FanGraphs Power Rankings: Opening Day 2024

Welcome back baseball! This offseason was excruciatingly slow, but we’ve finally made it to Opening Day.

This year, we’re introducing a complete revamp of how these power rankings work. The old model wasn’t very reactive to the ups and downs of any given team 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 during the season. Instead, 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 still being 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 based on both their outlook for this season and the long-term state of their organizations. You’ll notice that the official ordinal rankings don’t always match the tiers — for example: The Reds, Tigers, and Pirates are ahead of the Angels in the rankings, but the Angels are grouped with the Red Sox in the fifth tier while the aforementioned trio is among the up-and-coming clubs in Tier 6 — but generally, the ordering is consistent. (Note: The playoff odds listed in the tables below are our standard Depth Charts odds, not the coinflip odds that are used in the ranking formula).

Complete Power Rankings
Rank Team Projected Record ELO Playoff Odds Power Score Δ
1 Braves 97-65 1607 98.5% 1607 0
2 Dodgers 93-69 1576 93.2% 1574 0
3 Astros 90-72 1559 85.8% 1559 0
4 Yankees 88-74 1538 71.6% 1538 0
5 Rays 86-76 1527 59.5% 1527 0
6 Mariners 86-76 1527 59.6% 1527 2
7 Twins 84-78 1525 64.8% 1525 -1
8 Phillies 85-77 1525 55.7% 1525 5
9 Orioles 85-77 1518 52.9% 1518 0
10 Cardinals 83-79 1516 50.6% 1516 2
11 Diamondbacks 84-78 1516 44.2% 1516 0
12 Blue Jays 85-77 1516 48.9% 1516 -5
13 Giants 83-79 1514 44.6% 1514 6
14 Padres 82-80 1513 43.0% 1512 6
15 Cubs 81-81 1508 41.5% 1508 3
16 Rangers 82-80 1503 38.6% 1503 -2
17 Marlins 80-82 1497 28.5% 1497 -2
18 Brewers 80-82 1496 29.9% 1496 -1
19 Mets 81-81 1496 30.2% 1496 4
20 Red Sox 80-82 1492 23.7% 1492 -10
21 Reds 79-83 1491 22.3% 1491 1
22 Tigers 79-83 1490 28.0% 1490 -1
23 Guardians 80-82 1490 32.6% 1490 -7
24 Pirates 77-85 1479 17.5% 1479 1
25 Angels 78-84 1478 16.6% 1478 -1
26 Royals 76-86 1467 14.1% 1467 0
27 Athletics 72-90 1441 2.7% 1441 0
28 White Sox 67-95 1411 0.6% 1411 1
29 Nationals 66-96 1399 0.2% 1399 1
30 Rockies 63-99 1387 0.1% 1387 -2

Tier 1 – Preseason Favorites
Team Projected Record ELO Playoff Odds Power Score
Braves 97-65 1607 98.5% 1607
Dodgers 93-69 1576 93.2% 1574
Astros 90-72 1559 85.8% 1559

The Braves haven’t budged from the top of these rankings thanks to their deep and talented roster. They made it through spring training without any major injury scares, and even added a bit of depth to their outfield by reuniting with Adam Duvall just in case Jarred Kelenic doesn’t pan out. Chris Sale has looked healthy and strong this spring, and Spencer Strider added an exciting new pitch to his already dominant repertoire. This team is ready to compete from day one and anything less than a championship at the end of the season will be a disappointment.

The betting scandal involving Shohei Ohtani and his former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara will dominate the headlines surrounding the Dodgers until it is resolved. That will overshadow a team that has a bit more volatility than you’d expect from a roster that’s projected to win 93 games. Mookie Betts’ unexpected move to shortstop could have some disastrous effects on the defense on the left side of the infield, and the injury question marks in the starting rotation won’t be answered anytime soon. Still, if the two-game opening series in Korea showed us anything, it’s that this offense is capable of covering all manner of woes.

The Astros head into the season with a handful of pitching injuries to navigate. Justin Verlander’s shoulder issue delayed his ramp up this spring and José Urquidy is out with an ominous-sounding forearm strain. It sounds like Verlander’s injury isn’t that serious, and the midseason recoveries of Lance McCullers Jr. and Luis Garcia should provide some reinforcements later on, which is why Houston’s preseason projection wasn’t affected all that much. With Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman, among others, the Astros still boast a potent offense, and they bolstered their bullpen with the addition of Josh Hader. Once again, Houston is the team to beat in the American League.

Tier 2 – The AL Battle Zone
Team Projected Record ELO Playoff Odds Power Score
Yankees 88-74 1538 71.6% 1538
Rays 86-76 1527 59.5% 1527
Mariners 86-76 1527 59.6% 1527
Twins 84-78 1525 64.8% 1525
Orioles 85-77 1518 52.9% 1518

The season hasn’t even started and the Yankees are already in a precarious spot. An elbow ailment likely will force Gerrit Cole to miss the first couple of months of the season, exposing the lack of depth in New York’s starting rotation. Pair that with Aaron Judge’s mysterious abdominal discomfort — as well as a few other spring knocks to DJ LeMahieu and Anthony Rizzo — and the injury issues that sank the team last season have already started to rear its ugly head. Even with Juan Soto poised to contribute in his contract year, the Yankees feel like they’re sitting on a knife’s edge. They’re not facing the worst-case scenario yet, but it won’t take much to get them to that point if anything else goes wrong.

If you look at all the individual projections on the Rays roster, you probably won’t walk away that impressed. But they’re simply better than any other team at seemingly maximizing the production of every single player in the organization. That’s how they’re projected to win 86 games despite heading into the season a little light on pitching after trading away Tyler Glasnow and following the injuries of Shane McClanahan, Jeffrey Springs, Drew Rasmussen, and Taj Bradley. Could it all collapse this year? It’s possible, but their track record speaks for itself.

The fear that the Mariners could squander Julio Rodríguez’s youth and one of the best starting rotations in the game is ever present. It got a little more real after the team announced Bryan Woo would start the season on the IL with a minor elbow issue. Seattle will also have to overcome a few injuries to some of its best relievers early in the season. That said, the Mariners look more talented than they have the past couple of years — on paper, anyway. There’s plenty of risk present in the lineup, so they’ll have to lean heavily on their elite run prevention unit and their homegrown superstar to carry them through a long season.

After a quiet offseason, the Twins are still the favorites to defend their AL Central crown. Despite that healthy lead in the projections, it doesn’t feel like their path to the playoffs will be as smooth as it was last year. They’re already facing some injuries in their pitching staff, with Jhoan Duran’s oblique the most concerning of the bunch. Health was always going to determine how successful they would be this year, and thankfully, Carlos Correa, Royce Lewis, and Byron Buxton all emerged from spring training ready for Opening Day.

The expectations for the Orioles are sky high after their surprising rise to the top of the American League last season. We’ll have to wait a little bit before watching Jackson Holliday, who ranks no. 1 on our Top 100 Prospects list, make his debut, but their roster is packed with young talent and should be plenty entertaining until he arrives. Baltimore was smart to trade for ace Corbin Burnes, because even with him, there are some questions about whether this starting rotation is deep enough. Even if the O’s can’t recapture last year’s magic, they should be right in the middle of the playoff picture this season.

Tier 3 – Solid Contenders
Team Projected Record ELO Playoff Odds Power Score
Phillies 85-77 1525 55.7% 1525
Cardinals 83-79 1516 50.6% 1516
Diamondbacks 84-78 1516 44.2% 1516
Blue Jays 85-77 1516 48.9% 1516
Giants 83-79 1514 44.6% 1514
Padres 82-80 1513 43.0% 1512
Cubs 81-81 1508 41.5% 1508
Rangers 82-80 1503 38.6% 1503

Why fix what isn’t broken? After back-to-back NLCS appearances, the Phillies seemed content to simply stick with what’s worked. They’ve eliminated the Braves from the postseason each of the last two years, so even if they’re unable to chase down Atlanta for a division title during the regular season, they’re confident they’ll be able to make a deep run in October.

The Cardinals’ depth will be tested early this season as they’re already missing Sonny Gray, Lars Nootbaar, Tommy Edman, and Dylan Carlson because of injuries. Their lineup should be able to weather those temporary absences but there’s a lot less wiggle room in the starting rotation. Thankfully, it sounds like Gray will be able to make his first start of the season within a week or two.

The Diamondbacks capped off an encouraging offseason with the last-minute signing of Jordan Montgomery. That addition, along with fellow newcomer Eduardo Rodriguez, elevates their starting rotation into elite company among the game’s best (though Rodriguez will begin the season on the IL with a lat strain). With MVP candidate Corbin Carroll leading the offense, Arizona looks poised to follow up its surprising World Series appearance with another competitive season.

The Blue Jays have a lot riding on the shoulders of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. If he’s able to rebound after a down year in 2023, Toronto should be just fine. If not, well, the Blue Jays didn’t bring in much outside help this offseason to support him. They’re also banged up in their bullpen following elbow injuries to Jordan Romano and Erik Swanson. Extended absences for the two high-leverage relievers would further reduce the slim margin for error that Toronto already has in an extremely competitive AL playoff picture.

When they signed Blake Snell 10 days ago, the Giants finally made the big splash to put a cap on an active offseason. Before adding Snell, San Francisco also added third baseman Matt Chapman, center fielder Jung Hoo Lee, slugger Jorge Soler, righty Jordan Hicks, and catcher Tom Murphy. The Giants spent more than $325 million on free agents this offseason, the second highest total in baseball behind the Dodgers. All those moves put them solidly in the mix in the competitive NL Wild Card race.

Unsatisfied with a step-back season after trading away Juan Soto earlier in the offseason, the Padres did an about-face and landed Dylan Cease from the White Sox two weeks ago. That stabilizes a rotation that was in flux throughout the offseason and provides some more high-level talent for the roster. Is San Diego better off now than it was with Soto in the mix? The projections see it all as a wash, though the Padres still have a critical lack of depth across their roster. In that sense, they’re essentially in the same position as they were last year: They have a ton of talent but very little room for error.

The Cubs finally addressed the Cody Bellinger-sized hole in their lineup by simply re-signing the man himself. And with Shota Imanaga looking impressive during spring training, there’s some cautious optimism surrounding this ballclub. Chicago has essentially pulled even with the Cardinals in what should be a competitive race for the NL Central, and if the Cubs fall short in the division, they could sneak into the playoffs via a wild card berth.

The Rangers are betting they can hit well enough to stick around in the AL playoff picture until Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, and Tyler Mahle are healthy to reinforce their starting rotation. There’s plenty of risk involved, but that’s not necessarily a bad bet. Corey Seager and Josh Jung have progressed enough from their spring injuries and will be ready for Opening Day, and Texas should also enjoy full seasons from its pair of highly regarded rookies Evan Carter and Wyatt Langford, our no. 2-ranked prospect. Even so, as things stand, the Rangers’ potent offense might not be enough to carry them to the playoffs.

Tier 4 – High-Variance Could Be’s
Team Projected Record ELO Playoff Odds Power Score
Marlins 80-82 1497 28.5% 1497
Brewers 80-82 1496 29.9% 1496
Mets 81-81 1496 30.2% 1496
Guardians 80-82 1490 32.6% 1490

The worst-case scenario for the Marlins appears to already be in full swing. They were already going to miss Sandy Alcantara for the entire season after his Tommy John surgery, and now Eury Pérez, Braxton Garrett, and Edward Cabrera are all on the IL to start the season with various injuries. Max Meyer, their second ranked prospect, should be able to step in to fill some of the gap, and Miami is also having lefty A.J. Puk, who to this point has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in the majors, handle a starter’s workload. Suddenly, the clear strength of this roster doesn’t look so strong.

Like the Marlins, the Brewers’ starting rotation, once a clear strength, is looking a little diminished this season, after they traded Corbin Burnes and lost Brandon Woodruff to injury. On top of that, Devin Williams, their best reliever, is expected to miss the first half of the season with a back injury. All eyes will be on young Jackson Chourio to see if he can quickly acclimate to the big leagues after turning 20 years old just a few weeks ago. Milwaukee will be competing in the wide open NL Central, so anything is possible, but it certainly seems like this season is being treated as a stepping stone to the team’s next competitive window.

After a couple of big splashy offseasons, the Mets were fairly quiet, making some targeted additions to their depleted pitching staff and opportunistically signing DH J.D. Martinez a week ago. There’s enough talent in the lineup for them to make a surprise run at the NL Wild Card if the health of the pitching staff holds up, but that feels like a longshot at this point. The reality is that this is an evaluation year for new president of baseball operations David Stearns as he begins to put his stamp on the organization.

It was just a couple of years ago that the Guardians won the division with the youngest roster in the majors. With the core of that team still around, Cleveland hopes that a few more prospect graduations will help push it back to the top of the AL Central after falling short of the postseason last season. There’s still too little power in this lineup — sending Kyle Manzardo to the minors to start the season isn’t helping in that arena — which makes the Guardians a little too reliant on their batted ball results swinging their way. That’s a volatile blueprint for building an offense, and the projections reflect that reality.

Tier 5 – No Man’s Land
Team Projected Record ELO Playoff Odds Power Score
Red Sox 80-82 1492 23.7% 1492
Angels 78-84 1478 16.6% 1478

The two teams in this tier feel a little lost, stuck in that limbo of not yet rebuilding but not being good enough to compete this year. Boston’s chances of making some noise in the AL Wild Card race took a hit when Lucas Giolito was lost for the season with an elbow injury. The Red Sox signed Brayan Bello to an aspirational six-year extension, and they’re hoping the early returns are promising. They’re also expecting the adjustments Nick Pivetta made late last year carry over, and maybe Tanner Houck and Kutter Crawford take a step forward. That’s a lot riding on a bunch of hypotheticals. Boston won’t be bad, but it doesn’t seem to be good enough where it counts, either.

The same could be said for the Angels. With Shohei Ohtani out of the picture, the Angels decided to invest heavily in their … relief corps? There were so many other areas on their roster they could have bolstered that their commitment to spending on so many relievers was a bit comical. Of course, the success of their season will hinge on whether Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, and Taylor Ward are healthy and contributing. But even if they are, and the lineup is scoring runs, the pitching staff is weak enough that it probably won’t matter.

Tier 6 – Moving in the Right Direction
Team Projected Record ELO Playoff Odds Power Score
Reds 79-83 1491 22.3% 1491
Tigers 79-83 1490 28.0% 1490
Pirates 77-85 1479 17.5% 1479
Royals 76-86 1467 14.1% 1467

The infield logjam the Reds were expected to have has suddenly disappeared after Noelvi Marte was suspended for PEDs and Matt McLain underwent shoulder surgery. While the playing time picture is a little more clear without so many players needing to get at-bats, I’m sure the Reds would rather navigate that headache than have two of their most promising youngsters sidelined for months. The rest of the roster has a number of health issues as well — TJ Friedl, Nick Lodolo, and Brandon Williamson are all starting the year on the IL — which makes Cincinnati’s ascendancy a little less likely.

The Tigers’ starting rotation was the talk of spring training. Tarik Skubal looks like a legitimate Cy Young candidate, a number of their pitchers have added velocity to their fastballs, and Jackson Jobe’s mouth-watering stuff has a lot of people asking how soon he’ll make his major league debut. An elite rotation would give Detroit a solid foundation, but the development of its offense appears to be lagging behind. Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene, and Kerry Carpenter still need to prove they can produce over an entire season, and the supporting cast is still merely OK.

After missing almost all of last season with an ankle injury, Oneil Cruz looked fantastic during spring training, and his return has given the Pirates some much needed optimism as they head into the season. There’s a universe where Cruz leads the offense, pitching prospects Paul Skenes and Jared Jones solidify the starting rotation, and Pittsburgh makes some noise in the race for the NL Central. The reality is that the Bucs are probably a season or two from truly making the leap, but there’s clear forward momentum for the franchise for the first time in a long time.

There’s plenty of hype surrounding Cole Ragans after his tremendous late season run last year, and Maikel Garcia is getting in on the excitement too after a strong showing in Winter Ball and spring training. Developing some additional high-end talent to support franchise cornerstone Bobby Witt Jr. is a critical piece of the puzzle for the Royals. There isn’t much coming through the minor league system, though, so they’ll need to get creative to try and speed up this rebuild.

Tier 7 – Rebuilding
Team Projected Record ELO Playoff Odds Power Score
Athletics 72-90 1441 2.7% 1441
White Sox 67-95 1411 0.6% 1411
Nationals 66-96 1399 0.2% 1399
Rockies 63-99 1387 0.1% 1387

The seemingly never-ending relocation saga will loom large over the A’s this season, and their play on the field won’t provide much, if any, relief. A few youngsters are worth watching to see if they can develop into franchise mainstays, but by the time this team ends up in Las Vegas (if that ever comes to pass), the likelihood they’re still in the organization is pretty slim.

After trading away Dylan Cease, Luis Robert Jr. remains the lone piece that could bring back a sizable haul of prospects to jumpstart the White Sox rebuild. He’s young enough and under team control for long enough that it’s possible they’d want to hold onto him as a bridge to the next competitive window. His contract situation is favorable enough that he’d fetch plenty of prospects if ever they do decide to trade him.

The Nationals have filled their roster with veteran bounce-back candidates to surround the few youngsters who have already made their major league debuts. It’s not a bad idea to see if Jesse Winker, Joey Gallo, Eddie Rosario, and Nick Senzel can rediscover their swings so that Washington can flip them at the trade deadline. And the show that top prospect James Wood put on this spring gives the Nats a promising glimpse into their future, even if that’s still a year or two away.

After a very quiet offseason, the Rockies finally woke up and signed Ezequiel Tovar to a long-term extension earlier this week. It doesn’t raise the talent level of the roster, which is projected to be among the worst in the majors, but it’s a solid move to lock up a promising piece of their infield. Tovar isn’t the second coming of Troy Tulowitzki, but he’s one of the best defenders in baseball and his bat still has some room to grow. Beyond that, Colorado is hoping for a healthy season from Kris Bryant and for Nolan Jones to hold onto the gains he enjoyed last year.

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.

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1 month ago

Maybe I missed it but what does the delta represent in the table?

1 month ago
Reply to  LesVegetables

Change. Likely change from prior rankings.

1 month ago
Reply to  duncanbishop1

What prior rankings?