The Oakland A’s are 30th in World Baseball Network’s MLB Power Rankings. (Photo: Associated Press)
By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network
The Major League Baseball season is 20-plus games deep, and already, there has been plenty of excitement this year. At the beginning of the year, every team starts fresh, with new acquisitions and a zero in both the win and loss columns. Now, almost a full month later, is it becoming a bit more clear who the contenders are and who the pretenders are.
The month of April can be seen as a second spring training to many teams, but a game in April means just as much standings-wise as a game in late September. There is a long season ahead, and the standings will remain fluid. Let’s take a look where each team falls as of April 24.
30. Oakland Athletics
2023 Record: 4-18
If the team’s poor performance wasn’t enough, the days of the Athletics calling Oakland home are coming to an end. The team has purchased land in Las Vegas to build a stadium on the Las Vegas Strip, with hopes to move to the new stadium by 2027. On the field, Oakland is 27th in team batting average, 25th in home runs, and 30th in ERA.
29. Washington Nationals
2023 Record: 7-14
The Nationals are right where most expected them to be this far into the season, which is sitting in fifth place in the NL East. Starting pitcher MacKenzie Gore has been more than serviceable for Washington since being a part of the trade that sent Juan Soto to San Diego, and he should only get better. Joey Meneses is off to a slower start at the plate than expected, a huge reason why the Nationals currently sit at the back end of total runs scored in the MLB.
28. Kansas City Royals
2023 Record: 5-17
They’re 1-9 at home. That’s the record the Royals had in their first ten games at Kauffman Stadium. They have been overmatched by opposing pitchers, resulting in low batting averages. Catcher and outfielder MJ Melendez hit .156 through the team’s first 19 games, and third baseman Hunter Dozier hit .146. Brady Singer, Kansas City’s potential ace, has struggled out of the gate, pitching to a 8.14 ERA through his first four starts.
27. Colorado Rockies
2023 Record: 6-17
Colorado was in the midst of an eight-game losing streak before securing a 5-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies this past Thursday. Kris Bryant finally hit his first Coors Field home run over a year after signing with the team, and relief pitcher Daniel Bard has been activated off the 15-day IL after dealing with anxiety. As always in Colorado, the team ERA is consistently above 5.00.
26. Detroit Tigers
2023 Record: 7-13
Tigers’ manager A.J. Hinch benched shortstop Javier Baez against the Toronto Blue Jays after not running hard out of the box, and getting thrown out at second base after forgetting how many outs there are, which is only acceptable in t-ball. On a positive note, they took both games of a double-header against Cleveland this past Tuesday. Otherwise, Detroit is lacking a sense of direction in Miguel Cabrera’s last year with the team.
25. Cincinnati Reds
2023 Record: 7-15
Nick Lodolo was lit up by the Tampa Bay Rays on April 18, allowing eight earned runs on 12 hits in just 4.2 innings of work. A poor outing, but no reason for concern for Reds fans. Cincy needs to find some offensive help – and fast. As of April 21, they ranked 22nd in team OPS and 15th in home runs. Expect to see Hunter Greene in red for the foreseeable future, as he signed a six-year extension with Cincinnati worth $53 million.
24. San Francisco Giants
2023 Record: 8-13
San Francisco has been dealing with injuries as of late, including their new outfielder Michael Conforto, who returned to the lineup last Wednesday and promptly hit a home run against the Miami Marlins. Besides Logan Webb, Alex Cobb or Sean Manaea will have to step up and pitch deep into ball games if this team wants to turn the season around.
23. Chicago White Sox
2023 Record: 7-15
As former Chicago White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson once said, “You’ve got to be bleeping me!” Chicago almost took the first two out of three during the weekend in Tampa Bay, but ended up losing on a Brandow Lowe walk-off home run, and the next day on a Randy Arozarena walk-off single. Shortstop Tim Anderson should be sidelined for the next few weeks with a left knee sprain, and even his .300 batting average might not turn things around when he returns.
22. Philadelphia Phillies
2023 Record: 11-12
Last year’s National League champions sit fourth in the NL East and have struggled out of the gate. Ace Aaron Nola has not looked like his normal self, pitching to a 5.40 ERA in his first five starts. Shortstop Bryson Stott had a 17-game hitting streak to start the season, and outfielder Brandon Marsh is putting up all-star numbers at the plate. The overall team energy is clearly not the same when injured Bryce Harper is not in the lineup.
21. Miami Marlins
2023 Record: 12-10
The Marlins were 8-2 in their last ten games going into Sunday’s matchup with the Cleveland Guardians. If the MVP was solely based on batting average, Luis Arraez would win every year. Arraez became the first Marlins player in franchise history to hit for the cycle on April 11 against the Phillies. His Cy Young teammate Sandy Alcantara, pitched a complete game shutout in one hour and fifty-seven minutes on April 5 against the Twins.
20. Boston Red Sox
2023 Record: 12-11
Boston has played pretty well when they are not matched up with the Tampa Bay Rays, but then again, everyone has struggled against the Rays. Masataka Yoshida is not off to the start Boston fans expected, but the adjustment to MLB pitching takes time and patience. If the Sox want to make some noise in the Wild Card race, they will need Chris Sale to keep pitching the way he did against Minnesota on April 18. Sale gave up just one earned run on three hits, in six innings. He struck out 11.
19. St. Louis Cardinals
2023 Record: 9-13
St. Louis is fourth in the NL Central behind both the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates, but that could change quickly with a four-game series coming up against San Francisco. Young players Nolan Gorman and rookie Jordan Walker are contributing in big ways with the bat, and Nolan Arenado looks like his normal superstar self. The Cardinal’s run differential was minus six going into Sunday’s matchup with the Mariners.
18. Los Angeles Angels
2023 Record: 11-11
Despite having both Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani on the roster, the Angels have a 5.3 percent chance of making the playoffs according to Baseball Reference. Anthony Rendon’s brief altercation and suspension should be left in the past, and there should be good vibes in the clubhouse. The team will be without catcher Logan O’Happe for at least 10 days, after an awkward swing against the Yankees on Thursday led to a left shoulder injury.
17. Seattle Mariners
2023 Record: 10-12
Luis Castillo has been lights out on the mound in 2023 for Seattle, and has a 1.52 ERA through 29.2 innings. The offense has been good, but not good enough to put them ahead of other AL West teams such as the Astros or the Rangers. The surprise story has been Jarred Kelenic, who, after an abysmal start to his career, is tied with Teoscar Hernandez for the team lead in home runs with five.
16. Chicago Cubs
2023 Record: 12-9
The old Cody Bellinger is back, at least for now. The sluggers OPS sat at .914 going into Sunday against the Dodgers. Patrick Wisdom briefly led the MLB in home runs, and has nine on the year. Chicago can compete in the National League Wild Card race this year, as long as Marcus Stroman and breakout pitcher Justin Steele continue to put up quality numbers.