The Grueling Truth’s MLB Power Rankings are back!
For an explanation of how the SD Score is calculated, see below.
1 – Chicago Cubs (43-18) SD Score +4.15; Record this week (4-2)
Opponents – at Philadelphia (2-1), at Atlanta (2-1)
While the Cubs did not have to play great teams this week, they are still the most dominant team in the league, and I don’t think many would disagree that it’s probably not close.
The Cubs have given up the least amount of runs by a good margin and they’re also the number 3 offense.
2 – Washington Nationals (39-24); SD Score +1.95; Record this week (5-1)
Opponents – at White Sox (2-1), Phillies (3-0)
The Nationals also did not play against playoff teams, but they blew out the competition, outscoring both teams by a total of 44-22. Stephen Strasburg (10-0, 3.03 ERA) has been their best pitcher in a great staff.
3 – Texas Rangers (39-24); SD Score +0.97; Record this week (5-2)
Opponents – Astros (3-1), Mariners (2-1)
While the Rangers had a tough divisional schedule, they handled their business, especially against the very tough Seattle Mariners.
They’re average compared to the rest of the majors in runs scored and runs allowed, but they’re finding ways to win.
4 – Boston Red Sox (36-26); SD Score +2.17; Record this week (3-2)
Opponents – at Giants (1-1), at Twins (2-1)
Boston has been an offensive juggernaut this year, scoring more runs than anyone with 369. Their pitching has brought them down or they would be rivaling the Cubs statistically.
5 – Cleveland Indians (35-27); SD Score +1.20; Record this week (4-3)
Opponents – at Seattle (2-2), at Angels (2-1)
The Indians were able to hold off Seattle in a tough 4-game series and maintain first place in the Central Division race.
Their 20-14 record against teams over .500 has been impressive.
6 – San Francisco Giants (38-26); SD Score +0.67; Record this week (3-2)
Opponents – Red Sox (1-1), Dodgers (2-1)
The Giants have struggled in the production department largely because of Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan, and Buster Posey (who returned) being out of the lineup, but they are still finding ways to win and against good teams.
7 – St. Louis Cardinals (35-28); SD Score +1.89; Record this week (5-1)
Opponents – at Cincinnati (2-1), at Pittsburgh (3-0)
Sweeping the Pirates on the road helped the Cardinals this week in the rankings, but they have been real tough as their offense only trails the Red Sox in terms of production.
8 – Baltimore Orioles (36-26); SD Score +0.69; Record this week (4-3)
Opponents – Royals (3-0), at Toronto (1-3)
Baltimore had an up and down week, but their last 3 games has lowered them a bit. They’ve been largely average in terms of production, but this is still a real good team who will likely make the postseason.
Manny Machado has been a tough out and went 7-19 against the Bluejays.
9 – Seattle Mariners (34-29); SD Score +1.41; Record this week (3-4)
Opponents – Indians (2-2), Rangers (1-2)
The Mariners had a very tough schedule this week, but fared well overall. Their run production has been stellar and their catcher, Chris Iannetta lit it up this week, with 2 homeruns and a team-leading 1.244 OPS during this week’s games.
10 – Toronto Bluejays (35-20); SD Score +0.41; Record this week (4-3)
Opponents – Tigers (1-2), Orioles (3-1)
The Bluejays were able to make up some ground in the AL East race by winning 3 out of 4 against Baltimore.
Michael Saunders is hitting .405 in June and Russell Martin’s 3-run homer in Sunday’s game have propelled the Bluejays as of late.
11 – Los Angeles Dodgers (33-31); SD Score +0.93; Record this week (2-4)
Opponents – Rockies (1-2), Giants (1-2)
The Dodgers didn’t have a real good week, especially against the Rockies. This is still a real good team with good pitching, but their hitting is hurting them.
12 – New York Mets (34-28); SD Score +0.55; Record this week (3-4)
Opponents – Pirates (1-2), Brewers (2-2)
The Mets have been inconsistent at best for awhile and losing the last two games at Milwaukee has hurt them. Pitching has been their strength, but they have get more run production to keep pace in the NL East.
13 – Detroit Tigers (32-30); SD Score +0.18; Record this week (4-2)
Opponents – Toronto (2-1), at Yankees (2-1)
While Detroit has struggled against teams over .500 (10-18), they have feasted on bad teams (22-12), which has helped.
Their rookie pitcher Michael Fulmer has been huge, winning five straight starts and compiling a scoreless innings streak of 28 1/3 innings.
14 – Pittsburgh Pirates (32-31); SD Score +0.18; Record this week (2-5)
Opponents – Mets (2-1), at Rockies (0-1), Cardinals (0-3)
Having to play a double-header on Tuesday, then travel to Colorado to play a make-up game probably hurt them a bit, but dropping 3 straight to the Cardinals capped off a disappointing week.
15 – Miami Marlins (32-31); SD Score -0.48; Record this week (2-4)
Opponents – at Twins (1-2), at Diamondbacks (1-2)
Miami continued to struggle against weak teams (15-16) as they still have a better record (17-15) against teams over .500.
16 – Kansas City Royals (32-30); SD Score -0.53; Record this week (2-4)
Opponents – at Orioles (0-3), at White Sox (2-1)
Losing Greg Holland and Mike Moustakas have definitely hurt the Royals and getting swept by Baltimore caused all of the their numbers to fall. They rebounded by winning two straight against the Sox.
17 – Chicago White Sox (31-32); SD Score -0.07; Record this week (2-4)
Opponents – Nationals (1-2), Royals (1-2)
Winning a game against Washington and avoiding a sweep by the Royals helped, but this isn’t the same team that started out hot.
Alex Avila had a great week with two homeruns on Friday and a team-high 1.455 OPS for the week.
18 – Tampa Bay Rays (29-32); SD Score +0.05; Record this week (4-2)
Opponents – at Arizona (2-1), Astros (2-1)
Tampa has won 7 out of their last 10 games but faces a tough week ahead against Seattle and San Francisco.
19 – Colorado Rockies (30-33); SD Score -0.19; Record this week (5-2)
Opponents – at Dodgers (2-1), Pirates (1-0), Padres (2-1)
The Rockies had a very good week, especially by beating the Dodgers and Pirates. They’re 6-4 in their last 10 games, but the Rockies are sitting average in just about every measure.
20 – New York Yankees (31-32); SD Score -0.51; Record this week (5-2)
Opponents – Angels (4-0), Tigers (1-2)
The Yankees continue to beat up bad teams, which is important, but they need to beat the Rockies and Twins this week to keep this going.
21 – Houston Astros (30-35); SD Score -0.44; Record this week (2-5)
Opponents – at Rangers (1-3), at Tampa (1-2)
Very tough week for the Astros, but most of the losses were 1-run games, where they have a 10-13 record for the season.
22 – Milwaukee Brewers (30-33); SD Score -0.97; Record this week (4-2)
Opponents – A’s (2-0), Mets (2-2)
The Brewers are over-achieving this season, but winning their last two outings against the Mets showed they can be competitive.
Chris Carter hit 3 big homeruns for the Crew this week and had a 1.137 OPS for the week.
23 – Arizona Diamondbacks (28-37); SD Score -0.80; Record this week (3-3)
Opponents – Tampa (1-2), Marlins (2-1)
It hasn’t been a great year for Arizona, but as of late, they’ve only won 11 out of their last 30 with a tough series coming up against the Dodgers.
24 – Los Angeles Angels (27-36); SD Score -0.87; Record this week (1-6)
Opponents – at Yankees (0-4), Indians (1-2)
The Angels had an awful week, but will have a chance to bounce back as they play the Twins and A’s this week.
25 – Philadelphia Phillies (29-34); SD Score -1.76; Record this week (1-5)
Opponents – Cubs (1-2), Nationals (0-3)
It’s never easy playing the Cubs and Nationals, but the Phillies have lost 20 out of their last 30 and are still hovering around .500.
26 – San Diego Padres (26-38); SD Score -1.23; Record this week (3-3)
Opponents – Braves (2-1), Rockies (1-2)
Things probably won’t turn around much this year for the Padres as they lost starting pitcher Andrew Cashner to a strained neck (15 days), but they could also deal Matt Kemp.
27 – Oakland A’s (26-36); SD Score -1.49; Record this week (1-5)
Opponents – at Brewers (0-2), at Reds (1-2)
Losing 3 of 4 to the Reds and Brewers keeps their losing skid up to now 13 lost out of their last 20 games.
28 – Cincinnati Reds (24-39); SD Score -2.54; Record this week (3-3)
Opponents – Cardinals (1-2), A’s (2-1)
The positives were avoiding a sweep by St. Louis and finally winning an inter-league game. Unfortunately, the Reds’ negatives far outweigh those positives.
29 – Minnesota Twins (19-43); SD Score -2.69; Record this week (3-3)
Opponents – Marlins (2-1), Red Sox (1-2)
Not much to say as the Twins are likely going to be the worst of the AL this season.
30 – Atlanta Braves (18-44); SD Score -2.81; Record this week (2-4)
Opponents – at Padres (1-2), Cubs (1-2)
It had to feel nice taking the opener against the Cubs, but having the worst record in baseball isn’t so nice.
SD Score explanation:
Run production is one of the best measures of how a team is performing and how dominant or bad they are.
The formula takes each team’s runs scored and runs allowed totals and how many standard deviations from the league average they are.
Example: 1927 Yankees
The 27 Yankees score 975 runs (1927 AL average was 762 and SD of team runs for the AL was about 115). Take the difference from the league average (975-762=213) and divide by the SD (115), the 1927 Yankees were 1.85 SD above the league average in runs scored.
They allowed 599 runs (the SD in runs allowed for the 1927 AL was about 88.5), which was 163 runs less than the league average. 163/88.5 gives us a 1.84 SD above the league average in runs allowed.
Add 1.85 and 1.84 to get a final SD Score of +3.69 for the 1927 Yankees, which is amazing.
(SD ranking explanation found in “Baseball Dynasties: The Greatest Teams of All Time” by Rob Neyer and Eddie Epstein)