MLB Power Rankings: Rays, Brewers lead charge, Phillies, Cardinals stumble to open season

The MLB season is officially underway and there have already been plenty of surprises. The Tampa Bay Rays have stolen headlines with their incredible 9-0 start to the year. Tampa Bay hasn’t faced the toughest competition, but they have still taken care of business. Meanwhile, teams such as the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals have stumbled out of the gate. The season is still young, but we have already seen some drastic changes in the MLB Power Rankings.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at our updated MLB Power Rankings.

1. Tampa Bay Rays (+11)

The Tampa Bay Rays were looked upon as a solid, albeit far from great team heading into the season. The Rays have always found ways to win and betting against them is always risky. However, Tampa Bay has enjoyed a historic start to the 2023 campaign, going 9-0 to open the year.

It should be noted that their victories have come against lowly teams such as the Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals, and Oakland Athletics. With that being said, bad teams beat good teams all of the time in baseball. The Rays are getting the job done and winning the games they are supposed to.

The Rays’ surge places them as the No. 1 team in our MLB Power Rankings.

2. New York Yankees (+3)

The New York Yankees have seen some ups and downs since spring training. New York has dealt with injury concerns, but the team has still impressed so far in 2023. Aaron Judge looks like he’s in MVP-form, and players such as Giancarlo Stanton have stepped up as well.

The Yankees had fallen in our pre-Opening Day MLB Power Rankings, but they have proven that they can find ways to win despite their injury circumstances. As a result, New York is back near the top of the rankings.

3. Houston Astros (-2)

The Houston Astros, in similar fashion to the Yankees, have been hit hard by the injury bug. Most notably, their leader Jose Altuve is out. Houston hasn’t performed well to open the season. Their pitching, which has been one of the most reliable staffs in all of baseball over the past few years, has let them down.

In the end, Houston is still the defending champs and they probably will be fine. Although one could have made an argument they should have dropped lower in the MLB Power Rankings, the Astros remain near the top despite their early-season shortcomings.

4. San Diego Padres

The San Diego Padres are one of the few teams that did not move in the rankings. San Diego is off to a strong 6-4 start and they are close to passing up Houston. For now, they remain as the No. 4 team, but it will be interesting to see how they perform once Fernando Tatis Jr and Joe Musgrove return.

5. Los Angeles Dodgers (-2)

The Dodgers’ pitching performed well in their opening series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, yet they only came away with a split at home. Los Angeles hasn’t endured the most difficult schedule to open the season, facing only Arizona and the Colorado Rockies up to this point. However, they have seen mediocre results nonetheless.

The Dodgers have been MLB’s best regular season team over the past few seasons. Los Angeles is going to figure it out and be okay, but they do have some legitimate concerns as former All-Stars Max Muncy and Chris Taylor continue to struggle.

6. Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves are close to moving up in the MLB Power Rankings. They’ve impressed early and have the potential to be one of the best teams in the league. For now, they remain at the No. 6 spot.

Atlanta will be a team to keep tabs on moving forward. Their performance stands out even more since they play in a difficult NL East division.

7. New York Mets (-5)

The New York Mets are off to a mediocre start to the 2023 season. The Mets are without two of their best pitchers, SP Justin Verlander and CP Edwin Diaz, and that has hampered their overall play.

New York had a lucrative offseason and came into the year with lofty expectations. So far, they haven’t lived up to those expectations, but the Mets will likely figure things out as the season continues on. Unfortunately, they saw one of the biggest drops in our MLB Power Rankings.

8. Cleveland Guardians 

The Cleveland Guardians played well on the road to open the 2023 campaign, before losing a series at home against the Seattle Mariners this past weekend. Regardless, Cleveland looks like the class of the American League Central. Minnesota has also played well, but the Guardians feature one of the most balanced rosters in the game.

Sure, they would benefit from adding more pop in the lineup. Nevertheless, Cleveland is establishing themselves as a legitimate contender.

9. Toronto Blue Jays (+2)

The Toronto Blue Jays are playing well up to this point. The entire AL East has performed at a fairly high level to open the year, so Toronto’s results have gone overlooked.

The Blue Jays are going to hit. That much is clear. The question is whether or not the starting rotation and bullpen can hold up. The pitching staff has flashed signs of potential up to this point, and Toronto will continue to climb the MLB Power Rankings if they continue to pitch well.

10. Milwaukee Brewers (+3)

The Brewers were one of MLB’s most disappointing teams last year. Following a dreadful 2023 Opening Day performance, Milwaukee bounced back and they have performed well ever since. The Cardinals are not playing well and dealing with clubhouse chemistry concerns. The rest of the NL Central lacks much in the way of talent.

The division could be Milwaukee’s to lose if they continue playing at a high level.

11. Seattle Mariners (-2)

The Mariners have high expectations for the season, and they are going to be okay in the long run. Seattle has endured a slow start in 2023, which has been a result of pitching inconsistency.

The Mariners will figure things out, but for now they check at No. 11 in the MLB Power Rankings.

12. Philadelphia Phillies (-5)

The defending NL champs are not playing well. Perhaps Bryce Harper’s absence looms large. Rhys Hoskins’ injury certainly hurts matters as well.

For Philadelphia, though, the question mark is their pitching staff. They made upgrades to the bullpen but one can’t help but wonder if this bullpen will perform well all season long. The Phillies are going to be a playoff contender, but there is uncertainty surrounding the team.

13. St. Louis Cardinals (-3)

The Cardinals produced mostly negative headlines to open their 2023 campaign. In addition to lackluster on-field play, manager Oliver Marmol called out OF Tyler O’Neill for not hustling in a game. His decision to publicly call out a player backfired, as the Cardinals’ chemistry is now in question.

St. Louis features enough talent to rebound, but they need to get things in order in the clubhouse.

14. Minnesota Twins (+4)

The Twins seem prepared to challenge the Guardians for the AL Central. As long as they can stay healthy in 2023, and pitch at a high level, Minnesota will be a contender.

They have performed well so far, and it will be intriguing to follow this rising ball club.

15. Texas Rangers (-1)

The Rangers haven’t seen any drastic changes in terms of rising or falling. They are playing just well enough, but aren’t turning any heads. Jacob deGrom is off to a decent start, and the Rangers’ offense has shown signs of being a respectable lineup.

Texas still needs to prove themselves moving forward. But their start to the season wasn’t terrible by any means.

16. Los Angeles Angels 

The Angels need to find ways to close out games. Their bullpen is no stranger to coughing up leads, and that has already impacted their results.

The Angels’ offense has impressed. Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout are obviously superstars, but players like Taylor Ward, Hunter Renfroe and Brandon Drury have added depth to the lineup. The starting rotation hasn’t been bad either.

If the Angels can get their bullpen in order, they will climb the MLB Power Rankings.

17. Chicago Cubs (-2)

The Cubs aren’t off to the start they surely wanted. Many people projected Chicago to be a mediocre ball club in 2023, and so far they haven’t done anything to prove those critics wrong.

The Cubs would love to contend, but right now they appear to be a .500-caliber team. Perhaps they can get on a hot streak soon.

18. Boston Red Sox (+3)

The Red Sox were another team that was counted out by many to open the season. Boston, however, is finding ways to win ball games.

The Red Sox offense is going to give them chances to win. Their pitching clearly has question marks, but Boston could be a Wild Card contender this season. As a result, they are climbing the MLB Power Rankings.

19. Arizona Diamondbacks (+3)

Will the Diamondbacks upset the Padres and Dodgers and win the NL West? Probably not, but they are tied with San Diego atop the division as of this story’s publication. Additionally, Arizona has already played the Dodgers a number of times and held their own in those contests.

The Diamondbacks need to be taken seriously. They are going to pitch at a fairly high level, and the bullpen is better than one may imagine. The offense is inconsistent, but is capable of making things happen.

20. San Francisco Giants (-1)

The Giants have had an uninspiring performance to say the least in 2023. San Francisco is expected to be a mediocre ball club, and they would love to prove people wrong.

They have a number of quality MLB players on their team. But the Giants lack much in the way of star power. They will have a tough time climbing the MLB Power Rankings, but making an NL Wild Card run isn’t out of the question.

21. Chicago White Sox (-4)

Everyone wants to believe in the White Sox. They were projected by many to win the World Series in 2022 before faltering and missing the playoffs.

Heading into 2023, there were people around the MLB world who expected Chicago to turn things around. But they haven’t done that so far. Lucas Giolito looks like a completely different pitcher than he was during his time as the Sox’s ace, and the offense isn’t scoring enough runs at a consistent rate.

The White Sox can certainly turn things around. But right now, they aren’t giving us many reasons to be excited.

22. Baltimore Orioles (-2)

The Orioles almost snuck into the playoffs a season ago. Baltimore features young and exciting talent, but playing in the talented AL East will make it difficult for them to compete. They aren’t a bad team and could find a way to improve in 2023.

For now, they are off to nothing more than a decent start.

23. Pittsburgh Pirates (+1)

The Pirates have enjoyed a fantastic start to the year for their standards. However, star shortstop ONeil Cruz went down with an injury over the weekend.

In the end, most people don’t expect Pittsburgh to seriously be a contender. The Pirates did add veteran help over the offseason and could surprise people this year. They are slowly climbing the MLB Power Rankings as a result.

24. Miami Marlins (-1)

The Marlins continue to be the team that we have grown to know them as. They struggle to score runs but feature no shortage of pitching potential. Sandy Alcantara still looks like a true superstar, and rest of the rotation has a high-ceiling.

The offense needs to find consistency though. Otherwise, Miami will labor throughout the 2023 campaign once agin.

25. Cincinnati Reds (+2)

The Cincinnati Reds are not going to be a very good team in 2023. There is reason to be hopeful for the future with pitchers like Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo in the rotation.

Cincinnati’s .500 start to the year is the reason they’ve moved up in the MLB Power Rankings. Maintaining that .500 mark will be a challenge for the Reds though.

26. Colorado Rockies (+1)

The Rockies are expected to finish near the bottom of the league. If players like Kris Bryant and CJ Cron stay healthy and perform well, Colorado could avoid being one of the absolute worst teams in baseball.

Although, they won’t be a good team either.

27. Kansas City Royals (-1)

The Royals did a good job of drafting young pitchers with high-ceilings. The issue is that many of those young arms, with Brady Singer being an exception, have failed to meet their expectations. Singer has ace potential, but the rest of their rotation leaves much to be desired.

And the offense, well, is underwhelming to say the least.

28. Detroit Tigers (-3)

The Tigers have been one of the worst teams in baseball. They are hoping their top prospects can lead them back to their competitive ways soon. Right now, however, Detroit needs to be grouped among the worst teams in the game.

29. Washington Nationals (+1)

On the bright side for Washington, they have surpassed the Athletics in the MLB Power Rankings. It is understood that Washington is in the midst of a complete rebuild and they won’t be good for a few years. The future ceiling is high for this team though. Washington has plenty of prospect potential, but 2023 simply won’t be their season.

30. Oakland Athletics (-1)

Finally, the Athletics check in at No. 30.

Oakland is continuing to rebuild. They have been able to keep things interesting in some of their games this season, but the A’s are a contender to be the worst team in baseball.

The post MLB Power Rankings: Rays, Brewers lead charge, Phillies, Cardinals stumble to open season appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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