MLB Power Rankings: Yankees take No. 1 spot from Braves, plus Brewers, Pirates move into top five

Written by on April 15, 2024

MLB Power Rankings: Yankees take No. 1 spot from Braves, plus Brewers, Pirates move into top five

We have a new number one this week as the 2024 sample size continues to grow

Kim O’Reilly, CBS Sports

The early part of the MLB season always brings with plenty of small-sample stuff that ends up being proven fluky by the end of the year. We know that. Well, most people do. There’s a funny dichotomy I see early in the season from people giving me feedback on the Official Power Rankings. 

On one hand, I’m a moron because I overreacted far too much and dropped a team too far for a small-sample result. On the other, I’m stupid because I have an undefeated team behind two teams that aren’t undefeated. It almost makes me yearn for the days of comments under the articles so these two people would argue with each other instead of screaming at me. 

Regardless, we’re now two-and-a-half weeks into the season and while it’s still a small sample of the season with plenty of changing to be done, we do have a decent enough sample to start ranking the teams based upon the 2024 body of work. Sure, the level of talent is still a major factor, which is why I’d be more lenient with a bad Astros record than I would be aggressive with a scorching hot Pirates or Guardians start. 

It’s a tough needle to thread, but I’ve often said it’s a gradual scale that starts with 0% body of work (because there isn’t one) and 100% potential in the spring and it progressively moves toward being 100% body of work through the early part of the season. We’re probably in the range now where it’s about 50-50. 

So who has been the best team in 2024 so far, in terms of just the body of work? 

It’s probably the Yankees

They haven’t lost a series. They’ve only played six home games while having gone 8-2 on the road. They won four out of four in Houston and took two of three in Arizona. They just took two of three from a Guardians team that was 9-3 when the series started. 

There’s also an awful lot of talent on the team, so I’m inclined to put them No. 1 right now.

This doesn’t mean I think the Yankees are going to sit here all year or even next week. This doesn’t mean I think they’re going to end with a better record than the Braves or Dodgers (I don’t). Hell, it doesn’t even mean I think they’ll win the AL East (I’d stick with the O’s right now). These aren’t predictions. 

I do, however, think they’ve been the best team to date in Major League Baseball in 2024 and there’s enough talent here to justify slotting them near the top and to believe they’ll keep playing well. That’s number one for me right now. 

Biggest Movers







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My guess: Things will continue on this path with Juan Soto and it’ll make the Yankees front office desperate to retain him in free agency. Will ownership cooperate? Is this a question that should even be asked with the Yankees? 1 12-4

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This is likely a temporary demotion, but they lost an ace for the season and went 3-3 this past week against the Mets and Marlins. They can take a bit of a hit here. 1 9-5

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The Dodgers have lost five of their last nine, have rotation problems (mostly due to injuries) and have one of the worst producing 7-9 batting order spots in the majors. They are still a great team and will very likely push 100 wins, but they are not a juggernaut right now. I just don’t trust anyone with 10+ wins over them, so this is where the Dodgers slot right now. Oh and just an FYI: While they might seem disappointing right now, they are playing at a 99-win pace. 2 11-7

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I’m still not buying this roster continuing to play so well, but you’ve got to respect 10-4 with a +31 run differential and taking two of three in Baltimore. 4 10-4

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Rookie Jared Jones has coughed up a few homers, but he’s struck out 25 against only two walks in 18 innings and sports a 0.94 WHIP. Mitch Keller got himself back on track on Sunday and we know plenty about the upside of top prospect Paul Skenes. It looks like a pretty nice Big Three here in the near future. 1 11-5

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The pitching meltdowns on Friday and Saturday were a nice reminder that help is on the way in the form of Kyle Bradish and John Means, but they’ll still probably need more help via trade. In the meantime, they’ll be fine. Nice comeback win Sunday to avoid the sweep. 1 9-6

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That loss last Monday was a crushing blow. They blew an 8-0 lead to lose 9-8 against the Padres. They showed nice fortitude in bouncing back to win the next game and then ended up taking two of three in Seattle. Of note: Michael Busch has homered in four straight games. 3 9-6

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No, I’m not buying this roster to keep playing this well for much longer. 2 10-5

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The Royals have been one of the most impressive teams in baseball. Since dropping their first two games of the season, they’ve won 10 of 14. They’ve already had a seven-game winning streak. 13 10-6

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They’ve now lost six of eight. They’re still in first place, even at just .500. There were plenty of ups and downs last season, too. I wouldn’t expect any panic with this bunch. 7 8-8

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Is this going to be our roller coaster team? The Diamondbacks started 4-2, then dropped five straight and have now won four of five. 8-8

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Nick Lodolo on Saturday made his first MLB start since May 6 of last season. He was brilliant, striking out 10. It was against the White Sox, though, so we’ll get a better read once he faces an actual MLB team. 9-6

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Oddity alert! Bryce Harper home runs on April 2: 3. Bryce Harper home runs in the other 14 games this season: 0. 8-8

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After a colossal meltdown cost them a game in Coors Field a couple Fridays ago, the Rays have won six of eight. 9-7

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They started the week by coming back from an 8-0 deficit to win and closed it by winning two of three in Dodger Stadium. Great stuff. Something to build on. 6 9-9

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Red Sox

Your major-league home run leader? Tyler O’Neill with seven bombs in 14 games. 7 9-7

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Blue Jays

It was a positive week with two series wins as they finally got to play at home. Kevin Gausman remains a huge concern, though, especially after torched by the Rockies. 1 8-8

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Spencer Torkelson still hasn’t homered. Surely his power will come soon. The good news is the Tigers have been winning without it. 9-6

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They fell to 4-11 Friday, but then took the series from the Rangers and are only 2 1/2 games out. 4 6-11

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What a nice week by the Mets, taking two of three in Atlanta and then winning a series over a Royals team that had won seven straight. The Mets are actually now 7-3 since that 0-5 start. Maybe they aren’t pathetic after all. 5 7-8

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Paul Goldschmidt is hitting .193/.292/.246. It’s only 16 games and there’s plenty of season left. He’s had slow starts before and has always ended up somewhere from good to amazing. He’s also now 36 years old and coming off the lowest OPS of his career (in a full season). 4 7-9

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Royce Lewis homered on Opening Day and then got hurt. Carlos Correa was hitting after a down offensive year and now he’s hurt. Byron Buxton has been atrocious at the plate. Pretty rough right now. Still plenty of time! Plus, they are 6-8 and not something dreadful like 2-12. 3 6-8

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Reid Detmers breakout? The former first-round pick (10th overall) has been excellent through three starts, racking up 26 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings and pitching to a 1.04 ERA. 7-8

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It’s possible things change, especially once Julio gets going, but as things stand, this is a team that just doesn’t make opposing pitchers uncomfortable at all. 6-10

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Mason Miller as a reliever is simultaneously the most fun pitcher to watch and also incredibly worrisome. With all these arm injuries, watching a dude pumping 103 MPH over and over just feels like tempting fate. But, man, he’s so fun to watch. 2 7-9

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One of the things to watch for the Nationals this season was to see if the Lane Thomas breakout last season carried over. He was hitting .179/.254/.232 before Sunday. Then he went 3 for 5 with a home run. Maybe he’s about to get hot. 6-9

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Michael Conforto had a 134 OPS+ in 2017-20. Then came a down 2021, shoulder surgery and missing the entire MLB season in 2022. It wasn’t surprising that he mostly struggled last season in his return. Could he be back? He’s not too old at 31. He’s slashing .298/.355/.596 with four homers and 13 RBI so far. 7 6-10

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Long-time Power Rankings readers know a popular talking point here is how bad the Road Rockies are. They haven’t disappointed this year so far, as they are 2-8 with a -33 run differential away from Coors. 4-12

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They won two times this week after winning once in their first 10 games. Still, they’ve only been promoted a spot because the White Sox exist. 1 3-13

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White Sox

In 15 games, the White Sox have scored zero runs five times and one run three times. More than half their games with zero or one run! Can we relegate this pitiful team? 1 2-13

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