Power Rankings: Top 2 teams separating from the pack

2:39 AM UTC

As you might have heard — particularly if you heard angry talk radio callers this offseason — the last time the Yankees made the World Series was in 2009. More than half the teams in baseball have made the World Series since then, exactly the sort of factoid that will drive New York fans bonkers. But do you remember who the Yanks played in 2009? They played the defending World Series champion Phillies. The way these two teams are playing right now, it sure looks like they’d like to set up a 15-years-later rematch.

The Phillies and the Yankees, Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in our Power Rankings this week, are starting to separate themselves from the pack. They’ve got the two best records in baseball, the teams chasing them keep getting attacked by injuries and, frankly, the vibes are immaculate with both of these teams right now. That 2009 Series was so long ago that Pedro Martinez pitched in it — he actually lost the decisive Game 6. Don’t be the least bit surprised if we see it again.

These rankings, as always, are compiled from votes by MLB.com contributors whose names you can find at the bottom of this (and every) piece, but the words are mine. If you dislike the rankings, yell at all of us. But if you dislike the words, feel free to yell at me.

1. Phillies (previously: 1).Season high: 1 | Season low: 8How do you know this might be an all-timer of a Phillies team? Even when their stars go down, they get replaced by guys who, for however long they’re needed, turn into stars. Since Trea Turner left the game with a left hamstring strain on May 3, Edmundo Sosa has filled the void, putting up a .985 OPS in 22 games. Sosa is also tied for the National League lead in triples with four as well, just to show off.

2. Yankees (previously: 2).Season high: 2 | Season low: 7Is it possible to be hotter than Aaron Judge is right now? He was already smoking before he came to San Francisco this weekend to play his first series against the team he grew up watching in the Bay Area, and he was transcendent in the first two games of that series, hitting three homers and driving in six. Imagine if he hadn’t been struggling — well, “struggling” — in April: After slashing just .207/.340/.414 through the season’s first 31 games, he is now on pace for 57 homers.

3. Guardians (previously: 3).Season high: 3 | Season low: 21The Guardians were relatively mortal this week, going 3-3 against the Rockies and the Nationals, and the best proof that they are human and not world-destroying robots is that they finally lost at home on Sunday. Until then, they had won nine in a row at Progressive Field, outscoring their opponents 50-25 in those nine games. They’re still 20-7 at home … and about to start a three-game set against the Royals, the team desperately trying to keep up with them in the AL Central.

4. Dodgers (previously: 5).Season high: 1 | Season low: 6The Dodgers have been missing Evan Phillips, Brusdar Graterol, Joe Kelly and Ryan Brasier from their bullpen, but it hasn’t stopped them from putting up a 3.07 relievers’ ERA this year, third-best in the Majors. (Particularly excellent: Blake Treinen, who’s back after missing all of last season and has made 10 appearances without giving up a run.) That ‘pen is about to get even better, though, now that Phillips has returned from a month away with a hamstring strain. He didn’t miss a beat, picking up a save in his first game back.

5. Orioles (previously: 4).Season high: 1 | Season low: 5The Orioles are launching baseballs everywhere these days — Ryan Mountcastle and Jordan Westburg are particularly hot — and they’re going to have to keep doing that considering the injury bug that’s bit their rotation. Injuries are leveling the O’s, with both John Means and Tyler Wells out for the year with season-ending UCL surgeries, but it should be said that replacements Cole Irvin and Albert Suárez are both more than holding up their end of the bargain: Irvin is 5-2 with a 2.84 ERA, and Suárez has a 1.57 ERA in 12 appearances this season.

6. Brewers (previously: 8).Season high: 5 | Season low: 19Careful: The Brewers might just pull away in the NL Central. They’re now seven games up on the Cardinals, 7 1/2 games up on the Cubs (and nine games up on the Pirates, if you’re still counting). The Crew won the division last year but didn’t have a lead this big until late September, and they didn’t have one this big in 2021 either until August.

7. Braves (previously: 7).Season high: 1 | Season low: 7Here’s a big shoutout to Matt Olson who, with his start on Sunday against his former team the A’s, played in his 515th straight game. I note this because he did it on Lou Gehrig Day, extending his lead as the current consecutive games played leader. If Olson doesn’t miss another game until he ties Gehrig, the Braves slugger would reach Gehrig’s 2,130 mark in roughly June 2035.

8. Royals (previously: 6).Season high: 6 | Season low: 24The way the Guardians have been playing, the Royals can’t afford to have a bad week, which is why it’s particularly unfortunate that they just had one, losing three of four to the Twins and then two of three to the Padres. The Royals had been keeping stride with the Guardians but now find themselves four games behind them. The good news is that they’ve got an immediate chance to make up some ground: They’ve got the week’s signature series with three games in Cleveland starting Tuesday.

9. Twins (previously: 9).Season high: 8 | Season low: 23The Twins have gotten a little overlooked in the wake of the fantastic starts by both the Guardians and the Royals, but they shouldn’t. They’ve won four straight series and are now seven games over .500. Last season, when they led the AL Central for almost the entire season, they weren’t seven games over .500 until Sept. 5.

10. Mariners (previously: 11).Season high: 10 | Season low: 21You knew Julio Rodríguez was going to get hot eventually, and that the Mariners would likely make a move when he did. The 23-year-old superstar has been on a hot streak since homering in back-to-back games on May 25 and 26 — much of which has happened now that he is now comfortably in the No. 3 spot in the order. They remain the only team in the AL West above .500, which has allowed them to build a not-insubstantial four-game lead over the Rangers.

11. Padres (previously: 14).Season high: 11 | Season low: 21The Padres came this close to pulling off their first series sweep of the season on Sunday, taking a 3-1 lead into the ninth against the Royals. Unfortunately, Yuki Matsui, trying to earn his first save of the season, got only one out and gave up three runs and was dealt his first loss instead. You’d think winning two out of three on the road against a team like the Royals would rank for a positive weekend, but the Friars lost both Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove from the rotation on Saturday … with Darvish potentially out for quite a while.

12. Giants (previously: 12).Season high: 12 | Season low: 23The Giants played the two best teams in baseball at home this week, and all told, it could have been a lot worse. Before a rough series at home against the Yankees — which at least had the consolation prize of Wu-Tang Night — they took two of three from the Phillies. The schedule gets a little easier this week, but just a little: They’re on the road for six against the two teams who reached the World Series last year.

13. Red Sox (previously: 13).Season high: 13 | Season low: 22The Red Sox’s bats have been coming around lately despite another injury to Tyler O’Neill, but the rotation continues to drive this team’s success. Brayan Bello might not have the best ERA on the team, but he is their lucky charm: Boston has won seven of his 10 starts this year.

14. Cubs (previously: 10).Season high: 8 | Season low: 14Since May 13, only the Mets and the White Sox have a worse record than the Cubs, and it has dropped them a full 7 1/2 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central. The hope was that turning the calendar to June would help — manager Craig Counsell said, “I do feel a little better waking up and writing ‘June 1’” — but after a fun dramatic win on Saturday night, they laid an egg against the Reds on Sunday. They’re two games under .500, but because they’re in the NL right now, they’re still right in the mix for a Wild Card slot.

15. Rangers (previously: 19).Season high: 4 | Season low: 19The Rangers had two scheduled off-days this week, and the rest looks to have refreshed them: They went 4-1 on the week and have elbowed a little bit of room between them and the Astros for second place in the AL West. They’re still quite a bit off last year’s pace: They’re currently one game under .500, and on June 3, 2023, they were 37-20.

16. Cardinals (previously: 20).Season high: 16 | Season low: 27They ran into the Phillies buzzsaw this weekend, but the Cardinals have climbed their way back into the Wild Card chase, if not necessarily the NL Central race just yet. One warning sign, though: Lars Nootbaar is hurt again. The Cardinals have won seven of their last eight with Nootbaar in the lineup: They’ve now lost two of three without him.

17. Tigers (previously: 16).Season high: 7 | Season low: 20The key to the Tigers’ hot start this season was their ability to win games on the road: They began the year 10-4 away from home. That special skill has gone away: They’re 5-11 on the road since then, with an ERA a full three runs higher than it was in those first 14 games.

18. Astros (previously: 15).Season high: 6 | Season low: 26José Abreu returned to the Astros’ lineup after being sent down to the Minors (for the first time in his entire career) after a very difficult stretch. It hasn’t gone well in his first week back: He’s 3-for-15 since returning, though he did finally hit his first homer of the year on Saturday. (That 3-for-15 still did raise his batting average.)

19. Rays (previously: 18).Season high: 9 | Season low: 19The Rays beat the A’s 6-5 on Thursday, but that wasn’t their only win on that day: They became the first MLB team to sponsor a competitor in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, a seventh-grader named Bruhat Soma. (The regional spelling bee was actually held at the Trop back in February.) And it turned out … Soma won! Rays players, had they been in the bee, might … not have won.

20. Blue Jays (previously: 22).Season high: 8 | Season low: 23The Blue Jays continue to crawl their way back up the AL East standings, but it should be noted that they’re in uncharted territory during their current run of contention: This is the first time they’ve been in last place in the division on June 1 since 2017, when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had just turned 18 years old.

21. Diamondbacks (previously: 17).Season high: 10 | Season low: 21The Diamondbacks remain confounding — they’re five games under .500 despite an exactly even run differential, something they didn’t achieve in their World Series season last year — and one of the main problems is how they’re playing in series openers: They are, amazingly, 3-16 in the first game of a series, a surefire way to get yourself behind the eight-ball every time.

22. Nationals (previously: 24).Season high: 19 | Season low: 27Victor Robles was granted his unconditional release on Saturday after 11 seasons in the Nationals organization and eight in the Majors. Robles never did fulfill the hopes the Nats had for him as one of their top prospects a decade ago, though he did once finish sixth in Rookie of the Year voting. He also hit a homer in the 2019 NLCS and, of course, has a World Series ring for his troubles.

23. Pirates (previously: 21).Season high: 9 | Season low: 25The Pirates are a team that is building its future around starting pitching, but it should be noted that their rotation is pretty solid at present: Over their last 14 games dating back to May 17, their starters are 6-2 with a 2.81 ERA, behind only the Yankees (1.88), Orioles (2.68) and Phillies (2.80) in that span.

24. Reds (previously: 23).Season high: 11 | Season low: 25The Reds were riding high after their sweep of the Dodgers last weekend, but they lost two of three to the Cardinals before bouncing back to take a three-game series from the Cubs. They have two more losses than they had at this point last season, a year in which the team spent the final two months lamenting how they had to overcome their slow start.

25. Mets (previously: 22).Season high: 10 | Season low: 25The Mets’ bats have been a little better lately — and they’ve at least gotten another week away from that horrific slide heading into Memorial Day — but it might be time to have a serious talk about Jose Quintana. The Mets have now lost five of the veteran’s past six starts, and he’s 0-3 with a 7.63 ERA in that span. He’s in the final year of the two-year, $26 million deal he signed with the Mets: He’s 4-11 with them so far. He has also made only one fewer start this year than he did all of last year.

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26. A’s (previously: 26).Season high: 20 | Season low: 30Brent Rooker was a cute little story last year, a long-time Minor Leaguer in his late 20s popping up and hitting well enough to make an All-Star team. But there’s nothing cute about him anymore: He’s a full-on hitting star now: He’s fifth in the American League in both slugging and OPS-plus this year. Is it possible the A’s have two All-Stars this year? (Rooker and Mason Miller.)

27. Angels (previously: 27).Season high: 24 | Season low: 27After his first four starts this year, Reid Detmers was 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA. Since then, he’s 0-6 with an 8.93 ERA. That’s why he was sent down to Triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday, the second time he has been sent down since his no-hitter on May 10, 2022.

28. Marlins (previously: 28).Season high: 23 | Season low: 30You might not have noticed, but after a truly miserable start — they were 1-11 at one point, 6-24 at another — the Marlins actually had a winning record in May, at 14-13. How’d they do it? Their ERA was a full run lower in May than it was in April, and they scored an average of half a run more in the month as well.

29. Rockies (previously: 29).Season high: 28 | Season low: 29I understand if you don’t necessarily believe this, but it’s true: The Rockies really haven’t been that bad lately. They just won series against both the Phillies and Guardians, and they played the Dodgers competitively at Dodger Stadium over the weekend. And check it out: Since May 9, they’re 13-9, which is a better record than, say, the Dodgers and the Braves over that period of time. That’s not nothing!

30. White Sox (previously: 29).Season high: 28 | Season low: 30Things aren’t going well for the White Sox right now, so let’s look on the bright side: They have terrific City Connect uniforms.

Voters: Nathalie Alonso, Anthony Castrovince, Mark Feinsand, Alyson Footer, Doug Gausepohl, Will Leitch, Travis Miller, Arturo Pardavila, Mike Petriello, Manny Randhawa, Andrew Simon, David Venn.