Power Rankings: This team is No. 1 for the 1st time ever

May 13th, 2024

We do not, unfortunately, have a comprehensive database of every single MLB.com Power Rankings since we started doing these more than a decade ago. Sorry about that. Maybe we’ll make an intern figure it out this offseason. But it seems a pretty safe bet that the Orioles, even during their 96-win season in 2014 -- when most pundits were skeptical of them all season -- never made it all the way to the top … until now.

That’s right, Orioles fans: Your climb from the bottom (and you were definitely in 30th a couple of times, not that long ago) is complete. For the first time in MLB.com Power Rankings history, the Baltimore Orioles top our rankings. I suspect their fans would prefer, say, a World Series, or even a playoff series victory, but hey -- No. 1 in our Power Rankings isn’t so shabby either.

These rankings, as always, are compiled from votes by MLB.com contributors whose names you can find at the bottom of this (and every) piece, but the words are mine. If you dislike the rankings, yell at all of us. But if you dislike the words, feel free to yell at me.

1. Orioles (previously: 2)
Season high: 1 | Season low: 5
Remember how excited everybody was that Baltimore won 101 games last year, the first time it had won that many since 1979 (a.k.a., the pre-Cal Ripken Jr. era)? Well, even with their loss Sunday, the Orioles are on pace for 108 wins, which would be their second-most wins, one shy of the '69 team. It seems sort of quaint that there was a time when we wondered if the O's would be able to outslug their supposedly wobbly pitching staff. They’re third in the American League in runs scored entering Monday … and fifth in the Majors in team ERA. Keep those both up and, well, you might just win 108 games.

2. Phillies (previously: 3)
Season high: 2 | Season low: 8
You can totally be forgiven if you had thought the Phillies, after the week they just had, might be No. 1 atop these Rankings. They’ve won nine of their past 11 games and 13 of 16. They’ve got the best record in baseball, and they didn’t miss a beat when Trea Turner went on the IL. Ranger Suárez is basically Tom Glavine all of a sudden. It’s a good case. What can we tell you, the voting was very close.

3. Dodgers (previously: 1)
Season high: 1 | Season low: 6
It has been a little surprising, considering he is coming off Tommy John surgery after all, how much Shohei Ohtani has been playing for the Dodgers this year. Heading into Sunday, he was second on the team in plate appearances (behind Mookie Betts) and had only sat one game all season. So perhaps the back issues that popped up on Saturday, which led to a day off on Sunday, were a little bit inevitable. As much fun as it is to watch him, maybe a few more scheduled days off would be in order: The Dodgers are already 5 1/2 games up in their division after all.

4. Braves (previously: 4)
Season high: 1 | Season low: 4
Remember in 2021, when the Mets took a big lead in the National League East but could never quite shake the Braves, no matter how well they were playing, and eventually the Braves caught them with a sweep in the penultimate series of the season? The Phillies are smoking everyone right now, and they still can’t shake the Braves, despite Atlanta still not quite feeling like it has kicked into high gear. The major difference this year is that there is no late-season series that will determine everything; the last game the Braves and Phillies play will be on Sept. 1, alas.

5. Yankees (previously: 5)
Season high: 2 | Season low: 7
Speaking of an Eastern Division first-place team hearing the theme from Jaws in the background, the Yankees are giving no quarter to the Orioles, even as they create more distance between themselves and the rest of the division. And the Yanks are getting stronger, not weaker: Aaron Judge has four homers in his last seven games, and Gerrit Cole was with the Yankees for their Rays series this weekend as his rehab progresses. That Jaws theme? That last sentence made it even louder.

6. Brewers (previously: 7)
Season high: 5 | Season low: 19
The Cardinals have historically tormented the Brewers, including in the 2011 NLCS and the 1982 World Series, the Crew's lone appearance in the Fall Classic. So it has to feel fantastic for Milwaukee to just be smashing St. Louis right now. The Brewers had won their first six games against the Cards this year before a close loss on Sunday afternoon, kicking the Redbirds relentlessly when they’re down. Milwaukee has a +36 run differential this year; +26 of that is against St. Louis.

7. Guardians (previously: 6)
Season high: 4 | Season low: 21
The Guardians have finally cooled off a bit, going 3-4 this week and nearly falling out of first place for the first time since April 13. An outage on offense has been the culprit, which is why it might be nice to get Andrés Giménez going: He’s 3-for-35 in his last nine games. This is a big week for Cleveland: It's got three on the road against the defending champs followed by a compelling three-game set at home against the Twins over the weekend.

8. Twins (previously: 8)
Season high: 8 | Season low: 23
The Twins’ tear continues: They won their sixth straight series in Toronto this weekend, adding to the cavalcade of woes north of the border. Also, Byron Buxton could be back as soon as this week. Let’s see how far this (sausage-aided?) momentum can carry Minnesota: Next week begins with a visit from that old October nemesis, the Yankees.

9. Cubs (previously: 10)
Season high: 8 | Season low: 12
Shota Imanaga has been the best pitcher in baseball so far this year -- this isn’t really a debate, right? -- but it will be fascinating to see how he fares against the relentless lineup that's going to be thrown at him in Georgia on Monday night, one that is really starting to heat up. This is the Cubs’ first trip to Truist Park since they were swept late last September, a sweep that essentially knocked them out of a playoff spot that had seemed very much in hand until then. It’s a fascinating alternate history: If Chicago had won one or two games in that series and made the postseason, would Craig Counsell be the manager? Would Imanaga be pitching for the club?

10. Royals (previously: 10)
Season high: 6 | Season low: 24
Seth Lugo has been incredible to start this season, but one thing he hadn’t been doing was striking people out. He had only 36 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings heading into his start against the Angels on Sunday, the actual lowest strikeout rate of his career. (It’s why his FIP was 3.78 despite a 1.74 ERA.) Lugo apparently decided he’d had enough of that narrative: He struck out a career-high 12 in eight innings of one-run mastery. If the Royals win Monday and the Guardians lose to the Rangers, Kansas City would be in first place in the AL Central for the first time this late in the season since 2016.

11. Rangers (previously: 12)
Season high: 4 | Season low: 12
We were starting to get excited about the Rangers -- who had won eight of their last 11 games -- until, uh, they went out and … got swept by the Rockies? It was a wet, miserable weekend in Denver for the defending champs, on and off the field. The pitcher injuries are getting out of hand, and Max Scherzer has been slowed again. If you’re worried, Texas fans, remember, last year was up-and-down like this for a long time, too.

12. Mariners (previously: 11)
Season high: 10 | Season low: 21
I know I keep saying this, but now I mean it: Here comes Julio. Julio Rodríguez hit only his second homer -- only his second! How is that possible? -- on Sunday, a 409-foot blast that was his first extra-base hit in 43 plate appearances. But something is brewing: He hit the ball 100 mph or harder three times on Saturday (all went for outs) and twice again on Sunday. It’s about to click for him, you just watch.

13. Padres (previously: 15)
Season high: 13 | Season low: 21
Sure, the Padres are still 5 1/2 games behind the Dodgers, and that’s a lot of games this early in the year. But psychologically? Psychologically, the Friars are feeling great against their Southern California rivals. They won their third series of the year against the Dodgers on Sunday, thanks to a terrific game from Yu Darvish. The Padres are now back over .500 and, for what it’s worth, currently in the third Wild Card spot, just in case you’re already looking there.

14. Red Sox (previously: 14)
Season high: 14 | Season low: 22
An underappreciated story for the Red Sox this year? How about Connor Wong? The other guy in the Mookie Betts trade -- who isn’t Alex Verdugo or named “Jeter” -- is yet another MLB catcher hitting the ball hard this year. Even after an 0-for-3 day on Sunday, he’s hitting .348 on the season and already has half as many homers as he had all last year.

15. Tigers (previously: 13)
Season high: 7 | Season low: 20
Careful, Tigers: If you don’t shake this current skid -- they’ve lost seven of their last nine games -- you’re going to turn this fun four-team AL Central race into a fun three-team one. Two months ago, no one would have blinked at losing two out of three at home against the Astros. People are blinking at it now.

16. Rays (previously: 19)
Season high: 9 | Season low: 19
The Rays' five-game win streak ended, then they promptly lost three out of four to the Yankees and are back under .500 again. This is particularly worrisome because they’ve got a big road trip coming against the plucky Red Sox and the extremely desperate Blue Jays. The Rays have been streaky this year, but it’s starting to equalize as a .500 team … which is not nearly enough in this division.

17. Diamondbacks (previously: 21)
Season high: 10 | Season low: 21
If you’re looking for a pivot point when Corbin Carroll’s season started to turn around, I’m going to nominate Sunday afternoon’s rain-delayed victory in Baltimore. He went 2-for-5 and scored two runs, showing clear signs he's turning things around after an alarming start to his sophomore campaign.

18. Mets (previously: 17)
Season high: 10 | Season low: 25
Don’t be surprised if J.D. Martinez goes on a bit of a run. His first homer as a Met saved New York from being no-hit on Saturday night, and 15 games in, you can start to see him rounding into midseason form. Martinez has done nothing but hit for more than a decade now. He’ll be doing the same thing for the Mets all year long … unless he ends up, post-Trade Deadline, doing it for someone else.

19. Nationals (previously: 22)
Season high: 19 | Season low: 27
You might have missed it, but the Nationals briefly made it over .500 this week. This is the latest they’ve made it over .500 since late in June 2021; they haven't been over .500 even once either of the past two seasons. (It should be noted they still lost 97 games in '21. But the Nats are in a very different spot than they were then.)

20. Reds (previously: 16)
Season high: 11 | Season low: 20
For a team as young and talented as the Reds are, the “young” part seems to be outdoing the “talented” part lately. The young hitters are struggling, the young pitchers are running out of gas, and there have been baserunning mistakes aplenty. This current collapse -- 10 losses in their past 11 games -- has the Reds looking up at the Pirates and only one game ahead of the equally-collapsing Cardinals. Cincinnati is in the midst of a long West Coast road trip -- it's got three against Arizona and four against Los Angeles this week -- and if the club isn't careful, it will be going home in last place.

21. Blue Jays (previously: 18)
Season high: 8 | Season low: 23
Are the Blue Jays on the precipice of a reckoning? They’re now four games under .500, 8 1/2 games behind the Orioles, deep in last place in the AL East and haven’t won a series in three weeks. A three-game road series against those Orioles could not possibly come at a worse time.

22. Pirates (previously: 25)
Season high: 9 | Season low: 25
The best part about Paul Skenes’ electrifying, if perhaps a little frustrating, debut on Saturday is that it was maybe the fourth-most interesting thing that happened that game. The Cubs took six -- six! -- bases-loaded walks in the same inning … and still, the Pirates somehow beat them. That was thanks to them hitting five home runs, more than the four they had hit in their previous 11 games. Still, in 10 years, the only thing that happened in that game that people will really remember will be Skenes’ debut.

23. Giants (previously: 23)
Season high: 17 | Season low: 23
The Giants received all sorts of praise for being aggressive this offseason, but so far, their free-agent adds haven't lived up to expectations: Matt Chapman is hitting just .213, Jung Hoo Lee may have been lost to a shoulder injury, and Blake Snell struggled before going on the injured list. If it weren’t for Jordan Hicks’ hot start -- and this is where we remind you that that’s the move most people didn’t like, particularly when the Giants announced he’d be a starter -- all of those moves would be looking rough.

24. A’s (previously: 20)
Season high: 20 | Season low: 30
It wasn’t that long ago that JJ Bleday was one of the top prospects in baseball as a member of the Marlins' organization. He has gone through several ups and downs since then, but at the age of 26, now with the A’s, he’s finally showing some of that promise. He has a .769 OPS and is one of the best hitters on a team that needs every bit of offense it can get.

25. Astros (previously: 26)
Season high: 6 | Season low: 26
It sure was pretty watching Justin Verlander dominating back on the mound in Detroit, wasn’t it? After a miserable outing in The Bronx this week, Verlander looked like his old self, tossing seven shutout innings in yet another terrific start in Detroit as a road starter. He’s now 4-1 in five career starts for the Astros and Mets at Comerica Park with a 1.62 ERA.

26. Angels (previously: 27)
Season high: 24 | Season low: 27
This June, it will be seven years since the Angels took Jo Adell in the first round of the 2017 MLB Draft, with the vision that someday he’d be sharing an All-Star outfield with Mike Trout. Alas, that’s not happening right now, but it should be noted that this is the best Adell has been. His seven homers are already just one short of his career high, and he has seven steals. Anybody else think he’s going to be the Angels’ All-Star rep this year?

27. Cardinals (previously: 24)
Season high: 18 | Season low: 27
The bottom has fallen out in St. Louis. The starting pitching is barely keeping its head above water, which isn’t nearly enough to make up for the lack of offensive production. The youngsters -- Nolan Gorman, Brendan Donovan, Lars Nootbaar and Jordan Walker to name a few -- have all underperformed, and their best hitter in Willson Contreras is out for months with a forearm fracture. But perhaps the most alarming is Paul Goldschmidt, who had an 0-for-32 skid before snapping it with a ninth-inning single on Saturday. His start has been so miserable that he came into the season ahead of Tommy John and Sal Bando in career WAR and is now behind them both. Perhaps Sunday’s game will help Goldschmidt pull himself out of it: He went 2-for-3 with a homer in the Cardinals’ 4-3 win, ending a seven-game losing streak.

28. Rockies (previously: 28)
Season high: 28 | Season low: 29
If you were wondering what that parade in downtown Denver was this morning, the Rockies finally won their first series of the season this weekend. You know who's been hot during Colorado's current homestand? Good ol' Charlie Blackmon! Over a four-game stretch from Wednesday to Saturday, he went 7-for-14 with eight RBIs, some excellent old-school Blackmon action. Fun fact about him this year: He's sporting the lowest strikeout rate of his 14-year career.

29. White Sox (previously: 30)
Season high: 28 | Season low: 30
I’m going to try to be careful about not making this the Tommy Pham Corner every week -- you should know that the well-traveled, eccentric and gloriously outspoken Pham is one of my favorite players -- but the White Sox are now 9-5 in games that Pham has started and 3-24 in games he hasn’t.

30. Marlins (previously: 29)
Season high: 23 | Season low: 30
That three-week stretch in which the White Sox barely scored any runs, thus dropping them to consensus “worst team in baseball” status, made everybody forget just how terrible the Marlins were to start the season. Their six-game losing streak, which ended in extra innings on Sunday, along with the trade of Luis Arraez, has returned to the forefront just how miserable this season has been so far for the Fish. Did you realize if they hadn’t won on Sunday, they would have been on pace to lose more games than the 120-loss Mets in 1962?

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