2022 MLB Power Rankings Week 2

For much of the 2021 Major League Baseball season, we had two teams from the National League West sitting 1-2 in The Official Power Rankings.

Just over a week into the 2022 season, we’re back in familiar territory. With apologies to the New York Mets, who sit third, the powerhouses of baseball are the top two NL West teams, though there’s New York flavor. Rivals all the way back to the New York days — before many of us were even born — in Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds, it’s the Dodgers and Giants. The home venues are now Dodger Stadium and Oracle Park, both pretty gorgeous in their own right.

A yin to each other’s yang, Dodger Stadium from behind home plate has a beautiful view of the Chavez Ravine hills with mountains deep in the background. It’s one of the oldest ballparks in the majors. Oracle Park is part of the newer wave of ballparks and looks out over San Francisco Bay with the Bay Bridge in view.

The Dodgers are the high-priced, high-profile, uber-talented team of stars that never misses the playoffs and has had several deep runs of late. The Giants last season were the team that caused so many to scratch their heads. How are they doing this? Will they keep it up? It makes no sense!

And yet, here they are again. The Giants know their own talent better than anyone and find ways to draw out the best in nearly every player that comes through. The Dodgers have a team full of MVPs, Cy Young winners and future contenders for the hardware. They are bludgeoning teams at the moment, because that’s what great teams with this level of talent do. Of course, the Giants are humming along, racking up wins without garnering nearly as many headlines.

They are tied for the best record in baseball at 7-2. Last season, the Giants won 107 games to the Dodgers’ 106. No one else won more than 100. No one else in the NL won more than 95. They played a five-game series in the NLDS that was decided by one run in the ninth inning of Game 5.

The teams are yin and yang as well. Heres my full breakdown below.


RK
TEAMS
CHG
RCRD
1 They’ll be spending a lot of time here. Unless the Giants do.  4 7-2
2 Carlos Rodón has 21 strikeouts in 12 innings. His live, talented arm in the hands of the Giants’ magicians is a scary combo.  7 7-2
3 How’s that Francisco Lindor bounce-back campaign going? Well, he’s slugging over .600 with a .442 on-base percentage, two doubles, three homers, seven RBI, nine runs and two steals in 10 games. I’d say strong to quite strong.  5 7-3
4 Lots of good, a decent amount of not-so-good and winning at a 60 percent clip (which is a 97-win pace, for a point of reference). That’s just about right.  2 6-4
5 Bad timing, huh? The White Sox didn’t do anything themselves to drop a spot, but three teams leap-frogged them while only two dropped.  1 6-3
6 Justin Verlander went eight scoreless innings in his second start back from Tommy John surgery and looked every bit the ace he was before the surgery. Remarkable.  3 5-4
7 Early returns on new, first-time, youngest-in-MLB manager Oliver Marmol are pretty positive. He seems to have a good feel with bullpen usage and when to pull the trigger with his bench. I’m a fan.  6 5-3
8 Ronald Acuña Jr. is beginning a minor-league rehab assignment Tuesday. Yes, they are about to get back one of the best players in baseball. That’s worth a few bonus points here.  2 5-6
9 That’s a 5-1 week and they’ll now get another shot at the mighty Astros.  14 6-4
10 Look, no excuses fly in the standings, but between the seven road games and the cold, rainy weather and several day games mixed in, the Mariners had a tough start to the season. They came home and took two of three from the Astros and the two wins were emphatic instead of one-run squeakers. There’s reason for optimism.  4 5-5
11 They lost four of five at one point, but, in all, going 3-4 against the Braves and Giants isn’t a failure. They should handle the Reds here in a three-gamer before seeing how they fare at home against the Dodgers. 6-5
12 They lost five of six after I ranked them number one last week. I’m nothing if not accountable: That was my fault and I’m sorry, Rays fans.  11 5-5
13 Christian Yelich’s exit velocity readings look fine and all, but if you actually watch him hit, a lot of that is driven by hard grounders right into the shift. He doesn’t look fearsome at all anymore. He’s hitting .200 with a .300 slugging so far. They need a lot more from him for this offense to work.  1 5-5
14 The Yankees are only averaging three runs per game and just dropped two of three to the Orioles.  7 5-5
15 Over .500 for the first time and now a big — at least as big as it can get in mid-April — series with the Jays, after their Monday morning date for Patriots’ Day, that is. 5-5
16 It’s difficult to get used to after the makeup of the offense, given what it looked like the last several years, but the Cubs are *way* different. They are among the best teams in the league at batting average, on-base percentage and making contact. They also don’t hit many home runs and hit lots of groundballs — leading to them leading the majors in groundball double plays. 5-4
17 Connor Joe was drafted in 2014 out of college, got to the majors in 2019 for eight games, dealt with cancer, appeared in just 63 games last season and now is hitting leadoff everyday for the Rockies. He’s hitting .361/.465/.667 so far. Fun and heartwarming is quite a combination. 6-3
18 This is the early nominee for Jekyll and Hyde offense of the season. The Guardians have scored five runs combined in their five losses. In their four wins, they’ve scored 44 runs.  7 4-5
19 Interesting week coming here. The Marlins certainly seem like they have breakout potential. They’ve won three of four and three of their losses so far have been by one run — two were walk-offs. They’ll get the Cardinals for three games at home before heading to Atlanta for three. Keep your eyes on this one.  1 4-5
20 They’ve lost five of six and have generally looked pretty awful in doing so. Just remember it’s still early, Phillies fans.  10 4-6
21 From Philadelphia to St. Pete to Toronto, no team had a tougher season-opening road trip than the A’s. They split the 10 games and now get the Orioles and Rangers at home, setting them up for a nice little April.  5 5-5
22 Rough first few games for Spencer Torkelson, but he’s 5 for 12 (.417) with two homers and five RBI in his last four games.  2 4-5
23 Splitting with the Mariners isn’t terrible. Getting swept in two games to the best team in baseball isn’t fun, but it’s understandable. Losing two of three in Fenway Park isn’t a disaster, either. And yet the Twins are 3-6 and have mostly looked pretty bad. Hopefully the Byron Buxton injury remains in the “not serious” zone.  5 4-6
24 As long-time readers know, I’ll stray at times — it’s impossible not to — but I’m ultimately still a positive person. Channeling that power of positivity, we’ll point out since two terrible games to start the season, the Pirates have gone 5-2 and one of those losses was a 2-1 count that could have easily gone either way. Not too shabby, Bucs!  4 5-4
25 Remember that ridiculous first half Josh Bell had for the Pirates in 2019? He’s slashing .350/.469/.525 so far this season.  2 4-7
26 Here’s a fun one. A throwback, in fact! Zack Greinke has gotten 33 outs (11 innings, for those who need help figuring it out) so far in two starts. He only has one strikeout. It’s not like he’s been bad or anything. He has a 2.45 ERA. As I said, it’s a bit of a throwback.  5 3-5
27 It sounds like John Means is going to miss most of the season and maybe even all of it. What a total bummer. He is (was?) one of the few pieces that seemed set in place long term here.  3 3-6
28 If you like a lot of offense and don’t care who wins, might I suggest a lot of Rangers games this season?  9 2-7
29 Eight of their first 10 against the defending champions and the Dodgers, all eight of those on the road, is a tough start to the season. To blame everything on the schedule would be folly, though.  7 2-8
30 Since the shocking — and, arguably, fluky — opening day walk-off homer, they’ve gone 2-6 and the two wins were by one run. By the same token, one of the losses (4/12) was a tough one, too, but they are awfully close to 0-9.  1