Welcome to another edition of the MLB Power Rankings. There's a new sheriff in town as the Texas Rangers prove deserving of the top seed.
It’s time for another edition of the MLB Power Rankings. For the uninitiated, we rank all 30 MLB clubs from first to 30th while taking into account not only their outright win-loss records but their performances against the runline as well. In some cases, the spread can even tip the balance in favour of a mediocre team and against another that otherwise would be considered good.
All data collected is as of Friday, June 9 prior to any games on the schedule.
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MLB Power Rankings
1. Texas Rangers (40-21, runline: 40-21)
We have a new number one! Lurking in second place two weeks ago, the Rangers have risen to become the top dog in the MLB. True, they don’t have quite as good a win-loss record as some of their closest rivals BUT at the time of writing no one has covered the runline 40 times. First place in the AL West helps as well. Texas has the best collective batting average in the majors with .277. Marcus Semien is hitting .299.
2. Baltimore Orioles (38-24, runline: 39-23)
The club that ranked first overall in the previous two editions is knocked off its perch into second place. Nothing too dramatic. If Texas has covered its runlines the most often, Baltimore has done so the second-most often. The bullpen has collectively earned 20 saves so far, good for fourth in a tie with Toronto. Look no further then Felix Bautista’s 16.
3. Tampa Bay Rays (46-19, runline: 37-28)
No, Tampa Bay’s performance ATS isn’t significantly better than teams ranked just behind them, but it’s still a decent record and we have no choice but to give some love to the only team that has yet to lose 20 games. The Orioles may rank second in our fun little exercise, but the Rays still lead the AL East by 6.5 games. Yandy Diaz continues to impress at bat.
4. Arizona Diamondbacks (37-25, runline: 37-25)
Arizona continues to defy the odds. Sixth when we last wrote this column, they jump two spots to fourth. At this stage of the season, even though a lot of baseball is left to be played, it feels safe to say that they and the Orioles are catching a lot of pundits off guard. Offensively they’re in a terrific race for second in MLB for batting average. Corbin Carroll (.300) and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (.310) are really slugging this season.
5. Los Angeles Dodgers (36-27, runline: 35-28)
After the top four, few teams really stand out in the top ten. The Dodgers were fourth last time and lose one spot. They’ve caught up with Tampa Bay in the home run category, trailing only by one heading into Friday’s action. As a unit they’ve hit a total of 107. Max Muncy (18) and Mookie Betts (16) are doing most of the damage in that respect.
6. New York Yankees (37-27, runline: 35-29)
This may not be the season in which the Yankees return to glory, but it also seems inevitable that they’ll be “part of the conversation” until the end of the year. They’re not amazing, but also far too good to be overlooked. We’re trying to think of something to say that doesn’t involve Aaron Judge, but the guy leads the team in home runs, batting average, RBIs, and slugging. So, yeah, Aaron Judge is very good.
7. Cincinnati Reds (29-34, runline: 37-26)
Don’t pretend as if you didn’t think this was a possibility. From the earliest editions of the column we took notice of how, despite Cincy’s mediocre win-loss tally, they were very dependable against the runline. They’ve covered more than the two teams ahead of them! No, they won’t be a playoff team unless a minor miracle occurs, but betters can put their faith in this rag-tag bunch that usually loses, but barely.
8. Houston Astros (36-27, runline: 33-30)
So the Astros have finally done it. After two months of languishing far behind the rest in the power rankings, the defending champions crack the top 10. Ironically, they do so after losing three of four to the Blue Jays, but because the games were close, their record ATS still isn’t that bad. The pitching staff has earned the best ERA in baseball with 3.25, in large part thanks to Famber Valdez and Christian Javier.
9. Washington Nationals (25-36, runline: 36-25)
Washington is like Cincinnati but slightly worse. Bottom dwellers of the NL East, Washington covers the spread with startling regularity. Looking at the leaderboards, that relative success seems to come from the offence. The Nationals are in a tie for third with their .263 batting average. Joey Meneses leads the way with .305.
10. Pittsburgh Pirates (32-29, runline: 32-29)
It looks as though that one time the Pirates got us very excited was indeed just a tiny blip on the radar. They’re by no means a bad team, just nothing to write home about. Starting Pitcher Mitch Keller is having a great campaign with a 7-2 record and 3.60 ERA. He always gives the team a chance to win when sent to the mound.
11. Atlanta Braves (38-24, runline: 28-34)
A team with this good a win-loss record can’t be placed further down the rankings than 11th. At the very least betters can take them on the moneyline. On the flip side, stay away from the runline. They’ve been mediocre-to-poor in that respect all season, which is why they struggle in this column despite being the best team in the NL East. Ronald Acuna Jr. is a man playing amongst boys it seems: .332 average, 12 home runs, 34 RBIs.
12. Los Angeles Angels (34-30, runline: 32-32)
The Angels earn their best ranking yet. L.A. is in tough in the AL West, with both Houston and Texas playing good baseball, but at least things are improving, if only incrementally. Yes, Shohei Ohtani is impressive, but check out this Gio Urshela guy (.304 average).
13. San Francisco Giants (32-30, runline: 31-31)
Apologies in advance to the readers. Past the 12th and pretty much until we get to the juicy parts near the bottom, a lot of this will read like a blur. San Fran has its best ranking yet – they hovered around 20th a lot – but that doesn’t mean much given they’re two games above .500. They are also exactly .500 ATS, which is what they were when we wrote this column two weeks ago…
14. Miami Marlins (35-28, runline: 29-34)
We really, really wanted to rank the Marlins higher. They’ve been sensational these past two weeks. Miami must be watching some NBA and NHL playoffs and feeding off the energy because they went from 22-26 to 35-38. Sadly, the Marlins are rather mediocre against the runline, which is why they can’t be put any higher than 14th. Don’t let that discourage anyone from looking at Luis Arraez: .403. Not a typo.
15. Toronto Blue Jays (36-28, runline: 31-33)
A mirror image of the Marlins. Also, a similar situation to the Nationals and Reds rankings, the problem is that the runline performances aren’t as good. Things have looked good since we last wrote about the Jays – Alek Manoah notwithstanding. It will be fun to see if Bo Bichette can sustain his amazing hitting performances.
16. Chicago White Sox (28-36, runline: 33-31)
How does a team like the White Sox get into 16th? By doing just fine ATS. Fun fact: they’re fifth in MLB in strikeouts, tallying 588 at the time of writing. Four pitchers have 70 or more: Lucas Giolito (76), Lance Lynn (80), Michael Kopech (79), and Dylan Cease (74).
17. Chicago Cubs (26-36, runline: 32-30)
We’d like to argue that these things happen by accident but when the stats look as similar as they do here, why not put both Windy City teams back-to-back? Remember Marcus Stroman, the one-time Blue Jay? Talk about a bounce-back season. His 2.39 ERA is impeccable, even though he isn’t getting the run support to boost an average 6-4 record.
18. Detroit Tigers (26-34, runline: 32-28)
How can a team eight games under .500 be only 3.5 games out of a division lead? Such is life in the AL Central. Small wonder why so few pundits pay much attention to it. That said, 32-28 ATS is actually not half bad. It’s not translating to wins, but it keeps betters happy enough. Who do they trail in the division? Well..
19. Minnesota Twins (31-32, runline: 30-33)
Thet trail the Twins, who are a game under .500. No kidding it’s a weird race to the top. Although they’re an average scoring team (19th in RBIs), the pitching is excellent. Second in earned run average (3.46) and best in MLB in strikeouts with 600. Look no further than Sonny Gray’s 2.15 ERA. Incredible. Joe Ryan is no slouch either with 2.76.
20. Milwaukee Brewers (34-29, runline: 29-34)
One supposes it’s fitting that Milwaukee should place just behind Minnesota in the rankings. Both are leaders of their respective Central Divisions all the while failing to impress much. The Brewers have a slightly worse record ATS and so here they are. Starting pitcher Corbin Burnes continues to have a great year with a 3.36 ERA.
21. Boston Red Sox (31-32, runline: 31-32)
It was going to happen sooner or later. That fact that all five AL East clubs were above .500 almost two months into the season was insane. Even then, it’s not as though Boston is bad per se, but they look to be the team of the quintet that will trail off.
22. San Diego Padres (29-33, runline: 31-31)
It might be time to admit that San Diego won’t be as good in 2023 as they were in 2022. With Arizona and the L.A. Dodgers making headway, the Padres have begun to lag. Their ace on the mound, Michael Wacha, is having a good campaign, what with a 6-2 record and 3.18 ERA.
23. Cleveland Guardians (29-33, runline: 30-32)
The chase is on in the AL Central! Yes, four games below .500 and they still get second place. It is what it is. Pitcher Shane Bieber leads the rotation with a 3.57 ERA and Emmanuel Clase can be thanked for most of the saves. He already has 20 to his name.
24. Colorado Rockies (26-38, runline: 30-34)
The Rockies are falling like rocks in the NL West. A 2-8 showing in their last 10 games has only made the challenge of pushing for better playoff chances more difficult. Traditionally playing in Colorado favours the offence, which explains how they can rank fourth in total hits with 563. Ryan McMahon currently leads with 58, although Elias Diaz has 57.
25. Seattle Mariners (30-31, runline: 29-32)
Another example of how success can be a finicky mistress. No one is thinking of Seattle as a major threat as we flirt with mid-June baseball. It’s all about pitching in Seattle. But even an ace like Luis Castillo, with an incredible 2.55 ERA, can only show a 4-3 win-loss record for his efforts. Even the Teoscar Hernandez acquisition was gently mocked in this week’s Pitch Clock.
26. St. Louis Cardinals (26-37, runline: 27-36)
Another club that had hopes for 2023 based on what it did last year but is living through a miasma of mediocrity. The strangest twist of irony is that, at the time of writing, they’re the only team in the NL Central with a positive run differential even though it’s just +1.
27. Philadelphia Phillies (30-32, runline: 24-38)
It’s a bit of a shame to place the Phillies this low given that they have played slightly better baseball over the past two weeks. Unfortunately, they’re still awful against the runline. The Trea Turner acquisition hasn’t paid dividends, but at least Nick Castellanos is having a good year (.315 average).
28. New York Mets (30-33, runline: 23-40)
This is arguably one of the starkest discrepancies in this edition. Not that their win-loss record is very good, but, like Philly, they are to be completely ignored when thinking about the spread. It’s a bitter pill of irony that the clubs in 26th, 27th, and 28th were all playoff participants a year ago. There is time to turn things around, but none have given much reason for hope.
29. Oakland Athletics (14-50, runline: 25-39)
Call it sentimentality. Call it coldly looking at the numbers. The Oakland Athletics are not the worst team. Statistically, in the standings, they’re worse than the next club on the list, but they cover a bit more often and, given the putrid state the franchise is in, we choose to give them some love. If a ranking of 29th can be considered “giving love.”
30. Kansas City Royals (21-41, runline: 21-41)
It’s unfortunate because the Royals probably are better team than the A’s. They may not be better by a whole lot, but better. Then again, they are, unfortunately, the team out of all 30 MLB squads that has covered the least the runline the least amount of times.