HomeTrending MLB NewsFanGraphs Power Rankings: May 6–12

FanGraphs Power Rankings: May 6–12

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There wasn’t much movement in the power rankings this week, as teams have sort of settled into their tiers now that we’re about a quarter of the way through the regular season.

This season, we’ve revamped our power rankings. The old model wasn’t very reactive to the ups and downs of any given team’s performance throughout the season, and by September, it was giving far too much weight to a team’s full body of work without taking into account how the club had changed, improved, or declined since March. That’s why we’ve decided to build our power rankings model using a modified Elo rating system. If you’re familiar with chess rankings or FiveThirtyEight’s defunct sports section, you’ll know that Elo is an elegant solution that measures teams’ relative strength and is very reactive to recent performance.

To avoid overweighting recent results during the season, we weigh each team’s raw Elo rank using our coinflip playoff odds (specifically, we regress the playoff odds by 50% and weigh those against the raw Elo ranking, increasing in weight as the season progresses to a maximum of 25%). As the best and worst teams sort themselves out throughout the season, they’ll filter to the top and bottom of the rankings, while the exercise will remain reactive to hot streaks or cold snaps.

First up are the full rankings, presented in a sortable table. Below that, I’ve grouped the teams into tiers with comments on a handful of clubs. You’ll notice that the official ordinal rankings don’t always match the tiers — I’ve taken some editorial liberties when grouping teams together — but generally, the ordering is consistent. One thing to note: The playoff odds listed in the tables below are our standard Depth Charts odds, not the coin flip odds that are used in the ranking formula.

Complete Power Rankings

RankTeamRecordEloOpponent EloPlayoff OddsPower ScoreΔ
13Red Sox21-191511151124.6%1507-1
18Blue Jays18-221491151723.8%14820
29White Sox12-29139815100.0%13900

Tier 1 – The Best of the Best

TeamRecordEloOpponent EloPlayoff OddsPower Score

The Braves bounced back with four wins in five games last week and were just a Brandon Nimmo walk-off home run away from sweeping the Mets on Sunday night. They’re still sitting behind the Phillies in the NL East, but that feels like an accomplishment considering how many of their stars aren’t really hitting yet. Right now, their starting rotation is carrying a lot of the load. Chris Sale was brilliant against the Red Sox in a revenge performance, Max Fried spun seven no-hit innings last week and Reynaldo López has continued to be a revelation in his return to starting work.

The Dodgers lost their first series in three weeks when they traveled to San Diego and dropped two of three this past weekend. Their schedule looks pretty easy for the rest of the month; they don’t play a team with a record over .500 until June 7, when they’re scheduled to face the Yankees. Shohei Ohtani’s weekend back issues are certainly a concern, and it might behoove the Dodgers to ease up on the throttle during this lighter stretch of the schedule. If he’s able to stay healthy all season long, Ohtani has a great shot at being the first triple crown winner since Miguel Cabrera did it in 2012.

Tier 2 – On the Cusp of Greatness

TeamRecordEloOpponent EloPlayoff OddsPower Score

The Yankees won their series against the Astros and Rays and are still looming behind the division-leading Orioles. Aaron Judge looks like he’s heating up — he hit three homers last week — and Juan Soto has somehow managed to improve upon his already elite skill set. The Yankees are doing all this without Gerrit Cole leading their rotation and with plenty of questions about their bullpen and a number of the regulars in their lineup (Gleyber Torres is the most glaring scuffler).

The Phillies and Orioles possess the two best records in baseball. The reason they’re a tier below the three teams ahead of them is because of their strength of schedule relative to those other teams. They also started lower in the preseason rankings and have had to climb through the ranks to get to their current position. Make no mistake, Baltimore and Philadelphia are in the midst of phenomenal seasons so far and are in pole position to dictate the shape of the playoff race for the rest of the summer.

The Phillies lost twice last week, which is one fewer loss than the total number they had over the previous three weeks. The O’s also lost twice last week, with two of their wins coming in extra innings thanks to a suddenly shaky bullpen.

Tier 3 – Solid Contenders

TeamRecordEloOpponent EloPlayoff OddsPower Score

The Mariners and Twins battled each other over a four-game series last week, with Minnesota emerging triumphant before winning a weekend series against the Blue Jays; it was the team’s sixth straight series win. Seattle bounced back from the series loss by winning two of three against the plucky A’s over the weekend.

When we look back on all the moves made this past offseason, the signing of Shota Imanaga could go down as the one with the greatest bang for the buck. Imanaga has been one of the best pitchers in baseball so far, which has helped the Cubs keep pace with the Brewers in the NL Central.

Tier 4 – The Melee

TeamRecordEloOpponent EloPlayoff OddsPower Score
Red Sox21-191511151124.6%1507

There wasn’t much movement within this tier over the last week, as a lot of these teams simply treaded water. The Red Sox salvaged two wins on Saturday and Sunday after beginning the week with three straight losses; the Padres won both of their series last week, including a big one against the Dodgers over the weekend. Meanwhile, the Royals continued their hot start to the season with a pair of series wins — they’re now in a virtual tie with the Twins and just a half game behind the Guardians in the AL Central.

Indeed, the Guardians’ grip on the Central is suddenly tenuous thanks to the Twins’ hot streak coinciding with a cold-ish snap for Cleveland. They managed to salvage a win from their four-game weekend series against the White Sox on Sunday, but their offense has lacked bite since losing Steven Kwan to a hamstring injuryJosé Ramírez and Josh Naylor can only carry so much of the load on their own.

The Rangers suffered through a pretty ugly weekend in Colorado. They scored double-digit runs in two games earlier in the week but managed just six total runs in their series against the Rockies; they were swept in three games. Wyatt Langford hit the IL with a hamstring injury, joining what seems like the Rangers’ entire starting rotation. It seemed like Max Scherzer would be making an early return from back surgery, but a finger issue has delayed his rehab.

Tier 5 – Waiting for Launch

TeamRecordEloOpponent EloPlayoff OddsPower Score
Blue Jays18-221491151723.8%1482

The teams in this tier are still in the weird limbo of being good enough to make a run at the playoffs if they can turn things around quickly but also having none of their recent results go their way. The Rays got a bit of revenge against the White Sox early last week before losing their weekend series to the Yankees. The Giants showed some signs of life by winning both of their series last week, but they may have lost Jung Hoo Lee to a bad shoulder injury after a collision with the outfield wall on Sunday. Despite running a record right at .500, the Tigers are on the verge of falling too far behind the red hot AL Central teams; they lost series to the Guardians and Astros last week.

The Blue Jays haven’t won a series in three weeks and are quickly falling behind in the crowded AL playoff picture. They’re getting contributions from guys like Davis Schneider and Daulton Varsho, but their superstars are still mired in early season ruts. More encouraging were the seven innings thrown by Alek Manoah on Sunday; he was saddled with the loss, but he looked strong and a little closer to the pitcher he was back in 2022. Toronto heads to Baltimore this week in an early season test of whether they can turn things around.

The Astros managed to climb out of the AL West basement with a series win last weekend, but they still haven’t put together a solid run of play this year. Jeremy Peña’s season is a bit of a microcosm of the struggles of Houston’s entire lineup: Peña has a 152 wRC+ but a -0.86 WPA, which is abnormally low for someone with such a potent batting line. That’s how it’s gone for the Astros this year. They’re getting plenty of hits, but they’re having trouble turning those baserunners into actual runs.

Tier 6 – No Man’s Land

TeamRecordEloOpponent EloPlayoff OddsPower Score

This tier has grown a bit, with the A’s, Nationals, Reds, Pirates, and Angels all showing they’re a step above the three miserable teams below them.

The bottom is falling out for the Cardinals. They snapped a seven-game losing streak with their win on Sunday, but they haven’t won a series since late April. They just lost their best hitter, Willson Contreras, to a broken forearm, none of their young hitters are producing, and Paul Goldschmidt, normally so reliable, has been lost at the plate this year. And I didn’t even mention the pitching staff, which has improved over last year’s dismal display but not by enough to make a tangible difference.

The debut of uber-prospect Paul Skenes on Saturday gave Pirates fans a glimpse of the bright future ahead of them. Of course, things got really weird after Skenes exited the game in the fifth inning, putting into stark relief how far this roster still has to go before Pittsburgh can be considered a true contender.

Tier 7 – Hope Deferred

TeamRecordEloOpponent EloPlayoff OddsPower Score
White Sox12-29139815100.0%1390

It’s never a good sign when people start wondering which players a team might put on the trade block in early May. The Marlins now have the worst record in baseball after losing five of their six games last week. Even if they overachieved a bit to earn a postseason berth last year, it’s a pretty dramatic fall and doesn’t bode well for the pending free agents and role players on their roster staying put.


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