Power Rankings: Dodgers and Yankees in a battle for No. 1

Dodgers top MLB Power Rankings (1:07)

The Baseball Tonight crew discusses this week's MLB Power Rankings, with the Dodgers leading the pack. (1:07)

This week, we saw something unusual this late in the season: Both of last week's No. 1 and No. 2 teams were superseded by two different teams altogether. Welcome to the new balance of power among the major league elite, because seeing the Astros and Twins passed by both the Yankees and our new No. 1, the Dodgers, is about how strong all four clubs are, with the Rays, Cubs and Brewers scant steps behind them. So, we still have superteams, but the surprise is just that some of them -- looking at you Minnesota and Tampa Bay -- are unexpected additions to the field.

How close are these clubs? While the Dodgers might be on top, they received just three of five first-place votes, with the Yankees and Astros getting one apiece. The Twins got four third-place votes, but they finished fourth only because they were the one team in the top four that didn't get any first-place support. Will they change that in the week to come while running neck and neck with the Dodgers for the MLB lead in wins? We'll have to see.

If the jostling for position at the top commands most of the attention, we saw a new meteoric rise to No. 11 by another team: This week, it's the red-hot Rockies following the trail laid by the A's and Angels in weeks past with their week-best nine-spot rise up the ranks. The challenge now for Colorado is to show whether it can be the first one to take the next step forward and crack the top 10, something neither Oakland nor Los Angeles could manage. In the declining fortunes department, pity the Pirates and the Diamondbacks, who lost the most ground by falling five spots apiece.

For Week 9, our panel of voters was composed of Bradford Doolittle, Christina Kahrl, Eric Karabell, Tim Kurkjian and David Schoenfield.

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1. Los Angeles Dodgers

2019 record: 41-19
Week 8 ranking: 3

One thing that makes the Dodgers' offense so tough and why they are the new No. 1 (besides Cody Bellinger's brilliant first two months, that is): Heading into Sunday, they led the National League in walks (the Cubs had a slight edge in walks per game) and also led in fewest strikeouts. Bellinger has more walks than K's, while Alex Verdugo and David Freese are almost at a 1:1 ratio. That ability to put the ball in play is one reason Verdugo might keep hitting .300 -- and why it's so difficult to get through this lineup. -- Schoenfield

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2. New York Yankees

2019 record: 38-20
Week 8 ranking: 4

After taking the weekend series from the Red Sox, the Yankees now have captured nine series in a row. And they have six home runs all season from Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks -- a trio that combined for 92 homers last season. The back of the bullpen continues to dominate, as Aroldis Chapman, Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton and Tommy Kahnle have combined for a 1.51 ERA. With so many teams struggling in the pen, that's one reason to consider the Yankees as the No. 1 team in the Power Rankings. -- Schoenfield

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3. Houston Astros

2019 record: 40-20
Week 8 ranking: 1

Jake Marisnick has always been a valuable role player for Houston, offering pop against lefties, excellent defense and baserunning, and comic relief in the clubhouse. As the injuries have mounted for Houston, Marisnick has started 22 games in center field since April 29. While his responsibilities have expanded, his skill set has not. Marisnick's .442 slugging against righties is good enough, but his on-base percentage against them is just .265, in line with his career .269 mark. Marisnick is hitting .389/.463/.694 against lefties, but even with the increased playing time, he remains a role player. -- Doolittle

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4. Minnesota Twins

2019 record: 40-18
Week 8 ranking: 2

The Twins have not faced the division-favorite Indians since the opening series, when they took two of three games. They meet again this week, with the Twins running away with the American League Central and the Indians in desperation mode. Minnesota ace Jose Berrios, scheduled for a Wednesday start in Cleveland, has been all or nothing against the Tribe in his career, with four excellent outings and four rough ones. -- Karabell

5. Tampa Bay Rays

2019 record: 35-22
Week 8 ranking: 6

That Tampa Bay's pitching staff wasn't able to derail Minnesota's rampaging offense probably says more about the Twins than the Rays. Home, road, lefty, righty, April, May -- the Rays' pitching has been remarkably consistent. We probably won't put openers in the Hall of Fame, but if we did, Ryne Stanek would be the early favorite to be the first. This season, the Rays have had 18 starts that lasted two innings or less, 16 by Stanek. The Rays have a 1.50 starter ERA in those outings, with just five runs allowed in 30 innings. Stanek allowed three of those runs with one bad outing on May 1. -- Doolittle

6. Chicago Cubs

2019 record: 31-26
Week 8 ranking: 5

The regression monster came early for Jon Lester in a particularly ravenous state. The Cubs' lefty appeared to have fully adjusted to the new velocity constraints of this phase of his fine career, posting an MLB-best 1.16 ERA over his first seven starts. The past three outings? He has allowed 19 runs, 16 earned, over 14 IP, bloating his ERA to 3.59. The Cubs, and Lester, hope the regression monster is fully satiated. -- Doolittle

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7. Milwaukee Brewers

2019 record: 34-26
Week 8 ranking: 9

There were two silver linings from Sunday's news that the Brewers were placing Jhoulys Chacin on the injured list and recalling Jimmy Nelson from Triple-A San Antonio. The first was that Chacin's ERA climbed to 5.74 after another poor outing on Friday, so perhaps his back issues explain his woes. The second is the return of Nelson, who was Milwaukee's ace when he injured his shoulder belly flopping into first base at Wrigley Field on Sept. 8, 2017. It will be good to see Nelson back in uniform when he takes the mound at Miami on Wednesday. -- Doolittle

8. Philadelphia Phillies

2019 record: 33-26
Week 8 ranking: 8

Third baseman Maikel Franco is no lock to keep a starting job after hitting .170 with one home run in May. Franco hit seven blasts in March/April, with more walks than strikeouts, but Scott Kingery is a capable third baseman and hitting better. Meanwhile, second baseman Cesar Hernandez, once thought to be in danger of losing playing time to Kingery, hit .337 with a .953 OPS in May, leading the club. -- Karabell

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9. Boston Red Sox

2019 record: 30-29
Week 8 ranking: 7

Entering Sunday's game, the Red Sox were a miserable 2-for-26 (.077) with runners in scoring position in four straight losses to the Yankees, while allowing New York hitters to go 11-for-28 (.393) with RISP. The Sox turned the tide Sunday, however, going 4-for-10 with RISP to the Yankees' 1-for-7. Boston will need more of those timely hits to have any chance of catching New York. -- Steve Richards

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10. Atlanta Braves

2019 record: 32-27
Week 8 ranking: 10

The Braves had a short week with just five games, going 2-3 against the Nationals and Tigers, and continue with a favorable stretch of the schedule: six games on the road against the Pirates and Marlins, then a 10-game homestand against the Pirates, Phillies and Mets. The Braves have played just three games against the Phillies so far (losing all three to start the season). Two keys to watch: Kevin Gausman and Mike Foltynewicz, now a combined 3-8 with a 5.79 ERA. Gausman gave up eight runs in one inning to the Nationals, but Foltynewicz, an All-Star last season, is the bigger concern with 13 HRs allowed in 38⅓ innings. -- Schoenfield

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11. Colorado Rockies

2019 record: 31-27
Week 8 ranking: 20

The Rockies enter the week riding an eight-game winning streak, which has catapulted them from fourth to second place in the NL West -- though they still face a nine-game climb to catch the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers. Predictably, the Rockies' bats have been responsible for their streak, played entirely at Coors Field, during which time the team scored 56 runs, with No. 2 hitter David Dahl their biggest standout. -- Tristan H. Cockcroft

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12. St. Louis Cardinals

2019 record: 30-28
Week 8 ranking: 12

For the first time this season, Paul DeJong's bat has run cold. In his past 11 games, he is an .056 hitter (2-for-36) without an extra-base hit, which has played a large part in the Cardinals posting one of the league's worst team wOBAs (.301) during that time. The Cardinals were fortunate to sweep their three-game weekend home series against the Cubs, but they'll need a stronger performance from DeJong when the teams have a rematch at Wrigley Field next weekend. -- Cockcroft

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13. Oakland Athletics

2019 record: 29-30
Week 8 ranking: 11

The A's managed a 15-10 May despite not having Khris Davis healthy for much of the month. But third baseman Matt Chapman has chosen the right time to start heating up at the plate, ripping six home runs over the past two weeks to take the team lead with 16, while also leading all AL infielders in defensive runs saved with eight on the season. -- Christina Kahrl

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14. Texas Rangers

2019 record: 30-27
Week 8 ranking: 17

Of course, it's absurdly early to be talking in these terms, but the Rangers have moved into the second wild-card position in the American League on the strength of a 13-5 run since the middle of May. We'll see if they can keep it up with Joey Gallo, the AL leader in slugging percentage, sidelined for at least the next two weeks with an oblique injury. -- Richards

15. San Diego Padres

2019 record: 30-29
Week 8 ranking: 15

Since their 19-run outburst in Toronto on May 25, the Padres haven't been able to muster much offense, totaling just 19 runs and slashing .207/.271/.344 in seven games since. Manny Machado's struggles have had a lot to do with it; he now is hitting just .214 (12-for-56) with two extra-base hits, both doubles, during a 17-game slump. -- Cockcroft

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16. Cleveland Indians

2019 record: 29-30
Week 8 ranking: 13

Did any pitcher have a month encapsulating the state of the game today more so than Carlos Carrasco just did? In May, he tied for the AL lead in home runs allowed with 10, which sounds bad, but seven were solo shots, and he also posted an excellent 38-4 ratio of strikeouts to walks in 37⅓ IP. Good and bad, that's baseball in 2019. -- Kahrl

17. Cincinnati Reds

2019 record: 27-32
Week 8 ranking: 18

Derek Dietrich's hitting was one of the team's May highlights, as his three-homer game Tuesday gave him 12 for the month, tying him for the major league lead in May despite his starting just 19 of the team's 28 games. The good news for Dietrich, given his platoon role, is that the Reds' opponents during the next 10 days have overwhelmingly right-handed rotations: the Cardinals (Tuesday to Thursday), Phillies (Friday to Sunday) and Indians (June 11-12). -- Cockcroft

18. New York Mets

2019 record: 28-31
Week 8 ranking: 19

Embattled lefty Jason Vargas actually led the loaded rotation with a 2.81 ERA in May, so he is not the team's biggest problem. The starting rotation performed well. Closer Edwin Diaz posted a 5.06 ERA, but one bad outing clouded things and few are concerned there. The offense, however, hit .238 in May, with Amed Rosario, Todd Frazier, J.D. Davis, Brandon Nimmo, Juan Lagares and Robinson Cano contributing a combined .210 mark. Pete Alonso cannot do it all. The rest of New York's offense needs to get healthy and productive soon. -- Karabell

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19. Arizona Diamondbacks

2019 record: 30-30
Week 8 ranking: 14

The D-backs started the week with five straight losses, their second five-game skid in three weeks. Seven of the 10 losses in those slides were by one run, a bugaboo for the Snakes all season. They have played an MLB-high 26 one-run games and are just 10-16, ranking 24th in one-run winning percentage entering Sunday. -- Richards

20. Los Angeles Angels

2019 record: 29-30
Week 8 ranking: 21

Infielder David Fletcher continues to surprise, as he showed his .307 batting average from March/April was no fluke by hitting .317 in May. He also walked more than he struck out in each month. Fletcher, who mainly hits first in the lineup or last, has more than 35 plate appearances at four different positions for the Angels, providing critical versatility in light of injuries and poor play by others. Only Mike Trout has been more valuable on this club. -- Karabell

21. Pittsburgh Pirates

2019 record: 28-30
Week 8 ranking: 16

Injuries continue to hamper the Pirates' pitching staff. Since Trevor Williams joined Jameson Taillon on the IL on May 17, the team has a NL-worst 6.33 ERA and only two quality starts in 17 games. Joe Musgrove concluded the month of May with an 8.10 ERA and .302 batting average allowed in his six starts, one of only three pitchers who could claim numbers that high in at least six starts during the month (Manny Banuelos, Kyle Freeland). -- Cockcroft

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22. Washington Nationals

2019 record: 26-33
Week 8 ranking: 22

Juan Soto played his 162nd career game this past week and hit .292/.402/.519 with 31 home runs, 107 runs and 107 RBIs in those games. Joe Posnanski wrote about the best 162 games to start a career, and while Soto didn't crack the top 10, Joe's list didn't factor in age. Soto will play this entire regular season at 20 years old. Oh, by the way, after a bit of a slow start out of the gate, he is hitting .333/.403/.619 since April 24. His walk rate actually has dropped during that span, so he is learning that sometimes being more aggressive is OK. -- Schoenfield

23. Chicago White Sox

2019 record: 29-30
Week 8 ranking: 23

Chicago has been getting resurgent work from its bullpen lately, with closer Alex Colome leading the way. Through Saturday, ChiSox relievers have posted a 2.10 collective ERA ... if you subtract one struggling hurler, veteran Kelvin Herrera, who sports a 7.36 ERA overall. According to Statcast, Herrera's expected wOBA allowed is .352, ranking 204th of 254 qualifying pitchers. The White Sox can't trust him in high-leverage roles right now and, frankly, probably shouldn't carry him much longer if the stuff doesn't start to tick up. -- Doolittle

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24. San Francisco Giants

2019 record: 24-34
Week 8 ranking: 25

Through May, Giants left fielders were the single least productive non-pitcher position in the NL, putting up a collective .477 OPS before the calendar flipped to June. And to add to the ignominy, that was 120 points lower than the performance at the plate of the Mets' pitchers. Given that they already have burned through nine different starters in left, consider it a team effort. -- Kahrl

25. Toronto Blue Jays

2019 record: 21-38
Week 8 ranking: 26

Toronto is in a dreadful slump, losing 10 of 11 while scoring just 30 total runs in those 10 losses. For the season, the Jays have just three position players with a WAR of 0.5 or higher (Justin Smoak and Eric Sogard at 0.7, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. at 0.5). The cumulative wins above average for Toronto's non-pitchers is the worst in the league (minus-8.0) and is subzero at every position except pitcher. -- Richards

26. Seattle Mariners

2019 record: 25-37
Week 8 ranking: 24

Good luck picking an All-Star from this team. Maybe Daniel Vogelbach makes it as the backup designated hitter. Or Mitch Haniger, but he is not having the season he had last year. One possibility is catcher Omar Narvaez. The Mariners have had just one All-Star catcher in their history, Dan Wilson, who made it in 1996. Meanwhile, they now have a strong claim as the worst team in baseball, as they have one two-game winning streak since April 26 and have lost 14 of 17, 26 of 33 and 35 of 47. Marco Gonzales has allowed 18 runs over his past two starts, Yusei Kikuchi has allowed 20 hits in 6⅔ innings over his past two starts, Mallex Smith is a train wreck in center field and the bullpen is a disaster. At least Mount Rainier looks great in the summer. -- Schoenfield

27. Detroit Tigers

2019 record: 22-34
Week 8 ranking: 28

For a team desperate for some pop in the lineup in the wake of Miguel Cabrera's power outage, Brandon Dixon has been a godsend, hitting a team-leading five home runs in May in little more than two weeks' worth of playing time. In his third organization, has the 27-year-old finally found a place to stick? -- Kahrl

28. Kansas City Royals

2019 record: 19-40
Week 8 ranking: 27

The Royals hope to get offensive production from infielder Cheslor Cuthbert, summoned from Triple-A before the weekend while Chris Owings and his .415 OPS moved on. Cuthbert homered in his first big league plate appearance of the season on Friday, after posting a .898 OPS at Omaha. He does not profile as a big power hitter, but with Hunter Dozier hurting and the club getting terrible production at first base, he should help. -- Karabell

29. Miami Marlins

2019 record: 21-36
Week 8 ranking: 29

As a unit, starting pitching finished May as the pride of the Marlins, finishing seventh among MLB rotations with a 3.63 ERA for the month, as well as notching quality starts in half of their 26 games (including throwing them in eight of their 11 wins). With the offense continuing to struggle, good starting pitching is what's keeping the Marlins competitive. -- Kahrl

30. Baltimore Orioles

2019 record: 18-41
Week 8 ranking: 30

Baltimore actually made progress this week in lowering its historic gopher ball rate, allowing eight home runs in six games, a pace that would put the Orioles below the league average and in the same neighborhood as the front-running Astros and Yankees. In fact, if we take out the ridiculous number of long balls the O's have given up to the Twins and Yanks (a combined 56 in 18 games), Baltimore has yielded 66 homers in 41 games, still a lot but a lower rate than allowed by the Mariners and Angels so far. -- Richards