Power Rankings Roundup: How are the Blue Jays looking after Week Two of the season?
By Edward Eng
With about a couple weeks of MLB games into the books for the 2023 season, in terms of team performance, the Tampa Bay Rays by far have been running away with the MLB Power Rankings in the majority of the sources, beginning the season on an 11-0 run with no apparent flaws or weaknesses of significance as of yet. Unfortunately, this is the opponent the Toronto Blue Jays will be facing heading into the weekend series later this week.
So how do the Blue Jays’ fare and match up against the Rays? Let’s take a closer look at the Power Rankings to see where they stand after their 7-4 start to the season, which encompassed many unpredictable, roller coaster, up and down games.
MLB Power Ranking
Previous Week's Ranking
Thus far, the Jays rank mainly in the top 10 in the league and had improved on their position from the previous week for all of the main sources other than MLB.com and FanSided. FanSided, surprisingly, are the only ones that have them worst than the previous week and ranked in the bottom half of the league. Bleacher Report gave the Jays the greatest bump, moving them up 14 spots from 22nd to 8th in a span of one week.
In terms of the main reason why the Jays were given much praise by the various sources to be highly ranked in the top 10 echelon, the primary focus was on their offensive production serving as the main driving force for their success. The power surge was led by Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the AL Player of the Week Matt Chapman and company, with Chapman carrying the bulk of the load as one of the best hitters in the game so far. Also, CBS Sports highlighted that the Jays began the 2023 season on a long, grueling road trip, unlike most other teams in the league, and actually came out of it quite successful and impressive, including the huge comeback win in this past Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels.
One of the main apparent flaws that was preventing the Jays from being ranked higher by the sources was the effectiveness of their pitching. Both their starting pitchers and bullpen have shown signs of inconsistency, where they could be amazing one game and terrible in another. In particular, the Athletic and FOX Sports pointed out that they will need better performances from José Berríos in the long run to help stabilize the rotation. FanSided was particularly harsh on the Jays, giving them the lowest Power Ranking at 16th, believing that despite decent power hitting, erratic pitching had dragged them down more than expected. Bleacher Report also emphasized that winning driven by offensive production will not be sustainable if the pitching staff continues to have an ERA hovering around 5.00 for an extended period of time.
The good news is the bulk of the sources have the Jays trending up in terms of their rankings, so if they can work out their pitching woes sooner than later, it will go a long way in helping the team win more frequently and comfortably without pure reliance on their power offensive output, as seen from the recent games. In addition, it would enable them to catch up to the Rays faster and narrow the gap to put them on more of a somewhat even playing field when they meet this weekend.