MLB Power Rankings: Sorting through the extremely crowded list of potential National League contenders – CBS Sports

MLB Power Rankings: Sorting through the extremely crowded list of potential National League contenders – CBS Sports

The 2019 Major League Baseball season now has one month in the books. It’s not an official month the way we break down splits and for records (such as most home runs allowed in a month, am I right, Orioles?), but it’s been a calendar month since opening day, so we’ve seen a good chunk of the season. 

It’s still way early, as it’s legally required of me to say, but we can start to see if things are playing out like we thought they might in some areas. 

Heading into the season, the majority opinion was that there were a lot of teams in the AL without much hope of contending, but that the NL looked like it could be very deep and competitive. Let’s dig in on the latter, because it really looks like it might be true. 

The Dodgers and Cardinals are the two best teams in the league right now and absolutely look to have legitimate staying power. The 16-12 Phillies I think we can be confident are contenders for the long haul. 

The Mets are in a bit of a rough patch right now, having lost nine of their last 14 games, but — as long as Jacob deGrom isn’t broken — the personnel here tells me they’ll be able to hang around in contention for a bit. 

The 13-14 Braves have been really up and down and they could sure use some bullpen help, but it’s hard to hate on a team with Ozzie Albies, Josh Donaldson, Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna in the lineup. Check out the breakout season from Max Fried in the rotation, too. 

The Nationals are two games under .500 and the bullpen has been pathetic, but it can’t really be this awful all season, right? And even with all the issues so far, they are only three games out of first and have a positive run differential. 

The Cubs are “only” 14-12 (which in baseball is an 87-win pace), but remember how bad their start was? They were 1-6 and alternated wins and losses to 3-8. Since then? Yep, that’s 11-4. They haven’t lost a series since they started 2-7 and their last three series wins came against good teams. 

The Brewers have gone through a rough patch but are still above water and it’s hard to expect them to go anywhere, though they could stand to pitch a lot better. 

The Pirates have lost eight in a row, but they were 12-6 before that and could turn it around. The Reds are five games under .500, but they started 1-8 and have been respectable since. 

The upstart Padres are 16-12 and look fun! The Diamondbacks have won 10 of their last 14 games and those four losses came to a damn good Cubs team — some of them could have gone either way, too. 

The Rockies are two games under .500, but they’ve won 10 of their last 13 games. 

I just named every National League team except for the Marlins and Giants. Thirteen of the 15 teams can legitimately claim they have a team that will contend this season. All won’t. I could see teams like the Pirates, Reds and/or Diamondbacks dropping. The Mets, Nationals and Braves have things that need fixing. The Brewers likely do, too. The Padres could hit some rocky terrain. Some of the top teams could get hit with a litany of important injuries. 

Still, almost the entire National League is comprised of teams actually trying to win. That’s fun. Good work, NL — well, except that it makes it incredibly tough to rank teams this early and have it not look pretty scrambled after three or four days. But that’s OK. We’re all smart enough to notice timestamps, right? 

Previous rankings: Week 4Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Preseason | Offseason

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