Major League Baseball

MLB Power Rankings: Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros leading the way

May 18

By Ben Verlander
FOX Sports MLB Analyst

The beginning of this baseball season has had its fair share of surprises, and there are some teams in spots on this list that no one would've expected.

Here is a countdown from the worst team in baseball right now to the best of the bunch.

The Bottom 10

30. Detroit Tigers

It’s just not going well in Detroit this season. The Tigers are dead last in team batting average and bottom five in the league in pitching. That’s not a great combination for success. Obviously, this team is in the middle of a rebuild, but you’d like to at least see signs of heading in the right direction.

29. Colorado Rockies

The Rockies' front office has given up on this team. They still have some talented players in their lineup, but I don’t foresee this team looking the same come the trade deadline. Trevor Story is a bright spot, but he will probably be gone by season’s end.

28. Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates started the season better than most imagined but already find themselves at the bottom of the NL Central. I was really looking forward to watching Ke’Bryan Hayes this season, but he got hurt and has been out since the first series. 

27. Baltimore Orioles

One thing is for sure: This team has a certified star in John Means. Sporting a 4-0 record and a 1.21 ERA, which is good for best in the American League, he is the real deal. Other than Means, however, there isn't much to get excited about this year with the Orioles. Plus, in their division, it's tough to come by many wins.

26. Minnesota Twins

What in the world is going on with the Twins? They have the worst record in all of baseball, with one of the more talented rosters in baseball. They for sure are the biggest head-scratcher of the season so far.  

25. Texas Rangers

The Rangers haven’t been as bad as many expected coming into the season, but they nonetheless find themselves at the bottom of the AL West. Kyle Gibson has been fantastic on the mound to start the year, with a 2.32 ERA, and he is giving his team a chance to win every time out.  

24. Miami Marlins

Things this year haven’t been going the same way they went last year, when the Marlins surprised and made the playoffs. This team is in a tough division and going up against some great squads on a night in and night out basis. In another division, the Marlins might be faring better than they are.

23. Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks have a super-fun post-win locker room celebration, but they aren’t getting to do it very often. Their offense can be really good and fun to watch at times, but with a team ERA close to 5.00, that isn't going to result in very many wins.  

22. Washington Nationals

The Nationals have some stars on their roster. Trea Turner, Juan Soto, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg are guys any team would love to have. The problem, however, is depth. After the stars, there isn't much firepower to be found. One guy they brought in to plug right in the middle of that lineup, Josh Bell, is hitting well under .200 on the season.  

21. Los Angeles Angels

The Angels have two of the best players in all of baseball in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Their lineup certainly isn’t the issue, as they currently have a top-10 offense in the league. Their pitching, however, is dead last, and it’s impossible to win with a pitching staff that ranks dead last in all of baseball.  

The Middle 10

20. Kansas City Royals

The Royals have been an interesting team so far this season. They got out of the gates hot and then went on an 11-game losing streak. The AL Central has a clear favorite right now in the Chicago White Sox, but the Royals' offense is good enough that they can make some noise when they are hot.

19. Chicago Cubs

This team seems to be a coin flip as to what you’re going to get on any given night. Some nights, the Cubs look great, and other nights they look terrible. The core of this team is good, but if they don’t start winning more games, we might see some star players traded before the deadline.

18. Cincinnati Reds

The bat flippin’, show boatin’ son of a guns were certainly a big talking point the first month of the season. They were winning games and doing so with attitude. The Reds have since cooled off and find themselves right around the .500 mark, but they're still in the mix in the NL Central, where everyone seems to be bunched up right behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

17. Seattle Mariners

The Mariners have been a bit of a surprise to start the season, and they just called up one of the top prospects in all of baseball, Jarred Kelenic. This team isn’t ready to compete in the AL quite yet, but it is certainly showing signs that the future in Seattle is bright.

16. Atlanta Braves

I can’t believe I’m putting them here, but alas, here the Braves are. My World Series pick heading into the season finds itself below the .500 mark a month and a half in. The Braves will be fine – they are too talented not to be – but they need to turn it around soon.

15. Cleveland Indians

The Indians are still right in it in the AL Central, but they're behind a surging White Sox team. Cleveland can win on any given night but can also be no-hit on any given night, which has already happened twice in this young season.

14. Philadelphia Phillies

This Phillies team is pretty good and certainly has a chance to compete in the NL East. Their offense is better than they are currently playing, but they are still above .500 and in the race in their division.

13.  Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers might have the best 1-2 punch in all of baseball at the top of their starting rotation. They have a top-10 pitching staff, but their offense has really struggled and desperately needs superstar Christian Yelich back from injury. That could happen this week.

12. New York Mets

The Mets find themselves at the top of the NL East but are absolutely loaded with injuries. They have scored the fewest runs in all of baseball but have great numbers on the pitching side, bolstered by the best pitcher on the planet, Jacob deGrom. It seems like the team is just treading water right now, with all the injuries, and unless they can get healthy quickly, it’s only a matter of time before the Mets start sliding down the standings in this talented division.

11. Tampa Bay Rays

The reigning AL champs are playing well again this season. They are right in the middle of the pack in the AL East, which has a ton of talent from top to bottom. My AL Cy Young pick, Tyler Glasnow, is emerging as one of the best pitchers in the league and has 85 strikeouts in 57.1 innings pitched so far this season.

The Top 10

Never the most talented roster on paper, the A's always seem to get the job done and contend when all is said and done. Their record this season was boosted big-time when they won 13 games in a row, but they've come back down to earth since. 

They are holding on by a thread at the top of the AL West, with the Houston Astros hot on their heels. The A's actually have a negative run differential this year, meaning their opponents have scored more runs than they have.

The Yankees certainly weren't going to sit in last place in the American League all season. They are too talented not to be toward the top of the AL East, and that is exactly where they are heading. This offense is heating up, and with it, so is the team as a whole.

The addition of Nolan Arenado has been exactly what this team needed, and the Cardinals find themselves atop the NL Central. Jack Flaherty has been magical so far this year, with a record of 7-0 and a 2.47 ERA.

This team is fun to watch. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is hitting like we always suspected he would, and Bo Bichette is raking at the top of the lineup. Toronto is right in the thick of things and has proven it can win as is. 

When the Jays get back George Springer, who has played in only four games this season, watch out. He is a spark plug that will be a force at the top of the lineup, and this team will only get better once he arrives.

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The Dodgers certainly haven’t been the force we all thought they would be coming into the season. A lot of that is because of injuries, but a lot of it is also underperforming from the rest of the roster. Even as is, this team should be playing better. 

The Dodgers are, however, starting to pick up, and when they get healthy, this team will be dominant once again.

The biggest surprise so far this season has been the San Francisco Giants, who lead the NL West. Their offense was good last year, but this year it is their pitching that has them where they are. 

I don’t foresee this team winning the division, but the Giants are better than most people realize, and it isn't a fluke that they are where they are.

Just barely behind the first-place Giants, the Padres have been hot as of late, and their superstar shortstop, Fernando Tatis Jr., hasn’t even gotten going this year. This team is currently playing great baseball with a lot of its stars, including Tatis and Eric Hosmer, out because of COVID-19. 

The Padres are also the only squad in baseball with a team ERA under 3.00.

The Red Sox, the leaders in the AL East, are putting up runs in bunches. 

I was a lot higher on this team than most coming into the season, but even I couldn’t have predicted this. They have the most runs in all of baseball, and Matt Barnes as the closer has been lights out.

Watch out, world. The Houston Astros have gotten hot. They got out of the gates at a historic pace and then hit a big road bump this season. 

COVID took many of the stars out of the lineup for a good stretch of games, and the Astros were awful during that time. But now the team's core is back to full health, and they are on fire. The Astros are leading all of Major League Baseball in batting average.

The White Sox are emerging as the team many thought could represent the American League in the World Series. Even without Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, the White Sox have lost two series all season and appear to be getting better and better.

Ben Verlander is an MLB Analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the "Flippin' Bats" podcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2013. He spent five years in the Tigers organization. Follow him on Twitter @Verly32.

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