Mickey Moniak and Hunter Renfroe rallied in the 7th and Reid Detmers struck out 12 to lead the Angels to a 5-4 win over the Twins
Welcome to the fourth edition of theScore's MLB Power Rankings for the 2023 season. The last edition ran May 1, while the next edition will be published May 29. 1. Tampa Bay Rays Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 31-11 5-5 +120 1 (-) Almost everything has been clicking for the Rays. Randy Arozarena is playing like a superstar, Josh Lowe and Yandy Diaz have both emerged as explosive offensive players, and Wander Franco's living up to the hype. Tampa Bay became the first team to 30 wins last week, and it's easy to see why. While the team must now withstand the sudden loss of another key starting pitcher in Drew Rasmussen for at least the next few months, Tyler Glasnow's imminent return and rookie Taj Bradley's emergence will help the rotation carry on. For now, the Rays remain on top.2. Los Angeles Dodgers Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 26-15 8-2 +56 6 (+4) Though not the superteams of recent vintage, the Dodgers are finally looking like the Dodgers again. Winner of five straight, L.A. is still getting huge contributions from Will Smith, who boasts an otherworldly .457 OBP in May, but it's the resurgence of Freddie Freeman that feels most important. He started the season reasonably well but still short of what's normally expected. Since the month turned over, he's back to hitting the cover off the ball with 10 extra-base hits - the same amount he had through April. The bullpen is stabilizing, with Evan Phillips and Caleb Ferguson combining to record five saves without allowing a single run this month.3. Atlanta Braves Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 25-15 5-5 +52 2 (-1) It's going to be a challenge to navigate life without the steadying presence of Max Fried. The left-hander has been the anchor of the Braves' rotation for several years but is sidelined indefinitely with a forearm strain. Right-hander Kyle Wright is also on the shelf with a shoulder injury. Spencer Strider continues to dominate hitters, but manager Brian Snitker will need the likes of Bryce Elder and Charlie Morton to continue delivering quality outings to cover for the absentees. The Braves should be good enough to deal with these injuries but will certainly be tested over the next while.4. Texas Rangers Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 25-15 7-3 +97 12 (+8) The Rangers continue to look almost unbelievably great as one of two teams (along with the MLB-best Rays) with a run differential over 57, and they comfortably clear that mark by 40 runs. Marcus Semien continues to be the offensive catalyst, but Leody Taveras is finally delivering on his long-awaited promise. The 24-year-old outfielder is 17-for-41 in May with three doubles, one homer, and three steals. Nathan Eovaldi has continued his unbelievable campaign and has yet to allow a run through two starts (16 2/3 innings) this month. Texas is looking really strong even without Jacob deGrom and Corey Seager. Patrick Smith / Getty Images Sport / Getty5. Baltimore Orioles Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 26-14 6-4 +30 5 (-) Anyone expecting the Orioles to regress after last season's surprising success are surely disappointed. Baltimore's lineup is as potent as any in baseball and should keep the team in contention deep into the summer. The emergence of Yennier Cano in the bullpen has been a big development. The right-hander possesses a devastating changeup and has already accumulated 1.2 fWAR without permitting a walk or home run. With devastating closer Felix Bautista continuing to rack up gaudy strikeout numbers, the Orioles are armed with arguably the league's most devastating one-two punch at the back-end of a bullpen.6. Toronto Blue Jays Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 24-16 6-4 +22 3 (-3) The Blue Jays have been inconsistent. They were expected to take another step forward in 2023 and challenge for a first AL East title since 2015, and while there's still plenty of time for that to come to fruition, Toronto will need to find another gear. The Blue Jays have traded losing and winning streaks of late thanks in large part to a volatile performance from the rotation. They desperately need Alek Manoah to get back on track. The right-hander has failed to go beyond five innings in six of his eight outings.7. Milwaukee Brewers Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 23-17 5-5 +20 4 (-3) It took a little while, but the Brewers have finally returned to their perch atop the NL Central by winning five of their last seven contests. Yes, the Pirates' ongoing slide helps, but the Brewers are a good team. Despite some continued offensive struggles - Rowdy Tellez is their only hitter with an OPS above .800 - the Brewers' plus-20 run differential ranks fourth in the NL. The pitching continues to give Milwaukee the chance to win every day. If nothing else, this team is showing that it won't go down without a fight.8. Houston Astros Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 21-19 5-5 +24 8 (-) Many Astros hitters have struggled but none as profoundly as Jose Abreu. The former MVP, who signed a $58.5-million deal last offseason, ranks dead last among the 168 qualified hitters in WAR (minus-1.0), is second-last in wRC+ (43), and still doesn't have a home run. He's gone from being near the top of the leaderboards in exit velocity and barrels to ranking among the worst in baseball. Houston's still hanging around in the AL West but can't expect to maintain aspirations of repeating as world champion with that kind of production at first base.9. New York Yankees Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 23-19 6-4 +16 13 (+4) It seems the Yankees are finally rounding into form. Reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge had his first signature game of the season, helping New York rally from a six-run deficit with a pair of home runs to stun the Rays. If Judge can get on a roll, New York could quickly rise up the AL East standings. Nestor Cortes must be a concern for manager Aaron Boone. The 2022 All-Star has posted a 5.53 ERA and 1.32 WHIP while allowing seven home runs over his first eight starts.10. Minnesota Twins Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 23-18 6-4 +43 11 (+1) Where would the Twins be without their pitchers? Minnesota's starters have been the best in baseball and are carrying this team atop the weak AL Central. Newcomer Pablo Lopez has been exactly what the Twins hoped for, Joe Ryan's new arsenal has placed him in the top tier of AL arms, and Sonny Gray - the majors' ERA leader - still hasn't allowed a home run. Even the back end of the staff has contributed. Bailey Ober started the season in Triple-A but has posted a 1.85 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in four starts to seamlessly fill the void left by injuries to Tyler Mahle and Kenta Maeda. It's enough to make Minnesotans forget about the Twins' anemic offense, which owns a collective 99 wRC+ and is fourth in strikeouts. Mitchell Leff / Getty Images Sport / Getty11. Boston Red Sox Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 22-19 5-5 +11 14 (+3) Chris Sale has really settled down. After allowing 21 runs over his first 23 innings, the left-hander owns a 2.21 ERA and 2.16 FIP over his last three starts to go with 24 strikeouts. Sale's resurgence along with James Paxton's encouraging performance - nine strikeouts across five innings in his debut - should really boost a rotation that has struggled at times. The developments could move either Garrett Whitlock or Tanner Houck into the bullpen, which could use another high-leverage arm. On Wednesday, Kenley Jansen became the seventh pitcher in MLB history to record 400 saves but has allowed five runs over two appearances since. This comes after he surrendered just one run in his previous 12 outings (11 2/3 innings).12. Seattle Mariners Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 20-20 6-4 +24 20 (+8) The emergence of Bryce Miller gives Seattle yet another stellar starting pitcher. Miller has dazzled over his first three big-league starts, posting a 0.47 ERA while walking just one batter in 19 innings. His eight total baserunners are the fewest allowed by a pitcher in his first three career starts since 1901. The foursome of Miller, Luis Castillo, George Kirby, and Logan Gilbert are keeping the Mariners above water as the offense continues to sputter. Those bats are the reason why Seattle is still spinning its wheels around the .500 mark.13. San Diego Padres Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 19-22 3-7 -10 10 (-3) On the plus side, Juan Soto seems to have finally found his stroke. He has two homers and two steals through the first two weeks of May, but more importantly, he's rediscovered his elite plate discipline. He's reaching base in over 47% of plate appearances this month and has struck out in 14.5%, which is much closer to his career norm. All things considered, though, this is a very disappointing start for the Padres, and the offense from Xander Bogaerts and Manny Machado has really dried up recently.14. New York Mets Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 20-21 4-6 -9 9 (-5) There's no sugarcoating the fact that its been a disastrous start in Queens. The Mets are struggling to score runs and have seen Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander labor through injuries and inconsistency. New York is 28th in runs scored over the last two weeks and have a team ERA north of five during that same stretch. The Mets have enough talent to right the ship but need Francisco Lindor to heat up in a hurry. The shortstop has seen his strikeout rate jump and his OPS drop compared to his 2022 numbers.15. Philadelphia Phillies Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 20-20 5-5 -22 15 (-) The Phillies' rotation continues to frustrate. By FIP, it ranks sixth in the majors in May thanks to its ability to limit walks. By ERA, though, they rank 29th with a 5.15 mark. That's largely driven by incredibly brutal BABIP luck in one start each from Matt Strahm (.545), Bailey Falter (.462), and Ranger Suarez (.467). With Bryson Stott and Trea Turner up the middle, it's hard to attribute that to poor defense, but shift restrictions might be taking an unexpectedly significant toll on the reigning NL champs.16. Arizona Diamondbacks Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 23-18 6-4 +12 18 (+2) The Diamondbacks continue to be a factory for outfield prospects. The 24-year-old Dominic Fletcher came up at the end of last month and has been one of the league's best players. In a small 13-game sample size, he's hitting .429/.455/.690 with six extra-base hits and 13 RBIs. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is settling in nicely with four home runs this month. Gurriel's five total homers have equaled his 2022 total over 121 games with the Blue Jays.17. Los Angeles Angels Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 21-20 4-6 +9 17 (-) Hunter Renfroe has been everything the Angels could have hoped for. The outfielder leads the team in home runs and is among the league leaders in outfield assists. The Angels sorely lacked quality around stars Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout over the past few years, but Renfroe is proving to be a perfect complement to the dynamic duo. With the Astros and Mariners underachieving, the door could be open for the Angels to make a run at a first AL West tile since 2014.18. Chicago Cubs Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 19-21 4-6 +29 16 (-2) The Cubs are under .500 in May after a surprisingly solid start to their season. The offense has come back to earth, and the pitching staff has turned in a couple of clunkers. Even Marcus Stroman, who's emerged as the staff leader with seven quality starts, wasn't immune, surrendering six earned runs in 2 2/3 innings Sunday. Chicago has some good pieces and is still only three games back of first place, but it's fair to question whether this team is a legitimate contender. Playing in the NL Central can mask plenty of issues.19. Pittsburgh Pirates Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 22-19 2-8 +9 7 (-12) The Pirates have fallen on hard times over the past few weeks. The offense has completely dried up, mustering a paltry 20 runs over the past 12 games. The pitching hasn't fared much better over that stretch, posting a 4.94 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. The NL Central continues to be the weakest division in baseball, but it's hard to envision the Pirates staying in contention deep into the season unless they find a way to outperform a dearth of talent on both sides of the ball. Jasen Vinlove/Miami Marlins / Getty Images Sport / Getty20. Miami Marlins Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 20-21 4-6 -56 19 (-1) Who broke Sandy Alcantara? The reigning NL Cy Young winner has been subpar aside from one shutout. He's yet to record a 10-strikeout game and owns an inflated 4.91 ERA and 1.21 WHIP through eight starts. Pitching has always been the Marlins' strength, but if Alcantara can't even things out, the team will be hard-pressed to make one of their patented surprising pushes for a playoff spot. A 4-8 start to the month has made that task even more difficult.21. Cleveland Guardians Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 19-21 5-5 -23 21 (-) Many thought the offseason additions of Josh Bell and Mike Zunino would provide a jolt to a Guardians lineup in desperate need of more firepower. However, the club is 28th in runs scored and last in home runs and OPS. Bell and Zunino have combined for just five homers, while last year's breakout stars, Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez, have struggled to replicate their success. Another division title is still very much a realistic objective for the Guardians, but they'll need to find a way to start putting up some crooked numbers.22. St. Louis Cardinals Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 16-25 6-4 -10 23 (+1) Perhaps the Cardinals just needed a road trip to Boston to right the ship. Now on a three-game winning streak, St. Louis has trimmed its run differential to a much more tolerable minus-10. Winning must cure everything because suddenly Willson Contreras is back behind the dish after one of the weirdest early-season controversies in recent memory. Nolan Arenado suddenly finding his offensive form is the big news here, though, as the perennial All-Star looked awful at the plate early on but has now hit a homer in three straight to lift his OPS to a respectable .708. Even though the Cardinals have dug themselves a cavernous hole, the NL Central is still there to be won. Patrick Smith / Getty Images Sport / Getty23. Detroit Tigers Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 18-21 6-4 -44 26 (+3) The Tigers' hot start to the month hasn't masked their flaws. Eduardo Rodriguez's Cy Young-caliber pitching is the only reason Detroit isn't even further back in the AL Central. Riley Greene is the only Tigers regular with an OPS+ above 100, and the power outage at Comerica Park - catcher Jake Rogers leads the club with five home runs - has continued to affect their overall performance. About the only other positive is that they're better than the White Sox and Royals, but that's not saying much.24. San Francisco Giants Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 17-23 4-6 -27 22 (-2) It's looking bleak for the Giants, who are barely better than the lowly Rockies so far, and it's getting hard to watch Mitch Haniger. The veteran outfielder received a day off Sunday in the midst of an 0-for-12 slump with five strikeouts. In fact, since drawing a walk in each of his first two games in late April, Haniger hasn't earned a free pass. That's 18 Ks against two walks. On the less bleak side, Anthony DeSclafani has had a particularly interesting three-start streak, issuing two walks while not allowing a homer and striking out eight over 20 innings. The righty is letting the defense behind him do the work, and his 3.06 ERA seems to indicate that's a fine strategy.25. Colorado Rockies Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 17-24 6-4 -29 25 (-) Kyle Freeland has looked unbeatable lately, He threw six shutout innings with eight strikeouts against the Phillies on Sunday, lowering his ERA in May to a sterling 1.00 over three outings. Being a fly ball pitcher at Coors Field has always hindered his ceiling, but Freeland is definitely doing a better job this year of limiting the damage of those long balls. If only something else could go right for this team.26. Washington Nationals Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 17-23 5-5 -27 27 (+1) The early-season performances of Mackenzie Gore and Josiah Gray should have Nationals fans excited. Gore has a 3.29 ERA with a 28.8% strikeout rate through his first eight starts. Gray has incorporated a cutter into his arsenal, helping the right-hander to a 2.96 ERA and a 43.6% ground-ball rate through eight outings. The Nationals have a long way to go before they can compete for a playoff spot, but Gore and Gray have the makings of the club's next great duo in the rotation.27. Cincinnati Reds Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 18-22 5-5 -29 24 (-3) Jonathan India's return to form has been a bright spot for the Reds. The former NL Rookie of the Year is easily leading the team in OPS (.826) and is emerging as an offensive leader - something the club's lacked since Joey Votto got hurt. While he isn't lifting the Reds back into contention, India's at least helped them remain competitive of late, a small victory for the perpetually rebuilding club.28. Chicago White Sox Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 14-28 4-6 -71 28 (-) No amount of injuries can mask the misery on the South Side these days. With the exception of Luis Robert Jr. and his 11 homers, everything that can go wrong for Pedro Grifol's White Sox is going wrong, and there doesn't appear to be an end in sight. The bottom fell out last week when Chicago lost three of four to the Royals, including one on a walk-off squeeze bunt. Beyond a deadline-day sale in July, there doesn't seem to be any quick fix for the organization.29. Kansas City Royals Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 12-30 4-6 -60 29 (-) The "Pasquatch" is on the loose in Kansas City, and there isn't much that anyone can do about it. Vinnie Pasquantino has emerged as something of a stabilizing force in the lowly Royals' lineup, taking more walks (21) than strikeouts (18) while ranking second to Salvador Perez in both OPS and homers. On the whole, the team has been difficult to watch and seems poised to once again dwell in the cellar.30. Oakland Athletics Record Last 10 RD Previous rank (change) 9-33 3-7 -157 30 (-) The chase for win No. 10 continues. There's no redeemable qualities about these Athletics, who remain on pace to become one of the worst teams in history. If the season ended now, the A's would have the lowest winning percentage since the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, widely considered the most abysmal team ever fielded and one that was essentially a farm team for an owner who sent the best players to his other club. One of the better stories coming out of Oakland was 24-year-old flamethrower Mason Miller, who posted a 3.38 ERA and 3.10 FIP over his first four career games. Unfortunately, he's already sidelined and is getting a second opinion regarding an ominous elbow ailment.Copyright © 2023 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.
We have a juicy 12-game slate to begin the week. Let's waste no time in getting to the standout plays.Angels (-135) @ Orioles (+115)It's Shohei day! The international superstar will take the mound against an impressive Orioles team that's tied with the Dodgers for second in wins.The Orioles are tough to deal with at the plate and on the basepaths, but I like Ohtani's chances of doing so.He's in incredible form, even by his usual standards: He owns a 2.70 ERA and his underlying profile is near spotless across the board. His expected ERA sits at 2.74, he is inducing a ton of grounders (and soft contact), and he's striking out nearly 13 batters per nine innings. Remarkable.As terrifying as this Orioles offense is on paper, it hasn't been in reality - at least not of late. Over the past couple of weeks, the Orioles rank 25th in wOBA (.288) against right-handed pitching. They slot below teams like the Tigers and Athletics in that time. Not ideal.While it's always possible for Baltimore's offense to come alive, this does not seem like a good matchup for that to happen.It's also worth noting that the Angels' offense is in a sneaky-good spot. Grayson Rodriguez is a very talented kid, but he is far from a polished product. He is allowing upward of two homers per nine innings, which is no coincidence since he's allowed hard contact nearly 40% of the time.The Angels have a lot of pop in their lineup - Mike Trout, Hunter Renfroe and, of course, Ohtani come to mind - and are more than capable of capitalizing on Rodriguez's growing pains.I really like this Orioles team, but the Angels' offense is in better form - at least against righties - and has one of the league's best pitchers on the mound. With advantages at the dish and on the mound, the Angels are worth backing Monday night.Bet: Angels (-135)Shohei Ohtani over 6.5 strikeouts (-132)This is a bit of a correlation play. If the Angels are to win Monday, their ace will likely record a quality start.Ohtani owns an insane K rate, sitting down more than 36% of the batters he faces. That's by far the highest output among Monday's projected starters, with Twins ace Pablo Lopez (31%) the only other one above 29%.As we mentioned, the Orioles are not hitting righties well. Their wOBA is down, their batting average is down, and they are striking out quite frequently. They own a K rate of 23.5% over the past couple of weeks, which is higher than all but seven teams league-wide.Ohtani has gone over this total in four straight starts and six of eight for the season. He's in a good spot to get the job done once again.Ozzie Albies over 1.5 total bases (-110)Death, taxes, and Albies versus lefties. Among 198 batters with at least 30 at-bats against left-handed pitching, the Braves second baseman ranks third with an absurdly high wOBA of .541. He is hitting for a ton of power, too, sporting an ISO above .410.In terms of standard numbers, Albies is hitting .431 with four doubles and five homers through just 51 at bats. Nearly 20% of his ABs have led him to clear his total bases on one swing.Albies will face an inexperienced lefty in Cody Bradford, freshly recalled by the Rangers. Expect him to take advantage.Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.Copyright © 2023 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.