MLBPACE Rankings

MLB PACE Rankings: How Good (or Bad) Has Each MLB Team Really Been So Far?

Here they are! A fresh new concept called PACE Rankings has arrived to track all 30 MLB teams and their real-time performance. Dig in like only Rickey Henderson would.

Spoiler alert: These are not the “Power Rankings” that you see plastered all over the internet. If your bag is skimming the subjectivity of who’s hot and who’s not among Major League Baseball’s 30 teams, there’s a site named Google that could point you in the right direction. The Intermission‘s PACE Rankings (Performance Against Created Expectations) on the other hand, are fresh. It’s wins and losses that paint the entire picture here. And no, this isn’t a simple “Standings” page either. While there is a tiny bit of science and zero subjectivity in these rankings, there is some judging happening within the embedded commentary, provided for your (and my) entertainment. Enjoy, and tell a friend!

In this very first edition, we’re assessing the landscape of the 2023 Major League Baseball regular season, after two months of play. It’s a snapshot of the good, the bad, and the ugly. There have been some major surprises (Are the Pirates kinda back? Could the Rangers win 100 for the first time ever? Ugh, the Jays.) and some inexplicable disappointments (Are the Padres and Mets serious with those payrolls? What the hell is going on in Philly, Cleveland, and St. Louis?). However, there’s no other marathon in professional team sports quite like the MLB summer gauntlet, where teams still have loads of time to course correct or fall back to earth. Let’s go!

Touch here for PACE Definitions & Info

PACE Rankings = Performance Against Created Expectations. These rankings are determined by something called “PACE,” where the concept is to compare each of the 30 MLB team’s real-time winning pace (percentage) against that of the “created” expectations prior to the regular season starting — essentially, the win totals set forth (often called “over/unders”) by the various oddsmakers. To the layperson, we’re basically looking at whether the 30 teams are as good or bad as we/they expected before the season started.

Rank = Ranking. This is the order, plain and simple. The first number you’ll see is the current edition’s ranking, while the second number in brackets (future editions) is the previous ranking from the last published version.

PACE = PACE Factor. This is the element that determines the rankings; the be all and end all. It is the difference between a team’s Expected Wins and Projected Wins (more on those below).

W-L = Win-Loss Record. Each team’s current regular season win-loss record.

STR = Streak. Each team’s current winning or losing streak.

EXP = Expected Wins. Each team’s number of expected wins, as predicted before the regular season started. The totals here are an aggregate/average of four independent oddsmaker sites (Action Network, CBS Sports, Caesar’s Sportsbook and This number will remain static all season.

PROJ = Projected Wins. This is the number of wins that each team projects to finish the regular season with (at the time of publication). It’s calculated by multiplying the team’s current winning percentage by 162 regular season games.

Where a team features a clickable blue link, it will take you directly to their commentary below. Different teams may be highlighted in each published edition.

Games concluded as of Thursday, May 25:

96.2RED SOX26-24L478.084.2
22-9.2BLUE JAYS26-25L291.882.6
26-17.2WHITE SOX21-31L182.665.4

1. Baltimore Orioles – Wait a sec. Labeled the laughingstock of the league just a mere two seasons ago, the 2023 version of the BALTIMORE ORIOLES are only 3 games back of the best record in Major League Baseball?! Oh, it’s true. And while oddsmakers’ expectations were more favorable to the O’s this season after their frisky ’22 campaign (projected to win 77 games), they certainly didn’t expect a team with a pace to win 107 games! Then again, nobody did. They’re in the middle of the pack statistically — both at the plate and on the mound. Well-rounded, with an uncanny knack for just winning ballgames.

2. Tampa Bay Rays – Every season I underestimate and downplay the Rays potential, and every season they prove me wrong. The pitching is always outstanding, but this new-found explosive offense (while a little “off-brand”) has been incredible. Just name the major hitting metric and you’re likely to find Tampa at or near the top. Here’s some evidence (Rank, Total, +/- from next best team):

Runs Scored: 1st (310, +31)
Hits: 2nd (473, -1)
Home Runs: 1st (97, +14)
Stolen Bases: 1st (62, +9)
OPS: 1st (.842, +.050)
Total Bases: 1st (874, +86)

Yeah, it’s been rather nuclear.

3. Texas Rangers – Well look at that… it’s the other Texas team perched atop the AL West. The Astros are trying to chase them down, but the Rangers have been a pleasant surprise so far. While new acquisition Jacob deGrom is already hurt, the rest of the staff has really flourished: Nathan Eovaldi (6-2, 2.60), Jon Gray (4-1, 3.02), Martin Perez (6-1, 3.83), Dane Dunning (4-0, 1.67). Those are some solid numbers from the bump. On the other side, check this out:

4. Arizona Diamondbacks – Look at the D-Backs go! Going from an afterthought in the NL West to a potential challenger within the division. We’ll see if they can sustain. In the meantime, do you think Arizona is feeling good about that Lourdes Gurriel + Gabriel Moreno for Daulton Varsho deal with the Blue Jays right about now?

Varsho: .214 , 7 HR, 20 RBI, .653 OPS
Gurriel: .317, 8 HR, 27 RBI, .929 OPS (including a current league-best 16-game hitting streak)
Moreno: .304, 2 HR, 19 RBI, .741 OPS

5. Pittsburgh Pirates – Even though they’ve cooled off recently, it’s finally nice to see the Pirates overachieving again, and only a game and a half back for the NL Central division lead. Mitch Keller is finally occupying true “ace” status (5-1, 2.44 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 77 Ks in 62.2 IP), something this team hasn’t had in eons.

8. Los Angeles Angels – Here’s your obligatory “Shohei Ohtani is an alien” check in:

Hitter: .280, 12 HR, 33 RBI, 6 SB, .888 OPS
Pitcher: 5-1, 3.05 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 80 Ks in 59 IP

9. Boston Red Sox – “The Sox are a victim of their ridiculous AL East division this year. Despite overachieving with a record over .500, they still find themselves near the bottom of the AL East (they’d be tired for first in Central!). Is it time to push for a realignment? YES.” – Red Sawx Joe

12. Miami Marlins – The Marlins have been a statistical anomaly so far. Though they’re roughly near .500 (25-26), their run differential is -50 and their Expected Win-Loss Record Based on Runs Scored/Allowed is 20-31. Could their ridiculous 15-4 record in 1-run games be altering the balance here? Certainly. Big ups to Luiz Arraez for showing off those “former batting champ” chops and hitting 31 points higher (.371) than any other qualified hitter in baseball. He’s struck out only 9 times this whole season, in 187 plate appearances.

15. Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers had modest expectations coming to the season, and find themselves in first place in the Central. And doing so with a -7 run differential. Puzzling. Can someone explain to me what happened to Christian Yelich? Guy was winning and contending for MVP’s, then just fell off a cliff. His Baseball Reference page is just flat out depressing:

16. Minnesota Twins – The Twins are practically break-even with their PACE Factor (0.4), but shouldn’t this team just be… better? I guess playing in the AL Central, you don’t actually have to be. Fun/geeky stat for the Twins: They have nearly the exact same total number of Strikeouts by their hitters and by their pitchers, with 496 and 500 respectively. And both lead the entire league.

18. New York Yankees – “Fun” fact: Not that the ’23 Yankees have been bad, but the ’22 Yankees didn’t suffer their 22nd loss of the season until July 3. Today is May 26. Some quick math says that’s a 38-day difference. With the fourth highest expected win total (93.8), the Yanks will need their starting pitching to improve to keep pace with the Rays and Orioles. Clarke Schmidt (5.58 ERA), Jhony Brito (5.58 ERA), and Nestor Cortes (5.30 ERA) just aren’t cutting it.

21. Chicago Cubs – The Cubbies have cooled off in a major way, but do y’all know about Justin Steele? If not, get familiar with the new ace over on the North Side of Chicago. The line has been stellar: 6-1, 2.20 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, with only 2 home runs allowed in 61.1 innings. Also of note — Drew Smyly has very quietly resurrected his career: 5-1, 2.93 ERA, 0.98 WHIP.

22. Toronto Blue Jays – One word to describe the 2023 Toronto Blue Jays: INCONSISTENT. It’s been a season of runs for this talented team so far — some good, but mostly disappointing. They just dropped 9 of 11 to the division rival Yankees, Orioles, and Rays, digging a very deep hole. The 6-15 division record is ugly. What the heck is going on with Alek Manoah? Of course his career is still in its infancy, but the 1-5, 5.53 ERA, 1.79 WHIP is concerning. Of qualified pitchers, he currently leads the league in Walks (38) by a sizable margin (+7) and is second in Pitches per Inning (19.08). It seems more mental than physical at this point.

28. San Diego Padres – With dishonorable mentions going out to the Phillies, Guardians and Cardinals, the San Diego Padres have easily been the biggest disappointment of the young season. With a $234 million payroll (4th highest) and a lineup that looks like an All-Star Game roster, how is it possible to be 4 games under .500? While the pitching has been mediocre, this team hasn’t hit. 25th in Runs, 29th in Hits, 20th in Ks, and 21st in Slugging and OPS. The stars — Soto (.262), Bogaerts (.254), Machado (.231) — have sucked at the dish. Good thing the three of them only combine to make $65 million this season. Sigh.

30. Oakland Athletics – Do you know who is tied for 13th overall in the entire league in OPS? Of course you don’t, that’d be weird. Well, it’s a member of the Vegas Oakland Athletics named Brent Rooker with his impressive .903 mark. His A’s however, remain an absolute embarrassment to baseball. They’re 10-42 overall (have lost 8 straight), have the lowest payroll ($51.2 million) by $20 million, and average a putrid 8,695 fans per game. Even with the lowest expected number of wins (59.8), this team has still managed the lowest PACE Factor in the league. Call the movers!

Written by
Mike Hallihan

Founder. Yes, this is a cartoon version of me.

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