Rich 10 MLB Rankings (Aug. 31- Sept. 6)

With the completion of Jackie Robinson Day this past Friday, the MLB regular season inches closer and closer to completion as the calendar rolls toward September. Before the season could be completed, however, teams had to make the decision whether to buy, sell, stand pat or even do a combination of the three with the MLB Trade Deadline.

With the trade deadline clock stopping at 4:00 p.m. EST today, teams had to make the final decision on what to do. With the deadline now past us, here is another edition of MLB Power Rankings. 

10. New York Yankees (19-13)

Previous ranking: 6

Record over past week: 3-4

After getting swept in two doubleheader slates to the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets during the week, the Yankees snapped their seven-game skid by walking it off against the latter Saturday evening to win, 2-1. Although New York has continued to overcome its injury onslaught by sweeping the Sunday doubleheader against the Mets, it has not come without its growing pains – Aroldis Chapman has been slow getting back to strength and currently has a 1-1 W/L record and 13.50 ERA through three appearances this season. Although the injury-plagued trek during the 2019 season had its growing pains as well, there were 162 games to figure something out. The Yankees do not have that luxury this season. Should the team make a deep run in what looks to be a parity-rampant postseason, they will need to clean up the inconsistences, injuries or not. 

9. Minnesota Twins (20-15) 

Previous ranking: 4

Record over past week: 1-5

Minnesota was soaring, but now they are plummeting. After sitting comfortably in first place last week, the Twins now find themselves sitting in third wondering what happened. Offense, or the lack thereof, is what happened, as Minnesota has averaged a paltry 2.2 runs per game during their five-game losing skid. Minnesota will luckily have a chance to right the ship by playing 11 of their next 13 games at home, where they are 12-3. Should they right it, they should be back at the top in the division, or close to it. If they do not, a bronze medal is nice compensation. 

8. Houston Astros (19-14)

Previous ranking: N/A

Record over past week: 4-1

While Sunday’s game against Oakland was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, the Astros find themselves back in the rankings after a strong week against inter-division competition. Zack Greinke continues to post solid numbers (he has a 2.68 ERA through seven starts), and the lineup continues to grind through a league letting them hear it in regarding the sign-stealing scandal. Assuming COVID-19 does not halt the schedule, the Astros will have a chance to continue their push back into relevancy with a three-game slate against the Texas Rangers during the week, followed by a four-game series against the Angels over the weekend. 

7. Chicago Cubs (20-14)

Previous ranking: 8

Record over past week: 3-4

Despite playing sub-.500 baseball over the past week, the Cubs remain in the driver’s seat of the surprisingly mediocre National League Central. If Chicago’s Sunday game is any indicator, their offense might be clicking into gear, as three different players hit two home runs apiece in a 10-1 rout of the Cincinnati Reds (Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ and Jason Heyward). It is the 20th time since 1901 a team has had three players slug at least two home runs in the same game. However, the feat was the first time in recorded MLB history three starting outfielders for the same team hit two home runs each in the same game. The additional trade for designated hitter (and left-handed pitching killer) Jose Martinez from the Tampa Bay Rays should only add to the lethality the lineup can put up in light of Kris Bryant’s absence. 

6. San Diego Padres (21-15)

Previous ranking: 7

Record over past week: 3-3

The Friars have been busy. The team has completed not one, not two, but six deals. Reliever Trevor Rosenthal, in addition to first baseman/designated hitter Mitch Moreland and catchers Jason Castro and Austin Nola. Among other deals, the transactions have helped fix a wart on the roster (bullpen) and reinforce a strength (offense and bench depth), respectively. Did I forget to mention they now have Mike Clevinger, too? The Padres now have a prime opportunity to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2006 when they couple these transactions with the core group of players on the roster already. The team has the depth all over to achieve this goal should everything pan out smoothly. If you needed a more obvious statement, well, I hear the Pope might be Catholic. 

5. Cleveland Indians (21-13) 

Previous ranking: 5

Record over past week: 4-2

Cleveland holds steady at fifth in this installment after another solid week. Mike Clevinger, after getting demoted to the alternative training site after breaking COVID-19 protocol, made his return well-known this past week after pitching six innings of two-run ball against the Twins last Wednesday. With Clevinger now a member of the Padres, the Tribe will have to navigate for a postseason spot without one of their premier starters. Regardless, the team will have a chance to pad their strong record with their next 10 games coming against the Kansas City Royals and Milwaukee Brewers. 

4. Chicago White Sox (21-13)

Previous ranking: 9

Record over past week: 4-1

Despite playing only five games over the past week, a lot has happened to this team. Where to start? Well, Luis Robert hit a three-run walk-off homer to lift the South Siders over the Royals Sunday afternoon. Lucas Giolito twirled a one-walk, 13-strikeout no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates last Tuesday. Last, but certainly not least, the White Sox currently sit atop the American League Central Division with Cleveland. After a relatively quiet deadline, the White Sox decided to roll with what they had already. Will it be enough to create distance?

3. Oakland Athletics (22-12)

Previous ranking: 2

Record over past week: 2-3

A chance to avoid a sweep against the Astros was taken away after the Sunday matchup was postponed after a member of the organization tested positive for COVID-19. While the team might not have a solidified .300 hitter or a sub-2.00 ERA ace starter, the team under Bob Melvin gets the job done and gets it done well, especially at home – the team currently possesses a 13-4 record at RingCentral Coliseum. The addition of position player Tommy La Stella should only add to the lineup dynamic the team already has in place with Matt Chapman, Matt Olson and Mark Canha. Whenever they toe the rubber once more, expect Oakland to continue their winning ways. 

2. Tampa Bay Rays (24-11)

Previous ranking: 3

Record over past week: 5-1

Despite their pitching depth not being what it was at the start of the season, the Rays churned out another excellent week by taking care of business against the Baltimore Orioles (two games) and Miami Marlins (three). Although they traded Martinez to the Cubs, the offense is still producing and the pitching, despite its injury problems, is still doing just enough. Blake Snell is starting to build up his workload and is currently shipping a 3.14 ERA after pitching 10.2 innings last week and only giving up four earned runs. Significant star power or not, the Rays get the job done. They are slowly but surely creeping closer to that top spot, but another team stands in the way…

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (26-10) 

Previous ranking: 1

Record over past week: 4-2

You probably are sensing a theme at this point. Yes, the Dodgers are first in these rankings for the third week in a row. Yes, this team is the first in baseball to eclipse 25 or more wins. Yes, this team is a World Series favorite even if after they stood pat at the deadline. The depth of this roster cannot be talked about enough, especially regarding the offense – after all, Cody Bellinger’s two-run bomb in the fifth inning during Sunday’s matchup against the Texas Rangers broke the National League record for home runs in a single month (57). Even with Walker Buehler on the 10-Day Injured List (IL), the Dodgers possess the depth to offset it. The Dodgers will look to cement their National League West cushion with a six-game homestand against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies this week. 

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