Top 15 most potent MLB lineups in the game today

By Michael Dixon
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

While the offensive explosion that we saw in 2017 hasn’t quite made its way into the 2018 MLB season, we’re still seeing a lot of offense.

The American League East has three offenses on our list, including our top-two teams. But surprisingly enough, no division in baseball is better represented than the American League West. Our hearts go out to the pitchers in those divisions, especially those on teams not represented.

Both the National League Central and National League West are also represented by a trio of teams. One of them plays in arguably baseball’s best hitter’s park, but has surprisingly hit better away from it.

Even if the numbers are down, MLB features plenty of good hitting teams. These are the 15 teams that best embody that idea.

Note: Stats and rankings are accurate through play on Tuesday, June 12.

15.  Colorado Rockies

In a way, it feels like Colorado’s offense has underachieved in 2018. That said, four Rockies — Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado, and Ian Desmond — have hit 11 or more home runs in 2018. And before anyone dismisses that as a Coors Field phenomenon, the Rockies have actually hit home runs at a slightly greater clip on the road (1.19) than at home (1.17). Additionally, while some players (namely Desmond) have been one-dimensional, Blackmon and Arenado are legit MVP candidates. This isn’t an offense pitchers relish facing.

14. Arizona Diamondbacks

Heading into June, Arizona wouldn’t have even been a top-20 offensive team. So, what’s changed? In a nutshell, Paul Goldschmidt has gotten very hot. On May 31, Goldschmidt was hitting .209/.326/.393 with seven home runs. In June alone, he’s hit, .477/.558/1.000 with five homers, bringing his season slash line to .258/.369/.504. That’s a massive jump for only 11 games. Not coincidentally, Arizona is 9-2 over those 11 games, having scored 7.5 runs per game. It’s amazing how good an offense looks when its best player starts playing like it.

13. Los Angeles Angels

The Halos are one of the harder teams to rank. They’re 10th in runs per game and fourth in home runs per game. So, they should be higher, right? Well, the Angels are only 13th in extra-base hits per game, 14th in average, and 12th in OBP. Additionally, Shohei Ohtani (.289/.372/.535, six home runs) was a big part of the offense, and he’s going to miss significant time. Mike Trout is baseball’s ultimate weapon and Andrelton Simmons is having a great year. But others will need to step up to make this a top-10 offense.

12. St. Louis Cardinals

Jose Martinez is the only Cardinals player with double-digit home runs. But nine have five or more. As such, St. Louis is eighth in home runs per game. What keeps the Cards from coming in higher is that they rank in the bottom half of MLB in both batting average and OBP. Worse, while St. Louis is a prolific home run hitting team, only the Miami Marlins have fewer extra-base hits per game. Still, a National League team in a pitcher’s park being one of MLB’s best home run hitting teams is quite notable.

11. Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto certainly boasts an uncomfortable lineup for opposing pitchers. The Blue Jays rank in the top-10 in home runs per game, extra-base hits per game, and runs per game. What holds Toronto down is that it ranks in the bottom-10 in the league in both batting average and OBP. Yes, the Jays still score runs at a decent clip. But against good pitching, being too dependent on the extra-base hits is problematic. But while that keeps Toronto from being in our top-10, this is easily a top-15 offense.

10. Oakland Athletics

MLB players, Khris Davis

There’s no question that the Oakland offense can be a little one-dimensional. The A’s don’t have a high team batting average or OBP. So, if they’re not producing extra-base hits (specifically home runs), they’re not scoring. The thing is, Oakland’s one dimension is very strong. The A’s have three guys (Khris Davis, Matt Olson, Matt Champan) with double-digit home run totals. Jed Lowrie, meanwhile, has nine long balls. Even if the offense is one-dimensional, it has an abundance of prolific players in that one dimension.

9. Chicago Cubs

This lineup definitely has the potential to be in the top-five. What really holds the Cubs back is a general lack of power. Only 10 teams hit fewer home runs per game. Even still, Chicago is fifth in runs per game, ninth in extra-base hits per game, fifth in average, first in OBP, and ninth in slugging. We’d like to see more balls over the fence. But with guys like Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, Kyle Schwarber, and Javier Baez in the lineup, we imagine that happening as we get deeper into the summer.

8. Seattle Mariners

We were definitely concerned that losing Robinson Cano would crush Seattle’s offense, but it hasn’t happened. Guys like Mitch Haniger, Nelson Cruz, Dee Gordon, Mike Zunino, and Kyle Seager seem to compliment each other quite well. The Mariners rank in the top-half of the league in runs per game, home runs per game, extra-base hits per game, batting average, OBP, and slugging. Even without a particularly overwhelming strength, Seattle has one of MLB’s more balanced offensive attacks.

7.  Los Angeles Dodgers

After a terrible opening two months, the Dodgers are trending in the right direction. Despite the poor start and being without Corey Seager, Los Angeles ranks in the top-five in home runs per game, extra-base hits per game, and slugging percentage. What keeps the Dodgers from our top-five is that there’s room to improve in both batting average and OBP, especially in the former category. That’s something that could be an issue down the road. Even still, the Dodgers are sixth in runs per game. This is a potent group.

6. Milwaukee Brewers

With Eric Thames, Ryan Braun, and Christian Yelich all spending time on the DL, the Milwaukee offense hasn’t quite been as statistically proficient as it potentially can be. Even still, it’s been very good. The Brewers rank in the top-half of MLB in all three slash stats and are seventh in home runs per game. Milwaukee is only 19th in extra-base hits per game, which keeps the Brewers from our top-five. But now that the core is healthy, we could certainly see that changing in a matter of weeks.

5. Houston Astros

Houston is kind of the American League’s version of Milwaukee. It doesn’t feel like the Astros have been quite as prolific as they should be. Even still, it’s been darn potent. The Astros are fourth in runs per game and batting average, third in OBP, and sixth in slugging. George Springer, Carlos Correa, and Evan Gattis are the only Houston players with 10 or more homers. But as we get into the dog days, we’d bet on guys like Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and Yuli Gurriel (among others) upping the power.

4. Cleveland Indians

The Indians are 10th in average and 13th in OBP. While that’s not bad, it can be improved upon. But Cleveland scores plenty of runs. That’s because the Indians are second in home runs per game and third in both extra-base hits per game and slugging. Jose Ramirez, Edwin Encarnacion, Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley, and Yonder Alonso all have at least 11 home runs. Ramirez, Encarnacion, and Lindor, each have 14 or more. Ramirez and Lindor are each MVP candidates. Quite simply, this is a punishing offense.

3. Atlanta Braves

The Braves are similar to the aforementioned Cubs. They’re exceptional in most offensive areas, but don’t hit a lot of home runs. But as good as the Chicago has been across the board, Atlanta has just been a little better. The Braves lead the National League in runs per game, are sixth in extra-base hits per game, third in average, and fourth in both OBP and slugging. On top of that, the Braves also check in at sixth in steals. Imagine how good things will be when Ronald Acuna Jr. returns.

2. Boston Red Sox

In a normal year, this offense would be first with ample room to spare. Led by Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, and a cavalcade of other potential All-Stars, the Red Sox rank second in runs per game, third in home runs per game, first in both extra-base hits per game and batting average, sixth in OBP, and second in OBP. Boston also leads the league in steals. The Red Sox have been great. Only a once-in-a-generation offense keeps Boston from the top spot.

1. New York Yankees

Giancarlo Stanton

Here’s what truly separates New York and Boston. The Red Sox lead the league in extra-base hits per game, but the Yankees are a close second. Meanwhile, New York is first in both runs and home runs per game by wide margins. What’s more frightening is that this doesn’t seem unsustainable. Didi Gregorius has cooled off after a hot start. Gary Sanchez and Giancarlo Stanton both have good home run totals, but have otherwise struggled. As good as this group has been, the best may well be yet to come.