Power Rankings: Red-hot run, surprising stumble shake things up

August 21st, 2023

The very top of our Power Rankings this week hasn’t changed all that much, but that doesn’t mean some big moves aren’t being made throughout the remainder of the list. 

In particular, the latest rankings feature a pair of American League teams moving rapidly in opposite directions -- one is a traditional powerhouse fading from contention, and the other is a club that ended a long postseason drought last year and looks to make it back-to-back playoff berths with a late-season surge in 2023.

Here’s a look at where each team stands:

Biggest jump: The Mariners, like their superstar center fielder Julio Rodríguez, are surging. Seattle jumps three spots in the rankings this week, from No. 9 to No. 6. With their 7-6 win over the Astros to sweep Houston over the weekend, the M’s have won six straight and 14 of their last 17 to vault them into an AL Wild Card spot -- the hot streak also has Seattle just three games back in the AL West.

Biggest drop: The Yankees’ freefall continues after another difficult week for the Bronx Bombers that resulted in a drop from No. 15 to No. 20 in our rankings. New York was swept by the archrival Red Sox at Yankee Stadium over the weekend, and has lost eight straight games overall, with any real chance at reaching the postseason for a seventh straight year fading fast.

Power Rankings Top 5:

1) Braves, 80-43 (last week: 1)
Although they lost their series finale against the Giants at Truist Park on Sunday, the Braves juggernaut keeps rolling toward a sixth straight National League East crown. Atlanta won five of six games this past week, sweeping the Yankees before taking two of three from San Francisco. The lineup continues to be utterly overwhelming for opposing pitchers, as co-NL-MVP favorites Ronald Acuña Jr. and Matt Olson lead the way. Now that ace left-hander Max Fried has rejoined a rotation that features the flamethrowing Spencer Strider, veteran Charlie Morton and rising star Bryce Elder, there just don’t seem to be any weaknesses on the Atlanta roster.

2) Dodgers, 76-47 (last week: 2)
An injury-depleted pitching staff? A three-game deficit in the NL West in July? Not a problem for the Dodgers, whose potent lineup, led by Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts, has carried them to a comfortable division lead as we near the final month of the season. Los Angeles opened the week with a three-game sweep of the NL Central-leading Brewers and then took two of three from the Marlins. Despite being without ace Walker Buehler and other key pitchers through much of the season, here the Dodgers are with a 17-2 August record that has them eyeing yet another October run.

3) Orioles, 77-47 (last week: 3)
One of the best stories in baseball, the Orioles continue their march toward what they hope is the first AL East title the franchise has won since 2014. Baltimore dropped two of three to the Padres in San Diego to open the week, but then swept the A’s in Oakland. Led by stalwart young backstop Adley Rutschman and AL Rookie of the Year Award candidate Gunnar Henderson -- who finished a single shy of the cycle while going 4-for-5 in Sunday’s 12-1 win over the A’s -- the O’s continue to prove their mettle despite their upstart status.

4) Rays, 75-51 (last week: 5)
The Rays got off to a tremendous start this season, but they’re facing adversity right now, particularly with left-hander Shane McClanahan out for this season and possibly all of 2024 as well, and Wander Franco on the restricted list while MLB investigates social media allegations made about his behavior. Tampa Bay had a strong week on the field, though, winning four of six games on the road against the Giants and Angels, including an 18-4 rout of the Halos in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader in Anaheim. 

5) Rangers, 72-52 (last week: 4)
Texas was actually a game under .500 over the months of June and July (25-26), but won 12 of 14 to open August. That includes victories in the first two games of the Rangers’ three-game set against the Angels this past week. But since then, Texas has dropped four straight, culminating in a sweep by the Brewers at Globe Life Field over the weekend. The Rangers have been uncharacteristically cold at the plate of late, scoring two or fewer runs in three of their last four contests. Star middle infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien will certainly try to get the offense back on track for what promises to be a thrilling AL West race with the Astros and the Mariners chasing Texas down the stretch.

  1. Braves (Last week: 1)
  2. Dodgers (2)
  3. Orioles (3)
  4. Rays (5)
  5. Rangers (4)
  6. Mariners (9)
  7. Astros (6)
  8. Blue Jays (8)
  9. Phillies (7)
  10. Brewers (10)
  11. Cubs (12)
  12. Giants (11)
  13. Twins (13)
  14. Red Sox (14)
  15. Reds (16)
  16. Marlins (17)
  17. D-backs (19)
  18. Padres (18)
  19. Angels (20)
  20. Yankees (15)
  21. Mets (22)
  22. Guardians (21)
  23. Tigers (23)
  24. Nationals (26)
  25. Pirates (24)
  26. Cardinals (25)
  27. White Sox (27)
  28. Rockies (28)
  29. Royals (29)
  30. A's (30)