Power Rankings: Orioles jump Yankees for No. 2 on our list

Here come the Orioles and … the Astros?!

Baltimore, which sits atop the American League East, has jumped the division rival Yankees in our rankings to the No. 2 spot, trailing only the National League’s powerhouse Phillies.

Elsewhere in the AL, Houston has steadily moved up our list after falling to a season-low 22nd in May. The Astros are now not only over .500, but are just three games behind the Mariners atop the AL West, while the reigning champion Rangers have fallen seven games behind.**

What will the next week and a half before the All-Star break bring?

Our expert panel has combined to rank every team in baseball based on a combination of what we’ve seen so far and what we already knew going into the 162-game season. We also asked ESPN MLB experts David Schoenfield, Bradford Doolittle, Jesse Rogers and Buster Olney to weigh in with an observation for all 30 teams.

Week 13 | Preseason rankings


Record: 57-29
Previous ranking: 1

It was a tough week for the Phillies as Bryce Harper (hamstring) and Kyle Schwarber (groin) both landed on the injured list (joining J.T. Realmuto, who has been out since June 10). The immediate fallout was a four-game split against the lowly Marlins. Bryson Stott has moved into Schwarber’s leadoff spot, Kody Clemens will fill in at first base, Johan Rojas was recalled from Triple-A and will get time in center field, while various players will rotate through the DH slot. Spencer Turnbull also landed on the IL, opening a start for Michael Mercado on Tuesday. He allowed two hits and one run in six innings to earn the win in his major league debut. Mercado was acquired in the offseason from the Rays. — Schoenfield


Record: 55-31
Previous ranking: 4

David Rubenstein is winning the hearts of Orioles fans by dancing on the dugout and hanging out in the Splash Zone, doing things late owner Peter Angelos would have never considered. But it remains to be seen if Rubenstein will distinguish himself by forcing action at the trade deadline — in the way, for example, that the Astros’ Jim Crane did when he jumped in and pushed the 2017 swap for Justin Verlander across the finish line. Rubenstein may prefer, in his first year, to simply defer to the team’s head of baseball operations, Mike Elias. Either way: The Orioles clearly need pitching. — Olney


Record: 54-34
Previous ranking: 2

The Yankees continue to scuffle along here (Luis Gil just had yet another bad start), but don’t blame Aaron Judge, as he continues to pile up numbers at a historic rate. He just completed a 50-game stretch in which he homered 25 times and posted an OPS over 1.430. The only other players with an OPS that high over 50 games are perhaps the four greatest hitters of all time: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams and Barry Bonds. He’s given himself a chance to chase his own AL record of 62 home runs and, at a minimum, a third 50-homer season. The only players with at least three such seasons: Sammy Sosa (4), Mark McGwire (4), Ruth (4) and Alex Rodriguez (3). — Schoenfield


Record: 53-34
Previous ranking: 5

When Shohei Ohtani worked out his first deal with the Angels, there were a lot of questions among evaluators about whether he could consistently hit big-league pitching. Well, he’s answered that. Entering Wednesday, he was on pace to finish the season with 194 hits, 40 doubles, 50 homers, 128 runs and 114 RBIs. And he’s got a slash line of .316/.399/.635** in a season in which he’s going through elbow rehabilitation while serving as the Dodgers’ designated hitter. Call us crazy, but we think the whole hitting thing has worked out for him. — Olney


Record: 53-31
Previous ranking: 3

After lasting a total of just 7⅔ innings over his past three starts, the Guardians finally sent Triston McKenzie down to Triple-A. In his place, Cleveland called up Gavin Williams, who impressed as a rookie last season but injured his elbow in spring training and was placed on the 60-day IL. He made his first start of the season Wednesday. As a rookie, he had a 3.29 ERA while averaging 95.7 mph with his fastball and showing both a plus slider and curveball. If he’s healthy, he’ll help the rotation. — Schoenfield


Record: 47-37
Previous ranking: 7

Jesse Chavez, the 40-year-old reliever in his 17th season in the majors, has an ERA hovering around 1.50 ERA — and Braves teammates are campaigning for him to make his first All-Star team. They wore T-shirts on Tuesday saying “Chavez ’24” with a caricature of Chavez and the slogan “Get Coach to Texas!” And you know what? Let’s make it happen. First, he’s pitched well enough to merit consideration, although there will be no shortage of pitchers to choose from — and it’s difficult for middle relievers to get selected. But it’s happened before. Also, there are questionable players who make it every year. Even if Chavez isn’t a slam dunk, why not give it as a career reward to one of the game’s most respected players? — Schoenfield


Record: 52-35
Previous ranking: 6

Milwaukee’s five grand slams over the course of eight games was just another highlight in a season full of them so far as the Brewers’ dream year continues. One of those grand slam games even featured an inside-the-park home run and walk-off win. Brice Turang has two grand slams this season, but it was 20-year-old Jackson Chourio who ignited the home crowd over the weekend when he hit his first career slam against the Cubs. For the week, he hit .412 with two home runs and seven RBIs. The Brewers have not let off the gas since Day 1. — Rogers


Record: 48-38
Previous ranking: 10

The Twins just keep gobbling up series wins as they took down the Mariners, Diamondbacks and A’s to end the month of June before taking care of business against the Tigers. Byron Buxton and the scorching hot Carlos Correa have led the charge of late as Buxton compiled a 1.279 OPS last week while Correa topped that with a 1.453 mark. Correa hit .388 in June while slugging .582. He’s been fantastic lately on a team that does a lot of things well — even if they don’t rank first in a bunch of categories. If the season ended today, the Twins would take on their playoff rivals, the Yankees, in the wild-card round. Minnesota got off the postseason mat last year when it upset the Blue Jays. Who knows, maybe the Twins take it a step further this year? — Rogers


Record: 47-41
Previous ranking: 9

Have we mentioned how odd Julio Rodriguez’s season has been? Well, it’s not gotten any less strange, but it’s certainly become more problematic now that the Mariners have gone ice-cold. We were scratching our heads at Rodriguez’s lack of power production when June began. Then he went out and hit .206/.270/.304 during the month. His 21 hits included 17 singles, 3 homers and 1 double. For the season, Rodriguez has career-low rates in strikeouts, walks and BABIP, but all of those figures aren’t that far off his career norm. His power numbers, however, have fallen off a cliff and they apparently haven’t hit rock bottom yet. On Tuesday, manager Scott Servais slotted J-Rod seventh in the lineup against Baltimore, the first time he’s hit that low in the order since 2022. — Doolittle


Record: 48-40
Previous ranking: 11

After teetering on the edge of a collapse that would have sharpened the barbs from those decrying the legitimacy of the Royals’ start, Kansas City got up off the mat … perhaps just in time. A series win last weekend against the first place and red-hot Guardians might have been a season saver, though we’ll have to save that designation until later this season.

Remaining steady through the ups and downs has been starter Seth Lugo, an overnight sensation at 33 years old. He has been remarkably consistent all season, having pitched at least into the sixth inning in all 18 of his starts. His season ERA has been 2.42 or lower at the end of all of his 2024 outings. Little by little, the crafty Lugo, with his bagful of pitches and variations on those pitches, may be edging to the top of the AL Cy Young race. — Doolittle


Record: 44-42
Previous ranking: 13

The Astros went from 31-38 to favorite’s status in the AL West in a flash. Well, more like a series of flashes, most of them with Houston’s suddenly revived bats. After the loss that dropped them to that seven-gamers-under-.500 nadir, the Astros were on pace to score 717 runs, which would be their lowest total in more than a decade. After a 12-3 surge, that pace had risen to 754, a more representative total for the Astros of recent vintage. Leading the charge have been familiar faces Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve, who combined to hit .330/.398/.560 over the last 14 games of June. — Doolittle


Record: 46-39
Previous ranking: 8

Rafael Devers is quietly on his way to perhaps the best season of his career. He’s on pace for his fourth 30-homer season and currently has career bests in OBP, slugging and OPS. He hit .300 in June with a 1.015 OPS. Only six other AL third basemen have had at least four 30-homer seasons (playing at least 50% of their games at 3B): Alex Rodriguez (7), Harmon Killebrew (5), Adrian Beltre (4), Evan Longoria (4), Troy Glaus (4) and Dean Palmer (4).

Surprisingly, the only other Red Sox third baseman with a 30-homer season is Butch Hobson, so Devers’ 38 home runs in 2021 is the franchise record. Jose Ramirez and Jordan Westburg were the All-Star finalists at third base, so as good a season as Devers is having, he may get squeezed out of an All-Star selection. — Schoenfield


Record: 47-43
Previous ranking: 12

When you speak with Padres rookie Jackson Merrill, two things really stand out: (1) He is a lot bigger in person than you might think watching him on TV, listed at 6-3, 195 pounds, and (2) He resonates the confidence that others in the organization mention when they talk about what kind of big leaguer he’s going to be — teammates say he’s absolutely sure he is going to succeed. And the numbers suggest he is improving swiftly in his rookie season. His OPS in the first month was .696, followed by .656 in May. And in June? How about .996, with nine homers and seven doubles. As Jerry Coleman might’ve said, you can hang a future star on Jackson Merrill. — Olney


Record: 42-42
Previous ranking: 16

Brandon Nimmo had a scary incident Sunday night at the team’s hotel when he fainted and cut his forehead. The team had an off day Monday and Nimmo was going to sit out Tuesday’s game, but he entered in the fourth inning after Harrison Bader crashed into the outfield fence. Nimmo tied the game with an RBI single in the eighth and drove in another run in extra innings as the Mets won. After hitting .208 in April and .222 in May, Nimmo hit .315/.406/.598 with six home runs in June — a key cog in a resurgent Mets offense. — Schoenfield


Record: 44-41
Previous ranking: 14

Lance Lynn has given the Cardinals everything they could have hoped for and more after a miserable 2023 season. He’s pitched 12⅔ innings over his past two starts, giving up just one run overall, while lowering his ERA to 3.59. He’s been durable, reliable and mostly kept his team in the game. That’s a far cry from his first half last season when he compiled a 6.47 ERA for the White Sox. The difference? His location on his four-seam fastball has been spot on, lowering the batting average against it to below .200. Lynn is one reason the Cards currently own an NL wild-card spot. — Rogers


Record: 42-44
Previous ranking: 15

In Corbin Carroll’s rookie season, he clubbed 25 homers and generated a slugging percentage of .506. This year, his slugging percentage of .315 is just a tick above his OBP of .305, and he has not hit a home run in his past 48 games (he has just two homers on the season). Late last year, Carroll began to see a lot more fastballs high and inside as opponents probed for a vulnerability. That trend continued early this season — and Carroll kept trying to hit that pitch, unsuccessfully. Now he has flattened his swing, increasing his contact rate — but he is struggling to get the ball in the air. There are more adjustments to come. — Olney


Record: 43-43
Previous ranking: 18

The next couple of weeks will go a long way towards clarifying Tampa Bay’s trade deadline approach. As it is, the Rays have climbed back to middling territory, which puts them in range of nominal wild-card contention. They are already in an interesting spot with injury returnees on the way to deepen the rotation. The only question is whether they can deal from surplus to bolster a 2024 run, or if they’ll aim more towards next season. The road won’t be easy: The collective strength of Tampa Bay’s opponents over the next three weeks gives the team easily the toughest near-term slate in the majors. — Doolittle


Record: 41-45
Previous ranking: 19

Could the return of Noelvi Marte from suspension be the spark the Reds need on offense? It looked like that might be the case after his three-hit game in his season debut last week, but he’s cooled off since then — similar to how the Reds have been at the plate most of this season. Cincinnati doesn’t have the same kind of pitching as say, Seattle, which is in first place despite being at the bottom of the majors in hitting. That formula won’t work for the Reds, and the trade deadline won’t be their savior either. Their offensive fix will have to come from within. — Rogers

Record: 39-47
Previous ranking: 17

Based on what’s happened this season to date, it’s not hard to pinpoint a number of positions Texas could target should it take an aggressive trade deadline approach. Based on what should happen going forward, it’s not as clear what the Rangers might pursue. In other words, their problem doesn’t so much appear to be a lack of producers in any one area; rather, it is that the producers they do have need to get healthy and/or simply play better. If the Rangers don’t catch fire soon, we may start focusing on their pending free agents and what they might be able to get for them at the deadline. It’s not too late, not quite, but it’s getting there fast. — Doolittle


Record: 42-45
Previous ranking: 24

Think about all that has gone wrong for San Francisco since the start of the season — the tidal wave of IL stints suffered by its starting pitchers, the loss of Jung Hoo Lee to a catastrophic shoulder injury, the poor offensive performances in its offense. And yet, the Giants are just a few games out of a wild-card spot in the muddle of the NL, still very much alive, still very much in play, with a lot of their key guys expected back in the second half. They’re still in the race; according to Fangraphs, their chances of making the playoffs stand at 22.9%. — Olney


Record: 41-44
Previous ranking: 22

Going into the week, the Pirates were 5-5 in their past 10, 10-10 in their past 20 and 15-15 in their past 30. They’re building something in Pittsburgh, but they’re not quite ready for prime time. It would make sense for them to make deals that would benefit them in the longer term instead of attempting some short fix to make a run this year. If they can get a prospect or two for David Bednar, who needs to get healthy first, or Aroldis Chapman, they should take it and run. Both have been shaky at times this year — especially Bednar — but teams get desperate for experienced relievers near the trade deadline. The Pirates should take advantage of that. — Rogers


Record: 40-45
Previous ranking: 20

Welcome to the Show, James Wood. The 6-foot-7 outfielder entered the season as a consensus top-15 prospect and his status only climbed after hitting .353/.463/.595 at Triple-A, with nearly as many walks (40) as strikeouts (42). He’s cut his strikeout rate in the minors from 31% last year to 18.2%, a good sign that the 21-year-old will be able to adjust to major league pitching. With his light-tower power potential, Wood has a chance to be pretty special if it all comes together. He’s fleet enough to play center field, but with Jacob Young out there, it looks like Wood will settle in as a left fielder to begin his Nationals career. — Schoenfield


Record: 39-48
Previous ranking: 23

Unless the Cubs shake up their roster in a major way, Cody Bellinger will be their main trade chip later this month as the team has been in a two-month-and-counting free fall. Bellinger’s numbers against lefties are impressive, but he’s struggled to hit for power against righties. Perhaps that changes in a better lineup that has more protection, as he might see some better pitches to hit. Or maybe he’s just lost that part of his game. Interested teams will have to make that determination. — Rogers


Record: 30-47
Previous ranking: 21

A veteran player raised this idea in a speculative conversation the other day: Is this the right time for the Tigers to consider trading left-hander Tarik Skubal? He is 27 years old and arbitration-eligible for the next two seasons before he hits free agency after the 2026 season — and if Detroit puts him up for bidding this summer, he would be the most coveted player available, in the midst of an All-Star-caliber season. The safe play would be for the Tigers to keep him, but if they moved him, they would get a boatload of value in return. — Olney


Record: 39-47
Previous ranking: 25

There are a couple of bits of bad news involving Isiah Kiner-Falefa, one a new development and the other more of an ongoing illustration of Toronto’s uneven season. The more immediate tidbit is that Kiner-Falefa ended up on the IL with an out-of-nowhere knee problem. The injury arguably takes the Blue Jays’ best player, by the metrics, out of the mix for the time being — and that’s the other piece of bad news. Kiner-Falefa is having a fine season, standing out with the glove as always while putting up his first career OPS+ (117) that falls on the right side of league average. No knock on IKF’s play, but this roster was not constructed with the idea that he’d be sitting atop the Blue Jays’ value pyramid. — Doolittle


Record: 36-49
Previous ranking: 26

Mike Trout told reporters last week that he’s hoping to be back in action by the end of July. With the Angels’ playoff probabilities at zero, where they’ve been since early June, there’s certainly no reason to rush him back into action. Trout hasn’t played since April 29, yet he still ranks high in several categories for the woeful Halos. He’s fifth in homers (10), fourth in steals (6) and is the only Angel with more than one triple. Padding those numbers — which, in Trout’s case, adds to a Hall of Fame performance record — may be the best reason to watch the Angels down the stretch. — Doolittle


Record: 32-56
Previous ranking: 27

A team’s Pythagorean record, or the record they “ought” to have based on run differential, doesn’t exactly translate to its power ranking — but, let’s face it, there’s a strong correlation. During the history of the Athletics, from Philadelphia to Kansas City to Oakland, they’ve led the majors in run differential through the end of June seven times — 1903, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1929, 1931 and 2014. So that’s five seasons in which they probably would be leading the ESPN power rankings at this time of the season. Their top through-June Pythagorean percentage (.720) came in 1929, an eventual World Series champion team that might have been Connie Mack’s best club. That 2014 team was 23 games over .500 before the All-Star break and nine games under thereafter. This year’s Athletics … do not lead the majors in run differential. — Doolittle


Record: 30-56
Previous ranking: 28

Tim Anderson was designated for assignment by the Marlins after hitting .214/.237/.226 with no home runs and just three extra-base hits in 234 at-bats. It was a questionable signing in the first place given how bad Anderson was with the White Sox in 2023, but he had hit .300 four straight seasons before that. Still, there’s no way to judge it except as a predictable misfire. We’ll see if Xavier Edwards gets an extended run at shortstop. Viewed more as a utility player, Edwards missed the first two months with a foot infection. He’s a high-contact hitter with little power (he hit .330 at Triple-A with one home run in 109 at-bats), but he has a chance to be a fun, unique player for Miami. — Schoenfield


Record: 29-57
Previous ranking: 29

This is the time of the year when rival executives speculate about the intent of teams leading up to the trade deadline — will they be adders or will they be dealers? The math for the Rockies is pretty stark: According to Fangraphs, Colorado’s chances of making the postseason stand at 0.0%. (Please feel free to insert your own Animal House GPA joke here.) But other teams report that with the Rockies, there’s always a lot of mystery about what they’ll do before the deadline (July 30) because they don’t possess the reflex to properly tear down. They do possess players that other teams covet — if they decide to actually put them on the market. — Olney


Record: 25-63
Previous ranking: 30

While the Garrett Crochet sweepstakes will begin to take shape later this month, so too will a smaller one for righty Erick Fedde. Signed through next year at a reasonable cost of $7.5 million, he’ll be well sought after by the smaller market teams that can’t afford to take on much salary. Milwaukee is one of those teams where Fedde would fit like a glove. And unlike Crochet, there is no concern about Fedde’s durability this year as he threw 180 innings in the KBO just last season. A 2- or 3-for-1 deal with at least one good prospect going back to the White Sox seems like a more than reasonable trade for Fedde. — Rogers

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