2 surprise teams make big jumps in Power Rankings

May 1st, 2023

We do not, alas, have a historical spreadsheet of all the Power Rankings over the last six years. Here’s a statement we nevertheless feel comfortable making: This is the first time the Baltimore Orioles have been in the top five.

The Orioles just had a 5-2 week, and they were already 14-7, and that is enough to get them into the top five in baseball. Considering how often they’ve been in the bottom five -- fair to say, even without the theoretical spreadsheet, that has happened pretty often -- it’s a massive achievement. And considering how young this team, they’re just getting started.

Here are this week’s rankings.

Biggest Jump: A grand week for Pennsylvania teams! The Phillies leapt six spots from 21 to 15 after winning series over both the Mariners and the Astros. But seriously: How hot are the Pirates right now? A week after they were the biggest gainers, they went up five spots themselves, jumping to No. 7 (No. 7!) as they lengthened their lead in the NL Central.

Biggest Drop: Things are never calm in The Bronx, and they certainly aren’t after a week in which the Yankees went 2-5 -- including losing three of four to the Rangers -- and could lose Aaron Judge (hip strain) to the IL. They fell all the way from fifth to 12th, just in time to face two 2022 playoff teams: The Guardians (at home) and the face-meltingly-hot Rays, at the Trop.

Power Rankings Top 5:

1. Rays 23-6 (last week: 1)

The Rays have been so remarkable in the early going that a 4-3 week sent their winning percentage plummeting: It is by far the worst week of their season! They did finally lose a home game, which, it turns out, was going to end up happening at some point. They’re still smoking the rest of baseball, and they sort of have to: After all, two of the other four teams in the top five of our Power Rankings are in their division.

2. Braves 18-9 (last week: 2)

The Braves had as brutal a loss as you could possibly fathom this week -- giving up five runs to the Marlins in the top of the ninth to lose 5-4 -- and it ended up being their only loss of the week. That’s partly because of two rainouts against the Mets over the weekend, but 4-1 is 4-1. After a doubleheader against the Mets on Monday, they get the Marlins again and then what suddenly looks like a fascinating series at home against those surging Orioles.

3. Blue Jays 18-10 (last week: 7)

Only a wild Sunday afternoon loss -- a game the Jays led, 6-0, after five -- kept the Blue Jays from a perfect week. Of all the wins, the most encouraging one was probably Saturday’s, which featured a sterling performance from Kevin Gausman and a walk-off hit from Daulton Varsho. They now begin a nine-game road trip to Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, so if they’re still in the top five next week, things are really rolling.

4. Brewers 18-10 (last week: 4)

A 3-3 week didn’t drop the Brewers at all, though it did drop them down in the NL Central, thanks to those scorching Pirates. Our voters clearly still see the Brewers as the class of this division -- especially considering what’s happening in St. Louis right now -- and they head west this week for six games against the Rockies and Giants, both sub-.500 teams.

5. Orioles (19-9) (last week: 9)

And here they are. At this point, you really can’t say enough about the Orioles’ bullpen, but let’s remember to give love to Tyler Wells, who was better last year than many realized and has been the ace of this staff so far. Who says they needed to add pitching?

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

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