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MLB Power Rankings: At 20 Games Over .500, Rays Running Away From The Pack Early

 Leif Skodnick  |    May 17th, 2023 12:16am EDT

The Tampa Bay Rays are atop the World Baseball Network’s MLB Power Rankings again. (Photo: Associated Press via SportRadar)

By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network

The Major League Baseball season has reached the middle of May, and the vast majority of teams in both the American and National League still have their sights set on the postseason. 

All of the division races are within six games, with some being more competitive than others. The fifth place Boston Red Sox in the AL East would be in first place in the AL Central, and the fourth place Miami Marlins in the NL East would place second in the AL Central. The Atlanta Braves of the NL East have consistently held the largest division lead over the past month. 

The MLB has seen a very competitive balance thus far, but some teams have fallen off the table completely. Others have put themselves in a great position as the season pushes forward. Let’s take a look at the top 15 organizations rank as of May 15. 

15. Philadelphia Phillies 

2023 Record: 20-20

The return of Bryce Harper jolted some much needed energy into the Phillies. In nine games, Harper has hit .361 at the plate and blasted two home runs. Shortstop Bryson Stott, who started the season with an amazing hitting streak, has cooled off significantly, a huge reason why the 2022 N.L. champions sat just one game above .500 as of Sunday. 

14. Minnesota Twins 

2023 Record: 23-18

Minnesota should be counting their blessings, because in any other division besides their own, they would not be in first place. The team leader Carlos Correa has hit very poorly for his standards, just .200. In all likelihood, his bat will begin to warm up as the weather does. 

13. Arizona Diamondbacks 

2023 Record: 23-18

Zac Gallen is a star on the mound, and the Diamondbacks should already be discussing a contract extension with him if they have not already. The D-Backs are a very fun young team to watch, including shortstop Geraldo Perdomo, who has hit 10 of his 28 knocks for extra bases. Arizona will be a team to watch for in both the NL West and Wild Card race this season. 

12. New York Mets 

2023 Record: 20-21

Justin Verlander was hit hard in his first start of the season against Detroit, allowing two home runs in the first inning. To make matters worse, Max Scherzer, who had just finished serving his 10-game suspension due to illegal substances on his pitching hand, was scratched from his last start due to neck spasms. Pete Alonso has been the best hitter on the team, leading in both home runs (13), and OPS+(134), which indicates a player’s worth compared to an average MLB player. 

11. San Diego Padres 

2023 Record: 19-22

If the season ended today, the Padres would not qualify for the postseason. Of course, there are still another 120-plus games to go, but that should be concerning for San Diego fans. Fernando Tatis Jr. has hit five home runs since his return to the lineup, after serving a 80-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. The pitching staff statistics reflect that the Padres should be in the market for a starting pitcher come the trade deadline. 

10. Boston Red Sox 

2023 Record: 22-18

The Sox are proving many doubters wrong, and have remained competitive in a tough AL East division. Masataka Yoshida won American League player of the week for May 1-7, and has found his swing in the MLB. The rest of the season will be an uphill battle for Boston, especially when not a single one of their starting pitchers in the rotation holds an ERA below five. 

9. New York Yankees 

2023 Record: 23-19

Aaron Judge returned to the Yankees lineup this past Tuesday and helped them finish off a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics in the Bronx. The rotation should get some help soon in the form of Luis Severino, who will make a few more rehab assignment starts with Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre, before making his season debut. Carlos Rodon could spend a while longer on the IL due to what doctors say is a “chronic” back injury. 

8. Milwaukee Brewers 

2023 Record: 23-17

Milwaukee has taken over first place in the NL Central from the Pittsburgh Pirates, but not for their outstanding play. They were 4-6 in their last 10 games going into Sunday, but picked up a huge 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on a Joey Wiemer walk-off sac fly this past Saturday. Corbin Burnes is starting to turn things around this season on the mound. In his last start against Kansas City, he allowed no earned runs on just two hits in six innings. 

7. Toronto Blue Jays 

2023 Record: 24-16

The Blue Jays were just swept by the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, but are still one of the most dangerous lineups in the MLB. Bo Bichette is leading the American League with 54 hits, and has finished as the leader each of the past two seasons. Chris Bassit finished off a complete game shutout this past Friday against the Atlanta Braves, who were only able to muster two hits off of the right-hander. 

6. Baltimore Orioles 

2023 Record: 26-14

The Orioles held a sizable three-game lead for first place in the Wild Card standings going into Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, who they took the first two games from. Adley Rutschman, who has a .873 OPS in 39 games into 2023, has a solid case to be the starting catcher for the American League at this year’s All-Star game. Baltimore should be buyers at this year’s trade deadline, especially for starting pitching depth. 

5. Houston Astros 

2023 Record: 21-19

Houston will have to continue the rest of their season without the services of starting pitcher Luis Garcia, who will miss the remainder of the year after undergoing Tommy John Surgery. Jose Altuve should be returning from the IL shortly, and will slot right back at second base, where Mauricio Dubon has done a solid job, hitting .292 with three stolen bases. The young right-hander Hunter Brown becomes even more important with the loss of Garcia, and has allowed just one home run in 39 innings of work. 

4. Texas Rangers 

2023 Record: 25-15

The mix of free agent signings and trades the Rangers have made the last few seasons seem to be paying off. Corey Seager is still stuck on the 10-day IL with a Grade 2 left hamstring strain, but his teammate Marcus Semien looks better than ever. Semien’s OPS sits at .856, and he has 33 runs batted in. Nathan Eovaldi has stepped up in the absence of Jacob deGrom, striking out 12 in his most recent start this past Thursday in a 4-0 Texas win over the Oakland Athletics. 

3. Atlanta Braves 

2023 Record: 25-15

Atlanta has created some separation between themselves and the Philadelphia Phillies, now ahead by five games in the NL East for first place. They had a rough weekend against the Toronto Blue Jays, losing all three games. Ronald Acuna Jr. leads the Braves in both OPS (.992), and total bases (85), and Matt Olson has swung a hot bat, leading the team in home runs with 11. 

2. Los Angeles Dodgers 

2023 Record: 26-15

Eight wins in their last 10 games has shot the Dodgers right into the number two spot in this edition’s power rankings. Mookie Betts is starting to heat up, hitting two home runs in his last four games, and struck out just once in his last 18 at-bats going into Sunday. 35-year-old Clayton Kershaw is outperforming his age once again. He has struck out 56 hitters in 49.2 innings this season. 

1. Tampa Bay Rays 

2023 Record: 31-11

The Rays have put themselves in a different weight class from the rest of the MLB this season. They currently lead the league in batting average, home runs, runs scored, on base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, and hits. The pitching has been above average as well, thanks to Shane McClanahan and Zach Eflin. The Tampa Bay rotation, who had already lost Jeffrey Springs to Tommy John Surgery, will be without Drew Rasmussen for the next two months due to a flexor strain. 

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Leif Skodnick