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MLB Power Rankings: Looking at Baseball’s Bottom Half

 Leif Skodnick  |    May 16th, 2023 10:58am EDT

The Oakland A’s are at the bottom of the World Baseball Network’s MLB Power Rankings. (Photo: Associated Press vía SportRadar)

By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network

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 how all 30 organizations rank as of May 15. 

30. Oakland Athletics 

2023 Record: 9-33

The Athletics have been historically bad. Unless things take a drastic turn, they should rank dead last the rest of the season. The pitching staff ranks last in earned runs, and the offense ranks 26th in runs scored. The good news for Oakland is that Brent Rooker is hitting like an MVP candidate. 

29. Kansas City Royals 

2023 Record: 12-30

Aroldis Chapman has turned a corner in Kansas City, hitting 103 mph again on the radar gun. First baseman Vinnie Pasquantino is having a great start to the season, and should be a multi-time All-Star throughout his career. On the other hand, the Royals have struggled to build any kind of momentum under new manager Matt Quatraro. 

28. Washington Nationals 

2023 Record: 17-23

The Washington offense has been poor as only two players in the starting lineup hold an OPS over .700. On the pitching side, Josiah Gray and Mackenzie Gore look like they could be the start of a big turnaround for the Nats. Washington will need to steal wins from their division rivals the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves to make any kind of noise in the NL Wild Card race. 

27. Colorado Rockies 

2023 Record: 17-24

The Rockies took two out of three from the Pirates right before their weekend series with the Phillies. Jurickson Profar has started to heat up at the plate, blasting two home runs this past Tuesday in Pittsburgh. With the exception of Kyle Freeland, the Colorado pitching staff has struggled to keep the team in ballgames, even when the offense scores a handful of runs. 

26. Chicago White Sox 

2023 Record: 14-28

White Sox fans could be in for a long season. The team has already made 21 errors in the field, tied for 11th worst in the MLB. Eloy Jimenez will spend at least four to six weeks on the IL after undergoing appendectomy, and Jake Burger was placed on the 10-day injured list with an oblique strain. Andrew Vaughn’s three-run walk-off home run against the Rays on April 30 has been the highlight of the season for the White Sox. 

25. San Francisco Giants 

2023 Record: 17-23

J.D. Davis is having a career year up to this point, as he’s hit seven home runs and held an OPS of .868 as of Sunday, May 14. Starting pitcher Sean Manaea is off to a rough start with his new team, as he holds a 7.96 ERA through his first eight starts of the season. San Francisco will look to win their next three game set with Philadelphia, starting on Monday in San Fran.

24. St. Louis Cardinals 

2023 Record: 15-25

What is going on in St. Louis? Manager Oliver Marmol announced that catcher Wilson Contreras will DH and play the outfield for the time being, and Nolan Arenado is hitting just .252 at the dish. A favorite to win the NL Central at the beginning of the season will now have to scratch and claw to make it back to the top. 

23. Detroit Tigers 

2023 Record: 18-21

Detroit has kept themselves close to .500 almost a month and a half into the season. If the season were to end today, Eduardo Rodriguez would almost certainly receive votes to win the AL Cy Young Award for his outstanding 1.57 ERA in 51.2 innings pitched. The offense still has its struggles, but has improved thanks to the recent outburst of Javier Baez, who hit his first home run of the season against his former team, the New York Mets. 

22. Cincinnati Reds 

2023 Record: 18-22

Cincinnati currently sits in fourth place in the NL Central, but a short winning streak could propel them to as high as first in the coming week. Starting pitcher Nick Lodolo has not had the season many expected, as he has an ERA of 6.29. The biggest surprise has been Jake Fraley. Over the course of the outfielder’s career, he has been known as a defense first outfielder, but this year is batting .269 and is tied for the team lead in home runs, with five. 

21. Miami Marlins 

2023 Record: 20-21

The bright spots of the Miami offense have been major bright spots. It seems like Luis Arraez records a hit every time he steps up to the plate, and Jorge Soler has been mashing home runs. Sandy Alcantara’s tough start to the year continued this past Saturday, giving up six earned runs on seven hits in 7.2 innings pitched in a 6-5 loss against the Reds. 

20. Chicago Cubs 

2023 Record: 19-21

Chicago just recently lost Nico Hoerner to the 10-day injured list, and Nick Madrigal will take his place in the lineup. On the brightside, 35-year-old catcher Yan Gomes has been fantastic at the plate, hitting six home runs to go alongside a .324 batting average in 21 games this season. The Cubs were only a game under .500 going into Sunday, and could be back over soon if Justin Steele, Marcus Stroman, and Drew Smyly continue to keep opposing lineups in check. 

19. Cleveland Guardians 

2023 Record: 19-21

Even three or four games under .500, Cleveland has been in second place in the AL Central the majority of the season. The offense has only hit 22 home runs, but they rank second amongst all MLB teams with 42 stolen bases. Steven Kwan and Myles Straw are tied for the team lead with nine. Unfortunately for the Guardians, the small-ball identity only works when it produces wins for the team, which is not the case as of late. 

18. Pittsburgh Pirates 

2023 Record: 22-19

The Pirates took the league by storm in April, but have looked like their old selves in May, losing nine of their last 10. Pittsburgh needs better production from players like Ke’Bryan Hayes and Austin Hedges if they want to stay in the race. Mitch Keller threw an absolute gem on May 8 against Colorado, striking out eight in a complete game shutout. 

17. Seattle Mariners 

2023 Record: 20-20

Seattle’s offense has struggled throughout the majority of this season, and striking out has been the main issue. Eugenio Suarez has struck out 48 times in 169 plate appearances, and Teoscar Hernandez has struck out 56 times in 163 plate appearances. Finishing as one of the Wild Card spots is looking more likely by the day for the Mariners, especially with the resurgence of the first place Texas Rangers. 

16. Los Angeles Angels 

2023 Record: 21-20

The Angels have a huge problem at the catcher position since Logan O’Hoppe, Max Stassi, and Chad Wallach are all injured. Chris Okey, who has played seven games in the MLB, will take over. Patrick Sandoval has solidified himself as the second starter in the Los Angeles rotation, slotted behind Shohei Ohtani, who is off to a great start on the mound, leading the staff with 66 strikeouts. 

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Leif Skodnick