Rich 10 MLB Rankings (Aug. 24-Aug. 30)

Just like that, the MLB regular season is close to halfway over (or is) for many teams. 

At this stage of the season, certain teams have started to create distance in the division standings. Other teams, meanwhile, have been able to weather the injury storm and remain close to the top of the field. And then, of course, there are the surprise teams making much more noise than was initially thought possible. 

No matter the team, decisions will have to be made with the Aug. 31 trade deadline fast approaching. Will teams stand pat or go for a huge move? What will the market look like? Only time will tell. Until then, here is another MLB power rankings installment. 

10. Atlanta Braves (16-12)

Previous ranking: 9

Record over past week: 3-2

The Braves, despite dropping one spot in this week’s ranking, continue to hold onto the top spot of the National League East even with injury issues on the roster. While Freddie Freeman continues to be a consistent mainstay in the lineup, Dansby Swanson has started to build his reputation as an everyday hitter. Through 28 games, Swanson is slashing .319/.353/.487 with three home runs and 10 doubles. Although the Shelby Miller trade was already a score for Atlanta, it only becomes more of a lottery as Swanson (who was the headliner returning to the Braves in the deal) continues to hit like he did when he was a Vanderbilt Commodore. 

9. Chicago White Sox (17-12)

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 6-1

Make no mistake, folks – the White Sox are finally putting the pieces together. Despite losing to the Cubs Sunday, the South Side stringed six wins together last week before the loss. Jose Abreu continues to be an underrated asset for the club, as the slugger tied an MLB record by hitting a home run in four consecutive at-bats. The 33-year-old Cuban has helped bring veteran presence to a relatively young and up-and-coming roster. The White Sox will have an opportunity to continue their scorching stretch by taking on the Pittsburgh Pirates (two games) and Kansas City Royals (three games) at home this week.

8. Chicago Cubs (17-10)

Previous ranking: 5

Record over past week: 4-4

Yu Darvish and Jeremy Jeffress might be the x-factors for the Cubs this season. Darvish continued his superb season with two flashy starts over the past week, as the 34-year-old combined to strike out 17 batters in 13 innings of work. On the relief side, Jeffress picked up two saves over the past week and lowered his ERA to 1.46. Should the Cubs make a deep run in the postseason, they will need both sides of the pitching (starting and relieving) to hold up. Darvish and Jeffress will be key to whether the overall pitching unit does just that. 

7. San Diego Padres (18-12)

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 7-0

San Diego? False. Slam Diego. The Friars, after notoriously struggling on offense the past several seasons, threw that mantra out of a tall skyrise and have taken delight in slamming baseballs out of ballparks. Over the past week, the Padres hit four consecutive grand slams in each game Monday through Thursday (Fernando Tatis Jr., Wil Myers, Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer). For good measure, they hit a fifth grand slam Saturday (Jake Cronenworth). No matter where you look, offense is coming from all areas of the lineup. The question now, of course, is what San Diego will do at the deadline. Do they double down and add to the lineup or do they go grab a pitcher? Perhaps they get both? Decisions, decisions and more decisions. 

6. New York Yankees (16-9)

Previous ranking: 3

Record over past week: 1-3

If you thought the injury bug for New York would go away, boy, you are in for a rude awakening. James Paxton, Gleyber Torres and Zack Britton were recent players struck by nagging injuries, as all three were put on the Injured List (IL) over the past week. The postponement of the Subway Series, due to COVID concerns, allowed the Yankees to get a few days of rest. This, in addition to Aaron Judge tentatively slated to come back this week, might give the Yankees the opportunity to right the ship despite the injury holes. 

5. Cleveland Indians (17-11)

Previous ranking: 7

Record over past week: 4-2

The moment you think Cleveland could not possibly bring up another high-profile pitcher, well, they do. Triston McKenzie, in his first-ever MLB start, dazzled and struck out 10 Detroit Tigers in six innings Saturday. The start would even find itself in the history books – the 10 strikeouts in McKenzie’s big-league debut ranked second among all Cleveland starters ever in strikeouts during their debut. Only Luis Tiant struck out more in his debut in 1964 (11). Whenever you slot yourself in good company after one start, you might be on the right path toward success. Welcome to the big leagues, McKenzie. 

4. Minnesota Twins (19-10)

Previous ranking: 4

Record over past week: 5-2

The Twins hold steady at fourth in these rankings after winning two series against sub-.500 teams (Milwaukee Brewers and Kansas City Royals) last week. Miguel Sano has started to find a groove with the bat, much to the excitement of Minnesota fans. The 27-year-old is slashing .462/.533/.885 over his past seven games. Additionally, Jose Berrios put together his strongest start of the season last week, as he pitched six shutout innings against the Brewers. When Sano and Berrios are clicking, Minnesota is winning. 

3. Tampa Bay Rays (19-10)

Previous ranking: 8

Record over past week: 5-1

A strong week for Tampa Bay has rocketed the team up to third in this ranking installment. More importantly, they sit atop the American League East division all alone. Although their offense might not have a household name, it has pieces that gradually build off of each other as the lineup opens up its production. Brandon Lowe, in particular, is slashing .313/.398/.697 with 18 extra-base hits (seven doubles, two triples and nine home runs). Should Lowe and the rest of the order continue to chip away, perhaps the group will become more well-known among MLB fans. 

2. Oakland Athletics (20-9)

Previous ranking: 2 

Record over past week: 4-3

There is some Oakland magic brewing, not because they have the best record in the American League, though. Instead, it comes in their solid 6-3 record in one-run games and sparkling 5-0 record in extra-inning games. No matter what the game situation is, Oakland finds a way to collect wins. One day, it might come from the bullpen. On another day, it might come from the bottom of the lineup. Maybe it comes from a combination of both offense and pitching. Whatever the weather, Oakland is rolling. The Athletics will have a chance to continue their rolling ways this week on the road against the struggling Texas Rangers (four games) and Houston Astros (three games). 

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (22-8)

Previous ranking: 1

Record over past week: 6-1

To be frank, not much needs to be said about this team. To keep it short, the Dodgers possess the most wins in all of baseball and continue to show their overall balance on both the hitting and pitching front. To make matters even scarier for the rest of the league, Cody Bellinger is starting to heat up, as the reigning National League MVP winner has slashed .304/.448/.870 over his past seven games. Oh, and Mookie Betts has 11 home runs and an on-base plus slugging (OPS) of 1.032. You get the idea at this point. This is the best team in the majors and that is why they are first in these rankings once more. 

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