Power Rankings: How long can the Red Sox hold on to No. 1?

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Yanks creeping up in MLB Power Rankings (1:25)

The Yankees' recent hot streak has catapulted them into the top five of the Power Rankings. (1:25)

This week's rankings featured some major moves within the top 10. Welcome the Cubs and the Phillies back to MLB's top tier, as the Cubs made an expected return thanks to some strong starting pitching, while the hard-charging, young Phils pushed their way into the conversation while putting in an early claim for a place in the suddenly very interesting NL East race.

The Phillies' four-spot jump up in the standings was the second largest of the week, behind only the Yankees' six-spot ascent all the way to the No. 4 spot. That's a big deal because the other thing worth noting is that while the top three clubs remained in place, this was the first week that the Red Sox, Astros and Diamondbacks all received a first-place vote, hinting that there's no longer a strong consensus on which one of them might ultimately be baseball's best ballclub. If there's already no agreement on who's No. 1, it might take only another strong week from the Bombers to earn them No. 1 consideration over the defending champs or their AL East rivals.

Not every club can go up, of course, and we saw some equally big declines. The Blue Jays took the biggest fall, dropping eight spots and departing the top 10. They were joined in that unhappy distinction by the Nationals, who fell five spots as they struggle to start firing on all cylinders instead of taking control of their division as expected. The other major drop of the week was suffered by the Twins, who dropped into the league's bottom third with a six-slot decline. Will they recover to put some heat on the Indians in the AL Central, and move back up in the rankings? We'll have to see.

This week, our panel of voters comprises David Schoenfield, Eric Karabell, Tim Kurkjian, Bradford Doolittle and Sarah Langs.

Week 3 rankings | Week 2 | Week 1 | Preseason

1. Boston Red Sox

Record: 20-7
Week 3 ranking: 1

After an eight-game winning streak pushed their record to 17-2, the Red Sox have fallen back to earth, losing five of their past eight games. The offense has slowed down after initially plating runs at a blistering 6.5 runs per game through their first 19 games. One key to getting the lineup hammering away again? J.D. Martinez went 5-for-25 before busting out with a four-hit game Sunday. The offense will need him on track for Boston to hold off the rising Yankees in the AL East. -- Dan McCarthy, ESPN Stats & Information


2. Houston Astros

Record: 19-10
Week 3 ranking: 2

After another stellar start this week against the Angels, Justin Verlander now owns a 1.22 regular-season ERA as a member of the Astros, and has not lost a regular-season game for them (9-0 in 11 starts dating back to last season). He has allowed three or fewer earned runs in all of his starts for the Astros, part of a 14-game streak dating back to his time with the Tigers, the second-longest such streak of his career. -- Jacob Nitzberg, ESPN Stats & Information


3. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 19-8
Week 3 ranking: 3

Arizona made history by becoming the first National League team to win its first nine series in a season since the 1907 Cubs. Patrick Corbin might be getting the most attention, but Snakes pitching is dominating the strike zone, generating swinging strikes at the fourth-best clip in MLB, in part by throwing off-speed stuff more frequently than any other NL staff. Leadoff man David Peralta is also setting up the offense well with a .915 OPS, best among NL regulars in the No. 1 slot in the lineup. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com


4. New York Yankees

Record: 18-9
Week 3 ranking: 10

The Yankees have surged in the standings with a nine-game win streak, powered by five homers and 13 RBIs from Didi Gregorius over that span. Masahiro Tanaka has settled in as well; after posting a 6.04 ERA over his first four starts, Tanaka has allowed just two earned runs in his past two turns. His fastball has been working: After creating a miss on just 5.3 percent of fastballs in his first four starts, he upped that rate to 26.3 percent in his past two. -- McCarthy


5. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 16-12
Week 3 ranking: 4

Shohei Ohtani hit another home run Friday night, his fourth of the season, but he also left that game with an ankle injury. Therein lies one of the major obstacles to navigating an entire MLB season as both a hitter and pitcher. He has now exited a game early as both a pitcher (blister) and hitter (ankle). Not to be overshadowed, Mike Trout continues to do Mike Trout things -- and could be on his way to a third AL MVP award. -- Paul Casella, ESPN Stats & Information


6. Cleveland Indians

Record: 14-12
Week 3 ranking: 7

While the pitching staff is responsible for much of the Indians' early success as the lone AL Central team above .500, there have been signs of hope that their position players are finally thawing out. A four-homer week from Yonder Alonso was a good sign that their investment in the free agent was worth it, while a defense anchored by shortstop Francisco Lindor and third baseman Jose Ramirez leads the AL in defensive runs saved. -- Kahrl


7. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 15-12
Week 3 ranking: 8

The Cardinals have a plus-25 run differential, eighth best in the majors. They haven't really hit for average or slugged well, but the starting pitchers have kept their runs allowed down, posting a 3.31 ERA, which ranks fourth in the majors and first in the NL. -- Langs


8. Chicago Cubs

Record: 15-10
Week 3 ranking: 11

This past week, Cubs starting pitchers threw at least six innings in every start and allowed just four earned runs in 40 innings (0.90 ERA). If Chicago's rotation starts to get on a roll, the Cubs will start to show why they were the favorites in the division entering the season. Oh, and remember new-look Kyle Schwarber? He has a .981 OPS and is walking in more than 15 percent of his plate appearances through the first month. -- Kenneth Woolums, ESPN Stats & Information


9. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 16-11
Week 2 ranking: 13

The Phillies continue to be one of the hottest teams in the majors. Since April 5, they're 15-7, the second-best record in baseball. On the pitching side, the bullpen has been a huge strength. They have a 1.80 bullpen ERA in that span, second best in the majors behind the Diamondbacks at 1.40. They have a plus-36 run differential in that span, third to only the Red Sox and Astros. Odubel Herrera has been key -- he has a .366 batting average since April 5, best in the NL. -- Langs


10. New York Mets

Record: 17-9
Week 3 ranking: 6

On Tuesday, Yoenis Cespedes hit a home run 463 feet with a 115.1 mph exit velocity according to Statcast. The home run was the longest by a Mets player since a David Wright homer in 2013 that went 464 feet. And the exit velocity made it the hardest-hit home run by a Mets player since Statcast began tracking in 2015. But Cespedes already has 43 strikeouts in just 26 games. He struck out 61 times in 81 games all of last season. -- Langs


11. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 16-13
Week 3 ranking: 14

The Brewers had their eight-game win streak snapped Thursday, which was tied for their longest win streak since 2015. Their pitching staff has been good, and their bullpen has been their strength of late despite losing Corey Knebel. Brewers relievers have a 2.45 ERA this season (third best in the majors). They have struck out 29.4 percent of opposing batters this season, second only to the Yankees' relievers. -- Nitzberg


12. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 12-15
Week 3 ranking: 12

Outside of Kenley Jansen's early problems, the pitching has been fine. The missing ingredient for the Dodgers so far has been home runs, as they're hitting bombs just 2.2 percent of the time, 27th in the majors. Despite that power outage they're the 11th-best team in scoring, so once Cody Bellinger & Co. start delivering big blows, expect the Dodgers to make a big move back up in the rankings. -- Kahrl


13. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 15-12
Week 3 ranking: 5

Curtis Granderson looks to enjoy playing for the Blue Jays, particularly at Rogers Centre, where he owns a team-high 1.133 OPS. Additionally, he's posting his best walk rate in the past 10 years. On Tuesday, Granderson hit his fourth career walk-off home run. Unfortunately, the Blue Jays dropped their next four games. -- McCarthy


14. Washington Nationals

Record: 12-16
Week 3 ranking: 9

The Nationals still aren't where many expected them to be entering the season. They're hitting .239 as a team, which is 16th in baseball. And the slugging really hasn't been there, as they have just a .390 slugging percentage, 18th in the majors. They're scoring 4.4 runs per game, which also ranks 18th. The starters have carried their weight with a 3.49 ERA, which is seventh in MLB, but the bullpen continues to struggle, ranking 25th with a 4.91 ERA. -- Langs


15. Seattle Mariners

Record: 16-11
Week 3 ranking: 18

James Paxton notched his second double-digit strikeout game of the season Friday. Unfortunately, his strikeout rate isn't the only thing that has increased this season -- he's also walking batters almost twice as often, allowing more hits and home runs and, most importantly, his ERA has jumped from 2.98 to 5.12. Fellow starter Felix Hernandez has a 4.96 ERA and, as a team, the Mariners' rotation ranks among the worst in MLB. -- Casella


16. Atlanta Braves

Record: 16-11
Week 3 ranking: 17

The Braves have the best run differential in the NL East (plus-38); the only National League team better so far is the Diamondbacks. If it is true that young teams are a threat because they have nothing to lose, the Braves might just be a playoff contender, especially after promoting No. 1 prospect Ronald Acuna Jr., who homered in his second game. -- Woolums


17. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 17-11
Week 3 ranking: 16

In the previous week, the Pirates could not score, but this past week they averaged more than six runs per game, with veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli helping lead the way. The surging offense helped make a winner of Nick Kingham in his debut, plating five runs as the rookie fired a perfect game at the Cardinals through his first 20 batters before allowing a two-out single in the seventh. -- Woolums


18. Colorado Rockies

Record: 15-14
Week 3 ranking: 19

Jon Gray finally looked like the ace-caliber pitcher many expected him to be his last time out. He racked up 11 strikeouts and allowed just three hits over six scoreless innings against the Padres. That came after allowing 19 runs (18 earned) over 15⅔ innings in his previous three starts. With Chad Bettis pitching well, and Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado both cruising offensively, Gray's performance could dictate how far the Rockies can go this season. -- Casella


19. Oakland Athletics

Record: 14-14
Week 3 ranking: 20

Despite a patchwork pitching staff handicapped by two starters on the 60-day DL and two more pitching their way out of the rotation, the A's are delivering on last year's second-half surge by hanging around .500. One pleasant surprise has been Jed Lowrie's hot hitting, as the 34-year-old veteran has flirted with a 1.000 OPS in the first month to build off last year's full-season career best of .808. -- Kahrl


20. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 12-14
Week 3 ranking: 21

You may not have noticed, but before their loss Sunday the Rays had rattled off eight straight wins while scoring over eight runs per game. During that span, Wilson Ramos showed that he is back to full health, tallying seven extra-base hits and a league-leading 1.045 slugging percentage. Unfortunately, the pitching has still struggled, posting a 4.50 ERA over the winning streak. -- McCarthy


21. Minnesota Twins

Record: 9-14
Week 3 ranking: 15

As has been the case for years, the Twins went into Yankee Stadium and were no match for the Bronx Bombers. Minnesota was outscored 33-11 in the series, which ended in a four-game sweep capped off by a walk-off win in the last game. Going back the last 20 years, the Twins are 46-108 (.299 win percentage) against the Yankees, including the playoffs (where they are 2-13). -- Woolums


22. San Francisco Giants

Record: 14-14
Week 3 ranking: 22

The Giants allowed 15 runs twice in a three-game span this week. Before that, they hadn't allowed 15 or more runs in a game since May 5, 2016. The last time they allowed 15 or more in multiple games in a season was 2005 -- but those games were almost a month apart. On the bright side, Pablo Sandoval's first major league appearance as a pitcher went well: He threw three pitches clocked at 88 mph and pitched a 1-2-3 inning. -- Langs


23. Detroit Tigers

Record: 11-15
Week 3 ranking: 23

The Tigers have had their ups and downs. One bright spot has been Jeimer Candelario, who leads the team in extra-base hits (14) while slugging .524, and on Wednesday became the first Tiger in nearly a decade to score five runs in a nine-inning game. A trouble spot has been reliever Alex Wilson, who already has given up four home runs in just 16⅓ innings, including a walk-off to Corey Dickerson on Thursday. -- Nitzberg


24. Texas Rangers

Record: 11-18
Week 3 ranking: 24

Adrian Beltre joined fellow infielders Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor on the disabled list last week. That leaves Joey Gallo as the only healthy player from Texas' Opening Day starting infield. That's just the latest thing to go wrong for a team that's currently on pace to have its worst season in more than three decades. -- Casella


25. San Diego Padres

Record: 10-19
Week 3 ranking: 25

Though Manuel Margot returned from the disabled list, the Padres have continued to find way to keep Franchy Cordero's bat in their lineup. Why? Because he's hitting the ball as hard as anyone in baseball. Cordero not only has the longest home run of the season (489 feet on April 20) but has six batted balls of 115 mph or harder, tied with Giancarlo Stanton for most in the majors. -- Nitzberg


26. Chicago White Sox

Record: 8-18
Week 3 ranking: 27

Matt Davidson has provided a bright spot in an otherwise dismal start for the White Sox. The 27-year-old hit three home runs on Opening Day and more recently had back-to-back multihomer games on Thursday and Friday. All three of those games came against the Royals. The bad news is the White Sox can't play Kansas City every game, but the good news is they do still have 12 meetings remaining. -- Casella


27. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 8-20
Week 3 ranking: 26

The Orioles have lost six of their past eight games, falling to the bottom of the AL East standings. Baltimore is near the bottom of the rankings in both runs scored per game and ERA. Chris Davis has more than twice as many strikeouts (33) as hits (15). On a positive note: Manny Machado continued to prove he is the best player on the team. If he keeps playing this well, could the trade market heat up early? -- McCarthy


28. Kansas City Royals

Record: 7-20
Week 3 ranking: 28

The Royals are right in the middle of the pack in terms of batting average this season, as their .243 average ranks 15th in the majors. Kansas City leads the league with a .266 average with the bases empty, but is next-to-last with a .215 average with men on base, including an MLB-worst .181 with runners in scoring position. -- Nitzberg


29. Miami Marlins

Record: 9-18
Week 3 ranking: 29

With the returns of Martin Prado, J.T. Realmuto and Wei-Yin Chen from their injuries, the Marlins are slowly morphing into something resembling their best possible roster. That has led them to give rookie third baseman Brian Anderson some starts in right field. There may not be a big trade market for veterans like Prado or Starlin Castro, but the Fish have to play their best bargaining chips to showcase their remaining wares for trades. -- Kahrl


30. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 7-21
Week 3 ranking: 30

The Reds won more games this week (four) than they had in their first 21 games of the season. Some of that might be simple regression, but Cincinnati had a legitimately good week, putting up a plus-eight run differential. The offense began showing signs of life, mainly because of Joey Votto, whose 1.423 OPS and four homers this week are a significant improvement over the .594 OPS and zero homers he had entering it. -- Woolums