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MLB Power Rankings: Braves Leaving the Door Open

For the first time since 2019, I was able to go to a Milwaukee Brewers game, getting tickets to see the Crew play the St. Louis Cardinals. With Corbin Burnes on the hill and Jon Lester on the bump for St. Louis, it was a clear win, right? Well, first, our seats were right in the hot sun with no airflow, then the Cardinals jumped out to a 5-1 lead. With a fantasy draft coming up soon, we both figured it would be okay to leave early. All that we missed was Milwaukee scoring five in the ninth, including a walk-off grand slam to win 6-5. Just like me with the Brewers, don’t take your eyes off the postseason push too early. It’s just starting to get good. Here are your updated MLB Power Rankings.

Week 23 MLB Power Rankings

1) Tampa Bay Rays (86-51) (Previous: 2)

The Tampa Bay Rays have won seven of 10 and continue to defy all expectations. While the Giants and Dodgers have the same or better record, the Dodgers lost their series to San Francisco, and San Francisco lost three of four to Milwaukee. Neither of those teams should be number one in the MLB Power Rankings. Rays fans, don’t hate me, but even with how good your team is, this is more by default.

2) Milwaukee Brewers (84-54) (6)

It’s not just the Bucks. When it comes to the Milwaukee Brewers, as P.J. Tucker would say, “We got some dogs!” The Brewers took three of four games in the Giants’ house and took two of three from the Cardinals in truly intense fashion. Even with plenty of players going back and forth on the injured list (Willy Adames, Lorenzo Cain, etc.) they always seem to find a way to win. This team has shown they can win in the bay and, at the current pace, will get home-field advantage against every other NL team. This ninth-inning comeback should put the entire league on notice.

3) San Francisco Giants (87-50) (1)

The San Francisco Giants had a “prove it” week, and while they didn’t knock it out of the park, they passed the assignment. San Francisco looked shaky against the Brewers, as they lost three of four games, and the Dodgers caught up in the NL West. They were given a gift in the form of a three-game series with the Dodgers however and took two of three to take a game lead in the division. Their series loss to the Brewers takes them down a peg in the MLB Power Rankings, but they are still a top team in the league.

4) Los Angeles Dodgers (86-51) (3)

The Los Angeles Dodgers moved down in the MLB Power Rankings, thanks to the Giants more than themselves. Although they looked dominant up until their series loss to San Francisco, I can’t rationalize putting them ahead of the team they lost to, or the team that beat the team they lost to. With so much of the season left to be played, L.A. still has plenty of time to take the division. It’s more than pride; the division win would likely grant home field throughout the playoffs along with not having to play in a one-game knockout in the NL Wild Card.

5) Chicago White Sox (79-58) (8)

The White Sox didn’t have a great week by their standards, but with other top teams struggling, it was enough to fire them up the rankings. They have won six of ten and took three of five from the Royals and Pirates. As it has been for the last few years, the question will always be whether this team can win when it matters in the playoffs. As for now, they’re in a good spot. With no competition in the division basically all season though, will they fall victim to playing so few high-intensity games?

6) Houston Astros (79-57) (5)

The Astros had a chance to put more of a gap between them and the rest of their division and fell flat the wrong week. They lost two of three to the Padres and the Mariners and suddenly only have a four and a half-game lead over the Mariners. With Seattle on deck for three more to start this week, there is a good chance the Mariners can make life hell for Houston at the last push in the season.

7) Seattle Mariners (75-62) (12)

The Mariners may not have the best record but they’re coming back and making life interesting. They have won five straight and are far from out of the playoff picture. Although they are only given a 5.5% chance to make the playoffs, they can drive that number up dramatically with a series win or sweep against the Astros. Seattle is only three games behind the second wild-card spot and the Yankees and Red Sox are far from sure bets to make the playoffs seeing their inconsistencies at times this season.

8) Boston Red Sox (79-60) (7)

The Red Sox didn’t start off the week well with two losses to the Rays, but finished out alright by taking the last two against Tampa before taking two of three from the Indians. With the Rays, White Sox, and Mariners on deck for their next nine games, this wild card spot is far from locked up. If Boston does start to slip, they will have little to no time to make it back up.

new york yankees mlb power rankings
Credit: Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports

9) New York Yankees (78-58) (4)

The Yankees had a heck of a run thanks to a long win streak but are far from safe themselves as well. The Yankees are only a half-game above the Red Sox and are losers of six of eight. That includes a recent series loss to the same Orioles team that just recently came off of an 18-game losing streak. With Toronto and the Mets who are picking up some steam recently on the schedule for this week, they could slip even more. Seattle is the wild card here (no pun intended). If they make a push the Yankees and Red Sox need to be put on notice.

10) Toronto Blue Jays (73-62) (14)

Toronto finally picked up some momentum this week by winning five of six games against Baltimore and Oakland. While this team is now even behind Seattle in the Wild Card race, they certainly have the talent. As always, however, can they finally find consistency? I have a feeling that won’t suddenly appear after 135 games. But if it does, they will continue to rise in the MLB Power Rankings.

11) San Diego Padres (73-64) (15)

The Padres still have the disadvantage of a tougher schedule compared to the Reds, but they are starting to play as they should. They have only won five of their last 10 games, but with the Reds winning four of 10, that’s all they need. San Diego now has a slim lead over the Reds in the wild card and will need a bit of luck to make it in. With that being said, it would be foolish to underestimate a team as good as they are on paper.

12) Oakland Athletics (74-63) (11)

What was once a promising season is now on the brink of disaster. Oakland was able to take two of three from Detroit before falling apart in a three-game sweep to Toronto. Even Seattle is ahead of Oakland at this point as their playoff odds fell below seven percent. Although their upcoming schedule does become weaker now, it’s hard to trust a team that has been slipping for a while now.

13) Atlanta Braves (72-64) (10)

The Atlanta Braves had a chance to prove that they are a legit threat and yet again fell short. Not only were they swept by the Dodgers, but they also split a four-game series with Colorado. Their lead in the NL East now sits at two and the Mets are only 3.5 games back as well. Atlanta is certainly the best team of the bunch, but the best teams don’t always get in. They need to make sure they don’t fall victim to another embarrassing late-season collapse.

14) Cincinnati Reds (73-65) (9)

The Cincinnati Reds had the Wild Card in their grasp, but suddenly they are looking a lot less certain. This team has now lost four series in a row and is behind San Diego in the race for the final spot. Even with the Padres ahead, this is Cincinnati’s spot to lose. With six of their next nine games against teams over 10 games under .500, the Reds should be able to get hot again and shoot back up the MLB Power Rankings.

Odubel Herrera mlb power rankings
Credit: Bill Streicher/USA today

15) Philadelphia Phillies (70-66) (17)

The Phillies have closed the gap in the NL East but that might not last for long. With the Brewers on deck for three games, they need to find a way to beat the Brewers in Milwaukee and possibly even get a sweep. The Phillies have lost eleven games this season when leading in the eighth or later and that is simply not something a playoff-caliber team does. If they don’t find a way to get their bullpen fixed fast, this run won’t last long.

16) St. Louis Cardinals (69-66) (13)

The past weekend may just be the straw that broke the camel’s back for the Cardinals. Already holding on to slim odds, the Cardinals dropped two of three to Milwaukee. Sunday was likely a back-breaking loss for St. Louis who gave up five runs before they could even record two outs. It was a good push late, but with the playoffs back to the standard size of six teams, I don’t see why the Cards sneak in.

17) New York Mets (69-68) (20)

Credit to the Mets, when everything seemed lost, they found a way to string some wins together. After a calamitous week where team execs and owners called out players and where players literally booed their own fans, the Mets are looking like the team that led the East for the majority of the season. New York took five of six this week and will need similar results in a week they play the lowly Marlins and rival Yankees. Their schedule only gets harder from here so anything short of great is not good enough.

18) Cleveland Indians (68-66) (16)

Technically the Indians are still alive, but it’s all but over. They trimmed the division lead to under 10 games which may be the most impressive thing they’ve done all season. Cleveland is the definition of a .500 team. They are just over .500 at home, just below on the road, and have a total run differential of -4.

19) Los Angeles Angels (68-69) (18)

The Angels share a division with the Rangers who have won just 48 games. Somehow the Angels have given up even more runs than Texas. That’s been the story of the franchise for years. Will they finally do something about it this offseason?

Detroit Tigers' Casey Mize perfect for 3, pulled by plan in 4-1 win
Credit: David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports

20) Detroit Tigers (65-73) (19)

When your team leader in wins is sitting at eight, that tells you all you need to know. For a team that is 11th in team batting average, it’s a wonder why this team is in the bottom third when it comes to runs scored. The last time I checked, you need to score to win and the Tigers just aren’t doing it at a high enough clip.

21) Chicago Cubs (63-75) (26)

Shoutout to the Cubs who decided to look like the old Cubs again. Chicago has won six straight and seven of ten. While this week only had them matching up with the Twins and Pirates, stringing together any amount of wins with their lineup is impressive.

22) Colorado Rockies (63-74) (22)

The Rockies are still looking for their 20th win at home…in September. When you have a similar road record to an Arizona team that is over 18 games behind, you have some consistency problems that need to be solved.

23) Kansas City Royals (61-75) (21)

Another week, another instance of the Royals showing their inconsistency. After being swept by Cleveland in three games, Kansas City took two of three from the division-leading White Sox. With the Orioles on deck, I’d be willing to bet they find a way to lose to Baltimore this week.

24) Miami Marlins (57-80) (24)

The Marlins need some hitting to take them back to the level they were during their surprise run last season. They are middle of the pack in runs against but are just 26th in the MLB in runs scored. Seeing Miami just traded away many of their best bats, it will be a long road back. Again.

Zulgad: Tough break(s): Byron Buxton again finds out how difficult it is  for him to avoid injury – SKOR North
Credit: David Berding/USA TODAY Sports

25) Minnesota Twins (59-77) (23)

The Twins may have gone into blowup mode this season, but this team went from contender to worst in the AL Central by September. Even for a team that hasn’t won a playoff series in recent memory, that’s a new level of failure. Minnesota fans don’t deserve this.

26) Washington Nationals (56-80) (25)

Juan Soto deserves more credit for his play this season. It’s a wonder where this team would be without him. Posting a .300/24/79 stat line as a 22-year-old is impressive. If they can’t surround him with any talent, however, it’s going to be a tough next few years for Soto in the nation’s capital.

27) Texas Rangers (48-88) (29)

Somehow, this Rangers team is even worse on the road than the Rockies and Diamondbacks. Texas isn’t far behind .500 at home but is somehow only winners of 17 of 68 on the road. Consistency is the bane of a lot of these cellar-dwellers and the Rangers are no different.

28) Pittsburgh Pirates (48-89) (27)

Pittsburgh has lost six straight and has a run differential of -209. They are the only team in the majors to not yet score 500 runs and this seems to be what the future holds for Pittsburgh for another decade. Another week, another plea for this team to be sold.

29) Arizona Diamondbacks (45-93) (28)

It is all but guaranteed that Arizona is going to join the exclusive 100-loss club this season. This team wasn’t thought of as anything close to a contender, but this must be disappointing for a team that was near the division lead at one point, even if it was early in the season.

30) Baltimore Orioles (43-92) (30)

How the Orioles can be so bad even with Cedric Mullins and Trey Mancini is beyond me. It’ll be a race between them and Arizona to see who hits 100 losses first. The first team to do so will find itself at last place in the MLB Power Rankings.

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