MLB Power Rankings: Dodgers and Braves looking as dominant as expected so far this season

Welcome to the inaugural edition of our 2024 MLB Power Rankings. With less than a week of games in the bank, it’s surely too early to draw any grand conclusions about the standings. But every day in April is an opportunity to learn a bit more about our favorite teams and players — and gain a tad more insight into what’s to come over the course of the full season.

With that small-sample caveat in mind, here’s an overview of the big-league landscape, from first to worst. (Records through games Monday.)

1. Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-2

Mookie Betts' otherworldly start to the season has helped mask Shohei Ohtani's semi-slow introduction to the Dodgers' faithful at the plate, and that's perfectly fine. This lineup has so much firepower that Ohtani could go homer-less for the rest of April, and the Dodgers might still be 20-7 or something ludicrous like that. Add Tyler Glasnow, Bobby Miller and the version of Yoshinobu Yamamoto that we saw in his first stateside start, and this rotation is going to win a bunch of games on its own. It's truly an embarrassment of riches.

2. Atlanta Braves, 3-1

It has been mostly smooth sailing for Atlanta so far, besides the oblique injury to catcher Sean Murphy. Heck, Max Fried didn't make it out of the first inning in Philadelphia, and the Braves went on to win that game 12-4. If you think Atlanta belongs at No. 1 on this list, I can't say I blame you.

3. Baltimore Orioles, 3-1

Considering his draft pedigree and gaudy MiLB stats, 25-year-old Jordan Westburg would be a much bigger deal in most other organizations. Instead, he’s merely another cog in Baltimore’s offensive machine — one who just delivered the Orioles’ first walk-off homer of the year.

4. New York Yankees, 5-0

It's hard to draw up a better start for New York than taking all four from the Astros in Houston and having Juan Soto at the center of it. That Anthony Volpe and Oswaldo Cabrera have been the Yankees' best non-Soto hitters thus far is also a scary thought, considering what the lineup could look like once firing on all cylinders.

5. Texas Rangers, 3-1

I feel terrible for Josh Jung hitting the injured list yet again after suffering a fractured wrist from a hit-by-pitch on Monday. At the same time, it says a lot about the Rangers’ offense that they can lose a third baseman of Jung’s caliber and I’m not concerned in the slightest about their ability to score runs. Star rookie Wyatt Langford already fits right in, and his presence in the lineup will surely be appreciated even more in Jung’s absence.

6. Houston Astros, 1-4

Of course Houston responded to its embarrassing 0-4 start against the Yankees by throwing a no-hitter against Toronto on Monday. If any team would know how to emphatically flush a bad start, it would be the Astros. As far as April matchups go, this weekend's showdown with the rival Rangers is about as juicy as it gets.

7. Arizona Diamondbacks, 3-2

Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly and Brandon Pfaadt all shined in their season debuts. Once Eduardo Rodriguez is back and late signing Jordan Montgomery is up to speed, this could be one of the best rotations in the NL — quite the sentiment, considering the state of this pitching staff a year ago.

8. Philadelphia Phillies, 1-3

The Phillies currently have the worst ERA in MLB at 7.30. If that trend continues, they will not be ranked this high for very long. But it’s only four games, so we’re gonna take a breather.

9. Tampa Bay Rays, 2-3

The Rays seem to get more anonymous every year around stars Randy Arozarena and Yandy Diaz, yet I’m reluctant to bet against them because of how strong the infrastructure has proven to be. Only the Yankees and Dodgers boast more consecutive winning seasons than Tampa Bay’s six (tied with Atlanta), and I don't expect that to change almost no matter who is on the roster.

10. Toronto Blue Jays, 2-3

If you're gonna get no-hit, might as well get it out of the way as early in the season as possible, if not literally the earliest any team has been no-hit in MLB history. But for a Toronto team whose offense looked stagnant far too often last season, let's hope no-shows from the lineup don't become a common occurrence.

11. Seattle Mariners, 3-2

It has been more of the same for Seattle in the early going, for better or for worse: close games, dynamite starting pitching and maddeningly inconsistent offense. The recipe is still in place for this squad to win a lot of games, but the revamped lineup needs to find a groove sooner rather than later to ease the burden on the pitching staff.

12. Boston Red Sox, 3-2

We’ll have to see it against some more potent offenses, but this Red Sox rotation under new pitching coach Andrew Bailey has been spectacular thus far. The AL East is already projected to be the most loaded division in MLB, but a dramatically improved Red Sox pitching staff could make the race all the more compelling.

13. San Francisco Giants, 2-3

For all the hype surrounding San Francisco’s ultra-active offseason, how about the start for Michael Conforto? He was so painfully average and unremarkable in his first year as a Giant that it almost went unnoticed. A rejuvenated version of him could elevate this new-look San Francisco lineup even further.

14. San Diego Padres, 3-4

Early returns on the overhauled pitching staff have not been especially encouraging, but I’ll be patient with that group. The lineup, on the other hand, has looked great, even with Soto flourishing elsewhere. We all know the big names still in San Diego’s lineup, but Jake Cronenworth and Luis Campusano in particular have looked like far more than just role players.

15. Minnesota Twins, 2-1

Losing Royce Lewis to yet another injury before Bailey Ober endured his worst career start wasn’t the most encouraging way to open the season. Carlos Correa looks fantastic, though — that’ll need to continue if Lewis is indeed out for a long stretch.

16. Milwaukee Brewers, 3-0

The NL Central exemplifies the absurdity of power rankings this early in the season, as there's a legitimate argument to put these five teams in virtually any order, hence my keeping them clumped together for now. This division was difficult to project before the season, and the first series did little to clarify things. Beyond the Rhys Hoskins Slide Heard 'Round the Baseball Internet, the biggest takeaway from the Brew Crew's sweep of the Mets was that even without Devin Williams, their bullpen can bring it. If 20-year-old Jackson Chourio continues to hit the ground running, we could be underestimating Milwaukee's offense as well.

17. Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-0

After a 20-8 start last year amounted to very little in the long run, I’ll wait to get too amped about the 2024 Buccos. But taking all four from the Marlins in Miami was an undeniably impressive start for Pittsburgh. And for all the hype surrounding top prospect Paul Skenes’ impending debut, 22-year-old righty Jared Jones is looking like appointment viewing in his own right.

18. St. Louis Cardinals, 2-3

St. Louis certainly looked the worst of any of the NL Central teams on Opening Weekend, but I'm not going to crush them too much for losing a series to the No. 1 team. At the same time, it's clear the Cardinals will need to tread water while they wait for Sonny Gray, Lars Nootbaar, Tommy Edman and Dylan Carlson to come back from the IL. At least my guy Kyle Gibson delivered Monday in his Cardinals debut.

19. Chicago Cubs, 2-2

Losing lefty Justin Steele to a hamstring injury right out of the gate is a tough pill to swallow, but rookie Shota Imanaga's sparkling debut on Monday had Wrigley Field buzzing. His next expected assignment — the Dodgers — will be tougher than his first outing against Colorado.

20. Cincinnati Reds, 3-1

The Reds were an Alexis Diaz meltdown away from sweeping the Nationals to start the season, and they followed it up with rousing rallies reminiscent of the late-inning magic they routinely delivered in 2023: two ninth-inning home runs to walk off against Washington on Sunday and a 10th-inning grand slam from Spencer Steer to stun Philadelphia on Monday.

21. Detroit Tigers, 4-0

This team is 4-0 and at No. 21?! The disrespect, I know. With Oakland coming to town for Detroit’s first home series this weekend, the Tigers have a great opportunity to bank a bunch of wins before the schedule toughens up. Still, the offense will need to heat up a bit more if the Tigers want to stay relevant in the AL Central race.

22. Cleveland Guardians, 3-2

Not only does Shane Bieber look healthy, but he also looks about as good as we’ve ever seen him. The fact that Jose Ramirez has been one of Cleveland’s least productive hitters thus far might actually be a good thing. If the offense takes any kind of reasonable step forward, this pitching staff will keep the Guardians in the mix.

23. Los Angeles Angels, 2-2

Mike Trout's two home runs Monday at loanDepot Park — the second of which might have landed on Miami Beach — were an exciting reminder of what it means to have one of the greatest players in the history of the sport healthy and in the lineup every day. As for the rest of the Angels roster? Well, we'll see. Let Wash cook!

24. Kansas City Royals, 1-3

Bobby Witt Jr. has picked up where he left off and looks every bit as sensational in Year 3. Now the question is: How good — or, rather, not bad — do the Royals need to be for him to be in legitimate MVP conversations?

25. New York Mets, 0-4

The Mets are not this bad, of course — they still have a lot of very good baseball players, far more than the other teams occupying the bottom handful of spots on this list. But I’m already concerned that the pitching staff, especially without Kodai Senga, might be too thin to support any ambitions of a surprise postseason push.

26. Miami Marlins, 0-5

An 0-5 at home to start the season is bad enough, but things might get worse before they get better: Miami has a case for the hardest April schedule in baseball.

Here are the Marlins’ next six series after the Fightin’ Trouts leave town:

At Cardinals

At Yankees

Vs. Braves

Vs. Giants

At Cubs

At Braves

Yikes. Good luck, Fish.

27. Washington Nationals, 1-3

Washington’s roster is a bizarre mix of youngsters trying to establish themselves and veterans trying to prove they have something left. But among the clear bottom tier of four teams, I am most confident about this squad’s chances of not losing 100 games. How’s that for optimism?

28. Oakland Athletics, 1-4

It was a sad scene in Oakland over the weekend at an understandably barren Coliseum. Whenever you watch the A's this year, and as long as the Las Vegas cloud looms over the organization, it's important to remember: It's not the players' faults. They're trying to win just like everyone else.

29. Colorado Rockies, 1-4

It didn’t take long for Colorado to gift us the goof-up of the season thus far, via Christopher Morel’s laughably chaotic “home run” on Monday:

But hey, at least the Rockies aren’t winless!

30. Chicago White Sox, 0-4

No need to pile on the team ranked last, especially when being bad is essentially the plan as Chicago bottoms out and tries to rebuild in full. On a positive note, Garrett Crochet looked marvelous on Opening Day and could give Sox fans something to look forward to every five days or so. Otherwise? It’s going to be a long season on the South Side.

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