Power Rankings: How do postseason teams stack up?

October 2nd, 2023

As much fun as the Power Rankings have been to be a part of this year, it must be said that there is a certain excitement to have reached the final installment of the regular season -- and, thus, the first installment of the postseason. You will notice that there are not 30 teams in these rankings: There are merely 12. Because that’s all that’s left. And in four days, there will only be eight. Then four. Then two. Then one.

That’s the thrill of the postseason: When you get there, there’s no reason to worry about rankings, or standings, or really any sort of numbers at all. There is, at last, only one stat or measure that matters: “Wins.” Here, in our final Power Rankings of the season, are our voters’ rankings of every playoff team as they currently stand. And then it’s time for the fun part.

Power Rankings Top 12:

1. Braves 104-58 (last week: 1)
Atlanta officially locked down the No. 1 overall seed this week, but we’ve essentially known it had that spot all season. As well as the Braves played in the final week -- remember, they’re the ones that ruined the Cubs’ season -- it’s up in the air whether or not an extended break is going to help them or hurt them. One thing it will definitely help: That blister on Max Fried’s finger, which the Braves would really love to be fully healed by the time they play their first game Saturday.

2. Orioles 101-61 (last week: 3)
What an emotional week in Baltimore. The Orioles lost one of their greatest, most beloved legends in Brooks Robinson, and then said goodbye to him by finishing off the best season they have had in … nearly 50 years? O's fans have been waiting a long time to play a playoff game again, and their success is going to force them to wait a little longer: They’ll watch this week before starting the ALDS at Camden Yards on Saturday. Could a matchup with division rival Tampa Bay await?

3. Rays 99-63 (last week: 4)
Despite not winning the AL East, the Rays finished the season strong, perhaps serving notice that they plan on being one of the toughest outs this postseason, first-round bye or not. This is a team we’ve all gotten pretty used to seeing in the playoffs the past few years … and as we all know, they’ve got a guy in Randy Arozarena who can carry a team a long way in October.

4. Dodgers 100-62 (last week: 2)
The Dodgers have gotten a little postseason rotation clarity over the last couple of weeks: It seems Clayton Kershaw and Bobby Miller will take over the first two games of the NLDS. Will Lance Lynn pitch the third? Ryan Pepiot? An opener? The Dodgers have never had this much rotation uncertainty heading into a postseason. But if any team can figure it out, it’s probably them.

5. Phillies 90-72 (last week: 7)
The Phillies won’t have a first-round bye, but they’re still in the top five heading into the playoffs. This is because they’re playing well, of course, but it’s also impossible to ignore how fantastic this team was last postseason … and it’s mostly the same guys.

6. Astros 90-72 (last week: 9)
All season, we kept waiting for the defending champs to make their move. The Rangers led the AL West for most of the season, and then the Mariners went on their run late to make it a three-team race. The Astros were only in first place for 24 days, all season. But all that matters is that they were in first on the final day. Their 8-1 win over the D-backs gave them the No. 2 seed and has them, as it turns out, in a terrific position to go out and try to reach their seventh consecutive ALCS. And now they have a week to rest.

7. Brewers 92-70 (last week: 5)
Because the Cubs and Reds ended up falling short of the playoffs, it may end up looking like this division was easier to win for the Brewers than it actually was. The NL Central (other than the Cardinals, anyway) took a big step forward this year, and that the Brewers won it speaks well to them, and their ability to make some noise this October.

8. Rangers 90-72 (last week: 6)
This season was an undeniable success, the Rangers’ first trip to the playoffs since 2016, featuring an MVP-level performance by Corey Seager and a relentless offense. Rangers fans should be thrilled; if you’d have told them they’d be in the postseason back in March, they’d be ecstatic. But you can forgive them for feeling a little less enthusiastic after losing Game 162 to hand the AL West, and that precious No. 2 seed, to the Astros. Texas should feel fantastic about how this year has gone. But the difference between the bye that comes with a No. 2 seed and a first-round series in Tropicana Field is … profound.

9. Twins 87-75 (last week: 10)
It is, of course, impossible to talk about the Twins and the postseason without talking about the 18-game playoff losing streak they remain mudded in. Minnesota fans are surely sick of hearing about it, but it's going to continue until it ends. Considering Sonny Gray and Pablo López are lined up for the first two games of the Wild Card Series, if it doesn’t end this year, it may never.

10. Blue Jays 89-73 (last week: 8)
For all the talk about the Blue Jays not quite living up to their potential over the past few years, it can all be erased with one breakthrough playoff run. After all, before last postseason, we were all talking about how this era of Phillies baseball had been a massive disappointment. We’re not talking about that anymore. This could be the Jays’ opportunity for the same. And the matchup may have landed perfectly for them: Whom would you rather play in the first round, the Rays or the Twins?

11. D-backs 84-78 (last week: 12)
It has been since 2017 that the D-backs reached the postseason, and since 2011 -- when Corbin Carroll was 11 years old -- that they’ve won a playoff game. How long ago was that? Players in that 10-6 NLDS Game 4 win over the Brewers included Mark Kotsay, Prince Fielder, Justin Upton and Yuniesky Betancourt. Therefore, there probably isn’t much disappointment that the 2023 D-backs ended up with the final Wild Card spot and the No. 6 seed. It’s possible they might have wanted to play the Brewers more than the Phillies anyway.

12. Marlins 84-77 (last week: 14)
The Marlins’ postseason drought only feels longer than the D-backs, probably because the only time they’ve made the playoffs since winning the World Series in 2003 was the expanded postseason of 2020. It’s worth remembering they won the Wild Card series over the Cubs (a team they keep tormenting) before falling in the NLDS against the Braves. In a sign of just how much rosters turn over these days, only three Marlins who played in that series -- Jazz Chisholm Jr., Sandy Alcantara (who is hurt) and Jon Berti -- are still on the team. They’ll face their division rivals in Philadelphia … where it is going to be very, very loud.