MLB power rankings: Braves pass Mets for top five spot

from Ben Verlander
FOX Sports MLB Analyst

We are in the middle of 2022 MLB season and no division gets me more than the NL East.

Just a month ago, the Mets had a 10.5 game lead over the Atlanta Braves. In early July, the Braves cut that to 3.5 games.

The Braves put together one of the best months in team history with a 21-6 record, matching their most wins in a single month since moving to Atlanta in 1966. They’re certainly playing better than the Mets right now , but the Mets are about to get two of the best pitchers in the game back.

This race is heating up and I can’t wait to watch it.

MLB Power Rankings: Yankees, Astros, Dodgers lead this week’s list

MLB Power Rankings: Yankees, Astros, Dodgers lead this week's list

Ben Verlander gives us his MLB power rankings after Week 13, which includes the Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres.

I’m watching”Flippin’ Bats with Ben Verlander” On youtube, or subscribe to podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts

10. Minnesota Twins

The Twins are atop the AL Central, but the division favorite White Sox have been playing much better of late. The Twins need arms to help fill out their lineup, and if they’re serious about winning the division, they should be big buyers at the trade deadline. So far they are a fun team to watch and hold the top spot in the division by a thread.

9. St. Louis Cardinals

Last week, the Cardinals hit back-to-back home runs for just the 11th time in history. They could use another arm in the rotation, but their offense — led by MVP favorite Paul Goldschmidt — keeps them in the middle of the NL.

The Cardinals hit four straight home runs for the 11th time in MLB history

The Cardinals hit four straight home runs for the 11th time in MLB history

The St. Louis Cardinals hit four straight home runs for the 11th time in MLB history in the first inning as Nolan Arenado, Nolan Gorman, Juan Yepez and Dylan Carlson went deep.

8. Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays’ offense leads MLB in OPS this season, and they’ve scored a league-leading 170 runs in the month of June. Their offense is why Toronto plays baseball in October; tilting, on the other hand, has some questions.

7. Milwaukee Brewers

Unlike the teams behind the Brewers in this week’s power rankings, Milwaukee does it differently: by dominating the pitching side. For a while, the Brewers were without two of their big three pitchers in the starting rotation, but now Brandon Woodruff is back to form a 1-2 punch with Corbin Burns and they haven’t missed a beat.

6. San Diego Padres

The Padres faced the Dodgers this past weekend and found themselves just a few outs away from winning a four game series. Luckily for them, they battled back and found a way to win on Sunday, saving themselves from a disastrous run against their division rivals. The Padres pitching has been great as they lead baseball in strikeouts. But if they want to compete with the Dodgers in the NL West, they need Fernando Tatis Jr.

5. New York Mets

The Mets need Jacob de Grom and Max Scherzer back at speed now that the Atlanta Braves are breathing down their necks. I had to bump the Mets after a poor performance against the Houston Astros over the last week and a half, but they could bounce back quickly with their co-aces ready to return.

The battle for the NL East crown is heating up

The battle for the NL East crown is heating up

Ben Verlander talks about the battle between the Mets and Braves in the NL East. The Braves are back in business with key performances from Dansby Swanson, Ronald Acuna Jr. and more as the Mets await the return of Max Scherzer and Jacob DeGrom.

4. Atlanta Braves

For the first time since the first week of the season, the Braves are ahead of the Mets in my Power Rankings. They won 21 games in June, which tied a franchise record, and cut the Mets’ division lead to eight games during that span. The Mets are still in first place in the NL East, but right now the Braves are the team you least want to face.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers undoubtedly have some injury issues they are dealing with, but we saw how good they are and the depth they have when they played the Padres over the weekend. It was the longest streak of the season so far for both teams, and the Dodgers dominated. They didn’t have the best month, but there’s no question that they’re one of the best teams in baseball.

The depth of the Los Angeles Dodgers is unmatched in baseball

The depth of the Los Angeles Dodgers is unmatched in baseball

Ben Verlander dives into the Dodgers’ depth and their success even without Clayton Kershaw, Mookie Betts, Dustin May and Walker Buehler.

2. Houston Astros

The Astros have been a force as of late, and that has been abundantly clear over the last week and a half. In an odd stretch of their schedule, the Astros had to play the best team in each league for nine straight games: first at home, then on the road, and then at home against the Yankees and Mets. During that stretch, the Astros showed just how good they are. They went 7-2 and dominated every facet of the game.

1. New York Yankees

Even though the Yankees lost three of five games to the Astros, I’m not thinking too much about first place this week. The Yankees are on pace to break the MLB record for wins, and despite the narrowing gap between first and second place, the Yankees are still the best team in baseball. They are an astonishing 34-9 at home this season, by far the best in baseball.

Ben Verlander is an MLB analyst for FOX Sports and host of “Flippin’ Bats” podcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Va., Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before joining his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2013. He spent five years in the Tigers organization Follow him on Twitter @Ben Verlander.

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