Another week of baseball has passed, and the storylines continue to heat up. If you’re looking for quietly solid divisional races, the Milwaukee Brewers do lead the Cincinnati Reds by five games. However, with the way the Reds are playing, it won’t be that big for long. Maybe you like drama? How about star outfielder for the Oakland Athletics Ramon Laureano being suspended 80 games for PED use? If you’re looking for the unexpected, the Atlanta Braves find themselves only two games behind the NL East lead, although their star Ronald Acuna Jr. has been out for about a month. No matter what you want, baseball has it. Here’s where everyone stands as of now in the MLB Power Rankings.
Week 19 MLB Power Rankings
1) San Francisco Giants (71-41) (Previous: 1)
The Giants once again proved that they are the cream of the crop in the MLB Power Rankings. Not only are they three games over the next best team in the Rays, but they’re beating good teams too. While taking three of four games against Arizona to start the week doesn’t show that, taking two of three from the Brewers in Milwaukee certainly does. Although an incredibly botched fly ball by Brewers outfielder Avisail Garcia was the difference between a series win or loss, it really doesn’t matter. A win’s a win, and the Giants do it better than anyone.
2) Tampa Bay Rays (68-44) (5)
Coming off of a sweep of the Boston Red Sox, it was surprising to see them drop two of three games at home to Seattle. The Tampa Bay Rays did rebound nicely in a three-game sweep of Baltimore, and they have seen their division lead grow thanks to poor form as of late from Boston. This team may not have the big names that sees them labeled as a juggernaut, but this team is easily the most dangerous in the American League as of now.
3) Milwaukee Brewers (66-46) (3)
Ground zero for COVID cases in the MLB, the Brewers continue to find ways to win. Once again however, their problem seems to be finding hitting for Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta. You can tell a lot from this team by their win leader being reliever Brent Suter, who seems to be the only pitcher of the four already mentioned the bats like to support. With a tough last two games to the Giants, it’ll be interesting to see if a little wind gets taken out of their sails as they have been on an insane pace for the last few weeks.
4) Los Angeles Dodgers (67-45) (4)
The Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t play the Giants or the Padres this week, so they did pretty well. They split a very emotional two-game series with the Astros in a series where Dodger fans were finally able to air their grievances with members of Houston’s cheating World Series team. They also took two of three from the Angels and are sitting pretty in second in the NL West. With the way the Giants are playing right now, L.A. is going to need a heck of a push to catch up as they currently sit four games back.
5) Houston Astros (66-46) (2)
For a team that looked solid against the Dodgers, they sure looked like a shell of themselves against the Minnesota Twins and their dismantled roster. Losing three of four games is already bad enough. Losing three of four at home is even worse. While the Astros do still sport a solid record, their lead in the division has diminished down to two games. While Houston has been the better team compared to Oakland up to this point, one hot streak from the A’s could leave Houston in a wild card spot again.
6) Chicago White Sox (66-46) (7)
The wins on the field always matter, but for the Chicago White Sox this week, a certain win off the field might mean more. Outfielder Luis Robert, who has been out since May, will be activated and starting on Monday. This White Sox offense is already good enough and will be receiving another big boost in the form of his return. While the division is all but locked up already, this time should be enough to get him into form in time for the playoffs.
7) Cincinnati Reds (61-51) (11)
The Reds are arguably the hottest team in the MLB right now and are very much in the playoff hunt. The only problem is when is regression going to kick in? I have nothing against this team, but let’s be real — their team ERA is 20th in the majors, their best pitcher is 34-year-old Wade Miley, ESPN’s expected record for them based on their play has them at 58-54, and they are in the middle of the easiest portion of their schedule this season. This team is playing well right now, but they have a lot to prove before they can crack the top six in the MLB Power Rankings.
8) Toronto Blue Jays (60-50) (9)
The Blue Jays had quite the busy week, playing every day with a doubleheader, and made sure to carry their momentum throughout. They won three of four against Cleveland before taking advantage of an ice-cold Boston team and winning three of four against them as well. Although their high-powered offense and solid pitching hasn’t clicked at the same time so far, it seems they are all systems go for the rest of the season. Don’t be surprised if they find themselves in the first wild card spot come October.
9) Oakland Athletics (64-48) (10)
While losing Ramon Laureano will certainly be a blow, the acquisition of Starling Marte will help mitigate his loss about as perfectly as it can be. The Athletics split a shortened two-game series with San Diego before blowing the doors off of Texas in a three-game sweep. With Cleveland on deck along with another series against the Rangers, the Athletics may be able to close the gap with Houston by next Monday.
10) San Diego Padres (64-49) (8)
The Padres fell two spots in this week’s rankings not so much because of their own volition, but because of the stellar play of some teams ahead of them. They split with Oakland before taking two of three at home to Arizona. With Cincinnati heating up, the Padres suddenly will have to watch their backs as they only hold the final spot by two and a half games. With the NL Central being far weaker than the NL West, the Padres are far from a lock. If they continue to take care of business like they did this week however, they’ll be in great shape.
11) Boston Red Sox (65-49) (6)
Oh how the mighty have fallen. Admittedly, the Red Sox are still one of the best in the league, and are 16 games over .500. Losing eight of your last ten however is never a good sign of things to come. They lost two of three to Detroit before dropping three of four to Toronto. Luckily for Boston, Chris Sale is about to come back which will give a much needed breath of fresh air to the Boston locker room.
12) New York Yankees (61-50) (12)
It looked to be another disappointing week for the Yankees when they lost the first in a three-game stint to Baltimore by a score of 7-1. Instead, they outscored the Orioles 23-4 over the last two, before splitting a four-game spell with Seattle. Unfortunately for New York, they need better production to find themselves in the postseason. Toronto is right on their heels and Boston and Oakland have both been far more consistent to this point. Only time will tell if the Joey Gallo trade was worth it.
13) Philadelphia Phillies (59-53) (16)
Would you look at that? We have a new leader in the NL East. Thanks to eight straight wins, the Phillies suddenly have a two game series over the rest of their division. A team that has up to this point been underwhelming, finally took the bulls by the horn and ripped the division away from New York. They now find themselves above an Atlanta team without their best player, and a Mets team that is 25th in team batting average. Although it is a small lead right now, it really looks as if the division is theirs to lose.
14) Atlanta Braves (57-55) (19)
Although the Phillies are taking all the headlines in the NL East this week, the Braves had a solid week themselves as they swept the Cardinals before taking two of three from Washington. They find themselves second in the division, as they leapfrogged the Mets, and are within striking distance of the Phillies. Their upcoming three-game series against red-hot Cincinnati will tell us just how “real” this team is without Acuna. But for this week, they see a nice jump in the MLB Power Rankings.
15) Seattle Mariners (59-54) (14)
It seemed as if taking a three-game series at Tampa would help springboard the Mariners for the rest of the week. Instead, they split a four-game stint down the middle with the Yankees. Once again, in an all too familiar place, the Mariners find themselves just one piece short of a serious playoff run. With Toronto and New York adding pieces at the deadline, they’ll need to find something extra in their reserves if they want to end their playoff drought.
16) Los Angeles Angels (56-56) (17)
It seemed that the Angels could possibly have a small playoff push in them. Not one to get them in, but one to make it interesting. Not so much anymore. While they did well to take three of four from the Rangers, they were only able to take one of three from the Dodgers. While their L.A. counterparts are a much better team on paper, they need to beat those teams consistently to have a chance. Unless something crazy happens right now, their season is on life support.
17) St. Louis Cardinals (55-56) (15)
I will ask again. Remember when the Cardinals were the favorites in the NL Central and no one else was even considered outside of Chicago? It’s very clear that much of Arenado’s success was thanks to the high altitude of Coors Field as his numbers have fell of a cliff. He’s batting .262 with 22 home runs and 67 RBI’s. That’s not bad, but when your team has little else, you stand no chance. This team is a .500 team and will need to make some moves this offseason to be taken seriously in the division again.
18) New York Mets (56-55) (13)
Remember when I said last week’s MLB Power Rankings that Javier Baez wouldn’t fix the glaring issues the Mets have? Yeah, New York lost three of four to Miami before being swept in three by Philadelphia. Not only are they not in first, they’re not even in second as they’re a half game behind Atlanta. While this season is far from over, they need consistent hitting and they seem to be ignoring the problem. They don’t have the consistent firepower to make a push. A prolonged hot streak from Philadelphia or Atlanta might put the playoffs out of reach by September. Crazy for a team that’s led the division virtually the whole season.
19) Cleveland Indians (54-55) (18)
If there was any question about which division is the worst in baseball, take into account that the Indians at #19 are the second best team in the AL Central. They lost three of four to Toronto before taking two of three from Detroit to preserve their slim lead in second place over the Tigers. This team is missing a lot of pieces to make a legitimate push so it’ll be interesting to see if they sell high on Jose Ramirez this offseason. He’s already 28 and he’s not getting any younger. Best to strike while the iron is hot.
20) Detroit Tigers (54-60) (20)
For a team that is six games below .500, credit is due to Detroit for being a solid 32-25 at home. I may be the only one who thinks this, but this team is exciting. A team full of young guns led by legend Miguel Cabrera is solid baseball. Their record might not be the best, but they are playing for each other which is certainly refreshing to see. They aren’t a threat to anyone when it comes to postseason contention, but they will likely play the role of spoiler for someone else.
21) Colorado Rockies (51-61) (23)
Colorado has won four straight and seven of their last ten. While the Rockies are still nothing outside of “not last,” they’re putting together a good run. While the sustainability of that is up in the air, there is some good news for Colorado fans. For as bad as the trade to St. Louis was, you’re only four and a half games behind them. That surely counts for something.
22) Chicago Cubs (52-61) (21)
Not too long ago the Cubs were within striking distance of the Brewers with a series against their rivals coming up. Now they are almost a lock for fourth place in a division some had them as favorites in. If there is anything positive to be said about their front office, it’s that they at least knew to go all in on the rebuild process. Clinging to remnants of their championship season would’ve done nothing but delay the inevitable.
23) Kansas City Royals (48-62) (22)
The Royals again proved to be the “wild card” of the American League as they took two of three from the White Sox before losing two of three to the Cardinals. 16 1/2 games back of the division lead and 15 back of the second wild card spot all but ensures another lost season for Royals fans. If there is anything to hang their hat on, it’s that they did go 4-0 against Milwaukee in their season series.
24) Minnesota Twins (48-64) (27)
Much like the Cubs, the Twins were smart to be aware of their standing and blow the team up. While this season will certainly hurt for a team that was looking to finally take a playoff series, it’s smart to not try to force something that isn’t there. The team’s hitting has been very solid, but the pitching has been bad and will only get worse the rest of the season. For now, they rise slightly in the MLB Power Rankings.
25) Washington Nationals (50-62) (24)
Although the Nationals have lost seven of their last 10 games, it’s hardly a surprise. They rain into a buzzsaw in Philadelphia before matching up with a Braves team that is starting to heat up as well. For a team that sold high on Turner and Scherzer, this is how the rest of the season was expected to go. With the Mets on deck for a three-game series, the Nationals could play the role of spoiler to their rivals and drop them even further behind in the race for the NL East.
26) Miami Marlins (47-65) (25)
The Marlins may have nothing left to play for, but taking three of four against the Mets has to feel pretty good. Not many likely expected them to fall this hard and this quickly in the MLB Power Rankings, but here we are. With a trip to San Diego starting out the upcoming week, Miami would be lucky to win three of six although they do also play the lowly Cubs.
27) Pittsburgh Pirates (41-71) (26)
What is there to be said about this team that hasn’t been said already? We are at the part in the cycle where the Pirates wander around aimlessly for a few years only to find another generational talent they run into the ground and trade everything to build around. As always, they inevitably lose before they were ever even in the playoffs for more than a series and repeat and recycle. Somebody please buy this team or let them be relegated to Triple-A.
28) Texas Rangers (39-73) (29)
The Rangers have lost six straight but somehow still aren’t one of the bottom two teams in the MLB. The only thing of note from this team is that utility man Brock Holt threw a 31 mph slider/eephus for a strike.
29) Baltimore Orioles (38-72) (28)
If you haven’t figured it out yet, this is why Baltimore was projected to have literally no chance to make the postseason, according to FanGraphs. Baltimore seems to be the new, American League version of the Pirates. And quite frankly, Cedric Mullins and Trey Mancini deserve better. They will continue to be at the bottom of the MLB Power Rankings the rest of the season.
30) Arizona Diamondbacks (35-78) (30)
For Arizona this week, I remember back to a quote many of us were told early on: “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.”