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MLB power rankings: New York Yankees slide, Mets climb

Matt Johnson
New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The MLB season is speeding by a with the postseason right around the corner and the regular season has been full of surprises. As the final month of the regular season rolls on, the New York Yankees are sliding down the MLB standings and our latest MLB power rankings.

Unsurprisingly, the Los Angeles Dodgers continue to prove why they are the best team in baseball with momentum that should carry into October. However, a few World Series contenders are nipping at the Dodgers’ heels and it should create plenty of excitement in the final weeks.

While there might not be many shakeups in the top five of our power rankings, we see plenty of movement among the top-15 teams. With MLB’s 16-team playoff format, positioning is more important than ever this year and it’s clear from this past week’s action that the fight for postseason spots will be insane.

Let’s take a look at the latest MLB power rankings for the 2020 season.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (1)

Los Angeles is loving life right now with Mookie Betts (1.124 OPS) and Corey Seager (1.079 OPS) playing at MVP-caliber levels in the past two weeks. Not only is the lineup going strong, but Clayton Kershaw is on a roll currently and Tony Gonsolin is finding his groove with tons of strikeouts. This team will be terrifying to face in October and remains the favorite to win the World Series.

2. Tampa Bay Rays (2)

The new rivalry between the Rays and New York Yankees reached a boiling point this week. Once again, Tampa Bay proved it is the superior team and ended its regular-season series against the Yankees with eight wins in 10 meetings. Moving forward, the Rays should find it relatively easy the rest of the way. The club will spend its next 13 games against the Washington Nationals, Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles. More wins are coming and with Charlie Morton back in the rotation, Tampa Bay is in great position for the postseason.

3. San Diego Padres (3)

The Padres and Oakland Athletics treated everyone to a potential World Series preview this week. Both teams showcased some of their exciting, young pitching and the marquee sluggers came through in big moments. While the three-game set was fun to watch, there’s something even more promising for San Diego.

Entering Sunday, the Padres’ bullpen entered with the fifth-best ERA (3.04) over the past two weeks. The return of Drew Pomeranz paired with the additions at the trade deadline helped address a weakness. We know San Diego’s rotation can compete and the lineup is outstanding. But if the bullpen can maintain this stretch of excellence into October, the Padres become a legitimate threat to the Dodgers.

4. Oakland Athletics (4)

Oakland came out of its COVID-19 break with a tough series against the Padres. It’s a daunting test to begin with, but even more so after nearly a week off. Jesús Luzardo looked great with four scoreless innings then unraveled in a tough loss. He’ll turn things around and with Sean Manaea regaining his fastball velocity, this pitching staff looks better. The best news for the Athletics, shortstop Marcus Semien and pitcher A.J. Puk should return this week.

5. Chicago White Sox (6)

While the White Sox might have dropped their three-game set against the Minnesota Twins, they still come out of this week in good standing. Chicago’s run differential (+47) entering play on Sunday is one of the best in baseball and it’s a credit to the rotation posting the second-best ERA (2.77) in the past two weeks. The White Sox have a postseason rotation they can count on with a lineup loaded with impact hitters. Watching this team in October will simply be a delight and they may go further than anyone expects.

6. Minnesota Twins (8)

Minnesota found its footing this week after a rough stretch of play sent them tumbling down the power rankings and MLB standings. Taking the set against the White Sox was huge for the divisional race and it was followed by an easy knockout of the Detroit Tigers. Unsurprisingly, the wins are piling up with José Berríos finding his rhythm along with the returns of Josh Donaldson and Byron Buxton. Looking ahead, this week’s three-game set against the Cleveland Indians will be another pivotal point for playoff-bound clubs.

7. Cleveland Indians (5)

Cleveland slides down the power rankings slightly this week with Minnesota starting to regain momentum and due to Chicago’s run-scoring advantage. Josh Naylor and Austin Hedges haven’t made immediate impacts in the lineup, but this team still dispatched of the Kansas City Royals and Milwaukee Brewers. We love the rotation, but questions throughout the lineup could be the glaring issue that keeps Cleveland from title contention.

8. Chicago Cubs (9)

The Cubs started the year 13-3 and many wanted to talk about them as a World Series contender once again. Since that stretch, they’ve lost 14 games and struggled in their recent series against the St. Louis Cardinals. There’s no doubt Chicago is a playoff team, but there is a significant gap between them and the other top teams. Expect a strong finish from the Cubs in the MLB standings, but the Padres or Dodgers would dispose of them quickly in October.

9. Atlanta Braves (10)

Atlanta’s decision not to add a front-line pitcher at the MLB trade deadline might prove costly. They swept the Boston Red Sox behind great outings by the likes of Max Fried and Ian Anderson, but things unraveled against the Washington Nationals. The Braves can score runs, but there’s a lot of reason to fear this rotation won’t stand a chance of winning an NLDS series.

10. Philadelphia Phillies (13)

Everything is suddenly clicking for the Phillies. After an outstanding stretch of success the week prior, Philadelphia kept racking up the wins this past week. Surprisingly, all of this is being done at a time when J.T. Realmuto and Bryce Harper have cooled off at the plate. Amid their struggles, Rhys Hoskins (1.325 OPS) is turning it on in the past two weeks. The Phillies likely aren’t a World Series contender, but this hot streak pushes them up in the latest power rankings.

11. New York Yankees (7)

This is not how New York visualized its 2020 season unfolding, especially after the campaign started with a 9-2 record. Unfortunately, injuries continue to plague this club and the few who have stayed healthy aren’t pulling their weight. Gerrit Cole (3.63) ERA might not be living up to his contract, but he’s far from New York’s biggest problem. The Yankees will play in October, but it’s difficult to believe they will be healthy or have the pitching to even win the AL pennant.

12. Houston Astros (11)

Just when things start to improve, Houston discovers another problem. Jose Altuve became the latest star to land on the injured list, right when the club welcomed back Alex Bregman and Jose Urquidy. Worse yet, they dropped a four-game series to the Los Angeles Angels. Houston will make it to the postseason thanks to the new playoff rules, but they won’t go far unless everyone gets healthy and the bullpen suddenly improves.

13. St. Louis Cardinals (16)

Staying alive and fighting, that’s the theme for the Cardinals this season. St. Louis took a three-game set in Cincinnati, backed by an offensive explosion, then delivered a big doubleheader victory on Saturday over the Cubs. This team seems drawn to staying around a .500 record and that’s all they need to make it into the 16-team postseason format.

14. Toronto Blue Jays (12)

A five-game series against the Boston Red Sox provided the Blue Jays with some unexpected challenges. Three of the games were decided by one run, with Toronto dropping two of those contests. The pitching additions are helping, but losing star outfielder Teoscar Hernandez will be a major blow for run production. With their next nine games against the Yankees and Mets, it’s crunch time for the Blue Jays.

15. New York Mets (18)

Don’t look now, but we might be approaching an argument for the Mets being the best MLB team in New York. They took one against the Yankees in extra this week and followed that up by taking three-of-four from Philadelphia. Most surprising, New York’s hitters actually provided Jacob deGrom with run support. Maybe, just maybe, the Mets will play in October.

16. Colorado Rockies (14)

The Rockies showed flashes against the Dodgers of the team we saw jump out to an 11-3 record. It could be a sign of things to come, especially if the rotation can ever find its stride. However, given how they looked against the San Francisco Giants before this, we’ll bet on Colorado simply being a fluke.

17. Miami Marlins (17)

Starling Marte already loves life with his new team. After hitting just two home runs in 122 at-bats with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Marte has already gone deep twice since being traded to Miami. He is a spark for this lineup, but Miami’s schedule is rough. After leaving Tampa Bay, the Marlins face a three-game set in Atlanta followed by a seven-game series against the Phillies. By this time next week, the Marlins will either soar up the power rankings or sink.

18. Cincinnati Reds (15)

It’s almost time to sink a fork into the Reds. On paper, this is a talented team capable of going on a deep postseason run with a shot at a World Series. However, that isn’t reflected when this club takes the field and a series loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates is the latest piece of evidence. It’s a shame an incredible front-line rotation will go to waste because of the lineup.

19. San Francisco Giants (20)

San Francisco might deserve the most appreciation for winning the most games with the least amount of impact talent this season. They are a tough opponent for evert club they face, keeping games close even when they don’t win. It’s still highly unlikely they are around for the postseason, but the Giants are certainly surpassing all expectations.

20. Washington Nationals (21)

It’s time to call it a year for the Nationals. While they just split a four-game stand against the Atlanta Braves, that came after they were destroyed by the Phillies. Plus, the first proverbial white flag was raised, calling Carter Kieboom back up and making him the starting third baseman for the rest of the season. At 14-25, this is a stunning fall for a defending World Series champion and we question why they didn’t sell at the trade deadline.

21. Baltimore Orioles (23)

Dreams of playing in October aren’t realistic, but nearly sweeping the Yankees had to feel a bit like winning the World Series. Baltimore didn’t just beat New York, they utterly silenced the lineup and cruised to a series victory. Revenge might come next week, but moments like this provide fans with reason to be optimistic about the future.

22. Detroit Tigers (22)

One thing is for certain, Detroit’s young squad is showing some nice fight this year. While they lost a four-game series to the Twins, the Tigers dropped the first three by a combined four runs. Plus, the young pitching staff is starting to show more signs of promise. More losses are coming, but with it comes more development for the rookies and a better draft pick in 2021.

23. Milwaukee Brewers (19)

A disappointing 2020 season was inevitable for Milwaukee. While blame can be put on injuries, the Brewers simply enjoyed plenty of good fortune in 2019 and it ended this year. The lineup ranked 24th in OPS (.694) entering Sunday and that’s atrocious for a team playing in Miller Park. The Brewers haven’t held a record above .500 all season and that’s not changing before the year ends.

24. Seattle Mariners (24)

The Mariners came away with a huge win at the MLB trade deadline and that seemed to spark something in this club. Seattle seemed comfortable in the bottom of the standings, but a recent surge is pushing them within sniffing distance of a .500 record. Honestly, this team might be even better if they called up their top prospects. However, we’d advise they do whatever it takes to slide back down the standings to get a top-five pick next summer.

25. Los Angeles Angels (28)

Mike Trout is simply incredible. The newest member of the 300-homer club, he is doing everything he can to help carry this team to wins. It helped lead to a series victory over the Astros, a surprising outcome given where both teams stood entering action. Unfortunately, there’s just not nearly enough talent around him for the Angels to even detect the scent of playoff baseball.

26. Arizona Diamondbacks (25)

Arizona is glad to have Madison Bumgarner off the injured list, but every start will remind them of massive contract they just gave him. This team’s descent towards MLB’s baseman is swift and it’s why they sold off what they could at the trade deadline. Moving forward, we’ll just hope catcher/outfielder Daulton Varsho ends his rookie season on a positive note.

27. Boston Red Sox (29)

Boston experienced another winning streak, but it didn’t last long. The Red Sox will head into a new week with a 14-28 record, entering a difficult stretch in their schedule. The race for the No. 1 pick is close and that will give the fans something to root for in this final month. Of course, it might not matter if MLB implements a draft lottery.

28. Kansas City Royals (26)

The Kansas City Chiefs will begin their Super Bowl title defense in a matter of days, so it won’t be long before the city forgets about this team entirely. It would be understandable under the best of circumstances and even more so given the Royals are a terrible team.

29. Texas Rangers (27)

The decision not to trade Lance Lynn at the deadline may backfire. From a 10-10 record to 13-26, the hopes Texas once held for this team crashed and burned in grand fashion. We’re starting to see the young guys given a chance to play, namely top prospect Leody Taveras. Outside of that, everything else about this team is painful to watch.

30. Pittsburgh Priates (30)

By Pittsburgh’s standards, this club is playing well right now. The Pirates have won three of their past five games, including a four-game split with the Reds. Moving forward, it’s all about discovering if any young players on this team can be long-term contributors. The answer might only be Ke’Bryan Hayes, but at least that’s a small glimmer of light at the start of this rebuild.