MLB power rankings: Braves, Dodgers sit on top

By Thomson Reuters Mar 19, 2024 | 12:05 PM

The Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks shocked the world by making the World Series last year. And you know what that means …

The two best teams in baseball are mighty upset.

The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers will take the field in 2024 with the most star power in baseball, the best collections of young talent and the best prospects waiting their turn.

What could possibly go wrong?

Here are the Field Level Media season-opening power rankings, from worst to first:

30. Chicago White Sox. Having failed to win a postseason series since winning the 2005 World Series, the White Sox already appear to be tanking for the top pick in 2025. Can Caitlin Clark play baseball?

29. Colorado Rockies. The traditionally pitching-challenged club was really good at preventing stolen bases last season. That’s a little like being really good at losing weight … again and again.

28. Washington Nationals. Not that anybody noticed, but they went 35-37 after the All-Star break last season. All it got them was a worse draft pick.

27. Oakland Athletics. The signing of J.D. Davis last week following his release by the cross-bay rival San Francisco Giants won’t stop local fans from staying away from the Coliseum.

26. Los Angeles Angels. The bad news: Shohei Ohtani is now a Dodger. The good news: Anaheim still has the Matterhorn … and a Mickey Mouse of a baseball team.

25. San Diego Padres. Yes, you can do worse than to constantly lose close games (9-23 in one-run affairs in 2023). You can not be competitive at all.

24. Pittsburgh Pirates. Oneil Cruz is one of the most unique talents in baseball. The Pirates need far more than him to become competitive, though.

23. Kansas City Royals. Patrick Mahomes’ adopted team is spending money as if some famous tight end’s girlfriend has bought an interest in the club. As for 2024 … “Shake It Off.”

22. Detroit Tigers. Miguel Cabrera passes the baton to Colt Keith. Careful, young man, it’s slippery.

21. St. Louis Cardinals. Apparently they’ve scheduled an Old-Timers’ Game on Opening Day at Busch. Lance Lynn, Kyle Gibson, Miles Mikolas, Matt Carpenter and Brandon Crawford are all expected to suit up.

20. Miami Marlins. The team that Derek Jeter couldn’t save made the playoffs last season and then decided to get younger. You’d think being afraid of the bright lights wouldn’t be a problem in Miami.

19. San Francisco Giants. Confused fans will witness a change from a hockey-style manager (line-shifting Gabe Kapler) to soccer-style (ironman fan Bob Melvin). To think they could have had Jim Harbaugh; that surely would have helped the running game.

18. Cincinnati Reds. The up-and-comers chose to address last year’s 5.43 starting-staff ERA by bringing aboard Frankie Montas. Expect more fireworks.

17. Houston Astros. Dusty Baker, Martin Maldonado and Michael Brantley are gone from an old team that hasn’t done anything exciting to replace them. This could get ugly in a hurry.

16. New York Mets. The son of a Long Island congressman hit a walk-off sacrifice fly this spring. Hey, it kept the loss of Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer out of the tabloids for one day.

15. Boston Red Sox. Much as it did last season when J.D. Martinez left for the Dodgers, this once proud franchise has aided the Braves’ cause this year with the trade of Chris Sale. At least it wasn’t to the Yankees.

14. Milwaukee Brewers. The Yankees acquire Juan Soto. The Brewers trade away Corbin Burnes. Raise your hand if either surprises you.

13. Minnesota Twins. Great power hitting and starting pitching delivered 87 wins last season. But losing Joey Gallo, Michael A. Taylor, Sonny Gray and Kenta Maeda leaves them with … a good bullpen?

12. Seattle Mariners. It’s March Madness time, so it’s probably a good thing to mention the Mariners has all five starters back from last year’s 88-win team. But after narrowly missing the postseason, the question is: Can they rebound?

11. Cleveland Guardians. New manager Stephen Vogt began his playing career 0-for-32 at the plate. At least he was healthy, something his team already isn’t.

10. Chicago Cubs. Shota Imanaga has looked like the second coming of Shohei Ohtani at times on the mound this spring. Oh, wait. That was against the A’s. Never mind.

9. Toronto Blue Jays. Out goes Brandon Belt, Matt Chapman and Whit Merrifield. In comes Joey Votto, Justin Turner and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Call it a push?

8. Arizona Diamondbacks. After surprising everyone with speed last season, they added Eugenio Suarez and Joc Pederson in the offseason. Has MLB shrunk the super-sized bases?

7. Tampa Bay Rays. Is Manager of the Century Kevin Cash back? OK, then the Rays will defy all odds and compete again.

6. Baltimore Orioles. Don’t look now, but the next Corey Seager-Marcus Semien-style superstar double-play combination is developing in Gunnar Henderson and Jackson Holliday. If only John Means could stay healthy.

5. New York Yankees. Gerrit Cole and Carlos Rodon might not scare anyone in March, and Cole could miss the first third of the season due to an arm ailment. But big money says: Look out in October.

4. Philadelphia Phillies. One-armed Bryce Harper and his handpicked mates can’t play defense and the bullpen is shaky. Who cares? Adding Whit Merrifield to this collection of boppers is almost unfair.

3. Texas Rangers. Bruce Bochy loves veteran players, but if Wyatt Langford can do for the champs what Evan Carter did last year, it’s bound to make the manager feel young again.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers. Winning 100 games (again) wasn’t enough, so the Dodgers imported another star hitter (Shohei Ohtani) and another star pitcher (Yoshinobu Yamamoto). All of a sudden, Clayton Kershaw’s shoulder surgery doesn’t seem to matter.

1. Atlanta Braves. Unfazed after succumbing to too much of a good thing last October, the defending regular-season champs added Chris Sale, Reynaldo Lopez and Jarred Kelenic. Are they gluttons for punishment, or what?

–Dave Del Grande, Field Level Media