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MLB Power Rankings: Can Anyone Stop the Atlanta Braves?

 Leif Skodnick  |    Aug 7th, 2023 3:34pm EDT

Michael Harris II, Ronald Acuna Jr., and Eddie Rosario of the Atlanta Braves celebrate the 8-0 win against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on August 04, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network

The Major League Baseball trade deadline came and went on August 1. The organizations that were buyers are banking on production from the new acquisitions, and teams that sold at the deadline waved the white flag for 2023. 

Of the six divisions in Major League Baseball, the only team that appears to be a lock to win their division is the Atlanta Braves in the National League East. The other five divisions could all come down to the final week of the regular season, or even October 1, the last day of the 2023 MLB regular season schedule. 

With about 50 games remaining in the MLB regular season, let’s look at where World Baseball Network ranks all 30 teams. 

30. Oakland Athletics 
2023 Record: 32-80

This one was predictable. Oakland has many players on the big league roster that are unprepared to face MLB pitchers or hitters. They are the only team in MLB with a run differential of more than -200 and ranked dead last in team batting average headed into this past weekend’s games. Outfielder and first-time All-Star Brent Rooker leads the team with 18 home runs. 

29. Kansas City Royals 
2023 Record: 36-77

If not for a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins, the Royals could have ranked No. 30. Instead, Bobby Witt Jr. delivered a dramatic walk-off grand slam against Minnesota closer Jhoan Duran. Longtime Kansas City reliever Scott Barlow was dealt to the San Diego Padres at the trade deadline. 

28. Chicago White Sox 
2023 Record: 45-68

Where to begin? The White Sox front office failed to produce a team capable of contending and sold at the deadline. Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, Reynaldo Lopez, Joe Kelly, Kendall Graveman, and Jake Burger found new homes. Luis Robert Jr. must figure out how he will lead this team for the rest of the season, and Tim Anderson might be taking boxing classes in the future. 

27. Colorado Rockies 
2023 Record: 44-67

Colorado said goodbye to first basemen C.J. Cron and outfielder Randal Grichuk at the deadline, sending both to the Los Angeles Angels. Although both players were pivotal to their lineup, it makes more sense for the Rockies to stockpile as many prospects as possible. One of them is bound to turn into a big-league star. Right? 

26. Washington Nationals 
2023 Record: 49-63

It has been a tough stretch for the Nationals, losing third basemen Jeimer Candelario at the deadline to the Chicago Cubs and starting pitcher MacKenzie Gore having Angel Hernandez behind home plate in the umpire’s first game behind the dish in 2023. However, outfielder Lane Thomas remaining on the team past the deadline should make Nationals fans smile. Thomas leads the team in OPS + (124) after Candelario’s departure. 

25. Pittsburgh Pirates 
2023 Record: 50-61

The Bucco’s first half of the season feels like a fever dream. They were in first place in the National League Central… and have regressed as the season went on, falling to fourth place. Their drastic drop in the standings showcases how long the MLB season is. Pittsburgh traded away their starting catcher Austin Hedges to the Texas Rangers, Carlos Santana  to the Milwaukee Brewers, and sent Ji-man Choi and 43-year-old starting pitcher Rich Hill to the San Diego Padres. 

24. St. Louis Cardinals 
2023 Record: 49-64

The Cardinals were sellers at the deadline, but held on to outfielder Dylan Carlson and utility man Brendan Donovan, both rumored to be on the move. Even with about 50 games to go until the end of the regular season, St. Louis has a slim chance of making the postseason. Veterans Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt may already have their eyes set on 2024. 

23. Detroit Tigers 
2023 Record: 49-62

The Tigers reportedly had a deal to send starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but Rodriguez nixed the agreement to stay closer to his family on the East Coast. Any chance Detroit had to win the American League Central is starting to fade away as they are currently 8.5 games back from the first-place Minnesota Twins. The Tigers could make things interesting down the stretch if young starting pitchers Matt Manning and Reese Olson can provide quality starts. 

22. New York Mets 
2023 Record: 50-61

Steve Cohen and the Mets were the most aggressive sellers at the trade deadline and for good reason. For a team with such high hopes at the beginning of the season, the Mets now have just a 0.2% chance of making the postseason according to BaseballReference.Com. To make matters worse, they were swept by the Kansas City Royals last week and were outscored 20-8 in the three-game series. 

21. Los Angeles Angels 
2023 Record: 56-57

It would be easier to talk about the Angels by mentioning Shohei Ohtani, who hit his 40th home run of the season on Thursday against the Seattle Mariners. Besides Ohtani, the Angels will need significant offensive production from Hunter Renfroe, Luis Rengifo, and Mickey Moniak. Newly acquired starting pitcher Lucas Giolito was roughed up in his first start, allowing nine earned runs in 3.2 innings. 

20. Cleveland Guardians 
2023 Record: 54-58

The Guardians are in a much better position to take the top spot in the American League Central than the Detroit Tigers are, but they have plenty of work to do. The Guardians’ offense ranks 15th in the AL in home runs but added some power by acquiring first-base prospect Kyle Manzardo. Manzardo hit 11 home runs in Triple-A Durham for the Tampa Bay Rays and could join superstar third basemen Jose “Right Hook” Ramirez in the infield sooner than later. 

19. Chicago Cubs 
2023 Record: 58-54

Are the Cubs contenders or pretenders? The regular season is past the 100-game mark, and that is still the number one question in Chicago. Holding on to Cody Bellinger and the subsequent move to trade for Jeimer Candelario means General Manager Carter Hawkins wants to win this season. There has not been a more clutch outfield catch this season than Mike Tauchman’s game-saving home run robbery against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29. 

18. Minnesota Twins 
2023 Record: 59-54

For a team holding on to first place for dear life, the Twins did little to improve the roster at the deadline. They replaced reliever Jorge Lopez with Dylan Floro and that was all she wrote. Minnesota will not be in control of first place in the AL Central much longer if shortstop Carlos Correa does not start hitting. His current .677 OPS would be the worst in his nine-year career. 

17. San Diego Padres
2023 Record: 55-56

The Padres were cautious buyers at the trade deadline, acquiring veterans Rich Hill and Ji-Man Choi. Both players can provide leadership in the clubhouse for a team with tons of talent but have yet to be able to turn talent into wins. Shortstop Ha-Seong Kim is having a remarkable third season in Major League Baseball, slugging .456 and ranks third amongst all MLB players in wins above replacement (5.6). 

16. Seattle Mariners
2023 Record: 60-52

Seattle is another team pushing for the third Wild Card spot in the American League. For that to happen, starting pitcher Luis Castillo needs more appearances similar to his seven shutout innings on July 7 against a formidable Houston Astro offense. Outfielder Jarred Kelenic will likely be on the IL until September after fracturing his left foot by kicking a water cooler out of frustration.

15. Miami Marlins
2023 Record: 58-55

Sandy Alcantara looks dangerous on the mound again. The 2022 National League Cy Young threw nine innings of one-run ball against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 26 and eight shutout innings in his next start against the Philadelphia Phillies on August 1. If Luis Arraez can continue to be the second coming of Ted Williams and Jorge Soler’s power keeps up, the Marlins have the potential to advance far in the postseason. 

14. Boston Red Sox
2023 Record: 57-54

Red Sox fans said goodbye to utility man Kike Hernandez and said hello to Luis Urias, who has spent the majority of 2023 in Triple-A Nashville for the Milwaukee Brewers. Trevor Story will be returning from the injured list shortly and will be an automatic upgrade to the lineup. Boston’s starting pitching, specifically how injury-prone players James Paxton and Garrett Whitlock perform, will be key down the stretch. 

13. New York Yankees 
2023 Record: 58-54

The offense is a big problem. The offense was an even bigger problem when Aaron Judge was on the injured list. Judge has primarily been the Yankees’ designated hitter since his return from injury but makes it very tempting for opposing teams to pitch around him. 2023 may be the year Gerrit Cole finally wins his first Cy Young Award, and Luis Severino loses his spot in the rotation. 

12. Arizona Diamondbacks 
2023 Record: 57-56

The D-Backs were 2-8 in their last ten games going into Sunday, and the schedule will only get more challenging. They play a two-game set against the Los Angeles Dodgers starting on Tuesday and will then face-off against the San Diego Padres in a three-game set beginning Friday, August 11. Arizona acquired relief pitcher Paul Sewald from the Seattle Mariners at the deadline and sent Andrew Chafin to the Milwaukee Brewers. As always, outfielder Corbin Carroll is the player to watch out for in the desert. 

11. Cincinnati Reds 
2023 Record: 59-55

The 2023 Reds are led by their rookie players, including Spencer Steer, Matt McLain, and blooming superstar Elly De La Cruz. Cruz has surpassed expectations, but the pitching staff is holding this team back from being a dark-horse World Series pick. They’ll receive a much-needed boost when starters Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo return from injury soon. 

10. San Francisco Giants 
2023 Record: 61-51

Baseball is fun in the Bay Area. With no true superstars in the lineup, the Giants’ depth is what makes them dangerous. Utility men Blake Sabol and Wilmer Flores allow manager Gabe Kapler to insert them in the lineup with confidence they will perform. San Francisco should have done more at the trade deadline to improve the rotation, which puts tremendous pressure on Logan Webb and Alex Cobb. 

9. Milwaukee Brewers 
2023 Record: 60-53

Acquiring reliever Andrew Chafin and outfielder Mark Canha were the only major trade deadline moves the Brewers made. Still, they should remain the favorites to win the National League Central. Their pitching rotation may have needed another arm or two to join forces with Corbin Burnes, but bullpen arms like Devin Williams and Joel Payamps can help guide them to the postseason. 

8. Toronto Blue Jays 
2023 Record: 63-50

Toronto made easy work of the Boston Red Sox this past weekend at Fenway Park, sweeping the three game series. The offense is one of the best in MLB featuring players like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, but will the pitching staff be able to hold their own? Alek Manoah has started to look like his old self, generating 12 swings and misses on 89 pitches in a 7-3 win against the Red Sox on August 4. 

7. Philadelphia Phillies 
2023 Record: 61-51

It has been a disappointing first season in Philadelphia for shortstop Trea Turner, but the majority of the lineup has produced. Bryce Harper has found his stroke at the plate and went three-for-four with one home run and two RBI on Saturday. Once again, the Phillies are headed towards being one of the more dangerously underrated Wild Card teams. 

6. Los Angeles Dodgers 
2023 Record: 64-46

Freddie Freeman would be the clear favorite for National League Most Valuable Player if not for Ronald Acuna Jr. Freeman led all MLB players with a 1.003 OPS and 40 doubles going into Sunday’s game against the San Diego Padres. The duo of Freeman and Mookie Betts makes the Dodgers serious contenders, no matter who they are playing in the postseason. 

5. Tampa Bay Rays 
2023 Record: 68-46

The Rays went 8-16 in July, forcing them out of the top three and into second place in the American League East. By no means does this disqualify Tampa Bay as World Series contenders, but it does raise questions about their ability to fight through adversity. They’ll need 22-year-old shortstop Wander Franco to continue his impressive season at the plate and starting pitcher Zach Eflin to step up as the team ace in replacement of Shane McClanahan while he is on the 15-day IL. 

4. Houston Astros 
2023 Record: 64-49

Justin Verlander is back with Houston after spending one-half of a season in Queens with the New York Mets. The 40-year-old veteran’s presence in the clubhouse may be appreciated even more than his play on the field. With slugger Yordan Alvarez back in the lineup and breakout star Chas McCormik (.890 OPS) having a breakout year, the Astros are looking more dangerous by the day. 

3. Texas Rangers 
2023 Record: 66-46

The Texas Rangers are the clear winners of the 2023 MLB trade deadline, right? They improved an already steady rotation by adding future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer, and lefty Jordan Montgomery. Marcus Semien and Corey Seager lead an offense that ranks first in the American League in hits (1,060), and third in home runs (161). The AL West race between the Astros and Rangers is bound to come down to the final few games of the regular season. 

2. Baltimore Orioles 
2023 Record: 70-42

The Orioles went 47-115 in 2018, and are primed to win a World Series five seasons later. They completed a three-game sweep against the New York Mets over the weekend and hold a three-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East. Both Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman represent a youth movement for the Orioles, and will be mainstays in Baltimores’ lineup for the foreseeable future. 

1. Atlanta Braves 
2023 Record: 70-39

Matt Olson leads MLB with 97 RBI and a .605 slugging percentage. Ronald Acuna Jr. leads MLB in runs scored (99) and stolen bases (53). These staggering numbers have the Braves in first place in the National League East and first in the World Baseball Network power rankings. There seems to be no stopping Atlanta, especially when starting pitcher Spencer Strider is on the mound. Strider has struck out 10 or more hitters in four of his last five starts. 

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Leif Skodnick