2024 MLB Power Rankings: Week 3

We update the ranks for all 30 teams after the third week of games.

Every week, the Pitcher List team will publish 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?



First and Worst



For the first time in this season’s Power Rankings, our analysts have the Braves tied at the top with the Dodgers.

Half the arms in Chavez Ravine are on the IL, and the Dodgers have dropped six of their past 10 games.

Meanwhile, the Braves keep rolling. They are now 12-5 with a +29 run differential, a mark that trails only the Guardians and Royals (take a bow, AL Central!).

Meanwhile, our analysts finally waived the white flag at the bottom of our rankings, conceding that the White Sox are worse than the Rockies and, therefore, MLB’s worst team.

The Southsiders are on a historically bad pace, currently sitting at 3-15 with a -54 run differential.

Let’s dive into our biggest risers and sliders in this week’s Pitcher List Power Rankings.



Movin’ On Up


Cleveland Guardians

Record: 12-6

Rank change: +6 (15 to 9)

The Guardians are playing well-rounded baseball.

They’re ninth in hitting fWAR, 10th in pitching fWAR, and 12th in Defensive Runs Saved. Jose Ramirez is a metronomic presence in the middle of the order, but Steven Kwan, Andrés Giménez, and Brothers Naylor make up a solid supporting cast. Also, Gimenez leads all MLB fielders in Outs Above Average.

The rotation is weaker, but the bullpen is strong behind Emmanuel Clase and Hunter Gaddis. The duo has 18 strikeouts and one earned run in 16 ⅔ relief innings.


Their season-opening sweep of Oakland inflates the numbers, as they outscored the hapless A’s 26-7. But they’ve also taken series from the Twins, Mariners and Red Soxall on the road.

I question whether the success is sustainable. The Guardians are significantly overperforming their batted-ball profile, ranking amongst the league dregs in Barrel rate (6%), Hard-Hit rate (39%) and Average Exit Velocity (89 mph).



But the Guardians are frisky. They’ll always make contact (fourth in Contact rate, 80%), so they’ll never strike out (eighth in strikeout rate, 20%). They’ll generally play good defense, and the bullpen will typically hold leads (sixth in Win Probability added, .92). Ramirez will always strike fear into the heart of pitchers with ducks on the pond.

Ultimately, Cleveland won’t beat itself, and the Guardians will hang around in most games. So far, that strategy is working, as the Guardians back up their stellar record with a stellar run differential.

I think the Guards will continue to win, even if only because they have the fourth-easiest remaining strength of schedule in MLB (.489 opposing winning percentage, per Tankathon), the easiest in the division. Three more sets against the White Sox will do that.

Are they a top-10 team? We think so right now!


Kansas City Royals

Record: 12-7

Rank change: +6 (23 to 17)

Stand up, AL Central stans!

As mentioned, the Guardians and Royals have the two highest run-differentials in baseball.

Kansas City is finally starting to build something after a decade of inactivity. The Royals were due for positive regressiontheir 2023 Pythag record was eight games better than their actual 2023 recordand they aggressively turned over their pitching staff in the offseason. So far, Seth Lugo, Michael Wacha, Will Smith, and Chris Stratton are showing returns.

Throw in Cole Ragans’ Cy Young ascension and Brady Signer’s surprisingly hot start, and the Royals rank fourth in pitching fWAR nearly 20 games into the year.


Things are similarly good on the offensive side of the ball, where the Royals rank 11th in hitting fWAR. They have a superstar in Bobby Witt Jr. and an up-and-coming power bat in Vinnie Pasquantino. Salvador Perez also refuses to age, with five ding dongs in his first 73 plate appearances.

Could the Royals be better defensively? Sure. But after three 100-loss seasons in the past six years, now is not the time for nit-picking.

Compared to the Guardians, this early-season success feels more sustainable.

The batted-ball numbers actually indicate positive regression. The Royals lead the league in Barrel rate (10%), and their xwOBA (.338) is 20 points higher than their actual wOBA (.318).

Their run prevention unit will regress. I don’t expect Singer and Lugo to sustain their mid-1.00s ERAs, and Wacha’s high-3.00s ERA feels a bit suspect. The pedestrian defense could come back to bite them.

Still, the Royals are building something. They have an MVP candidate, a Cy Young candidate, and half-decent complimentary pieces.

They’re making considerable strides. I’m uncertain how high they’ll fly, but they’re worthy of being power-ranked 17th or better.


Hittin’ the Skids


Houston Astros

Record: 6-14

Rank change: -5 (7 to 12)

It’s April 11th. Youngster Hunter Brown takes the mound for the Astros in Kansas City in the bottom of the first.

Here’s what happened next:

Brown was unceremoniously pulled from the game after 11 runs and nine hits across two outsa genuinely historical performance.


I was forced to finally address the elephant in the room: What the hell is happening in Houston?

The ‘Stros were widely considered among the league’s elite entering the season, but they sit eight games under .500 through 20 games.

The pitching staff is mostly to blame. It’s tough when Luis Garcia, Lance McCullers Jr., José Urquidy, Framber Valdez, Justin Verlander, and Kendall Graveman are on the IL, but Houston still ranks 24th in pitching fWAR and 29th in staff ERA (5.24). The Astros have allowed the second-most runs in MLB (110), trailing only the Rockies (117).

And I don’t know if it will get better.

Houston’s FIP and xFIP rank toward the bottom of the league. Cristian Javier (.270 wOBA, .300 xwOBA) and Ronel Blanco (.152 wOBA, .207 xwOBA) are due for significant negative regression.

That said, many of those injured pitchers are slowly starting to make their way back to the mound. Verlander is slated to start against the Nationals on Friday. Garcia recently threw a bullpen session. Valdez, Urquidy, and Garcia all began throwing off the front slope of the mound this week.

If the Astros can get healthier in the rotation and bullpen, things could turn around quickly.

The offense crushes the ball, trailing only the Braves in wRC+ (126) and the Orioles in xwOBA (.343). They’ve also been unlucky with late-game variance, posting a 0-5 record in one-run games and a 0-2 record in extra-inning games. The lousy close-game luck should turn soon.

But the ‘Stros need healthy arms, and they need them now before this rocket spirals out of control. If they get healthy arms, they’ll rise next week. Otherwise, they’ll continue to slide.


St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 9-10

Rank change: -5 (19 to 24)

I’ve been the high man on the Cardinals among our Pitcher List Power Rankings team. While the rest of the team had ranked them among the 10 worst teams in MLB across the first few weeks, I’ve kept them in the 12-to-14 range.

I’ve finally conceded, dropping the Cardinals to 19th in my personal Week 3 rankings, explaining their significant slide in our overall Week 3 rankings.

The Cardinals have talent, but most of it is in the lineup. And everything can go sideways when the Redbirds aren’t hitting.

Right now, they aren’t hitting. The Cardinals rank 24th in hitting fWAR and wRC+ (85), and their batted-ball profile is similarly poor. Paul Goldschmidt is off to his worst start ever (48 OPS+), youngsters Nolan Gorman (73 OPS+) and Jordan Walker (53 OPS+) can’t hit the broad side of the barn, and Arenado isn’t producing at his typical elite level (102 OPS+).

The Cardinals have lost six of their past 10 games, scoring more than three runs only once during the stretch. That’s not how you win games when the top of your rotation goes Miles MikolasSonny GrayLance Lynn.

Even worse, the Cardinals have lost their Cardinal way in the field. A team built on defense with two perennial Gold Glove candidates at the corners ranks 20th in Defensive Runs Saved and 14th in Outs Above Average.

I quite like the bullpen, as the Ryan Helsely-JoJo RomeroAndrew Kittredge trio is formidable. But they’ve struggled in higher-leverage situations, ranking 25th among MLB bullpens in FanGraphs’ Clutch metric.

I’m worried that the Cardinals lineup is what it is, as their underlying metrics don’t indicate positive regression. It could be another long season in St. Louis if the top of the order doesn’t straighten itself out.

Ultimately, I was wrong. The Cardinals are a bottom-10 team as currently constructed.


One response to “2024 MLB Power Rankings: Week 3”

  1. Chris McGrath says:

    How idiotic are your ratings?
    You would probably get that question wrong just like your ratings are wrong.

    The Mets win series against the Braves, Royals, Reds, Dodgers and Sweep the Pirates but you’ll rate all those teams as better than the Mets because I guess you don’t like them or understand maybe you just don’t understand baseball.

    You are an embarrassment to the name McGrath.

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