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MLB Power Rankings: Giants, Astros move on up; One big question for all 30 teams


By Rustin Dodd, Chad Jennings and Kaitlyn McGrath

Every week,​ we​ ask a selected group of our baseball​ writers​ — local and national — to rank the teams from first to worst. Here are the collective results.

There is a common understanding among people in baseball that a season can be divided into three distinct portions.

The first third of the season is about evaluating and learning about the team. The thinking is that more than 50 games in, a front office should know if their team is a contender or not. The second part is about taking action by executing trades that address a current or future need. The third portion is when it’s up to the team assembled to get results.

If we apply the timeline to our power rankings, we’re past the evaluation stage and, therefore, have learned a great deal about all 30 teams — enough that we have one big question for each club as they enter the all-important action portion of the season.

Record: 47-21
Last Power Ranking: 1

One big question: They’re still doing this without Gerrit Cole?

Before losing two of three to the Dodgers this weekend, the Yankees had an eight-game winning streak, and replacement ace Luis Gil got two of those eight wins. Aaron Judge is back to being an MVP candidate, Clay Holmes and Anthony Volpe look like All-Stars, and Juan Soto seems to have dodged a bullet with his forearm injury. Even with Gleyber Torres struggling, DJ LeMahieu barely playing and Cole still awaiting his season debut, the Yankees just keep separating themselves from the rest of the American League. Cole, though, has already made two rehab starts and could be back fairly soon. He’ll step into a rotation that’s been excellent even without him. The Yankees missed the playoffs last year. Could a healthy Cole make the regular season a cakewalk this year? — Chad Jennings


Four Yankees takeaways: Which areas should Brian Cashman focus on at the trade deadline?

Record: 45-20
Last Power Ranking: 2

One big question: Can the Phillies be even better?

The Phillies are winning at a historic pace and, as Matt Gelb wrote recently, they look like one of the most complete teams in the major leagues. A genuine juggernaut. Their pitching staff has been one of the top two in the majors, along with the Yankees. They entered Monday second in the majors behind the Yankees in run differential. But they have been mopping up teams without Trea Turner, and Gelb makes the argument that their offense has room to grow. Maybe an uptick in run production compensates for a regression on the pitching side. But what if the Phillies actually have another gear? — Rustin Dodd



Bryce Harper channels English footballers as he celebrates in London: ‘It was iconic’

Record: 41-26
Last Power Ranking: 3

One big question: Can the Dodgers fix the bottom of their lineup?

The stars are starring, to the degree that the Dodgers will likely win the NL West no matter what. But if they want to be the best version of themselves, they’ll have to figure out some solutions for the bottom third of their lineup. The seventh, eighth and ninth spots in the order have a collective OPS hovering around .600. On Sunday in New York, those spots were filled by Andy Pages, Gavin Lux and Kiké Hernández. Lux entered Monday with an OPS-plus of 60, while Hernández was at 68. Lux had three hits on Sunday, however. Maybe it’s a start. — Dodd



Dodgers fans invade Yankee Stadium in full force: ‘Never expected it here in New York’

Record: 43-22
Last Power Ranking: 4

One big question: Can the Orioles catch the AL-East leading Yankees?

Of all the division races, none has the potential for fireworks as much as Orioles vs. Yankees. The Orioles, the defending AL East champions, are 2 1/2 games back of the Yankees. Both teams are tied atop the American League in runs scored. The Orioles have hit more home runs, but the Yankees have a slightly better team OPS. Pitching-wise, the Yankees and Orioles are ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively, per ERA. These teams are fun, have two of the league’s best home-run hitters this season in Gunnar Henderson and Aaron Judge and look as evenly matched as they come. The Orioles lead the head-to-head 3-1, and with nine games remaining, there is plenty of runway for the Orioles to chase the Yankees down. We’re predicting this race will go down to the wire. — Kaitlyn McGrath



Bowden: My early All-Star team picks for the American League and National League

Record: 42-22
Last Power Ranking: 5

One big question: Who in the world is David Fry?

It’s worth remembering that this season started with Shane Bieber pitching 12 scoreless innings with 20 strikeouts, only to immediately undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. It wasn’t supposed to look this easy for the Guardians, but you browse their roster and find it’s not only José Ramírez and Emmanuel Clase having great seasons — though, they are — but also guys like Ben Lively, Cade Smith, Josh Naylor and some guy named David Fry, who’s a catcher/outfielder and has some of the best offensive numbers in baseball. The former seventh-round pick was acquired in 2022 as the player to be named later in a J.C. Mejia trade, and now he’s a legitimate All-Star candidate. So, how are the Guardians maintaining this pace this late in the year? It’s because Fry (and some other guys kind of like him) keeps putting up numbers. — Jennings

Record: 35-28
Last Power Ranking: 6

One big question: Will the Braves’ bats come alive?

Even without Ronald Acuña Jr., the Braves’ offense has been surprisingly mediocre, ranking in the bottom half of the majors in runs scored. Austin Riley has an OPS well below league average, and Matt Olson has yet to find his power stroke. Atlanta remains a safe bet to reach the postseason, but their streak of six straight NL East division crowns is in serious jeopardy. They are going to need more production up and down the lineup to catch the Phillies. — Dodd



Three takeaways on still-slumping Braves: Stars aren’t starring, team built for slugging isn’t

Record: 39-27
Last Power Ranking: 7

One big question: Can William Contreras win the NL MVP?

Forgive us for thinking the Brewers might take a step back this year. They traded former Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes before the season. Their former manager, Craig Counsell, departed for the rival Cubs. And closer Devin Williams was sidelined with a back injury to start the season. The signs were there for a regression. And yet, the Brewers are leading the NL Central with their relentless style.

A big reason for their success has been the play of catcher William Contreras, who leads the team with 2.5 fWAR. Contreras is enjoying the best stretch of his career and has been the best catcher in the NL this season. While he may trail other NL MVP favorites like Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, Bryce Harper and Marcell Ozuna, Contreras has nonetheless made a strong case for himself. If he keeps it up in the second half, he should remain in the MVP conversation. — McGrath



‘Relentless’ Milwaukee Brewers aren’t slowing down in another race to October

The Mariners are currently out front in the AL West — but can they hang on to that lead the rest of the way?  (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

Record: 38-30
Last Power Ranking: 8

One big question: Can the Mariners score enough to hang onto first?

The AL West division has been weaker than expected, and the Mariners have taken advantage. Their strong pitching staff — ranked fifth in the AL, per ERA — has helped them stay atop the division, but their plus-six run differential tells us they’re lucky to have the record they do. (Their expected W-L record is 34-33).

Relying on pitching over offense isn’t a new formula for Seattle but with Houston lurking behind them, can they score enough to hold off the threat? The Mariners are tied for 24th in runs scored, but perhaps there is hope for a strong second half. The Athletic’s Eno Sarris identified players who have promising underlying hitting metrics when it comes to plate discipline and hitting the ball hard but haven’t been getting good results. Of the 12 players, three — or 25 percent — are Mariners, including Cal Raleigh, Julio Rodríguez and Mitch Haniger. That’s a lot of unlucky Mariners, and it’s probably reasonable to expect some positive regression from them in the second half. — McGrath

Record: 39-28
Last Power Ranking: 10

One big question: How long can they keep this up?

After opening the season near the bottom of our Power Rankings, the Royals have been in our top 10 for a few weeks now. Two-plus months is just too much of a sample to ignore or dismiss. Over the weekend, the Royals were a one-run game away from sweeping a pretty good Mariners team. This week will be tough with the Yankees and Dodgers on the schedule, but the Royals have one of the best rotations in baseball and a couple of All-Star shoo-ins in Bobby Witt Jr. and Salvador Perez. It might feel surprising all year, but the Royals have a chance to catch a lot of people off-guard if they can keep winning like this through September. — Jennings

Record: 35-31
Last Power Ranking: 9

One big question: Can the Twins stop being so streaky and put together a consistent stretch?

The Twins season has been dizzying. One minute, they’re rocketing up the AL Central standings and rallying around a sausage amid a 12-game win streak. The next minute, they’ve lost seven in a row and have slipped back into the mediocre middle of the division.

They’ve seemingly followed every promising stretch with a losing spell. Their 12-game win streak in April was followed by a seven-game losing streak in mid-May. Then, they won eight of their next 10, only to lose six of their next eight. On the bright side, the Twins are hanging onto the final wild-card spot and Royce Lewis has returned from the IL. But in a tight wild-card race, the Twins need to find more consistency. — McGrath



‘They are sick’: Twins ditch traditional colors as City Connect jerseys finally unveiled

Record: 35-35
Last Power Ranking: 11

One big question: Is Jurickson Profar for real?

Profar, 31, has already been worth 2.4 WAR according to Baseball-Reference, which would be the second-best season of his career. He entered Monday slashing .325/.420/.504 with 10 homers in 69 games. His OPS-plus (169) is more than 50 points higher than his previous career high (116 last year). Profar has been a useful regular for years. But he’s playing like an All-Star and, if he keeps it up, a down-ballot MVP candidate. — Dodd



The Weirdest and Wildest MLB games, feats and minutia of the past month

Record: 30-37
Last Power Ranking: 14

One big question: Could the Astros be in first place by the All-Star break?

The start of the season was brutal, but the Astros had a winning record in May, and they’re off to a solid start in June (last week, they won two of three against the Cardinals, then did it again against the Angels). The next five weeks before the break, the Astros will play a series against the White Sox, Rockies, Mets and Marlins. They’ll also play a series against the below-.500 Blue Jays, Giants and Tigers. Alex Bregman is starting to hit again, the bullpen has been better than it was early in the season and Kyle Tucker is expected back in the lineup soon. It was easy to give up on the Astros early, but they’re a few good weeks away from being right back in the hunt. — Jennings



Three Astros takeaways: Bullpen balance, Jose Altuve’s aggression, Yainer Diaz’s debrief

Record: 33-33
Last Power Ranking: 12

One big question: Is this team overperforming or underperforming?

The Red Sox needed extra innings to manage a four-game split against the last-place White Sox this weekend, and with that, they were right back to being a .500 team. That’s better than many expected, but still probably not good enough to make the playoffs. Tanner Houck, Wilyer Abreu, Rob Refsnyder and David Hamilton have been better than anticipated, but Triston Casas, Trevor Story, Vaughn Grissom and Garrett Whitlock have missed far more time than the Red Sox would have liked (and some of those guys aren’t coming back this year). The team president said they’re underperforming and seemed to mean that in an optimistic way. So, is there room for this team to be a lot better in the coming months, or are they already playing better than anyone could have asked? — Jennings



As Chris Martin heads to IL with anxiety, Red Sox, MLB addressing mental health directly

Record: 31-35
Last Power Ranking: 15

One big question: Can they make a run as they keep getting healthy?

The Rays have a losing record, but they’re not completely out of the mix for the final wild-card spot. Reliever Colin Poche came off the injured list this weekend, just a few days after shortstop Tyler Walls was activated for the first time this season. Starter Taj Bradley returned a month ago, second baseman Brandon Lowe came back in late May, and lefty Jeffrey Springs has begun pitching in rehab games. The Rays aren’t hitting much — third baseman Isaac Paredes is a notable exception — and their pitching has been worse than usual, but they’re not completely out of the playoff picture. Eventually, Springs, starter Drew Rasmussen, and top prospect Junior Caminero could be healthy enough to give the Rays a boost. Will it be too little, too late? — Jennings

Record: 32-34
Last Power Ranking: 16

One big question: Can the Blue Jays dig out of the hole they dug?

The Blue Jays made the postseason in three out of the past four seasons and sport one of MLB’s most talented rosters. And yet, into June, Toronto is one of the league’s lowest-scoring teams, is below .500, and sits outside of a playoff spot. So, can the Blue Jays dig themselves out of this hole and put themselves back into a playoff spot?

They’ve won 12 of their past 20 games during a relatively soft part of their schedule. A series win over the A’s this past weekend helped them climb out of last place in the AL East, but not before they learned they’d be losing Alek Manoah for the rest of the year due to elbow surgery. They have a tough schedule ahead with series against the Brewers, Guardians, Yankees and Red Sox in June. If they can maintain a winning record through this stretch and climb above .500, perhaps we can consider them a second-half team to watch. But if they stumble against the stiffer competition, making the playoffs may be out of reach. — McGrath

Record: 31-34
Last Power Ranking: 13

One big question: Just how much trouble are the defending champs in?

Last week, the Rangers had a pretty easy schedule. Three at home against the Tigers (the Rangers lost two of those games), then an off day followed by three more at home against the Giants (again, the Rangers lost two of three). At this point, the defending World Series champs are three games below .500, getting more than they could have asked from Josh Smith and Kirby Yates while getting less than they expected from Evan Carter, Wyatt Langford and José Leclerc. They still haven’t gotten a start from Max Scherzer. The good news is that the AL West is relatively weak outside of the Mariners, and there are plenty of spots on the roster that could improve in the next four months, but this isn’t the start the Rangers wanted coming off last year’s championship. — Jennings

Record: 33-34
Last Power Ranking: 20

One big question: Can they get (and stay) healthy?

Jung Hoo Lee is out for the season, and Tom Murphy is on the 60-day IL, but the Giants should get Lamont Wade Jr., Marco Luciano and Blake Snell back at some point. They just got Michael Conforto and Austin Slater back. But then there are the guys they knew were going to be hurt already — Robbie Ray and Alex Cobb. In other words, they have their own mini-deadline built in. They just need to tread water for the time being, hoping not to pull any muscles while doing so. — Dodd



Kawakami: Why the Giants should try to trade for Mike Trout

Can the Reds recapture some of that 2023 magic to propel them into the season’s second half? (Katie Stratman / USA Today)

Record: 32-34
Last Power Ranking: 23

One big question: Can the Reds have a magical second half?

The Reds were a team on the rise heading into the season, with a roster chock-full of young, exciting talent. A dreadful 9-18 May saw the team slip to last place in the NL Central. But, as C. Trent Rosecrans wrote, the Reds didn’t panic. They stayed the course, started 7-2 in June and climbed into second in the division while sitting in a three-way tie for the final wild-card spot.

We all remember the Reds’ 12-game win streak last season that briefly had them in first place before they fell back in the second half. Now, a year older and more experienced, can the Reds recapture some of that magic to propel them into the season’s second half? They’re healthier now and some of their slumping hitters have begun to turn a corner. Once again, the NL wild-card race looks crowded and the Reds at least look like they put themselves back in that mix. — McGrath



Reds’ Noelvi Marte to begin return from suspension at Triple-A Louisville

Record: 32-34
Last Power Ranking: 19

One big question: Are the Cubs a buyer or a seller?

The Cubs were surprise buyers in 2023, rolling the dice at a playoff spot only to finish one game behind the Arizona Diamondbacks for the third NL wild card. The Diamondbacks went on to make the World Series. The Cubs could find themselves in a familiar position at the deadline in a wide-open National League. Should they pivot to sellers? Should they buy again? The performance over the next month will reveal the best option. — Dodd



Chicago Cubs’ next level requires more from Seiya Suzuki and their core players

Record: 32-33
Last Power Ranking: 18

One big question: Are their young hitters actually going to hit?

Last week, the Tigers sent former first-overall draft pick Spencer Torkelson to Triple A for the first time since mid-season 2022. Once among the most highly touted offensive prospects in baseball, Torkelson has just a .683 OPS in the majors. Young center fielder Parker Meadows was sent down a month ago, rookie second baseman Colt Keith has a .548 OPS, and the Tigers have so far kept third-base prospect Jace Jung in the minors. (At least Jung has hit in Triple A.) The Tigers have some good, young arms, but outside of Riley Greene and Kerry Carpenter, they just haven’t gotten the kind of homegrown offensive impact they expected from some of their top prospects (and last year’s first-round pick, Max Clark, isn’t exactly dominating Single A at the moment). At times, the Tigers seem like a team on the verge of a breakout, but a homegrown bat would sure help. — Jennings



Tigers’ Tarik Skubal’s latest feat: 101.7 mph and another chapter in a Cy Young bid

Record: 31-33
Last Power Ranking: 17

One big question: Can Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt become themselves again?

Just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean it’s not particularly meaningful. The Cardinals are still in the thick of the wild-card hunt despite Arenado and Goldschmidt each having an OPS below league average. Arenado is 33; Goldschmidt is 36. Is this who they are now? Or can they squeeze out some more value during the final four months of the season? — Dodd



As Cardinals continue fight for .500, can they stay afloat in the National League?

Record: 31-35
Last Power Ranking: 21

One big question: Can the Diamondbacks’ rotation get healthy enough to contend?

Arizona’s season has not gone to plan. After their surprising run to the 2023 World Series, the reigning NL champs bet on themselves, spending a combined $105 million on starters Eduardo Rodriguez and Jordan Montgomery. But so far, the bet hasn’t paid off as the D-Backs have been beset by pitching injuries and underperformance. Rodriguez has yet to throw a pitch for Arizona as he’s been sidelined with a left shoulder strain. Merrill Kelly and Zac Gallen are on the IL, too. Meanwhile, Montgomery, who signed the day after the season started and didn’t have a traditional spring training, has struggled to replicate his results from 2023, with a 6.80 ERA in nine starts. If the Diamondbacks can get healthier in the second half, perhaps they can put themselves back into the wild-card mix, but they’ve suffered a lot of unfortunate injury luck this season — enough for it to seem like 2024 might not be their year. — McGrath

Record: 31-34
Last Power Ranking: 22

One big question: What is the ceiling for rookie sensation Paul Skenes?

We all knew Paul Skenes was good … but did we know he would be this good this quickly? Courtesy of Jayson Stark, here are some Skenes facts:

  • He’s thrown more pitches at 100 mph or harder (53) than the guy he’s often compared to, Stephen Strasburg, threw in his whole career (29).
  • He’s piled up more swings-and-misses (80) than Shelby Miller, a one-time first-round pick in the draft, got all last season … on 663 pitches.
  • He’s up to 38 strikeouts in his first 27 innings in the big leagues.

On first impression, Skenes sure looks like the kind of generational talent that the Pirates can build a winning team around, especially when paired with fellow rookie Jared Jones, who is impressing in his own right. And if the first edition of Skenes vs. Ohtani was any indication, it’s going to be fun watching the right-hander pitch against the league’s best hitters for years to come. — McGrath



Weird & Wild’s 12 MLB players and teams of the month, from Aaron Judge to the smelly Sox

Record: 30-35
Last Power Ranking: 24

One big question: Can the rotation prevent enough runs to keep them in the wild-card hunt?

The Nationals’ starters entered Monday tied for sixth in the National League in ERA. The performance has helped the club allow the third-fewest runs in the NL. Jake Irvin, MacKenzie Gore, Mitchell Parker and Trevor Williams have all been better than league-average starters. In a National League with four teams above .500, it’s keeping the Nationals relevant into the heart of June. That’s better than in recent years in Washington. — Dodd

Record: 28-36
Last Power Ranking: 25

One big question: Will the Mets trade Pete Alonso?

The Mets split a two-set with the Phillies in London and entered the week having won six of their past 10. Every mediocre team in the National League is still firmly in the wild-card hunt. But David Stearns, the Mets’ president of baseball operations, has a chance to maximize an asset before Alonso becomes a free agent. In a transition year for the franchise, it appears to be the smartest course of action. But there’s a long time before the deadline, and a lot can happen before then. — Dodd



Three Mets takeaways: Edwin Díaz says he’s ‘100 percent ready’ after rehab outing, and other notes

Record: 26-42
Last Power Ranking: 26

One big question: How many of these guys will be around for whatever’s next?

The future of the A’s remains weird and uncertain, and all that frustration and intrigue about their eventual move out of Oakland has thoroughly overshadowed whatever’s happening in the present. The A’s aren’t very good, aren’t going to make the playoffs, and aren’t especially relevant at the moment. But believe it or not, they have at least four legitimate All-Star candidates in closer Mason Miller, DH Brent Rooker, catcher Shea Langeliers and center fielder JJ Bleday. Starter JP Sears has also been pretty good. Each of those could be an interesting trade candidate, but each also comes with multiple years of remaining control. So are these high performers a part of the A’s future, or are they valuable trade chips to begin building for a future that remains incredibly difficult to predict? — Jennings



Before A’s move to Vegas, they’re negotiating how many games they can play elsewhere

Record: 25-40
Last Power Ranking: 27

One big question: What is Mike Trout coming back to?

At the start of the season, Trout hit 10 home runs in 29 games, then tore his meniscus. He isn’t expected back any time soon. What will his team look like when he finally returns, and what will that mean for the Angels going forward? Starting pitcher Tyler Anderson will surely be traded at some point. Given the weak outfields in the National League, some team would probably give a decent amount for Taylor Ward, too, and hot-hitting infielder Luis Rengifo has only one year of remaining control, so the Angels might as well trade him as well. Last year, the Angels made an ill-advised attempt at contention by actually adding at the deadline. There surely will be no thought of that this time around. By the time Trout is back in center field, will they have taken meaningful steps toward future contention, or are they going to let this cycle of losing continue? — Jennings

Record: 22-43
Last Power Ranking: T-28

One big question: How busy will the Marlins be before (and at) the trade deadline?

The Marlins are awful, but they already traded Luis Arraez, and they don’t have a lot of pending free agents with high trade value. In addition, their crop of young starters are either hurt or not performing well. Miami is positioning itself for a rebuild, and Peter Bendix, the team’s president of baseball operations, could look to be creative, bottoming out before building things back up. But it’s possible that it might not be the best time for a firesale. — Dodd

Record: 23-43
Last Power Ranking: T-28

One big question: Will it ever get better?

The Rockies have finished either fourth or fifth in the division every year since 2019 and they’re on pace to finish last in the NL West again this season. The big lingering question is: will it ever get better? There is some promise for the future in the play of shortstop Ezequiel Tovar, who has a .812 OPS in 64 games and is looking more comfortable. Center fielder Brenton Doyle has followed up on his breakout defensive season with a much-improved offensive performance this year, making himself more well-rounded. And this past weekend, the Rockies called up their top prospect Adael Amador, who registered his first MLB hit in his first at-bat and stole a base in his debut, though our Keith Law has details on the upside and downside of Amador’s overall game. It’s been a few lean years in Colorado, but perhaps there are sprinkles of hope on this roster. — McGrath

Record: 17-50
Last Power Ranking: 30

One big question: Who will still be on this team after July 30?

It has been a historically bad season for the White Sox, who set a franchise record with their 14-game losing streak, which they finally snapped with a win over the Red Sox last weekend. Still, the White Sox are projected for 105 losses per FanGraphs and the only big question to consider is, who will still be on this team after the trade deadline?

Guys on one-year deals like Tommy Pham and Paul DeJong figure to be gone. Starter Erick Fedde, who has another year left on his $15 million contract, is having an excellent year and could fetch a decent haul in a trade. Michael Kopech is the type of hard-throwing reliever any contender wants down the stretch. The White Sox’s biggest trade chips, however, could be Luis Robert Jr. and Garrett Crochet, should they decide to sell off players with multiple years of club control left. Summer is sale season and the White Sox will be open for business. — McGrath



Rosenthal: Pedro Grifol is running out of time as White Sox manager. The only question is when a change will be made

(Top photo of Mike Yastrzemski:  Ron Jenkins / Getty Images)



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