The time has come for our final edition of Power Rankings in 2023, as we embark on the final week of the regular season. We have a slight shakeup in the top five this week, with a National League power moving up and a perennial World Series contender dropping out of the upper echelon altogether.
As we look ahead to what promises to be a tremendously exciting final few days leading into October, here’s a look at the full rankings:
Biggest jump: The Pirates made the biggest move up the rankings, jumping from No. 23 to No. 20 by winning four of six games last week, including a historic comeback victory over the Reds on Saturday night -- Pittsburgh was trailing, 9-0, in the fourth inning before overcoming the deficit for a 13-12 win. The Bucs took two of three at Great American Ball Park after taking two of three against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Biggest drop: It was a rough week for the defending World Series champions. The Astros fell four spots from last week’s rankings, from No. 5 to No. 9, after going 1-5 on their homestand against the Orioles and Royals. Outside a walk-off win over Baltimore on Wednesday, it was a week to forget, especially the way it ended -- the 102-loss Royals swept Houston at Minute Maid Park over the weekend.
Power Rankings Top 5:
1) Braves, 100-56 (last week: 1)
The Braves remain in a class of their own, becoming the first team to reach 100 wins this season with a victory in the second game of Sunday's doubleheader against the Nationals. As we head into the final week of the regular season, Atlanta could be on the verge of rewriting the record books offensively. The next home run hit by a Braves batter will be the club’s 300th of the season, and the Twins’ MLB record of 307 (2019) is within reach. The Braves could also become the first team in AL/NL history to slug .500 over a full season. They’re currently slugging .501, and the AL/NL record is .495 by the 2019 Astros. It will be an exciting final week for a juggernaut preparing for a deep postseason run.
2) Dodgers, 96-59 (last week: 4)
Despite all the adversity this club endured throughout the regular season, particularly with injuries to key pitchers, the Dodgers once again find themselves heading to the postseason with World Series championship aspirations. They clinched their 10th NL West title in the past 11 years last week, when they went 5-2 thanks to series wins over the Tigers and the archrival Giants. Taking three of four from the Giants and putting San Francisco's postseason hopes on life support had to be satisfying for Los Angeles.
3) Orioles, 97-59 (last week: 2)
The Orioles clinched their first postseason berth in seven years on Sept. 17, before going 4-3 last week with a series win over the Astros and a series split with the Guardians. They checked off a big box by breaking the postseason drought, but they’re looking for more -- with the win over Cleveland and a Rays loss on Sunday, Baltimore’s magic number to clinch the AL East is 3. A division title would be the Orioles' first since 2014. If they win it, it’ll be at home, as they prepare for two games against their Beltway brethren, the Nationals, and then four against the Red Sox to close out the regular season.
4) Rays, 95-62 (last week: 3)
The Rays dropped two of three against the Blue Jays at Tropicana Field over the weekend after winning two of three against the Angels to open the week. Tampa Bay is running out of time to reclaim and hold on to first place in the AL East despite spending the first 3 1/2 months of the season atop the division. The Rays’ road to wrapping up the regular season looks to be a tougher one than that of the team they’re chasing, the Orioles. Tampa Bay will go on the road for the final five games -- two against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, followed by three against Toronto at Rogers Centre.
5) Brewers, 88-68 (last week: 6)
That magic number to clinch the NL Central has been stuck at 1 for a few days now, but all it takes is one victory or one Cubs loss over the final week of the season to make the Brewers division champs. Milwaukee got off to a great start last week, winning three of four against the Cardinals and the series opener of a weekend series with the Marlins to drop that magic number to its lower limit. But the Crew dropped the next two in Miami and will return home to American Family Field to try and clinch against the Cardinals. After three more meetings with St. Louis, the Brewers will close out the regular season against those Cubs, who could still be fighting to clinch a postseason berth of their own.
The rest of the field of 30:
6. Rangers (last week: 7)
7. Phillies (9)
8. Blue Jays (8)
9. Astros (5)
10. Twins (11)
11. Mariners (10)
12. D-backs (13)
13. Cubs (12)
14. Marlins (15)
15. Reds (14)
16. Yankees (16)
17. Padres (19)
18. Giants (17)
19. Red Sox (18)
20. Pirates (23)
21. Guardians (20)
22. Tigers (21)
23. Mets (22)
24. Angels (24)
25. Cardinals (25)
26. Nationals (26)
27. White Sox (28)
28. Rockies (27)
29. Royals (29)
30. A’s (30)
Voters: Will Leitch, Alyson Footer, Anthony Castrovince, Paul Casella, Mark Feinsand, Nathalie Alonso, Arturo Pardavila, Andrew Simon, David Venn, Sweeny Murti, Travis Miller