April 17, 2024

MLB Power Rankings: Who’s No. 1 one week into the season?


We’re one week into the 2024 MLB season, and after the Brewers and Pirates every suffered their first lack of the season on Wednesday, we now have one staff nonetheless undefeated via seven days of play — the Tigers?!

We’ve seen scorching begins throughout the league from not only some stunning groups but additionally typical ones, comparable to the Yankees, whose new slugger, Juan Soto, has shined in his debut for the staff. Mookie Betts has additionally bashed 5 house runs for his Dodgers, who additionally boast superstars in Shohei Ohtani and Freddie Freeman.

Is your favourite staff off to a dominant begin — and extra importantly, will it final? Or are you hoping the first week’s returns aren’t a glimpse of the future?

Our professional panel has gotten collectively to rank each staff in baseball based mostly on a mixture of what we have seen up to now and what we already knew going into the 162-game marathon that may be a full baseball season. We additionally requested ESPN MLB specialists David Schoenfield, Bradford Doolittle, Jesse Rogers, Alden Gonzalez and Jorge Castillo to weigh in with an commentary for all 30 groups.

Preseason rankings

Record: 3-2

Previous rating: 1

The new additions to the rotation had optimistic ends in their preliminary begins. Pitching towards the Phillies, Chris Sale allowed two runs in 5⅓ innings, hanging out seven. He did serve up a leadoff house run to Kyle Schwarber, who jumped on an 0-1 fastball down the center, however settled in after that and recorded 5 of his seven strikeouts on his fastball, which touched 96 mph. Reynaldo Lopez had a neater matchup towards the hapless White Sox on a chilly night time in Chicago, however he allowed simply one run in six innings, throwing an environment friendly 82 pitches — a key for a man who did not have nice management at the same time as a reliever. “This start meant a lot to me,” Lopez mentioned after the sport. — Schoenfield


Record: 7-2

Previous rating: 2

There was a lot hype round every thing that was new about the 2024 Dodgers that we seemingly forgot one actually vital factor: Betts is unimaginable. No worries — he has been variety sufficient to remind us. He started the spring transitioning full time to second base, then moved over to shortstop to cowl Gavin Lux‘s throwing points, a spot the place he’ll now spend the majority of his time. And regardless of all the defensive turmoil, Betts has been the sport’s finest offensive performer to this point. In 42 plate appearances, he has 16 hits, together with a significant league-best 5 house runs, and 9 walks. His OPS is 1.686. Not dangerous. — Gonzalez


Record: 6-1

Previous rating: 7

Soto’s first week in a Yankees uniform could not have gone any higher. The celebrity outfielder went 9-for-17 in New York’s season-opening four-game sweep of nemesis Houston on the highway, a efficiency that earned him American League Player of the Week. He drove in the Yankees’ first run of the season. He concluded his debut by throwing out the tying run at home in the ninth inning. He offered the go-ahead house run two nights later. He’s been an exhaustive at-bat for pitchers each night time, setting the tone for an offense that prides itself on grinding opponents down. Soto is locked in for his platform season. That’s scary for the remainder of the AL East. — Castillo


Record: 4-2

Previous rating: 4

Jackson Holliday, to simply about everybody’s shock, was left off Baltimore’s Opening Day roster. The official purpose, in line with Orioles basic supervisor Mike Elias, was that the membership desires Holliday, the consensus high prospect in baseball, to face extra left-handed pitching in Triple-A. In response, Holliday homered in his first at-bat of the season — off a left-handed pitcher. It’s solely a matter of (little or no) time earlier than the 20-year-old infielder bulldozes his option to the majors. When he does, the Orioles, a staff already loaded with younger place participant expertise, will turn out to be that rather more explosive as they search their second straight AL East title. — Castillo


Record: 4-2

Previous rating: 6

It’s too early to tout anybody for awards honors, however at the very least, we are able to say that Wyatt Langford didn’t look overmatched throughout his first few huge league video games. Langford was in the Rangers’ Opening Day lineup lower than a 12 months after being drafted No. 4 general in 2023 out of Florida. He even grew to become simply the forty fourth participant to be deliberately walked in his debut, although he had labored a 3-0 rely earlier than the free cross was issued. Still, Langford leads a deep Rangers lineup in hard-hit balls throughout the first week at the same time as he acclimates to frequent DH duties, one thing he by no means did at Florida or in the minors. — Doolittle


Record: 4-3

Previous rating: 9

The D-backs doubled down after an unlikely journey to the World Series final fall, signing Eduardo Rodriguez and Jordan Montgomery to bolster their rotation and Joc Pederson to supply extra punch to their lineup. But the core group in Phoenix is de facto good by itself. And no person represents that higher than ace Zac Gallen, who confirmed out on Tuesday, throwing six scoreless innings at hand the Yankees their first lack of the season. Gallen, in his second-to-last season earlier than free company, has allowed simply one run in 11 innings to this point, having additionally stifled the Rockies. — Gonzalez


Record: 2-4

Previous rating: 5

After a tough first two video games towards the Braves to begin the season — the bullpen imploded to permit 9 runs after Zack Wheeler had tossed six scoreless innings in the opener, after which Aaron Nola allowed a career-worst 12 hits the subsequent day — the Phillies salvaged the sequence finale with three runs in the seventh as Alec Bohm delivered the go-ahead hit.

Bryce Harper broke out of an 0-for-11 begin to the season on Tuesday with three home runs and six RBIs against the Reds, including a grand slam. Two of the house runs have been blasts of 107 and 108 mph — and he nearly went 4-for-4 however was robbed of an extra-base hit by a diving catch in middle discipline. And how about this: Following a six-hour drive from Rochester, New York, Ricardo Pinto, again in the majors for the first time since 2019, arrived in the fourth inning after which pitched the ultimate 4 innings of the sport for his first profession save. — Schoenfield


Record: 2-5

Previous rating: 3

The Astros’ early bullpen issues and 4 straight season-opening losses to the Yankees aren’t forgotten, however their opening week was nonetheless dominated by the no-hitter thrown by Ronel Blanco. To say the gem was surprising is an enormous understatement. For one factor, it was the earliest — by date — no-hitter in MLB historical past, coming at a time of the season when starters seldom work deep. Also, for the 30-year-old righty, the no-no gave him simply his third profession MLB victory. Blanco hasn’t even been a starter for the most half, with simply 34 of his 202 profession minor league outings coming in that position. And but, Blanco authored the 305th single-pitcher no-hitter in historical past. Go determine. — Doolittle


Record: 3-4

Previous rating: 10

Perhaps the Mariners’ splashiest offseason pickup was the addition of former All-Star infielder Jorge Polanco, acquired in a commerce with Minnesota. The early returns have been … not nice. Polanco’s Seattle profession began in ice-cold vogue as he managed simply three singles and a stroll over his first six video games for the Mariners whereas hanging out greater than 40% of the time. It’s solely six video games, in fact, however it might be higher if Polanco began hitting sooner fairly than later, as these numbers are both an acceleration or an exaggeration of tendencies that appeared to crop up final 12 months for him with the Twins. Perhaps the worst half about it’s that in every of Seattle’s first six video games, supervisor Scott Servais penciled Polanco into the 3-hole as safety for Julio Rodriguez at No. 2. — Doolittle


Record: 3-4

Previous rating: 8

Wander Franco‘s future as a significant leaguer stays unclear. The All-Star shortstop was placed on paid administrative leave through June 1 earlier than the begin of the season as a potential criminal case stays unresolved in the Dominican Republic. Prosecutors allege the 23-year-old Franco broke sexual exploitation and money-laundering legal guidelines, however he hasn’t been formally charged but. His standing with MLB might change based mostly on developments in the case. Without Franco, the Rays have turned to Jose Caballero at shortstop to begin the season. The 27-year-old Panamanian made his main league debut final season with the Mariners. — Castillo


Record: 4-1

Previous rating: 21

Longtime bench coach Pat Murphy received his managerial profession off on the proper foot as Milwaukee received its first 4 video games. Meanwhile, first baseman Rhys Hoskins endeared himself to his new staff, ticking off the Mets with a tough slide which led to the benches clearing and Hoskins getting thrown at. It’s the form of spark the Brewers want as they start a brand new chapter with out former supervisor Craig Counsell, Brandon Woodruff (for now — he is out for the entire 2024 season) and Corbin Burnes. Their first week couldn’t have gone higher. — Rogers


Record: 3-4

Previous rating: 11

Offense was the Blue Jays’ projected weak point coming into the season, and the first week was proof of that. They have been held to 2 or fewer runs in 4 of their first six video games and have been no-hit by Blanco, a 30-year-old right-hander, in his eighth profession begin Monday. Toronto’s pitching, in the meantime, has restricted opponents to 5 or fewer runs in 4 of the six video games behind two dominant outings from starter Jose Berrios. The Blue Jays will jockey for a playoff spot if the offense can present constant support for the robust pitching workers. Justin Turner is off to a robust begin, but it surely’ll come all the way down to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette carrying the load. — Castillo


Record: 5-2

Previous rating: 19

New uniform, identical Opening Day outcomes for Tyler O’Neill. The former Cardinal homered in his Red Sox debut, turning into the first participant in MLB historical past to hit a house run on 5 consecutive Opening Days in the staff’s win over the Mariners. Red Sox followers have been disillusioned with Boston’s inactive offseason after they have been promised a “full-throttle” effort to enhance the last-place membership. All they received was a whimper, however O’Neill, one of the staff’s few free agent additions, delivered in Game 1 as soon as once more. Next up: Frank Robinson’s report eight profession Opening Day house runs. — Castillo


Record: 4-0

Previous rating: 22

Detroit started its season with a three-game sweep of the White Sox. Yeah, the White Sox aren’t anticipated to be any good this season, but it surely was monumental nonetheless. The Tigers started 3-0 for the first time since 2016, their most up-to-date profitable season. They did so by means of three consecutive one-run victories for the first time of their historical past. The most encouraging of these wins got here on Opening Day, when Tarik Skubal, who many count on to raise to one of the sport’s finest pitchers, fired six scoreless innings. Said Javier Baez: “I think he can win a Cy Young if he’s got a good plan, which we do.” — Gonzalez


Record: 4-2

Previous rating: 14

Justin Steele‘s harm, which can keep him out at least one month, is an enormous one. Even earlier than he strained his hamstring fielding a ground ball on Opening Day, the Cubs weren’t top-heavy of their rotation. It means after they go up towards one other staff’s ace, they will be behind the eight ball from the get-go. However, Japanese starter Shota Imanaga pitched effectively in his debut, hanging out 9. As lengthy as the wind is blowing in at Wrigley — prefer it was on Monday — the fly ball pitcher can match one other staff’s ace. But navigating April, which features a West Coast journey, with out Steele goes to be troublesome. — Rogers


Record: 5-1

Previous rating: 25

The Pirates are at it once more. After getting off to a superb begin — after which fading — final season, they’ve received their first 5 video games to begin this one. Their manufacturing has been unfold out — 12 totally different gamers drove in not less than one run of their first 5 video games whereas the bullpen was 4-0 with a 1.85 ERA in that timeframe. Shortstop Oneil Cruz carried over his scorching bat from the spring to begin the season 6-for-23. He’s key to the Pirates’ success, as is middle fielder Bryan Reynolds, who drove in eight runs in the first week. — Rogers


Record: 3-2

Previous rating: 12

Significant accidents have already surfaced in Minnesota. Anthony DeSclafani, signed to take Sonny Gray’s rotation spot, was misplaced for the season earlier than it began. Three innings into Opening Day, Royce Lewis pulled up lame working the bases after beginning the season 2-for-2 with a house run. Lewis, whose profession has been marred by accidents, will miss at least two months with a strained quad. Those are two main setbacks for the Twins, who spent simply $7.7 million in free company figuring they have been the favorites to win the AL Central anyway. But the division has improved. The Guardians, Tigers and Royals will problem them — so the margin for error to achieve the postseason has already shrunk. — Castillo


Record: 4-5

Previous rating: 13

New Padres supervisor Mike Shildt made the fairly stunning resolution to fit Jake Cronenworth into the No. 3 spot of his lineup — between franchise pillars Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado — and Cronenworth has delivered early on, slashing .286/.333/.429 via his first 39 plate appearances. He signed a seven-year, $80 million extension final April and turned in a brutal 2023 season, ending with an adjusted OPS of simply 92. If Cronenworth can get again to producing like he did from 2021 to 2022, when his adjusted OPS was 115, it will likely be a significant enhance for a Padres staff that traded away Soto and nonetheless has main holes in left discipline and at designated hitter. — Gonzalez


Record: 2-5

Previous rating: 15

We cannot fairly know but whether or not the Giants’ flurry of offseason strikes will vault them again into the playoffs, but it surely appears fairly clear early on that San Francisco followers are going to like Jung Hoo Lee. The Giants gave Lee a whopping six-year, $113 million contract, a report for an Asian-born hitter. But he seems to be like he matches in properly as a significant league middle fielder and leadoff man, with six hits and three walks in his first 24 plate appearances. He did not have an amazing sequence towards the Dodgers, however the 25-year-old left-handed hitter had simply two whiffs on his first 31 swings this season. He additionally has a great personality, which is already beginning to come via. — Gonzalez


Record: 4-2

Previous rating: 16

Journeyman Nick Martini was the hero of the first week for Cincinnati, which already has needed to faucet into its depth after spring accidents and a suspension reared its head. Martini was 4-for-8 with three extra-base hits in his first three video games, giving the Reds a lift from the bench they will want this season. Meanwhile, starter Frankie Montas‘ debut for the staff couldn’t have gone higher as he threw six shutout innings towards the Nationals. Cincinnati is relying on him to be actually good as the veteran at the high of the rotation. — Rogers


Record: 5-2

Previous rating: 20

The finest signal a week into the season: Shane Bieber has thrown two gems, permitting no runs in 12 innings with 20 strikeouts and simply one stroll. He had 18 swinging strikes in his first begin and 10 in his second, so he is displaying swing-and-miss stuff. His velocity is up a tick to 92.0 mph on his four-seamer — up from 91.3 final 12 months, though nonetheless under the 94 he averaged in 2020, when he received the Cy Young. Granted, these begins got here towards the A’s and the Mariners in Seattle (a tricky place to hit early in the season), however zero runs are zero runs. — Schoenfield


Record: 3-4

Previous rating: 17

Shortstop Masyn Winn seems to be like he belongs after beginning the season 5-for-14 whereas enjoying flawless protection. The 2020 second-round choose received his toes moist final 12 months, although his manufacturing was nothing to put in writing house about. However, that point in the majors may need set him up for this season. The newly 22-year-old seems to be extra snug at the plate and does not have that very same wide-eyed look about him that he sported final season. So maybe one thing got here of the Cardinals’ terrible displaying final 12 months: expertise for his or her new man up the center. — Rogers


Record: 2-4

Previous rating: 26

Small pattern caveats apply but it surely certain seems to be like Bobby Witt Jr. is even higher after his second-half breakout in 2023. Witt’s common exit velocity (102.1 mph, based mostly on his first 13 batted ball occasions) is the finest in the majors over the first week, as was his barrel charge (38.5%). Witt remains to be seeing a mean share of pitches in the strike zone and his strategy stays aggressive: if doubtful, swing. It shall be fascinating to see how Witt adapts if that strike share begins to plummet as pitchers begin to deal with him with much more deference. — Doolittle


Record: 0-4

Previous rating: 18

You can argue that no staff had a extra disappointing/embarrassing/terrible first week than the Mets. Let’s see right here: (1) Jeff McNeil whining a few tough — but legal — slide from Hoskins; (2) Yohan Ramirez responding by throwing behind Hoskins and getting suspended (supervisor Carlos Mendoza needed to serve one sport as effectively); (3) Luis Severino getting roughed up in his Mets debut; (4) Tylor Megill touchdown on the IL with a shoulder pressure; (5) shedding a sport in additional innings resulting from a few defensive misplays; (6) Mendoza needing simply three video games to reshuffle the batting order, shifting Francisco Alvarez as much as the cleanup spot. Not the begin the Mets wanted. — Schoenfield


Record: 4-2

Previous rating: 24

Even although Mike Trout hit about 5 miles’ price of homers over the first week, maybe the most encouraging growth for the Halos throughout these video games was that Nolan Schanuel went deep. Schanuel has elite on-base abilities, however after he hit only a lone dinger throughout his 132 plate appearances in 2023, questions remained if he was going to hit for sufficient energy as a nook participant. One homer is simply one homer, but it surely’s a begin. Schanuel is the form of hitter who does not must hit 30 bombs to be a plus offensive participant — 15 to twenty will do. Well, that is lower than one per week over a full season, so he is forward of tempo up to now in 2024. — Doolittle


Record: 0-7

Previous rating: 23

This has not gone effectively. With Eury Perez, Braxton Garrett and Edward Cabrera all beginning the season on the IL after accidents in spring coaching, these opening weeks have been all about simply preserving issues collectively till the rotation received wholesome. Instead, the Marlins began 0-7, misplaced two video games in additional innings and have been outscored 51 to 24, permitting not less than six runs in six of their seven video games. A.J. Puk had an amazing spring as he moved from the bullpen to the rotation — after which walked six batters in his first begin. The lineup hasn’t hit both, and the early returns on the Tim Anderson signing do not look good. — Schoenfield


Record: 2-3

Previous rating: 27

I hate to select on the Nationals one week into the season however cannot ignore what’s going on right here with an outfield of Jesse Winker in left discipline and Eddie Rosario in middle. Winker is a notoriously dangerous outfielder — one of the worst in the sport — and whereas he had an amazing season for the Reds in 2021 (.949 OPS), he struggled with the Mariners and Brewers the previous two seasons as he battled accidents (hitting .199 final season). I might perhaps see taking a flier on him as a DH, however not as a left fielder. Rosario is 32 years previous and has spent the overwhelming majority of his profession in left discipline (simply 39 profession begins in middle earlier than this season). Why not assist your pitchers and not less than give them some good protection? — Schoenfield


Record: 1-4

Previous rating: 28

The White Sox may lose extra video games this season than the 101 they misplaced in 2023. They’re debuting a completely new pitching workers outdoors of Michael Kopech and now Mike Clevinger. Add two new catchers to the combine and it should take some time for any chemistry to develop. The lone brilliant spot is likely to be Garrett Crochet, their Opening Day pitcher. He threw effectively in his first two profession begins this week — although Chicago misplaced each video games. Baby steps. — Rogers


Record: 1-6

Previous rating: 29

It’s in all probability going to be one other lengthy 12 months for the Rockies, who’ve been outscored 58-24 via their first seven video games and already suffered two blowouts. But it has been good to see Charlie Blackmon get going. While the Rockies are beginning to incorporate a few of their youthful guys, Blackmon is by far their longest-tenured participant, as a 37-year-old outfielder navigating via his 14th season in Colorado. He has been a brilliant spot to this point, slashing .417/.440/.625. He recorded each the first stolen base and the first outfield help of the Rockies’ season, and he even gave them their first lead. — Gonzalez


Record: 1-6

Previous rating: 30

The Athletics’ resolution to demote speedster Esteury Ruiz, who stole 67 bases final season, led to some head-scratching. For an evidence, perhaps it’s essential to look no additional than the man occupying Ruiz’s place in middle discipline, J.J. Bleday. It’s very early however Bleday was the fourth general draft choose by Miami in 2019. He entered the season with that baseline expertise — and nonetheless had only a .190 profession common. However, Bleday began 2024 on fireplace, having fun with maybe his finest week as an enormous leaguer with 15 whole bases over Oakland’s first six video games. We must see a lot, rather more of this to purchase in, however on a staff that wants all the excellent news it will probably get, Bleday’s early play is a purpose to smile. — Doolittle



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