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2023 MLB power rankings: Rays, Cubs climb and Phillies, Cardinals fall

See Sportsnaut’s latest MLB Power Rankings now!

Injuries certainly play a part in where things stand for some clubs. The St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves and so many others are dealing with key absences. While teams like the Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies struggle, the Rays, Braves and Milwaukee Brewers are thriving.

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Let’s jump into our latest MLB power rankings.

MLB power rankings 2023: Evaluating the worst MLB teams

30. Washington Nationals

  • Previously: 28th in MLB power rankings

Washington Nationals fans looking for bright spots on this team have a challenging task. A sale of the franchise isn’t happening this year. Fortunately for the worst team in MLB, the 2024 MLB Draft looks promising for the Nationals.

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29. Oakland Athletics

  • Previously: Last in MLB power rankings

This won’t be a shock, but the team that isn’t even willing to spend $60 million in payroll is awful. The Oakland Athletics have already been pushed around by the Los Angeles Angels, Cleveland Guardians and Tampa Bay Rays. The good news, Oakland called ahead and reserved its seating at the bottom of the rankings.

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28. Kansas City Royals

  • Previously: 25th in MLB power rankings

We expected the Kansas City Royals to be bad this season, but we didn’t anticipate the pitching being better than the hitting. Even if everything reverts back to expectations, Kansas City simply exists in the 2023 season for fans to enjoy some of the young, up-and-coming talent.

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27. Detroit Tigers

  • Previously: 24th in MLB power rankings

Setting our expectations low for the Detroit Tigers heading into Opening Day, the lone hope would be second-year leaps from Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson. The results for Greene thus far are great, while Torkelson will need to show a lot more to ease the fans’ fears he might not ever approach a ceiling that many thought would make him a future MVP threat.

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26. Colorado Rockies

  • Previously: 26th in MLB power rankings

If the Colorado Rockies aren’t going to contend in 2023, they won’t, MLB teams should get ready to make a lot of calls during trade season C.J. Cron, Kris Bryant and Jurickson Profar all stand out as potential trade candidates, yielding returns that could provide some much-needed juice for the Rockies’ farm system.

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25. Cincinnati Reds

  • Previously: 29th in MLB power rankings

The Cincinnati Reds won’t hang around the .500 mark for long, but the early production from Tyler Stephenson, Jonathan India and Spencer Steer offers promising signs for the future. Although, we’d advise enjoying the Reds’ young talent from home and not putting more money into the owner’s pockets.

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24. Miami Marlins

  • Previously: 23rd in MLB power rankings

The Miami Marlins essentially are who we thought they were, a team with excellent pitching and a lineup that can’t support it. Jorge Soler and Luis Arráez are bright spots in the batting order, but the likes of Jean Segura, Avisail Garcia and Jon Berti have massively underwhelmed.

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23. Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Previously: 27th in MLB power rankings

Every day the Pittsburgh Pirates don’t sign Bryan Reynolds to a contract extension is another moment his asking price goes up. At this point, with Pittsburgh realistically two years away from contention, Reynolds should be traded for a massive haul of prospects in July.

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22. Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Previously: 19th in MLB power rankings

It’s a slight dip in the rankings for Arizona, but that was to be expected with matchups against the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. The schedule in the weeks ahead won’t get easier, but we do expect Ketel Marte and Christian Walker’s bats to heat up and support Corbin Carroll.

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21. San Francisco Giants

  • Previously: 22nd in MLB power rankings

The San Francisco Giants are treading water and that should essentially be the expectation for them in 2023. Thairo Estrada will cool off, Logan Webb will settle down and this ballclub will play around .500 ball for the majority of the summer.

20. Chicago White Sox

  • Previously: 15th in MLB power rankings

Even when Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert Jr. are healthy and crushing baseballs, the Chicago White Sox can’t put it all together. There should be some positive regression for a pitching staff that entered Saturday with the worst ERA (7.70) and WHIP (1.87) in MLB, but even then there are the durability risks in the lineup that might pull this club back down.

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MLB power rankings today: Red Sox, Phillies have issues

19. Baltimore Orioles

  • Previously: 17th in MLB power rankings

The Baltimore Orioles front office spent very little money on pitching this offseason, maintaining one of the lowest MLB payrolls in 2023 coming off a breakout season. We’ll introduce you to the results, a club that entered Saturday 24th in ERA (5.30) and 21st in quality starts thrown (one). As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

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18. Texas Rangers

  • Previously: 20th in MLB power rankings

The Texas Rangers starting pitching is healthy and that’s resulted in the eighth-lowest WHIP (1.23) and a top-12 ERA (3.86) through the first eight games. As expected, though, the Rangers’ bats (23rd in OBP, 21st in BA) aren’t hot and that will likely be the biggest problem in Texas all season.

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17. Boston Red Sox

  • Previously: 18th in MLB power rankings

If the Boston Red Sox wanted to prove to analysts that they could be a playoff contender in 2023, a 4-4 record to start the year against the Tigers, Pirates and Orioles didn’t help. The lineup (second in runs scored) is tearing covers off baseballs, but Pittsburgh’s lineup scored 15 runs in a three-game sweep against Boston’s pitching staff.

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16. Chicago Cubs

  • Previously: 21st in MLB power rankings

Life is good right now for the Chicago Cubs. Dansby Swanson is delivering upon expectations and more, while Eric Hosmer and Patrick Wisdom also tack on some unexpected output. The biggest headliner, though, is Marcus Stroman’s early-season dominance.

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15. Philadelphia Phillies

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Philadelphia Phillies
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 11th in MLB power rankings

Our expectations for the Philadelphia Phillies at the start of April weren’t high, playing without Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper Jr. is a huge blow to the lineup. However, getting smoked by the Rangers and New York Yankees isn’t the greatest sign. The World Series hangover and mounting injuries might keep this team down for a few weeks.

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14. St. Louis Cardinals

  • Previously: 10th in MLB power rankings

If St. Louis Cardinals manager Carlos Mármol is concerned about low effort impacting his team, we’d advise him to take a look at the front office. The Cardinals’ front office did nothing to improve a starting rotation that would only be ‘good’ if everything went perfectly. When injuries (Adam Wainwright) and regression (Jack Flaherty) strike, you get the current Cardinals’ pitching staff and fans saw it coming.

13. Los Angeles Angels

  • Previously: 16th in MLB power rankings

The infamous Shohei Ohtani-Mike Trout tweet remains relevant. Trout and Ohtani are carrying this team right now, which comes as no surprise. As long as they stay healthy, Los Angeles could be in the mix for a Wild Card spot. No, we’re not expecting them to stay healthy.

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12. Seattle Mariners

  • Previously: 8th in MLB power rankings

Robbie Ray is sidelined indefinitely (flexor strain) and offseason additions Teoscar Hernandez and Kolten Wong are off to slow starts, not what the Seattle Mariners were hoping for. However, there are still plenty of reasons to believe in the wealth of young talent on the Mariners’ roster.

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11. New York Mets

  • Previously: 7th in MLB power rankings

The New York Mets lost Justin Verlander and Edwin Diaz to significant injuries within days of each other. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Metropolitans were then swept by the Milwaukee Brewers and outscored 26-6. Things will get better, eventually, but it’s not unreasonable to think this will just be an average lineup all year and that’s not enough to win a title.

Gordon Wittenmyer, MLB expert and former beat writer for NBC Sports Chicago and the Chicago Sun-Times. Get Gordon’s latest Sportsnaut Exclusive today!

2023 MLB power rankings: Best teams in baseball

10. Houston Astros

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Houston Astros
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 4th in MLB power rankings

We won’t completely overreact to slow starts. After all, the Colorado Rockies led the National League (6-2) through the first eight games last season. With that said, it’s not unreasonable to think the Houston Astros (1.47 WHIP, .286 BAA) should’ve added some quality pitching after losing Verlander and then betting on Lance McCullers Jr. to stay healthy.

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9. Cleveland Guardians

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Cleveland Guardians
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 9th in MLB power rankings

It’s business as usual for the Cleveland Guardians, who are playing relatively well with above-average run production and quality pitching (four quality starts, 1.16 WHIP). It should be a neck-and-neck race in the AL Central all season against the Minnesota Twins.

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8. Minnesota Twins

MLB: Houston Astros at Minnesota Twins
Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 13th in MLB power rankings

When everyone is healthy, the Minnesota Twins are one of the best teams in the American League. Boasting a 6-2 record heading into Sunday, Minnesota boasted the lowest WHIP (0.92) and batting average allowed (.184) in the sport. Even when those numbers regress, the Twins’ lineup has more than enough talent to help this team play in October.

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7. Milwaukee Brewers

Syndication: Journal Sentinel
  • Previously: 12th in MLB power rankings

Brian Anderson is the early front-runner for the best story of the MLB season. After two down seasons with the Miami Marlins, the 29-year-old is in the early stages of a breakout season (239 wRC+, 10 RBI, .516 OBP). Even when he cools off, Milwaukee has the dominant pitching and enough depth in the lineup to take the NL Central.

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6. New York Yankees

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 2nd in MLB power rankings

The New York Yankees haven’t looked overly dominant through their first eight games, but they also have one of the longest injured lists in the majors. Even through the absences of several contributors, the Yankees are playing solid baseball and that’s even with Anthony Volpe (.160/.276/.240) struggling in his early taste of the majors.

5. Toronto Blue Jays

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Los Angeles Angels
Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 6th in MLB power rankings

After stumbling out of the gate, the Toronto Blue Jays are starting to settle in and prove they can be a World Series contender. We’d still like to see more from George Springer (.642 OPS) and Chris Bassitt (10.61 ERA), but the Blue Jays should be near the top of the MLB standings as long as those two return to form.

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4. San Diego Padres

MLB: San Diego Padres at Atlanta Braves
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 3rd in MLB power rankings

Joe Musgrove will be back in mid-April and Fernando Tatís Jr. is eligible to play again on April 20. Add those two All-Star talents back onto the San Diego Padres roster and you will have one of the best MLB teams in 2023.

3. Tampa Bay Rays

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Washington Nationals
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 14th in MLB power rankings

The Tampa Bay Rays are the hottest team in MLB and Wander Franco is leading the charge. Franco, age 22, played well through his first two seasons (123 OPS+), just not at that generational level you’d expect from a former No. 1 prospect. Now, Franco looks like one of the best players in baseball and this well-rounded team is dominating the sport with the most runs scored (64) and the lowest ERA (2.13).

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2. Los Angeles Dodgers

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 5th in MLB power rankings

While the Los Angeles Dodgers aren’t firing on all cylinders right now in the win-loss column, they do rank second in WHIP allowed (1.03), eighth in ERA (3.76) and second in OPS (.885). Combine that with the second-best run differential (+21) and we’ll keep saying the Dodgers are one of the best MLB teams in 2023.

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1. Atlanta Braves

MLB: San Diego Padres at Atlanta Braves
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 1st in MLB power rankings

The Atlanta Braves are No. 1 in the MLB power rankings because of their record (6-3), offensive output (44 runs scored) and the presence of superstars. There’s still an element of projection here and losing a series at home to San Diego makes the gap between the top teams razor-thin, but Atlanta’s arsenal of talent, MLB-ready prospects and looming returns to bolster the starting rotation will keep them at No. 1 for now.