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2024 Vendetta MLB Power Rankings: May

MLB Rankings
(Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

2024 Vendetta MLB Power Rankings: May

We are officially one full through the start of the 2024 MLB season! Now that we have a bigger sample of games and more data points to evaluate, let’s dive into our May power rankings!

(Note: Stats are through Saturday, May 4, and every tie between the team’s rankings goes to the team with the better record.)

30. Chicago White Sox

(Matt Hanifan 30, Jack Sabin 30)

Average: 30

The White Sox dropped to last place in this month’s rankings. They are off to the worst start in franchise history at 7-26, having been swept in six of their 11 series. They are also the only team in baseball who have yet to score at least 100 runs with 95; every other team has scored at least 117. Erick Fedde has stepped up in the rotation after Chicago traded Dylan Cease, but there haven’t been many other positives in an otherwise lost season.

29. Miami Marlins

(Matt 29, Jack 28)

Average: 28.5

Did anybody really expect the Marlins to be this bad? By no means did I have them as an elite team, but going into this season if you said the Marlins would have nine wins on May 5, many people would look at you like you were crazy. This team just won 84 games last year and didn’t really change all too much. Sure, some guys come and go, but for the most part, this team stayed mostly the same, especially the core players.

The truth is, though, that the pitching has killed this team, especially without their ace, Sandy Alcantara, who can take the mound every fifth game. Their starters simply can’t get outs or go deep into ball games, putting a tremendous amount of pressure on this offense. It simply isn’t talented enough to make up for the horrible pitching that has plagued them. Alcantara is set to come back at some point, but I don’t think even that will be enough to right this sinking ship. — Jack Sabin

28. Colorado Rockies

(Matt 28, Jack 29)

Average: 28.5

The Rockies may have slightly moved up in our power rankings, but that does not mean this is in any sort of favorable position. They are 18 games below .500 and own the second-worst run differential in baseball. Ryan McMahon and Brenton Doyle have been their only serviceable bats, but the rotation and bullpen (outside of Jalen Beeks) have been a disaster and this team is still a disaster. Nothing new there.

27. Los Angeles Angels

(Matt 27, Jack 25)

Average: 26

Mike Trout will undergo knee surgery for a torn meniscus that will keep him out an extended period of time … and the Angels were already on a 61-win pace before that point. That gives you a decent synopsis of the state of this team, right?

26. Washington Nationals

(Matt 25, Jack 26)

Average: 25.5

Much like the Mets, the Nationals have certainly exceeded expectations early this season. They are a young team and are always exciting to watch even if your favorite team isn’t playing them. They fit that mold of the scrappy young team and watching them steal wins is always a treat to watch. C.J. Abrams continues to blossom into a future superstar at the shortstop position. Seriously, if this isn’t already the breakout year for Abrams, then expect it very soon.

The Nationals are also finally starting to see good things out of Mackenzie Gore, another prospect they got in that Juan Soto trade. The start to his MLB career hasn’t been great, but it’s always been clear he has the stuff. Now he looks to be putting it together and is starting to turn into that ace the Nationals traded for. This year still may not bring a lot of success with it, but if I’m a Nationals fan, I love the current state of this team. — Sabin

25. Houston Astros

(Matt 26, Jack 23)

Average: 24.5

Two years removed from their second World Series title in seven years, the Astros are off to a very sloppy 12-21 start–their worst start since 2014. Ronel Blanco has come out of nowhere, but the rotation still has the fourth-worst ERA and sixth-worst FIP in MLB. Justin Verlander’s 2.08 ERA since returning from injury has been encouraging, as has Josh Hader’s recent outings, but the rest of the pitching staff has plenty of ground to make up after a disastrous start.

24. Oakland Athletics

(Matt 22, Jack 27)

Average: 24.5

The Oakland A’s have won six straight games?!? The Oakland A’s have won SIX straight games!!! It marked their sixth win streak of six games or more since the start of 2020. Not to mention, they are .500 and 1.5 games back of the Seattle Mariners for the AL West crown. Who would’ve thought? I also can’t get enough of watching Mason Miller pitch. The right-handed closer has been the best in baseball through the first month, placing in the 100th percentile or better in whiff percentage, strikeout percentage, hard-hit rate allowed and average fastball velocity (100.7 MPH!!!), per Baseball Savant. That’s preposterous. His 53.7 strikeout rate and negative FIP (-0.07) are both laugh-out-loud hilarious … and track to the eye test.

23. Pittsburgh Pirates

(Matt 23, Jack 22)

Average: 22.5

Can Pittsburgh just call up Paul Skenes already? He has a 46.6 strikeout rate with a 0.88 FIP in Triple-A. He doesn’t even have to pitch many innings … just call him because he’s an electric watch and appears more than ready. I don’t have much else to say other than Pittsburgh’s cooled off after yet another hot start (9-2 in first 11).

22. St. Louis Cardinals

(Matt 21, Jack 24)

Average: 22.5

The Cardinals completely revamped their pitching staff this offseason–which was a huge question mark. So far, it’s been fairly mediocre, but Sonny Gray has been tremendous through his first six starts as a Cardinal. Their lineup has been one of the worst outside of Willson Contreras and Nolan Arenado; Paul Goldschmidt likely needs to pick up his weight, as well as the rest of the offense, if this team has any chance at making a run for a postseason bid.

21. Tampa Bay Rays

(Matt 24, Jack 19)

Average: 21.5

We knew how beat up Tampa’s pitching staff was entering this season. But the ever-so-feisty Rays haven’t been feisty to begin 2024, sporting MLB’s sixth-worst ERA–including an MLB-worst 5.30 bullpen ERA–with the ninth-worst OPS. They’ve been so famous for reaching into the scrap heap for arms and supplementary bats, but the magic hasn’t quite been there. Only time will tell if Kevin Cash’s squad will turn it around, but it’s not off to an encouraging start.

20. San Francisco Giants

(Matt 20, Jack 21)

Average: 20.5

Blake Snell’s start in San Francisco hasn’t been particularly smooth thus far. The 31-year-old southpaw recently went to the IL with an abductor strain after posting an 11.57 ERA and 4.59 FIP through 11.2 innings. He didn’t have a spring training, so it’s fair to give him some leeway. Outside of his most recent start against Boston, Logan Webb has looked like a Cy Young candidate, plus Jordan Hicks, Kyle Harrison and Keaton Winn have all flashed early. So at least some pressure has been taken off Snell … for now.

19. Toronto Blue Jays

(Matt 19, Jack 18)

Average: 18.5

The Jays need more from Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and George Springer. This group does not have enough firepower elsewhere to compensate for the lack of production; it does not help that the pitching outside of Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi has not held its end of the bargain. It has lost eight of its last 11 and 11 of its last 15, falling to two games below .500. It could be worse, but it could also be a lot better.  

18. Arizona Diamondbacks

(Matt 18, Jack 17)

Average: 17.5

Jordan Montgomery, who signed with Arizona just days before opening day, returned in mid-April and has put together two good starts before a really bad one against the Dodgers. The Diamondbacks’ pitching staff has been beaten up with Merrill Kelly, Kyle Nelson and Miguel Castro all on the injured list. The damage has been slightly mitigated by the offensive outbursts from Christian Walker, Ketel Marte, Blaze Alexander and Joc Pederson, but it has not been enough for the reigning NL champs so far, who are five games below .500. 

17. San Diego Padres

(Matt 13, Jack 20

Average: 16.5

Joe Musgrove, who entered 2024 with a 3.05 ERA and 3.62 FIP over the last three seasons, has been one of MLB’s most disappointing starters through the first month. He’s been prone to the long-ball, surrendering an MLB-most 10 home runs, and his strikeout rate has dipped to 20.1 percent (it’s never been below 20.6 for a full season). The Padres also added yet another middle infielder Friday, trading for Marlins second baseman Luis Arraez … who went 4-for-6 in his debut. 

16. New York Mets

(Matt 17, Jack 14)

Average: 15.5

The Mets just continue to win games and be a thorn in the side of the teams they play. The Raw Star power may not be there right now, but this Mets team is scrappy and great, and they are simply finding ways to win games. The starting rotation has provided the Mets with the majority of their success. Luis Severino has looked great in a Mets uniform, posting a 2.31 ERA through 35.0 frames. Heck, even Sean Manaea has given them some great production, with a 3.07 ERA through 29.1 innings. Jose Quintana has also looked great, and really, this Mets rotation as a whole has been getting the job done night in and night out. I don’t know how sustainable these numbers are for all of these guys, but I think it’s become clear that the Mets will never be an easy win and may, in fact, steal a game or two from you before you even notice. — Sabin

15. Boston Red Sox

(Matt 15, Jack 15)

Average: 15

Are the Red Sox … better than we thought? Despite myriad injuries to Trevor Story, Triston Casas, Brayan Bello and Garrett Whitlock, in addition to reprehensible defense, this team is still two games above .500. Tyler O’Neill trails only Trout and Baltimore’s Gunnar Henderson for the AL lead in home runs while Wilyer Abreu and Connor Wong have been pleasant surprises offensively. Kutter Crawford, Tanner Houck and Cooper Criswell have combined to pitch a 1.85 ERA and a 2.44 FIP across 102.0 innings. I’m not completely sold this will sustain, but things could be a lot worse in Boston, all things considered. 

14. Cincinnati Reds

(Matt 16, Jack 12)

Average: 14

Elly De La Cruz finished April with eight home runs and 17 stolen bases … becoming the first player since at least 1901 with those statistical benchmarks in a single month, according to MLB.com’s Sarah Langs. That’s pretty good, right? He owns a .946 OPS with an MLB-most 19 stolen bases and has the fourth-best fWAR in the National League (1.9). Their rotation also has MLB’s fourth-best ERA- (86) and fourth-best FIP- (90), led by Nick Lodolo and flame-throwing Hunter Greene.

13. Detroit Tigers

(Matt 14, Jack 13)

Average: 13.5

Where the Tigers have lacked in offense, they have made up for in pitching. The preseason hype surrounding Tarik Skubal has boded true thus far, sporting a 1.72 ERA and a 2.18 FIP through six starts. Jack Flaherty recently roasted his former team (Cardinals) while the back of their bullpen–Shelby Miller, Alex Faedo, Alex Lange and Jason Foley–has been nails. If they can find a little more offense from Spencer Torkelson and Co., they could find for the AL Central crown. But that’s a big if, right now. 

12. Minnesota Twins

(Matt 7, Jack 16)

Average: 12

The Twins can’t stop losing. They have won 12 straight for only the third time since moving to Minneapolis–first since 1991–and have climbed to five games above .500. Sure, most of those wins have come against the White Sox and Angels, but you can only beat the teams that are in front of you. The bats have done the heavy lifting over that span, spearheaded by Willi Castro, Ryan Jeffers and Edouard Julien.

11. Texas Rangers

(Matt 12, Jack 10)

Average: 11

The reigning World Series champs have hovered around .500 for the majority of the season. Adolis Garcia and Josh Smith have ripped the cover off the baseball, while rookie outfielder Evan Carter is shaking off a slow start (.999 OPS last 13). Texas has been one of the best defensive teams in the sport and the pitching staff has held it together without Max Scherzer. The Rangers were the best offense in baseball last season and have been a middle-of-the-pack unit this season, but if they can get better showings from Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and rookie Wyatt Langford, this team could fly back up the AL West standings as the season progresses.   

10. Seattle Mariners

(Matt 11, Jack 11)

Average:

The Mariners concluded April as one of the hottest teams in baseball, winning five of their last six, seven of their last nine and 11 of their last 14 with series wins over the Reds, Rockies, Rangers, Diamondbacks and Braves. The biggest reason was because of the pitching; Mariners starters have thrown at least six innings with two earned runs or fewer in all but two of their last 21 starts with a combined ERA of 1.39 ERA (MLB best), in addition to a 27.9 strikeout rate (1st) and 2.93 FIP (3rd) over that span. 

9. Kansas City Royals

(Matt 9, Jack 9)

Average: 9

Bobby Witt Jr. and Salvador Perez have been the Royals’ main catalysts offensively, while the Royals’ pitching staff has been arguably a top-5 unit in the sport behind bounce-back campaigns from Brady Singer and Seth Lugo. There’s still plenty of season ahead, but Kansas City is looking to win 75 games for the first time since 2017. Who knows how long they will crack our top-10, but this group (outside of Perez, Lugo) is young … and fun! 

8. Chicago Cubs

(Matt 10, Jack 8)

Average: 9

Every week, I admittedly flip-flop on who I think will win the NL Central between the Cubs and Brewers. They have also done a bulk of their work without key contributors for most of the season, including Seiya Suzuki and Justin Steele. Michael Busch and Christopher Morel have cooled from their scorching hot starts, but Chicago’s getting a breakout season from Mike Tauchman, who leads the team in OPS (.844) through 34 games. 

7. Milwaukee Brewers

(Matt 8, Jack 7)

Average: 7.5

Don’t look now, but the Brewers have the second-highest wRC+ (117), second-highest on-base percentage (.336) and third-most home runs (39). Translation: This team is hitting the baseball right now. Jackson Chourio has cooled off considerably, but William Contreras, Brice Turang, Blake Perkins, Willy Adames and Joey Ortiz have all flashed at the dish … and Rhys Hoskins made even more enemies with an entire fanbase the first weekend of the season. Let’s see how long the Brew Crew can keep this hot streak going!

6. Cleveland Guardians

(Matt 6, Jack 6)

Average: 6

The Guardians’ offense has showcased more power than it did last year, and Steven Kwan has been one of baseball’s best contact hitters this season after the proverbial sophomore slump in 2023. The rotation must carry its weight better with Shane Bieber done for the season with Tommy John, so if the offense doesn’t regress, it should be in a favorable position. 

5. New York Yankees

(Matt 5, Jack 4)

Average: 4.5

New York’s offense has been far from consistent, but they are still top-10 in runs scored and wRC+. What an acquisition Juan Soto has been, which has really shadowed Aaron Judge‘s cool start to 2024. He’s slashing .318/.425/.561 with eight home runs, 25 RBIs and an AL-most 26 walks (to 21 strikeouts). Anthony Rizzo and newly-acquired Alex Verdugo have shaken off early-season slumps while southpaw Carlos Rodon is experiencing a bounce-back 2024 campaign.

4. Philadelphia Phillies

(Matt 4, Jack 5)

Average: 4.5

Arguably the hottest team in baseball right now, the Phillies are currently on a tear and don’t look like they can be stopped. The secret has been a rotation that easily has been the best in the MLB up to this point in the year. Spencer Turnbull is currently boasting a 1.67 ERA through 32.1 innings. Ranger Suarez is also making his case for CY Young, posting a 1.32 ERA and an absurd 0.63 WHIP. I haven’t even gotten to Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler yet, this rotation has been lights out and gives this explosive offense a chance to win every single night. The only issues so far have been in the bullpen that many expected also to be lights out. It’s still early, and this issue can be fixed, but if it isn’t, it could again be an Achilles heel for this Phillies team. — Sabin

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

(Matt 2, Jack 3)

Average: 2.5

The Dodgers, who own an MLB-best plus-59 run differential, have won 10 of their last 12 games. Over that span, they are outscoring opponents by an average of 4.5 runs per game, including five wins by at least nine runs and two by 12 (over Mets, Blue Jays). Los Angeles looks like the squad we expect to see entering 2024. Walker Buehler will also make his debut Monday against Miami–his first start since 2022! Also, are people still worrying if Mookie Betts‘ transition to shortstop is going to affect his performance at the plate?

2. Baltimore Orioles

(Matt 3, Jack 2)

Average: 2.5

The Orioles own the best record in the American League at 22-11 and are well on their way to win 100-plus games for the second consecutive year. Gunnar Henderson is an AL MVP candidate. He’s second in the AL in fWAR, slashing .280/.349/.576 (.925 OPS; 162 wRC+) with 10 home runs, 24 RBIs and six stolen bases. They have seven batters with a 135 wRC+ or greater (min. 50 PA), which is insane. Baltimore’s also top-10 in both ERA, FIP and are in the top-5 in strikeout rate and strikeout-to-walk rate. This squad is loaded.

1. Atlanta Braves

(Matt 1, Jack 1)

Average: 1

Am I ever going to do a Braves description when they aren’t in the number one position? I mean, seriously, it was basically the entirety of last year, and this year is looking like it won’t be any different. The scariest part of all this is that guys like Ronald Acuna Jr. and Matt Olson haven’t even really gotten going yet. It clearly hasn’t mattered though, up to this point, as the depth this team has is simply unmatched. But once this team starts firing on all cylinders, the league better watch out because this offense won’t be able to be stopped. — Sabin

***

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