FanGraphs Power Rankings: The Beginning of the Offseason

The hot stove is set to simmer while teams take stock of their roster situations and the free-agent market. That means it’s the perfect time to see how each team stacks up against each other. Because these rankings are entirely data driven (based on the Depth Charts projections), there will be some wonky placements, particularly for teams that had significant players leave via free agency earlier this month. Think of these as a glimpse at which teams are close to being ready for 2023 and which teams might have a lot of work to do before thinking about next season. We’ll run these power rankings a couple of times during the offseason as a way to check in on how teams are shaping up heading into Opening Day.

A reminder for how these rankings are calculated: first, we take the three most important components of a team — their offense (wRC+), their pitching (a 50/50 blend of FIP- and RA9-, weighted by starter and reliever IP share), and their defense (RAA) — and combine them to create an overall team quality metric. For these offseason power rankings, I’ve used each team’s projected stats based on their Depth Charts projections which are entirely powered by the 2023 Steamer projections at this point. I’ve also used the projected fielding component of WAR that appears on our Depth Charts projections as the defensive component for each team in lieu of RAA.

Tier 1 – Ready to Compete
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Fld Team Quality
Braves 93-69 105 88 85 -0.7 170
Rays 92-70 109 94 97 1.2 168

With a young core locked up for years and very few holes on the roster, the Braves are essentially ready to run everything back in 2023. The biggest departure so far is Dansby Swanson; outside of him, Atlanta’s entire starting lineup and rotation will be returning in 2023.

The Braves’ biggest hindrance to improving their roster this offseason is their payroll, which is already butting up against the competitive balance tax. If they want to bring in a new shortstop or re-sign Swanson, they’ll either have to blow past the luxury tax threshold or find creative ways to cut costs. That appeared to be the reason behind trading away Jake Odorizzi last week. And with Vaughn Grissom’s strong rookie showing, there might already be a Swanson replacement in the organization anyway.

It’s surprising to see the Rays this high in the rankings, but their deep and flexible roster means they have few gaps to fill, and some good projections for their young core puts them already ahead of some of their closest division rivals. More importantly, the players they did lose to free agency all have in-house replacements already established or close to debuting — a big benefit of their robust development pipeline. That depth is a double-edged sword, however. Facing a 40-man roster crunch ahead of this week’s Rule 5 roster deadline, Tampa made four trades just in the last week, though none of them had much impact on the overall projections.

Tier 2 – A Couple Pieces Away
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Fld Team Quality
Padres 89-73 110 101 96 -1.8 150
Astros 90-72 109 97 98 -7.9 142
Mariners 87-75 106 99 93 -2.3 146
Yankees 86-76 101 93 97 31.7 151
Blue Jays 89-73 108 95 97 -14.7 128
Cardinals 86-76 107 102 94 -3.5 131

The Padres did their biggest offseason shopping at last season’s trade deadline, bringing in Juan Soto to anchor their lineup alongside Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado. The projections for those three carry San Diego in these rankings; the team has holes at first or second base (depending on where Jake Cronenworth ends up playing) and possibly two outfield spots. The pitching staff is also looking thin after the departures of Sean Manaea and Mike Clevinger. The Padres have already re-signed Robert Suarez and Nick Martinez, both of whom were solid contributors during their postseason run, but they’ll be limited by a payroll that’s already nearing the luxury tax threshold. The good news is that the foundation already in place is more than enough to earn a solid early win projection.

The reigning champions still have a ton of talent on the roster despite losing Justin Verlander, Michael Brantley, and Yuli Gurriel to free agency. The biggest question mark is who is going to lead their baseball operations through the offseason; James Click is out as general manager after rejecting a one-year offer made by owner Jim Crane less than a week after Houston had wrapped up its World Series win.

The Mariners finally broke their long playoff drought this year and signed Rookie of the Year Julio Rodríguez and trade deadline acquisition Luis Castillo to long-term extensions. Those moves indicate an intention to build a perennial contender, and our rankings think they’re most of the way there already. With an outstanding pitching staff fully stocked and ready to go, Seattle’s biggest needs this offseason are on offense, where the team is looking for a second baseman and a couple of outfielders — something it got started by acquiring Teoscar Hernández from the Blue Jays. Even after handing out those huge extensions, the Mariners have plenty of payroll room to make a few big, splashy additions if they want — something some of the other teams around them in these rankings can’t swing.

The Yankees already addressed one of their glaring needs by re-signing Anthony Rizzo to a three-year deal. Now they can turn their full attention to bringing Aaron Judge back into the fold. He’s the one big piece they need to position themselves to defend their AL East crown; without him, their offense looks rather pedestrian. They shouldn’t have any trouble preventing runs from scoring, though; their pitching staff looks solid, and they have the best projected defense in baseball. The offseason largely hinges on whether or not they’re able to re-sign Judge.

The Blue Jays’ entire starting lineup is set to return in 2023 with the addition of Whit Merrifield at second base; that group led the American League with a 117 wRC+ this year. Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman form a formidable pair atop the rotation, which needs to be filled out with some back-end options. They’re not far behind the teams in the first tier, but their ugly Wild Card Series against the Mariners laid bare the faults in their roster; they desperately need a few high-leverage arms to add to their bullpen. They went out and got Erik Swanson to bolster the bridge to closer Jordan Romano, but they’re still a few pieces short.

The retirement of Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols will leave holes in the St. Louis clubhouse, but not necessarily on the field. Beyond those two, the Cardinals will bring back a fairly young roster led by a few key veterans. One of the big questions they faced this offseason has already been answered, with Nolan Arenado deciding not to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract, keeping him in St. Louis for the next five years. The return of Adam Wainwright gives the rotation a veteran anchor; hopefully Jack Flaherty will be healthy enough to contribute a full season on the mound. The rotation still feels a little lacking, though there’s little room to make an upgrade with five solid options already in-house.

Tier 3 – Contenders in Need
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Fld Team Quality
Guardians 84-78 103 102 92 10.3 144
Dodgers 86-76 108 99 99 -12.3 123
Phillies 84-78 98 94 95 -6.7 125
Brewers 85-77 96 90 97 -3.6 114
Mets 86-76 106 100 98 -10.7 111

The Guardians surprised everyone by taking the youngest roster in the majors to the top of the AL Central and into the second round of the playoffs. The makeup of their roster means nearly the entirety of it will return in 2023. That said, Cleveland seriously outperformed its 2022 preseason projections, and banking on a repeat next year is a risky bet. There are certainly areas on the roster that can be upgraded, though the notoriously frugal franchise will likely hope for continued development of its youngsters to provide that lift.

Despite leading the majors in wins in ’22, the Dodgers have some holes to fill on their roster this offseason. They already re-signed Clayton Kershaw, which was a good first step, but the loss of Trea Turner, Justin Turner, and Tyler Anderson is a significant hit to their ceiling. They’ll also have to navigate the loss of Walker Buehler for all of 2023. Never shy about spending big to patch up their roster, the Dodgers have a lot of work to do to get their roster back to the level they’ve enjoyed over the last decade.

The Phillies head into 2023 coming off an inspiring run through the playoffs that ultimately ended in disappointment in the World Series. The good news is that the majority of the core is returning next year. Unfortunately, the projections don’t seem to believe in their postseason magic. The other complicating factor is the UCL surgery that Bryce Harper will undergo next week; he’s likely going to miss a portion of next season, but his timeline will be unclear until after the procedure. Philadelphia could also use another starter or two, a new starting second baseman, and a high-leverage bullpen arm.

The Brewers divisively attempted to fulfill both their short- and long-term goals when they traded Josh Hader at the trade deadline. It didn’t work out, and they ended up missing the playoffs, breaking a streak of four straight postseason appearances. Their starting rotation should be as good as ever; their biggest need this offseason is the same as it’s been for the past half-decade: bats. Milwaukee has plenty of league-average hitters in its lineup but lacks the stars needed to form a formidable offense. Without the financial resources to make a big splash in free agency, the Brewers are likely ticketed for the same kind of offseason as in years past, making marginal upgrades around the roster.

After Steve Cohen bought the Mets last winter, they weren’t shy about throwing their weight around in free agency. Their payroll is already well past the first luxury tax threshold, and they have a Jacob deGrom-shaped hole in their rotation that needs to be filled (though not necessarily by a deGrom-shaped pitcher). Bringing back Edwin Díaz on a record-breaking contract for a reliever was prudent after their bullpen suffered a huge exodus of talent in free agency. Whether or not they find adequate replacements for the pitching they’ve lost (to say nothing of the offense) is a matter of how much Cohen cares about the penalties that an even higher payroll entails.

Tier 4 – High-Variance Could Be’s
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Fld Team Quality
Red Sox 82-80 97 93 98 -5.7 120
Twins 82-80 102 103 95 -3 118
Angels 82-80 101 96 111 -9.4 99
White Sox 81-81 99 102 94 -8.1 104
Marlins 82-80 93 94 95 -7.3 91
Orioles 79-83 97 103 97 8.2 106

The Red Sox find themselves at a bit of a crossroads. Xander Bogaerts opting out of his contract makes their lineup feel a lot less intimidating. With Trevor Story locked up for five more seasons and Rafael Devers the subject of long-term extension talks, they could try to build around those two. It would be difficult; there are tons of holes on the roster and few major league-ready solutions in the farm system. If they do try to build another contender with what they have, they absolutely need Chris Sale to be healthy next year; his last three seasons have been wiped out by injuries.

The Twins were one of the more disappointing teams in baseball this year and enter the offseason without Carlos Correa, who opted out of his contract after just one season in Minnesota. Replacing his production in the lineup is a top priority. Getting Kenta Maeda back from Tommy John surgery and a full year of a healthy Tyler Mahle should shore up the rotation, and the Twins also have a clutch of young starting prospects on the cusp of making their debuts. With the right additions, they could be back in the mix for the AL Central.

Any team with two generational talents on the roster has the potential to be counted among the league’s best. The problem the Angels have yet to solve is how to build a supporting cast around Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Next season is Ohtani’s last under contract before hitting free agency, so it does feel like it’s do or die in Anaheim in 2023. They got started by signing Tyler Anderson to a three-year deal, marking a good start to an offseason that needs to be a busy one.

In many ways, the White Sox are in a similar position as the Twins: many of the pieces that made them preseason favorites in their division are still around, but those same players disappointed enough that Chicago ended up missing the playoffs anyway. With Pedro Grifol replacing Tony La Russa in the manager’s chair, it’s possible those same pieces will gel a bit better in 2023. With some targeted additions to their lineup and rotation, the White Sox could enter next season in the same place they entered this year: favorites for the AL Central.

Thanks to the amount of excellent pitching talent on the roster, the Marlins have been on the cusp of breaking out of their rebuilding cycle for the past couple of years. But they haven’t been able to build an offense good enough to support the pitching staff, a need they’ll be focused on addressing yet again this offseason. Hopefully their free-agent acquisitions hit better than the ones they signed a year ago; Jorge Soler and Avisaíl García combined for -0.1 WAR this season.

Where Boston feels like a team on the downslope, Baltimore is on the up-and-up. Enough of their top prospects have graduated (or are about to graduate) that the focus should be on improving the major league roster as much as possible. There isn’t one glaring need right now; the O’s should simply look to add talent wherever they can to help support their youngsters.

Tier 5 – Lots of Work to Do
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Fld Team Quality
Giants 80-82 96 95 99 -24.4 76
Rangers 76-86 97 105 106 5.9 82
Diamondbacks 76-86 96 103 104 2.2 80
Royals 76-86 95 104 107 -5.8 58
Pirates 76-86 98 106 108 -8.5 60
Cubs 75-87 96 107 103 -6.8 59

The Giants have indicated a desire to spend big this offseason, hoping to lure Judge away from the East Coast and closer to home. Beyond the winter’s biggest fish, they have a hole in the rotation after the departure of Carlos Rodón and desperately need to address a major league-worst defensive unit. The return of Joc Pederson after he accepted the team’s qualifying offer won’t help the Giants in the field, but his bat was surprisingly potent even when limited to mashing right-handed pitching.

The Rangers spent big last offseason and wound up losing 94 games anyway. To continue to support that expensive core, they need to add talent on the pitching side of the roster. They got started by trading for Odorizzi, and Martin Perez will return after accepting his qualifying offer, but those two don’t exactly raise the rotation’s ceiling. With a wave of youngsters on the verge of breaking through to the majors, Texas is a dark horse contender in the AL West, provided the team actually follows through on adding more arms.

The Diamondbacks were one of the most improved teams during the second half of the season, and like the Rangers, they have a large contingent of top prospects close to making an impact in the big leagues. They haven’t spent to supplement that young core yet, but this offseason could be the moment they start adding talent from outside the organization. The obvious area to address would be the pitching staff, but they’re also a big bat or two away from fielding a dangerous lineup.

With a handful of their top prospects graduating this year, the Royals would hope to be in the same position as the Orioles. The unfortunate reality is that they’re nowhere near Baltimore and still have considerable work to do to break out of their rebuilding cycle. New general manager J.J. Picollo has said that he’s focused on upgrading the roster wherever he can, but the most glaring weakness is in their pitching staff. Their development pipeline has squandered a ton of talent that’s been brought in through the draft; they’ll need to figure out if any of those pitchers are worth keeping around.

Like so many other teams in this tier, the Pirates have a young roster filled with potential. Oneil Cruz flashed some loud tools during his first full-time exposure to major league pitching, and his projection carries a lot of weight in Pittsburgh’s lineup. But unlike the Giants or the Rangers, the Pirates are unlikely to spend much in free agency. Instead, they’ll hope for big steps forward from Cruz and their other prospects while upgrading the margins of their roster with moves like acquiring Ji-Man Choi from the Rays.

The Cubs didn’t spend as much as the Rangers last offseason but did begin building a new core with big deals for Seiya Suzuki and Marcus Stroman. They still have a long way to go in their effort to short-circuit their rebuild cycle; the problem is they don’t have the strong contingent of prospects ready to contribute like some of the other teams in this tier. That means any infusion of high-end talent will need to come from outside the organization. Luckily, they have the financial resources to make a splash in free agency if they want.

Tier 6 – Rebuilding
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Fld Team Quality
Athletics 73-89 95 110 110 -1.8 45
Tigers 74-88 94 106 107 -20.3 25
Rockies 65-97 90 104 105 -12.5 31
Reds 68-94 87 104 104 -14.2 28
Nationals 70-92 91 109 110 -14.6 15

The Athletics did well to replenish their stock of young prospects last offseason and at the trade deadline, and they still have a few pieces to trade in Sean Murphy and Ramón Laureano if they want to continue building up their farm system. The looming battle over a potential new stadium and whether or not they’ll be uprooted from Oakland in the coming years casts a shadow over whatever they do this offseason. Until that situation is resolved, they probably won’t be investing much into their roster.

Like the Cubs and Rangers, the Tigers spent big last offseason, hoping to spark their way out of a rebuilding cycle. Things did not work out well for them, as injuries wrecked the roster and a number of their top prospects struggled to make the jump into the majors. With Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal injured and Spencer Torkelson still trying to find his footing in the big leagues, they seem further away from contention now than they did at the end of the 2021 season.

After a forgettable, injury-plagued first season in Colorado, the Rockies are hoping Kris Bryant is healthy and ready to contribute a full season in 2023. But even if he manages to replicate some of his early career success in Denver, the rest of his supporting cast is so lackluster, it won’t really matter. With plenty of financial commitments on the books already, including Bryant’s mega-deal, they’re not in a position to tear everything down but have too many holes to patch to be considered a contender next year. That’s an unfortunate place for any franchise to be in, albeit one that’s extremely familiar to Rockies fans.

Like the A’s, the Reds restocked their farm system with a number of trades last offseason and at the trade deadline. That gives them plenty of pieces to try to build around, though contending in 2023 is definitely a long-shot. After cutting a ton of payroll last offseason, it’s unlikely Cincinnati will have an appetite to spend at all this winter, at least until some of those prospects are ready to contribute a few years down the road. That means it will likely be another year of frustration with a few glimmers of hope on the horizon.

The impending sale of the franchise is the biggest unanswered question facing the Nationals this offseason. Until that situation is resolved, they’re in limbo. Luckily, Washington brought in a ton of young talent over the past two summers. The hope is that the Soto deal will be a franchise-altering inflection point, though the team will be hamstrung by an inability to spend much until a new owner is in place.

Complete Power Rankings
Rank Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Fld Team Quality
1 Braves 93-69 105 88 85 -0.7 170
2 Rays 92-70 109 94 97 1.2 168
3 Padres 89-73 110 101 96 -1.8 150
4 Astros 90-72 109 97 98 -7.9 142
5 Mariners 87-75 106 99 93 -2.3 146
6 Yankees 86-76 101 93 97 31.7 151
7 Blue Jays 89-73 108 95 97 -14.7 128
8 Cardinals 86-76 107 102 94 -3.5 131
9 Guardians 84-78 103 102 92 10.3 144
10 Dodgers 86-76 108 99 99 -12.3 123
11 Phillies 84-78 98 94 95 -6.7 125
12 Brewers 85-77 96 90 97 -3.6 114
13 Mets 86-76 106 100 98 -10.7 111
14 Red Sox 82-80 97 93 98 -5.7 120
15 Twins 82-80 102 103 95 -3 118
16 Angels 82-80 101 96 111 -9.4 99
17 White Sox 81-81 99 102 94 -8.1 104
18 Marlins 82-80 93 94 95 -7.3 91
19 Orioles 79-83 97 103 97 8.2 106
20 Giants 80-82 96 95 99 -24.4 76
21 Rangers 76-86 97 105 106 5.9 82
22 Diamondbacks 76-86 96 103 104 2.2 80
23 Royals 76-86 95 104 107 -5.8 58
24 Pirates 76-86 98 106 108 -8.5 60
25 Cubs 75-87 96 107 103 -6.8 59
26 Athletics 73-89 95 110 110 -1.8 45
27 Tigers 74-88 94 106 107 -20.3 25
28 Rockies 65-97 90 104 105 -12.5 31
29 Reds 68-94 87 104 104 -14.2 28
30 Nationals 70-92 91 109 110 -14.6 15





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.

44 Comments
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Ivan_Grushenkomember
2 months ago

The idea that the Rays have the 2nd best offense in MLB will take getting used to .

Blue Jays 2nd worst defense in MLB makes me wonder whether moving Bichette to 2B and trading for a defensively oriented SS might not be a big help. Something like Kirk for Nootbaar, Gorman and DeJong…or along those lines?

San Diego’s and Cleveland’s mediocre starters are also a surprise

Last edited 2 months ago by Ivan_Grushenko
EonADS
2 months ago
Reply to  Ivan_Grushenko

In Cleveland’s case, projections hate them because they tend to outperform their FIP every year thanks to good defense behind them. Though with the shift being curtailed this year, regression might come. Idk where the Padres underperformance is coming from.

Ivan_Grushenkomember
2 months ago
Reply to  EonADS

Guardians defense is rated middle of the pack but so positioning might matter more. Bb-Ref shows sOPS+ on Ground balls at 88 and Fly Balls at 85. If the latter is repeatable the new rules might not matter much. FG FB% and GB% looked middle of the pack.

CC AFCmember
2 months ago
Reply to  Ivan_Grushenko

Eh, I don’t think the general value of your proposal is far off, but is getting Dejong’s defense and noodle bat at short any better than just playing Espinal/Merrifield at second? And what would the Blue Jays do with Gorman in that scenario? Can’t play him at third bc of Chapman, can’t play him at second if you shift Bichette there. I guess first with vlad DHing, but I personally don’t like his bat enough for that

Ivan_Grushenkomember
2 months ago
Reply to  CC AFC

Ya the specifics might not work but DeJong Espinal and Merrifield all project around 2 WAR by Steamer. It’s basically the shape of the 2 WAR and whether Bichette might not be as error prone at 2B. They will need either to resign Chapman or get a successor. As you said Gorman might not be up to the task

Last edited 2 months ago by Ivan_Grushenko
Lanidrac
2 months ago
Reply to  Ivan_Grushenko

In that case, how about just making it Jansen for DeJong and Burleson, while the Cardinals eat most of DeJong’s salary?

Lanidrac
2 months ago
Reply to  Ivan_Grushenko

Gorman and DeJong, maybe, but you’re not getting Nootbaar. You could try for Burleson instead, but even then you’d need to include someone else in exchange alongside the catcher or agree to pay DeJong’s entire salary.

Also, why Kirk and not Jansen?

Ivan_Grushenkomember
2 months ago
Reply to  Lanidrac

I figured Kirk would get more in return and Moreno would be able to replace Jansen eventually. I guess they could include Merrifield.

Lanidrac
2 months ago
Reply to  Ivan_Grushenko

A contender like the Blue Jays would want to keep their best option despite not getting as much in return for the other guy.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals would rather just keep Gorman than trade him for Merrifield.

Last edited 2 months ago by Lanidrac
LaBellaVitamember
2 months ago
Reply to  Ivan_Grushenko

Rays offense should be better next year. In 2021, they were 3rd best by offensive runs / 2nd best by WAR of positional players. The assumption is that Brandon Lowe and Wander Franco will stay healthy. In addition, The Trop is pitcher friendly, masking the quality of the positional players and inflating the quality of the pitching. Of course, this entire exercise is based on the fact that many positions on the other teams have not been filled. By March, it would be surprising to see the Rays predicted to generate the 2nd best offense.

A general comment – I really enjoyed reading this article. The approach is logical and the writing about the teams is informative.

Ivan_Grushenkomember
2 months ago
Reply to  LaBellaVita

Yes although a 109 wRC+ would still be plenty good. Second on the high quality of the article.

tdouglas
2 months ago
Reply to  Ivan_Grushenko

STL has a desperate need for lefty bats, so Nootbaar isn’t going anywhere. Projections seem to be missing something about Dejong, who has performed MUCH worse than projected for many years now. He’s probably done as an MLB player. A catcher going to STL still makes a ton of sense, but I’d be shocked if any MLB team would acquire Dejong, even if STL paid his entire salary. He’s not even worth the roster spot he would take.

Niels-Henning Orsted Joc Pederson
2 months ago
Reply to  tdouglas

I don’t follow.
A “desperate need” for lefty bats? Nootbaar and Donovan are both good lefty bats. Carlson & Edman are switch-hitters. Yepez hits righties better than lefties. I think the need for lefty bats is overblown — even if they trade away Gorman or Donovan in a deal for Sean Murphy. (Which is *exactly* what they ought to do.)

Lanidrac
2 months ago

Yes, Carlson and Edman are switch-hitters, but they both hit much better from the right side.

Anyway, being a lefty isn’t the only reason the Cardinals wouldn’t include Nootbaar in such a deal, as he’s easily their 3rd best outfielder at the very least right now. Unlike Gorman, he’s already etablished himself as an above-average MLB hitter and plays very good defense at a position that’s not blocked.

Lanidrac
2 months ago
Reply to  tdouglas

DeJong is still useful as a defensive replacement and a power pinch-hitter against lefties. He’s not getting a starting job again until/if he can prove otherwise, but he’s not a waste of a roster spot either.