Power Rankings: Top teams solidify spots

May 30th, 2023

Contrary to what your memory might tell you, the Rangers have in fact made the postseason since their crushing loss in the 2011 World Series, during which they were one strike away from winning their first championship. One strike away, twice. They’ve reached the playoffs three times since then: A Wild Card Game loss to the Orioles in 2012, a five-game ALDS loss to the Blue Jays in ‘15 and a sweep at the hands of Toronto again the following season. So the Rangers have been there. It has just been a while, and they didn’t do much of anything when they got there. You’re forgiven for possibly forgetting.

We bring all this up, because holy cow, look where the Rangers are. They have reached the No. 2 spot in our Power Rankings after another terrific week during which they won series over the Pirates and the Orioles, two other surprising teams of the start of this 2023 season. And they could still go higher: They are currently only two games behind the Rays in the loss column.

Biggest Jump: We don’t mean to pile on here, but it must be said: It’s always nice to look at your schedule for the week and see four home games against the A’s. The Mariners took full advantage, winning all four games and then winning a series against the Pirates to cap off an excellent week that sent them up four spots, from No. 14 to No. 10. But the real winner is the smoking-hot Giants, who didn’t just leap seven spots from No. 23 to No. 16 … they might be right back in the playoff chase.

Biggest Drop: Remember when the Cubs were one of the happy success stories of the year? The bottom has fallen out on the Cubbies, with a losing skid that not only dropped them four spots to No. 25 but also to the third-worst record in the NL.

Power Rankings Top 5:

1. Rays 39-17 (last week: 1)
The Orioles were slowly starting to make a run at them last week, but the Rays reasserted their authority with series wins over the Blue Jays (resulting in Toronto holding a team meeting) and the Dodgers in the weekend’s marquee series. If you were in danger of thinking the Rays were merely cruising after their incredible start, you should disabuse yourself of that notion.

2. Rangers 34-19 (last week: 5)
The Rangers now have the best run differential in baseball after another fantastic week, and it is worth keeping in mind that, with the Astros starting to warm up, the Rangers may have to keep this pace going for a while.

3. Orioles 34-20 (last week: 4)
The Orioles ran into the Rangers juggernaut after a thrilling road trip against the Blue Jays and Yankees, but they were still more than impressive enough to rise a spot in the rankings. To give you an idea of what the Orioles (and everyone else in the AL) is up against, this incredible, thrilling start would earn them a first-round playoff series against the defending-champion Astros if the season ended today.

4. Braves 32-22 (last week: 2)
The Braves went 3-4 this week, against the two most recent NL champions that aren’t the Braves. The starting pitching is starting to become a little bit of a problem; even Spencer Strider got hit a little hard this week. They’ve gotten help from the Bryce Elders of the world, but the strains of all those injuries are starting to show a bit.

5. Dodgers 33-22 (last week: 3)
The Dodgers didn’t really have that bad of a week. It just felt like they did because they lost two of three in that high-profile series against the Rays. They’re actually succeeding with more smoke and mirrors than you might expect from the Dodgers, and you might wonder if it’s catching up with them. If Gavin Stone keeps getting hit like he did against the Rays, the rotation is going to look even more frayed than it already appears.

The rest of the field of 30:

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