Power Rankings: Baseball's hottest club leaps up 7 spots

June 19th, 2023

The Reds made the playoffs in 2020, which, even with the expanded format, is not nothing. But still: They haven’t won a postseason game since 2012, when Dusty Baker was their manager, and they haven’t won a postseason series since ... would you believe, 1995? The winning pitcher in the series clincher was David Wells when he was only 32 years old, before he was ever a Yankee. Can you believe Wells was ever 32 years old?

That’s to say: It has been a long time since Reds fans have had the pure joy they’ve experienced in the past week. They went undefeated this week, all on the road, winning three games in Kansas City and then three more in Houston against the defending champion Astros. They’ve won eight in a row and are just a half-game out of first place. Out of all the National League Central teams, they’re the highest in our Power Rankings. And when you look at this team play, it’s clear: They’re just getting started.

Here are this week’s rankings:

Biggest Jump: It’s the Reds, obviously, leaping up seven spots to No. 15 from No. 22 with a 6-0 week. (They’d beaten the Cardinals twice heading into the week.) After taking out the defending champs, they will play three home games against the Rockies before what sure looks like the series of the weekend: three in Cincinnati against the Braves, the team with the best record in the National League. If the Reds have another terrific week, maybe the Fangraphs Playoff Odds will notice.

Biggest Drop: The Pirates were the feel-good story for much of the first third of the season, but they hit a wall with much force this weekend, losing all six games with NL Central opponents: Three games against the Cubs and three games against the first-place Brewers. The Bucs are now down to third place and two games under .500. But don’t fret too much, Pirates fans: They’re only 2 1/2 games out of first.

Power Rankings Top 5:

1. Rays 51-24 (last week: 1)
The Rays started the week off with two losses in Oakland but recovered to win three in a row before dropping the final two games of their series in San Diego. They’ve still got a comfortable five-game lead in the AL East, but keep an eye out on the Orioles, who are lurking and have two games at the Trop to start the week. The Rays could put some real distance between themselves and the rest of the division with a sweep.

2. Braves 46-27 (last week: 3)
Atlanta's schedule was about as easy as it gets this week -- three in Detroit and three at home against the Rockies -- but the Braves did what they were supposed to: They won five of six and expanded their lead in the NL East. They’ve had to keep pace with the suddenly hot Marlins and Phillies, who have won four in a row and six in a row, respectively. They’ve got quite a week ahead of them: three against those Phillies and three against those streaking Reds.

3. Rangers 44-27 (last week: 2)
The Rangers have already provided their fans with plenty of highlights this season, and when they play the reel of their best moments at the end of the season, you can expect Sunday’s win over the Blue Jays to be included. After falling behind, 6-0, they outscored the wobbling Jays 11-1 the rest of the way to win the series. Corey Seager is sure earning every bit of his contract: He has a 1.076 OPS on the season.

4. Orioles 44-27 (last week: 4)
The Fangraphs Playoffs Odds may still not believe in them -- they’ve got lower odds to make the postseason than the Brewers and the Padres -- but the Orioles clearly stopped listening to any outsiders, computers or otherwise, a long time ago. If they’re going to make a move on the Rays, though, their two-game set this week is quite a chance to start.

5. D-backs 43-28 (last week: 5)
Say what you will about Ichiro Suzuki and Fred Lynn -- the only two players to win an MVP their rookie year -- but there aren’t any reports of them getting MVP chants from the home crowd two months into that rookie season. That’s what happened this week with Corbin Carroll, who has the D-backs holding steady atop the NL West. They’ve got a funky week coming up: three games in Milwaukee, then a makeup game on Thursday in Washington, and then three all the way out in San Francisco.

The rest of the field of 30:

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