2023 MLB Preseason Power Rankings (1-5)


Photo credit/ Jennifer Flynn

MLB Pre-Season Power Rankings

All Over/Unders are from Sports Illustrated.

5. San Diego Padres (Over/Under 93.5 Wins)

The Padres snuck into the playoff last season, grabbing the second Wild Card spot. After beating the 101-win Mets, San Diego squared off against their division rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Padres dominated that series, before losing to Philadelphia in the NLCS. Despite failing to clinch the pennant, San Diego knocked off the leaders of the NL West for the last decade. This could be the era of the Padres in the division and, potentially, the National League.

Looking to win the division for the first time since 2006, San Diego was active this offseason. The opened their offseason activities by retaining reliever Robert Suarez and Nick Martinez, who was utilized as both a starter and reliever. They continued strengthening the pitching staff, making one-year pacts with Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo. As for the lineup, San Diego acquired a trio of hitting savants, adding veterans Nelson Cruz and Matt Carpenter on single-season signings, while agreeing on an 11-year contract with superstar shortstop Xander Bogaerts.

San Diego is one of baseball’s most well-rounded teams. They possess a dominating trio at the head of the rotation, with Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove and Blake Snell. At the backend of the bullpen, San Diego has the lights out duo of Suarez and Josh Hader. For the lineup, adding Bogaerts to the trio of Juan Soto, Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. makes the heart of the lineup all the more lethal. Bogaerts’ double play partner, Ha-Seong Kim, and first baseman Jake Cronenworth can’t get swept under the rug, as they are key contributors. Top-10 prospects Jay Groome and Eguy Rosario are in line to make contributions to the big club this season.

San Diego could’ve been complacent with their already dominant team. Rather, the moves they made proved the organization knows that this is their time to shine. The Padres are one of the top forces in the game.

Team MVP: Manny Machado
Team: Cy Young: Blake Snell
Team Rookie of the Year: Jay Groome
Record: 98-64

4. Atlanta Braves (Over/Under 95.5 Wins)

Atlanta followed the franchise’s fourth World Series win in 2021 with a 101-win 2022 season, sneakily grabbing their fifth straight NL East title in the closing days of the regular season. The Braves could attribute the 13-win jump to NL Rookie of the Year Michael Harris and runner up Spencer Strider. Atlanta was swiftly bounced from the postseason by the National League Champion Phillies. Despite the early exit, Atlanta was arguably the most dominant team in baseball, and they’re looking to repeat that.

The Braves saw a few key pieces go elsewhere, most importantly shortstop Dansby Swanson and reliever Kenley Jansen. In an attempt to replace the holes in the lineup and bullpen, Atlanta was active in the offseason. They were part of a three-team trade, which yielded catcher Sean Murphy. The Braves made another trade, landing breakout reliever Joe Jiménez. They weren’t done addressing their pitching staff and made another trade, landing reliever Lucas Luetge.

Atlanta’s youthful team is one of the most exciting to watch, whether it be Strider or Harris and now Murphy, to 20-20 threat Ronald Acuña Jr., to consecutive Top-10 MVP finisher Austin Riley, to Mr. No Days Off, Matt Olson, to lights-out one-two duo Max Fried and Kyle Wright. And that’s without mentioning Vaughn Grissom, who had a little taste of the big club, as well as prospects Jared Shuster, Braden Shewmake, Darius Vines and Victor Vodnik, who all look to play a role for the Braves this year.

Yet again, Atlanta returns as one of the World Series favorites. With the core they have, as well as the youngsters and additions chomping at the bit to help the Braves return to championship glory.

Team MVP: Austin Riley
Team Cy Young: Spencer Strider
Team Rookie of the Year: Jared Shuster
Record: 98-64

3. New York Yankees (Over/Under 95.5 Wins)

The Yankees have been a premier team in the regular season, winning at least 90 games in the last five full seasons, with a pair of 100-win campaigns, falling just one short of that feat last year. The Yankees failed to get back to the World Series, falling to the Houston Astros in the ALCS for the third time since 2017.

New York had a crucial offseason, with reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge and slugger Anthony Rizzo hitting the open market. Fortunately for the Yankees, they were able to retain the duo, also keeping starter Luis Severino on a club option. New York wasn’t finished yet, landing perennial Cy Young candidate Carlos Rodón and reuniting with reliever Tommy Kahnle, who spent parts of four seasons with the Yankees.

The Yankees may get off to a slower start than they would like, due to injuries to Rodón, Kahnle, Harrison Bader, Lou Trivino and Frankie Montas. Despite the injuries, New York has enough talent to find success. The pitching staff still has Severino, Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, Domingo Germán and Clay Holmes. The lineup will benefit from Rizzo and Judge, as well as Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton and DJ LeMahieu, with hopes that Jose Trevino can continue to develop offensively to pair with his Platinum Glove defense. The Yankees have a laundry list of prospects on the way, including their number one prospect Anthony Volpe and number three Oswald Peraza.

The Yankees are destined to win 95-plus games again, and while that is great for them, that’s not what they are focused on. New York wants a World Series berth, and if they don’t make it that far, it will seem like a failed season.

Team MVP: Aaron Judge
Team Cy Young: Gerrit Cole
Team Rookie of the Year: Anthony Volpe
Record: 99-63

2. Houston Astros (Over/Under 96.5 Wins)

Houston won the franchise’s first World Series in 2017. However, the title was tarnished, due a sign stealing scandal. The Astros won the World Series last season, defeating the Phillies and bringing the first legitimate title to Houston. The breakout of ALCS and World Series MVP Jeremy Peña was a primary reason for their World Series run.

In an effort to put themselves in a position to repeat as champions, The Astros retained veteran outfielder Michael Brantley and reliever Rafael Montero. Houston added a huge boost to its offense, making a three-year pact with 2020 AL MVP José Abreu.

Houston’s rotation did take a big hit this offseason, with the departure of Justin Verlander. However, it is still one of baseball’s premier rotations, with Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, Lance McCullers Jr., though he is currently injured, and top prospect Hunter Brown. The backend of the bullpen is lights out, with the likes Ryan Pressly, Ryne Stanek, Héctor Neris and Montero. As for the lineup, it’s top to bottom baseball’s best, between Brantley, Peña, Abreu, Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez, with Jose Altuve returning in a couple months from injury and prospects Korey Lee and Yainer Diaz on their way to the show.

Houston sits as the World Series favorite right now. The Astros have been one of the most successful franchises over the last six seasons, and Houston is planning for 2023 to end the same way as last year.

Team MVP: Alex Bregman
Team Cy Young: Framber Valdez
Team Rookie of the Year: Hunter Brown
Record: 100-62

1. New York Mets (Over/Under 95.5 Wins)

Last season, the Mets made their first playoff appearance since 2016, finishing the season with 101 wins and clinching a Wild Card spot. Their playoff run ended unceremoniously, losing to the Padres in the Wild Card Series. Despite a swift exit from the postseason, New York has high hopes for the upcoming season.

The Mets needed to fill the hole left by two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom. So, who better than reigning AL Cy Young pitcher Justin Verlander, reuniting with former teammate Max Scherzer. New York wasn’t done addressing the pitching staff, signing Kodai Senga, José Quintana and David Robertson, while retaining Adam Ottavino and trading for Brooks Raley. As for the lineup, they retained outfielder Brandon Nimmo and signed Tommy Pham, Omar Narváez and Danny Mendick.

The Mets have already suffered a setback, with closer Edwin Díaz suffering a season-ending knee injury in the World Baseball Classic. Still, they are the best overall team in baseball. The lineup is very dominant, with the likes of Nimmo, Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil and Starling Marte. Prospects Francisco Álvarez, Brett Baty and Mark Vientos are on their way to be key contributors to the Mets’ lineup.

The Mets are bound for another huge season. However, they have hopes that this season will yield more than a Wild Card Series exit. With the team they have constructed, the sky’s the limit.

Team MVP: Pete Alonso
Team Cy Young: Max Scherzer
Team Rookie of the Year: Francisco Álvarez
Record: 102-60

All stats are from Baseball Reference as of March 26.

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