Power Rankings: Which AL East juggernaut is No. 1?

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Yankees, Red Sox sitting atop Power Rankings (0:56)

John Farrell and Tim Kurkjian break down how four of the top five teams in this week's Power Rankings are from the American League. (0:56)

With the voters still split three ways on who baseball's best team might be, we may not have consensus, but we do have a new No. 1 -- the sizzling Yankees, winners of 15 of their past 16 games. The Yankees have propelled themselves into a neck-and-neck race for both the top of the AL East and MLB's best record with their hated rivals, the Red Sox -- the team they just displaced in the top slot of our rankings by climbing up three spots, passing the Astros and Diamondbacks as well. All of which adds something extra to the stakes as the two teams square off in the Bronx for a three-game series starting Tuesday night.

Beyond that dramatic change at the highest perch, the top 10 also saw some turnover, as two new teams moved into baseball's top third -- the Nationals, making a return to the top tier at No. 10, and the Braves, profiting from their recent push to the top of the NL East race, a step ahead of them at the ninth slot. The Braves' seven-slot jump was baseball's single biggest move in the rankings this week over last, surpassing five-rung improvements from the Rockies and Giants.

Where others move up, some have to fall. In this case, the Mets and Phillies were the two teams displaced from the top 10, as both teams' recent slumps also helped make the NL East a four-team race. The Mets dropped eight spots, more than any other team, with the Phillies' decline ranking second with a five-spot tumble. Also declining? The Blue Jays and the injury-wracked Dodgers, who both tumbled three spots.

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

Week 4 rankings | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Preseason

1. New York Yankees

Record: 24-10
Week 4 ranking: 4

The Yankees' top rookie and MLB preseason No. 5 prospect according to ESPN's Keith Law, Gleyber Torres, has arrived and produced immediately, delivering the walk-off win with a home run Sunday. The rookie is hitting .327 and launched his first career home run on Friday. He compiled back-to-back three-RBI games earlier last week and has helped the Yankees to a 14-1 record when he is in the lineup. The future is looking bright for the young prospect. -- Dan McCarthy, ESPN Stats & Information


2. Boston Red Sox

Record: 25-9
Week 4 ranking: 1

Mookie Betts muscled his way to the top of the leaderboard this week, crushing five home runs, including his Red Sox-record fourth career three-home run game. His 8.5 at-bats per home run is well ahead of his career pace entering this year (26.7), so the Red Sox hope his bruised shoulder will heal quickly. Unfortunately, after two scoreless outings against Tampa to open the year, David Price has struggled to maintain form. After a poor outing against Texas on May 3, his ERA in his last five starts is up to 8.22. -- McCarthy


3. Houston Astros

Record: 21-15
Week 4 ranking: 2

We have covered the Astros' impressive pitching this season, allowing the fewest runs in the league thus far. The offense hasn't been too shabby either, but after they scored 20 runs in their three-game series against the A's last week, the offense came to a halt against the Yankees, with just seven runs in their four-game series. This included a 28-inning scoreless streak, the team's longest since 1992, with shutouts in back-to-back games for the first time since July 2013. -- Jacob Nitzberg, ESPN Stats & Information


4. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 23-11
Week 4 ranking: 3

Center fielder A.J. Pollock's name doesn't usually come up at the start of conversations about next winter's top free agents, but in his last year under contract with the D-backs, he's leading the National League in slugging. It looks like Pollock has joined the launch-angle revolution, adding more than 700 points of isolated slugging on his fly balls in the early going while cutting his ratio of grounders to fly balls from 0.95 career before 2018 to 0.68 this year. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com


5. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 21-13
Week 4 ranking: 5

It was another historic week for the Angels, with Albert Pujols becoming the 32nd member of the 3,000-hit club Friday. Meanwhile, Shohei Ohtani continues to hit the ball well to all fields, and Andrelton Simmons is an early front-runner for the AL batting title. Mike Trout, by the way, is on pace for more than 50 homers, 130 walks and 130 runs. -- Paul Casella, ESPN Stats & Information


6. Chicago Cubs

Record: 16-15
Week 4 ranking: 8

Since April 25, the Cubs have scored more than three runs once -- in their 8-6 loss to the Cardinals on Saturday. While the trio of Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez all have OPS totals north of .900, other key hitters like Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, Jason Heyward and Addison Russell are all struggling to reach .700. -- Kenneth Woolums, ESPN Stats & Information


7. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 20-12
Week 4 ranking: 7

It was walk-off city for the Cardinals this weekend. They won on a Kolten Wong walk-off home run on Saturday and a Dexter Fowler extra-inning walk-off home run on Sunday. The last time the Cardinals won consecutive games on walk-off home runs was July 7-8, 2014 -- from Matt Adams and Kolten Wong. The Cardinals have three walk-off homers this season, more than they had all of last season (two). The Cardinals are also now 4-1 vs the Cubs this season; they went 5-14 against them last season. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information


8. Cleveland Indians

Record: 17-17
Week 4 ranking: 6

Before their bats went silent over the weekend, the Indians finally sprang to life on the scoreboard last week, scoring 55 runs in six games Monday through Friday, thanks in large part to Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion. A dozen homers for the week was another strong sign that they're finally thawing out the offense, but with the Indians' walk rate below 8 percent and in MLB's bottom third, they're not out of the woods yet. -- Kahrl


9. Atlanta Braves

Record: 19-14
Week 4 ranking: 16

Dansby Swanson landing on the DL last week is really the lone dark spot on what otherwise has been a fabulous start for your first-place Braves. Atlanta now owns the best run differential in the NL (plus-42). And while he has gone hitless in three of his past five games, Ronald Acuna Jr. still has an OPS above .900 early in his MLB career. -- Woolums


10. Washington Nationals

Record: 18-17
Week 4 ranking: 14

Bryce Harper, leadoff hitter. It's what Davey Martinez has been trying since the calendar flipped to May, in hopes of getting Harper better pitches to hit. Through the end of April, Nationals leadoff hitters were hitting .306 with two home runs and a .446 slugging percentage. With Harper in the role, the average has dipped, but the slugging is way up -- he's hitting .240 as leadoff hitter this year with four home runs and a .760 slugging percentage. -- Langs


11. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 20-15
Week 4 ranking: 11

How could this week be about anything other than Josh Hader, the NL Reliever of the Month for April, who had an outing April 30 unlike any other in MLB history. He became the first pitcher to record at least eight outs in a game all via strikeout since the mound was moved to its current distance in 1893, according to Elias Sports Bureau research. Hader has struck out 43 of the 70 batters he has faced this season (61 percent), by far the highest rate in the majors (minimum 10 IP). -- Nitzberg


12. Seattle Mariners

Record: 19-14
Week 4 ranking: 15

The Mariners are doing everything they can to make sure the AL West does not turn into a two-team race. Last week's note pointed out that the Mariners' starting rotation had the worst ERA in the majors. James Paxton may have taken that personally, as he went out and racked up a career-high 16 strikeouts Wednesday. He has three double-digit strikeout performances in seven starts this season, matching his total from 2013 to 2017 combined. -- Casella


13. Colorado Rockies

Record: 20-15
Week 4 ranking: 18

Chad Bettis turned in yet another gem Saturday, lowering his ERA to 2.05. Perhaps even more encouraging was Jon Gray's start last Tuesday. He held the Cubs to just one run over seven innings after tossing six scoreless in his previous outing. He also has 17 strikeouts over those 13 frames. The main concern now is an offense that ranks outside the top 20 in runs per game (22nd, with 4.06). The Rockies haven't finished outside the top five since 2013. -- Casella


14. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 18-15
Week 4 ranking: 9

Odubel Herrera just can't stop getting on base. He has reached in 35 consecutive games dating to Sept. 27 last season, the longest active streak in the majors. It's the longest such streak by a Phillies player since Chase Utley in 2006. In related news, Herrera is hitting .333 this season, the third-best batting average in the National League. -- Langs


15. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 15-19
Week 4 ranking: 12

The Dodgers lost shortstop Corey Seager for the season, but is seeing ace Clayton Kershaw head to the DL for biceps tendinitis even more ominous? Seager's injury at least created an opportunity to get ready-now prospect Alex Verdugo into the lineup, with center fielder Chris Taylor moving to short. Once the Dodgers get Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig back from the DL later this month, the offense could be fine, especially with a soft stretch in the schedule after this week's D-backs matchup. But what if this winds up being more than just a precaution for Kershaw? -- Kahrl


16. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 19-16
Week 4 ranking: 13

J.A. Happ has an 11.5 K/9 rate through seven starts this season, on pace to be the best of his career. His 3.67 ERA is tops on the staff, and the Jays are 5-2 in his starts. The bullpen has looked strong as well, as the Jays relievers' cumulative ERA is their best in the past 10 seasons and ranks near the top of the league. Only one of their four blown saves has resulted in a loss. -- McCarthy


17. San Francisco Giants

Record: 19-15
Week 4 ranking: 22

The offense has broken out for the Giants, who scored nine or more runs in three consecutive games last week, their longest such streak since doing so in three straight in May 2015. But there's concern for the starting pitching, with Johnny Cueto scheduled to meet with Dr. James Andrews this week. Cueto has a 0.84 ERA this season and 0.69 WHIP. All other Giants starters have combined for a 4.43 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. -- Langs


18. New York Mets

Record: 17-15
Week 4 ranking: 10

It's the end of an era in Queens -- but that era really ended in 2016. Matt Harvey had a 2.53 career ERA in the regular-season from 2012 to 2015, with a 1.00 WHIP and 9.5 K/9. But from 2016 to 2018, starting with the first season after he threw the most combined innings of any pitcher in the season returning from Tommy John surgery, he has had a 5.93 ERA, 1.58 WHIP and just 6.9 K/9. There are 205 pitchers with at least 150 innings pitched since the start of 2016. Harvey's 5.93 ERA in that span ranks 201st among them. -- Langs


19. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 19-16
Week 4 ranking: 17

Nick Kingham's second start did not go as well as his first. While he still racked up strikeouts (seven in 5⅓ IP) and avoided walks (just one in two starts), he allowed six hits, including two home runs. The Pirates were nevertheless able to get him his second win in as many starts. Perhaps an effective Kingham can help the Pirates forget that trading away Gerrit Cole looks like a monumental mistake. -- Woolums


20. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 15-17
Week 4 ranking: 20

Entering this season, the most RBIs Denard Span has had through the end of May in a season was 22 in 2009 (his second season in the league). Since arriving with the Rays, the veteran outfielder has plated scoring opportunities like never before, driving in 24 runs while hitting .414 with RISP. The Rays are 6-2 in their past eight division games, and their .667 win percentage since April 15 is fourth-best in baseball. -- McCarthy


21. Oakland Athletics

Record: 18-16
Week 4 ranking: 19

The A's whiffed 20 Orioles in their extra-inning win on Saturday -- keyed by starter Trevor Cahill's career-best 12 -- which might sound like a lot, but it's more a sign of the times. Oakland's single-game record for strikeouts by its pitchers is 26 -- tied for the all-time MLB single-game record with three other teams, all of them coming in extra innings (obviously). Two of those games were last year, but the A's did it in 20 innings back in 1971. -- Kahrl


22. Minnesota Twins

Record: 13-17
Week 4 ranking: 21

The Twins put together an average week and are stuck in the middle of what is looking like a truly poor AL Central (the division is collectively 35 games under .500 with only the Indians even at .500). There was, however, one notable bright spot in the week for Minnesota. Lance Lynn went six innings, allowed two runs and did not walk a batter Saturday. Entering the start, Lynn had an 8.37 ERA and was walking a cool 20 percent of batters he faced -- yes, one out of every five. -- Woolums


23. Detroit Tigers

Record: 14-19
Week 4 ranking: 23

Michael Fulmer put up another quality start for the Tigers but came away with another no-decision as the Tigers won 3-2 in 12 innings. Fulmer has allowed two or fewer earned runs in five of his six starts this season but has just one win to show for it, as the Tigers have scored a total of 15 runs in his six turns so far this season. The 2.5 runs per game is fourth-fewest in the AL this season -- and teammate Matthew Boyd's 2.0 ranks last.. -- Nitzberg


24. Texas Rangers

Record: 13-23
Week 4 ranking: 24

With Saturday's loss, the Rangers got off to their worst 35-game start since 2001. That '01 team finished 73-89, despite getting 52 homers from Alex Rodriguez and another 47 from Rafael Palmeiro. As for this season's ballclub, Joey Gallo continues his all-or-nothing style of hitting. He has more career home runs than singles -- and only Giancarlo Stanton has more 450-foot homers since the start of last season. -- Casella


25. San Diego Padres

Record: 13-22
Week 4 ranking: 25

Eric Hosmer has had a solid start to the season and is among the team's offensive leaders early on. It has been a bit up and down: He started strong with a .333 average through 13 games, posting eight multihit games in that span. He then went 3-for-32 over his next eight games with no multihit games, before rebounding with multihit efforts in six of his past 10 games. He's had multiple hits in five straight games, tied for the longest such streak in his career. -- Nitzberg


26. Chicago White Sox

Record: 9-23
Week 4 ranking: 26

The White Sox are off to their worst start since 1950. The losses continue to pile up, thanks in large part to Chicago's struggles in one-run games. The White Sox started last week with three consecutive one-run losses and have now lost nine games this season by a single run. Only the Rays (with 11) have more such losses in 2018. -- Casella


27. Kansas City Royals

Record: 11-23
Week 4 ranking: 28

There haven't been a ton of bright spots for the Royals so far, but one pleasant surprise might be the re-emergence of Jorge Soler. He put up a 10-game hit streak (snapped Saturday), tied for the longest streak of his career. Soler's .425 OBP is by far the best on the team and ranks fifth in the AL. -- Nitzberg


28. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 8-26
Week 4 ranking: 27

After an exceptional start to the season, Dylan Bundy has been rocked in his past two outings, allowing a combined 15 runs (12 earned) over nine innings, pushing his ERA up to 3.76. Unfortunately, his numbers represent the best on the Orioles' pitching staff among starters. The team as a whole has allowed an .810 OPS. That, combined with an anemic offense, has led to one of the worst records in baseball. -- McCarthy


29. Miami Marlins

Record: 13-20
Week 4 ranking: 29

Things might seem bleak given that the Marlins are living down to low expectations, but since catcher J.T. Realmuto returned to the lineup on Aug. 17, the Fish have gone 9-7 in his 16 starts and their pitchers have posted a 3.77 ERA, while Realmuto has chipped in a .963 OPS at the plate. Will numbers like that make the most valuable Marlin a major commodity by the trade deadline? He's under club control through 2020. -- Kahrl


30. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 8-26
Week 4 ranking: 30

Cincinnati's pitching is last in ERA (5.27) and 27th in strikeout percentage (19.5 percent). While the offense is also not doing its job (the Reds are 24th in runs per game with 3.9), the Reds' woes start with the pitching staff. While this starting staff is very young -- four of the five regulars are 25 or younger -- none of them is performing well. Tyler Mahle's 4.70 FIP is the best in the bunch. -- Woolums