The latest MLB power rankings will shock St. Louis Cardinals fans, as they are rated as the No. 5 team in baseball.
Entering the regular season, the consensus among pundits was that the Cardinals were an average team, ranking about 15th in the preseason power rankings. But after a strong start, with St. Louis in first place in the National League Central, they have climbed up the rankings.
Boy, have they ever.
In their most recent power rankings, MLB.com rated the Cardinals as the fifth best team in baseball. The previous week, they were listed 10th, so it’s been a steady climb. Here’s their reasoning: “Sunday was a very uncharacteristic day for the Cards – first, they lost. And second, Nolan Arenado didn’t have a hit. Even with a 4-1 loss to the Reds in Cincinnati, however, St. Louis went 4-2 over the last week and Arenado continued his sizzling start to the season at the plate – the star third baseman hit .333 with a homer for the week before going 0-for-4 on Sunday. He still enters the week sporting a 1.154 OPS.”
At first, I thought this ranking was generous. Then I looked at the teams behind the Cardinals in this list – the Rays, Yankees, Padres, Brewers and Mariners – and the ranking made a lot more sense. Right now the argument can be made that the Cardinals have been better than each of those teams. The key phrase: Right now.
The team to watch in that list, of course, is the Brewers. They will be the Cardinals’ stiffest competition in the NL Central and with their rotation that features Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta, are as fearsome of an opponent as any (perhaps with the exception of the Dodgers). They are evenly matched through the first couple weeks of the season, but the remaining 148ish games, and especially their head-to-head matchups, will go a long way toward determining the winner of the division.
But that’s a long way away. Right now, the Cardinals are rated as not just the best team in the NL Central, but one of the best teams in baseball.