MLB Power Rankings: Post-Trade Deadline Shakeup
By Craig Campbell
The trade deadline has been in the rear view mirror for a few weeks now and the playoff picture is still a bit unclear, but taking shape. The Mets have been on a surprising hot streak since the trade deadline, going 16-4 over their last 20 games and 21-9 over their last 30 games and have moved themselves within striking distance of the second wild card spot in the National League. While they are the biggest gainer of this Power Rankings, moving up six spots, the defending champion Boston Red Sox are the winners of the biggest slide, dropping seven spots. The Red Sox have lost twelve of their last twenty games, falling over 15 games back in the East along with slowly falling to over seven games out of the second wild card spot in the American League and they are in serious jeopardy of missing the postseason.
The Houston Astros take over the number one spot after winning at the trade deadline, making multiple moves capped off with a blockbuster trade of acquiring starting pitcher Zack Grienke from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Vegas dubbed them the new odd-on favorite to win the World Series and it’s hard to argue with all of the firepower they have in their rotation.
With three of the six divisions virtually locked up by 10 games or more, the AL Central, NL Central, and NL East are all up for grabs. There’s just over one month left in the regular season and the race for the playoffs is about to hit the homestretch.
**RECORDS AS OF 8/13**
THE TOP 5
1. Houston Astros (78-42; last week: 3)
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (80-41; last week: 1)
3. New York Yankees (80-41; last week: 2)
4. Cleveland Indians (72-48; last week: 6)
5. Minnesota Twins (72-47; last week: 4)
The Astros take over the top spot after a major move for Zack Grienke at the trade deadline, along with going 15-5 over their last 20 games and widening the gap in the AL West. The Dodgers and Yankees share the best record in the major leagues and have all but locked up their divisions as well. The Indians and Twins round out our top five with their continuous swapping of leads in the AL Central. I give the Indians a slight edge because of their play over the past 20 games (14-6) and took three out of four from the Twins last week.
6. Tampa Bay Rays (71-50; last week: 9)
7. Atlanta Braves (71-50; last week: 5)
8. Oakland A’s (67-52; last week: 7)
9. St. Louis Cardinals (62-55; last week: 12)
10. Chicago Cubs (64-55; last week: 11)
The Rays went from slipping in their position in our last Power Ranking to winning 14 of their last 17 games since then. Sweeping Boston two weeks ago helped garner some much needed wins, but winning series against teams like Miami, Seattle, and San Diego doesn’t hurt either. The Braves haven’t been bad by any means, but they haven’t been great either. Their lead in the NL East has diminished some (6 games over the Nationals) but splitting series over the past few weeks to teams like the Marlins and the Reds won’t help their cause. St. Louis and Chicago are in a virtual tie for the NL Central after the Cardinals got hot, cooled off, and got hot again, winning four straight as of this writing.
11. Washington Nationals (64-55; last week: 10)
12. Philadelphia Phillies (61-58; last week: 13)
13. Milwaukee Brewers (62-58; last week: 14)
14. New York Mets (61-58; last week 20)
15. Boston Red Sox (63-59; last week: 8)
The Nationals currently sit in the first wild card position and have been good enough, winning three straight and six of their last ten to stay ahead of the pack but still have some work to do if they want to catch the Braves (getting Max Scherzer back this week helps). The Phillies and Brewers are still keeping it air tight in the Wild Card race, but the Brewers are still only under two games back in the NL Central, so anything can happen in that division. The Mets and the Red Sox have been going in completely opposite directions. The Mets have been SCORCHING over their last 20 games, winning 16 of those contests, and moving to within three games of the second Wild Card spot. The Red Sox...not so much. The defending champs have lost 13 of their last 20 games and are 7.5 games back in the Wild Card race. They need to get it together quickly if they want to make the postseason.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks (61-59; last week: 17)
17. San Francisco Giants (60-60; last week: 16)
18. Texas Rangers (59-60; last week: 18)
19. Los Angeles Angels (58-63; last week: 15)
20. Cincinnati Reds (56-62; last week: 19)
Just when you thought the Angels were looking so promising to make a push for the postseason, they drop 14 of their last 20 games and eight of their last 10 to completely fall out of the Wild Card race. The D’backs have still been playing moderately well, even with the loss of starting pitcher Zack Grienke at the trade deadline and sitting 3.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot in the NL. The Giants got hot and made a push but seem to have ultimately reached their peak and cooling off in the playoff race. The Rangers are technically still in the hunt but have to play much better than their pedestrian 9-11 over their last 20 games. Those pesky Reds are still a longshot to make a push for the playoffs, but are essentially looking towards the future after trading away OF Yasiel Puig...or at least they were tired of his antics.
21. San Diego Padres (55-64; last week: 21)
22. Colorado Rockies (53-67; last week: 22)
23. Chicago White Sox (53-65; last week: 24)
24. Toronto Blue Jays (51-72; last week: 27)
25. Pittsburgh Pirates (50-69; last week: 23)
The Rockies continue to struggle, losing eight of their last ten games and have fallen to dead last in the NL West. The Padres and White Sox are roughly where experts have predicted in their respective standings. The Blue Jays have been playing relatively well over the past 30 games compared to how bad they were at the beginning of the season. With all of their young second generation studs now in the majors (Vlad Guerrero Jr, Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette) they can push forward to the future.
26. Seattle Mariners (49-71; last week: 25)
27. Miami Marlins (44-74; last week: 28)
28. Kansas City Royals (43-77; last week: 26)
29. Baltimore Orioles (39-81; last week: 29)
30. Detroit Tigers (35-81; last week: 30)
The Tigers are still the worst team in baseball for the second Power Ranking in a row and it looks to be no end in sight. Trading away some pieces at the trade deadline, the only hope for Tigers’ fans is that the offseason isn’t too far away at this point. Seattle slid down a spot and into this group based on their poor play over the past 10 games (2-8). The Royals were playing well and showing promise for a bit, but have ultimately slid further down the ranks near the bottom of the league.
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