AJC’s MLB power rankings: Standings taking shape as June approaches

Atlanta Braves' Michael Harris II celebrates in the dugout after hitting a home run against the Chicago Cubs during the fourth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Atlanta Braves' Michael Harris II celebrates in the dugout after hitting a home run against the Chicago Cubs during the fourth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

Editor’s note: Welcome to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s new feature, our own MLB power rankings. This feature will run weekly during the season with our ranking of the top 10 teams.

It’s just about June, so the Haves and Have Nots are becoming clearer. Here’s how the AJC views baseball’s top 10 teams:

1. Philadelphia Phillies (-)

The Phillies top our rankings for the third consecutive week. Enough about their schedule; they’re dominating inferior foes as they should, which includes a recent sweep of the reigning champion Rangers. It’s not like their success is out of nowhere, either. They’re loaded with talent and have made consecutive National League Championship Series appearances. The Braves will have to play much better to catch them (and there will be plenty of opportunities, there’s a long summer ahead).

2. New York Yankees (-)

The Yankees lead the Orioles by three games entering Friday, which feels like a lot given how close these clubs have been thus far. New York stomped the American League Central, sweeping the Twins and White Sox, before splitting four with the Mariners. This team is tremendous, even if team chairman Hal Steinbrenner felt compelled to share that its payroll is not sustainable.

3. Cleveland Guardians (+6)

They aren’t getting the proper recognition, but the Guardians just keep winning. They lost two here in late April after losing three of four to the White Sox; they’ve won nine of 10 since, including sweeping the Twins who were trying to chase them down in the division. Their coming schedule should provide more wins with the Angels, Rockies and Nationals on deck before Cleveland hosts the Royals in a very interesting division matchup.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers (-)

The Dodgers lost two of three at home to Arizona, but they’ve generally played well lately. They should pile up some wins coming up, too: at the Reds, at the Mets, versus the Rockies, at the Pirates. One of the few Dodgers’ offseason moves that didn’t draw much attention was signing James Paxton, but he has a 2.84 ERA in eight starts.

5. Kansas City Royals (+3)

It’s time to start buying the Royals if you aren’t already. They’ve won six in a row and eight of 10. They’ve outscored opponents – the A’s and Tigers – 45-18 during their recent winning run. Kansas City has 32 wins (at least) before June ends when it won only 56 games last season. What a compelling story for baseball, which desperately needed more juice from its Central divisions after so much talent flocked to the coasts.

6. Atlanta Braves (-1)

The Braves aren’t hitting well, but they did enough to win a series at Wrigley Field. They’ve actually won three of four entering Friday, though fan frustration is understandable given the expectations surrounding this club. Austin Riley and Sean Murphy are nearing returns that will bolster the lineup. The Braves often have gotten hot in June, and they’ll need to do that again this year, especially with the Phillies playing so well.

7. Baltimore Orioles (-3)

The Orioles finally were swept by … the Cardinals. It was a rough week, but how about youngster Grayson Rodriguez’s growth? He’s allowed two runs on four hits over two starts (11 innings) since returning from the injured list.

8. Milwaukee Brewers (-)

The Brewers have cooled off some, including a recent series loss to the lowly Marlins, but they remain the front-runners in the NL Central. Brewers starters currently sidelined include Brandon Woodruff, Wade Miley, Jakob Junis, D.L. Hall and now Joe Ross. This team’s depth has been tested consistently throughout the season.

9. Seattle Mariners (-)

The Mariners haven’t played inspiring baseball, but they’ve done enough to remain in first in the AL West. This offense needs to find some life. All-Star and franchise cornerstone Julio Rodriguez just hasn’t been his best, and he’s been dropped in the batting order. Offseason additions Mitch Garner and Jorge Polanco haven’t provided much. This is a good team that feels far away from being a great one right now.

10. Chicago Cubs (-)

The Cubs lost the season tiebreaker to the Braves, which could matter down the road if the teams wind up equal in the wild-card standings. Chicago is 6-9 over its past 15 games. There have been injuries, but the Cubs are a few pieces away from breaking into the NL’s upper tier. Justin Steele finding form again would help; he’s allowed 15 earned runs over his past three outings (16 innings).