Opening Day Power Rankings: Who’s No. 1?
Congratulations: You have made it. On Opening Day, it will have been exactly 154 days since a Major League Baseball game counted in the standings, and while the World Baseball Classic certainly provided a welcome respite from the months of staring outside the window waiting for spring, it is, at last, time for the season to begin. Everybody’s undefeated. Everybody can win it all. Baseball is back.
Which means, yes: Our Power Rankings are back. As always, until the end of the season, we’ll be watching the ups and downs of all 30 of these teams weekly, ranked by a panel of MLB.com experts. These rankings are not sacrosanct: After all, our No. 11-ranked team at the end of last season reached the World Series. But this can serve as a snapshot: How your team has looked, and how it might look moving forward.
It's a long season ahead. Come with us, strap in, and get ready for a wild ride. We can’t wait.
Power Rankings Top 5:
1. Astros (106-56 in 2022)
If you want to be the best, you better beat the best, and considering the last time we saw the Astros, they were celebrating their second World Series title in five seasons, we all know who the best is. The reigning champs may have lost their Cy Young winner to the Mets this offseason, but they remain absolutely loaded with pitching, and they’ve even fortified their offense, bringing in former MVP José Abreu to play first base. Their division looks a little tougher than it was last year, but there’s still no one in the Astros’ league. It has been 23 seasons since a team repeated as World Series champions. Could Houston end the repeat drought?
2. Braves (101-61)
You know what the scariest thing about the Braves is? This incredible roster -- this team that was better last year than it was in 2021, the year it won the World Series -- is locked in place for the next half-decade, at least. You’d wonder how they’d replace Dansby Swanson at shortstop -- and, surprisingly, it won’t be Vaughn Grissom, at least to start the season -- except that everyone else is back from last year’s 101-win team, and they’ve added All-Star catcher Sean Murphy. But perhaps the best reason to be excited about the Braves’ ability to potentially improve in 2023 is a full season of a fully healthy Ronald Acuña Jr., who is still only 25 years old and may well be the best player on a roster that’s already completely stacked. If the Braves win the NL East this year, it will be their sixth straight division championship … more than halfway to their famous 11 in a row from 1995-2005. This franchise is doing it again.
3. Padres (89-73)
So losing to the Phillies in the NLCS was unquestionably a bummer. But wow, have the Padres ever made their move over the past five months! They finally beat the Dodgers, dispatching them in four games in the NLDS, and then went out and grabbed Xander Bogaerts, one of the top free agents on the market. Oh, and they extended Manny Machado for 11 years. And, after the season’s first couple of weeks, they will have Fernando Tatis Jr. again, who, we should remind you, was considered the future of the sport exactly 12 months ago. Wait, these guys have Juan Soto, too? The Padres have stunned the baseball world with their aggressive moves over the past few years, and their fans are reaping the benefits.
4. Dodgers (111-51)
The Dodgers would like to remind you that they are, in fact, still here. They have won nine of the past 10 NL West titles, one of the past three World Series and, oh yes, 111 games last year. The worry about the Dodgers revolves around all the players they lost: Trea Turner, Tyler Anderson, Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, Andrew Heaney, Chris Martin, Craig Kimbrel … basically a cornucopia of All-Stars. But that’s the thing about the Dodgers: They still have a ton of All-Stars! And in Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, they have legitimate MVP candidates, along with depth that’s the envy of baseball. You can fret about their pitching and their sudden lack of a shortstop in the wake of Gavin Lux’s injury, but the Dodgers have a tendency to always come up with somebody. In an offseason where everything went wrong, they have dropped to … fourth. And probably not for long.
5. Mets (101-61)
Look, we were all upset to see Edwin Díaz go down after celebrating Puerto Rico’s victory in the WBC, and no one was more damaged by it than the Mets. The bullpen is a question mark now, and already a couple of their 30-something pitchers are dealing with injuries. They are still a team that won 101 games last year and added Justin Verlander. You can understand some Mets fans’ inherent fatalism, but this team is loaded with terrific players, and keeping Brandon Nimmo in the fold might quietly be one of the best moves any team made this offseason. And we know the owner will do whatever it takes to win his team a World Series. The Mets have a lot of questions. But they also have a lot of answers.
The rest of the field of 30:
7. Blue Jays
18. Red Sox
Voters: Will Leitch, Alyson Footer, Anthony Castrovince, Paul Casella, Mark Feinsand, Nathalie Alonso, Mike Petriello, Sarah Langs, Andrew Simon, David Venn, Sweeny Murti, Doug Gausepohl, Travis Miller