make-up double-header with the Cardinals goes through.
Otherwise, they will play their other 13 games over the next two weeks strictly against the White Sox and Indians who they current sit ahead in the AL Central thanks to a surprising start.
Whether it’s the offense (T-3rd with a .203 ISO) or bullpen (13th-ranked 3.77 FIP) that’s surprised the most, the schedule is about to get a whole lot more difficult for a team coming off a three-game weekend sweep of the lowly Pirates.
14. Cincinnati Reds, 7-9 (+3000)
This week’s schedule: vs. Royals (2), vs. Pirates (4)
A sexy preseason pick to do damage this season, the Reds have stumbled this far thanks to a bullpen that’s been among the league’s worst with a 7.77 ERA and 6.11 FIP.
That said, the team still boasts a lethal top-three in the rotation in Sonny Gray, Trevor Bauer and Luis Castillo and the lineup is more than capable.
In other words, if you still believe in this team, I’d hop on those +3000 odds in a hurry before they get six games against the Royals and Pirates this week – two teams combined for a 10-23 record with a -35 run differential on the season.
15. Miami Marlins, 7-3 (+6000)
This week’s schedule: at Blue Jays (2), vs. Braves (3)
Sure, say I’m jumping the gun on the Tigers and Marlins if you wish, however keep in mind a couple things when it comes to the Marlins.
One, they’re 7-3 and in first place. Two, the top two teams from each division make the playoffs this season and the Mets, Phillies and Nationals are all at least two games under .500. Three, it’s a 60-game season.
There’s plenty of baseball to go, but this weekend’s series with the Braves all the sudden means a heck of a lot more now than we thought it would a couple weeks ago.
16. St. Louis Cardinals, 2-3 (+4000)
This week’s schedule: vs. Pirates (3, postponed), at Tigers (2), at White Sox (3)
The Cardinals situations is a mess right now and who knows when they get back into action at this point.
They didn’t particularly impress in taking two of three from the Pirates to open the season, but when healthy this team is quite likely to compete in an NL Central that doesn’t appear as strong as we might have thought.
17. Milwaukee Brewers, 6-7 (+5000)
This week’s schedule: vs. Twins (3), at Cubs (3)
The Brewers haven’t been terrible while they await Christian Yelich’s MVP form, but he did homer yesterday in what the team desperately hopes is a sign of good things to come.
That said, they have perhaps the toughest schedule in baseball this week, taking on two first-place teams that have combined to go 20-9 with a +30 run differential so far this season.
In a 60-game season, Milwaukee’s make-or-break week is upon us.
18. Philadelphia Phillies, 4-6 (+5000)
This week’s schedule: vs. Braves (1), vs. Orioles (3), vs. Mets (3)
Just 10 games in, it’s indeed still early for the Phillies compared to other clubs and they’ve been solid for the most part, outside of their bullpen.
That Phillies’ ‘pen sports an MLB-worst 8.10 ERA on the season in their 30 innings of work, but the good news is the peripherals (4.65 xFIP, 2.70 BB/9) suggest better days ahead.
They could easily be higher in these rankings, but I’ll let them go through their favorable schedule this week and see where they are after the next seven games.
19. New York Mets, 7-9 (+3000)
This week’s schedule: vs. Nationals (4), at Phillies (3)
The good news is this week’s schedule gives the Mets a big opportunity to make up ground in the division after a rocky start.
The bad news is that Marcus Stroman – on the IL with a calf tear – opted out of the 2020 season entirely after fellow starter Michael Wacha hit the IL himself.
Jacob deGrom has been excellent once again, but the onus is now on names such as Steven Matz and Rick Porcello to step up and support a solid Mets offense.
20. Baltimore Orioles, 7-7 (+30000)
This week’s schedule: at Phillies (3), at Nationals (1), vs. Nationals (3)
It’s seven games in as many days for an Orioles team that surprised in the early going with their 7-7 record, a mark supported by their +6 run differential – just one run worse than the first-place Cubs.
We’ll probably know more about the upstart Orioles after this week’s schedule that includes four games in three days to complete the week, but with a bullpen that ranks seventh with a 3.12 FIP and fifth with a 3.54 xFIP, you wonder if this could be sustained a little longer.
21. Boston Red Sox, 6-9 (+6600)
This week’s schedule: vs. Rays (4), at Yankees (3)
Like the Brewers above, the Red Sox are likely facing a make-or-break week, but more so because both of their opponents this week are division rivals ahead of them at the moment.
The starting pitching has been weak ahead of a solid bullpen, but the offense isn’t helping, or more specifically Andrew Benintendi (.344 OPS) and J.D. Martinez (.595) – two players Boston desperately needed if they were to compete this season.
22. Texas Rangers, 6-8 (+15000)
This week’s schedule: vs. Mariners (3), at Rockies (3)
Everyone not named the A’s has scuffled in the AL West, but don’t blame Lance Lynn.
Lynn has been electric this season, posting a 1.16 ERA and 11.57 K/9 in his 23.1 starts this season.
Rather, the 26th-ranked Rangers offense has held them back while most bats outside of Joey Gallo have scuffled early on.
23. Washington Nationals, 4-7 (+2500)
This week’s schedule: at Mets (4), vs. Orioles (1), at Orioles (3)
The Nats didn’t sport much value coming out of the gate this season and I still believe that to be the case.
While it appears they dodged a bullet with Max Scherzer left his last start after just one inning and diminished velocity, Stephen Strasburg struggled in his first start of the season last week, allowing five earned runs in 4.1 innings against the Orioles.
Their four-game set with the Mets this week is an important one before big opportunity over the weekend against the O’s.
24. Toronto Blue Jays, 5-8 (+8000)
This week’s schedule: vs. Marlins (2), vs. Rays (3)
The Blue Jays were plagued by miscues, errors and the long ball in losing two of three to the Red Sox in Boston over the weekend.
That said, they’ll finally get a “home” game this week as they host both the Marlins and Rays at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, home to their Triple-A affiliate and their home for the remainder of the 2020 MLB season.
25. Los Angeles Angels, 5-11 (+5000)
This week’s schedule: vs. A’s (3), vs. Dodgers (3)
Little has gone the Angels’ way in the early going, including Shohei Ohtani’s right arm as he will not pitch again this season following a forearm strain.
Look no further than Jo Adell’s four-base error as an example of the Angels’ season so far.
New Angels RF Jo Adell had a ball bounce off of his glove and went over the fence for a home run.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 9, 2020
Oh, and it’s about to get a lot more difficult against the A’s and Dodgers this week – two teams that have combined for a 23-9 record with a +64 run differential on the season.
26. Kansas City Royals, 7-10 (+40000)
This week’s schedule: at Reds (2), at Twins (3)
Hey, the Royals just swept the first-place Twins and their -5 run differential suggests they should own an 8-9 record on the season.
So, why are they not ranked higher? It’s that schedule this week. Sure they’re a little pesky, but there’s a real chance they could go 0-5 in a hurry this week.
27. Arizona Diamondbacks, 6-10 (+5000)
This week’s schedule: at Rockies (3), vs. Padres (3)
The D-backs have dug themselves a big hole this season as they sit in last place behind that three-team race and the Giants in the NL West.
That’s precisely what makes this week of monumental importance, perhaps more than any other club in baseball. With six games against the Rockies and Padres, the D-backs could find a way to climb our of their rut with, say, five wins in six games, but they’ll have to be a whole lot better than they’ve been this season in order to do so.
28. San Francisco Giants, 7-10 (+15000)
This week’s schedule: at Astros (3) vs. A’s (3)
The Giants have an extraordinary challenge ahead of them this week against a couple of potent AL West clubs, and they’re wildly unlikely to compete this year.
That still does not take away from the performance of late-blooming outfielder Mike Yastrzemski who owns a 1.113 OPS and .206 wRC+ with four homers in 17 games this season at the age of 29.
29. Seattle Mariners, 6-11 (+30000)
This week’s schedule: at Rangers (3), at Astros (3)
Like the Giants, the Mariners are going nowhere in a hurry this season, but they do have a Rookie of the Year candidate in Kyle Lewis.
The 25-year-old has slashed .355/.420/.516 with a massive 173 wRC+ in 16 games this season after skipping the Triple-A level all together on his way to his MLB debut in 2019.
30. Pittsburgh Pirates, 3-13 (+50000)
This week’s schedule: at Cardinals (3, postponed), at Reds (4)
It will be a short week for the Pirates who have a few days to regroup following a disastrous series against the Tigers over the weekend.
The Tigers scored 28 runs over the first two games against Pittsburgh, including four home runs through the first five batters on Saturday off of Derek Holland.
4️⃣ home runs
2️⃣ + 2️⃣ = four, which again, is how many homers we hit
1️⃣ inning pic.twitter.com/K9Ugr9FW4w
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) August 8, 2020
The good news is the Pirates’ pitching staff held the Tigers to just two runs on Sunday… but lost 2-1. They’re the clear front-runner for the first overall pick in the 2020 draft after they used their most recent No.1 pick on a gentleman named Gerrit Cole in 2011.