MLB Power Rankings Week 11: Yankees, Phillies hold top spots

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Despite an injury scare that cost him three games over the weekend,Juan Sotohas returned to the Yankees' lineup -- and his team is again No. 1 in our MLB Power Rankings.

Last week, New York pushed Philadelphia to No. 2. The Phillies remain in that spot, followed by the Orioles, Dodgers and Guardians -- meaning no shake-up in this week's top 5. Among the top 10, the Padres crack the list, dropping the Twins to No. 11. And just to save some of you a scroll, yes, the White Sox retain a firm grasp on No. 30.

Our expert panel has ranked every team in baseball based on a combination of what we've seen so far and what we already knew going into the 162-game marathon that is a full baseball season. We also asked ESPN MLB experts David Schoenfield, Bradford Doolittle, Buster Olney, Alden Gonzalez and Jorge Castillo to weigh in with an observation for all 30 teams.

Week 10 | Preseason rankings

1. New York Yankees


Previous ranking:1

Juan Soto's three-game absence over the weekend exposed an uncomfortable reality: The Yankees' lineup isn't deep at the moment. Soto and Aaron Judge are arguably the two best hitters in the world. They're also the team's only regulars with an OPS higher than .779. The Yankees, as a result, scored four runs over 20 innings in their first two games without Soto before producing six in the series finale to avoid a sweep. Trent Grisham was the hero that night, silencing the doubters with a three-run home run. It made for a memorable moment and was the kind of contribution the Yankees need from the supporting cast to stay on top of the American League East with the Orioles right on their heels. -- Castillo

2. Philadelphia Phillies


Previous ranking:2

J.T. Realmuto will miss about a month after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. That timetable sets up a possible return after the All-Star break, if everything goes well, and pushes backup Garrett Stubbs into the starting role. While Stubbs hit well as the backup in 2022, he has struggled at the plate the past two seasons -- obviously in limited duty since Realmuto plays so often. Rafael Marchan, who played briefly for the Phillies in 2020 and 2021, was called up to back up Stubbs, and Marchan is a defense-first catcher. The Phillies' offense already was struggling in June as compared to April and May, so without much offense expected now from their catchers, others will have to step up. -- Schoenfield

3. Baltimore Orioles


Previous ranking:3

Cedric Mullins is a beloved veteran in Baltimore. The center fielder was around for the lean years -- before the franchise's rebuild reached the contending phase last season. He peaked with a career year in 2021, when he represented a 52-win club at the All-Star Game. Three years later, he is playing his way out of the Orioles' starting lineup. Mullins, 29, is slashing .182/.229/.321 with just 57 weighted runs created plus (wRC+). Since May 1, he is 13-for-91 (.143) with a .388 OPS, 28 strikeouts, 4 walks and 4 extra-base hits. The Orioles' lineup is more than deep enough to give Mullins time to rebound -- no other regular has a wRC+ lower than 114 -- but his struggles could eventually prompt a change in center field. -- Castillo

4. Los Angeles Dodgers


Previous ranking:4

In hopes of addressing a generally unproductive bottom half of the lineup, the Dodgers acquired super utility man Cavan Biggio, son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, from the Blue Jays on Wednesday. The younger Biggio gives the Dodgers an extra left-handed bat, made necessary by the absence of third baseman Max Muncy, and some additional versatility against righties. Against lefties, though, it seems the Dodgers are going to continue to give opportunities to Chris Taylor, who is slashing only .100/.196/.111 in 103 plate appearances. One way or the other, the Dodgers are eventually going to have to figure out the Nos. 7 to 9 spots in their lineup. Yes, these are first-class problems. -- Gonzalez

5. Cleveland Guardians


Previous ranking:5

Jose Ramirez remains on a ridiculous RBI pace, with 62 through the team's first 65 games. (He played in 64 of them.) That's a 155-RBI pace over 162 games, with the most recent 150-RBI season coming from Alex Rodriguez with 156 for the Yankees in 2007. The last players with even 140 RBIs were Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard in 2009, each with 141. Ramirez obviously has been great with runners in scoring position, as 12 of his 18 home runs have come with runners on base. But it also helps that Cleveland has more of an old-school offense, without much power in the top two spots in the lineup, creating more RBI opportunities for him. -- Schoenfield

6. Milwaukee Brewers


Previous ranking:6

Rhys Hoskins highlighted during a recent conversation the baseball intelligence of catcher William Contreras, who just keeps getting better and better and must be included in any discussion about who is the best catcher in baseball. Contreras' rate of swinging at pitches outside the zone has dropped from 30.2% in 2021 to 24.1% in 2024. His rate of contact has increased, his wRC+ is at a career high and he is on a pace to accumulate more than 40 doubles and 20 homers. He has progressed from negative numbers in pitch framing to neutral. The Brewers have been one of the biggest surprises in baseball: Following the departure of manager Craig Counsell and the trade of Corbin Burnes, they are threatening to run away from other National League Central teams, and Contreras has played a major role in that. -- Olney

7. Kansas City Royals


Previous ranking:8

The Royals have been pretty fortunate on the injury front this season, but no team gets through a campaign unscathed. Sure enough, Kansas City has started to lean on its Triple-A roster for reinforcements. Hunter Renfroe landed on the IL with a fractured left big toe after fouling off two pitches into the same spot on his foot in the same at-bat. Adam Frazier was placed on the bereavement list. Up from Omaha are outfielder Drew Waters and first baseman Nick Pratto, two hitters who were not so long ago viewed as long-term solutions for the big club. Strangely enough, Pratto's first 2024 MLB appearance came on the mound. He threw a scoreless ninth against the Yankees in a New York runaway on Tuesday, the day he was recalled. He had yet to log an inning in the field or a plate appearance when he took to the mound. Bullpen depth? -- Doolittle

8. Atlanta Braves


Previous ranking:7

The offensive struggles are teamwide, but let's focus on Austin Riley. He has finished seventh, sixth and seventh in the MVP voting over the past three seasons while averaging 36 home runs and 99 RBIs. Entering Wednesday, however, Riley is hitting .225 with three home runs and has gone 21 games without a homer. He did miss 13 games in May with intercostal inflammation, so you have to factor that into his production, but his basic metrics in hard-hit rate, walk rate and strikeout rate are the same as last season. He is struggling against four-seam fastballs, hitting just .111 against them, although the new bat-tracking data shows him with elite bat speed (91st percentile). On the surface, it all looks fixable. -- Schoenfield

9. Seattle Mariners


Previous ranking:9

As the Mariners wait to see what develops withBryan Woo'slatest arm trouble, we can pause to marvel at what the Seattle rotation has done since Woo returned from the IL on May 10. Led by his 1.07 ERA over six starts during that span, Seattle has topped the majors with 19 quality starts while posting a 3.38 ERA and a collective strikeout-to-walk ratio of right about 5-to-1. The Mariners have pushed their lead in the AL West to 6 games over the defending champion Rangers during that time. So, Seattle has built up a little buffer, but you'd hate to see a disruption to the unit that has been the biggest driver of the M's surge. -- Doolittle

10. San Diego Padres


Previous ranking:11

On May 25, Fernando Tatis Jr.homered but didn't perform his patented stutter-step as he approached third base. Asked about it afterward, Tatis, who had been riding an 8 for 47 slump, told reporters he is "not swaggy right now." Well, that just so happened to be the first of what became a 17-game hitting streak that didn't end until Wednesday. During that stretch, Tatis slashed .400/.447/.686 with 10 extra-base hits. His OPS increased by 99 points, all the way up to .835, making him seem like a lock to start the All-Star Game for a National League team that looks quite thin in the outfield. So, yeah, it's safe to say Tatis is "swaggy" again. -- Gonzalez

11. Minnesota Twins


Previous ranking:10

Ryan Jeffers isn't the flashiest name on the Twins' roster, but he might be the player most deserving of All-Star recognition this season. The catcher/DH was a steady force while Minnesota dealt with injuries to key contributors over the season's first two months. His 12 home runs are tied for second among qualified catchers. His 131 wRC+ is fifth. Salvador Perez and Adley Rutschman are virtual locks to make the AL All-Star team as catchers. The 27-year-old Jeffers could join them for the first time. -- Castillo

12. Boston Red Sox


Previous ranking:13

The Red Sox are addicted to .500. They have been 24-24, 26-26, 27-27, 28-28, 29-29, 30-30, 31-31, 32-32, 33-33 and now 34-34 this season. Being that average is a minor feat considering all the injuries they have encountered. It also won't be good enough to reach the postseason in a deep American League. The Red Sox will have to string together some wins at some point to remain in the wild-card race. Pitching hasn't been the issue, as Boston's 3.39 staff ERA is the fifth best in the majors. It's on the offense to provide more consistency, with Triston Casas still out indefinitely. Then again, based on owner John Henry's recent comments to The Financial Times, Red Sox fans probably shouldn't expect more than average. -- Castillo

13. Texas Rangers


Previous ranking:12

The Rangers continue to tread water while waiting for their IL list to shrink. If all goes well (which hasn't been the case often this season for Texas), by the time the Power Rankings are posted next week, all of Josh Jung, Max Scherzer, Jon Gray and Corey Seager could be back in the lineup. Texas will still be waiting on Tyler Mahle, Jacob deGrom and Evan Carter, among others, but it's a start. With Seattle's lead in the division growing and a rugged schedule ahead for Texas over the next three weeks, the defending champs need all the help they can get. -- Doolittle

14. Cincinnati Reds


Previous ranking:21

Cincinnati was viewed as a possible sleeper by a lot of talent evaluators in the last offseason because the Reds spent money in free agency to augment their young core -- and so far, Cincinnati is hanging close to .500 despite some mediocrity from its newly signed veterans. Frankie Montas has a 4.55 ERA in 12 starts, averaging just 4 innings per start, and Nick Martinez has a 4.50 ERA. Jeimer Candelario is batting .234 in his first 59 games, albeit with some power. The Reds have some hope for the remaining schedule because they're likely to return a lot of injured players -- but also because they can reasonably expect better performance from the free agent imports. -- Olney

15. Houston Astros


Previous ranking:17

The Astros' run prevention has trended gradually upward over the past month. While the offense remains above average in the scoring column, the trend on that side of the ball hasn't been as sharp, especially for a team that needs to string together wins in a hurry. The shin bruise that sidelined Kyle Tucker didn't help, but with the MVP contender nearing a return, this might be the last chance for Houston's lineup to catch fire before hard decisions need to be made at the trade deadline. We haven't seen Tucker, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez all clicking at the same time this season. If Houston is going to salvage anything out of 2024, that needs to happen very soon. -- Doolittle

16. San Francisco Giants


Previous ranking:20

The Giants have navigated through a lot of injuries and inconsistency through the season's first 2 months, but their ace, Logan Webb, continues to be a constant. Webb limited the struggling Astros to three runs in six innings on Wednesday to put his ERA at 3.02 through his first 15 starts. The ground ball artist boasts the second-best home-run rate in the sport, allowing just four in 92 innings. He is well on his way to crack his first All-Star Game after missing out on last year's event because of his pitching schedule. -- Gonzalez

17. Arizona Diamondbacks


Previous ranking:15

The Diamondbacks got good news on the injury front Tuesday when they activated their every-day shortstop, Geraldo Perdomo, after he had missed more than two months with a torn meniscus in his right knee. Perdomo should bring more length to the D-backs' lineup. But what they really need is better health in their rotation. Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly and Eduardo Rodriguez -- the top three members of their staff, essentially -- remain on the IL. All three of them are in varying stages of their throwing programs, but only Gallen seems relatively close at the moment. AndJordan Montgomery'sstruggles are certainly not helping matters. -- Gonzalez

18. Detroit Tigers


Previous ranking:14

The Tigers placed shortstop Javier Baez on the injured list Tuesday because of inflammation in his lumbar spine. Baez had been intermittently dealing with that condition since he joined the Tigers, and it seems as though the team is hoping an extended absence might alleviate the issue for good -- and perhaps help his production. Baez, who was scheduled to see a back specialist in Florida, is slashing .183/.209/.247 this year and .223/.264/.344 since he joined the Tigers for the start of the 2022 season. The Tigers owe him another $74 million after 2024. They need to figure something out. -- Gonzalez

19. Toronto Blue Jays


Previous ranking:22

The Blue Jays' rotation has been a bright spot over the past month, but it took a hit last week when Alek Manoah was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The right-hander is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery next week after making just five starts for Toronto. The Blue Jays don't have an obvious replacement for Manoah -- Yariel Rodríguez, who is on a rehab assignment, is the favorite -- but they still employ a formidable group with Jose Berrios, Chris Bassitt, Kevin Gausman, and Yusei Kikuchi. Those four will need to continue performing for the Blue Jays to make up ground in the standings. -- Castillo

20. Chicago Cubs


Previous ranking:16

They are a mystery, with a slump that's gone on long enough -- following last year's late-season collapse -- that it's hard to know exactly what the Cubs are or what they could be. On the morning of April 30, this team was 18-11, playing at a 100-win pace. Its performance since has been mind-bogglingly poor: The Cubs rank 27th in runs scored, and their team wRC+ is 91, even with the return of Seiya Suzuki and Cody Bellinger to the lineup. They've won just 14 of their past 38 games, at a 59-win pace. All of this must be very confusing to a front office that will have to decide whether to upgrade or unload. -- Olney

21. Pittsburgh Pirates


Previous ranking:23

Imagine if Pittsburgh somehow finds a way into the NL playoffs. In a best-of-five series, what opposing team would want to see the starting trio of Paul Skenes, Mitch Keller and Jared Jones?The potential of this team is real -- and so are its needs. The Pirates rank 20th in runs scored, and only one of their regulars,Nick Gonzales, sports an OPS over .800. If Pittsburgh gets some offense and follows a path similar to the 2023 Diamondbacks to get into the October dance, this would be a team nobody would want to face. -- Olney

22. Tampa Bay Rays


Previous ranking:19

It's been seven years since the Rays finished under .500, a noteworthy run given the payroll constraints imposed by ownership. So, it's strange to see Tampa Bay struggling to this extent this deep into the season. The Rays haven't been more than three games over .500 yet. They haven't been over .500 in nearly a month. They're in the AL East basement -- after the Orioles completed a four-game sweep at The Trop -- with a run differential that indicates they are worse than their 32-35 record. If that mediocrity continues, the Rays could become captivating subtractors at the trade deadline, dangling several players for playoff hopefuls. Randy Arozarena, Yandy Diaz, Isaac Paredes and Brandon Lowe could all be available for teams looking for offense. Pete Fairbanks, Jason Adamand Garrett Cleavinger could help bullpens. Aaron Civale could bolster a starting rotation. It's been a long time since we've seen the Rays pivot midseason. The question is how aggressively they would maneuver. -- Castillo

23. St. Louis Cardinals


Previous ranking:18

St. Louis continues to climb back into relevance, and Masyn Winn is still leading the way. Like a lot of his MLB peers, Winn was a two-way player as an amateur, playing shortstop but also pitching. He recalled recently that at that time, he preferred working on the mound over playing shortstop because of the element of control. With his powerful arm, he could dominate a game from the mound in a way he could not in the infield. In the majors, he is quickly developing into one of the best young shortstops in baseball, more consistently putting the ball in play -- and with authority. Over his past 29 games, Winn is batting .340 with a .500 slugging percentage. -- Olney

24. Washington Nationals


Previous ranking:24

The Nationals are still deciding whether they'll be adders or subtractors at the trade deadline. They have time to see how things play out with the NL wild-card race so wide open, but why not just go for it? Or at least sit tight. It's not like Dylan Floro or Jesse Winker are going to bring back a top prospect anyway. Realistically, this isn't a playoff offense, and there's a good chance the rotation has pitched over its head, as well; so, you don't necessarily want to give up any prospects for what might be a futile run at the postseason. Sometimes, it's better to do nothing. -- Schoenfield

25. New York Mets


Previous ranking:25

The Mets split their two games against the Phillies in London. New York lost 7-2 as Sean Manaea allowed six runs in 3 innings. The Mets followed by winning 6-5 as catcher Luis Torrens turned a 2-3 game-ending double play with the bases loaded -- stepping on home plate after Nick Castellanos hit a dribbler then firing to first base. They scored three in the top of the ninth in that game, with help from two walks, a hit batter and a passed ball that scored the sixth run. Of course, the Mets then returned to New York and promptly lost to the Marlins. Let the trade deadline rumors begin! -- Schoenfield

26. Los Angeles Angels


Previous ranking:27

Taylor Ward has emerged as one of the Angels' most oft-mentioned trade candidates as the in-season transaction market begins to heat up. It's not hard to envision Ward becoming an integral role player on a contender. While he has played left field almost exclusively the past couple of years, he can float between either corner outfield spot and in the past has even slid into center as a last resort. While not a strict platoon player, Ward has mashed lefties consistently over the past two years and would impact any club that needs help on the right side of the plate. Since the beginning of the 2021 season, Ward has hit .283/.376/.468 against southpaws, including a .340/.393/.460 mark this season. -- Doolittle

27. Oakland Athletics


Previous ranking:26

Oakland is a land of opportunity in baseball these days, and one player who has taken advantage of an extended shot in the bigs is rookie right-handerJoey Estes. Acquired in the trade that sent Matt Olson to Atlanta, Estes has pitched solidly or better in five of his six outings this season, the exception being a drubbing in Houston last month. Estes posted his best big league start to date on June 5, tossing 6 scoreless frames against AL West-leading Seattle. Estes has good control and a four-seamer/sweeper combo that might play well in a bullpen role if he doesn't pan out as a starter. If Estes sticks, he would give Oakland a second contributor from the Olson trade, joining starting catcher Shea Langeliers. -- Doolittle

28. Colorado Rockies


Previous ranking:28

We're about a month away from the sport's focus shifting to the trade deadline. And when it does,Cal Quantrill's name is certain to be among the most prominent. The Rockies acquired Quantrill in the middle of November, shortly after Cleveland designated him for assignment, and they have watched the 29-year-old right-hander pitch to a 3.30 ERA thanks to a resurgent month of May. Quantrill's contract is relatively affordable and would be controllable through the 2025 season. Injuries to starting pitchers have been as prevalent as ever this year, and contending teams such as the Braves, Orioles and Brewers, just to name a few, will likely be aggressive on that front. A Quantrill trade could bring the Rockies a nice return if they entertain it. -- Gonzalez

29. Miami Marlins


Previous ranking:29

One bright spot lately has been closer Tanner Scott. Coming off a terrific 2023 season when he was one of the best lefty relievers in the game -- 2.31 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 78 innings with just 24 walks -- Scott reverted to his walk-prone ways early this season with 17 walks in his first 17 innings. After a two-inning save against the Mets on Tuesday, however, he has a 0.00 ERA over his past 16 outings, with the only two runs he has allowed coming via the automatic runner in extra innings. If he continues to throw enough strikes, he is going to be one of the most in-demand relievers at the trade deadline. -- Schoenfield

30. Chicago White Sox


Previous ranking:30

Chris Getz, theWhite Sox's general manager since August, is in the midst of what is apparently a long and arduous rebuild of a team that looked poised for a breakout just a couple of years ago, and his degree of aggressiveness will be tested over the next seven weeks. Some of his peers with other teams believe he is open-minded to anything and everything, so long as it positions the White Sox better for the future. "He's not afraid to make a deal," said one NL executive, citing the timing of the Dylan Cease trade with the Padres. And as bad as the White Sox have been this season, they have players drawing solid interest from other squads. -- Olney

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