Most of the movement in the first MLB power rankings of August comes in the middle, but there’s a new No. 1, with the Astros taking the top spot from the Dodgers.
1. Houston Astros (73-40) | Last week: 2 (+1)
The Astros were already creeping up on the No. 1 spot as they’ve gotten healthier, but the trade for starting pitcher Zack Greinke puts them over the top. Houston should be the clear World Series favorite as things stand.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (74-40) | Last week: 1 (-1)
Max Muncy’s walk-off double yesterday gave the Dodgers another series victory, and they continue their homestand all this week with matchups versus the Cardinals and D’Backs. LA pitching was on for the last seven days, allowing run totals of 1, 1, 2, and 1 in four of those contests.
3. New York Yankees (72-39) | Last week: 3
That was quite the way for the Yankees to bounce back from the previous week’s series loss to the Red Sox, as they basically pushed Boston out of any chance for contention in the American League East while making their wild-card chances more difficult, too. The Yanks’ next four series are against the Orioles and Jays, so they might have the best chance to be the first team to hit 80 wins this season.
4. Minnesota Twins (69-42) | Last week: 4
Within the past two weeks, Nelson Cruz has two three-homer games, becoming the first player 39 years or older in major league history with two three-homer games in a ten-game span (but keep in mind his past PED use). The Twins have a chance to put more distance between themselves and the Indians this weekend, but they’ll first have to face the Braves to start the week.
5. Atlanta Braves (66-47) | Last week: 5
The Braves continue their solid play to keep comfortable distance between themselves and the Nationals and Phillies in the National League East, and they added bullpen help at the deadline to gear up for a postseason run. Shane Greene has struggled in a couple of appearances for Atlanta, but there’s no reason to panic—cold stretches happen.
6. Cleveland Indians (66-45) | Last week: 6
After Trevor Bauer’s out-of-frustration action (launching the baseball over the centerfield wall), it made sense that he’d be traded—and the Indians were able to get a much-needed right-handed power bat in their lineup in Yasiel Puig. The AL Central will likely be the most interesting two-team race over the final several weeks of the season.
7. Oakland Athletics (64-48) | Last week: 7
Tanner Roark had a very good debut for Oakland yesterday, going five innings while allowing one run against St. Louis. The A’s are doing well on their run through the NL Central, going 4-1 against the Brewers and Cardinals last week. Now they’ll go on the road to Wrigley Field.
8. Tampa Bay Rays (65-48) | Last week: 10 (+2)
The Rays were buyers at the deadline, and the team responded to the front office’s belief with a 5-0 week including a sweep of the Red Sox. Tampa Bay’s next six series are against teams with records at least nine games below .500.
9. Chicago Cubs (60-51) | Last week: 9
The Cubs lost a series to the Cardinals, but they then swept the Brewers and hold a 1.5-game lead in the NL Central. The return of starting pitcher Cole Hamels, who missed over a month with an oblique injury, gives the team a major boost.
10. St. Louis Cardinals (58-52) | Last week: 11 (+1)
The Cardinals couldn’t build momentum from their sweep of the Cubs, losing two straight to the A’s. Now, the Red Birds will have to go to LA to face the Dodgers, but the schedule lightens up after that.
11. Washington Nationals (58-53) | Last week: 12 (+1)
The Nats have dropped three straight series, but they remain right in the mix in the NL wild-card race and added bullpen depth at the deadline. Washington undoubtedly needs Max Scherzer to return to the rotation to reach their potential, but they can’t rush their veteran ace back and risk aggravating the injury.
12. Boston Red Sox (59-55) | Last week: 8 (-4)
Boston is on an eight-game losing streak, and it came after they dominated the Yankees for three games just over a week ago. After inactivity at the trade deadline, the Red Sox have an uphill climb to make the postseason in a crowded American League.
13. Philadelphia Phillies (58-53) | Last week: 15 (+2)
A home series loss to the White Sox over the weekend is an ugly look for the Phillies, but they rise a couple of spots in the power rankings simply because teams are struggling behind them. Philadelphia’s bats must get more consistent if they’re going to make a run.
14. Milwaukee Brewers (57-56) | Last week: 13 (-1)
Milwaukee’s offense is what’s letting them down during this recent stretch, as they went 1-5 last week while putting up run totals of 2, 4, 3, 2, 1, and 2. The offense needs to take pressure off the pitching staff.
15. San Francisco Giants (56-56) | Last week: 16 (+1)
It’s right that Madison Bumgarner stayed put past the trade deadline, as it would’ve felt too weird for him to be dealt by San Francisco after the team climbed back into contention. The Giants are coming off two consecutive series losses, but they can climb the standings with home matchups with the Phillies and Nationals this week.
16. New York Mets (55-56) | Last week: 19 (+3)
The Mets held on to Noah Syndergaard and Zach Wheeler, and they are surging into contention after a 5-1 week. The schedule wasn’t difficult (@ the White Sox and @ Pittsburgh), but the pitching did the heavy lifting against Chicago before the offense took over during the weekend.
17. Arizona Diamondbacks (56-56) | Last week: 17
The Diamondbacks didn’t get either of Houston’s top two prospects in return for Zack Greinke, but they received the No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 prospects as part of the deal—that means more shots at someone becoming a star from the group.
18. Texas Rangers (57-54) | Last week: 18
Having just one trade deadline this season is probably bad news for a team like the Rangers, as Hunter Pence seems like he’d be the perfect August trade candidate for a contender. Anyway, the Rangers went 4-1 last week and remain in the mix in the American League, which virtually no one expected to be the case in August.
19. Los Angeles Angels (56-57) | Last week: 14 (-5)
Injuries are hitting the Angels badly, and they’re now 2-8 in their last ten games after a 1-5 week. Nine games back of a wild-card spot in the AL, the Angels need to get hot quickly.
20. Cincinnati Reds (52-58) | Last week: 22 (+2)
The Reds are coming off a series split with the Braves as they look to build momentum and make a move in an up-for-grabs NL wild-card race, and the pitching has been excellent this season and added Trevor Bauer at the deadline, so don’t count out a run if the offense can get hot.
21. Colorado Rockies (52-60) | Last week: 21
The Rockies have the talent to also make a run, but they’re running out of time, and the high-ankle sprain to All-Star outfielder David Dahl is a tough blow to the lineup.
22. San Diego Padres (51-60) | Last week: 20 (-2)
The Padres weren’t able to acquire Noah Syndergaard from the Mets, and they basically became sellers at the deadline, including Franmil Reyes (27 homers this season) in a trade for touted outfield prospect Taylor Trammell.
23. Chicago White Sox (48-61) | Last week: 24 (+1)
Coming off a road series victory, the White Sox will look to make it two in a row when they face the majors-worst Tigers. As expected, Chicago held on to Jose Abreu at the deadline, as he’s a great example for the younger players on the roster.
24. Pittsburgh Pirates (48-63) | Last week: 23 (-1)
The Pirates have won just four games in their last 20, which is tied with the Tigers for the worst in baseball. At least they didn’t let their losing streak get to double digits, ending it at nine games.
25. Seattle Mariners (47-67) | Last week: 25
The Mariners were no-hit for the second time in a three-week span, and their pitching (allowing 5.9 runs per game, second worst in the majors) is a bigger issue than their offense this season.
26. Toronto Blue Jays (45-69) | Last week: 28 (+2)
The Blue Jays faced the Royals and Orioles last week, and they came out with a 5-2 record, so it’s good to see them take advantage of games against teams they’re comparable to. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. raised his average .020 points up to .279 in the last week.
27. Miami Marlins (42-67) | Last week: 27
The Marlins can play spoiler and put a stop to the surge of the Mets, which is the role (spoiler) they might look to play for the rest of this season.
28. Kansas City Royals (40-73) | Last week: 26 (-2)
The Royals had been playing pretty well, but they drop down to the bottom-three of the power rankings after an 0-6 week.
29. Baltimore Orioles (38-73) | Last week: 29
Meanwhile, the Orioles continue to perform, as they are 6-4 in their last ten games, 10-10 in their last 20, and 15-15 in their last 30.
30. Detroit Tigers (32-75) | Last week: 30
The Tigers were able to pick up a couple of wins last week, but they are 6-24 in their last 30 games.