FanGraphs Power Rankings: May 20–26

Several preseason favorites are sliding down these rankings as we barrel toward the third month of the season, while other clubs — most notably the Guardians — are continuing their surprisingly strong starts.

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 defunct sports section, you’ll know that Elo is an elegant solution 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 coinflip playoff odds (specifically, we regress the playoff odds by 50% and weigh those against the raw Elo ranking, increasing in 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.

All power rankings stats, including team records, are updated through Sunday’s games. The information included in the comments are current as of Tuesday morning.

Complete Power Rankings
Rank Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score Δ
1 Yankees 37-18 1604 1507 98.2% 1612 0
2 Phillies 38-16 1593 1467 98.5% 1605 0
3 Guardians 36-17 1579 1484 76.5% 1589 3
4 Braves 30-20 1574 1503 95.5% 1578 0
5 Orioles 33-18 1565 1488 89.2% 1572 0
6 Dodgers 33-22 1554 1490 98.6% 1562 -3
7 Royals 34-20 1554 1488 66.3% 1562 0
8 Brewers 30-22 1521 1499 68.4% 1527 0
9 Mariners 28-26 1525 1510 57.3% 1523 0
10 Twins 28-24 1520 1488 62.7% 1516 4
11 Padres 28-28 1518 1516 53.0% 1513 2
12 Cardinals 25-26 1512 1497 33.6% 1506 10
13 Astros 24-29 1517 1505 52.8% 1505 -3
14 Giants 27-27 1509 1490 39.5% 1504 1
15 Red Sox 27-26 1504 1508 16.5% 1497 4
16 Diamondbacks 25-28 1498 1502 35.1% 1490 0
17 Cubs 27-26 1491 1502 42.6% 1489 -5
18 Rays 26-28 1491 1490 26.7% 1480 -7
19 Tigers 26-27 1480 1492 19.7% 1472 2
20 Pirates 25-29 1469 1495 10.0% 1461 3
21 Blue Jays 23-29 1473 1509 15.3% 1460 -1
22 Rangers 25-29 1466 1500 17.1% 1459 -5
23 Reds 23-30 1465 1503 10.6% 1455 2
24 Mets 22-30 1466 1525 13.6% 1455 -6
25 Marlins 19-35 1461 1514 0.4% 1445 2
26 Nationals 23-28 1442 1505 0.6% 1436 0
27 Angels 20-33 1440 1511 1.3% 1427 -3
28 Athletics 22-33 1425 1500 0.4% 1414 0
29 Rockies 18-34 1404 1499 0.0% 1393 1
30 White Sox 15-39 1380 1514 0.0% 1369 -1

Tier 1 – The Best of the Best
Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score
Yankees 37-18 1604 1507 98.2% 1612
Phillies 38-16 1593 1467 98.5% 1605
Guardians 36-17 1579 1484 76.5% 1589

Yankees starting pitchers continued their run of dominance in the absence of ace Gerrit Cole. Last week, their rotation allowed a total of five runs (four earned) across seven starts, four of which were scoreless outings. It also helps that Aaron Judge is absolutely lighting the league on fire right now; he hit home runs in four straight games last week and his slash line in May is up to a whopping .390/.515/.974 (297 wRC+).

The Phillies swept away the Rangers before losing their weekend series to the pesky Rockies in Colorado. They still hold the best record in baseball and their path to a NL East division crown just became a little easier with Atlanta’s unfortunate injury news.

The Guardians won their ninth straight game on Sunday, giving them the best record in the AL momentarily, before their streak was snapped Monday night against who else but the Rockies in Colorado. Cleveland’s pitching has been pretty good during this stretch, with a lights out bullpen supporting its banged up starting rotation. As you’d probably expect, José Ramírez is anchoring the Guardians offense right now — he blasted four home runs last week and is up to 10 dingers on the month — but Cleveland is also getting production from David Fry, a surprising contributor who doesn’t really have a permanent position but has hit his way into the lineup on a regular basis.

Tier 2 – On the Cusp of Greatness
Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score
Braves 30-20 1574 1503 95.5% 1578
Orioles 33-18 1565 1488 89.2% 1572
Dodgers 33-22 1554 1490 98.6% 1562
Royals 34-20 1554 1488 66.3% 1562

The Braves received some terrible news on Sunday night: Ronald Acuña Jr. tore the ACL in his left knee — not the one he injured in 2021 — and will undergo season-ending surgery. Having already lost ace Spencer Strider to a UCL injury, which required internal brace surgery, Atlanta will now have to move forward without its best position player, too. Even before losing Acuña, the Braves were in an unfamiliar spot in the standings, with Dan Szymborski explaining on Friday that they were running out of time to catch the Phillies in the NL East. Without Acuña, Atlanta’s odds to overcome Philadelphia is even more difficult. Chris Sale has done a phenomenal job taking over as Atlanta’s ace, but there really isn’t anyone on the roster who can replace Acuña.

The Orioles were swept for the first time in over two years last week, losing three in a row to the Cardinals; Baltimore shook that hiccup right off and swept the White Sox in four games over the weekend. The Dodgers had a rough week, losing a series to the Diamondbacks before getting swept by the Reds in Cincinnati over the weekend. The Royals had a eight-game winning streak snapped on Sunday; prior to that loss, they had scored at least seven runs in six straight games.

Tier 3 – Solid Contenders
Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score
Brewers 30-22 1521 1499 68.4% 1527
Mariners 28-26 1525 1510 57.3% 1523
Twins 28-24 1520 1488 62.7% 1516
Padres 28-28 1518 1516 53.0% 1513
Cardinals 25-26 1512 1497 33.6% 1506
Astros 24-29 1517 1505 52.8% 1505
Giants 27-27 1509 1490 39.5% 1504

There are some huge intra-divisional series on the docket for nearly every team in this tier; the Mariners and Astros, Brewers and Cubs, and Twins and Royals all meet four times this week.

The Padres and Giants are locked in a tight battle for the final NL Wild Card spot. San Diego has remained in the race despite its payroll-slashing offseason and slow starts from several key contributors, but now the club will have to forge ahead without Xander Bogaerts, who fractured his shoulder last week and will be sidelined for a few months. Luckily, Jurickson Profar has been one of the better hitters in baseball and Luis Arraez has excelled (.385/.411/.462, 158 wRC+) since the Padres traded for him at the beginning of the month.

Meanwhile, San Francisco just completed one of the wildest weeks of baseball you’ll ever see. The Giants had four straight come-from-behind wins, erasing deficits of four or more runs in three of those wins and scoring 23 runs in the eighth inning or later during that stretch. Then on Sunday, they were on the other end of a comeback victory when the Mets walked them off in the ninth inning.

It appears as though the obituary for the Cardinals’ season may have been a bit premature, though their long-term outlook still looks murky. St. Louis took two games from the Cubs over the weekend to cap off a nice little five-game winning streak, which also included a three-game sweep of the Orioles. And despite Monday’s 3-1 loss to the Reds, the Cardinals have won 10 of their last 13 to pull within 1.5 games of the final NL Wild Card spot and 5.5 games of the first-place Brewers in the NL Central standings. Most encouragingly, Paul Goldschmidt seems to be finally breaking out of his early season slump at just the right time.

Tier 4 – The Melee
Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score
Red Sox 27-26 1504 1508 16.5% 1497
Diamondbacks 25-28 1498 1502 35.1% 1490
Cubs 27-26 1491 1502 42.6% 1489
Rays 26-28 1491 1490 26.7% 1480
Tigers 26-27 1480 1492 19.7% 1472

This tier might as well be called “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back” because these five teams can’t seem to build upon any progress they make. Last week, the Red Sox swept the Rays and then lost a series to the Brewers; the Diamondbacks won a hard-fought series against the Dodgers and then lost a series to the Marlins; and the Tigers were swept by the Royals before bouncing back with a series win over the Blue Jays. It’s been rougher for the Cubs and Rays; Chicago has lost five straight and 11 of its last 16, while Tampa Bay managed to snap a six-game losing streak on Sunday.

The Red Sox are in a really weird place. They have one of the top starting rotations in baseball with Tanner Houck and Kutter Crawford both pitching like aces. Rafael Devers has been carrying the offense with supporting contributions from Jarren Duran, Tyler O’Neill, and Wilyer Abreu. Despite all those positive developments, Boston is sitting right at .500 in a loaded division and simply has too many holes on its roster to make much noise in the AL playoff race. The Sox should certainly be a tough team to play throughout the summer and could be a key spoiler down the stretch, but they’re more than a few pieces away from truly contending for the postseason.

Tier 5 – No Man’s Land
Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score
Pirates 25-29 1469 1495 10.0% 1461
Blue Jays 23-29 1473 1509 15.3% 1460
Rangers 25-29 1466 1500 17.1% 1459
Reds 23-30 1465 1503 10.6% 1455
Mets 22-30 1466 1525 13.6% 1455

With absolutely nothing going right and the top of their division featuring two of the best teams in the league, the Blue Jays are going to face some tough decisions in the two months between now and the trade deadline. Looking at the roster, Toronto should have enough talent to be a contending team, but the hole it needs to climb out of is deep. At the same time, because of all that talent, the Blue Jays have plenty of pieces they could trade away at the deadline if they choose either to punt on this season and make a run at it next year, or to tear it all down and build a new foundation with a different core.

The Reds looked like they were going to be one of the most exciting young teams in baseball heading into this season. Now, two months later, the youth is still present but the excitement isn’t. Elly De La Cruz still hasn’t found much consistency, and injuries have taken a toll on a number of Cincinnati’s best players. With their nine runs on Friday, the Reds have scored more than five runs in a game just three times this month. Their pitching staff has been the only thing keeping them from a complete collapse in the standings.

Speaking of collapsing, the Mets have won just seven of their 23 games this month. And like Cincinnati, their offense has gone missing; they’ve scored just a hair over four runs per game during this slump. To make matters worse, their bullpen has all sorts of issues, the most glaring being the struggles of their closer, Edwin Díaz.

Tier 6 – Hope Deferred
Team Record Elo Opponent Elo Playoff Odds Power Score
Marlins 19-35 1461 1514 0.4% 1445
Nationals 23-28 1442 1505 0.6% 1436
Angels 20-33 1440 1511 1.3% 1427
Athletics 22-33 1425 1500 0.4% 1414
Rockies 18-34 1404 1499 0.0% 1393
White Sox 15-39 1380 1514 0.0% 1369

The Rockies certainly won’t be mistaken for a good team, but they are a danger to play spoiler while playing at home in Coors Field. The Phillies learned that the hard way last weekend, and Colorado snapped the Guardians’ nine-game winning streak on Monday. Ezequiel Tovar has been particularly good this month, collecting 10 multi-hit games and a 120 wRC+.





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.

31 Comments
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sadtrombonemember
1 month ago

I am definitely gonna take the under on the Guardians here. They’re good (4th in run differential, behind the Yankees, Phillies, and surprisingly the Royals), but I am not banking on this continuing. David Fry cannot carry this team to a 1-seed. I’d take the Dodgers, Acuna-less Braves, and the Orioles over them for sure, and put them in the same bucket as the Royals and Brewers. They could have their own tier: “Central Surprises”

airforce21one
1 month ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

I’ll take the under on the Royals and Phillies (even with the Acuna news). I’ll be extremely surprised if Philly is the second best team in baseball at the end of the season.

Pepper Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  airforce21one

Whether Philly is the best team in the NL comes down to how real you believe Ranger Suarez and Christopher Sanchez are. If you buy into them, then you’ve got a team with the best pitching staff in the majors and 8 regulars with a 118 or better wRC+. If not, then you’ve got somewhat less than that.

airforce21one
1 month ago
Reply to  Pepper Martin

I would also add Bryson Stott and Alec Bohm to that list.

Rex Manning Daymember
1 month ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

It does seem a bit unlikely that a team that’s 10th in wRC+ and 13th in wOBA will continue to put up the 3rd best RS/G in the league.

That said, I’m cool with a 9-game winning streak bumping a team up a tier in that week’s power ranking. Cleveland’s certainly among the best of the best right now.

sadtrombonemember
1 month ago

It seems reasonable–isn’t that kind of what power rankings are? (Or at least can be?)

bh216
1 month ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

Give them credit, they played their way into this convo and have maintained their hot start, despite injuries to Kwan and Bieber. They’re also getting absolutely nothing from the Naylors at the moment, which should hopefully change at some point. Obviously, David Fry won’t continue to be this good, but he should still be a very good hitter (he’s raised his ZiPS projections a ton and is projected as a 122 wRC+ hitter RoS).

If this team adds a 1-3 starter and/or another bat, I think they could easily be in the top tier.

cowdisciplemember
1 month ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

They’re decent and have played pretty well, but +8 on their BaseRuns record is doing a lot of work. Their run differential is +71 and BaseRuns thinks it should be +11.

sadtrombonemember
1 month ago
Reply to  cowdisciple

Yeah they’re clearly sequencing it well. This is the problem with singles-hitters teams–when they sequence well you get really good outcomes and when you sequence poorly you don’t get any runs at all.

I like them, just not this much.

bh216
1 month ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

But they haven’t been a singles-hitting team this year. They’re 22nd in singles. They’re 10th in doubles and 10th in HRs.

Left of Centerfield
1 month ago
Reply to  bh216

The Guardians lead MLB in OPS with runners in scoring position (.885 vs a league average of .738). That’s a big factor in their success.

With a runner on first base only they’re basically league average (.711 vs .717) and with no one on they’re 27th (.634 vs .676).

So yeah, it’s a weird offense. They struggle to get guys on base but once they do (particularly in scoring position), watch out!

EonADS
1 month ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

It’s kind of the inverse of last season, where the Guards were performing way below expectations due to injury and inconsistency.

Also, while Fry can’t keep it up forever, he is running a .372 xWOBA, and most of the rest of the team is underperforming there. Freeman, Arias, both Naylors, and Brennan, off the top of my head. Josh Naylor isn’t going to continue running a .208 BABIP, no chance.

High-defense teams also tend to outperform their Base-Runs because they just convert more outs than pure pitching would get you. Having one of the best defensive catchers in the game, and good defense at every position, plays up a lot in close games.

Last edited 1 month ago by EonADS