MLB Power Rankings: Yankees off to perfect start in 2024, plus whose opening weekend was fool’s gold?

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Time to settle in, because we’re now looking at six months of weekly power rankings before hitting the playoffs. Try to contain your excitement.  Given that we’ve only seen four days’ worth of baseball from most teams with the majority of only having played three or four games, it would be incredibly foolish to strongly react to some of the results we’ve seen. Speaking of that word in there, foolish, I’m sure everyone noticed today is April 1. 

To me, April Fool’s Day more than anything else embodies poor attempts at humor and I’ll be avoiding that lane. There are ways to present a good April Fool’s joke in writing, but I’m of the mind that I’ll leave humor to those in the field of comedy.

I can, however, latch onto the topic and merge it with power rankings. We’ve only seen one series and there are bound to be results that don’t really stand up the rest of the season. We ignore when the Braves lose a series to the A’s in the middle of the season (they did last year), but when it’s the first series of the season, some people have a tendency to overreact. It’s human nature. 

With that in mind, which teams provided their fan bases with some fool’s gold in the first series? I’ve got some guesses that could obviously be wrong, but we’re gonna give it a shot anyway. These are fool’s gold candidates, not necessarily me predicting a quick demise. 

Way-Too-Early Fool’s Gold Candidates

Guardians
Taking three of four on the road to start the season is excellent. It’s just that the Guardians were only tasked with the A’s this past weekend extended. These A’s are likely improved from last season, but last season’s squad lost 112 games. Even an improved team is a terrible one. We’ll start to learn a lot more about the Guardians in the next week, as they visit Seattle and Minnesota before finally arriving home on April 8.

Brewers
Again, this is quite a good start on the road. The Brewers are 3-0 and have already had two games where they held their opponent to just one run. The defending NL Central champs suffered some losses over the winter, but they also have plenty of holdovers and there’s talent in house.

I just think it’s entirely possible that the Mets are just really bad. Maybe a combination of Mets bad/Brewers good? Time will tell, but I’m not totally buying the Brewers as being as good as that 3-0 record. 

Pirates
Heading into the season, I made sure to point out multiple places in writing and on the air that the NL Central was intriguing to me because all five teams had a legitimate chance to win the division. I had to convince people that I was serious when I said that the Pirates winning the NL Central would not surprise me. They were 76-86 last season and could get full seasons from Henry Davis, Ke’Bryan Hayes and, perhaps most importantly, Oneil Cruz

Then again, the Marlins were an easy prediction for a huge backslide this season and I firmly believe they’ll be among the worst teams in baseball this season. 

That’s still an impressive four-game sweep and good teams take care of business against bad ones. I’m just not sure they are worthy of a huge celebration just yet. 

Tigers
Again, it’s a road sweep to start the season! That’s great. 

But, yeah, the White Sox are pitiful. 

There’s another wrinkle to this one. You know how every so often we’ll come across a team playing way over its head and people start pointing to the record in one-run games as evidence that the current run is “unsustainable?” You know you’ve seen it. Sometimes teams keep it going all year. The 2012 Orioles come to mind. How about those 2023 Marlins? Yeah, they’re already giving it back this year. A lot of other teams fall apart because they were fluky in their early-season success and the “one-run record” analysis proves to be spot on. 

The Tigers are 3-0 overall and 3-0 in one-run games in 2024. 

Uh oh. 

Biggest Movers

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1


Braves

Sure, they lost a game, but we deal in series in this sport. The Braves were the best team heading into the season and just won two of three games on the road against a very strong Phillies team. This isn’t worthy of a demotion. 2-1

2


Dodgers

The pitching will be up and down all season, creating the atmosphere for some very entertaining Dodgers losses. Just look at everything so far. They lost a game in which they scored 11 runs and another in extra innings after tying it in the ninth. 4-2

3


Yankees

Here’s the winner for the most impressive start. Three come-from-behind wins in a four-game road sweep over a major contender. Damn. 5 4-0

4


Orioles

I don’t think the Orioles have had a true ace since Mike Mussina. Corbin Burnes is one. How about that Opening Day outing? You’re gonna love him! 2-1

5


Rangers

The 2023 Rangers were proof positive that you can win a World Series with a bad bullpen. They had more blown saves than saves! The Rangers this season have terrible bullpen numbers and a 2-1 record. I’d say they’re right on schedule. That offense is terrifying. 5 2-1

6


Diamondbacks

I didn’t include Diamondbacks in the “fool’s gold” section because they are the defending NL champs and I like their roster enough to believe in a playoff return. The 3-1 record is great, too, but it’s hard to get a read when they were only dealing with the pathetic Road Rockies. We’ve long documented the haplessness of the Road Rockies here in the Official Power Rankings. 7 3-1

7


Blue Jays

All things considered, coming away with a split in St. Pete is a perfectly acceptable result and Kevin Gausman looked like himself following that scare with the shoulder. The Blue Jays were given a brutal road trip to the start the season, as they now head to Houston and then the Bronx. Wait, maybe the Houston leg will be easy! (We’ll get to that down in No. 14). 4 2-2

8


Rays

How about that Zach Littell, huh? I totally called it! Yeah, I know I said he’d have a big season and this was just one start, but it made me excited. 2 2-2

9


Phillies

Those first two games were surely tough to take in their own ways, especially after an offseason that followed three straight losses to blow the NLCS. Still, losing two of three in the regular season to the Braves isn’t the biggest deal in the world. The Phillies salvaged Sunday and now they’ll probably kick the Reds’ teeth in. 4 1-2

10


Twins

Once we get deeper into the season, run differential can be a handy tool at times. The Twins’ results in Kansas City give us a good illustration as to how it can get skewed early, though. The Twins were clearly the better team through two wins and a +7 run differential. On Sunday, the Royals just went bonkers in a game that appears to be a one-off. The Twins now have a -4 run differential. This doesn’t mean they “deserved” to be 1-2 or even 0-3 at all. 1 2-1

11


Giants

Not only did the Giants hold their own in San Diego, but they had a feisty look to them in the first three games. Now a bigger test awaits them in Chavez Ravine. 4 2-2

12


Padres

Major potential here for viewers who love lots of scoring. The Padres have already scored at least 13 runs in a game twice this year. They’ve also allowed at least eight runs three times. Already on their ledger are a 15-11 win, 9-6 loss and 13-4 win. 2 3-3

13


Mariners

They managed a split, but, good grief, they are striking out at a monster rate. That’s now 45 strikeouts in four games. 6 2-2

14


Astros

Surely Astros fans are tired of hearing about the home record from last season, but the team just won’t let the story die. After going 39-42 at home in the regular season, the Astros were 1-5 at home in the playoffs and it cost them the AL pennant (and arguably a second straight World Series title). And now they go out and lose four straight at home to start the 2024 season? This will be a story as long as they make it one. 11 0-4

15


Pirates

They didn’t just win, they showed mettle with multiple comebacks and two extra-inning wins. It’s not like everything went perfectly, either. What a start. 5 4-0

16


Brewers

It’s only three games, so the obvious caveats apply, but Jackson Chourio certainly looks the part. And he’s only 20 years old. 5 3-0

17


Cubs

Losing two of three in Texas — especially since they were about 10 feet away from a Christopher Morel grand slam that surely would’ve won the opener — isn’t all that bad. The Justin Steele injury could prove to be bad, however, as Jameson Taillon continues to work back from injury. Basically, the Steele injury is far more concerning than the 1-2 record. 5 2-2

18


Tigers

The Tigers now have three against the Mets in Citi Field before opening at home with three against the A’s. There’s a good chance for a really nice start to the season here. 1 3-0

19


Guardians

Shane Bieber struck out 11 on Opening Day. He hadn’t gotten to double digits in strikeouts since Sept. 1, 2022. After doing it in half his starts in 2020, he only got there three times in 2022 and failed to do so in 21 starts last year. 4 3-1

20


Red Sox

Tyler O’Neill with the MLB record in homering on five straight Opening Days is one of those beautiful baseball trivia questions. Also, the split in Seattle has to be considered a success, but with the blown game Saturday night and Kenley Jansen’s back barking they have to feel a bit empty. 2 2-2

21


Reds

HUUUUUUUGE exhale, Reds fans. Those Will Benson and Christian Encarnacion-Strand homers made it a successful start instead of dropping two of three at home against a terrible team. 5 2-1

22


Cardinals

I’m not sure there’s much to be taken away from that first series. The Dodgers are just a far superior baseball team and that isn’t much of an insult. If you’re the Cardinals, you just flush it and move on. 5 1-3

23


Royals

After two pretty terrible games to start, Sunday’s offensive explosion will help them breathe a little easier. Also, how about that Bobby Witt Jr. start to the season? He might be a keeper. 1 1-2

24


Angels

Look, I know that calling a team meeting after just two games sounds outlandish, but the Angels won on Sunday. It obviously worked. They’re gonna roll now and I definitely mean it. 2 1-2

25


Nationals

Opening Day debacle but then just a few outs from taking two of three in Cincy. What a bummer. The good news is they played tough in the second and third games. 2 1-2

26


Mets

An awful lot of low points with very few high points (that Pete Alonso homer on Saturday was a good one). Few teams looked worse other than the ones we expected to be embarrassing. 8 0-3

27


Marlins

“But Matt, I thought you said not to overreact to one series?!” It’s true. I did. And I had the Marlins ranked 25th before the season and played the under on their gambling win total. They were gonna be bad anyway, but the pitching injuries have truly ravaged them. 2 0-4

28


Rockies

At least they didn’t get swept. 1 1-4

29


Athletics

At least they didn’t get swept. 1 1-3

30


White Sox

Garrett Crochet threw well on Opening Day and Luis Robert still looks great. That’s two positives. 2 0-3



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