2 years ago

Sure, it’s still early. There are still five-plus months of the regular season remaining and a lot can change between now and October. But while division titles, league pennants and World Series championships aren’t won in April, it sure is good to start off hot.

So let’s have a look at our third edition of Power Rankings for the 2022 season, which features a reshuffling below the top two teams from last week, as well as a few notable jumps and drops.

Here’s how our voters ranked the 30 clubs, from top to bottom:

Biggest jump: The Cardinals, Mariners and Rockies each jumped five spots over last week — St. Louis went from No. 10 to No. 5, while Seattle went from No. 15 to No. 10 and Colorado slid up to Seattle’s old spot at No. 15 from No. 20. The Cards went 4-2 last week, while the Mariners won five of six, including a sweep of the Royals over the weekend at T-Mobile Park. And the Rockies continued their surprising start by going 4-2 during the week, improving their road record to 4-1 thanks to a series victory at Detroit — for reference, Colorado didn’t win its fourth road game of last season until May 30.

Biggest drop: The White Sox had a rough week, to put it mildly, going winless in six games and losing slugger Eloy Jiménez to injury for what is expected to be six to eight weeks. Following sweeps at the hands of division rivals Cleveland and Minnesota, the Sox dropped from third in our poll last week to 13th in the latest rankings. They return to Chicago for what they hope will be a successful seven-game homestand starting Tuesday.

1) Dodgers (last week: 1)
Since dropping two of three to the Rockies in Denver to open the season, the Dodgers have reeled off wins in 10 of 12 games. Thanks to a 10-2 win over the Padres in San Diego on Sunday night, the Dodgers maintain an MLB-best run differential of +44. How do you land the top spot on our list? An MLB-best 2.22 team ERA certainly helps. And Cody Bellinger finally hitting again does, too.

2) Blue Jays (2)
The Jays dropped a heart-breaker in extra innings against the Astros in Houston on Sunday, breaking a 6-6 tie in the top of the 10th inning, only to lose on a Jeremy Peña walk-off homer a few minutes later. Toronto is in the middle of an incredibly challenging stretch of schedule — four with the Red Sox, three with the Astros and three with the Yankees on the upcoming homestand, followed by a road trip to play the Guardians, Yankees and Rays. Still, the Jays are one of the most exciting teams in the game and a fashionable pick to win the AL this year, and they went 4-2 last week to maintain their spot atop the AL East with the Yanks.

3) Mets (5)
After vaulting seven spots from their preseason ranking of 12th with a strong open to the season, the Mets continue their rise thanks to five wins in seven games last week. Every day that passes with the Mets in good shape is a day closer to the potential return of Jacob deGrom. If they can play good baseball over the next few weeks, they will have averted a potential disaster with their ace on the shelf. The starting rotation’s ERA so far: 2.46, even without deGrom.

4) Giants (7)
The Giants completed their seven-game East Coast road trip last week with a 4-3 record. They’ll take that all day. They didn’t have a great time in New York, where they dropped three of four to the Mets, but they thoroughly enjoyed their stay in our nation’s capital, sweeping the Nationals while outscoring Washington, 24-6.

5) Cardinals (10)
Sunday was a very uncharacteristic day for the Cards — first, they lost. And second, Nolan Arenado didn’t have a hit. Even with a 4-1 loss to the Reds in Cincinnati, however, St. Louis went 4-2 over the last week and Arenado continued his sizzling start to the season at the plate — the star third baseman hit .333 with a homer for the week before going 0-for-4 on Sunday. He still enters the new week sporting a 1.154 OPS.

The rest of the field of 30:

6. Rays (8)
7. Yankees (6)
8. Padres (9)
9. Brewers (12)
10. Mariners (15)
11. Braves (11)
12. Astros (4)
13. White Sox (3)
14. Red Sox (13)
15. Rockies (20)
16. Guardians (14)
17. Angels (18)
18. Phillies (16)
19. Tigers (17)
20. Cubs (21)
21. Marlins (22)
22. Twins (19)
23. Athletics (23)
24. Royals (25)
25. Pirates (27)
26. Nationals (24)
27. Rangers (26)
28. Orioles (30)
29. D-backs (29)
30. Reds (28)

Voters: Alyson Footer, Anthony Castrovince, Paul Casella, Mark Feinsand, Nathalie Alonso, Mike Petriello, Sarah Langs, Andrew Simon, David Venn, Brett Blueweiss

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