MLB power rankings: Every American League division is up for grabs

Detroit Free Press

As the final quarter of the 2023 Major League Baseball season gets underway, four of the league’s six divisions – including all three in the American League – have a genuine race within five games entering Monday.

The AL West is the closest division in baseball with the defending World Series champion Houston Astros trailing the Texas Rangers by 2 ½ games. In the AL East, the Baltimore Orioles have a three-game advantage over the second-place Rays and the Cleveland Guardians lead the Minnesota Twins by 4½ in the Central.

The NL Central has three teams in the hunt as the Milwaukee Brewers hold a 3½-game cushion over the Chicago Cubs and (fading) Cincinnati Reds. Meanwhile, the Dodgers have run away with the NL West and the East-leading Braves continue to march on with the best record in baseball.

The top three in this week’s USA TODAY Sports MLB power rankings stayed the same, but the red-hot Dodgers jumped the Rays at No. 4:

1. Atlanta Braves (–)

  • With 225 home runs through 116 games, this Atlanta team is chasing the 2019 Twins’ all-time record of 307.

2. Baltimore Orioles (–)

  • Jack Flaherty racked up 16 strikeouts in his first two starts for Baltimore.

3. Texas Rangers (–)

  • First-place Rangers off to a 10-2 start in August.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers (+1)

  • Amed Rosario had an .860 OPS and 11 RBI in his first 14 games with Los Angeles.

5. Tampa Bay Rays (-1)

  • Shane McClanahan’s season is officially over with move to 60-day injured list.

6. Houston Astros (–)

  • Astros enter Monday trailing the Rangers by 2 ½ games and don’t get a crack at them head-to-head until Sept. 4.

7. Toronto Blue Jays (–)

  • Toronto’s 3.24 team ERA in the second half is baseball’s best.

8. Philadelphia Phillies (–)

9. Milwaukee Brewers (+1)

  • Sweep of White Sox gives Brewers momentum heading into brutal week facing Dodgers and Rangers away from home.

10. Seattle Mariners (+1)

  • Chasing a wild-card spot, Seattle has a favorable schedule for the rest of August – aside from this weekend’s trip to Houston.

11. San Francisco Giants (-2)

  • Giants have MLB’s worst average (.206) and OPS (.620) since the All-Star break.

12. Chicago Cubs (+2)

  • Cody Bellinger (.328 average) is playing his way towards a nine-figure deal.

13. Boston Red Sox (+2)

  • Returning from injury, Trevor Story went 7-for-19 with three steals in his first five games of the season.

14. Miami Marlins (+2)

15. Cincinnati Reds (-3)

  • Losing 9 of 12 to start August was not great for Cincinnati’s playoff hopes.

16. Minnesota Twins (+3)

  • Royce Lewis nearing return from oblique injury

17. New York Yankees (-4)

  • Nestor Cortes probably done for the season with rotator cuff strain.

18. Arizona Diamondbacks (-1)

  • The Diamondbacks are 26-40 against teams with a winning record.

19. San Diego Padres (-1)

  • Ha-seong Kim in the second half: .358 average, 1.007 OPS and 11 steals in 28 games.

20. Los Angeles Angels (–)

  • Shohei Ohtani, who has 41 home runs, will skip his next start due to arm fatigue.

21. Cleveland Guardians (+1)

  • Andres Gimenez hit .357 in his first 12 games of August.

22. Detroit Tigers (+1)

  • Outfielder Kerry Carpenter (.855 OPS, 15 HR) is looking like the real deal.

23. Pittsburgh Pirates (+1)

24. Washington Nationals (+1)

  • These Nats may actually finish ahead of the Mets in the NL East.

25. New York Mets (-3)

  • Pete Alonso becomes fourth player in history with at least 35 HR in four of his first five career seasons.

26. St. Louis Cardinals (–)

  • Willson Contreras hit .344 with a .995 OPS in his first 20 games of the second half.

27. Chicago White Sox (–)

  • Overall bad vibes on the South Side are overshadowing Luis Robert truly coming into his own.

28. Colorado Rockies (–)

  • The Rockies’ .576 OPS in August is the worst mark in baseball.

29. Kansas City Royals (–)

  • Bobby Witt Jr. is the first player in history to record 20 homers and 30 steals in his first two seasons.

30. Oakland Athletics (–)

  • At 33-85 with 44 games left, this Oakland team in danger of breaking the franchise record 117 losses – held by the lowly 1916 Philadelphia Athletics.

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