MLB Power Rankings 2023: 7 Weeks In, the Rays Are Still on Top
A lot has changed over the past few weeks, but one thing is the same: The Tampa Bay Rays look like the best team in baseball.
What even are power rankings? Are power rankings supposed to set aside future projections, look at the standings, and rank teams based on record? A monkey with a typewriter could accomplish that. You didn’t arrive here for that, and I don’t plan on wasting your time. Power rankings should be 85% of what you have done and 15% looking into the future. Power rankings change as the season progresses, so you’ll see them routinely updated on justbaseball.com.
I don’t want to hear, “But this team has a better record!”. Just save it; these are how I would rank the 30 MLB teams right now while also giving some credit to teams who I think will bounce back.
Remember 2020? At this point, teams were looking to see who would make the playoffs. José Abreu won an MVP, the Marlins made the playoffs, and the A’s won the division. Thankfully, we are back to a 162-game schedule. Thursday, May 18, marked the seven-week mark of the 2023 MLB season. Every team has played about 45 games, and we are starting to see who the real juggernauts are.
Check out our power rankings 20 games in. You’ll see how each team has risen or fallen in this edition of power rankings.
All stats through games on Thursday, May 18.
1. Tampa Bay Rays (+0)
Record: 32-12, Run Differential: +122, First Place in AL East
This team has lost two fantastic starting pitchers in Drew Rasmussen and Jeffrey Springs, and they haven’t missed a beat. They continue to roll with bullpen games, and they keep winning. They rank number one in wRC+ and OPS as an offense. They rank number one in starter ERA. They are the best team in baseball.
2. Atlanta Braves (+0)
Record: 27-16, Run Differential: +62, First Place in NL East
The Braves have also dealt with injuries to their starting rotation in Max Fried and Kyle Wright, but it doesn’t matter. Bryce Elder has stepped up in a huge way, and Charlie Morton defies father time. They rank number three in starter ERA and number four in strikeout rate. Sean Murphy has been the best catcher in baseball, and Ronald Acuña Jr has been the MVP so far, leading to the second-best OPS and wRC+ in the league.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers (+5)
Record: 28-16, Run Differential:+57, First Place in NL West
When we thought the Dodgers were finally falling back to earth, they rattle off 11 wins in a 14-game span in May so far. James Outman is leading the NL Rookie of the Year race, and Max Muncy is leading the league in home runs. Also, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, and Julio Urías are on this team. It’s still the Dodgers. They will probably win 100 games again.
4. Texas Rangers (+5)
Record: 26-17 Run Differential: +87, First Place in AL West
How can they be any lower than four? They rank fourth in OPS. They rank fourth in starter ERA. The bullpen has been the issue for this team, as they have been routinely winning until late but suffering some tough losses on the back of that bullpen. The great thing about the Rangers is they typically beat you to a pulp, so the bullpen doesn’t matter. They have done all this without Corey Seager for a solid chunk of the season.
5. Baltimore Orioles (+12)
Record: 28-15, Run Differential: +32, Second Place in AL East
Yennier Cano hasn’t allowed a run yet. YENNIER CANO HAS NOT ALLOWED A RUN YET. The bullpen is the best in baseball right now, ranking first in bullpen ERA. The Orioles also feature a top-ten offense, and that’s with the early struggles from Gunnar Henderson. The rotation is the issue, but it’s not all bad. Kyle Bradish improves start over start. Grayson Rodriguez will be better with more starts under his belt. Tyler Wells is flat-out good, and John Means will return soon.
6. Minnesota Twins (+1)
Record: 24-20, Run Differential: +42, First Place in AL Central
The Minnesota Twins, who are usually led by an onslaught of home runs, might have the best pitching staff in the league. Both Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan are in the hunt for American League Cy Young. They are the only team who can say they have two front-runners. They are number two in starter ERA and number one in WHIP. The offense and bullpen have been around league average, but they’re stacked with top-heavy talent.
7. Houston Astros (-2)
Record: 24-19, Run Differential: +31, Second Place in AL West
Enjoy this time now, Astros haters. This is probably the worst they will play all season, and they still come in at seven. They are still missing Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, and Lance McCullers Jr. Injuries to the rotation have hurt, but the emergence of Hunter Brown is a sight to see. The bullpen is third in ERA, and the rotation is fifth. Just wait; the offense is about to heat up.
8. Toronto Blue Jays (+3)
Record: 25-18, Run Differential: +19, Third Place in AL East
I would argue the Blue Jays aren’t playing their best baseball right now, and they still come in at eighth. They are in the top ten in basically every facet of the game. While Chris Bassitt and Yusei Kikuchi are overperforming based on peripherals, you can say the same about George Springer and Daulton Varsho underperforming. No shade, but I think the biggest weakness is their manager.
9. New York Yankees (-5)
Record: 25-20, Run Differential: +19, Fourth Place in AL East
The Yankees are getting healthier and, therefore, finally winning games. They’ve played competitive series against the Rays and Blue Jays and looked to be hanging with them just fine. Harrison Bader is on a tear, and Gerrit Cole might be the best pitcher on earth right now. Anthony Volpe improves by the day, and Luis Severino returns on Sunday. They also feature one of baseball’s best bullpens, ranking fourth in ERA.
10. Arizona Diamondbacks (+8)
Record: 25-19, Run Differential: +16, Second Place in NL West
The Diamondbacks’ offense is legit. They rank fifth in baseball in OPS, and there is no real weak spot in the lineup. They are also one of baseball’s best defensive teams; the rule changes have assisted them more than any team. Zac Gallen is making his Cy Young case, and Merrill Kelly continues to do his thing. This is one of the most exciting young teams in the sport, and they are ahead of schedule.
11. Seattle Mariners (+2)
Record: 21-22, Run Differential: +19, Fourth Place in NL West
This might be a bit high for the Mariners right now, but from top to bottom, they are still one of the best teams in the league. Bryce Miller has a similar energy to Spencer Strider last year for the Braves, and George Kirby is establishing himself as one of the better pitchers in the league. The offense has been the big issue, but the bullpen is as elite as they come. Expect a big second half from Seattle.
12. Milwaukee Brewers (-6)
Record: 24-19, Run Differential: +1, First Place in NL Central
The Brewers have taken advantage of a weak NL Central, but that doesn’t mean they move into the top ten. They rank 20th in OPS, 12th in starter ERA, and 17th in bullpen ERA. That said, they are still winning games and deserve to be here. The young guys have tapered off a bit, but we should see strong second halves from them as they adjust back. Losing Brandon Woodruff certainly hurts, but they’ll be competitive all season long… unless they sell at the deadline.
13. Los Angeles Angels (+7)
Record: 22-22, Run Differential: +7, Third Place in AL West
Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout are on the same team, but that sentence may not last longer than this year unless they start winning consistently. They rank 10th in OPS as an offense, and the bullpen has been a bright spot, ranking 8th in ERA. The problem has been the rotation, ranking 22nd in ERA. They are doing fine but need to kick it up a notch to entice Ohtani to stay.
14. Boston Red Sox (+5)
Record: 24-20, Run Differential: +16, Last Place in AL East
The offense has been incredible this season. They rank third in OPS. They are getting contributions from everyone, from Jarren Duran to Emmanuel Valdez. Masataka Yoshida has been a fantastic addition so far, and Alex Verdugo has been on fire this year. The problem is pitching, as they rank 28th in starter ERA and 18th in bullpen ERA.
15. Chicago Cubs (+1)
Record: 19-24, Run Differential: +22, Third Place in NL Central
The Cubs have been playing better than their record would indicate, as shown by their run differential. The offense and starting pitching have both been top ten in most stats. The issue has been the bullpen, ranking 25th in ERA.
16. New York Mets (-13)
Record: 21-23, Run Differential: -18, Third Place in NL East
The Mets have a payroll way over $300M, a record in Major League Baseball history. For the way they have played thus far, they deserve major criticism. That said, they have been pretty unlucky with injuries. This team will still be in the playoff hunt, but with how they have performed so far, they can’t be higher than this.
17. San Diego Padres (-7)
Record: 20-24, Run Differential: -8, Fourth Place in NL West
Similar to the Mets, the Padres shouldn’t be here. But check this:
18. St. Louis Cardinals (-3)
Record: 18-26, Run Differential: +9, Last Place in the NL Central
Cardinals fans were booing this team recently, something you rarely see. It was for good reason; this team looked lifeless. They are slowly turning it around, but the rotation is still a major issue. Matthew Liberatore should help with that, but the problem remains. The offense and defense are still elite. No way they stay this low the whole season… right?
19. Pittsburgh Pirates (+2)
Record: 23-20, Run Differential:+13, Second Place in NL Central
The Pirates are here out of respect for the incredible start they went on. Looking at how they’ve performed lately, they’d be much lower. This is a fun team, but the reality is they aren’t built to win now. They’ve gotten great contributions from veterans so far, but in the dog days of August, I have trouble seeing that continuing. It’s not even continuing right now.
20. San Francisco Giants (+2)
Record: 20-23, Run Differential: -20, Third Place in NL West
I don’t have much to say about the Giants. They are a veteran team with some nice pieces, but they will likely trade away those pieces at the deadline. The starting pitching has been very good, ranking sixth in ERA. That’s about it, though, as this team should finish in fourth in the West.
21. Philadelphia Phillies (-7)
Record: 20-23, Run Differential: -29, Fourth Place in NL East
The Phillies look to be the same as last year. Relatively mediocre in the regular season, they sneak into the playoffs at the last second, then go on to win the National League pennant. I’m not predicting that, but I think we all can see it. When they are hot, they are so tough to beat. When they are cold, they are COLD.
22. Miami Marlins (+2)
Record: 22-21, Run Differential: -54, Second Place in NL East
They are the luckiest team in baseball. They are 14-1 in one-run games, which shows up in the run differential. They were one of baseball’s unluckiest teams last year, so regression shows up in droves. Eury Perez looks like another Sandy Alcantara, so we should see them continue to dominate on the mound. We need to see much more from the offense and defense to rank them any higher.
23. Cleveland Guardians (-11)
Record: 19-23, Run Differential: -33, Third Place in AL Central
This team cannot hit. They rank 29th in OPS as an offense. They don’t appear to have the same magic that they did last season, which has them falling in these rankings. I believe they’ll get hot soon, but we are still waiting for that to happen.
24. Detroit Tigers (+2)
Record: 19-22, Run Differential: -48, Second Place in AL Central
This is one of the more exciting teams in the league’s bottom half. Eduardo Rodriguez has been unbelievable on the mound this year, and they have plenty of walk-off wins. The issue is that they are the worst offense in Major League Baseball, ranking 30th in OPS.
25. Chicago White Sox (-2)
Record: 16-28, Run Differential: -61, Fourth Place in AL Central
Talk about a disaster. The Chicago White Sox have all the talent to be great, but nothing clicks. Dylan Cease has taken a major step back, and nobody else in the rotation has filled those shoes. The offense has been lackluster, and the defense has been dreadful. Luis Robert Jr. has been on fire in May, so that’s something positive.
26. Washington Nationals (+2)
Record: 18-25, Run Differential: –22, Last Place in NL East
The Nationals sit at 26th, but they truly aren’t that bad. This is a rebuilding year after dealing Juan Soto, but McKenzie Gore and Josiah Gray have been excellent in the rotation. They aren’t nearly as bad as I thought, and they are an entertaining watch.
27. Colorado Rockies (+0)
Record: 19-25, Run Differential: -25, Last Place in NL West
Kyle Freeland, Elias Díaz, Kris Bryant, and Charlie Blackmon (sometimes). That’s the list of Rockies players that have been impressive.
28. Cincinnati Reds (-3)
Record: 19-24, Run Differential: -33, Fourth Place in NL Central
The trio of Hunter Greene, Graham Ashcraft, and Nick Lodolo has been underwhelming to this point. Lodolo is on the IL, and Greene and Ashcraft have ERAs over 4.50. The Reds have plenty of young talent, but the window hasn’t opened yet.
29. Kansas City Royals (+0)
Record: 14-31, Run Differential: -62, Last Place in AL Central
The offense is great in spurts, but it’s not as consistent as we hoped. Brady Singer has been the biggest disappointment, but plenty of others are to blame.
30. Oakland Athletics (+0)
Record: 10-35, Run Differential: -161, Last Place in AL West
Esteury Ruiz leads the league in steals. Brent Rooker has an OPS over 1.000. Ryan Noda looks like a talented rookie. That’s about it.