MLB Power Rankings Week 11: Is this red-hot NL squad a top contender?

Michael Harris II, Gerrit Cole and Luke Voit ESPN

While the Yankees pull away from other American League powers, competition in the National League is starting to heat up 11 weeks into the season.

The Braves are making a push for the Mets at the top of the NL East, while the Dodgers are barely holding onto the No. 1 spot over the Padres and Giants in the NL West. Which team looks strongest in these divisional battles?

Our expert panel has combined to rank every team in baseball based on a combination of what we've seen so far and what we already knew going into the 162-game marathon that is a full baseball season. We also asked ESPN MLB experts David Schoenfield, Bradford Doolittle, Joon Lee, Jesse Rogers and Alden Gonzalez to weigh in with an observation for all 30 teams.

Week 10 | Preseason rankings

1. New York Yankees

Record: 51-18

Previous ranking: 1

"No holes" is what people around baseball are saying about this Yankees team. The offense leads MLB in home runs while their rotation leads in ERA. The team's success so far has folks comparing it to some of the best teams of the last few decades. One of the team's bright spots this season has been infielder Gleyber Torres, who has hit .260/.309/.512 with 13 home runs and has a 2.5 WAR, which ranks second on the team among position players. -- Lee

2. New York Mets

Record: 45-26

Previous ranking: 2

It will be interesting to see if the Mets pursue Cubs catcher Willson Contreras at the trade deadline, given Mets catchers are struggling at the plate and ranking 27th in the majors in catcher OPS. A lineup that averaged 5.79 runs per game in May has fallen back down to less than 4.5 runs per game in June, so it could use another bat. James McCann is still out, but he's unlikely to provide much of an improvement over Tomas Nido. Top prospect Francisco Alvarez remains a longshot, despite excellent numbers at Double-A. -- Schoenfield

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 42-25

Previous ranking: 3

First Blake Treinen, the Dodgers' most important reliever, was shut down for an undetermined amount of time with discomfort in his right shoulder. Then Walker Buehler, their best starting pitcher, suffered a flexor strain that could keep him out until September. And now Mookie Betts, arguably their most valuable position player, is on the injured list with a cracked rib. Betts' injury -- unlike those of Treinen and Buehler -- isn't expected to keep him out much longer than a couple of weeks. But the Dodgers' celebrated depth is being tested. And the Padres and Giants seem destined to keep things interesting in the NL West. -- Gonzalez

4. Houston Astros

Record: 43-25

Previous ranking: 6

The Astros' offense has started to roll after an uncharacteristically slow start at the plate. Suddenly, this next generation Houston offense has taken shape, led by a couple of fringe MVP candidates in Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker. Certainly, if the balloting took place today, the AL's top four would likely draw heavy support, with Aaron Judge followed by Jose Ramirez, Rafael Devers and Mike Trout. But just outside those frontrunners lurk Alvarez and Tucker. Alvarez in particular has continued his rise to where he has to be part of the ephemeral conversation about which current player holds the title as "most feared hitter in the game." In June, Alvarez has blistered opposing pitchers to the tune of .443/.521/.885 with an AL-leading 23 RBIs. -- Doolittle

5. San Diego Padres

Record: 44-27

Previous ranking: 4

The Padres were already doing an admirable job playing through the wrist injury of Fernando Tatis Jr. but then watched Manny Machado, making an early case for the NL MVP Award, slip on first base Sunday and tweak his left ankle. The Padres are hopeful that Machado's ankle injury isn't serious. Regardless, their starters continue to dominate, and their lineup complexion has changed drastically since Jurickson Profar and Jake Cronenworth began to produce at the top of the order. The 2022 Padres -- unlike the 2021 Padres, in many ways -- have the look of a team that can withstand almost anything. -- Gonzalez

6. Atlanta Braves

Record: 40-30

Previous ranking: 7

Is it time to start viewing Max Fried as one of the few legit No. 1 starters in the majors? After two so-so starts to begin the season (he lost both games), he's gone 7-0 with a 2.35 ERA and the Braves have gone 10-2 in those games. He's pitched at least six innings in all but one of those 12 starts (and went 5⅔ in the other) as he's been a model of consistency. Over the past three seasons, his 2.82 ERA ranks sixth among starters -- and don't forget his six scoreless innings in Game 6 of the World Series. -- Schoenfield

7. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 39-30

Previous ranking: 5

Toronto split a four-game series against the Orioles before dropping two of three games against the Yankees. The team is starting to see its offense pick up, with Vladimir Guerrero Jr bouncing back from his struggles this season with a strong June, hitting .294/.388/.624 with eight homers. The team will also need stronger performances from Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi if it hopes to hit their ceiling, especially after Hyun-Jin Ryu underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery. -- Lee

8. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 40-31

Previous ranking: 8

Even with Paul Goldschmidt winning another award -- this time player of the week -- the Cardinals can't seem to shake the Brewers. After getting swept by the Rays, St. Louis did win five of seven, but against lesser competition. The team dropped the first game of their series this week against Milwaukee but won the next two, as it's been a start-and-stop type of year for St. Louis. Goldschmidt has been fantastic all season, ranking third in OPS just behind Yordan Alvarez and Aaron Judge. -- Rogers

9. San Francisco Giants

Record: 38-30

Previous ranking: 10

The Giants have proven to be as good as anyone at finding unheralded players and extracting value out of them. This year, you can add Luis Gonzalez to that growing list. Gonzalez, 26, was selected off waivers from the White Sox last August, then brought back on a minor league contract. In 180 plate appearances, the left-handed-hitting outfielder has batted .302/.361/.447, providing a major lift with key players in and out of the injured list. In 2019, it was Mike Yastrzemski. Last year, it was LaMonte Wade Jr. This year, it seems, is Gonzalez. Some teams are just a lot better at this than others. -- Gonzalez

10. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 39-32

Previous ranking: 13

The Brewers bounced back from a shaky start to June -- including losing a series to the Mets last week -- in time to sweep the Reds and temporarily move back into first place in the division, before the Cardinals overtook them again. It's a tight race at the top of the NL Central, but Milwaukee has found its mojo at the plate again. Outfielder Hunter Renfroe showed up in a big way over the past week, posting close to a 1.300 OPS. -- Rogers

11. Boston Red Sox

Record: 39-31

Previous ranking: 12

The Red Sox look like a threat to be reckoned with -- and nothing like the team that started off slow to begin the season. Nick Pivetta seems like one of the best pitchers in baseball recently, with a 1.77 ERA and 61 strikeouts over 61 innings in his last nine starts. Prior to the season, Boston's front office said a leap for Pivetta was crucial for the team's success, and the righty's recent triumph has coincided with a victorious stretch for Boston. -- Lee

12. Minnesota Twins

Record: 38-32

Previous ranking: 11

Whether you attribute it to the avalanche of injuries that has buried the Minnesota pitching staff or insufficient depth to account for the absences, the bottom line is that the Twins' staff has been in disarray of late. As a result, Minnesota's overall performance has slipped into the ice-cold zone at the worst possible time, with a cluster of key games against red-hot Cleveland. Through May 26, the Twins were on pace to allow 135 runs fewer than a league-average club. That number slipped to 44 by the time Minnesota dropped a tough series opener to the Guardians on Tuesday. During the span beginning May 27, the Twins ranked 23rd in staff ERA with both the starters and relievers ranking in the bottom 10 among their respective groups. -- Doolittle

13. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 37-32

Previous ranking: 9

The Rays are floundering and have not won consecutive games since they were 11 games over .500 on June 9. Tampa Bay has had to rely on top prospects Vidal Brujan and Taylor Walls during the absence of Wander Franco and Brandon Lowe and both have been struggling against major-league pitching. With Manuel Margot and Kevin Kiermaier also hitting the injured list, Tampa Bay will need to rely on depth as the surging Red Sox charge ahead in the division and wild-card race. -- Lee

14. Cleveland Guardians

Record: 36-28

Previous ranking: 15

Much of the attention in Cleveland has deservedly gone to MVP candidate Jose Ramirez, who has sparkled, as the Guardians chased down and eventually caught the Twins in the division race, setting up a season-long battle for first place. But don't overlook the great season being put up by another infielder: Andres Gimenez. Gimenez has been Cleveland's most frequent starter at second base and has played the keystone in about two-thirds of his outings. As such, he might be having the best season of any regular second baseman in the American League, posting an impressive line along with elite defensive metrics. Since Gimenez was acquired from the Mets prior to last season along with Amed Rosario in the blockbuster deal for Francisco Lindor, Gimenez has the best OPS+ of the trio and the highest total of defensive runs saved. -- Doolittle

15. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 36-34

Previous ranking: 14

Aaron Nola continues to fly under the radar as he makes a strong bid for All-Star status. He's just 4-4 but with a 3.10 ERA. He's one of the top major league starters in strikeout-to-walk ratio and lowest walk rate, as well as top 10 in OBP allowed and strikeout rate. He has a 1.93 ERA over his past five starts and the Phillies have won all five of those games. The Phillies have a tough stretch heading into the All-Star break with series against the Padres, Braves, Blue Jays, Marlins and two against the Cardinals, so they need Nola and Zack Wheeler to keep pitching like perhaps the best 1-2 combo in the majors. -- Schoenfield

16. Chicago White Sox

Record: 33-34

Previous ranking: 17

As the attention in the AL Central is focused on the neck-and-neck race between the Guardians and Twins, the preseason favorite White Sox keep hanging around and are showing signs of getting truly hot. Only the high-powered Yankees, Blue Jays and Astros have outscored Chicago this month even though the White Sox's lineup continues to be a revolving door due to injuries. The key to keeping Chicago afloat has been the recent production of Jake Burger and Andrew Vaughn, both of who are sporting an OPS over .900 in June. Burger has been on more of a power surge, while Vaughn continues to put up a starting overall slash line of .333/.382/.505. -- Doolittle

17. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 34-38

Previous ranking: 19

Anthony Rendon tried to play through persistent pain in his right wrist. But on Friday, it officially became too much to bear. Rendon opted for season-ending surgery, a devastating blow to an offense that doesn't look nearly as deep without him and to an organization desperate to return to the postseason. Rendon signed a seven-year, $245 million deal in December 2019. When year three comes to an end, he will have played in 40% of the Angels' games and contributed a 3.1 WAR. With Rendon absent yet again, the Angels seem primed for another wasted year of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. -- Gonzalez

18. Miami Marlins

Record: 31-36

Previous ranking: 16

Let's talk some more about Sandy Alcantara, who allowed two runs over eight innings to beat the Mets on Sunday, running his record to 7-2 with a 1.72 ERA. That's made him not just the frontrunner to start the All-Star Game, but the frontrunner in the Cy Young race. No Marlins pitcher has won the Cy Young Award, with the highest finishes being Kevin Brown's second in 1996 (he probably should have won with a 1.89 ERA, but John Smoltz won 24 games) and Dontrelle Willis' second in 2005 (22-10, 2.63 ERA). Alcantara has topped 100 pitches in seven consecutive starts and pitched at least eight innings in five of those games -- a modern-day iron man. -- Schoenfield

19. Texas Rangers

Record: 33-35

Previous ranking: 18

Texas recovered from losing a series to the Astros last week by winning one against the Tigers; however, it's made up little ground in the standings or towards moving past .500. Starter Jon Gray did give the Rangers a boost with seven shutout innings against Detroit last Friday. His first season outside of Coors Field has had mixed results but the good news is his home run percentage is the lowest of his career. -- Rogers

20. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 32-39

Previous ranking: 21

The D-backs don't figure to contend in the hyper-competitive NL West, but they have remained competitive on the heels of a 110-loss season. The biggest reason has been their starting pitching. Merrill Kelly, Zach Davies, Madison Bumgarner and Zac Gallen have combined for a 3.53 ERA while accumulating 56 starts, despite Bumgarner's rough outing against the Padres on Wednesday. The question is who among them, if any, will be traded next month? Teams will undoubtedly be interested. -- Gonzalez

21. Seattle Mariners

Record: 31-39

Previous ranking: 20

The recent homestand almost felt like a death blow to the Mariners' playoff chances. They lost two of three to Boston, two of three to Minnesota and then a crushing four of five to the Angels as Mike Trout homered in all four Angels victories. The team's playoff odds, about 23% at the start of the season according to FanGraphs projections, have dipped to around 7%. Along the way, the Mariners let longtime major leaguer Sergio Romo go after he posted a 8.16 ERA and allowed six home runs in 14.1 innings. The 39-year-old helped the Giants win three World Series and has a 3.20 career ERA over 15 seasons. A tip of the cap to a fine career if this is the end. -- Schoenfield

22. Colorado Rockies

Record: 30-39

Previous ranking: 22

Contending teams will undoubtedly be in search of closers before the trade deadline, and Daniel Bard might be a name to keep in mind. Bard -- a pending free agent who famously returned from a seven-year absence in 2020 -- is putting together a dominant season, posting a 1.98 ERA with 14 saves and 35 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings. Unfortunately for the Rockies, trading him will probably evolve into a no-brainer by late July. -- Gonzalez

23. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 31-39

Previous ranking: 23

The Orioles had a strong week, splitting a four-game series against the Blue Jays before taking two of three games from the Rays. While outfielder Cedric Mullins isn't having as good of a year as he did in 2021, he still leads position players in WAR while stealing 15 bases and playing solid defense. -- Lee

24. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 28-40

Previous ranking: 25

Pittsburgh has had 12 different players make their MLB debuts this year -- the most in baseball. Rookies Oneil Cruz and Bligh Madris lit up the box score on Monday when they combined to go 5-for-9 with six runs driven in against the Cubs. Madris was the first Pirate to collect three hits in his MLB debut since Jason Kendall in 1996, while Cruz hit a ball 112.9 mph -- the hardest by a Pittsburgh player this year. The three-run double helped blow open the game. -- Rogers

25. Chicago Cubs

Record: 26-43

Previous ranking: 24

Injuries and inexperience on the mound have caught up to the Cubs as they're giving up runs in extremely large quantities. Their 7.30 ERA over the seven days before Wednesday's win was the highest in the National League, with promising prospect Caleb Kilian struggling with command before getting sent back to Triple-A Iowa. Without Marcus Stroman (shoulder), Wade Miley (shoulder) and Drew Smyly (oblique), Chicago has little chance at putting a win streak together. -- Rogers

26. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 23-45

Previous ranking: 26

For a moment, it looked like the Reds might climb out of last place -- but a sweep by Milwaukee over the weekend changed all that. Cincinnati ranked 25th in OPS and 28th in ERA last week, pretty much giving the team little hope of moving up the power rankings. Third baseman Brandon Drury should be a hot commodity during trade season next month, as his 14 home runs and over-.800 OPS are one of the few things to get excited about on offense if you're a Reds fan. -- Rogers

27. Detroit Tigers

Record: 26-43

Previous ranking: 27

Riley Greene has arrived and he wasted no time in making an impression, putting a little sunshine into what has been a dreary Tigers campaign. Greene reached base four times and scored two runs in his big league debut, then went right on getting on base more than half the time over his first four contests. He had yet to stroke an extra-base hit during that span, but the on-base ability was a much-needed shot in the arm for the falling Detroit attack. Think of it like this: Greene walked five times in his first four games. That's as many walks as regular Willi Castro drew in 48 games, and two more than regular Harold Castro drew in 45 games. Only Oakland has reached base at a lower clip than the Tigers this season. -- Doolittle

28. Kansas City Royals

Record: 25-43

Previous ranking: 29

During a moribund Royals campaign, at least Kansas Citians can take solace in what certainly seems like the dawn of the Bobby Witt Jr. era. After a slow start, Witt's numbers gradually started to tick up. Over the last two weeks, however, he's really caught fire, hitting .333/.367/.593 since June 8 with three homers and seven extra-base hits over 14 games. The ball has been exploding off Witt's bat and often was, even when he was having difficulty making contact consistently. Statcast ranks Witt in the top third of the majors in both average and maximum exit velocity, along with hard-hit percentage and outs above average on defense. In terms of sprint speed, Witt ranks second in the majors behind the Dodgers' Trea Turner. That's quite a package. -- Doolittle

29. Washington Nationals

Record: 25-47

Previous ranking: 28

The Nationals continue to make life easy for their NL East rivals: They're 1-8 against the Marlins, 2-8 against the Mets, 1-4 against the Phillies and 2-4 against the Braves. OK, it's easy to be negative given the sorry state of the 2022 Nationals, so here's a little positive: Josiah Gray has a 0.82 ERA over his last four starts, including back-to-back scoreless outings against the Marlins and Phillies. You gotta start somewhere! -- Schoenfield

30. Oakland Athletics

Record: 23-47

Previous ranking: 30

Things continue to head in the wrong direction for the Athletics, who have a 3-15 record in June. Commissioner Rob Manfred said that the A's need a new ballpark deal soon, putting pressure on the organization to figure out what it wants to do with their future. Team president Dave Kaval has been making weekly visits to Las Vegas to look at potential sites for a ballpark, as the chances of the team moving away from Oakland seem to increase by the day. -- Lee