MLB Power Rankings: Another AL East team joins the top 5


The Tampa Bay Rays still rule, but the Baltimore Orioles are coming on fast in this week's MLB Power Rankings.

The O's -- led by American League Player of the Week Gunnar Henderson -- move up a spot to enter the top five, one of four AL East teams in the top 10.

Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers hold firm at No. 2, missing a chance at passing the Rays by dropping two of three to them last weekend at the Trop. Still, the AL West rival Houston Astros have not only dropped from the top five but have lost slugger Yordan Alvarez to the injured list.

In the National League, the Atlanta Braves remain third, while two NL West contenders both rose one spot -- the Los Angeles Dodgers to No. 4 and the Arizona Diamondbacks to No. 7.

Our expert panel has combined to rank every team in baseball based on a combination of what we've seen so far and what we already knew going into the 162-game marathon that is a full baseball season. We also asked ESPN MLB experts David Schoenfield, Bradford Doolittle, Jesse Rogers, Alden Gonzalez and Joon Lee to weigh in with an observation for all 30 teams.

Week 10 | Preseason rankings

1. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 49-22

Previous ranking: 1

Tampa Bay feared some regression following the injuries to Jeffrey Springs and Drew Rasmussen, but the return of Tyler Glasnow provided a significant reinforcement for the Rays' rotation. Glasnow allowed just one run on one hit and struck out six in six innings Friday against the Rangers, who have the highest-scoring offense in baseball. If Glasnow stays healthy, he and lefty Shane McClanahan could provide the Rays with one of the game's best one-two punches. -- Lee

2. Texas Rangers

Record: 42-25

Previous ranking: 2

It wasn't the best week for the Rangers, yet they maintained a healthy lead over second-place Houston thanks to a deep offense, led by Corey Seager. The veteran shortstop was 8-for-19 over a five-game stretch last week, which included a five-hit effort Saturday against the Rays. That was part of Texas' lone win over Tampa Bay in a three-game showdown with the only team higher in our rankings. Do the Rangers have enough on the mound? Last week wasn't great, but they've mostly been good despite losing Jacob deGrom. -- Rogers

3. Atlanta Braves

Record: 42-26

Previous ranking: 3

The Braves had a seven-game winning streak snapped on Sunday, a stretch that included a wild 13-10 win over the Mets last Thursday (the finale of a three-game sweep). The anticipated Justin Verlander-Spencer Strider duel was hardly that, as Verlander lasted three innings and Strider allowed eight runs in four, the worst start of his career. The Braves, however, tied it with two in the eighth (a Travis d'Arnaud home run) and one in the ninth (Orlando Arcia's home run) and then won it on Ozzie Albies' three-run walk-off home run. The Braves trailed by at least three runs in all three wins against the Mets -- the first time since the team moved to Atlanta in 1966 that it won three straight games after trailing by three runs. -- Schoenfield

4. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 38-30

Previous ranking: 5

The Dodgers are coming off a brutal road trip that saw them go 2-4 and suffer three -- that's right, three -- walk-off losses. Moving forward, though, the health of their starting rotation is a much bigger concern. Julio Urias and Dustin May are still on the injured list, Noah Syndergaard -- dealing with a blister -- is basically un-pitchable, and the Dodgers might have to navigate the rest of this month with a four-man rotation, a stunning development for a team that has boasted some of the industry's best pitching depth in recent years. To top it all off, Tony Gonsolin has been pitching with diminished velocity of late. Clayton Kershaw and Bobby Miller, at least, have been pitching very well. -- Gonzalez

5. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 42-25

Previous ranking: 6

The Orioles continue to flourish and there's growing reason to fear the birds. For one, rookie Gunnar Henderson seems to be finding his stroke. In the past week, the 21-year-old infielder had 13 hits and four homers in 24 at-bats after entering the month barely peeking over the Mendoza Line. With outfielder Cedric Mullins working his way back from the injured list, Baltimore's offense could take another big leap. -- Lee

6. Houston Astros

Record: 39-29

Previous ranking: 4

The Astros' near-term quest of catching the Rangers in the AL West was complicated considerably this week when Yordan Alvarez wound up on the IL with an oblique injury. The range of outlooks for oblique issues is large, but Houston general manager Dana Brown told reporters Alvarez won't participate in baseball activities for at least three weeks. That's a crushing blow to an Astros offense that has been considerably less prolific than usual. That means Alvarez's absence could encompass a rough upcoming stretch of schedule that includes a key 10-game road trip with series against the Dodgers and Cardinals and a huge four-game set at Texas. While an Astros collapse seems exceedingly unlikely, it's going to be a challenge. Alvarez has missed his share of time in recent seasons despite consistently putting up MVP-level numbers. Overall, Houston has held its own, going 32-24 in games Alvarez has missed since the start of the 2021 season. -- Doolittle

7. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 41-27

Previous ranking: 8

The Dodgers might still be ahead of the Diamondbacks in our rankings, but the D-backs are ahead of them in the standings. They woke up Tuesday morning with a four-game cushion in the NL West thanks in large part to a six-game winning streak. By then, they had won 12 times in a stretch of 14 games. That 14-game span saw the D-backs post an .827 OPS, average more than six runs per game and steal 11 bases. We've hit the midway point of June, and seven members of their lineup -- Christian Walker, Ketel Marte, Geraldo Perdomo, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Corbin Carroll, Evan Longoria and Emmanuel Rivera -- have accumulated at least 120 plate appearances and are producing an OPS+ more than 20% above league average. -- Gonzalez

8. New York Yankees

Record: 39-30

Previous ranking: 7

The Yankees' offense is sputtering without Aaron Judge. With the reigning AL MVP on the injured list following his wall-crashing catch at Dodger Stadium, New York suffered a pair of series losses to the White Sox and Red Sox. Another injured Yankee, lefty Carlos Rodon, inches closer to his season debut after throwing a pair of live batting practices last week, with another scheduled for Thursday ahead of a potential rehab assignment. But the Yankees have cause for concern with starter Luis Severino, who has struggled since coming back from the IL -- with a 6.48 ERA in five starts and decreased velocity. -- Lee

9. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 38-31

Previous ranking: 9

Toronto made a statement in taking three of four against the Astros over the weekend. A potential massive development for the Blue Jays: George Springer is hitting the ball much better over the past week, collecting seven hits in 20 at-bats. A healthy and hitting Springer could take Toronto's offense to another level in a powerhouse AL East. -- Lee

10. Minnesota Twins

Record: 35-33

Previous ranking: 10

The Twins' best hope for creating some separation between themselves and their sub-.500 pursuers in the AL Central would be for Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton to produce at near-MVP levels for the rest of the season. Buxton is waiting out yet another injury, but while Correa's overall numbers this season still lag well behind his career standard, he's shown some signs that maybe, just maybe, he's on the verge of a hot streak. Correa homered three times over the past week while tacking on about 50 points to his OPS. Two of those homers were huge: a go-ahead, seventh-inning grand slam against Toronto and, three days later, a game-ending, two-run shot off elite Milwaukee closer Devin Williams. -- Doolittle

11. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 38-32

Previous ranking: 17

The Angels are rolling of late, winning eight of their past 10 games, including two of their first three against the first-place Rangers. Shohei Ohtani has been a major driver offensively, slashing .423/.500/.904 in the month of June. But the Angels' best brand of baseball is happening while Mike Trout is navigating through one of the worst slumps of his career. Trout is batting only .202/.329/.370 with 42 strikeouts over a 33-game stretch since May 8. That certainly won't continue -- which makes you wonder how much upside this Angels team might actually have. This much is probably certain by this point: The Angels won't be trading Ohtani next month. It's hard to see them falling out of contention by then. -- Gonzalez

12. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 34-34

Previous ranking: 12

It came apart at the seams for Milwaukee over the weekend as it caught a red-hot A's team -- yes the A's beat up on the Brewers in Milwaukee. The Brewers managed nine runs over the three-game sweep. Slugger Rowdy Tellez is in a big slump -- his most recent home run came last month, and when he's not hitting them, the Brewers are in trouble. Milwaukee is last in the NL in OPS with little hope of climbing out of its offensive doldrums. The Brewers will need to pitch their way to the postseason, but injuries on the mound have put a dent in that plan. Wade Miley, Eric Lauer, Matt Bush and Bennett Sousa haven't been available (or very good) -- not to mention how much the loss of righty Brandon Woodruff has hurt the Brew Crew. All could contribute in the second half, though. -- Rogers

13. Boston Red Sox

Record: 34-35

Previous ranking: 11

It's inconsistency galore for Boston. The Red Sox took their weekend series against the Yankees in the Bronx, then dropped their next series to the Rockies at Fenway. Manager Alex Cora moved Enrique Hernandez off shortstop after a series of costly defensive blunders and announced Justin Turner will play more at first base over struggling rookie Triston Casas. On the bright side, lefty James Paxton looks excellent through his first six starts, posting a 3.09 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. -- Lee

14. Miami Marlins

Record: 38-31

Previous ranking: 14

The Marlins' outfield production has been abysmal in recent seasons, but they're finally getting some offense from Bryan De La Cruz and Jesus Sanchez. De La Cruz had a slow April but hit .337 in May and had 12 RBIs in the first 12 games of June. Sanchez, who hit well in half a season in 2021 but was terrible last year, started off slow and then missed two weeks with a hamstring injury, but he is hitting better (except for his current 1-for-17 skid). We'll see if Sanchez can maintain his production, as his peripheral numbers such as zone contact rate, whiff rate and chase rate are all similar to last season, so on the surface there hasn't been a dramatic change in his approach. -- Schoenfield

15. San Diego Padres

Record: 33-34

Previous ranking: 18

The Padres have been playing better of late, winning eight of their first 12 games in June as they creep back toward .500. And Gary Sanchez has been something of a revelation. Sanchez, a two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger with the Yankees, couldn't latch on with the Giants and Mets earlier this season. But he has been a monumental addition for a Padres team desperate for offense from its catchers, slugging .589 with six home runs through his first 14 games and even finding himself in the cleanup spot on some nights. With Sanchez providing a spark and Manny Machado back from injury, the Padres' vaunted offense might finally get going. -- Gonzalez

16. Seattle Mariners

Record: 33-34

Previous ranking: 16

Manager Scott Servais called out the club for a lack of focus after Sunday's loss to the Angels dropped them to 3-8 over their previous 11 games. "I'm frustrated by it. I think we all are. I think at times it's a lack of focus," he said. "These are things that we've talked about. It's really important not to give up outs on the bases. We've addressed it multiple times and lack of focus; we make mistakes in critical times." Of course, "lack of focus" is just a generic excuse. The bigger problems: The Mariners have the third-most strikeouts in the majors and the rotation has a 5.74 ERA in June. Outs on the bases? The Mariners are 19th (meaning 18 teams have more outs on the bases). Here's an idea: Hit better, pitch better. -- Schoenfield

17. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 34-34

Previous ranking: 19

The Phillies had back-to-back walk-off wins last Thursday and Friday against the Tigers and Dodgers. The Detroit game was a big win as Zack Wheeler took a no-hitter into the eighth. Following an error and a base hit, Wheeler was removed after 108 pitches, but the Tigers tied the game on a bunt single and then took a 2-1 lead in the ninth off Craig Kimbrel. But Bryce Harper led off the bottom of the ninth with a double to start a two-run rally, with Kody Clemens driving in the winning run. The Phillies can also hope Tuesday's 15-run, 20-hit outburst will be the offensive breakout the team needs, as all nine starters got a hit and eight had at least two. -- Schoenfield

18. San Francisco Giants

Record: 36-32

Previous ranking: 20

Mitch Haniger and J.D. Davis, two key offensive contributors for a Giants team that has been playing at a 97-win pace since the start of May, went down in a span of two pitches in Tuesday's 11-3 win over the Cardinals. Davis, with an .845 OPS this season, sprained his right ankle while sliding into third base. Then Haniger, who had shown signs of finally getting going recently, fractured his right forearm on an 89 mph sinker from Jack Flaherty. Haniger, at least, is expected to be out a while. But in his absence, the Giants have called up hot-hitting prospect Luis Matos, who carried a 1.120 OPS with the team's Triple-A affiliate. -- Gonzalez

19. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 34-32

Previous ranking: 15

The Pirates have shown few signs of giving up their hold of a weak division. Derek Shelton might be a finalist for NL Manager of the Year, though he's not likely to win with a team just a few games over .500. Still, the Pirates keep piling up series wins, like the one over the Mets last weekend. Andrew McCutchen's 2,000th career hit was just another highlight in a half-season full of them in Pittsburgh. His addition has been huge, both on and off the field. -- Rogers

20. New York Mets

Record: 32-36

Previous ranking: 13

It's been an ugly stretch, as the Mets lost three straight series to the Blue Jays, Braves and Pirates, going 1-8 and seeing Pete Alonso land on the IL after he got hit on a wrist. He's expected to miss three to four weeks, leaving the Mets without their top power hitter. The rotation, meanwhile, continues to struggle. Max Scherzer had his second straight rough outing in Tuesday's loss to the Yankees, getting knocked out in the fourth inning. He's just not getting enough swing-and-miss on his slider. Last year, batters hit .183 with a 46% whiff rate and no home runs against it. In 2023, batters are hitting .319 with a 30% whiff rate and five home runs already. Drew Smith will also face a suspension after getting caught with sticky fingers -- leading Scherzer to once again complain about that issue, even though only three pitchers (Smith, Scherzer and the Yankees' Domingo German) have been suspended this season. -- Schoenfield

21. Cleveland Guardians

Record: 31-36

Previous ranking: 21

The Guardians have gotten more collective production from rookie pitchers than any other club in the majors this season. On the other hand, Cleveland's rookie hitters had not distinguished themselves until outfielder Will Brennan surged over recent weeks. Brennan, an eighth-round draft pick in 2019 out of Kansas State, was hitting .204 with an OPS of .534 through May 28. The next day, he went on an 11-game spree that featured a .455 average and 1.217 OPS, highlighted by a number of big hits. Those included a go-ahead two-run homer on June 3 and game-ending 14th-inning double against the Astros on June 9. -- Doolittle

22. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 34-35

Previous ranking: 23

The much-anticipated debut of Elly De La Cruz didn't disappoint. The Royals finally put a stop to his hitting, as he went 0-for-5 on Monday, but not before he collected eight hits in his first six games, including a double, triple and home run in his first two. His foot speed is as devastating as his bat speed, as he went from home to third on his triple faster than anyone this season. -- Rogers

23. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 27-42

Previous ranking: 24

The realization that this just might not be the Cardinals' year has to be setting in, as the team simply can't get into gear. St. Louis hasn't won a series yet this month and has taken up residence in the NL Central cellar. Manager Oliver Marmol's seat might be getting hot, but the real issue is what St. Louis didn't do to improve on the mound. A once-vaunted staff sits in the bottom third of the league in many categories. It was a bit better over the past week, but it didn't stop the Cards from losing a weekend series to the Reds. -- Rogers

24. Chicago Cubs

Record: 30-37

Previous ranking: 22

A 4-6 West Coast trip didn't do much for the Cubs in the standings, as their problems keep moving around the diamond. Mostly, their power has dried up, especially without Cody Bellinger in the lineup. He's due back soon but could play first base, as journeyman Mike Tauchman has been impressive in center field. The headline of the week came from Marcus Stroman, who tweeted that the Cubs haven't engaged him in contract extension talks. That can't sit well with management, as the message was sent while the Cubs were 10 games under .500. -- Rogers

25. Chicago White Sox

Record: 30-39

Previous ranking: 25

The White Sox didn't fare too well in the initial All-Star balloting released by MLB this week. Given Chicago's lackluster start to the season, there aren't too many ChiSox in a position to complain with one glaring exception: center fielder Luis Robert Jr. Robert's first half has been uneven offensively, but he has created runs about 16% above the big league average. More importantly, Roberts' defensive metrics have been among the best in the game. You can quibble with whether or not that all adds up to a starting spot in the Midsummer Classic, but Roberts didn't place in the top 20 among AL outfielders. He deserves better than that, right? -- Doolittle

26. Washington Nationals

Record: 26-40

Previous ranking: 27

Who will be the Nationals' All-Star rep? Let's be honest: There aren't any strong candidates. Third baseman Jeimer Candelario has been OK and his OPS crept over .800 for one day earlier this month, and a usually loaded position is a bit weaker with guys like Manny Machado and Austin Riley not at their usual standards. Lane Thomas has been solid, but even among NL outfielders, he ranks just 21st in fWAR. Josiah Gray has a 3.19 ERA, so that puts him in the running, although his peripheral stats are much weaker. Maybe one of the relievers? Hunter Harvey has the best overall numbers, including a 1.05 WHIP. The last time the Nationals had a token All-Star rep was 2010, when reliever Matt Capps made it (he did have 23 saves at the break but had allowed 49 hits in 39 IP). -- Schoenfield

27. Colorado Rockies

Record: 29-41

Previous ranking: 28

The Rockies suffered through a six-game losing streak last week. When they finally won again on Sunday, Charlie Blackmon, their longtime outfielder, landed on the injured list with a fracture in the fifth metacarpal on his right hand, an ailment that is expected to sideline him for four to six weeks. Blackmon will now join Kris Bryant and C.J. Cron on the shelf -- three key power sources for an offense that has been basically middle of the pack in production despite spending its home games in the sport's most hitter-friendly environment. Bryant (heel bruise) and Cron (back spasms) don't have firm return dates yet. -- Gonzalez

28. Detroit Tigers

Record: 27-39

Previous ranking: 26

Just last week, we placed the Tigers in a "special" tier of teams that have all the markers of a trade-deadline subtractor but might choose to do otherwise simply because their soft division might keep them close to playoff contention. As it turns out, the Tigers were very much in the midst of trying to clarify their status by plunging into a nine-game losing streak that mercifully ended with a comeback win against the Braves on Monday. The skid solidifies the consensus view of Detroit as a non-contender, though the point about the division stands -- the Tigers remain a winning streak away from closing in on the division lead once again. But more than the games-behind column, the streak does underscore the reality that a team on pace to lose 94 games is not going to be a playoff contender. So we can start looking at the Tigers' tradeable veterans through the prism of what kind of deals might help Detroit in the longer term, a list that includes a number of relievers and offseason pickup Michael Lorenzen, who has quietly put together a nice season in the Tigers' rotation. -- Doolittle

29. Kansas City Royals

Record: 18-50

Previous ranking: 29

A team can be bad and still fun to watch. You'd have to be an extremely rosy-eyed follower of the Royals to have enjoyed the 2023 edition of the club. They have hit poorly, pitched poorly, blown leads, blundered on the basepaths. And while some struggling teams are fun because they have clearly rising young players on display, the Royals' best young players have collectively shown startlingly little progress -- on the pitching staff, they have gotten just four innings from rookies. Still, there is hope for at least a little fun: unsung, 30-year-old prospect Dairon Blanco was recalled from Triple-A Omaha. While almost by definition a 30-year-old is not a prospect, Blanco's circuitous route from Cuba to the majors during a time of pandemic is in itself a great story. Then there is what Blanco does on the field, which is, basically, steal bases at a higher rate than just about any player in professional baseball. At Omaha this season, Blanco stole 47 bases in 49 games, a rate that would turn Rickey Henderson green with envy. Alas, in another example of what kind of season this has been for Kansas City, Blanco was thrown out on his first big league steal attempt after being recalled. -- Doolittle

30. Oakland Athletics

Record: 19-51

Previous ranking: 30

Oakland's fans had a remarkable showing Tuesday night, putting together a reverse boycott to demonstrate that the city still wants its baseball team. In a year when the franchise has averaged 8,555 fans at home games, 27,759 A's fans showed up to create a playoff-esque atmosphere for a team flirting with one of the worst winning percentages in MLB history. Both the Nevada Senate and Assembly, however, passed a $380 million bill to fund the team's new stadium in Las Vegas, a huge step toward moving the team out of the East Bay. -- Lee