FanGraphs Power Rankings: March 29–April 7

It’s been an eventful start to the regular season and not all of it good. A rash of injuries to some of the game’s biggest stars has marred the first week and half of play, and a number of teams now have to face the rest of the spring and summer without some of their best players. The conversation around these injuries, particularly those to pitchers, and their root causes has drowned out a lot of the exciting action we’re seeing on the field.

This season, we’ve revamped our power rankings. The old model wasn’t very reactive to the ups and downs of any given team’s performance throughout the season, and by September, it was giving far too much weight to a team’s full body of work without taking into account how the club had changed, improved, or declined since March. That’s why we’ve decided to build our power rankings model using a modified Elo rating system. If you’re familiar with chess rankings or FiveThirtyEight’s now defunct sports section, you’ll know that Elo is an elegant solution, one that measures teams’ relative strength and is very reactive to recent performance.

To avoid overweighting recent results during the season, we weigh each team’s raw Elo rank using our coin flip playoff odds (specifically, we regress the playoff odds by 50% and weigh those against the raw Elo ranking, increasing the weight as the season progresses to a maximum of 25%). As the best and worst teams sort themselves out throughout the season, they’ll filter to the top and bottom of the rankings, while the exercise will remain reactive to hot streaks or cold snaps.

First up are the full rankings, presented in a sortable table. Below that, I’ve grouped the teams into tiers with comments on a handful of clubs. You’ll notice that the official ordinal rankings don’t always match the tiers — I’ve taken some editorial liberties when grouping teams together — but generally, the ordering is consistent. One thing to note: The playoff odds listed in the tables below are our standard Depth Charts odds, not the coin flip odds that are used in the ranking formula.

Complete Power Rankings
Rank Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score Δ
1 Braves 6-2 1616 1504 98.9% 1615 0
2 Dodgers 8-4 1590 1519 95.6% 1588 0
3 Yankees 8-2 1576 1512 84.6% 1576 1
4 Cubs 6-3 1528 1599 51.4% 1528 11
5 Astros 3-7 1528 1534 74.9% 1526 -2
6 Rangers 6-3 1526 1520 49.0% 1525 10
7 Brewers 6-2 1525 1515 40.3% 1525 11
8 Guardians 7-2 1524 1520 30.7% 1524 15
9 Red Sox 7-3 1518 1496 35.6% 1518 11
10 Pirates 8-2 1518 1525 31.6% 1518 14
11 Orioles 5-4 1517 1510 57.2% 1516 -2
12 Rays 5-5 1517 1374 57.5% 1516 -7
13 Cardinals 5-5 1516 1434 42.9% 1515 -3
14 Phillies 4-5 1514 1387 52.4% 1512 -6
15 Twins 3-4 1512 1516 56.2% 1511 -8
16 Mariners 4-6 1508 1517 45.0% 1506 -10
17 Blue Jays 4-6 1506 1570 32.0% 1505 -5
18 Giants 4-6 1504 1506 44.2% 1503 -5
19 Diamondbacks 4-6 1499 1611 50.2% 1498 -8
20 Tigers 6-3 1497 1418 32.3% 1497 2
21 Padres 5-7 1499 1497 38.1% 1497 -7
22 Reds 5-4 1493 1471 25.0% 1492 -1
23 Angels 5-4 1489 1511 16.7% 1489 2
24 Royals 6-4 1484 1384 24.3% 1484 2
25 Mets 3-6 1479 1501 23.3% 1478 -6
26 Marlins 1-9 1444 1526 6.0% 1442 -9
27 Athletics 3-7 1427 1507 1.1% 1427 0
28 Nationals 3-6 1398 1524 0.1% 1398 1
29 White Sox 1-8 1379 1479 0.0% 1378 -1
30 Rockies 2-8 1370 1512 0.0% 1370 0

Tier 1 – The Best of the Best
Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score
Braves 6-2 1616 1504 98.9% 1615
Dodgers 8-4 1590 1519 95.6% 1588
Yankees 8-2 1576 1512 84.6% 1576

The Braves’ strong start has been overshadowed by the news about Spencer Strider’s elbow. After experiencing discomfort on Friday, the right-hander underwent an MRI over the weekend that revealed damage to his UCL; he was placed on the 15-day IL. A course of treatment has yet to be determined, and there’s no specific timeline for his return, but Atlanta should be prepared to play on without him for the foreseeable future. Thankfully, the Braves offense is already firing on all cylinders; they’ve scored nine runs or more in half of their games so far and had a couple of dramatic come-from-behind wins against the Diamondbacks this past weekend.

The Yankees started off the season with a four-game sweep of the Astros in Houston and a pair of series wins against the Diamondbacks and Blue Jays. Juan Soto was sensational during that opening series, and the powerful bats of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have provided plenty of pop behind him. So far, the Yankees haven’t missed Gerrit Cole. Luis Gil has done a commendable job filling in for their injured ace, striking out more than a third of the batters he’s faced in two solid starts.

Tier 2 – On the Cusp of Greatness
Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score
Cubs 6-3 1528 1599 51.4% 1528
Astros 3-7 1528 1534 74.9% 1526
Rangers 6-3 1526 1520 49.0% 1525
Brewers 6-2 1525 1515 40.3% 1525
Guardians 7-2 1524 1520 30.7% 1524

The Astros have gotten off to a pretty lousy start. Their vaunted bullpen has blown leads in half of their games played so far and their offense is still in startup mode. Luckily, they’ve had a few brilliant moments sprinkled in through their misery. In their three wins this season, they’ve allowed a total of four hits, including a no-hitter spun by Ronel Blanco, who followed that performance with another 5.2 innings of no-hit ball on Sunday night.

No matter how good their offense is, the Rangers were always going to face a tough uphill battle during the first half of the season while they waited for their injured starting pitchers to return. At least they’ve gotten off to a hot start, with a pair of series wins over the Cubs and Rays. Unfortunately, they’ll have to keep things going without Josh Jung in the lineup; he broke his wrist a week ago and could be out until the All-Star break. With their two rookie outfielders, Wyatt Langford and Evan Carter, still getting up to speed this season, Texas’ margin for error in the competitive American League West is even slimmer now.

The Guardians have also seen their excellent start to the season marred by terrible injury news. After making two brilliant starts, Shane Bieber tore his UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, forcing him to miss the rest of the season. After graduating three of their top pitching prospects to the majors last year, there isn’t really an in-house option ready to step into Bieber’s shoes. The Guardians will have to make do as they try and keep their momentum going in a wide open AL Central race.

Tier 3 – Hot and Cold
Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score
Red Sox 7-3 1518 1496 35.6% 1518
Pirates 8-2 1518 1525 31.6% 1518
Orioles 5-4 1517 1510 57.2% 1516
Rays 5-5 1517 1374 57.5% 1516
Cardinals 5-5 1516 1434 42.9% 1515
Phillies 4-5 1514 1387 52.4% 1512
Twins 3-4 1512 1516 56.2% 1511
Tigers 6-3 1497 1418 32.3% 1497

It’s hard to argue with the Pirates’ 8-2 start, especially when it was capped off by a pair of walk-off wins against the Orioles this weekend. Their youngsters are having fun, their veterans are producing, and things are looking up in Pittsburgh. And even if the good times come to an end in the near future, the exciting debut of Jared Jones is another reason for optimism. Along with Paul Skenes, Jones should give the Pirates two fantastic starters to anchor their rotation.

The Twins have gotten off to a rough start, one made all the worse by the injury to Royce Lewis on Opening Day. Their lineup just hasn’t been able to hit consistently — Lewis hit one of their three home runs on the season — with Carlos Correa essentially the only batter enjoying any kind of sustained success thus far. That’s a good sign for their star shortstop, but he’ll need help from the rest of the lineup soon.

Likewise, the Rays have struggled in the early going, though it’s their pitching staff that bears the brunt of the blame. The Rays have the third-worst team ERA in the majors thus far, though series against the Rangers and the Rockies in Colorado didn’t help in that regard.

Tier 4 – Rough Starts
Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score
Mariners 4-6 1508 1517 45.0% 1506
Blue Jays 4-6 1506 1570 32.0% 1505
Giants 4-6 1504 1506 44.2% 1503
Diamondbacks 4-6 1499 1611 50.2% 1498
Padres 5-7 1499 1497 38.1% 1497

The Mariners have already used a position player to pitch twice if that gives you any indication of how their season has started. It feels like they’re pretty lucky to be 4-6. As a team, they’re striking out at the second-highest rate in the majors, while their ISO is the second lowest. That’s a bad combination, and they’ll need their lineup to wake up soon if they want to keep pace in the AL West.

The Padres wound up losing a dramatic three-game set against the Giants over the weekend thanks to two bullpen meltdowns. Dylan Cease has been great in his first two starts for San Diego and Yu Darvish has been solid, but the rest of the pitching staff looks a little shaky. The lineup looks good, however, with plenty of contributions from both their stars and role players. Fernando Tatis Jr. seems to have put his injury issues behind him and looks like he’s back on the ascendant path he was on a few years ago.

Tier 5 – No Man’s Land
Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score
Reds 5-4 1493 1471 25.0% 1492
Angels 5-4 1489 1511 16.7% 1489
Royals 6-4 1484 1384 24.3% 1484
Mets 3-6 1479 1501 23.3% 1478

The starting rotation with the second-best park- and league-adjusted ERA and FIP in baseball is none other than the Royals. (Let’s also pause here for a moment and recognize just how good the Red Sox pitching staff has been so far.) Cole Ragans looks like an ace, Brady Singer has spun two brilliant starts, and Seth Lugo and Michael Wacha, signed as free agents this offseason, have looked good as well. After losing their first two series by razor thin margins, the Royals swept the White Sox in four games over the weekend.

Tier 6 – Hope Deferred
Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score
Marlins 1-9 1444 1526 6.0% 1442
Athletics 3-7 1427 1507 1.1% 1427
Nationals 3-6 1398 1524 0.1% 1398
White Sox 1-8 1379 1479 0.0% 1378
Rockies 2-8 1370 1512 0.0% 1370

The Marlins finally got into the win column on Sunday, snapping an 0-9 skid to start the season. Of course, they’re more worried about the health of Eury Pérez; he’s slated to undergo Tommy John surgery and will be sidelined for the season. It’s a brutal blow to a pitching staff that was already missing Sandy Alcantara and two other starters, Edward Cabrera and Braxton Garrett. With reports that manager Skip Schumaker is now a lame duck after his contract option for 2025 was voided this offseason, it’s pretty apparent that this season is already considered lost by the brass in Miami.

Another shoe finally dropped in the ongoing relocation saga in Oakland. While there hasn’t been much progress towards constructing a new stadium in Las Vegas, the Athletics announced that this will be the final year they’ll call Oakland home. The team will be moving to Sacramento’s Sutter Health Park, currently the home of the San Francisco Giants’ Triple-A affiliate, for the next three years (or possibly longer if their new stadium isn’t finished in time). It’s an ugly end to the franchise’s long and storied tenure in the East Bay.





Jake Mailhot is a contributor to FanGraphs. A long-suffering Mariners fan, he also writes about them for Lookout Landing. Follow him on Twitter @jakemailhot.

32 Comments
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boomstick
1 month ago

Rangers take series from Cubs, Rays, Astros.

Astros get hammered all over.

Astros over Rangers in rankings.

Makes sense.

Jimmy von Albademember
1 month ago
Reply to  boomstick

It is inertia from preseason rankings since we are only 10ish games into the season. You’ll see that the Rangers started at just 16th in these rankings and have shot way up whereas the Astros declined 31 points in Elo.

youppi4pm
1 month ago
Reply to  boomstick

If you want to look at the standings, just look at the standings.

Why do we have to do some version of this comment this every. single. week.?

Last edited 1 month ago by youppi4pm
Moatemember
1 month ago
Reply to  youppi4pm

Because fangraphs obviously hates

Last edited 1 month ago by Moate
JoeyVottoIsGonemember
1 month ago
Reply to  boomstick

Well, I can say this: everyone seemed to want a different way to do power rankings, and this is different. Let’s see how it plays out.

I’m not really a fan of doing it this way, either, but I appreciate the willingness to experiment.