2023 MLB Power Rankings: Week 11

Which teams are on the move after Week 11?

Every week, the Pitcher List team publishes an update to our power rankings, reviewing the biggest risers and fallers of the past seven days. As always, the full rankings can be found at the bottom of this article … but where’s the fun in that?

The weather continues to heat up, right along with the playoff chase. To wit, only seven teams are not within 5 games of a playoff spot, which means that the next few weeks will be essential to separate potential contenders from those who are better off becoming sellers at the trade deadline.

The Oakland A’s have finally left the cellar, but today we will talk about a couple of teams that appear to be at different crossroads: the Padres, who appear to be finally playing to their potential, and the Brewers, who have just fallen behind the Pirates in the NL Central and appear to have more than a few cracks in their foundation.


Movin’ On Up


San Diego Padres

Record: 33-34

Rank change: +4 (19 to 15)


The Padres entered the season with the third-highest payroll in the sport, spending nearly a quarter billion dollars on their roster. This came after a year in which they reached the NLCS and appeared to be a step above the Dodgers, which generated sky-high expectations for the franchise. The 2023 season has been mostly a tough reality check for the Friars, as they have struggled to win consistently, stay healthy, and make good on their status as baseball’s nouveau riche. But, similarly to the Mets, this has not been a good year for those who believe that money is the key to happiness (and winning baseball games).

The past week gave us a glimpse of what the Padres may look like when they are fully operational. With the caveat that their recent success has come against a soft schedule (winning 7 of 10 against the Cubs, Mariners, and Guardians), these are the types of teams that had given San Diego fits since the beginning of the year. The Padres are still looking for their first 4-game winning streak of the season and were last above .500 on May 10. In what was constructed as a clear top-heavy roster, many of those top players have performed well below their career norms, while few of their glue guys have stepped up their game.

The recent addition of Gary Sanchez has proved that success in baseball can come from the most unexpected of sources. After being waived by both the Giants and Mets in 2023, the erstwhile Yankee prospect appears to have a chip on his shoulder and is on a mission to reclaim his star status. In only 54 plate appearances, Sanchez has 6 homers and 2 doubles, which amounts to only one extra-base hit fewer than the other Padres catchers have combined for in 203 turns – Austin Nola has a hard-to-believe 27 OPS+, for instance. Sanchez has always been prone to hot streaks followed by struggles on offense and defense, but his addition has been what the Padres needed to provide a spark plug.

Sanchez is only but one of many sluggers rounding into form in San Diego, as the team has arguably the most fearsome top-4 lineup in all of baseball. With Fernando Tatis Jr. hitting lead-off, backed up by Juan Soto, Manny Machado, and Xander Bogaerts, it is a wonder how pitchers can navigate through them unscathed. But even with their recent hot streak, the Padres are barely 23rd in runs per game, 2oth in OPS, 18th in slugging percentage, and 19th in OBP. Most of the lack of damage is explained by a historically-low .199 average with runners in scoring position, which simply defies any explanation.

The offensive profile of the team suggests that the positive regression may have already begun, with the Padres averaging over 6 runs per game during the last week. Even as most of these games were close and closer Josh Hader was needed to record saves in three of them, San Diego is desperate to win in any possible way. The rotation has been mostly healthy, with only seven pitchers making a start so far. The biggest contributor remains Michael Wacha, who appeared to be an afterthought but sports a team-leading 2.89 ERA and has earned two wins in June. His performance has made up for the uneven season of the team’s supposed aces, like Yu Darvish (5-4, 4.30 ERA) and Joe Musgrove (4-2, 4-37 ERA). Blake Snell has been better as of late, but he is still walking too many batters (his 4.83 BB/9 is the second-highest in baseball), further strengthening the notion that San Diego’s success is more reliant on its offense.

With Arizona and the Dodgers dominating the NL West, it is unlikely that the Padres will challenge for their first division title since 2006, but they at least have revived their aspirations by being only a handful of games back in the wild card chase. Considering that their competition mostly includes flawed squads like Miami, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati, the Padres now have odds above 50% to make it to the playoffs, according to Fangraphs. Outside of an upcoming home series against Tampa Bay, the Friars will continue to have favorable matchups throughout June, which should serve as a stepping stone to finally deliver on their promise as a super team.


Hittin’ The Skids


Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 34-34

Rank change: -6 (11 to 17)


From 2018 to 2021, the Milwaukee Brewers made the playoffs every season on the strength of their pitching staff and just enough timely hitting to back it up. The 2023 version of the team appeared to be on the same path for most of the season, taking advantage of a weak division and in prime position to return to October. However, the past week has served as a reminder that Milwaukee has simply not been the same team since their shocking trade of Josh Hader during 2022’s deadline. With an active losing streak of 6 games that is the longest in MLB, the Brewers are barely hanging on to a wild card spot and could be in bigger trouble.

Milwaukee’s drop in the rankings is obviously based on this losing streak, which merits closer analysis. Two of the losses came in regular competitive games against the Orioles and Twins, but they were the bookends for a home sweep against the Athletics and a devastating comeback loss in Minnesota. Even with Oakland improving, they are still on pace for a historically bad season, and the Brewers had no answer for them, scoring only three runs over their first two losses. Tuesday’s series opener in Minnesota appeared to be the perfect opportunity to get back on track, as Milwaukee had ace Corbin Burnes on the mound and led 5-2 late in the game. Star closer Devin Williams proceeded to record his first blown save of the year at the worst possible time.

Even as it is unlikely that Williams will become a problem at the back end of the bullpen, his FIP suggests that regression was probably coming anyway, as the margins are becoming razor-thin for the Brewers. Overall, the pitching staff is middle-of-the-pack in terms of ERA and WHIP, but underlying stats suggest that they do not have the overpowering arms of seasons past. Milwaukee’s 8.24 K/9 is in the bottom third of the league, while injuries to rotation stalwarts Brandon Woodruff and Wade Miley have forced the Brewers to rely on reclamation projects like Julio Teheran. Considering that Burnes has alternated between unhittable ace and middling starter (in June he has an 8-inning scoreless masterpiece against Baltimore, but two mediocre outings as well), this Brewers squad is becoming harder and harder to trust in any given game.

Any pitching woes will be magnified by an offense that can be described as mediocre at best. Only Willy Adames and Rowdy Tellez have reached double-digit home runs, while Christian Yelich leads the team with an uninspiring 118 OPS+. In June, the Brewers have scored 4 runs or fewer in 8 out of 13 games, and are among the league leaders in offensive shutouts, having been left with zero runs on 8 occasions. While Milwaukee’s fast start was fueled by the surprising contributions of rookies like Brice Turang and Garrett Mitchell, untimely injuries and demotions cooled it off, and the veterans have been mostly unable to pick up the slack.

With the Brewers usually operating under the small-market model (their payroll is 20th in MLB), it seems unlikely that they could become aggressive buyers at the deadline. At the same time, playing in the NL Central suggests that they won’t be sellers, either. The recent slide has brought the team to the .500 mark for the first time since April 1, but they are only a couple of games behind the Pirates, while the rest of the division includes the lowly Cubs, the disappointing Cardinals, and the coming-of-age Reds, who are probably a year away of becoming true contenders. If Milwaukee can tread water and remain around .500, they will probably be in the Central race deep into September. June will continue and then end with key series against Pittsburgh, which could determine who is the team to beat in this weak division.


Week 8 Power Rankings


Pablo Figueroa

Pablo Figueroa is a Baseball Writer here at Pitcher List, with experience as a writer since 2013. He lives in Aguascalientes, Mexico - proud home of Los Rieleros. When he´s not thinking about baseball , he's a husband, owns two dogs, watches random episodes of The Sopranos , plays padel, and works on his day job to pay the bills.

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