Underdog club soars into Power Rankings Top 5

June 12th, 2023

The Dodgers have won the National League West every single season but one since 2013, and the one season they didn’t, they won 106 games and beat the division champion Giants in the NL Division Series. The D-backs, meanwhile, have reached the playoffs only once in that span (2017), and after a Wild Card Game win, they got swept. (By the Dodgers, of course.) The D-backs have been looking up at the Dodgers for so long, they’ve probably forgotten what the front of the their hats looks like.

But not this week. For the first time in what has to be nearly a decade, it’s now the Dodgers looking up at the D-backs, not just in the standings but now in our Power Rankings. Arizona continued its ascent, rising all the way to No. 5, up one spot from last week. The Fangraphs Playoff Odds might not be ready to anoint the D-backs, but they have the attention of the baseball world. This team is absolutely not going away. Perhaps someday, the Dodgers will forget what the front of the D-backs' hats look like.

Here are this week’s rankings:

Biggest Jump: It’s tough to come up with a cushier week on the schedule than hosting the A’s and the Royals -- though the Brewers, who just got swept by the A’s at home, may beg to differ -- but you still have to take advantage of that cushiness, and the Marlins absolutely did. Their smoking-hot week launched them six spots up to No. 11 in the Power Rankings.

Biggest Drop: The Red Sox didn’t have that miserable of a week -- they lost a series to the Guardians, not the end of the world -- but when you lose on national television against your biggest rival (like they did on Saturday to the Yankees), everyone notices. (It also didn’t help that teams below them, like the Marlins, got hot.) Thus, Boston fell seven spots down to 19. They have company in the fall: The Mets -- whose week was a disaster, pretty much from start to finish -- dropped seven spots as well, down to No. 20.

Power Rankings Top 5:

1. Rays 48-20 (last week: 1)
The much-ballyhooed weekend battle between the Rays and the Rangers ended up going Tampa Bay’s way on Sunday, further cementing the AL leader's very comfortable grip on the top spot once again. The series win over their fiercest competitor for this spot means they may stay here for a while, and if you’re thinking early MVP votes, check out Wander Franco, who is currently ahead of Shohei Ohtani for the WAR lead in the American League.

2. Rangers 41-23 (last week: 2)
It’s a measure of how much respect the Rangers have earned so far this season that a 3-3 showing -- with three losses in four games to end the week -- didn’t make anyone take even the slightest step back on the team. That’s particularly impressive considering, as you might have heard, they lost Jacob deGrom for the rest of this season this week. That’s obviously a gut punch. But imagine hearing that news this past offseason and thinking, like most of us do, “That stinks, but the Rangers are still going to be fine.”

3. Braves 40-25 (last week: 5)
Did the Braves essentially secure the NL East this week? You might not be a believer in the Marlins after their hot week, but even if you are, what the Braves did to the Mets at Truist Park this week was downright medieval. Three comeback wins, including an incredible walk-off in the series finale, tore the hearts right out of the chests of the team that tied the Braves in the NL East last year. Atlanta is now up 9 1/2 games on New York. That is a lot of games.

4. Orioles 41-24 (last week: 3)
A frustrating series in Milwaukee -- a team that would fall apart at home against Oakland right afterward -- had some Orioles fans feeling antsy, but that’s nothing three home games against the Royals can’t fix. Baltimore danced all over Kansas City this weekend in a sweep, capped by a monster shot by Gunnar Henderson on Sunday. Keep an eye on the O's three-game series against the Blue Jays at home this week. They are five games up on the division rival right now; they could really knock them out with a sweep.

5. D-backs 40-25 (last week: 7)
The excitement of Corbin Carroll, the resurgence of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and the dominance of Zac Gallen have obscured another nice aspect to the D-backs' season: Ketel Marte being excellent, again, as always. He has bounced back from his disappointing 2022 season with an .812 OPS through Sunday; he’s also three homers away from matching his home run total (12) last year. Marte has been underappreciated in Arizona for many years now -- a consistent player on an overlooked team. He and Christian Walker are the only D-backs still around from the 2017 playoff team, though Walker only played in 11 regular-season games that year. If they return to the postseason this year, it’ll be impossible not to be happy for the pair.

The rest of the field of 30:

6. Dodgers (4)
7. Astros (6)
8. Yankees (8)
9. Blue Jays (9)
10. Twins (10)
11. Marlins (17)
12. Angels (16)
13. Pirates (15)
14. Brewers (11 )
15. Padres (19)
16. Mariners (14)
17. Giants (18)
18. Phillies (20)
19. Red Sox (12)
20. Mets (13)
21. Guardians (21)
22. Reds (23)
23. Cubs (24)
24. Cardinals (22)
25. Tigers (25)
26. White Sox (26)
27. Nationals (28)
28. Rockies (27)
29. Royals (29)
30. A’s (30)