Power Rankings: One team makes a massive leap

June 10th, 2024

There are only 30 teams in baseball, so, by definition, there is only so much of a jump you can make in one week. The Dodgers are always in the top 10, so even if they go 7-0 in a week, they’re still only going up so far. Same for the teams at the bottom: If the White Sox win seven straight this week, they’re still not going to be in the top 20.

Which is why it’s so remarkable what the Reds did this week. They went up 12 spots in our rankings, from 24 to 12. Part of this is because they won seven straight (before their winning streak ended on Sunday). But a bigger part of it is just how jumbled the standings are. There are currently 11 teams within four games of playoff position in the AL and 13 within three games in the NL, including seven teams within two games of each other. One win streak will shoot you up these rankings. And you’re always one skid away from falling right back down.

These rankings, as always, are compiled from rankings from 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. Phillies (previously: 1)
Season high: 1 | Season low: 8
The frustration of how Sunday’s game ended -- and the Phillies probably shouldn’t freak out about José Alvarado, he had given up just one run before then since May 17 -- shouldn’t ruin anyone’s thoughts on that London excursion. If the Phillies make it as far as they think they can this year, one of the lasting memories, and most vivid images, will be of Bryce Harper doing his soccer celebration after homering on Saturday. It was fantastic: We’ll see it on his Hall of Fame highlight reel someday.

2. Yankees (previously: 2)
Season high: 2 | Season low: 7
The Yankees have done many things right this year, but the driving force behind their terrific start has been what you would think it would be: Having Aaron Judge and Juan Soto right next to each other in the order. But we’ve seen now what happens when Soto isn’t able to play: The rest of the lineup (outside of Judge) deflates. It is perhaps time to have a serious conversation about Anthony Rizzo. He is 1-for-29 in June and is putting up, by far, the worst numbers of his career: His OBP is 80 points lower than his career average.

3. Dodgers (previously: 4)
Season high: 1 | Season low: 6
For any other team, signing Teoscar Hernández would have been a big deal. The guy has a career .804 OPS, he has received MVP votes twice and he had 32 homers and 116 RBIs just three years ago. But when the Dodgers signed him after bringing in Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow, he was an afterthought—you almost didn’t notice they did it. People are noticing now: Teoscar leads the Dodgers in RBIs and, after his third home run in the past two games against the Yankees, has now surpassed Shohei for the team lead in homers. Some afterthought.

4. Orioles (previously: 5)
Season high: 1 | Season low: 5
The Orioles hit two more homers on Sunday -- Anthony Santander and Adley Rutschman were the lucky fellas -- which officially puts them on pace to break the record for most homers in team history. They had 257 in 1996 (that was the Brady Anderson 50-homer year), but they have 102 now in 64 games. They lead the Majors in both homers and runs. The Orioles are a very fun team to cheer for right now … and boy, that series against the Yankees coming up on June 18 sure is starting to loom large.

5. Guardians (previously: 3)
Season high: 3 | Season low: 21
Who says the Guardians are a team built around pitching? Did you realize that they currently have three of the top 20 hitters in all of baseball in OPS (minimum 120 at-bats): David Fry (1.046), Steven Kwan (.955) and José Ramírez (.890). The only other team in baseball that can say that is the Dodgers, with the well-heralded Shohei, Mookie and Freddie.

6. Brewers (previously: 6)
Season high: 5 | Season low: 19
Want a connection between these Brewers and the old Harvey’s Wallbangers teams of the ‘80s? How about crossword puzzles? As detailed in a fun piece by MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Brewers director of clubhouse operations Tony Migliaccio has been printing crosswords from the newspaper since he was a batboy for the team in the late ‘70s and putting them on the chairs of Brewers players, from Ben Oglivie to Jake Bauers. It has become a thing for the first-place Brewers this year in particular: “I think it wakes you up a bit,” Bauers said. “I’m not going to sit here on Instagram all afternoon and scroll my phone. I’d rather do this.” From your lips to God’s ears, Jake.

7. Royals (previously: 8)
Season high: 6 | Season low: 24
Sure, the Royals lost on Sunday -- though they sure made it close! -- but they still won the series against a first-place team and are, for all intents and purposes, the most inspiring and unlikely story in the game right now. They’re currently 39-27. Do you know what date they won their 39th game last year? Aug. 14. Fangraphs now has them at a 62 percent chance to make the playoffs for the first time since they won the World Series in 2015.

8. Braves (previously: 7)
Season high: 1 | Season low: 8
The National League has provided the Braves a lot of leeway: They’re one of only four teams in the NL who are more than one game over .500. But it should be noted that the Braves are using up quite a bit of that leeway: Their miserable series in Washington, D.C., this weekend has them only seven games over .500. If that still seems like a lot, they were 16 games over .500 on this date last year and were 4 1/2 games up in the division; now they’re seven games over and a whopping nine games out of first.

9. Mariners (previously: 10)
Season high: 9 | Season low: 21
The Mariners ended several 20-plus-years droughts in 2022: They made the playoffs, they won a playoff game, they won a playoff series. But one thing they haven’t done since 2001: win the American League West. With their win on Sunday, salvaging a game against the Royals, the Mariners took a five-game lead over the Rangers and a six-game lead over the Astros. They’re now at 63 percent to win the division, according to Fangraphs, and 72 percent to reach the playoffs. The Mariners have seen some disappointing second halves in recent years. It will take a pretty big one to leave them out of the postseason this year … or to deny them that long-desired banner.

10. Twins (previously: 10)
Season high: 8 | Season low: 23
Coming into Sunday, the Twins had lost five in a row and hadn’t scored in 22 consecutive innings. They wasted no time, scoring three runs off the Pirates’ other phenom Jared Jones en route to an extra-inning victory to avoid a sweep at PNC Park. (A great way to win in extra innings: Score seven runs in the 10th.) Again, the problem with the Twins, such as it is, is that the AL Central is no longer a place where you can bob up and down around three games over .500 and think you can win the division: They’re now a full 8 1/2 games behind the Guardians and 4 1/2 games behind the Royals. This would be a great week to make up those five losses in a row. They have 10 straight home games against losing teams: the Rockies, the A’s and the Rays.

11. Padres (previously: 11)
Season high: 11 | Season low: 21
We’ll have plenty of time to talk about the Padres all season -- and I hope everyone is noticing that Fernando Tatis Jr. looks like a stone-cold-lock All-Star again -- but let’s take a moment to remark on what the Padres’ Triple-A team did on Saturday. The El Paso Chihuahuas fell behind 14-1 to the Las Vegas Aviators in the fourth inning … and came back to win 17-16. That would be the biggest comeback in MLB history, had it happened in the Majors. Nate Mondau, a 29-year-old first baseman who got three at-bats for the A’s back in 2022 and hasn’t been back in the Majors since, had six RBIs.

12. Reds (previously: 24)
Season high: 11 | Season low: 25
This is becoming a motif in these ratings, and this whole 2024 season, but: If you are in the National League, and your season isn’t going the way you’d like it to, just get hot for one week and you’ll be right back in the thick of everything. Heading into last Sunday, the Reds were in last place, eight games under .500 and looking like their season was careening out of control. Then they went out and won seven in a row. Just like that, they weren’t just in the Wild Card chase: They actually held the third Wild Card spot. It’s going to be like this all summer.

13. Red Sox (previously: 13)
Season high: 13 | Season low: 22
The Red Sox came perilously close to getting swept by the White Sox on Sunday, hanging on in extra innings to get back to .500. Their timing couldn’t be better: They have a downright terrifying homestand at Fenway Park this week, hosting the Phillies (No. 1 in our Power Rankings) and the Yankees (No. 2 in our Power Rankings). There are no good times to get swept by the White Sox, but right before you play those two has to be among the absolute worst.

14. Tigers (previously: 17)
Season high: 7 | Season low: 20
It’s telling that almost every note about the Tigers of late has been about Tarik Skubal -- they’ve been one of the five worst teams in baseball since May 3 -- but we’re going to give you another one anyway. After another fantastic start on Sunday, over his last 18 starts, he has a 12-1 record with a 1.55 ERA, which is the best in the Majors over that time. He also leads the Majors, since September 2023, in: WHIP, Opposing BA, Opposing OPS, FIP and Fangraphs WAR. He is good.

15. Giants (previously: 12)
Season high: 12 | Season low: 23
The Giants remain one of the streakiest teams in the sport: A stretch where they won eight of nine from May 15-25 was canceled out by their six-game losing streak that ended Wednesday … which started another three-game winning streak. Their loss Sunday made it so this isn’t all evening out; they’re now two games under .500 coming up on a six-game homestand this week, starting with the equally quixotic Astros.

16. Rangers (previously: 15)
Season high: 4 | Season low: 19
The Rangers sure needed their offensive breakout on Sunday: They’ve been struggling to score for a week now. That will happen when Corey Seager misses three straight games, Adolis García goes into a slump, and Evan Carter and Josh Jung are both on the IL. There’s at least some good news on Jung: He has taken BP the last couple of days and may be starting a rehab assignment soon. But seriously, it’s difficult to find people left on this team who aren’t hurt.

17. Astros (previously: 18)
Season high: 6 | Season low: 26
Alex Bregman is looking like Alex Bregman again. He has raised his OPS more than 100 points in the past two weeks and finally has an OBP over .300 for the first time since April. That’s still 66 points below his career mark, but at least some progress is finally being made.

18. Rays (previously: 19)
Season high: 9 | Season low: 19
One of the problems, among many, of playing in the AL East is that the second you start to get a little momentum going, you run into a division juggernaut. Next thing you know, the Orioles have blown through Tropicana Field for three straight wins, and the Rays may need another couple of weeks just to crawl their way back to .500 again. One bad weekend will get you.

19. Cubs (previously: 14)
Season high: 8 | Season low: 18
Remember the big shortstop free-agent sweepstakes in 2022, when Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson all hit the market? It sure looked like the Cubs won that sweepstakes at the end of the year, with Swanson winning a Gold Glove and transforming the Cubs defense and even earning down ballot MVP votes. But Swanson, while holding up defensively, has fallen off a cliff offensively; he’s hitting .226 with a .674 OPS. You keep thinking Chicago is going to kick into gear, and it just keeps not happening. Swanson’s struggles are part of the reason why.

20. Diamondbacks (previously: 21)
Season high: 10 | Season low: 21
Corbin Carroll is slowly starting to work his way back toward his former self, if not back to his Rookie of the Year/fifth-place-in-MVP voting form of last year. There’s at least some tangible proof now: He’s back up over the Mendoza line. He still hasn’t homered in over a month -- he has two this season after hitting 25 last year -- but he logged his second multihit performance of the series in Sunday’s finale against the Padres.

21. Pirates (previously: 23)
Season high: 9 | Season low: 25
Rowdy Tellez has had a difficult year for the Pirates, but the fact remains: Fans will always want to root for Rowdy Tellez, if just because it’s very, very fun to chant “Rowdy! Rowdy!” at the ballpark. Proof? That’s exactly what Pirates fans did after he homered and drove in three runs in Saturday’s win over the Twins. The fans want to love you, Rowdy. Your name is Rowdy!

22. Blue Jays (previously: 20)
Season high: 8 | Season low: 23
It’s surprising that it took until Saturday for Kevin Gausman to throw his first career shutout, isn’t it? It seems like he would have done that already. Gausman, who hasn’t been as dominant as the Blue Jays had been expecting this year, sure was on Saturday against the A’s, striking out 10 and giving up only five hits. It was the seventh shutout thrown in the Majors this year; it took Gausman 272 career starts to finally get one.

23. Cardinals (previously: 16)
Season high: 16 | Season low: 27
Back in May, the Cardinals had a fantastic homestand in which they won two of three from the Red Sox, swept the Orioles and took two more from the Cubs, and they followed it up by winning two of three in Cincinnati. It felt like a series that saved their season. But that momentum is now gone. Since then, they’ve lost two of three to both Philadelphia and Houston and split a series at home against the lowly Rockies. Perhaps most worrisome: Sonny Gray, the pitcher they’re counting on more than any other, has started having control issues; he only went 4 2/3 innings in his last start, giving up three runs and walking four.

24. Nationals (previously: 22)
Season high: 19 | Season low: 27
It looked like it was going to be a disastrous week for the Nationals, who helped the Mets warm up for the London Series by getting swept by them at home. But then they went out and won three of four from the reeling Braves, which not only propelled them back ahead of the Mets in the standings but, sort of incredibly, still has them in the thick of the Wild Card race. Whatever your thoughts are about this team, the Nats are starting to look like they have what it takes to be the underdogs again.

25. Mets (previously: 25)
Season high: 10 | Season low: 25
Ask any Cardinals fan from last year: Even if your team has a rough season, like the Cards did in 2023, it’s forever memorable when you get to play in the London Series, particularly when you can scrape out a split. (Especially when you do so in such memorable comeback fashion against your rivals.) At the very least, when are the Mets ever going to share the field with Freddie Mercury again? There won’t be a London Series in ‘25, but it’s expected to return in ‘26.

26. A’s (previously: 26)
Season high: 20 | Season low: 30
We are absolute suckers for father-son interactions on a Major League Baseball field -- and hey, we’re a week away from Father’s Day -- so we fell hard for this moment on Thursday when A’s outfielder Daz Cameron exchanged lineup cards with his father, Mike Cameron, who is a special assignment coach for the Mariners.

“It was a casual talk,” Daz said.

It’s the casual talks that matter, Daz.

27. Angels (previously: 27)
Season high: 24 | Season low: 27
With all the older players filling out the Angels’ roster this year, it can be easy to take your eyes off the prize: This team needs its young players to thrive. You could squint and see a happy future in the final game of a three-game sweep of the Padres on Wednesday, when starter José Soriano (25 years old) earned the win, Zach Neto (23) and Nolan Schanuel (22) homered and top prospect Ben Joyce (23) looked terrific in relief. There’s some young talent in here, if you remember to look for it.

28. Rockies (previously: 29)
Season high: 28 | Season low: 29
The Rockies have been waiting for Ezequiel Tovar to develop into the star they clearly believe he can be. (Well, he’s only 22; they haven’t been waiting that long.) That elevation may well be happening. Thanks largely to the elimination of a leg kick in his swing, Tovar has been on a heater for more than a month now. After a two-homer game in a win over the Cardinals on Saturday, he was slashing .324/.342/.570 with seven homers and 16 RBIs since May 3 -- the exact day he ditched the leg kick.

29. Marlins (previously: 28)
Season high: 23 | Season low: 30
For a team that has been long known, even during its lean years, for solid young starting pitching, the Marlins haven’t had much of it in 2024. Their best young starter has been Ryan Weathers, who, at 24, has a 3.55 ERA in 13 starts. So that’s good. But he just went on the 15-day injured list with a left index finger strain. So that’s not so good.

30. White Sox (previously: 29)
Season high: 28 | Season low: 30
Sometimes it’s the simple things. After the White Sox lost a franchise-record 14 straight games, they went out and won two in a row against the Red Sox, their first back-to-back wins in nearly a month. Manager Pedro Grifol didn’t complicate matters.

“It's fun to win. It sucks to lose,” he said.

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