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

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As always, it’s important to weigh team performance and expectations heading into the season. If MLB rankings were based purely on records, there would be constant turnover. History must also be considered. At this time one year ago, the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies had two of the best records in MLB and neither came close to a playoff spot by October.

We’re keeping that in mind when evaluating teams like the San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. With each passing week, though, preseason expectations become less relevant and the results on the field will be the only thing that matters.

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Let’s dive onto our latest MLB power rankings.

MLB power rankings 2023: Worst teams in MLB

30. Oakland (Las Vegas) Athletics

  • Previously: Last in MLB power rankings

The wheels are now in motion, with Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher making the move he always wanted. There’s no timeline for when the Athletics will officially move to Las Vegas, but it’s now inevitable. Sports fans in Oakland deserve a lot better than this, but at least it’s the final nail in the proverbial coffin and the city can start to move on.

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29. Kansas City Royals

  • Previously: 27th in MLB power rankings

The Kansas City Royals have scored the second-fewest runs in baseball and the second-worst run differential. While we weren’t expecting Kansas City to be anywhere close to the postseason race this year, the poor play from Salvador Perez (.620 OPS) and MJ Melendez (.510 OPS) is alarming. As if things couldn’t get worse, Kris Bubic is now headed for Tommy John surgery.

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28. Colorado Rockies

  • Previously: 26th in MLB power rankings

After winning their first two games to open the season, the Colorado Rockies have gone 4-15 and there is no end in sight for this skid. Holding the third-worst team ERA and ranked in the bottom-10 in OPS, it’s a wonder how Colorado is so bad despite having the 15th-highest payroll in MLB.

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27. Washington Nationals

  • Previously: 29th in MLB power rankings

It’s difficult to find bright spots on the Washington Nationals roster this season. C.J. Abrams (.294 OBP) and Keibert Ruiz (.678 OPS), are falling well short of their former status as top prospects. Meanwhile, Victor Robles (.340 BABIP) is playing way over his head. Fans have reason to be pleased with MacKenzie Gore’s early success (3.43 ERA), but the walk rate (16.3 percent) indicates regression is on the horizon.

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26. Cincinnati Reds

  • Previously: 24th in MLB power rankings

Following a 3-1 start to open the season, the Cincinnati Reds are playing like the team everyone expected. This is one of the worst MLB teams right now and they’ll be hanging around the bottom of the standings through Game 162. Fortunately, Hunter Greene is now signed to a long-term deal, Graham Ashcraft is pitching like an ace and Jonathan India has rebounded after a rough ’22.

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25. Chicago White Sox

  • Previously: 23rd in MLB power rankings

It’s officially time to write off the Chicago White Sox. They’ve now lost series to the Astros, Giants, Pirates, Twins, Orioles and Phillies. Every caliber of team, from World Series contenders to rebuilding clubs, took advantage of Chicago. The lineup is teetering on below-average and the bullpen (6.78 ERA) is the worst in baseball. There is one bright side, Liam Hendriks is cancer-free.

24. Detroit Tigers

  • Previously: 28th in MLB power rankings

Here come the Detroit Tigers, providing fans with a little reason for optimism. Led by manager A.J. Hinch, Detroit won its last two series heading into the trip to Baltimore. Playoff contention still feels two years away, but at least Eduardo Rodriguez and Kerry Carpenter look good. Just remember, Detroit is still bottom five in run differential and that’s a good barometer for a club.

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23. San Francisco Giants

  • Previously: 25th in MLB power rankings

It’s time to question what exactly the San Francisco Giants’ plan is. Contending certainly isn’t in the cards, not with a pitching staff that ranks 18th in ERA and a pedestrian lineup. At the same time, San Francisco’s farm system ranks 17th in MLB and the Giants rank 11th in payroll. For as great as Farhan Zaidi’s reputation is, the results since that outlier 2021 season are alarming.

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22. Philadelphia Phillies

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Texas Rangers
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 20th in MLB power rankings

The freefall hasn’t stopped for the Philadelphia Phillies. Heading into the weekend, four of the Phillies’ nine wins came against the Reds. Another two happened against the White Sox. Between the run differential that is approaching -20 and a bullpen with the fourth-worst ERA in April, it’s tough to see things turning around anytime soon in Philadelphia.

21. Miami Marlins

  • Previously: 22nd in MLB power rankings

As always, the Miami Marlins’ pitching is excellent. The Marlins entered Saturday with their pitchers carrying them. Series victories over the Giants, Phillies and Arizona Diamondbacks are nice, but what sticks when evaluating Miami is its run differential (-26) and a lineup that ranks 21st in OPS (.688). That’s not a team we’re believing in.

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20. Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Previously: 21st in MLB power rankings

The Pittsburgh Pirates will have to keep his hot stretch going into May for us to buy in. While the record is outstanding, San Francisco boasted a 12-5 record at this time a year ago and finished the year 81-81. If the wins keep piling up against the Dodgers and Rays, Pittsburgh will soar.

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2023 MLB power rankings: Orioles rising, Mariners fading

19. St. Louis Cardinals

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Seattle Mariners
Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 18th in MLB power rankings

Things still aren’t right with the St. Louis Cardinals more than 20 games into the season. After splitting a four-game set with Pittsburgh last weekend, the Cardinals dropped three-game sets this week against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners. With May fast approaching, St. Louis ranks 26th in rotation ERA (5.63), with opponents hitting .297 off Cardinals’ starters.

18. Boston Red Sox

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Boston Red Sox
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 18th in MLB power rankings

Facing two of the best teams in MLB early in the season, the Boston Red Sox struggled against the Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers. Producing runs isn’t the problem (10th in OPS), Boston’s starting rotation (6.64) is pulling this team down right now and there are no signs of change on the horizon.

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17. Cleveland Guardians

MLB: Miami Marlins at Cleveland Guardians-Game One
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 9th in MLB power rankings

Following a 4-1 start to the season, the Cleveland Guardians walked into Sunday with a 6-10 record in the last three weeks. The latest defeats, in-between rainouts, came at the hands of the Marlins and Tigers. Cleveland’s biggest problem, a lineup that produced nine combined runs over its last five games.

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16. Seattle Mariners

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Seattle Mariners
Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 13th in MLB power rankings

The Seattle Mariners needed Teoscar Hernandez to heat up and he has, delivering six hits with two home runs in the last seven days. Seattle’s All-Star outfielder played a pivotal role in the series victory over St. Louis, but the Mariners still need Julio Rodriguez (.760 OPS) and Kolten Wong (.291 OPS) to start producing if this team is going to climb back up in the AL West.

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15. Arizona Diamondbacks

MLB: San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 17th in MLB power rankings

The Arizona Diamondbacks are showing plenty of bite this year, looking pretty evenly matched against San Diego and dismantling the Cardinals. There’s also reason to believe the starting rotation will get even better now that Madison Bumgarner is gone because it’s addition by subtraction when you release one of the worst pitchers in MLB over the last three years.

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14. San Diego Padres

MLB: San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 10th in MLB power rankings

The return of Fernando Tatís Jr. and Joe Musgrove makes the San Diego Padres one of the most talented teams in baseball. With that said, they aren’t performing like it to this point. Before the first pitch on Sunday, the Padres ranked 15th in rotation ERA (4.39) and 24th in OPS (.672). If Musgrove and Tatís Jr. can’t turn that around, frustration will build quickly in San Diego.

13. Los Angeles Angels

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 15th in MLB power rankings

Shohei Ohtani isn’t hitting like an MVP – .771 OPS – but he is on pace to have one of the best seasons by a starting pitcher (0.64 ERA, 36.2 percent strikeout rate) in years. With Mike Trout (.425 OBP) playing at an MVP-caliber level and Hunter Renfroe (.954 OPS) in the midst of a breakout season, the Angels are shaping up to be a Wild Card contender if they stay healthy.

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12. Baltimore Orioles

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 16th in MLB power rankings

The Baltimore Orioles are the hottest team in MLB right now, winning five consecutive games and posting an 8-2 record over the last 10 contests. It’s the young talent leading the charge with Adley Rutschman (.934 OPS), Austin Hays (.936 OPS), Tyler Wells (2.70 ERA) and Felix Bautista (1.86 ERA) showing why Baltimore’s future is so bright.

11. Los Angeles Dodgers

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 8th in MLB power rankings

It’s time to be a lot more skeptical of the Los Angeles Dodgers. When play began on April 23, Los Angeles had a 5-5 record in its last 10 games and it’s not hard to spot the problem. While the Dodgers rank third in OPS (.785), first in walk rate (12.4%) and a respectable 13th in rotation ERA (4.07), opponents have a .289 batting average and 1.52 WHIP when facing the Dodgers’ bullpen.

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10. Minnesota Twins

MLB: Washington Nationals at Minnesota Twins
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 4th in MLB power rankings

Everything looked great for the Minnesota Twins when the calendar turned to April 15. After a dominant stretch (10-4), Minnesota has gone ice cold. Over its last seven games, the Twins have a 5.64 ERA over the last seven days. To make matters worse, the team leaders in batting average (Byron Buxton, .243) and OBP (Trevor Larnach, .329) capture why Minnesota has the third-worst OBP (.298) in baseball.

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9. Chicago Cubs

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 14th in MLB power rankings

Heading into Opening Day, most MLB predictions saw the Chicago Cubs in a tough battle to earn a .500 record. Through the first month of the season, Chicago is far outplaying expectations. After a 1-3 star, the Cubbies boast series victories over the Texas Rangers, Mariners and Dodgers. The only disappointment from this week, besides the poor results in a rematch vs Los Angeles, was the collision that likely prevented a perfect game.

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8. Texas Rangers

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Rangers are certainly starting to erase some of the concerns we had with this lineup and it’s even more impressive with Corey Seager sidelined. Over the last seven days, entering April 23, Rangers’ hitters combined for a .904 OPSS with a .218 isolated power and .294 batting average. While there will certainly be a regression to normal, even an above-average lineup would make Texas a viable playoff threat.

  • Previously: 12th in MLB power rankings

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7. Toronto Blue Jays

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Houston Astros
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 2nd in MLB power rankings

If the Toronto Blue Jays want to contend for a World Series in 2023, they must find better starting pitching at the trade deadline this summer. Chris Bassitt is settling in after a rough first start, but Jose Berrios (5.34 ERA, 1.39 WHIP in last 193.2 IP) is proving he can no longer be trusted in the regular season, let alone a playoff series.

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6. New York Yankees

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 5th in MLB power rankings

Frankie Montas and Carlos Rodòn are sidelined indefinitely, putting more pressure on Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes to carry the pitching staff. Fortunately for the New York Yankees, their two best starters last season are delivering once again. Now, the Yankees’ schedule gets a lot tougher with Minnesota, Texas and Tampa Bay looming.

5. Houston Astros

MLB: Houston Astros at Atlanta Braves
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 11th in MLB power rankings

The Houston Astros look like the reigning World Series champion again. After outscoring Toronto 19-7, Houston tore apart the Atlanta Braves pitching at Truist Park. Another great test comes early in the week at Tropicana Field against the Tampa Bay Rays. If Houston gets through that without a problem, series against the Phillies and Giants pose no threat.

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4. Milwaukee Brewers

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Milwaukee Brewers
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 6th in MLB power rankings

The Milwaukee Brewers seem to be dealt a massive injury blow every week. After losing Brandon Woodruff indefinitely, the Brewers are now likely going to be without Garrett Mitchell for the rest of the season. Yet, Milwaukee keeps showing its resiliency with one of the best records in MLB and the trio of William Contreras (.391 OBP), Rowdy Tellez (17 RBI), Willy Adames (22 hits) carrying the lineup and Wade Miley (1.96 ERA) stepping up for a depleted rotation.

3. New York Mets

MLB: New York Mets at San Francisco Giants
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 7th in MLB power rankings

With Max Scherzer hit with a 10-game suspension and Justin Verlander sidelined, it would’ve been understandable if the New York Mets struggled in April. Instead, the Metropolitans have responded to a 3-4 start with an 11-4 record in their last 15 games. There is credit for everyone on the roster, but Brandon Nimmo (.479 OBP, Pete Alonso (23 RBI) and Jeff McNeil (.817 OPS) are putting the Mets’ rotation (4.79 ERA) on their shoulders during this run.

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2. Atlanta Braves

MLB: Houston Astros at Atlanta Braves
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 1st in MLB power rankings

The Atlanta Braves have experienced two small bumps in the road early in the season. First, they dropped a four-game set at home to San Diego (April 6-9) then ran into a buzzsaw in front of their home crowd against Houston. They should make quick work of the Marlins’ lineup early next week, leading to a must-see series at Citi Field against the Mets.

1. Tampa Bay Rays

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 3rd in MLB power rankings

The Tampa Bay Rays are the best MLB team right now. When the Rays took the field on April 23, they led MLB in run differential (+85). Putting that number into perspective, the second-best team (Texas Rangers, +57) is nearly 30 runs behind them. It’s fair to call the Rays the No. 1 MLB team right now, but that could change quickly depending on how their matchup against the Astros goes.

Statistics via ESPN and FanGraphs

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