March 3, 2024

Byte Class Technology

Byte Class Technology & Sports Update

MLB Power Rankings: Yankees, Rangers, Cardinals, more make the most of 2023 opening weekend

MLB Power Rankings: Yankees, Rangers, Cardinals, more make the most of 2023 opening weekend
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The Major League Baseball regular season lasts six months and we’ve seen all of four days of it. This is now my 12th season doing the Official Power Rankings and the toughest rankings are always early in the season. I’d say the toughest in terms of ranking the teams comes next week because this week I’m not really going to be moving teams much. 

The difficult part of the task this week is to avoid condescension. Why would I lecture readers about how stupid it would be to draw wide-sweeping conclusions on 3-4 game samples when all fans who aren’t buffoons already know this? Right? 

I refuse to insult your intelligence by explaining just how folly it would be to proclaim the Rockies just as good a team as the Padres based upon one series. I won’t sit here and try to convince you that the Astros are still a better team — by a decent margin — than the White Sox, because you’re all smart enough to know this on your own. The Dodgers are still better than the Diamondbacks and we all know that, too. And you don’t really need me to tell you the Rangers aren’t the best team in baseball, nor are the Phillies even close to the worst. You know all these things. 

Right? RIGHT? 

Of course, it’s also worth pointing out that we’re all human and there’s no fun in sitting through games totally void of emotion. I’m no different. I’ve never made it secret that I’m a die-hard Cubs fan. With a 1-0 lead Saturday I started dreaming of a sweep and getting excited. Then when a defensive replacement let a game-changing blooper drop in front of him instead of laying out for a diving catch, I was livid. Then Sunday I was all down in the dumps for a second. So it goes. 

And you know what, I wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s what being a fan is all about and the lows make those highs so much better. 

All of that remains true. It’s just that when I come here, I’ve got to shift into logical analyst mode and in doing so, I need to point out that three games of 162 is less than 2{18875d16fb0f706a77d6d07e16021550e0abfa6771e72d372d5d32476b7d07ec} of the season. It’s 1.85{18875d16fb0f706a77d6d07e16021550e0abfa6771e72d372d5d32476b7d07ec}, to be exact. We can’t honestly change strongly held opinions based upon 1.85{18875d16fb0f706a77d6d07e16021550e0abfa6771e72d372d5d32476b7d07ec} of anything. As such, there won’t be any deep analysis in the team comments. We just haven’t seen enough baseball for that yet. 

I’ve said in the past that we can react without overreacting. What that means in the rankings is that if teams were ranked closely and one outperformed the other, I will move them. I will not, however, do anything like put the Rockies ahead of the Astros. If you find yourself urging me to do so, my response will draw from the great Jack Nicholson: Sell crazy someplace else, we’re all stocked up here

Biggest Movers

Rk

Teams

 

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Rcrd


1


Astros

Nope, I’m not demoting them after a 2-2 start against a team that could reasonably be a contender. 2-2

2


Yankees

So this is just how amazing Aaron Judge is going to be all the time now, huh? 3 2-1

3


Braves

The rotation will be a problem for a quick second here before Kyle Wright and Max Fried are 100 percent, but we’ve seen plenty from the Braves in the second half these last two years to avoid any long-term concern. 2-1

4


Padres

Just to continue the theme of the intro, it’s a lot easier from the outside to tell fans to settle down after an 0-2 start. I don’t blame the fans who started to get anxious after those first two games. Not one bit. These past two games should help ease the tension. The Padres are only going to get better as the season goes on. 2 2-2

5


Rays

On one hand, they are to be commended for taking care of business against a clearly inferior foe. And hoo boy was it a thorough beatdown. On the other hand, it’s tough to get a read on how good the Rays are because the Tigers are pitiful. 3 3-0

6


Cardinals

The pitching, mostly the rotation, remains a concern but the offense is as potent as they come. That was some serious work with the lumber for one series. 5 2-1

7


Mets

Once Kodai Senga found his command, he was nearly untouchable. That forkball was pure filth. More to come! 3 3-1

8


Dodgers

Two lackluster offensive games when the big question heading into the season was the second half of the lineup, but how about Trayce Thompson on Saturday night. Holy smokes. 2 2-2

9


Guardians

Just as we need to avoid panic on the bad stuff, we shouldn’t go overboard on the positives. Still, taking three of four in Seattle to start the season is a pretty amazing start. 4 3-1

10


Twins

Much like I said about the Rays, you have to give kudos to the Twins for taking care of business — but it’s tough to get a read here with how atrocious the “competition” was. 5 3-0

11


Rangers

Encouraging start, other than Jacob deGrom being knocked around the yard. For now we’ll assume that was a one-off, which makes the opening series a success. 6 3-0

12


Brewers

It was rocky for a second, but getting two of three to start the year in Wrigley is exactly what they needed to do. 2-1

13


Blue Jays

It was only one series, but it wasn’t very impressive at all. They were a few well-placed bloopers from being swept. 6 1-2

14


Angels

I’ll admit that I went against my own advice and started to let doubts creep into my mind during that pathetic offensive display in the opener. All’s well that ends well, though, and taking two of three on the road is a success. You know what wasn’t a success? Anthony Rendon and his fan incident in Oakland. You make almost $40 million a year to play a game. You are the winner in this equation. At least you should be. 2-1

15


White Sox

Pretty impressive split, even with the Astros not at full strength. How about that Yoán Moncada start, huh? 4 2-2

16


Mariners

They had a four-game losing streak in the first week last season, which is a pretty decent perspective during this current three-gamer, right? But … yeah, pretty rough start. 6 1-3

17


Red Sox

The pitching is a legitimate concern, though it probably couldn’t get much worse and they are 2-1. 1 2-1

18


Phillies

They’ll be better once they get Bryce Harper and Ranger Suárez return, but that was a bummer of a series — especially after the hot start against deGrom. 9 0-3

19


Diamondbacks

They aren’t likely a playoff team, but the D-Backs are going to be a colossal pest to contenders all season. Take this four-game split in Dodger Stadium as early evidence. 4 2-2

20


Giants

They looked terrible in the two losses, but hey, getting one of three in the Bronx to start the season isn’t a total disaster. Salvaging that middle game was big. 2 1-2

21


Orioles

They’ve been scoring runs, but some of that could be the Red Sox pitching being bad. And the pitching for the Orioles hasn’t exactly been up to snuff either. Not an encouraging weekend on the whole, but it’s only three games. 1 1-2

22


Marlins

I love Jazz Chisholm. He’s one of my favorite players to watch. He just isn’t a center fielder. There was no good reason for the experiment, either. 1 1-3

23


Cubs

Nico Hoerner and Dansby Swanson looks like a fun 1-2 punch atop the order. The rest leaves a lot to be desired, even when Seiya Suzuki returns from injury. 1 1-2

24


Reds

Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene are going to have their ups and downs (note Greene’s current ERA after Opening Day), but they’ve already struck out 17 in 8 1/3 innings. And don’t forget about Graham Ashcraft! He was great on Sunday. 2 2-1

25


Rockies

All in all, a pretty damn good start for a team with very low expectations. Kris Bryant, Charlie Blackmon and C.J. Cron showed how potent the middle of this lineup can be. And they haven’t even been home yet. 3 2-2

26


Pirates

Watching Oneil Cruz remains fun, Bryan Reynolds is still great and it’s nice to see Andrew McCutchen back with the Pirates. There. I wanted to start off by saying nice things. 1 1-2

27


Nationals

Nice work by MacKenzie Gore on Sunday. As I’ve said before, a lot of how we determine if 2023 is a success for the Nationals franchise hinges on the returns from the Max Scherzer/Trea Turner and Juan Soto trades. 2 1-2

28


Athletics

Congrats on the Opening Day victory! 2 1-2

29


Royals

Not really many ways to spin this start. Just brutal. 5 0-3

30


Tigers

Is being outscored 21-3 in a series good? 5 0-3