MLB power rankings: Rays, Braves, Pirates rise as strong contenders
It is still too early to tell which beginnings in the major league are genuine and which ones we will look back on with amusement at the conclusion of the season. However, as the sample size grows, panic is starting to spread elsewhere, especially in Chicago and St. Louis, even though some teams, like the Rays, Pirates, and Orioles, are exceeding expectations.
The Tampa Bay Rays have distinguished themselves as baseball’s top team after the first month of the 2023 MLB season while also dominating the majors in a number of significant metrics. Behind them, the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates have been two of baseball’s biggest early surprises, climbing into the top five after beginning the season with, at best, modest projections. On the other extreme, the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox have been abject failures, while this past week saw the Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Guardians continue their downward trend in the rankings.
Remember that these rankings are a dynamic evaluation, with teams moving up and down depending on how they have been performing lately in comparison to where they were placed in the rankings from the prior week. Nevertheless, they are a good indicator for those who want to take advantage of the exclusive Hollywoodbets promo code for new players to start betting on the 2023 MLB season.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are still in first place after an incredibly successful month of April, and are a constant feature in sports headlines despite dropping a series to the Houston Astros last week. They hold the top spots in the majors for the time being due to their dominance in several categories, including run differential (+103), batting average (.281), OPS (.875), home runs (61), runs per game (6.72), team ERA (3.10), and opponents’ batting average (.209).
Since the Rays have been playing so admirably thus far, a 4-3 week caused their winning percentage to plummet; it is by far the worst week of their season. They did, in fact, lose a home game, which, it turns out, was bound to happen sometime. They continue to dominate the rest of baseball, which is sort of expected given that two of the other four teams in the power rankings top five are from their division.
The Braves won 50% of their games at home and went 11-2 with a plus-44 run differential in April. Last week, they won only their second home series of the year when they defeated the Miami Marlins in three of four games. With a .352/.440/.546 batting line, 13 extra-base hits, 13 steals, and 1.7 WAR in 27 games, Ronald Acuña Jr. is enjoying a season worthy of the MVP award.
It would have been fun to compare the Braves and Mets this weekend, but the weather had other ideas. Even though Atlanta has essentially blasted through baseball’s weakest teams, this team still appears to be the finest in the National League.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are once again looking dangerous after losing three of their first four games of the season. They were one extra-inning loss from leaving on a seven-game winning run. Beyond the fact that Kevin Gausman frequently records double-digit strikeout totals, Yusei Kikuchi and José Berríos are fortifying the back end of the rotation in a way that will make them difficult to beat on any given night.
The Blue Jays enjoyed a great first month thanks to an MVP-caliber debut from Matt Chapman, the same level of performance from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, and a starting rotation that is coming into shape with a 3.97 ERA that ranks 10th in the majors.
The Pittsburgh Pirates became the second club to achieve 20 wins during the 2023 season with series victories over the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals last week. They appear to be the genuine deal with an NL-leading plus-48 run differential and a pitching staff that is stronger than expected, ranking seventh in the majors with a 3.55 ERA, and there is more youthful talent pounding on the door in the minors.
The Orioles finished April with a 15-4 run of games after a sub-.500 start, adding two additional series victories to their record with a 5-2 week against the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers. The bullpen has been outstanding, with 10 wins, 9 saves, and an MLB-best 2.86 ERA in 110 innings of work. However, they still need to figure out their starting rotation, which ranks 24th in the majors with a 5.28 ERA.
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