Opening Day Power Rankings: Who’s No. 1?

April 4th, 2022

The regular season is almost here, which means it’s time for that time-honored, unscientific, occasionally polarizing rite of passage we call Opening Day Power Rankings. 

On paper, ranking the teams is easy. It also invites the very real possibility that we’ve both overestimated and underestimated more than half the teams on this list. 

But we have to start somewhere, and right now, days away from go-time, there are few surprises in the top five. The Dodgers took a championship-caliber lineup and added one of the best lefty hitters in the game, in Freddie Freeman. The Blue Jays have been simmering for a while, and look to be ready to pounce. 

And the powerhouse divisions -- specifically, the NL West and AL East -- haven’t given us any reason to think they’ll be taking a step back. Will the NL East, with at least three legitimate contenders, leap ahead as well?

Power Rankings Top 5:

1. Dodgers
With arguably the best lineup in baseball and a rotation that, while packing a little less star power than in years past, is still strong, the Dodgers will begin the season as they have many times -- at the top of our Opening Day Power Rankings. The lineup isn't just being lauded as the best among all 30 teams this this year -- some have speculated it may be the best lineup, ever. In the spirit of not overdramatizing things this close to Opening Day, it's fair to also point out that the starting pitching situation might be fluid, with the only constants being Walker Buehler and Julio Urías. How seamlessly Clayton Kershaw returns from his elbow issues might determine if the Dodgers will be able to make an early season push.

2. Blue Jays
Don't be surprised if Toronto moves into the Power Rankings' top spot sooner than later. The Blue Jays' rotation has been ranked as the third-best by, and the lineup is stacked with some of the most exciting, entertaining hitters in the American League. When we last saw the Jays in 2021, they tore through September, missed the postseason by one game and left a lot of us wondering if they were actually better than some of the teams that did make it to October. If Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, George Springer, Teoscar Hernández, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Matt Chapman perform up to expectations, the Dodgers may not be the only Best Lineup in Baseball we're talking about come May.

3. White Sox
The loss of Lance Lynn for about two months takes a little bit of the shine off the White Sox rotation, which not long ago was ranked as the fourth-best in baseball by But with Lucas Giolito at the top as a legitimate ace and Dylan Cease primed for a breakout season, the starting staff should still be in good shape. Cease improved his strikeout rate from 17.3 percent in 2020 to 31.9 percent in 2021, and lowered his walk rate, too, from 13.3 percent to 9.6 percent. A lot of the rotation's stability depends on Michael Kopech's ability to transition from the bullpen to the rotation, and with Lynn out for a while, the Kopech factor is even more important.

4. Brewers
The Brewers' path to the postseason will be a lot smoother if the lineup could bump up its productivity a few notches. It doesn't necessarily have to be the hitting equivalent to a rotation that has been among the best in baseball in recent times. But the hitters are going to have to do more to help the Brewers keep up with the Cardinals, who figure to be their only realistic competition for the NL Central title this year. This starts with Christian Yelich -- it is imperative that he finds some of the productivity he lost in 2021.

5. Rays
When we think "Rays" we usually think "pitching," but it's been true for quite some time that their lineup has played a not-small role in Tampa Bay's repeat October appearances. Their mix-and-match approach resulted in the second-most runs in the Majors last year (857). The Rays also tied the Dodgers in slugging (.429) and the Yankees in homers (222). And Wander Franco, who spent years as one of the most hyped prospects in recent history, is just getting started. That top of the Rays' order, highlighted by Franco and Randy Arozarena, has a chance to be electric.

The rest of the field of 30:

6. Yankees
7. Astros
8. Braves
9. Giants
10. Padres
11. Red Sox
12. Mets
13. Cardinals
14. Mariners
15. Phillies
16. Twins
17. Tigers
18. Angels
19. Marlins
20. Guardians
21. Royals
22. Rangers
23. Cubs
24. Rockies
25. Nationals
26. Reds
27. A’s
28. D-backs
29. Pirates
30. Orioles

Voters: Alyson Footer, Anthony Castrovince, Paul Casella, Mark Feinsand, Nathalie Alonso, Mike Petriello, Sarah Langs, Andrew Simon, David Venn, Brett Blueweiss