After playing a larger variety of teams in the first six weeks of the season thanks to the new schedule, the American League East has cemented itself as the most competitive division in baseball — and in our MLB Power Rankings.

All five clubs reside in the top 10, with the two most historically dominant AL East teams — the Yankees and Red Sox — bringing up the rear for the group. But it begs the question: Is this level of success sustainable?

Our expert panel has combined to rank every team in baseball based on a combination of what we’ve seen so far and what we already knew going into the 162-game marathon that is a full baseball season. We also asked ESPN MLB experts David Schoenfield, Bradford Doolittle, Jesse Rogers, Alden Gonzalez and Joon Lee to weigh in with an observation for all 30 teams.

Week 5 | Preseason rankings

tb - Replay Madness

Record: 29-9

Previous ranking: 1

The Rays keep rolling, going 9-4 since the team encountered a hiccup against the Astros, getting shut out in back-to-back games. Wander Franco continues to lead the offense, collecting 10 hits in 29 at-bats over the past week, including two homers. Franco could find himself in the MVP conversation if he continues this type of production, leading all position players with 2.5 Baseball-Reference WAR (bWAR). — Lee

atl - Replay Madness

Record: 25-12

Previous ranking: 2

Max Fried‘s forearm strain will require him to be shut down until he’s healed, which could be up to two months, but the Braves appear hopeful they caught the injury before something more severe develops. (A forearm strain is often a precursor to Tommy John surgery, which Fried had as a minor leaguer in 2014.) In more positive news, Sean Murphy and Ronald Acuna Jr. continue to rake and ranked first and fourth among position players in FanGraphs WAR (fWAR) through Tuesday. Murphy had a six-RBI game against the Mets on May 1, four RBIs against the Orioles on May 5 and four more against the Red Sox on Tuesday, pushing him into the National League lead with 32. He’d get my vote right now as NL MVP over Acuna. — Schoenfield

lad - Replay Madness

Record: 23-15

Previous ranking: 3

The Dodgers possess the depth to sustain most setbacks. But with Walker Buehler spending most — if not all — of the 2023 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, they needed one of their dynamic young starting pitchers to step up behind the established duo of Julio Urias and Clayton Kershaw. Enter Dustin May. Seven starts in, May boasts a 2.68 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. His strikeout rate is only 18.4%, even though he consistently throws in the upper 90s, and his groundball rate is below average despite the presence of a devastating sinker. His exit data, meanwhile, is around league average. So how, exactly, is he doing this? Some of it might have been luck thus far, but May undoubtedly has the stuff to produce at this level moving forward. — Gonzalez

tor - Replay Madness

Record: 21-26

Previous ranking: 5

Toronto received a reminder of how deep the American League East is when it was swept by the Red Sox in a four-game series at Fenway Park, though the Jays rebounded by sweeping the Pirates. One major encouraging sign for this team: Outfielder Daulton Varsho had four multihit games during the past week, helping raise his average more than 40 points after a slow start to the season. Additionally, righty Chris Bassitt had his strongest start of the season, going seven innings and allowing no runs on four hits while striking out five and walking four against Pittsburgh. — Lee

- Replay Madness

Record: 22-14

Previous ranking: 8

It’s a different hero every week for the still-in-first place Rangers. This time it’s outfielder Leody Taveras, who delivered in a big way over a seven-day span ending Tuesday — going 11-for-23 (.478) during that time frame while getting on base well over 50% of the time. It’s been a different story for the Rangers on the mound, as closer Andrew Heaney gave up nine runs in 11⅓ innings over two starts. He’s been wildly unpredictable in his first year with the Rangers, giving up at least two earned runs in five of his seven starts for a 5.25 ERA on the season. Without Jacob deGrom, Texas will need more from its pitching staff. — Rogers

hou - Replay Madness

Record: 19-18

Previous ranking: 4

The Astros received some rough injury news last week when Luis Garcia was removed eight pitches into a start against the Giants because of what was later diagnosed as a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). Garcia is now headed for Tommy John surgery and is done for the season. The Astros’ rotation was already without Jose Urquidy (shoulder) and Lance McCullers Jr. (elbow). So, the vaunted depth of the Astros’ pitching is very much being put to the test. J.P. France and Brandon Bielak both got starts over the past week. — Doolittle

bal - Replay Madness

Record: 24-13

Previous ranking: 9

The Orioles dropped two of three to the Braves but rebounded by grabbing a series win over the red-hot Rays. Outfielder Anthony Santander had a strong week, collecting 12 hits and hitting three home runs in 29 at-bats. While Baltimore looks like an exciting young team off to a hot start, there are areas to improve upon, with the pitching staff in the middle of the pack for team ERA so far this season. Reliever Yennier Cano leads the team’s pitchers in bWAR, suggesting there’s room for improvement among the starting rotation. — Lee

sd - Replay Madness

Record: 19-18

Previous ranking: 10

Manager Bob Melvin made a relatively drastic change to his lineup on Tuesday, moving Jake Cronenworth up into the No. 2 hole and sliding three of his superstars back a spot. It led to one of their most complete offensive showings of the young season, particularly with regard to Manny Machado and Juan Soto, who combined to reach base seven times. The Padres’ offense has been surprisingly inconsistent thus far, beginning this week ranked 23rd in runs per game. At some point, one would think, it will all click. And perhaps Tuesday was the start of that. “It’s just putting it all together,” Machado said after Tuesday’s win over the Twins. “If we can do that, we’re going to be the best team in baseball.” — Gonzalez

nyy - Replay Madness

Record: 21-17

Previous ranking: 12

The Yankees received some relief from the injury bug ravaging the team, as slugger Aaron Judge returned to the lineup on Tuesday after dealing with a hip ailment. They will need the help, as New York ranks 19th in the league in fWAR while sitting 23rd in batting average. There seems to be more injury relief on the horizon, with Luis Severino starting a rehab assignment and third baseman Josh Donaldson increasing the intensity of his on-field work. New York did receive a potential setback, though, with Carlos Rodon’s back injury deemed “chronic” by doctors. — Lee

bos - Replay Madness

Record: 22-16

Previous ranking: 15

Following a four-game sweep of the division-rival Blue Jays, Boston continued its hot streak with a series win against the Phillies on the road before splitting a two-game series with the Braves. Outfielder Masataka Yoshida took American League Player of the Week honors for May 1-7 after hitting .480 (12-for-25) with two doubles, two homers, eight RBIs, a walk, seven runs scored, an .800 slugging percentage and a .519 on-base percentage. Meanwhile, first baseman Triston Casas is showing some flashes at the plate, collecting five hits in 15 at-bats over the past week. — Lee

mil - Replay Madness

Record: 20-17

Previous ranking: 7

Milwaukee blew its chance to retake command of the division while the Pirates were playing the Rays and Jays in the East. Instead, the Brewers endured their own six-game losing skid, which included getting swept by the Rockies and barely escaping the Giants series with a win. Like for others in the division, regression has reared its head in Milwaukee — in this case, on offense. Playing at Coors Field did the Brewers no favors, as they scored just nine runs in the three games there. They woke up a bit in a 9-3 win over the Dodgers on Monday but followed that up with only a couple of runs scored in losses on Tuesday and Wednesday. If Christian Yelich could raise his OPS over .700, it would provide a big help. — Rogers

min - Replay Madness

Record: 20-17

Previous ranking: 11

The Twins and, presumably, their fans were understandably thrilled when Carlos Correa‘s foray into free agency saw his flirtations with the Giants and Mets fall through, landing him back in the Twins Cities. The first few weeks of his return to Minnesota have been far from a fairy tale. Correa went 1-for-12 in a three-game series at Cleveland over the weekend, and then, in the first game of the Twins’ return to Target Field, he went 0-for-5, dropping his season average to as low as .185 on Tuesday.

Correa himself likes to point out that he’s a slow starter, though his career numbers suggest that it’s more true that he’s sometimes a slow starter. The underlying metrics aren’t alarming. Most of his ratios are around his career standards. He is going to the opposite field more and his average exit velocity is only about average, a tick down for him. As this is the first season of Correa’s new six-year contract, everyone will feel a lot better if his bat warms up with the weather. — Doolittle

nym - Replay Madness

Record: 18-19

Previous ranking: 6

The Mets are paying Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Kodai Senga, Carlos Carrasco and Jose Quintana a combined $128.6 million in 2023 — higher than the Opening Day payroll of 12 teams — but that group has started just 16 of the team’s first 37 games, including Verlander’s second start on Wednesday night.

Scherzer was scratched from his start on Tuesday because of neck spasms, and between that, his ejection and subsequent 10-game suspension for too much sticky substance and a short outing last time out, he has pitched just 22 innings in four starts (and has a 5.52 ERA). The fill-ins haven’t done well, either: David Peterson, Tylor Megill, Joey Lucchesi, Jose Butto and Denyi Reyes are a combined 5-9 with an ERA over 5.00. Most of that is on Peterson, who was solid in 2022 but is 1-5 with a 7.68 ERA. As a result: The Mets, once 14-7, are now under .500. — Schoenfield

ari - Replay Madness

Record: 20-17

Previous ranking: 17

Raise your hand if you had Geraldo Perdomo as the D-backs’ best hitter this season. Put it down — you’re lying. It’s still early, but Perdomo, Arizona’s 23-year-old shortstop, boasts a team-leading 1.033 OPS, with nearly as many walks (11) as strikeouts (15). Yes, the same Perdomo whose .262 slugging percentage in 2022 ranked dead last among those with at least 500 plate appearances. Perdomo’s slugging percentage is now up 311 points! He’s a solid defender at a premium position, but if he can continue to provide something close to this type of offensive production, the D-backs will be in business. — Gonzalez

laa - Replay Madness

Record: 20-18

Previous ranking: 18

Six weeks in and the Angels look … decent? They sport a winning record and a positive run differential. Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout are playing up to their capabilities, Anthony Rendon is healthy — though he’s still waiting for his power to reemerge — and the back end of their bullpen seems to be rounding into shape. They do, however, have a catching problem. With Logan O’Hoppe sidelined by shoulder surgery, Max Stassi slow in his recovery from a hip injury and Chad Wallach recently suffering a concussion, the Angels were forced to call up a 28-year-old named Chris Okey, who had seven games of major league experience and was slugging .225 in the Pacific Coast League. If the Angels hope to contend, they’ll need to address their depth at this position at some point. — Gonzalez

sea - Replay Madness

Record: 18-19

Previous ranking: 20

Bryce Miller had a second straight strong start to begin his career, allowing one run and striking out 15 in 12 innings, and George Kirby just delivered one of his best starts as a pro with seven scoreless innings against the Rangers, but the Seattle offense continues to struggle. It’s time to admit the Mariners have a major strikeout problem from their best hitters. Through Tuesday, Teoscar Hernandez has 51 K’s and just five walks in 36 games. Julio Rodriguez has 45 K’s and 11 walks in 34 games. Eugenio Suarez has 45 K’s in 36 games. All are hitting under .230. Jarred Kelenic and Cal Raleigh are also averaging more than a strikeout per game. If those guys don’t improve, the Mariners will be stuck at .500 no matter how good the starting pitching. — Schoenfield

phi - Replay Madness

Record: 18-19

Previous ranking: 14

Philly lost six in a row to the Astros, Dodgers and Red Sox to fall back under .500. The Phillies are built around their stars and not all of them have been producing. Trea Turner has the feel of somebody perhaps feeling the pressure to live up to the big contract, with a higher strikeout rate and higher launch angle — the signs of somebody trying to hit home runs. A related concern, however: He ranked in the 57th percentile in chase rate in 2021, fell to the 22nd percentile in 2022 and is way down in the 10th percentile in 2023. He’s swinging at too many non-strikes. Kyle Schwarber, meanwhile, is hitting under .200 as he continues to morph into Adam Dunn — home runs and walks, but also a ton of whiffs and low batting averages. He had a 132 OPS+ last year, which is good; he’s below 100 this year, which isn’t good for a middle-of-the-order hitter. — Schoenfield

pit - Replay Madness

Record: 21-17

Previous ranking: 13

It’s been an ugly week for the Pirates, who somehow still find themselves in first place despite a seven-game losing streak that was followed by one win and then two more losses. At least they were able to cross Tampa Bay and Toronto off their schedule, because facing them was a miserable experience. The once-surprising Pirates staff compiled a 5.16 ERA from May 3 to May 9, third worst in the NL over that time span. Regression was predicted by many, and the Pirates lived up to it. Could a drop in the standings be next? Smart money says it’s coming. — Rogers

chc - Replay Madness

Record: 18-19

Previous ranking: 16

The Cubs are trying to thread the needle of a very winnable division while debuting players during the end of a mini retool. On Tuesday, the bottom three players in their lineup were two rookies playing in their first few days in the big leagues and another player making his season debut after being called up from Triple-A. So it’s not a surprise things have been a little up and down for the Cubs lately, especially on offense. Over the past 10 days, they’re averaging just over three runs per game and calls for veteran Eric Hosmer to be designated for assignment are getting stronger. His WRC-plus is just 74. — Rogers

cle - Replay Madness

Record: 17-20

Previous ranking: 19

Run prevention is the foundation of these Guardians, but if Cleveland is going to successfully defend its AL Central title, it’ll have to hit at least a little. While that sounds like a low bar, the Guardians have not managed to clear it. The offense has been one of baseball’s worst over the season’s opening weeks, and the problem seems to be getting worse, not better. The Guardians’ 162-game runs scored pace was 810 as of April 9. Not bad. Last season, Cleveland scored 698 runs. That number has been going steadily down ever since. After dropping a 5-0 whitewash to the Tigers on Wednesday and slipping behind Detroit into third place in the AL Central, the Guardians are on pace to score 552 runs. That would be the fewest runs Cleveland has scored over a non-shortened season since 1971. — Doolittle

mia - Replay Madness

Record: 19-19

Previous ranking: 22

It continues to be a wild up-and-down ride for the Marlins, who are now 12-0 in one-run games and hovering around .500 despite getting outscored by 54 runs. Luis Arraez and Jorge Soler continue to carry the offense. Arraez had a nine-game stretch from April 30 through May 9 in which he hit .324 and got at least one hit in every game — but his average dropped from .438 to .408. Soler has been hot in May, including a two-homer, five-RBI game in Tuesday’s 6-2 win over Arizona. Sandy Alcantara continues to search for that Cy Young form. He scuffled against the Braves last Tuesday, throwing 103 pitches in just five innings, but rebounded with a strong outing of 8⅓ innings to beat the Cubs on Sunday. — Schoenfield

sf - Replay Madness

Record: 16-20

Previous ranking: 23

The Giants had a chance to win their third consecutive series to begin the month of May on Wednesday, but Sean Manaea was charged with eight runs (four earned) and couldn’t complete the third inning against the hapless Nationals. Manaea, signed to a two-year, $25 million contract over the offseason, has a 7.96 ERA with 16 walks through his first 26 innings as a member of the Giants. — Gonzalez

stl - Replay Madness

Record: 13-25

Previous ranking: 21

Could the ship be righting itself? The Cardinals produced their first (mini) win streak of the year when they defeated the Tigers on Sunday then took a series against the Cubs this week. Of course, as all that was happening, they were creating more than just a mini controversy when they very publicly pulled Willson Contreras from his starting duties as catcher. He might return to the job soon but not before work is done to better the flow and communication between pitcher and catcher. There’s less time to think with a pitch timer, and the Cardinals aren’t maximizing all that they want to be. That improvement might come through pregame preparation. — Rogers

det - Replay Madness

Record: 17-19

Previous ranking: 26

The Tigers’ push into second place in the division is one of the bigger surprises of the season (even if it is the AL Central), given where they projected to finish and because they seemed intent to justify those projections by starting the season 2-9. Still, the bigger picture for the Tigers remains the progress of their young players and so far, that news has been encouraging. Spencer Torkelson is still trying to find his stride, but he has trimmed his strikeout rate and is hitting the ball hard more consistently. His numbers have been on the rise over the past week, with his OPS jumping more than 100 points during that span. Meanwhile, Riley Greene has been one of the team’s hottest hitters since late April. Since April 26, Greene has hit .327 with an .820 OPS. — Doolittle

cin - Replay Madness

Record: 15-21

Previous ranking: 24

If you can believe it, the Reds were the only NL central team without a losing record over a 10-game span ending Tuesday. Going 5-5 probably never felt so good, but there are underlying pitching issues that need working out. Nick Lodolo has given up 50 hits in just 34⅓ innings to go along with a league-leading 10 home runs allowed. And Graham Ashcraft had a forgettable start against the White Sox over the weekend, giving up eight runs over 1⅔ innings. The result of all this was an MLB-worst 7.16 ERA for Cincinnati in its past five games (ending Tuesday). It’s a miracle the team actually went 5-5. — Rogers

chw - Replay Madness

Record: 13-25

Previous ranking: 25

While Andrew Vaughn‘s three-run winning homer did beat the mighty Rays on April 30, ending a 10-game skid and starting a three-game win streak, it did not seem to spark a prolonged streak of inspired play for the ChiSox. Instead, it has been win one, lose one over the past week. The news around the team has been in the same vein. In the “lose one” category, Eloy Jimenez landed on the IL after undergoing an appendectomy in Cincinnati. He’ll be out for a few weeks. But the “win one” items are pretty good: Liam Hendriks is back on the field and has been sharp during a rehab stint. And Yoan Moncada‘s ailing back improved enough for him to go on a rehab stint of his own, and his return to the majors looks imminent.

Perhaps the best news for a White Sox team that has possibly been baseball’s biggest disappointment is that it has been allowed to remain in the AL Central. Chicago never fell more than nine games back, and the win-one/lose one pattern was enough to cut 1½ games from that nadir. As bad as it has been, the White Sox still have plenty to play for. — Doolittle

col - Replay Madness

Record: 16-22

Previous ranking: 28

The Rockies are playing better of late, winning seven of nine games to begin May. So, we’ll do our best to make this week’s section a positive one and point you in the direction of Kris Bryant, who played in only about a quarter of the team’s games in 2022, his first year of a massive contract. Bryant’s 2023 is off to a much better start, with a .301/.380/.451 slash line through his first 35 games. Still: He is one of only two regulars, along with Elias Diaz, with an adjusted OPS significantly above league average. — Gonzalez

wsh - Replay Madness

Record: 16-21

Previous ranking: 27

MacKenzie Gore is 3-2 with a 3.65 ERA and showing improvement across the board, especially in the effectiveness of his curveball and slider. Last year, batters hit .250 with a 32% swing-and-miss rate against the curveball; this year, .154 with a 42% whiff rate. Batters hit .286 against the slider last season compared to .227 this season. The four-seamer hasn’t been as effective, although Gore continues to throw it 60% of the time — the fourth-highest four-seam percentage among starting pitchers. Of note as well: He hasn’t faced any of the bottom 10 offenses in his seven starts. — Schoenfield

kc - Replay Madness

Record: 11-27

Previous ranking: 29

The Royals have to be pleased with the progress of first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino, who has validated a solid debut season in 2022 with across-the-board improvements that have made him a complete package as a hitter. Certainly he has the slash stats covered, with a career batting line of .296/.383/.481. A left masher, Pasquantino has hit .330 against southpaws so far in his career. The one thing remaining is for Pasquantino to hit for power more consistently, as his sub-.500 slugging is a little light for someone with his bat-on-ball skills, advanced approach and 6-4, 245-pound build. He looks like the real deal. — Doolittle

oak - Replay Madness

Record: 8-30

Previous ranking: 30

The Athletics appear to be another step closer to leaving Oakland after the team reportedly reached an agreement with Bally’s Corporation to build a $1.5 billion stadium on the Tropicana Hotel site that resides on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, lowering the request for taxpayer funding for the project to $395 million. As for the Athletics, the team is currently on pace for around 45 victories, which would be the third-worst winning percentage in MLB history. — Lee

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MLB Power Rankings Week 6: AL East teams dominate top 10