Power Rankings: NL powerhouses emerge in fight for No. 1

The early-season shake-ups and surprises are starting to fade. Say goodbye to another fast Mets start, and the Mariners cracking the top five was fun while it lasted. But the deeper we get into the season, quality and depth are beginning to show through. The Dodgers are still on top on points despite getting just two first-place votes. The Rays moved into the No. 2 slot with two first-place votes of their own, edging out the Astros, who got the final first-place vote.

While parity among the powerhouses might seem to be the rule of the day, the Cubs rejoined the top five, threatening both the Cardinals and our top three. And the Diamondbacks have slithered into their first appearance among our top 10 on the strength of a 9-3 run.

The Cubs' five-rung advance to crack the top five was the week's biggest gain, with only the Rangers' four-spot jump the only other advance of more than two spots. But a few teams suffered steep declines this week, led by the Mariners' nine-spot fall from the top 10. The A's four-slot slump was the second-largest drop.

For Week 5, our panel of voters was composed of Bradford Doolittle, Christina Kahrl, Eric Karabell, Tim Kurkjian and David Schoenfield.

Previous: Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2| Week 3 | Week 4





1. Los Angeles Dodgers


2019 record:22-14

Week 4 ranking:1

Cody Bellinger sat out Saturday and Sunday with a sore shoulder (although he pinch hit on Sunday). Still, I guess it qualified as a bad week for Bellinger, as he went just 5-for-16 with no home runs and two RBIs. The guy who continues to roll with little publicity? Hyun-Jin Ryu, who allowed one run in eight innings on Wednesday and lowered his ERA to 2.55 (he has just two walks in 35 innings). His ERA over 21 starts in the past two seasons is 2.14. -- David Schoenfield

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2. Tampa Bay Rays


2019 record:21-12

Week 4 ranking:3

It has been a season of hyped rookie arrivals, from Eloy Jimenez to Fernando Tatis Jr. to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to Nick Senzel. But the best rookie of the season so far has been Brandon Lowe(pronounced "Lau," like the legendary hitting coach, not "low," like the Cracker song). Lowe leads all second basemen in fWAR and ranks 12th among all players, period. -- Bradford Doolittle

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3. Houston Astros


2019 record:20-14

Week 4 ranking:2

Since Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow enjoys it so much when the media does this, let's take a quick survey of the powerful Astros' positional ranks by WAR. Lots of top-5s, some top-10s and at least average at every spot ... except first base, where Houston ranks 25th. What to do? Well, down at Triple-A Round Rock, the Astros have a top-40 prospect in 22-year-old first baseman Yordan Alvarez, hitting .418/.505/.923 with 12 homers and 36 RBI in 25 games. -- Doolittle

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4. St. Louis Cardinals


2019 record:20-14

Week 4 ranking: 4

The Cardinals' road trip this past week was a relative disappointment, as their offense totaled just 25 runs in seven games. Paul Goldschmidt has batted just .152, with nary an extra-base hit or walk in his past eight games. -- Tristan Cockcroft

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5. Chicago Cubs


2019 record:19-12

Week 4 ranking:10

Cubs pitchers have turned the tables during the club's current 16-4 blitz, though the staff sports a startling home-road split likely related to the perennially lousy April weather at Wrigley Field. The Cubs have a 2.64 ERA at home versus 4.82 on the road. Chicago can bolster that home mark this week with a four-game set against the hitless-wonder Marlins. -- Doolittle

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6. New York Yankees


2019 record:19-14

Week 4 ranking:5

It's good to see Miguel Andujar back in the lineup. He played third base on Saturday and was the designated hitter Sunday in his first action since March 31. There's more injury news, however, as James Paxton landed on the injured list with left knee inflammation. Paxton's career highs in starts (28) and innings (160) came last season. -- Schoenfield

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7. Minnesota Twins


2019 record:20-12

Week 4 ranking:7

The last time Nelson Cruz hit in a postseason game was the fall of 2014. Now 38, the underrated designated hitter whom the Twins stole this offseason is a big reason Minnesota leads the league in slugging percentage. Cruz is fourth among active hitters in home runs, with more than three times as many as any other current Twin (Jonathan Schoop is next). -- Eric Karabell

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8. Cleveland Indians


2019 record:18-14

Week 4 ranking:8

Losing Corey Kluber for several weeks on top of Mike Clevinger's absence from the rotation until sometime in June puts the Indians' playoff hopes on red alert ... in May? Sadly, yes, because if the Twins open a big lead while the Indians struggle to find offense from anyone not named Francisco Lindor or Carlos Santana, the franchise has just two more years before Lindor's free agency to win or start over. -- Christina Kahrl

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9. Arizona Diamondbacks


2019 record:20-14

Week 4 ranking:11

Despite Sunday's meltdown, the sneaky Snakes have been one of baseball's best teams over the past three weeks, going 14-5 since April 14. They've done it by feasting on left-handed pitching, leading the majors in batting average (.317), OPS (.928), home runs (11, tied with Washington) and wOBA (.401) against lefties over that span. Against righties in the same period, they are middle of the pack with a .247 average, .726 OPS, 18 homers and .333 wOBA. -- SteveRichards



10. Philadelphia Phillies


2019 record:19-14

Week 4 ranking:9

The Phillies hit the road with a pair of series in Missouri this week and with right-hander Vince Velasquez scheduled to start twice and on alert. Velasquez struggled in his most recent outing versus Detroit, and he averages barely five innings per start. Nick Pivetta saw how quickly roster spots can change, and he and others lurk at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Velasquez cannot afford to struggle and keep his rotation spot. -- Karabell

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11. Milwaukee Brewers


2019 record:20-16

Week 4 ranking:12

Milwaukee's decision to move career third baseman Mike Moustakas to second has worked out just fine, thank you very much. According to FanGraph's composite defensive metric, he has been about average with the glove so far. With Moose raking for a .905 OPS, Milwaukee leads the majors in OPS from its second basemen. -- Doolittle



12. Boston Red Sox


2019 record:17-18

Week 4 ranking:13

WithChris Salefinally getting his first win, it's worth noting that Red Sox starting pitchers have been stellar after struggling out of the gate. Since April 12, Sox starters have a 3.09 ERA and 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings and have allowed a .360 slugging percentage, all of which are best in the American League. -- Richards

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13. Atlanta Braves


2019 record:18-16

Week 4 ranking:15

The Braves held the Marlins to just five runs in a three-game weekend sweep. Mike Soroka allowed two unearned runs in Saturday's win, and he has allowed just five runs -- and no home runs -- in his four starts for a 1.14 ERA. Nick Markakis, who played all 162 games last year, has once again played every game and is hitting .330 with a .430 OBP. He faded in the second half last year, so the thought was the Braves might give him a few days off this season. Not yet. -- Schoenfield



14. New York Mets


2019 record:16-18

Week 4 ranking:14

Aces Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard appear to be back on track after combining for 16 shutout innings over their most recent outings. They also have combined to mash three home runs, though those are their lone hits among 25 at-bats. Still, they are paid to pitch, and offense aside, the Mets will go as far as their aces get them. This week, they start with road outings in San Diego. -- Karabell

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15. Seattle Mariners


2019 record:19-17

Week 4 ranking:6

Seattle snapped a six-game losing skid with Sunday's 10-0 win, avoiding falling to .500 for the first time this season. Still, since that 13-2 start, the M's are just 6-15. The offense is still second in the majors in runs per game (behind the Rangers), but they averaged 7.8 runs those first 15 games and 4.14 since. -- Schoenfield

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16. San Diego Padres


2019 record:19-16

Week 4 ranking:16

Fernando Tatis Jr.'s hamstring injury has shifted Manny Machado back to shortstop, temporarily, and seemingly awakened the veteran's bat in the process. He hit three homers in the first two games against the Dodgers this weekend. Alas, both games resulted in losses despite his efforts. -- Cockcroft

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17. Washington Nationals


2019 record:14-19

Week 4 ranking:17

Anthony Rendon (elbow contusion), Juan Soto (back spasms) and Matt Adams (strained shoulder) all landed on the IL this past week, joining Trea Turner and Ryan Zimmerman, so the Nationals' depth is getting severely tested. They lost three of four to the Cardinals and two of three to the Phillies, scoring two runs or fewer in five of seven games. -- Schoenfield



18. Pittsburgh Pirates


2019 record:16-15

Week 4 ranking:20

With Jameson Taillon (elbow) joining Chris Archer (thumb) on the injured list this weekend, Pirates pitching will be put to the test in the coming week, which concludes with a four-game series against the Cardinals. Joe Musgrove, who surrendered seven runs (five earned) in 2 innings his last time out, will be under the microscope. -- Cockcroft



19. Colorado Rockies


2019 record:16-19

Week 4 ranking:18

Before a dramatic win Sunday, the Rockies had dropped the first two games of their current homestand, which concludes with games against the Giants and Padres this week. Continued success from Trevor Story, who has batted .241/.349/.537 in 14 games since being moved into the No. 2 spot in the order, can only help improve their fortunes. -- Cockcroft



20. Texas Rangers


2019 record:16-16


Week 4 ranking:24

Texas continues to hang around .500 and keeps scoring runs, leading baseball with 5.9 per game, despite having some certified black holes in its lineup.Rougned Odor snapped an 0-for-21 skid that dropped his average to .122 with a home run on Sunday. Other regulars at or below the Mendoza Line are Delino DeShields (.190) and catchers Jeff Mathis (.161) and Isiah Kiner-Falefa (.200).-- Richards



21. Los Angeles Angels


2019 record:15-19

Week 4 ranking:23

The Angels return to the United States this week for series in Detroit and Baltimore. If Mike Trout and his colleagues cannot do some damage against those pitchers, particularly the homer-happy ones for the Orioles, then that is a problem. The team is getting subpar production from each infield spot. At least it seems the bullpen has jelled withCody Allen on the injured list. -- Karabell

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22. Toronto Blue Jays


2019 record:15-19

Week 4 ranking:22

Not a good week for the Jays, whose only victory was a 1-0 win over Texas in which the game's only run came on a 12th-inning throwing error. Toronto had the AL's worst OPS for the week (.594) and a dismal 1.3 strikeout-walk ratio (38 K's, 29 BBs). -- Richards

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23. Oakland Athletics


2019 record:15-21

Week 4 ranking:19

He had his doubters along the way, but Marcus Semien has quietly established himself as a top-tier shortstop. His 5.7 WAR since Opening Day 2018 ranks seventh in the majors among shortstops (sixth if you consider Manny Machado a third baseman), and his defense-only WAR (2.6) is tied for fourth overall. Give the A's their due: Semien has long since redeemed theJeff Samardzijatrade. -- Kahrl



24. Cincinnati Reds


2019 record:14-20

Week 4 ranking:21

Hoping to inject some life into their offense, the Reds brought up top prospect Nick Senzel on Friday. Senzel walked twice as the team's No. 2 hitter in his debut and hit his first homer on Saturday, as the team totaled 20 runs in those two games. -- Cockcroft



25. Detroit Tigers


2019 record:15-16

Week 4 ranking:25

The Tigers can be grateful for Niko Goodrum's performance as a super-utility player; barely more than a month into the campaign, he has matched last season's total of starting games at six positions, while batting cleanup most of the time from whatever position he is manning. Signed after being discarded by the Twins before the 2018 season, he has been a nifty free-talent find. -- Kahrl

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26. Chicago White Sox


2019 record:14-18

Week 4 ranking:27

One page from the Brewers' rapid soft rebuild that the White Sox might want to borrow is the one about roster churn. Under GM David Stearns, the Brewers have constantly shuffled the end of their roster; no upgrade is too small. Small upgrades shouldn't be hard to find for the White Sox, especially in one of the game's worst-hitting outfields. -- Doolittle



27. San Francisco Giants


2019 record:15-19

Week 4 ranking:26

All eyes might be on whether the Giants move Madison Bumgarner before he reaches free agency next winter. But they would absorb less of a PR hit if they end up dealing Jeff Samardzija (3.16 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP) with only a year left on his deal and/or cheap single-season rental Drew Pomeranz, signed for an incentive-laden one-year deal and showing he is healthy while notching 9.7 K/9. -- Kahrl

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28. Kansas City Royals


2019 record:12-23

Week 4 ranking:28

A healthy Danny Duffy brings the Royals a veteran presence in the rotation. The lefty lost his first two starts, versus the Rays and Angels, but neither outing was terrible, and he is scheduled to face the Astros this week. People have forgotten Duffy, 30, but in his ninth season in the big leagues with the Royals, he boasts three seasons with a WAR on the good side of 3.0. Perhaps this will not be his fourth, but the Royals need 150 decent innings. -- Karabell

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29. Baltimore Orioles


2019 record:12-22

Week 4 ranking:29

The O's took a lot of grief over the previous week for the ridiculous number of home runs they allowed. Our gopher ball tracker shows Baltimore allowed only four long balls in five games last week, a remarkable improvement, as they came in having allowed 71 in 29 games (almost 2.5 per contest). -- Richards



30. Miami Marlins


2019 record:9-24

Week 4 ranking:30

Rookie Nick Anderson's long road to the majors went through the independent Frontier League, amateur ball and jail time, but the big 28-year-old righty has been impressive. Mixing mid-90s heat and big breaking stuff, he already has struck out 29 batters in his first career 14 innings without giving up an unintentional walk, which according to the Elias Sports Bureau is an MLB record (breakingJohnny Cueto's first 22 K's without a free pass) going back to 1955, the first year intentional walks were officially recorded. -- Kahrl

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