We’re about a month into the 2020 MLB season — which in the year of the coronavirus means the season is also nearly halfway over and the trade deadline is approaching. It’s like we’re listening to a podcast on 2x speed.
Things are starting to look a little more clear. Some of the early-season surprises are turning into the teams we knew they would be — sorry, Orioles, Tigers and Rockies. The Yankees are injured again. The Rays have rebounded. The Indians just keep on pitching despite everything. And we’re just still just sort of shrugging at the Brewers. Ah yes, the familiarity of baseball.
There are some fun, unfamiliar things — like Fernando Tatis Jr. being the most interesting person in baseball, the A’s being really, really good and the Twins having a commendable pitching staff. The question is whether those things hold up over the next month.
Here’s how I view all 30 teams this week:
TEAMS WE KNOW ARE GOOD
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (18-8; last week: 2) — The Dodgers currently have the most home runs in MLB and the best ERA. In 2020 baseball, that’s a recipe for success. Mookie Betts looks like an MVP, leading the Dodgers in the Triple Crown categories.
2. New York Yankees (16-8; last week: 1) — The Yankees swept the Red Sox over four games this week, which is always cause for celebration in the Bronx. It’s not all good news, however: The Rays continue to be a pest for the Yankees and they’ve been hit by the injury bug again. DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge are all on the IL. At least Judge’s injury, it sounds like, isn’t much to worry about.
3. Oakland A’s (17-8; last week: 3) — After another strong week, the A’s are still No. 3, but I can promise you the gap in my head as I make these rankings between the A’s and the No. 2 spot is smaller than it was last week. They had a little bit of trouble with the surging D-backs this week, but I’m still very much a believer.
4. Chicago Cubs (16-8; last week: 4) — Like some other people, I’ve been a little dubious of the Cubs and their strong start. They’re a good team, sure, but there are some question marks on that roster. Things evened out this week, as they lost four in a row to the Brewers and Cardinals. They’re still a good team, sure, but with a bigger sample, this seems more like who they actually are, not the team with the .800 winning percentage.
5. Tampa Bay Rays (16-9; last week: 9) — The Rays shook off their early-season funk and look like the team many of us expected them to be. They went 5-1 since last week’s rankings, and continue to play the Yankees tough. Let that matter more than that early sweep by the Orioles.
6. Minnesota Twins (16-9; last week: 6) — We know the Twins can hit, but the revelation for them this season has been the pitching. They rank fourth in team ERA, and that’s with José Berríos off to an underwhelming start. Randy Dobnak has been great and Kenta Maeda — he of the near no-hitter this week — looks like a wonderful pick-up.
7. Atlanta Braves (14-11; last week: 5) — The Braves are still in first place, still very much favored to make the postseason, but we’re starting to see the holes in their pitching staff — especially with Mike Soroka out. They’re middle of the pack with a 4.42 team ERA, which isn’t going to do it. Luckily, Max Fried has been great.
8. Cleveland Indians (15-9; last week: 10) — If you could combine the Indians pitching staff with the Braves offense, you’d have a real juggernaut. The Indians are almost the opposite of Atlanta. They continue to put up the best pitching numbers in MLB (despite all the inner turmoil) but have the worst batting average in the league. Still, they’ve won five straight and are looking more like a contender than they have all season.
9. San Diego Padres (14-12; last week: 8) — I almost made them No. 3 just to thumb my nose at the unwritten rules. Alas, the Padres continue to be one of the most interesting teams in baseball — this week, for a couple days they were THE most interesting team — and that’s thanks in no small part to Fernando Tatis Jr. and his next-level breakout season. Hit grand slams on any count you want, kid.
10. Houston Astros (14-10; last week: 13) — The Astros continue to have problem after problem. Now they’ve lost Yordan Álvarez, the reigning AL Rookie of the Year, for the season. They’re without Justin Verlander right now. José Altuve is having a terrible season. And yet they’ve won seven in a row. Consider that a testament to how deep their roster is.
UPS & DOWNS
11. Chicago White Sox (14-11; last week: 11) — The Padres have surpassed the White Sox on the Teams-I-Want-to-Love list, but hey, the White Sox aren’t doing bad either. They’ve won four in a row and would be in the playoffs if the season ended today.
12. Colorado Rockies (13-11; last week: 7) — The Rockies, after going 1-5 last week, are now in the we-are-who-they-thought-we-were category. Mostly we feel sorry for Nolan Arenado.
13. Washington Nationals (9-12; last week: 12) — These are the May 2019 Nationals right now, not the October 2019 Nationals. Those postseason Nats would be wise to show up soon.
14. Arizona Diamondbacks (13-12; last week: 24) — The biggest jump on this week’s list belongs to Arizona. They swept the Padres, played the A’s tough and seem to have evened out after their shaky start.
15. Philadelphia Phillies (9-10; last week: 20) — Now that we’re seeing a bigger body of work for the Phillies, we know they’re better than the team that got swept by the Orioles. They’re not going to set the world on fire, but they can at least challenge for a playoff spot is what looks like a flimsy NL East.
WHO KNOWS, MAN
Welcome to shrug emoji land. The Brewers continue to be a big ol’ question mark. The Marlins, bless them, are hanging in there after their COVID scare — same with the Cardinals. As for the Reds, Thom Brennaman’s apology isn’t the only thing that’s underwhelming.
16. Milwaukee Brewers (11-11; last week: 14)
17. Cincinnati Reds (10-12; last week: 15)
18. Miami Marlins (9-9; last week: 16)
19. St. Louis Cardinals (6-7; Last week: N/A)
It was fun while it lasted Baltimore, but the Orioles have lost four straight. The Tigers and Rangers join them in Declineville. The Mets have won three in a row, but there’s still lots of work to do there.
20. Baltimore Orioles (12-12; last week: 17)
21. New York Mets (12-14; last week: 22)
22. Toronto Blue Jays (10-11; last week: 23)
23. Texas Rangers (10-13; last week: 19)
24. Detroit Tigers (9-13; last week: 18)
The Pirates, Mariners, Red Sox, Giants and Royals? We knew they’d be down here. But the Angels? Oof. They’re off to the worst 25-game start in franchise history.
25. Los Angeles Angels (8-17; last week: 21)
26. Kansas City Royals (10-15; last week: 27)
27. San Francisco Giants (10-16; last week: 26)
28. Boston Red Sox (7-18; last week: 25)
29. Seattle Mariners (8-18; last week: 28)
30. Pittsburgh Pirates (4-16; last week: 29)
More from Yahoo Sports: