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MLB Power Rankings: Rangers on the rise, Blue Jays hit rough patch

Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers / Getty Images

Welcome to the fourth edition of theScore's MLB Power Rankings for the 2023 season. The last edition ran May 15, while the next edition will be published June 12.

1. Tampa Bay Rays

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
39-16 7-3 +120 1 (-)

Much has already been made of offensive contributions from Wander Franco, Yandy Diaz, Randy Arozarena, and others in the lineup. But the return of Tyler Glasnow is giving the Rays a jolt to their pitching this time around. The flamethrowing righty faced a tough opening assignment against the Dodgers, allowing three runs on five hits and one walk over 4 1/3 innings, but he also struck out eight. The Rays, who are without Jeffrey Springs and Drew Rasmussen, might need Glasnow to stabilize the rotation a bit.

2. Texas Rangers

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
33-19 7-3 +123 4 (+2)

The Rangers might be a problem, surprisingly boasting an MLB-best plus-123 run differential. They got Corey Seager back earlier this month, who's since provided three homers and 15 RBIs over 10 games. But they were ticking right along without the superstar shortstop, ranking second in runs scored and fourth in runs allowed. Perhaps most surprising is the pitching strength without Jacob deGrom, thanks to surprise Cy Young contender Nathan Eovaldi and a massive breakout from Jon Gray.

3. Houston Astros

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
31-21 8-2 +53 8 (+5)

Here come the Astros. The defending champs have taken advantage of a soft schedule to claim victories in 14 of their last 17 games. Jose Altuve's return has sparked the club, with the second baseman hitting .370/.452/.593 in seven games since coming off the IL. The pitching staff has also been excellent, posting an MLB-best 3.09 ERA in May. If that weren't enough, even Jose Abreu picked up his first home run with Houston on Sunday, snapping a drought of 283 plate appearances.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
32-22 4-6 +50 2 (-2)

Freddie Freeman never left, but man, is he back. The first baseman is hitting .382/.449/.706 with five homers and 23 RBIs in May and looks like he could easily stay in the NL MVP conversation all year. Combine that with Mookie Betts and Will Smith continuing to be excellent and rookie Miguel Vargas really starting to make a name for himself, and it's really no wonder why the once-juggernaut Dodgers are starting to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the NL West.

Mitchell Layton / Getty Images Sport / Getty

5. Atlanta Braves

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
32-21 5-5 +62 3 (-2)

The Braves spent most of the month without two of their top starters in Max Fried and Kyle Wright, but have capably weathered the storm thanks to the emergence of Bryce Elder. The 24-year-old was solid in 54 innings last season (3.17 ERA), but he's been exceptional this campaign, with his 2.01 ERA leading qualified NL starters. He also ranks among the top 10 in his league in FIP, ground-ball percentage, and HR/9.

6. Baltimore Orioles

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
34-19 6-4 +34 5 (-1)

Veteran right-hander Kyle Gibson is fitting right in with his new team, joining in free agency from the NL pennant-winning Phillies and anointing his Orioles team "one of those juggernauts" last week. Stunningly, he might not be wrong. While there's very little legitimate star power on the team, role players like Anthony Santander, Cedric Mullins, Dean Kremer, and Gibson himself are a huge reason why they have the second-highest winning percentage in MLB.

7. New York Yankees

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
32-23 7-3 +27 9 (+2)

The Yankees continue winning despite some pretty underwhelming performances lately. Aside from Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo has been the only other reliable hitter of late, hitting .327/.382/.535 with six homers in May. The return of Luis Severino seems very timely, as the rotation has looked pretty lackluster. The righty has given them a jolt with a 1.59 ERA through two starts, but the strikeouts (7.9 K/9) have yet to really come back.

8. Seattle Mariners

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
28-25 7-3 +37 12 (+4)

There's been a lot of talk about the Mariners' pitching because of Luis Castillo, Logan Gilbert, and Bryce Miller, but the offense is finally awake - and it's leading to positive results. Seattle (16-9 in May) ranks fifth in fWAR and ninth in runs scored this month, with Julio Rodriguez hitting .467/.484/.800 over his past seven games. The 2022 AL Rookie of the Year had been mired in a sophomore slump, and he posted a .656 OPS through his first 44 games.

9. Boston Red Sox

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
28-25 5-5 +11 11 (+2)

Boston's offense has cooled significantly after an incredible start. The team ranks 26th in runs and 25th in OPS over the last 15 days, hitting just 10 home runs. Masataka Yoshida, Rafael Devers, Jarren Duran, and Alex Verdugo - the team's top four hitters by OPS - combined to go 46-for-196 (.235) during this stretch. Adam Duvall is expected to return in the coming weeks, though the team will have to decide how it deals with a potentially crowded outfield.

Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images Sport / Getty

10. Toronto Blue Jays

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
28-26 3-7 +20 6 (-4)

Things are a mess right now in Toronto. The Blue Jays have done themselves no favors, stumbling to a 6-15 record against AL East opponents. That just isn't going to cut it in baseball's toughest division. The Blue Jays are likely going to have to play at close to a 100-win pace for the rest of the season if they want to have any hope of catching the Rays to win the division for the first time since 2015.

11. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
30-23 6-4 +11 16 (+5)

After losing 110 games two seasons ago, Arizona ranks second in steals, third in batting average, and fourth in runs and slugging percentage in the NL. Combine that with a Cy Young contender in Zac Gallen (2.97 ERA) and a surprisingly good Merrill Kelly (2.83 ERA), and you've got the makings of a postseason contender.

12. New York Mets

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
27-27 6-4 -13 14 (+2)

The most expensive team in baseball is getting a major offensive boost from its youngest player. Francisco Alvarez, the 21-year-old top prospect, has six home runs, 14 RBIs, and a 1.092 OPS this month. Alvarez hasn't been able to fix some of the pitching woes, though. The Mets own the second-worst ERA (5.19) in MLB in May. Justin Verlander's tenure has gotten off to a rocky start - he allowed 13 runs in 18 innings over his last three outings, while only striking out 10.

13. Los Angeles Angels

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
28-26 6-4 +7 17 (+4)

After two months, the Angels are holding their own in the AL wild-card race. Yes, that's not quite where a team with Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani is expected to be, but they're also not imploding like they did at this time last year. The Halos might also finally have something resembling a supporting cast for their stars, with outfielder Mickey Moniak and closer Carlos Estevez stepping up big for the team.

14. Milwaukee Brewers

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
28-25 4-6 -21 7 (-7)

It's been a rough month for the Brew Crew, but they've clung onto top spot in the NL Central despite a scuffling offense that's scored just 86 runs (second-worst in NL) and posted an 80 wRC+ in May. To make matters worse, the team recently placed Willy Adames on the seven-day concussion list after he was struck in the head by a foul ball in the dugout. There's no indication of when he might be ready to play.

15. Minnesota Twins

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
27-26 3-7 +42 10 (-5)

It's hard to explain the offensive struggles right now in Minnesota. Despite boasting a lineup littered with quality hitters who can hit for power, the Twins rank just 19th in OPS. The rotation has done most of the heavy lifting so far, and the Twins can thank their lucky stars that they reside in the listless AL Central. If they can get on track offensively, Minnesota has a good chance to run away from the rest of the division.

Dustin Bradford / Getty Images Sport / Getty

16. Philadelphia Phillies

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
25-28 5-5 -38 15 (-1)

Bryce Harper's return hasn't been enough to fix the Phillies. Philadelphia is playing under .500 this month despite their star slugger posting a .888 OPS in 23 games since coming back. Pitching has been a problem, but Trea Turner's inability to produce (78 wRC+, 25.5 K% in May) has been such an issue that fans, including his own mother, have been booing him on the regular.

17. San Diego Padres

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
24-29 4-6 -5 13 (-4)

Juan Soto has quieted the haters. He's been incredible this month, hitting .333/.481/.654 with five homers and even mixing in four stolen bases. The superstar outfielder recaptured his elite eye and formidable plate discipline. Whether that's attributable to Fernando Tatis Jr. rejoining the lineup or just wanting to put on a show in the Bronx, Padres fans won't ask questions. Speaking of Tatis, he's certainly hit the ground running with a team-leading seven homers in May.

18. St. Louis Cardinals

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
24-31 5-5 +13 22 (+4)

The ascendant Cardinals can thank their lineup entirely for waking up. Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Lars Nootbaar, and Paul DeJong have all been incredible in May, combining for 21 homers, 69 runs, 62 RBIs, and 11 stolen bases. The starting rotation still looks quite bad, ranking 18th in the majors this month with a 4.93 ERA, but they might still be good enough to wind up winning this division thanks to mediocre showings from everyone else in the NL Central.

19. San Francisco Giants

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
27-26 7-3 -1 24 (+5)

The Giants have put together a nice run of late to keep pace in the NL West. Part of that might be thanks to No. 3 prospect Casey Schmitt, who's put up an .812 OPS since being called up on May 9. The Giants, who've won four straight series, are far from a perfect team. But they're also hardly out of it and have enough talent to put a scare into rivals once everyone gets healthy.

Eric Espada / Getty Images Sport / Getty

20. Miami Marlins

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
28-26 5-5 -41 20 (-)

The Marlins have proven to be a scrappy club, showing a knack for winning close games (15-4 in one-run contests). In fact, if the season ended today, they'd be in the playoffs. Luis Arraez and his .376 batting average deserve a lot of the credit for Miami's success, but Jorge Soler has been a man on a mission lately, with an MLB-best 12 homers this month, including a stretch of five straight games with a round-tripper.

21. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
26-26 4-6 +10 19 (-2)

The Pirates have fallen back to Earth after a torrid start. Offensively, everyone not named Andrew McCutchen or Tucupita Marcano has been bad this month, with the team's OPS dropping from .794 in April to .631 in May. Luckily, the pitching (3.84 ERA, 3.95 FIP) has remained strong, giving the Pirates a fighting chance for a playoff spot in a weak NL Central division.

22. Chicago Cubs

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
22-30 3-7 +4 18 (-4)

The Cubs have been inconsistent this year, sporting the NL's worst record. Jameson Taillon's struggled, Cody Bellinger's hurt, and top prospect Matt Mervis hasn't made the impact they hoped. And yet, the Cubs are still just 5.5 games back of first place. Such is life in the NL Central.

23. Detroit Tigers

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
25-26 6-4 -48 23 (-)

After suffering through a bitterly disappointing 2022 campaign, the Tigers have been one of the league's most pleasant surprises to start 2023. Detroit is hovering around the .500 mark and could easily be in contention in the AL Central all season. It'll be interesting to see how the front office navigates the trade deadline and a potential deal for left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez if Detroit is within a few games of a playoff spot in late July. The Tigers aren't necessarily a good team, but they play in the right division.

24. Chicago White Sox

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
22-33 6-4 -50 28 (+4)

White Sox manager Pedro Grifol is going to have a decision on his hands with Eloy Jimenez returning to the lineup after injury. Jake Burger has been raking as the club's designated hitter and already has a career-high 10 home runs with an .873 OPS over 37 games. Jimenez has primarily lined up at DH this season, making just three appearances in the outfield in 25 games. Grifol might need to shuffle bodies around the infield to ensure Burger, Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, and Gavin Sheets all wind up with regular playing time and at-bats.

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

25. Cleveland Guardians

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
23-29 4-6 -38 21 (-4)

Perhaps the most damning thing about the Guardians is that they've managed to hit only 30 homers this year. That's 10 more than Pete Alonso. Rookie Tanner Bibee has been their best starter in May, posting a 3.14 ERA and 3.43 FIP in five outings. Over the same month, Myles Straw, Andres Gimenez, and Josh Bell have been among the worst hitters in MLB, while Cal Quantrill has looked very hittable. It's rough.

26. Colorado Rockies

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
24-30 5-5 -49 25 (-1)

Offense has always been the Rockies' calling card, but the bats have gone silent at Coors Field this year. Colorado is the NL's worst offensive team, with just two regulars owning an OPS+ above 100. No Rockies hitter has more than seven home runs. If the Rockies, of all teams, aren't hitting, you know things are bad.

27. Washington Nationals

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
23-30 5-5 -21 26 (-1)

Although the Nationals sit in the basement of the NL East as expected, the play of outfielder Lane Thomas and third baseman Jeimer Candelario are reasons for optimism. Thomas has been able to hit for power while using his speed on the bases. Candelario already has six home runs and 15 doubles after going deep 13 times with 19 doubles across 124 games for the Tigers last season.

28. Cincinnati Reds

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
24-29 5-5 -24 27 (-1)

The Reds' rebuild is starting to pay dividends at the big-league level. Matt McLain has been stellar over his first 12 big-league contests, sporting a 1.056 OPS with two homers since being called up. Hunter Greene's improvement has continued with each start (2.77 ERA, 21 strikeouts over his last two outings). It's still going to be a long summer in Cincinnati, but it's not all doom and gloom anymore.

29. Kansas City Royals

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
16-38 3-7 -76 29 (-)

Royals fans are lucky to have Salvador Perez. Though the franchise has fallen on some hard times since winning the World Series in 2015, Perez's consistency and durability behind the plate and in the batter's box endure. The veteran catcher has nine home runs in May and leads the Royals in OPS (.857) this season. It will be fascinating to see if any contenders come calling with interest in Perez as we inch closer to the trade deadline.

30. Oakland Athletics

Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change)
10-45 0-10 -199 30 (-)

We'd say the A's are the movie "Major League" come to life, but not even Jobu can save this team. The A's are on pace for 132 losses, which would be the most in baseball since 1899. Oakland fans deserve better than this.

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