MLB Power Rankings 2018: Astros, Red Sox, & Cubs Among Early Leaders With Pirates Also Surging

Several teams have separated themselves from the pack early, and at least one is surprising fans.

Houston Astros pitcher during a game.
Andy Clayton-King / AP Images

Several teams have separated themselves from the pack early, and at least one is surprising fans.

With the season nearly 10 games deep, the latest MLB power rankings for 2018 find several teams emerging as early contenders. One of those teams is the defending champion Houston Astros, who have started off the season strong due to great pitching. Also getting a great start early have been the Boston Red Sox, as they’ve lost just one game out of their first nine. However, a series with their rival, the New York Yankees, looms as the Bronx Bombers look to move up in the division.

According to the MLB’s report, the Astros are looking every bit like the champions they were after last season finished. This team has started out with a 9-2 record, and as of this report is on a three-game winning streak. Houston also has boasted a league-low ERA of 1.64 so far, and it’s hard to believe they won’t be a strong contender for the majority of the season.

Fellow American League squad Boston ranks at No. 2 on the list this week, due to an 8-1 start, their best in the history of the franchise. The team has yet to commit an error this season and has also shown excellence in terms of their pitching. They begin a three-game series with the New York Yankees at Fenway Park starting on Tuesday night. AL Cy Young contender Chris Sale will be on the mound for the home team against Luis Severino for the visitors.

The Yankees are at.500 right now and have some injury concerns, but still appear like a team that can get hot at any moment. Just recently, the team placed pitcher CC Sabathia and infielder Brandon Drury on their 10-day disabled list. Luckily, they still have their major stars available including newcomer Giancarlo Stanton and last year’s AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge. They rank at No. 5 in the top 10 rankings for this week, with the Nationals and Cubs rounding out the top five.

Below is the top 10 list for the week with MLB teams and their position last week in parentheses.

MLB Power Rankings

  1. Houston Astros (1)
  2. Boston Red Sox (6)
  3. Washington Nationals (3)
  4. Chicago Cubs (5)
  5. New York Yankees (4)
  6. Los Angeles Dodgers (2)
  7. Arizona D-backs (9)
  8. Cleveland Indians (7)
  9. Los Angeles Angels (10)
  10. New York Mets (11)

The New York Mets have been an early surprise, as they’ve gone 8-1 to start the season, just like the Red Sox. Ironically, these two teams are famous for a previous World Series with a player making an error that Red Sox fans will never forget. The present-day Mets are a perfect 4-0 at home and have a run differential of +19, as well as a six-game winning streak at the moment. New York will have an away game against the rebuilding Marlins on Tuesday night.

A team not yet seen up in the top 10 that seems to be making major strides to get there is the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team dealt several of their star players in the offseason, leaving fans to believe that rebuilding was underway. However, Pittsburgh is leading the National League’s Central division with a 7-2 record. They jumped from No. 20 all the way to No. 13 for this week’s list at the MLB website.

Second-year pitcher Jameson Taillon has started the season for the Bucs with two wins, 16 strikeouts, and a 1.26 ERA. More of that from Taillon will only help this Pirates team continue to shake off their early doubters. They also have MLB’s top RBI producer, Gregory Polanco.

While the Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates have each surged, a team that has slumped early is the Los Angeles Dodgers. L.A. was the No. 2 team last week but dropped down to sixth overall. The Dodgers finally ended some misery this Sunday as they ended a four-game losing streak. They’ll need to start racking up wins for fans, analysts, and sports oddsmakers to start believing that this team is a favorite to win it all in 2018.