MLB Power Rankings: Our first impressions of all 30 teams


But there’s no need to be all doom and gloom. After all, there were actual Major League Baseball games! And with games come updated Power Rankings. We surveyed our group of reporters, analysts and editors after the first week and a half of the 60-game (we hope) season, with the results below. The biggest gainers from our preseason rankings are the Padres, who moved up eight spots to No. 11, and the Tigers, who are up five to No. 24. On the other end of the spectrum, the Reds, a trendy pick to sit atop the NL Central standings, dropped five spots, and the Mets, Angels, Diamondbacks and Pirates each fell four.

National baseball writer David Schoenfield offers his first impressions for every team along with the rankings.

  • Los Angeles Dodgers
    2020 record: 7-3
    Preseason ranking: 1

    Let’s see, Clayton Kershaw made his first start on Sunday, Walker Buehler has made one abbreviated outing, MVP Cody Bellinger is off to a terrible start and didn’t hit his first home run until Sunday, Joc Pederson and Justin Turner haven’t homered, Will Smith is struggling … and the Dodgers still have the best run differential in the majors.

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  • New York Yankees
    2020 record: 7-1
    Preseason ranking: 2

    The offense looks every bit as formidable as predicted, especially with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton looking healthy and locked in. Aroldis Chapman has finally been cleared to pitch, but Tommy Kahnle appears headed for Tommy John surgery, so the bullpen depth will be tested.

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  • Minnesota Twins
    2020 record: 7-2
    Preseason ranking: 5

    Just like last year, the Twins are going to pound a gazillion home runs — with ageless Nelson Cruz leading the way — but some of the key bright spots early have been strong starts from Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill in the rotation and solid performances by the back of the bullpen. With so many teams struggling at closer, Taylor Rogers looks like one of the best in the business.

    ICYMI: Twins should benefit from 60-game schedule

  • Houston Astros
    2020 record: 5-4
    Preseason ranking: 4

    The Astros are relying on 13 rookies, including 10 pitchers, so there is certainly some concern about the quality and depth of the pitching staff, especially with Justin Verlander out for an indeterminate amount of time and closer Roberto Osuna on the injured list after hurting his arm Saturday. That leaves Ryan Pressly as the only healthy non-rookie in the bullpen.

    ICYMI: Verlander injury a caution flag for Astros, MLB

  • Tampa Bay Rays
    2020 record: 4-6
    Preseason ranking: 3

    The Rays can pitch, but the hope was that the offense would be greater than the sum of its parts. So far, that hasn’t been the case, with half the lineup hitting under .200 and suffering an embarrassing sweep against the Orioles over the weekend. Getting Austin Meadows back this week from a positive COVID-19 test will help, and the Rays certainly have the pitching to go on 10-2 spurt at any time, but we need to see more from the offense to think that they can compete with the Yankees in the AL East.

    ICYMI: Is 2020 the year Tyler Glasnow breaks through?

  • Atlanta Braves
    2020 record: 7-3
    Preseason ranking: 6

    Despite the record, it has been an uneven start for the Braves, with Ronald Acuna Jr.’s strikeout binge a troubling concern. Mike Soroka and Max Fried have both made two good starts, but the Braves are trying to figure out the rest of the rotation, with Mike Foltynewicz so bad in his one outing that he was designated for assignment and returned to the team’s alternate training site to find his velocity.

    ICYMI: Markakis opts back in, returns to Braves

  • Cleveland Indians
    2020 record: 5-5
    Preseason ranking: 9

    We knew going in that Cleveland would have to rely on its starting rotation and hope to scrape out enough offense, and there has been no change to that assessment after 10 games. Shane Bieber has been the best starter in the majors through two starts, with no runs allowed and 27 strikeouts, trying Karl Spooner’s MLB record for K’s through two appearances. Zach Plesac also had an impressive first start, with 11 K’s and no runs. The rotation will make the Indians a playoff team, but they’ll need more than Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Carlos Santana to make a larger dent.

    ICYMI: Is the Indians’ window as contenders closed?

  • Oakland Athletics
    2020 record: 5-4
    Preseason ranking: 7

    The offense is off to an abysmal start, and though there isn’t any reason yet to be worried about the production from Matt Chapman, Matt Olson and Marcus Semien, Khris Davis is a concern after a poor 2019. We also haven’t seen a major impact yet from rookies Jesus Luzardo, who is currently pitching out of the bullpen, and A.J. Puk, who is progressing through a throwing program at the team’s alternate training site after shoulder problems.

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  • Washington Nationals
    2020 record: 3-4
    Preseason ranking: 8

    It’s difficult to get a read on the Nationals, as Stephen Strasburg and Juan Soto have yet to play, and their weekend series against the Marlins was postponed. Soto will be ready when the Nationals return to action Tuesday. Strasburg should throw a bullpen early this week and remains on schedule to return soon. The defending champs will look a lot stronger with those two back in the fold.

    ICYMI: Nats add Josh Harrison to roster

  • Chicago Cubs
    2020 record: 7-2
    Preseason ranking: 13

    Is that Tyler Chatwood heading a rotation that has been stellar so far? Why, yes, as Chatwood has won both his starts, allowing just one run with 19 K’s in 12⅔ innings. The Cubs will need the rotation to be stellar because the bullpen looks like it could be a mess. You don’t want to overreact to two outings, but Craig Kimbrel might be toast, having walked four batters and hit another in one appearance and allowed two home runs in the other after allowing nine home runs in 20⅔ innings last year.

    ICYMI: Bryant out with illness, negative for COVID

  • San Diego Padres
    2020 record: 6-4
    Preseason ranking: 19

    The Padres are fun and exciting, though one of their early keys is something not quite as exciting as a Fernando Tatis Jr. home run: They’re walking a lot more. Entering Sunday, the Padres had improved from 19th in the majors in walk rate to third. Surprisingly, the bullpen has struggled, with Drew Pomeranz getting a couple of saves over All-Star closer Kirby Yates. It’s safe to wonder how long it’ll be before we see MacKenzie Gore and Luis Patino up to help fortify the pitching staff, either in the rotation or in the pen.

  • Milwaukee Brewers
    2020 record: 3-3
    Week 23 ranking: 14

    The big surprise before Milwaukee’s weekend series against the Cardinals was postponed was Christian Yelich‘s awful star: 1-for-27 with one walk and 12 strikeouts. “You’re going to see really good players have really bad years,” Yelich said at the start of summer camp. Brewers fans can only hope he wasn’t making a prediction for himself. Factor in that Lorenzo Cain just opted out of playing the remainder of the season, and now the Brewers will have to play Ben Gamel in center (or even Yelich, with Ryan Braun moving back to the outfield). Anyway, this isn’t a great offense, even with an MVP-level Yelich. The pitching staff will have to carry the load.

    ICYMI: Cain’s choice to opt out

  • St. Louis Cardinals
    2020 record: 2-3
    Preseason ranking: 12

    With a limited slate so far, the Cardinals have questions to answer about the state of their pitching staff — at least other than Jack Flaherty. Carlos Martinez is back in the rotation, but he got rocked in his one start (3.2 innings, seven hits, two home runs). Miles Mikolas is out for the season after forearm surgery. There is flexibility here — Kwang Hyun Kim, Austin Gomber and Daniel Ponce de Leon are all potential starters — so Mike Shildt will have to figure out some roles.

    ICYMI: Cardinals hit by more positive tests for COVID

  • New York Mets
    2020 record: 3-7
    Preseason ranking: 10

    Well, it didn’t take long for the Mets to start being the Mets. They blew a four-run lead in the eighth inning Friday against the Braves; last year, teams were 920-10 after leading by four or more runs after seven innings. Yoenis Cespedes disappeared Sunday and then opted out. Pete Alonso has one extra-base hit. The Mets had 10 hits and five walks on Sunday and still got shut out. It would seem that there’s too much talent here for the Mets to be a 3-7 team, but they’re 3-7.
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  • Chicago White Sox
    2020 record: 5-4
    Preseason ranking: 17

    The Sox are living up to their billing as exciting — and unpredictable. Rookie center fielder Luis Robert is a whirlwind of power and speed, Eloy Jimenez is likewise off to a strong start, and rookie second baseman Nick Madrigal had four hits Sunday in his third big league game. The Sox remain too free-swinging, however, to have an elite offense (28th in the majors in walk rate), which means the pitching will have to rise up. Losing shortstop Tim Anderson to the injured list because of a groin strain will hurt over the next 10 days as well.

    ICYMI: Dazzling Robert could be MLB’s next superstar

  • Cincinnati Reds
    2020 record: 4-5
    Preseason ranking: 11

    The Reds were the cool kids’ pick to win the NL Central, but they’re off to a lethargic start. There are reasons to remain optimistic, though. The team’s BABIP entering Sunday was .215, lowest in the majors. That will turn around. The Reds are second in the majors in walk rate, so they’ll get on base (though Joey Votto just landed on the IL with virus symptoms). Sonny Gray has had two great starts, proving that his stellar 2019 was no fluke. The Reds have four games against Cleveland this week, so that BABIP bad luck better turn around.

  • Philadelphia Phillies
    2020 record: 1-2
    Preseason ranking: 18

    If we do get through the season, the Phillies will have a week of postponed games to make up, which means a string of doubleheaders and fewer off days, putting even more strain on a pitching staff that appears to lack depth. Aside from that, the offense wasn’t that great last year, ranking eighth in the NL in runs. The Phillies still look like the fourth-best team in the NL East, but it isn’t like the Braves, Nationals and Mets look like powerhouses.

  • Toronto Blue Jays
    2020 record: 3-4
    Preseason ranking: 21

    Welcome to the Show, Nate Pearson. His debut was one of the early highlights of the season, as he lived up to his billing as a future ace, showcasing a blistering fastball, a terrific slider and the confidence to go with it. The Toronto lineup and bullpen have some issues, but the rotation could be very good, which makes the Blue Jays sleeper playoff contenders.

    ICYMI: Jays schedule Buffalo ‘home’ debut on Aug. 11

  • Los Angeles Angels
    2020 record: 3-7
    Preseason ranking: 15

    To be fair, the Angels haven’t had their full lineup together except for a couple of games, as Anthony Rendon missed the start of the season, and then Mike Trout left on paternity leave. The bullpen is going to be an issue, and you wonder how long Joe Maddon will stick with Albert Pujols — benching a player of his stature is no easy decision. Can the Angels scratch out a .500 season and make the playoffs? Sure, but this club hardly looks like a threat to the best teams in the AL.

    ICYMI: Trout to return Tuesday

  • Arizona Diamondbacks
    2020 record: 3-7
    Preseason ranking: 16

    Arizona looked like a solid playoff pick, but if the Padres and Rockies are better than anticipated, the D-backs’ playoffs odds will take a significant hit, especially given that Robbie Ray and Luke Weaver have been terrible in two outings and the offense has been devoid of power. The bullpen, a problem last year, was a question heading into the season and remains so.

  • Colorado Rockies
    2020 record: 6-2
    Preseason ranking: 23

    The pitching staff has carried Colorado to a nice start — Kyle Freeland has looked more like the 2018 Freeland than the pitcher who posted a 6.73 ERA in 2019 — and you wonder if the Rockies are the team most primed to benefit from the short season. Playing at altitude is always a fatigue factor over 162 games, and the lack of organizational pitching depth might not be as much of a problem over 60 games. Remember, as bad as the Rockies were last year, they were 31-29 through 60 games (and were 40-34 before collapsing).

  • Boston Red Sox
    2020 record: 3-7
    Preseason ranking: 20

    Look, it’s too early to pull the plug on the 2020 Red Sox, but with Eduardo Rodriguez out for the season, this rotation is a Jackson Pollock painting — only without the supposed artistic value. One of the starters is Ryan Weber, who has seven walks and no strikeouts in two starts. Matt Hall had a 5.30 ERA last year — at Toledo. Then there’s the offense. Rafael Devers didn’t log his first RBIs of the season until Sunday. Andrew Benintendi is walking but not hitting. J.D. Martinez hasn’t homered. If there’s ever a season to tank, this is probably it.

    ICYMI: Inside Chaim Bloom’s wild first 280 days on the job

  • Texas Rangers
    2020 record: 3-5
    Preseason ranking: 22

    Corey Kluber’s injury put a big dent in Texas’ playoff aspirations, and other than Joey Gallo, the offense has been nonexistent. The Rangers aren’t a good defensive team, and closer Jose Leclerc is out because of a shoulder strain similar to Kluber’s. Really, this looks like a team with no plan. Isiah Kiner-Falefa at third base? Todd Frazier at first base? A rotating cast in the outfield? The most interesting thing so far is that the early returns on Globe Life Field are that it will be much more of a pitcher’s park than Globe Life Park was.

    ICYMI: Kluber shut down for four weeks

  • Detroit Tigers
    2020 record: 5-5
    Preseason ranking: 29

    Like the Orioles, the Tigers have managed to win some games, but on paper, this still looks like a bad team. If you want to dream big, the bullpen has been excellent — Scott Alexander tied an AL record with nine straight strikeouts on Sunday (former Tiger Doug Fister, of all pitchers, held the mark) — and with so many teams struggling to lock down the late innings, that’s one way the Tigers might surprise. That seems unlikely, but odds are we’re going to see one surprise team make the playoffs.

  • San Francisco Giants
    2020 record: 5-5
    Preseason ranking: 26

    Mike Yastrzemski for MVP! The grandson of the Hall of Famer came out of nowhere last year to have a solid rookie season, and as a sophomore, he’s hitting for average and power, drawing walks and playing a solid center field. Oh, and who was leading the majors in RBIs entering Sunday? Giants shortstop Donovan Solano, of course. Hey, we knew it was going to be a strange season.

  • Kansas City Royals
    2020 record: 3-7
    Preseason ranking: 25

    Rookies Brady Singer and Kris Bubic are in the rotation, so that’s at least something to watch. Whit Merrifield and Jorge Soler are stinging the ball. Still, this is a bad baseball team. If you like hitters who don’t walk, this lineup is for you. Adalberto Mondesi, Maikel Franco and Merrifield have batted a combined 123 times without a walk. Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon have batted an additional 72 times with one walk apiece. Ugh.

    ICYMI: What Soler, Singer are doing to turn scouts’ heads

  • Seattle Mariners
    2020 record: 4-6
    Preseason ranking: 28

    The Mariners probably won’t be very good, but at least they have some interesting things going on. Kyle Lewis looks like a Rookie of the Year candidate, Evan White can really pick it at first base, Taijuan Walker threw a gem the other night, and Yusei Kikuchi is suddenly averaging 96 mph with his fastball. The biggest question is whether outfielder Jarred Kelenic, who looked great during summer camp, will be called up from the team’s training site despite having little time above Class A.

    ICYMI: Mariners’ youth movement showing promise

  • Pittsburgh Pirates
    2020 record: 2-7
    Preseason ranking: 24

    On the bright side, Colin Moran has five home runs. On the downside … well, pretty much everything else. Josh Bell looks lost so far, and that makes you think of his 2019 splits: 1.024 OPS in the first half, .780 in the second half. Bryan Reynolds and Kevin Newman are off to slow starts after hitting .300 as rookies, and that’s one reason the team batting average stood at .178 entering Sunday. The Pirates need Bell, Reynolds and Newman to be good, or there is little reason to be optimistic about the future.

  • Miami Marlins
    2020 record: 2-1
    Preseason ranking: 27

    What can you say? The Marlins won their season-opening series against the Phillies, even as the team came down with the coronavirus outbreak that nearly got the MLB season wiped out less than a week into this little adventure. The Marlins, who are scheduled to resume play Tuesday against the Orioles, will not resemble the Marlins who began the season. They will likely be not very good.

  • Baltimore Orioles
    2020 record: 5-3
    Preseason ranking: 30

    Hey, the Orioles are two games over .500! After that 13-2 Opening Day loss, it seemed like they might go 10-50 — or something worse that only Stephen King could conjure up. That might sound wild, but the Orioles had a 14-46 stretch last season (not the worst in the majors, as the Tigers had a 12-48 stretch). Anyway, the O’s have scored some runs, Alex Cobb has had a couple of solid outings, and this team just swept the Rays. In other words, the Orioles probably deserve to be higher than No. 30 … for now.

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