The Boston Red Sox have reached the top of the Power Rankings
The Boston Red Sox are the best team in baseball. Few predicted that entering the season and we’re still hesitant to believe it but entering the day, Boston sits at the top of the standings. If their 22-13 record isn’t convincing enough, this team is finally getting the national recognition it deserves.
These sites, along with many others with similar weekly rankings, had Boston buried in the bottom third of the list when the season opened last month. Getting swept at home by the Baltimore Orioles led us to believe the rankings were a bit too generous by putting the Red Sox ahead of anyone but the narrative quickly changed direction with a nine-game winning streak.
The Red Sox shot up the list to land in the top-three for the Power Rankings on MLB.com and The Athletic in recent weeks but this is the first time this season that either site has them in the top spot.
The ascension to the top is warranted. Boston was the first team in the majors to reach 22 wins and they own the best winning percentage (.629). That puts them on pace for 102 wins.
Boston leads the majors in runs scored, batting average, slugging percentage and OPS. The heart of the order is as talented as any in baseball with three players ranking inside the top-10 in the American League in wRC+ and wOBA.
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J.D. Martinez has bounced back from his miserable 2020 season to establish himself as a viable MVP candidate. He’s batting .333 while leading the majors with 10 home runs and 31 RBI. Martinez trails only Mike Trout with his .651 SLG and 1.075 OPS.
Rafael Devers isn’t far behind in the power categories with eight homers and 28 RBI. Xander Bogaerts is slashing a scorching .349/.396/.589. The pair of infielders along with Martinez are all tied for third in the majors with 10 doubles.
Martinez is second in the league with 1.7 WAR, per FanGraphs. Bogaerts (1.6) is tied for third, Devers (1.3) is 11th and Alex Verdugo (1.1) is 15th.
That’s a lot of star power that has carried this offense to overcome some inconsistency near the bottom of the lineup.
Pitching was the Achilles Heel of the Red Sox last year but this staff is no longer a liability. Boston is 7th in the league with a 3.99 ERA, fourth with a 3.79 xFIP and fifth with a 9.54 K/9.
Eduardo Rodriguez is back to pitching like an ace after missing the entire 2020 season with health complications resulting from COVID-19. He’s 5-0 with a 3.82 ERA.
Matt Barnes has been lights out as the closer, posting a 2.00 ERA and 0.50 WHIP while notching eight saves. He’s been more aggressive in attacking the strike zone, racking up 30 strikeouts with only three walks in 18 innings.
As great as this team has been, there are some areas where they can improve. Boston has struggled to find a viable leadoff hitter to slot ahead of their core four and their first choice is currently on the injured list. Hunter Renfroe, Bobby Dalbec and Marwin Gonzalez are starting to heat up but they’ve been disappointments overall due to slow starts. Franchy Cordero has looked awful. There are at least a couple of arms in the bullpen that won’t last much longer on the roster if they don’t show signs of improvement soon.
The Red Sox have their flaws but so does every other team in the majors. Even the mighty Los Angeles Dodgers have slipped to third in their division with a record that is only a game over .500 this season. The slump forced the Dodgers to finally relinquish the top spot in the Power Rankings to allow a Red Sox team that has clearly played better baseball to take over at No. 1 on the list.
Boston might not appear to be the best team in baseball on paper but you would be hard-pressed to make a convincing argument that any team has been better this year.