The Peanut Gallery's May MLB Power Rankings
Which teams have plummeted in the first month of the 2023 MLB season? Which have soared? Here are our May MLB power rankings.
With just over a month of the 2023 MLB season behind us, so much has already happened. Some teams and players are over-performing, while others are under-performing. Then you have those performing exactly as we expected; I'm looking at you, Oakland.
Injuries have really taken a toll on some teams' rankings, while the return of guys like Fernando Tatis Jr. could send other teams to a new level. New young faces, such as Taj Bradley, Grayson Rodriguez, and Anthony Volpe, came in and made immediate impacts, while players like Jordan Walker have seen a rough mixture of success and failure.
With so much season left, let’s see how these teams have shaped their fates thus far. Here are our May MLB Power Rankings:
30. Oakland A’s
March/April ranking: 30
This team is somehow worse than I could have imagined. This poor excuse of a baseball team is only watchable if you are lucky enough to watch your team grab a few wins from them in a series. This team, at least so far, may be historically bad, pacing for Major League records in the most negative ways possible. Although I feel bad for Oakland fans, I would like to send a congratulations to the front office for ultimately completing their goal of putting a product on the field that is so bad that nobody wants to show up, so you can have an excuse to leave the city.
29. Kansas City Royals
March/April ranking: 25
Although the Royals have had a tough schedule filled with some surprisingly good teams, I am not seeing any jump in talent that I had hoped for. Bobby Witt Jr. and M.J. Melendez both off to slow starts. Age having a negative effect on older stars. Virtually no pitching. The Royals are really looking rough so far in the 2023 season. Although, as a Royals fan, you should really just be looking in the direction of development. Watch for both Witt Jr. and Melendez to start to take a jump as the season progresses. If that does not happen, let the panic ensue.
28. Colorado Rockies
March/April ranking: 26
The Colorado Rockies are a really bad baseball team. There are still a lot of question marks for what the future holds for this team, especially with star prospect Ezequiel Tovar really struggling to begin his career. I will not be surprised if this team hangs around the 27-29 range for the rest of the season, and the best suggestion I would have for the front office would be to move German Marquez for something, anything, at this point. But hey, at least Kris Bryant hit his first home run at Coors in a Rockies uniform since signing with the team well over a year ago.
27. Washington Nationals
March/April ranking: 29
Our first forward progression on the list so far! The Washington Nationals are a team that has kind of shocked me to begin the 2023 season. MacKenzie Gore and Josiah Gray have really impressed to start the year. They show signs of being two headline rotation pieces for this team in the future. The offense still has some work to do, but compared to my expectations for this team, they are really over-performing. It feels like this team is lightyears ahead of a team like the Oakland A’s. Some would even argue that they are currently winning the Juan Soto trade.
26. Detroit Tigers
March/April ranking: 27
The Tigers looked really lost to start the season, as highlighted by Javy Baez forgetting the amount of outs. After that game, however, they seemed to awake from whatever slumber they were in. They had a beautiful sweep over the Astros, who also got off to a slow start, that they deserve credit for. After disappearing in 2022, Eduardo Rodriguez looks outstanding in 2023. If Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson can remember how to hit a baseball, this team could be fun to watch the remainder of the year.
25. Cincinnati Reds
March/April ranking: 24
I do not want Reds fans to take any offense to this ranking, as I am high on the future of this team. However, when being compared to a bunch of teams that are over-performing or are just better than most had thought, this team is staying on almost the exact course I had expected for them. Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene, and Graham Ashcraft have shown that this team is going to have a high-class rotation. Be patient, because this team has a bright future. Unfortunately, this list is based off now, and the Reds just are not there yet.
24. San Francisco Giants
March/April ranking: 19
Many publications were way too high on this team going into the 2023 season, in my opinion. I actually had to debate a lot on whether I wanted them at 24 or 25 on this list, but ultimately decided to put them above the Reds due to strength of schedule. But the separation is small for a team that is definitely on the decline compared to the Reds, who are on the rise. I foresee a rough future for the Giants, and that includes the long months ahead for the rest of 2023.
23. Chicago White Sox
March/April ranking: 20
I cannot figure out the curious case of the Chicago White Sox. A lot of players on this team underperform at the same time, putting them in a hole they never seem to be able to dig themselves out of. They do not have a manager to throw the blame on this season. It's on the players. This is unfortunate for fans of the Southsiders, because on paper, this team should be competing for a pennant in 2023.
22. Boston Red Sox
March/April ranking: 21
The Boston Red Sox are suffering from a bad case of poor aging from guys like Chris Sale and Corey Kluber. I could have seen themselves rising on this list if Adam Duvall, who was crushing the baseball to start the season, did not land himself on the IL halfway through April. Unfortunately for the Boston faithful, Duvall, Trevor Story, and James Paxton will likely not return in time for them to be really competitive in 2023.
21. Chicago Cubs
March/April ranking: 22
Marcus Stroman and Justin Steele have looked incredible, Dansby Swanson has gotten better after a breakout 2022, and Cody Bellinger returning to form are just a few headlines that could be used for the Cubs' April start to 2023. If it had not been for a sweep by the Miami Marlins, this team could have landed in the top 20; the Marlins just decided they wanted to shift up in this list instead. Although I still don't believe this team is Wild Card ready, and for sure not division title ready, they have really impressed me to begin 2023.
20. Pittsburgh Pirates
March/April ranking: 28
I know. We are not buying into the Pirates hype as much as many journalists and publications are, but this is a good time to remind fans this list is not just “which teams are hot right now?" We are trying to give an accurate prediction of where these teams will finish based on their ongoing play. That being said, the Pirates are on one of the largest upward swings we will likely see this season. Even though I don't believe in the Pirates, they are proving to be a watchable team in 2023. This points towards their sustained success being closer than we thought. Bryan Reynolds, Ke’Bryan Hayes, and Ji-hwan Bae, mixed with veterans like Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Santana, and Connor Joe have been an impressive product so far. Mitch Keller and Vince Velasquez look like completely unlocked guys on the mound, and with Oneil Cruz sidelined, it makes their success all the more impressive.
19. Miami Marlins
March/April ranking: 23
The Marlins, as small market teams tend to do, have had a sneaky beginning to the season. They have won 6/9 of their series so far. With a tough schedule, their three series losses have been against the Mets and Braves, two World series contenders this season. The lineup looks significantly better than it did just a year ago, when it was historically bad. Jorge Soler, even though he doesn't have a crazy stat line, is returning to the form the Fish believed they were getting when they signed him, and Luis Arraez looks like he can win the batting title in the NL this year. The most impressive part of their 16-13 start to the season is that their starting staff has been very underwhelming, which was supposed to be the strongest part of their team going into 2023. If Sandy can turn it around after a rough April, the Marlins could surprise a lot of people.
18. Cleveland Guardians
March/April ranking: 10
You can call it a slow start, but I will call it a false narrative. This team is good, but everyone was telling me there would be real development to offense that I am just not seeing. Josh Bell is just one example of a bat in this “much improved” Guardians lineup that is underperforming, but adding one guy who had an atrocious second half of 2022 is not going to propel a team to World Series contenders. We should have known that. There is still plenty of time for this team to dive into their plethora of arms to go get an impact bat, but most of us know that will just not happen. The lineup needs to wake up, and it needs to wake up soon.
17. Philadelphia Phillies
March/April ranking: 12
The Phillies have picked up a lot of the slack and climbed out of the huge hole they dug themselves into to kick off the season. However, they are really missing Bryce Harper. They need him to return swinging a hot, run-producing bat. Trea Turner looks good, but not what we expected coming off an electric WBC. Schwarber and Castellanos look awful, and even Realmuto doesn't look quite like himself. The offense is really struggling, which is unfortunate for a team coming off a World Series appearance with obvious high expectations. If Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler can't find it either, with the lack of depth this staff and bullpen have, it is reasonable that this team misses the playoffs this season. Even though I felt forced to drop the Phils down this far, they ended April on a strong note against the hot Houston Astros, and Bryce is on the edge of return. Maybe his presence alone will bring up morale and put this team in a position to jump back into the race.
16. Texas Rangers
March/April ranking: 17
Okay. I challenged the Rangers to prove to me that they were a better team in 2023, and so far, so good! Hence, the bump in ranking. Now let me see you do it against real teams. The Rangers have taken advantage of a weaker schedule, which good teams do, as you will see later with the Rays. However, if this team wants to crack the top 12, they have to carry their momentum into beating the teams above them on this list. We will see if they can do that soon. Semien and Jung look incredible at the plate and deGrom (when healthy) and Heaney look like the 1-2 punch they were meant to be, but with Seager sidelined and Perez taking a small step back from last season, if feels like they may be fighting an uphill battle. Being in first place after a month, you could argue this team should have made a sharper turn up this list. But with deGrom’s injury in his last April start, I am concerned with the sustainability of this team. I also will reiterate that this team is taking advantage of a weaker schedule, so I still need to see more before moving this team into the top half of the league.
15. Los Angeles Angels
March/April ranking: 15
The Los Angeles Angels remain at 15 for May, simply because I do not know what I am supposed to believe with this team. One game they will look like World Series contenders, then they come back in the same series and look as if they are on par with the A’s. Still waiting for the pieces around Trout and Ohtani to start moving. If they do not, we will see the Angels fall on this list come June.
14. St. Louis Cardinals
March/April ranking: 8
The Cardinals are off to a very slow start in 2023. Unlike a lot of teams that held around their position on this list, their struggles do not just come from slow starts, although that also plays an impact. The Cardinals starting pitching is absolutely awful and the bullpen has heavily underperformed as well. When looking into the starting staff depth, there are no reinforcements coming. To add on, Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt look like completely different players than we saw in 2022, and not in a good way. All this, plus the immediate clubhouse killer when manager Oliver Marmol and outfielder Tyler O’Neill had an argument play out through the media. Not to mention the confusing option of Jordan Walker, who was hardly an All-Star caliber player yet, but provided a solid slash line to start his MLB career. All this has lead to a not-so-good start for the Cardinals, and it may be uncorrectable.
13. Arizona Diamondbacks
March/April ranking: 18
We were fairly high on the Diamondbacks coming into 2023, and they have exceeded our expectations through May. Zac Gallen looks like the dark horse for NL Cy Young, and Corbin Carroll is quickly becoming a household name for fans across the league. This team could break out and really assert itself while the rest of the division struggles out of the gate in 2023.
12. New York Yankees
March/April ranking: 7
If not for injuries, the Yankees would be securely in the top 10. Anthony Volpe has had some solid moments and Gerrit Cole looks like a front-runner for AL Cy Young. The Yankees are not a bad baseball team. This being said, with Stanton and others dropping quickly and some questions about the health of Aaron Judge, this team is having the same problems we see year in and year out. I am not worried about the Yankees making a playoff run this season, but in a tough division like this one, they are going to have to find solutions soon.
11. Seattle Mariners
March/April ranking: 9
This one looks crazy with the slow start the Mariners are off, landing themselves in 4th place in the division. However, it is not much different than the start they were off to in 2022. This team has yet to hit its stride, with early sophomore slumps from Julio Rodriguez, Logan Gilbert, and George Kirby. These guys are just too good to be held down for long, though. I highlight this team, and the rest of the AL West teams, as prime candidates for a reshuffle in June. For now it feels like just a slow start for a solid team.
10. Baltimore Orioles
March/April ranking: 16
The Baltimore Orioles are good. We knew that. However, when they made little to no moves this offseason, even though it is what we were promised, I was down on them going into the season. However, they continue to prove that these young guys want to win. They want to bring playoff baseball to Camden Yards in 2023. Even with a rough outing or two for Grayson Rodriguez, he is starting to turn a corner and become yet another young star at the MLB level for Baltimore. These guys are fun to watch. If you can catch a game or two from this team in the near future, I highly recommend it.
9. Minnesota Twins
March/April ranking: 14
Even after a rough end of April for starters Kenta Maeda and Pablo Lopez, the Twins continue to topple a weak AL Central, and look like a good team at the plate. If, and that's a big if, Byron Buxton can get a full season in, Minnesota may be title contenders that were overlooked going into 2023.
8. San Diego Padres
March/April ranking: 5
Manny Machado, Juan Soto, and Fernando Tatis Jr., in a smaller sample, have gotten off to slow starts so far, and the Padres are still over .500 to end April. The starting pitching has struggled mightily as well, and this team is still finding ways to win, which is why they remain so high on this list. I fully expect San Diego to fly up this list as the season goes on and we see the power across this lineup begin to show up.
7. Milwaukee Brewers
March/April ranking: 11
The Brewers are the absolute epitome of taking advantage of April struggles from other teams across the league. We were one of the few publications that believed in what the Brewers had to offer. I believed that Corbin Burnes would play a huge role in whether this team would trend up or down throughout the season, and even with the bumpy start to his season, Milwaukee has become the odds-on favorite to win the NL Central. I highlight Christian Yelich as a guy who could really break out and carry this lineup deep into the postseason.
6. New York Mets
March/April ranking: 4
The New York Mets are off to a slower start this season, by their standards. With Justin Verlander getting shelved immediately and Max Scherzer getting tossed and suspended for use of a foreign substance, they have lacked two of the most important pieces to their 2023 World Series run. Even when he was on the mound, Scherzer did not look great to begin this campaign. Do not be concerned yet, Mets fans. This team is built well, and with Scherzer and Verlander close to returning, hopefully we get to see this rotation as it was meant to be. Even in arguably the best division in the league, the Mets have stayed afloat. The reinforcements may propel them back into the top five.
5. Los Angeles Dodgers
March/April ranking: 1
The Dodgers are on a slippery slope after a rough start to 2023. We originally had them at number one for March/April, but they have proven to be human to start the year. The main concern with this team is the shortstop position after trying to patch the late injury to Gavin Lux with Miguel Rojas, who quickly showed he was not the answer. However, Mookie Betts has seemingly filled the role, because what can this guy not do? James Outman also looks like real Rookie of the Year candidate, and has patched a huge hole in the lineup with a lot of the team starting slow.
4. Houston Astros
March/April ranking: 2
The Astros started slow, just like they do every year. We have seen the ultimate ups and downs with this team so far this season, from getting swept by the Tigers to sweeping the Braves. This team has been weird. The rotation has seemingly not taken a step back after losing reigning AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander in free agency. I am not concerned, as they are still awaiting the return of Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley. This lineup will figure it out.
3. Toronto Blue Jays
March/April ranking: 6
The Blue Jays have one glaring problem: their starting rotation. If you asked me through the first week where the Jays would be on this list, I would have said they were losing ground and losing ground quickly. However, the starting staff finished April strong. Alek Manoah is returning to his 2022 form, Kevin Gausman is starting to allow softer contact, and even Yusei Kikuchi is becoming more of the starter they expected when they signed him going into the 2022 season. This team may be a World Series favorite in the near future.
2. Tampa Bay Rays
March/April ranking: 13
It is hard to argue that a team on pace to go 128-34 isn't a top team in the league. There are other teams, like the Pirates, that have great records to start the year. But the Rays have the talent and depth to somewhat sustain the lead they have developed over the rest of the AL East. Now, I am not arguing that this team is going to set the single season wins record. They obviously did not even make it to number one on the power rankings. I also want to acknowledge that the Rays have taken advantage of a weaker schedule to kick off the season, but you still have to play and win those games, which not even all the best teams do. I still believe the Blue Jays are a better team, but when I see that Jeffery Springs is out for the season and Taj Bradley comes in and basically acts as a 1-to-1 replacement, it's a scary thought for what this team can be in 2023.
1. Atlanta Braves
March/April ranking: 3
Who would have thought the Atlanta Braves would be atop the power rankings at some point in 2023? Absolutely everyone. Unfortunately for me, a Marlins fan, this team is not going anywhere this year, or likely for the next decade. Alex Anthopoulos has taken gambles on young stars that work out every single time, and I genuinely cannot comprehend how they do it. The talent development for this team allows them to let guys like Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson walk, and then come back the next season just to look like the same dominant team, if not better. This team is looking for another title in 2023, and barring any serious injuries, they have a good shot. Spencer Strider looks like a NL Cy Young contender, Ronald Acuna Jr. looks like an MVP, and Atlanta just got 2022 Rookie of the Year Michael Harris II back. There is no doubt this is the best team in MLB.