No. 1 in Power Rankings now has a new team hot on heels

July 24th, 2023

Some lengthy streaks – of both the winning and losing variety – led to quite the shakeup in this week’s Power Rankings.

Well, except for the top spot.

The Braves remained the unanimous No. 1 team, but there is a new team nipping at their heels this week. There was also a newcomer to the Top 5 and a pair of other clubs jumped into the Top 10.

Here’s a full look at the rankings:

Biggest jump: Though the Brewers dropped two of three to the Braves this weekend, that came only after they had swept the Reds in Cincinnati coming out of the break and won two of three against the Phillies in Philadelphia. Since dropping to 34-34 on June 14, Milwaukee has gone 21-11 to move 10 games above .500. That’s enough for the Brewers to climb to No. 7 in this week’s rankings – an eight-spot jump from last week.

Biggest drop: At the other end of the spectrum, the Marlins lost eight straight games coming out of the All-Star break. They finally snapped that skid with a walk-off win against the Rockies on Sunday, but Miami now finds itself on the outside looking in when it comes to the NL Wild Card race – and down eight spots to No. 16 this week.

Power Rankings Top 5:

1) Braves, 64-34 (last week: 1)

With Ronald Acuña Jr. putting together an MVP-caliber season -- he’s on pace for 38 homers and 76 stolen bases – it’s easy to forget sometimes just how dangerous the rest of the Braves’ lineup can be. Austin Riley served up quite the reminder this week, homering in five straight games (including a two-homer performance in Atlanta’s wild 16-13 loss to the D-backs). Riley racked up six homers and 16 RBIs in six games for a Braves team that sits 3 1/2 games ahead of the Orioles for the best record in the Majors.

2) Orioles, 61-38 (last week: 5)

After starting the week by dropping two of three to the Dodgers, the O’s sent a message to the rest of the league by taking three of four from the Rays in St. Pete. Félix Bautista earned the win in the first game of that series, then locked down the save in Baltimore’s other two victories. The All-Star closer has held the opposition scoreless in 21 of his past 22 outings. He has 28 saves and a 0.92 ERA in 45 appearances this season. The backend of that Baltimore bullpen is a big reason why the club is 18-9 in one-run games – and now sits atop the AL East.

3) Rays, 61-42 (last week: 2)

Tampa Bay is just 3-7 in the second half, but the club’s struggles actually date back to a couple weeks before the break. The Rays are 4-14 over their past 18 games, and this past week was a particularly tough blow. After being swept by the first-place Rangers, Tampa Bay returned home and dropped three of four against the Orioles, who moved two games ahead of the Rays in the AL East. Zach Eflin, who continues to be their most consistent starter, accounted for the club’s only win in that series, tossing seven scoreless innings to lower his season ERA to 3.36.

4) Dodgers, 57-41 (last week: 6)

Though the Dodgers haven’t had the dominant pitching that has become a staple in recent seasons, they have regained the top spot in the NL West behind a surging offense. Freddie Freeman carried the torch this past week, hitting a ridiculous .583 (14-for-24) with three homers, three doubles, one triple and seven RBIs. He also worked five walks while striking out only three times. That helped the Dodgers win a pair of series against first-place teams, taking two of three against both the Orioles and Rangers – all on the road.

5) Rangers, 59-41 (last week: 3)

A week that started with such promise couldn’t have ended much worse for the AL West-leading Rangers. After sweeping the Rays to push their winning streak to six games, the Rangers dropped the first two games of their set against the Dodgers by a combined score of 27-8. If that wasn’t bad enough, Corey Seager departed Friday’s game after jamming his thumb and landed on the 10-day IL the following day. Texas already had to overcome one IL stint for Seager when he missed a month earlier this season, but it's still a tough blow considering he's hitting .350 with 15 homers and a 1.044 OPS in 66 games.

The rest of the field of 30:

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

Voters: Will Leitch, Alyson Footer, Anthony Castrovince, Paul Casella, Mark Feinsand, Nathalie Alonso, Mike Petriello, Sarah Langs, Arturo Pardavila, Andrew Simon, David Venn, Sweeny Murti, Doug Gausepohl, Travis Miller