2023 MLB Power Rankings: Week 18 (Post-Trade Deadline)

Hot bats have Cubs moving up, while Yankees can't seem to go anywhere.

Every week, the Pitcher List team publishes an update to our MLB 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?

Whew! It has been quite the week. Not only have we seen a bunch of big performances on the field Shohei Ohtani’s incredible doubleheader and Framber Valdez’s near-perfect game no-hitter — but we had a bunch of deals thanks to the trade deadline, which passed Tuesday with one team dealing two three-time Cy Young Award winners. So that factors into how we valued teams for this week’s MLB Power Rankings. Yes, the team from Atlanta is still on top and the one from Oakland is at the bottom. Where do the other teams fit? Check this out:


Movin’ On Up


Chicago Cubs

Record: 56-53

Rank change: +6 (20 to 14)

The lovable losers have been on a hot streak following the All-Star break. Including an eight-game winning streak, the Cubs have won 13 of 16 entering Friday’s series opener vs. Atlanta to not only climb above .500 but to move within 2½ games of the National League Central lead, behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers, and two of the final NL wild-card spot, behind the division’s second-place team, the Cincinnati Reds.

Since the start of June, the Cubs are 32-22. Offense has been the Cubs’ strength. Their .758 OPS is eighth-best in MLB for the season. Over the last 15 days before Thursday, the Cubs lead MLB with a .931 OPS and have scored 97 runs, 26 more than second-place Atlanta. That of course includes scoring 36 runs in the middle two games of their series against the Reds.

At the trade deadline, the Cubs only added two players, third baseman Jeimer Candelario and right-handed reliever Jose Cuas. Candelario has jumped right into the offensive onslaught, notching four hits in each of his first two games with the home team at Wrigley Field. Cody Bellinger has spearheaded the offense over the last month, slashing .394/.433/.723 while smashing nine homers and driving in 25. Another outfielder, Mike Tauchman, had four homers and 23 RBIs while slashing .329/.398/.603. The pitching has been solid, with a 4.39 team ERA over the last month, 16th-best in MLB.

The Cubs were not thought to be a contender this season as the St. Louis Cardinals were the consensus pick to win the Central and the Brewers for second place, leaving the Cubs as the favorite to finish third. In order to move up, the Cubs will continue to have to perform at or above their recent hot streak as they have to pass three teams to claim the last wild-card spot. The Cubs in the last week took three of four from the rival St. Louis Cardinals and won three of the four against the Reds, who had held the Central lead entering the series.


Hittin’ The Skids


New York Yankees

Record: 57-52

Rank change: -4 (15 to T-19)

Should we be surprised that the Yankees are in last place in the American League East? In a way, no. While they are above .500, the division has been the best in baseball for the second straight season. Remember last year when all five teams were in contention for the playoffs until the last couple weeks?

In the offseason, the Yankees’ priority was re-signing Aaron Judge following his hitting an AL-record 62 home runs. That was accomplished and the only other significant move for the defending division champs was adding free-agent left-hander Carlos Rodón, who has an extensive injury history. That history came to life with Rodon sustaining a strained left forearm in spring training and then, as he worked his way back, a back injury that kept him sidelined until early July.

Again, the Yankees are five games above .500, but that doesn’t cut it in the East. The Bombers are 2½ games out of the final AL wild-card position and would have to pass two division foes, the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays, to get there. Over the past week, the Yankees dropped two of three in series against two other division members, the first-place Baltimore Orioles and second-place Tampa Bay Rays. Which brings us to the trade deadline. The Yankees basically did nothing to add to their chances and are just hoping things get better over the final two months of the regular season.

The pressure to win in New York is immense, especially for the Yankees, and the jobs of manager Aaron Boone and general manager Brian Cashman in particular are on the line.


Week 18 MLB Power Rankings

Steve Drumwright

Steve Drumwright is a lifelong baseball fan who retired as a player before he had the chance to be cut from the freshman team in high school. He recovered to become a sportswriter and have a successful journalism career at newspapers in Wisconsin and California. Follow him on Twitter and Threads @DrummerWrites.

One response to “2023 MLB Power Rankings: Week 18 (Post-Trade Deadline)”

  1. Will says:

    The Rays playing .500 ball since April are ahead of the Orioles?

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