There are no rules in the American League, as all three division leaders finished third last season. The National League has Bryce Harper and Manny Machado pushing their clubs towards the top of the league, while the Cubs and Nationals are struggling to start the season. Here are our first MLB Power Rankings of 2019.
30: Cincinnati Reds, 3-8, tied for last in the NL Central
The Reds’ improved pitching has helped them keep games close, allowing just over three runs per game (3.68 R/G), but their offense is barely scoring more than two runs per game of their own, a huge surprise to start the season. With a lineup featuring Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, Scooter Gennett, Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, the Reds figured their offense would carry this team but it was held held scoreless in four of Cincinnati’s first nine games this season.
The Reds’ pitching has kept games close, but with Gennett and Alex Wood on the 10-day injured list and Puig likely facing a suspension after his role in the bench-clearing fight with the Pirates this past weekend, the Reds could push themselves out of contention in a tough NL Central division. Currently, their league-worst .534 OPS isn’t going to translate to many wins this season and has them sitting at the bottom of the rankings for the moment.
29. Kansas City Royals, 2-9, last in the AL Central
Kansas City has only one game where they have lost by more than three runs or fewer, despite their pitching staff sporting one of the highest ERA’s in the league at 6.15 this season. Their starters haven’t been fantastic, but it’s their bullpen that’s costing them games with its 8.89 ERA.
The offense has struggled as well, with OF Whit Merrifield the only everyday starter with a batting average above .300. With only seven home runs and a team OPS of .666, the Royals look like a team that’s rebuilding. The Royals, despite Merrifield’s terrific start to the season, are in year two of a long rebuild process — don’t expect a turnaround for KC.