MLB Power Rankings: Yankees climb to top of rankings; Indians knock on door of top 5

first_imgGood things come in threes, right?Musketeers, Hansons and Destiny’s Child are just some of the awesome things that come in threes. So it’s no surprise that of the good teams in baseball this season, there are three excellent ones. The Yankees, Dodgers and Astros each can make a claim to the top spot in the SN Power Rankings. But for the first time this season, the Bombers get the nod.  30. TigersPrevious: 30Much like last year’s Orioles, there are some doubts that the Tigers will hit 45 wins this year. The rest of their schedule isn’t favorable, either. While the Astros won the season series over the Yankees (4-3), New York’s recent torrid stretch (16-3 in August) pops it up to the top. It could be an ALCS series matchup. Yippee!MORE: Pete Alonso breaks NL rookie home run recordAnd then, in a potential World Series preview, the Yankees play the Dodgers in L.A. come the weekend. TV networks are probably drooling over the prospects of an L.A.-New York Fall Classic right now.But we’re still a bit of a ways from October — which means there’s plenty of time left for you to debate these Power Rankings.So, without further ado, the latest SN MLB Power Rankings. As always, do not @ me.1. YankeesPrevious: 3There’s good news for the Yankees: Luis Severino is on the comeback trail. James Paxton seems to be figuring things out. Luke Voit doesn’t appear to need surgery.There’s also bad news for the Yankees: Aaron Judge is in quite the funk: He has one home run in his past 108 at-bats and he’s hitting just .222 with a .672 OPS over that span with 41 strikeouts. The weird Bronx, devil magic that’s happening in New York this year means that you, dear reader, have as good a shot to be signed and hit .300 with 10 home runs as anyone else, but they’ll probably need Judge to get right to really make noise come the fall. 2. DodgersPrevious: 1It’s ridiculous to say Cody Bellinger is “slumping.” It’s fair to say that he might not be a .300 hitter. And that’s totally OK. Since his absurd start to the season, during which pundits and fans were asking whether Bellinger would hit .400 this season, Bellinger has “cooled off” all the way down to .317. His average was last over .400 on May 21. Since then, he’s hit .265 — but his OPS is still nuts (.973), which means he’s still getting on base.This is all to say stop relying on batting average so much. There are a million ways to get on base — and if a guy like Bellinger is still launching dingers to Saturn, then who cares if he’s a .265 hitter?3. AstrosPrevious: 2The Astros salvaged the last game of a four-game series with the A’s on Sunday, and have been pretty meh overall since their eight-game winning streak at the beginning of the month.At this point, you might as well turn the auto-pilot on for Houston. The division is all but wrapped up, and they’re World Series-ready, regardless of whether they end up with home-field advantage. 5. TwinsPrevious: 5Jake Odorizzi had a dreadful July: In five starts, he pitched to a 7.43 ERA, allowing 20 runs in 23 innings. He seems to have turned the corner (again), pitching much better in August, allowing four earned runs over 17 1/3 innings in August, good for a 2.08 ERA.Trade deadline acquisition Sam Dyson has been much better since returning from his biceps injury, and he will be a key for them the rest of the season. 5. BravesPrevious: 4That Braves bullpen, man.The Braves are the second-best team in the National League. Let’s check in on their rebuilt bullpen:Shane Greene: Nine games, 7 1/3 innings, 8.59 ERA, 1.066 OPS against, seven earned runs. He has been better over his past three appearances, not allowing a run vs. the Mets and two games vs. the Dodgers.Mark Melancon: Nine games, 7 1/3 innings, 7.36 ERA, .696 OPS against, six earned runs. Four of those runs were allowed in one bad appearance vs. the Marlins on Aug. 10.Chris Martin: Eight games, 6 2/3 innings, 8.10 ERA, .703 OPS against, six earned runs. A lot of this is over small sample sizes, and all three have pitched better as of late. But Atlanta’s playoff hopes, like every other team in the race, relies on a good bullpen the rest of the way.6. IndiansPrevious: 8The Indians have had a tough time beating teams over .500 this season, but split a four-game series with the Yankees this past weekend, and have a really, really easy schedule the rest of the season. Of their 37 games remaining, they play 19 games against sub-.500 teams.They also play six games against the Twins, which could decide the division.7. CubsCraig Kimbrel was activated Sunday, and the Cubs are really going to need him to get right. With the NL Central race tightening, Chicago’s bullpen is going to need to get right: Since the All-Star break, the ‘pen has 10 blown saves, which is tied for second in the majors, just one behind the Twins. That’s a lot of BS. Well, in Kimbrel’s first appearance back Sunday, he gave up a home run, hit a batter and struck out two in 2/3 of an inning. That’s the Craig Kimbrel Experience in a nutshell.There are reinforcements potentially on the way: Steve Cishek should be activated this week and Brandon Morrow could make his season debut at some point in September. Hopefully it won’t be too little, too late for Chicago’s NL Central chances.8. CardinalsPrevious: 11Oh, hi, Redbirds. The Cardinals needed Jack Flaherty to emerge this season as the team’s ace after another injury to Carlos Martinez and the uncertainty surrounding Alex Reyes’ return to the rotation. Well, after an up-and-down first few months in which Flaherty was mostly good, he’s allowed three earned runs in his past six starts.With Marcel Ozuna back and adding a bit of a boost to the Cardinals’ offense, St. Louis could really challenge Chicago for the Central over the last month of the season.9. AthleticsPrevious: 7The Athletics’ second-half surge continues, and they took three of four from the Astros over the weekend. They have several arms at Triple-A — including recently signed Matt Harvey and Sean Manaea — knocking on the door to the majors and who could help Oakland to an AL wild card.Oakland’s schedule is pretty easy the rest of the way — despite six games left against the Yankees and four against Houston — so expect the A’s to continue to win through the end of the season.10. NationalsPrevious: 9Max Scherzer is the Cy Young candidate and Patrick Corbin is the big-ticket free agent signing. But lost in the shuffle of Washington’s pitching success this season has been Stephen Strasburg.Strasburg’s durability has always been a big question mark, but he’s always either been hurt or good. Strasburg’s 2019 has been no exception to the rule: He’s been worth 3.9 bWAR on the season, his second best season by bWAR in his career. Scherzer is just about ready to return, just in time for Washington’s playoff push, while Corbin has been very good in his first season with Washington. If the Nats’ bullpen can hold together — a big question mark, even with the deadline additions — they could be a sneaky problem for the NL.Middle of the pack11. RaysPrevious: 10The Rays have fallen on some tough offensive times. They’ve been shut out twice so far in August; they’d been shut out four times before that this season. It’s amazing that they’re still winning despite key injuries to the rotation.12. MetsPrevious: 17The Mets have remained hot, playing to a 16-4 record over their past 20 games. Schedule or not, they’re playing the baseball they were expected to play since Opening Day, and a legitimate threat to make a run at the NL wild card.13. PhilliesPrevious: 12Jake Arrieta being shut down for the rest of the year is bad news for the Phillies’ playoff hopes. 14. BrewersPrevious: 15Christian Yelich is still neck-and-neck with Cody Bellinger for NL MVP, but man, it’s close, despite the WAR disparity between the two.15. GiantsPrevious: 13The Giants’ home run leaders: Kevin Pillar (17) and Mike Yastrzemski (16). Just like everyone thought would happen.16. Red SoxPrevious: 14Chris Sale’s elbow injury sounds … not great. If he’s done for the year, expect Boston’s title defense to come to an end before October.17. DiamondbacksPrevious: 18Nick Ahmed, long known for being a great defender but weak on offense, seems to have turned it around offensively this year, his best season to date (4.5 bWAR).18. AngelsPrevious: 20Justin Upton has been getting on base and hitting for power despite a low average in August, but it’s still concerning to see his numbers down overall in 2019 (even with the injuries).19. RangersPrevious: 16The Rangers, who once had aspirations of chasing a wild card spot, are 12 games back and a Hail Mary from the second wild card now.20. PadresPrevious: 19It sounds like Fernando Tatis Jr.’s electrifying rookie year is over, and it’s a bit concerning: Young players with back issues always makes you hold your breath.Bottom third21. RedsPrevious: 22The Reds are still being an annoying team, but with Joey Votto now on the shelf, who knows how much winning they’ll do over the last month of the season?22. Blue JaysPrevious: 24Bo Bichette has announced his presence with authority.23. RockiesPrevious: 21Trevor Story might be one of the most underrated players in baseball. He’s an elite defender and he’s got power. Screw your Coors narrative.24. White SoxPrevious: 25Not to be forgotten: The White Sox will have Michael Kopech back in 2020, another piece to the promising rebuild on the South Side.25. MarlinsPrevious: 26Just put Don Mattingly out of his misery already. 26. MarinersPrevious: 27We could see Felix Hernandez again before the end of the season, which is about as positive as it’s gotten for the Mariners in recent months. Also, Kyle Seager (Corey’s brother) has been excellent since the start of August.27. PiratesPrevious: 23After a dreadful June and July, Josh Bell seems to have turned it back on, with an OPS over 1.000 in August. It’s been little help for the Pirates, who are in a tailspin.28. RoyalsPrevious: 28The Royals went 9-3 coming out of the All-Star break. Since that stretch, they’re 5-16, 29. OriolesPrevious: 29If you like bad baseball, keep your eyes on the four-game set between Detroit and Baltimore starting on Sept. 13.last_img

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