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MLB Power Rankings 2023 for Week 3

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It actually happened: The Rays lost. They actually lost twice! While the Rays are, alas, not going to go 162-0 this year — or 161-1, for that matter — they have firmly established themselves as contenders moving forward. After all: Even if they go .500 the rest of the season, they’ll win 87 games. And they sure look like a team that’s going to be better than .500 the rest of the season.

They might not, though, be the best team in baseball, at least not to our Power Rankings voters: They fell one spot this week, to No. 2. But it’s sort of difficult to argue with the No. 1 team: They look downright terrifying so far.

Here are this week’s rankings.

Biggest Jump: The Rangers took two out of three from the Royals at the beginning of the week, and did the same against those hated rivals from Houston over the weekend. The most impressive thing has been the pitching, which is currently holding a top-10 spot in the Majors. And the best starter hasn’t even been Jacob deGrom: It has been Martín Pérez. Again.

1. Braves, 12-4 (last week: 2)
The Rays’ winning streak is old news. The cool streaking team now is the Braves, who went 6-0 on the week, sweeping the Reds and the Royals. The Braves currently have three players with an OPS over 1.000: Matt Olson, Ronald Acuña Jr. and, the team’s leader in that category, Sean Murphy, who is getting on base at a .446 clip. They also have a top-10 pitching staff right now. They’ve got another fun series set up to start the week against the Padres in San Diego, but it’s the Padres who should be afraid: The Braves are already rolling.

2. Rays, 14-2 (last week: 1)
Sorry, Rays: A 5-2 week ends up dropping you a spot in the rankings, even if those two losses were on the road against the Blue Jays, also one of the best teams in baseball. It was Shane McClanahan who ended the Rays’ two-game skid — only when you’ve won your first 13 games can two losses in a row be considered a “skid” — with another gem on Sunday: He’s now 4-0 with a 1.57 ERA. The Rays get a couple of middle-of-the-country teams this week: The Reds on the road and the White Sox at the Trop.

3. Blue Jays, 10-6 (last week: 7)
A terrific way to get yourself to soar up the rankings: Beat the team that has won 13 in a row twice. Matt Chapman’s impressive contract-year resurgence has been the story of the first couple of weeks, but the Blue Jays look more well-rounded than they did last year, especially on defense. They’re tied for the second-best record in the American League, which has earned them … a four-game deficit in the AL East. That’s the same distance from first place as Colorado is right now. That brings us to a team that feels their pain …

4. Yankees, 10-6 (last week: 4)
It’s not easy to keep pace in the AL East, and the Yankees actually did drop a game during a 4-3 week. But probably more worrisome is the hamstring injury to Giancarlo Stanton, which landed him on the injured list. Aaron Judge has had a little more help in the lineup this year so far, with Anthony Rizzo and Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu off to excellent starts. But losing Stanton — however predictable it might be — is not helpful.

5. Astros, 7-9 (last week: 6)
The Astros were No. 1 in the season’s first power rankings, so even with a slow start, they’re not going to fall too far. They had a fun series with the intriguing Rangers over the weekend, and the schedule is about to get even tougher: Their next four opponents are all teams that reached the playoffs last year: The Blue Jays and Phillies at home, and the Braves and Rays on the road.

6. Brewers (8)
7. Dodgers (3)
8. Twins (10)
9. Mets (9)
10. Padres (5)
11. Guardians (11)
12. Rangers (18)
13. Angels (15)
14. Orioles (16)
15. Mariners (14)
16. D-backs (20)
17. Cardinals (12)
18. Cubs (21)
19. Pirates (24)
20. Phillies (13)
21. White Sox (17)
22. Red Sox (22)
23. Marlins (23)
24. Giants (19)
25. Reds (25)
26. Rockies (27)
27. Royals (26)
28. Tigers (28)
29. Nationals (29)
30. A’s (30)

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