The Houston Astros are the best team in Major League Baseball. At least that is the club’s earned status on the MLB Power Ranking after the first two months of the 2017 season.
Back at the start of February, I released a pre-spring training power ranking. That list had Houston in the #5 position. Their play on the field has elevated the Astros to the top.
With a record of 40-16, manager A.J. Hinch has his team playing at a .714 pace. That leaves them five games clear of the next closest team in the big leagues.
As you might imagine judging by that record, Houston is strong in every facet of the game. Their 305 runs scored is tops in all of MLB. Their OPS mark of .811 is second in the game.
On the mound, the Astros pitchers have a collective .228 Batting Average Against. That mark is tops in Major League Baseball. The 565 strikeouts that the staff has accumulated also leads all of baseball.
Even though the club has committed 36 errors, middle of the pack by MLB standards, they are not a weak defensive team. They are simply not an elite defensive ball club. But their defense is not bad to the point that it is likely to be a detriment come October.
HOUSTON POINTING TOWARDS OCTOBER
That’s what it’s really all about – October. Leading a June Power Ranking is nice. But playing in the Fall, under the increased pressure and glare of playoff lights. That is what the Astros are really shooting for now.
Houston has visited the postseason just once in the last dozen years. The franchise is still searching for its first World Series victory. They were swept in four straight games in their only appearance in the Fall Classic back in 2005.
The Astros need to just stay healthy and keep doing what they’ve been doing. As baseball moves through the summer, the 12.5 game lead that they have built up in the AL West Division should remain stable. They will need to take that good health and solid play into Fall ball in order to reach their ultimate goal of a championship.
JUNE MLB POWER RANKING
Here is how the rest of Major League Baseball stacks up entering play on Sunday, June 4, 2017: