FanGraphs Power Rankings: The Start of the Offseason

The true offseason has yet to begin, as teams have begun their annual housekeeping on their rosters, but the big moves have yet to materialize. That means it’s the perfect time to see how they stack up against each other. Think of these power rankings 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 even thinking about next season.

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 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 2024 Steamer projections at this point. The result is a power ranking, which is then presented in tiers below.

While these offseason power rankings will continue to emulate the format from the past few years, I am working on a new format to the rankings for the 2024 regular season that will hopefully address many of the concerns voiced about the current methodology. I hope to have more to share about what these new rankings will look like in the months ahead. Anyway, to the rankings!

Tier 1 – Ready to Compete
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Team Quality
Braves 97-65 114 88 94 199
Rays 91-71 109 94 99 167
Astros 91-71 113 98 99 163

It’s a good sign when the team with the best regular-season record in 2023 is projected to have the best record again the following season. The Braves’ young core is locked up for years, and they look ready to dominate the National League for years to come. They’ve already addressed some needs in their bullpen by re-signing Pierce Johnson and Joe Jiménez, and they’ll likely continue adding to their pitching staff to cover for the loss of Kyle Wright to shoulder surgery. They’ve also got a need for more depth in the outfield. Still, those are small concerns; this roster as it stands would be an easy World Series favorite if the season started today.

The projections will always favor a deep and flexible team like the Rays because their ability to weather the attrition of a long season is easily accounted for in the data. Our current Depth Charts projections have Wander Franco taking the majority of the playing time at shortstop, but the step down to Junior Caminero’s isn’t that drastic. Their pitching staff looks set, with a full season from Tyler Glasnow and the return of Shane Baz hopefully in the cards. They’ll miss the trio of Shane McClanahan, Drew Rasmussen, and Jeffrey Springs, but bringing in Aaron Civale at the trade deadline this year and the emergence of Zack Littell should give them a formidable rotation.

The version of the Astros we saw in 2023 was a diminished one compared to their dominant championship from the year prior, most of which can be attributed to injury woes that plagued them throughout the season. The majority of the core that drove so much of their success in ‘22 will be back next year, but they’ll need to add a bit of depth to their starting rotation. Justin Verlander will be 41 years old in 2024, and there’s no telling what they can expect from Lance McCullers Jr.

Tier 2 – A Couple Pieces Away
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Team Quality
Blue Jays 87-75 106 97 98 147
Twins 86-76 104 97 95 143

Like so many of the teams atop these rankings, the Blue Jays have an enviable young core driving their rosy projections. Steamer believes we’ll see a big bounce back from Vladimir Guerrero Jr., which is critical to their future success. They have needs at third base and in the outfield, though Daulton Varsho should be able slide over and cover center field after the departure of Kevin Kiermaier. With expectations for Alek Manoah up in the air, Toronto will likely be looking to add depth to an already good starting rotation.

After nearly two decades of postseason frustration, the Twins finally enjoyed some October success this year, winning a playoff series for the first time since 2002. Their excellent pitching staff remains mostly intact, though they’ll need to find a replacement for Sonny Gray; the return of Chris Paddack from his injury late in the season should help in that regard. A lot of Minnesota’s success feels like it’s linked to the health of Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton, and Royce Lewis. If that talented trio can avoid extended stays on the Injured List, they’ll lead the way to another easy AL Central title.

Tier 3 – Contenders in Need
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Team Quality
Yankees 85-77 103 97 99 128
Phillies 84-78 101 98 96 128
Mariners 84-78 101 97 98 122
Dodgers 84-78 108 102 101 115
Orioles 84-78 105 100 99 117
Red Sox 83-79 99 96 95 125
Rangers 83-79 105 100 101 114

Like the Twins, the position of the Yankees in these rankings greatly depends on the health of some of their biggest stars, in particular Aaron Judge, Carlos Rodón, and Nestor Cortes. They’ll also be missing top prospect Jasson Domínguez for much of the season after he underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this year, which creates a glaring need in the outfield. The age and payroll distribution of New York’s roster will make for some difficult decisions about the future, putting the team in an urgent position this offseason.

The Phillies came within one win of their second straight World Series appearance, and the majority of that roster that has been so successful over the past two seasons is returning in 2024, though they’ll be missing Aaron Nola, and finding his replacement will be their top priority this offseason. They’ll also be moving Bryce Harper to first base full-time, allowing them to get creative with potential additions to the outfield.

After a fairly quiet offseason following their first playoff appearance in two decades, the Mariners missed the postseason by one game this year. With a strong core of young players and one of the best starting rotations in baseball, they could run things back with a few marginal additions and probably be favored to claim a Wild Card spot. But considering the blowback received after Jerry Dipoto’s end-of-season comments, this offseason will likely be viewed as a disappointment unless they manage to sign Shohei Ohtani. It’s a tough position to be in, made all the worse because it was self-inflicted. If they’re interested in breaking out of their risk-averse stance, there’s plenty of room to add impact talent at a number of positions, but it would be a shock to see them actually do that.

Even with two MVP candidates anchoring their lineup, the Dodgers are in a precarious position this offseason. They have numerous holes to fill, with seven position players and nine pitchers leaving via free agency. Their starting rotation is the more pressing concern, even with the impending return of Walker Buehler from his Tommy John surgery, as they’re losing Clayton Kershaw — a free agent and sidelined until midseason after offseason shoulder surgery — along with Julio Urías and Lance Lynn. Meanwhile, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May will likely miss all of next season due to injury. Los Angeles has proven it can fill in the margins of the roster with reclamation and bounce back projects, but the team will be pressed to find some top-end pitching talent this offseason alongside its likely pursuit of Ohtani.

The Orioles broke out of their long rebuilding cycle in emphatic fashion this year, winning the AL East with the best record in the league. There’s so much young talent already on their roster, and there’s more on the way. They have some depth concerns in their starting rotation, which should be a top priority for them this offseason. Even if they don’t add any significant talent to their pitching staff, they’ll still be favored to defend their division title next year thanks to that young nucleus.

It’s probably a little surprising to see the Red Sox ranked so highly after a largely disappointing 2023. New chief baseball officer Craig Breslow will be inheriting a roster that doesn’t have as many holes on it as you’d expect after a fifth-place finish in their division. The projections are taking into account full and healthy seasons from Chris Sale and Trevor Story, which certainly helps their position. There aren’t too many glaring issues on their roster; if they just solidify their depth all around, they could be right in the thick of things in the AL playoff picture next summer.

The core of the lineup that led the Rangers to their first World Series championship in franchise history will be intact next year. The biggest hurdle in their quest to defend their title will be a pitching staff filled with holes. Jordan Montgomery is out as a free agent, and Jacob deGrom will miss most if not all of next season after his second Tommy John surgery. Add in the diminishing effectiveness of Max Scherzer as he reaches 40 and a mediocre bullpen, and Texas will be busy trying to patch all that up this offseason.

Tier 4 – High-Variance Could Be’s
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Team Quality
Mets 83-79 106 102 104 107
Marlins 82-80 93 90 95 108
Padres 83-79 110 108 110 99
Cardinals 83-79 108 105 102 104
Brewers 81-81 95 96 94 104
Diamondbacks 81-81 97 99 97 105

With an owner willing to invest a ridiculous amount of resources into the ballclub, the Mets will look to bounce back in 2024. Hopefully, those resources will be spent a little wiser after significant amounts of money went to the Rangers and Astros in the trades of Verlander and Scherzer. With those two out of the picture, New York will need to add a lot of talent back into the pitching staff this offseason. The lineup is in a much stronger position right now, but there’s still room to improve on the margins there, too.

The Marlins snuck into the playoffs in 2023, but they’ll have to navigate a change atop their organization as GM Kim Ng won’t return next season. Injecting a little more oomph into their lineup will once again be a top priority, especially after the departure of Jorge Soler. They’ll also miss Sandy Alcantara next year after his Tommy John surgery, though top prospect Max Meyer should be healthy and ready to contribute to this young and dynamic pitching staff.

The Padres are in a tough position this offseason. Pushing in all of their chips last season didn’t work out, and now they’re left picking up all the pieces. They have huge holes on their pitching staff; it was genuinely surprising to see them decline a team option on Michael Wacha knowing how many quality innings they’ll need to find this offseason. Reports say they’ll also be working with a smaller budget in 2024 after pushing up against the luxury tax line the past few seasons. There’s plenty of talent left on their roster, but the depth is razor thin, and the bulk of their top prospects are still too far off to contribute next year.

Like so many of the teams in this tier, the Cardinals still have plenty of talent on their roster, though nearly all of it is contained in their lineup. Like San Diego, St. Louis has glaring holes in the pitching staff. The front office has resisted investing significant resources into acquiring high-end pitching talent in the past, but the Cardinals might need to bite the bullet this offseason. The alternative is a starting rotation projected to be one of the worst in the NL.

With the saga of Craig Counsell’s future now decided, Milwaukee can turn to figuring out how to improve for next year. With the limited resources available, the Brewers already traded Mark Canha to the Tigers to avoid picking up his $11.5 million option for next year. That doesn’t bode well for their ability to add talent to their roster, and with Brandon Woodruff set to miss all of next year after his shoulder surgery, they’ve got a significant hole in their starting rotation.

It really felt like everything that had to go right did for the Diamondbacks on their surprise run to the World Series this year. The projections clearly don’t like their chances of making it that deep into the postseason next year, though all the promise of Corbin Carroll makes things much easier to build around. They’ll need to find replacements for Tommy Pham and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in their lineup and need to add talent to their starting rotation to help out Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly.

Tier 5 – Lots of Work to Do
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Team Quality
Giants 79-83 95 94 100 99
Guardians 81-81 102 104 101 84
Cubs 79-83 97 100 98 91
Tigers 79-83 96 99 99 87
Reds 77-85 96 98 104 75
Angels 78-84 100 102 106 67
Pirates 77-85 95 101 99 67
Royals 77-85 97 103 102 62

The Giants missed out on all the big free agents they tried to pursue last offseason, leaving their roster in a bit of an awkward position. That’s only been exacerbated after a decent but not good enough season in 2023. They’ve emerged as early contenders for Ohtani with all those unused funds ready to be offered to the unicorn superstar. He would certainly help their position, but they’ve got roster problems that one man alone can’t solve.

The Guardians took a significant step back last year after their playoff appearance in 2022. They’ve got a pitching staff filled with exciting young talent, though they’ll need Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie to return healthy next year. Their biggest issue is their lineup, where there just isn’t enough support surrounding José Ramírez. They do have a couple of young prospects in Brayan Rocchio and Kyle Manzardo who could help, but that won’t be enough. They desperately need some middle of the order bats to help drive in runs next year.

The Cubs were just a game away from clinching a playoff spot this year, though there are a few key contributors who have departed in free agency. They’ll need to find replacements for Cody Bellinger, Marcus Stroman, and Jeimer Candelario, but the outline of a good roster is in place. Thankfully, the NL Central looks like it’s wide open for the taking; with the surprise hire of Counsell, perhaps that’s a sign they’re taking this opportunity seriously and will devote the resources necessary to build another winner in Chicago.

The breakouts of Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene, Kerry Carpenter, and Tarik Skubal give Detroit a solid foundation to build on. There are still plenty of needs on the roster, and it’s important to remember the false start from a couple of years ago, but it seems like the Tigers are finally on the verge of breaking out of their rebuilding cycle.

The Reds came very close to claiming a NL Wild Card spot this year — a surprise after they tore everything down just a couple of years ago. Their lineup and pitching staff are both stacked with young talent, which gives them a lot of promise, but it also means their roster has a lot of high variance. If enough of that young talent falters or doesn’t develop, Cincinnati could be in for a frustrating season next year.

The Angels’ last hurrah with Ohtani came up well short. They’ll make every effort to retain the two-way superstar this offseason, but the reality is that they’ll head into next season without him. And with injury concerns mounting for Mike Trout, they’ve got their hands full trying to decipher what direction to head this offseason. There are no easy answers in Anaheim now that Ohtani is out of the picture.

Even though the NL Central looks like it’s wide open for the taking, the Pirates look like they’re just a step behind the rest of the teams in their division. Paul Skenes, the top pick in the 2023 draft, should move quickly through the organization; he’s got a shot at making his major league debut next year. With a few more key additions, Pittsburgh could take a step forward in the rebuilding cycle, but it probably won’t be enough to compete for a playoff spot.

Getting Vinnie Pasquantino back healthy and a full season of Cole Ragans should benefit the Royals greatly, giving them more top-end talent to pair alongside Bobby Witt Jr. Unfortunately, there really isn’t much help coming through their minor league system. That means they’ll need to look outside their organization for improvements, but they haven’t shown an appetite for investing resources into free agents. That trio of Pasquantino, Ragans and Witt looks solid, but Kansas City is in danger of wasting the prime years of those three if it can’t bring in support for them.

Tier 6 – Rebuilding
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Team Quality
Athletics 74-88 93 107 107 21
Rockies 63-99 83 105 98 33
Nationals 69-93 91 110 105 11
White Sox 68-94 92 115 109 8

Before any attention is paid to the progress the A’s have made to their roster and farm system, everyone will be fixated on this week’s impending relocation vote. The process has been long, fraught, and arduous, but there might finally be some closure, even if it’s the less-than-desirable outcome of moving to Las Vegas. That relocation and its timeline will likely have some effect on the amount of money devoted to the major league team while it plays out its days in Oakland. The front office will want the roster to be peaking when the team moves and not a moment sooner.

For many of the teams in the tier above, there’s some hope of a competitive season next year, however fleeting it may be. Not so for the Rockies, who are as aimless and uninspired as ever. Picking up Nolan Jones last year was a surprise stroke of genius, but they desperately need Kris Bryant and Brendan Rodgers to return healthy next year. The problem, as always, is the pitching staff, particularly after losing Germán Márquez to elbow surgery.

The Nationals are one step closer to their top prospects making their debuts. It probably won’t be next year, which makes this upcoming offseason a little tricky to navigate. They’re not ready to add significant talent to their roster, which means they’ll be in an awkward holding pattern for another season. That’s not exciting, but it’s a necessary step along the way.

It was a steep fall for the White Sox last year. They’ve still got a decent amount of talent in their lineup that’s both young and under team control for a while, but they’re also projected to have the worst pitching staff in baseball next year. Dylan Cease is the only pitcher projected to be above average, and even he has some question marks. There is a universe where Chicago invests a ton of resources into the rotation this offseason and tries to run things back with its young position players. That probably won’t happen; instead, the White Sox will be stuck in the weird middle ground between thinking about rebuilding and actually rebuilding.

Complete Power Rankings
Rank Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Team Quality Δ
1 Braves 97-65 114 88 94 199 1
2 Rays 91-71 109 94 99 167 -1
3 Astros 91-71 113 98 99 163 8
4 Blue Jays 87-75 106 97 98 147 1
5 Twins 86-76 104 97 95 143 4
6 Yankees 85-77 103 97 99 128 9
7 Phillies 84-78 101 98 96 128 3
8 Mariners 84-78 101 97 98 122 -2
9 Dodgers 84-78 108 102 101 115 -6
10 Orioles 84-78 105 100 99 117 -2
11 Red Sox 83-79 99 96 95 125 9
12 Rangers 83-79 105 100 101 114 -8
13 Mets 83-79 106 102 104 107 6
14 Marlins 82-80 93 90 95 108 3
15 Padres 83-79 110 108 110 99 -8
16 Cardinals 83-79 108 105 102 104 7
17 Brewers 81-81 95 96 94 104 -5
18 Diamondbacks 81-81 97 99 97 105 -4
19 Giants 79-83 95 94 100 99 -3
20 Guardians 81-81 102 104 101 84 -2
21 Cubs 79-83 97 100 98 91 -8
22 Tigers 79-83 96 99 99 87 0
23 Reds 77-85 96 98 104 75 -2
24 Angels 78-84 100 102 106 67 0
25 Pirates 77-85 95 101 99 67 0
26 Royals 77-85 97 103 102 62 1
27 Athletics 74-88 93 107 107 21 3
28 Rockies 63-99 83 105 98 33 0
29 Nationals 69-93 91 110 105 11 -3
30 White Sox 68-94 92 115 109 8 -1

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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5 months ago

Jake, could you please share in the intro the weightings you are using for wRC+, SP-, RP- to arrive at the total team quality number?

5 months ago
Reply to  Okra

I think we’re past the point of simple weighting, it’s more like the raw numbers get an arbitrarily determined Vibe Coefficient applied to them to produce the team quality value.