MLB Power Rankings: Braves Surge Into Top 5 While Yankees Continue to Fall

Joel ReuterAugust 16, 2022

MLB Power Rankings: Braves Surge Into Top 5 While Yankees Continue to Fall

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    Brian Fluharty/Getty Images

    It's mid-August, and there are still 17 teams within five games of a postseason spot, which should make for a fantastic final month-plus of the 2022 MLB season.

    The Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets and New York Yankees have represented the top tier for much of the year, but with teams like the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals all putting together impressive runs of late, it's clear those four are not the only viable title contenders.

    That all means there is plenty of opportunity for shuffling in our weekly MLB power rankings.

    If a team is winning, it will climb the rankings. If a team is losing, a slide is inevitable. The beauty of this exercise is that it's a fluid process, and things will continue to change.


    Note: Statistics and analysis reflect action through Monday's games. Records include Tuesday's results.

Nos. 30-26

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    Joey Meneses (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

    30. Washington Nationals (39-78)

    Previous Rank: 30

    Trading away Juan Soto and Josh Bell has given 30-year-old Joey Meneses his first MLB opportunity, and after 11 years in the minors, he's 14-for-35 with five home runs in his first 10 games in the big leagues. The Nationals have lost five straight series.


    29. Detroit Tigers (44-74)

    Previous Rank: 29

    The Tigers fell to 2-13 in their last 15 games with a loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, and general manager Al Avila was fired last Wednesday amid a disappointing season. After spending big to add Javier Baez and Eduardo Rodriguez on the heels of a 77-win season, much more was expected from this group in 2022.


    28. Oakland Athletics (41-75)

    Previous Rank: 28

    After showing some signs of life during a 14-12 month of July, the Athletics are back to looking like one of the worst teams in baseball. Shortstop Elvis Andrus voiced frustration with his diminished playing time, but with a $15 million club option for 2023 that becomes a player option if he reaches 550 plate appearances, it was always going to happen.


    27. Pittsburgh Pirates (45-70)

    Previous Rank: 24

    The Pirates are 2-8 with three straight series losses since sweeping the Milwaukee Brewers to begin the month of August. Flashy rookie Oneil Cruz is hitting .182/.265/.409 with 21 strikeouts in 49 plate appearances this month, so he'll need to show a lot more down the stretch to secure the starting shortstop job heading into 2023.


    26. Cincinnati Reds (45-69)

    Previous Rank: 23

    With Brandon Drury, Tommy Pham and Tyler Naquin all traded away at the deadline, an already lackluster Cincinnati offense has managed just 2.8 runs per game in August. Outfielder Jake Fraley has been a bright spot of late, hitting .370/.455/.556 in 33 plate appearances this month.

Nos. 25-21

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    Brady Singer (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

    25. Chicago Cubs (47-67)

    Previous Rank: 27

    Lost in the shuffle of a disappointing season, Nico Hoerner has emerged as a legitimate building block for the Cubs. The 25-year-old is hitting .302/.348/.425 for a 115 OPS+, and coupled with his stellar defense, he has been a 3.8-WAR player in 98 games. Can the Cubs finish strong to secure third in the NL Central standings?


    24. Kansas City Royals (48-69)

    Previous Rank: 26

    The Royals took three of four from the Chicago White Sox last week before dropping two of three to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but all things considered, it was a successful week. The rise of Brady Singer may wind up being the biggest takeaway of the 2022 season. The 26-year-old has posted a 1.99 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 49 strikeouts in 45.1 innings over his last seven starts.


    23. Miami Marlins (51-65)

    Previous Rank: 19

    The Marlins went 1-6 against division foes Philadelphia and Atlanta last week, and they have not won consecutive games since July 14. The final six weeks of the season will be about getting a long look at up-and-comers like JJ Bleday, Peyton Burdick, Edward Cabrera and Braxton Garrett to see if they can fill a significant role in 2023.


    22. Los Angeles Angels (51-65)

    Previous Rank: 25

    It's too little, too late, but the Angels have gone 7-3 over their last three series, including a weekend series win over a good Minnesota Twins team. Who would have guessed Luis Rengifo would be hitting No. 3 in the lineup on a regular basis in August? The 25-year-old may be playing his way into the starting second base job in 2023.


    21. Colorado Rockies (51-66)

    Previous Rank: 22

    The Rockies took two of three at home against a red-hot St. Louis Cardinals team last week, and they continue to be a tough draw at Coors Field with a 33-30 record on the year. Second baseman Brendan Rodgers is hitting .370/.412/.489 in 102 plate appearances since the All-Star break.

Nos. 20-16

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    Emmanuel Rivera (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

    20. Texas Rangers (52-63)

    Previous Rank: 21

    The Rangers picked up a weekend series win at home over the Seattle Mariners after dropping two of three to the Houston Astros to begin the week. With a minus-two run differential, there is a case to be made that they have played better baseball than their win-loss record indicates. This is a team that could take a major step forward in 2023.


    19. Arizona Diamondbacks (53-62)

    Previous Rank: 20

    The D-backs have three straight series wins, albeit against the Colorado Rockies, Pittsburgh Pirates and Rockies again. Third baseman Emmanuel Rivera—who was acquired from the Kansas City Royals in an under-the-radar deadline deal for Luke Weaver—is hitting .357/.419/.893 with three doubles and four home runs in eight games since the trade.


    18. San Francisco Giants (58-57)

    Previous Rank: 18

    The Giants continue to tread water around the .500 mark, sweeping the Pirates over the weekend after dropping two of three to the San Diego Padres. They entered the week six games back in the NL wild-card race, and with their next nine games against the D-backs, Rockies and Tigers, this may be their final chance to make a push.


    17. Boston Red Sox (57-59)

    Previous Rank: 17

    What can the Red Sox do with the momentum of a series win over the rival New York Yankees? Despite entering the week below .500 on the year, they were just 4.5 games back in the wild-card standing at the start of play on Monday. A road trip to take on the Pirates and Baltimore Orioles is their next test as they look to stay afloat in the playoff hunt.


    16. Chicago White Sox (60-56)

    Previous Rank: 16

    The White Sox took care of business over the weekend by sweeping a bad Detroit Tigers team, but only after they lost three of four against the Kansas City Royals. After the Houston Astros come to town for a four-game series, they have a huge three-game set with the Guardians in Cleveland. It's now or never for a club that has disappointed all season.

Nos. 15-11

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    Wander Franco (Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

    15. Minnesota Twins (59-55)

    Previous Rank: 11

    The Twins were 6-11 in their last 17 games entering play on Monday, and during that time, they've gone from three games up to 2.5 games back in the AL Central standings. Despite adding Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer at the deadline, the bullpen has been an issue of late with four blown saves and five losses in August.


    14. Baltimore Orioles (60-55)

    Previous Rank: 14

    With losses to the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday and Sunday, the Orioles ended last week on a low note, but they went 3-3 overall and are still very much in the hunt for a postseason berth. They are contending right now with a starting rotation of Jordan Lyles, Spenser Watkins, Kyle Bradish, Dean Kremer and Austin Voth. Amazing.


    13. Tampa Bay Rays (61-53)

    Previous Rank: 12

    After their current three-game series with the New York Yankees, the Rays will play their next 13 games against teams with a losing record. Shortstop Wander Franco took batting practice on the field on Sunday for the first time since suffering a broken right hamate bone, and he is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham on Tuesday.


    12. Milwaukee Brewers (61-53)

    Previous Rank: 15

    The Brewers managed to go 3-2 last week despite scoring just 16 runs in five games, but the offense has gone cold once again after a strong start to the second half. Things won't get any easier going forward as they play seven of their next 10 games against the Los Angeles Dodgers.


    11. Toronto Blue Jays (61-53)

    Previous Rank: 7

    After a 1-4 week that included a pair of losses to the Orioles and a series loss to the Cleveland Guardians, Toronto's position in a tight wild-card race is precarious at best with six teams within two games of a spot entering play on Monday. The Blue Jays signed Boston Red Sox castoff Jackie Bradley Jr. on August 9, and he'll be a useful defensive-minded fourth outfielder.

Nos. 10-6

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    Jordan Montgomery (Scott Kane/Getty Images)

    10. Cleveland Guardians (62-54)

    Previous Rank: 13

    With a win on Wednesday, the Guardians took over sole possession of first place in the AL Central for the first time since they briefly sat alone atop the standings on June 22. They won six in a row before losing on Saturday, and the pitching staff ranks sixth in the majors with a 3.03 ERA in August.


    9. Seattle Mariners (63-54)

    Previous Rank: 10

    The Mariners took two of three from the New York Yankees last week before dropping two of three against the Rangers in Texas over the weekend. Slugger Mitch Haniger has gone 12-for-30 with a 1.004 OPS in eight games since returning from a high ankle sprain that cost him 88 games.


    8. Philadelphia Phillies (64-51)

    Previous Rank: 9

    The Phillies had a seven-game winning streak snapped on Thursday and then lost two of three to the New York Mets over the weekend, but they're still in good shape in the NL wild-card race. The combination of Seranthony Dominguez and David Robertson at the back of the bullpen has become a strength.


    7. St. Louis Cardinals (63-51)

    Previous Rank: 5

    The Cardinals' seven-game winning streak was snapped last Monday, and they dropped two of three against the Rockies at Coors Field, but they bounced back with a series win over the Milwaukee Brewers to extend their division lead to 1.5 games. Deadline pickups Jose Quintana (2 GS, 1-0, 2.25 ERA, 12.0 IP) and Jordan Montgomery (2 GS, 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 11.0 IP) have stabilized the back of the rotation.


    6. San Diego Padres (65-53)

    Previous Rank: 6

    Series wins over the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals last week have vaulted the Padres into the No. 2 NL wild-card spot, and they have a chance to further build their cushion against the Miami Marlins and Nationals this week. The Fernando Tatis Jr. suspension hurts, but this team is still plenty talented without him.

Nos. 5-1

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    Jacob deGrom (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

    5. New York Yankees (72-44)

    Previous Rank: 4

    With a 3-0 loss to the rival Boston Red Sox on Sunday, the Yankees lost their fourth consecutive series. During that span, they've gone 3-9 with a minus-six run differential, but they've only lost 1.5 games off their lead in the AL East standings. This team should be able to coast to a division title, but it's not always easy to flip the switch once October arrives.


    4. Atlanta Braves (71-46)

    Previous Rank: 8

    The Braves' young talent was on full display last week as Michael Harris II (8-for-22, 4 2B, 2 HR) and recently promoted Vaughn Grissom (7-for-18, 2B, 2 HR) led the way offensively while going 6-0 against the Boston Red Sox and Miami Marlins. Former All-Star closer Kirby Yates made his 2022 debut on Wednesday, and he could be a huge addition to the relief corps.


    3. Houston Astros (75-42)

    Previous Rank: 3

    The Astros expanded an already huge lead in the AL West standings with a 5-1 week against the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics. Third baseman Alex Bregman is hitting .400/.500/.675 with three home runs in 50 plate appearances in August and once again looks like the impact middle-of-the-order bat he was a few years ago.


    2. New York Mets (75-41)

    Previous Rank: 2

    Since returning from their extended stays on the injured list, Max Scherzer (8 GS, 1.36 ERA, 67 K, 53.0 IP) and Jacob deGrom (3 GS, 1.62 ERA, 28 K, 16.2 IP) have given the Mets rotation a huge boost. With seven straight series wins and an 11-3 record and plus-35 run differential in August entering play on Monday, this team is rolling right now.


    1. Los Angeles Dodgers (80-34)

    Previous Rank: 1

    The Dodgers won 12 in a row before finally taking a loss on Sunday night when they were shut out by Brady Singer and the Kansas City Royals. During their winning streak, they outscored opponents 91-31 and scored at least seven runs nine different times. They're playing without Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw right now and they haven't missed a beat. Not many teams could do that.

Complete Rankings

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Complete Rankings

    1. Los Angeles Dodgers
    2. New York Mets
    3. Houston Astros
    4. Atlanta Braves
    5. New York Yankees
    6. San Diego Padres
    7. St. Louis Cardinals
    8. Philadelphia Phillies
    9. Seattle Mariners
    10. Cleveland Guardians
    11. Toronto Blue Jays
    12. Milwaukee Brewers
    13. Tampa Bay Rays
    14. Baltimore Orioles
    15. Minnesota Twins
    16. Chicago White Sox
    17. Boston Red Sox
    18. San Francisco Giants
    19. Arizona Diamondbacks
    20. Texas Rangers
    21. Colorado Rockies
    22. Los Angeles Angels
    23. Miami Marlins
    24. Kansas City Royals
    25. Chicago Cubs
    26. Cincinnati Reds
    27. Pittsburgh Pirates
    28. Oakland Athletics
    29. Detroit Tigers
    30. Washington Nationals

Highlight of the Week: Vintage Albert Pujols

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    Harrison Barden/Colorado Rockies/Getty Images

    The St. Louis Cardinals' decision to sign Albert Pujols to a one-year, $2.5 million deal during the offseason was viewed by many as a nostalgia-driven move that would do little to improve the team's outlook.

    Fast forward to the middle of August, and the 42-year-old sports a 125 OPS+ with 10 home runs and 30 RBI in 212 plate appearances, and he's coming off arguably his best week of the season.

    On Wednesday at Coors Field, he went 4-for-5 with a double, a home run and two RBI in a 9-5 victory. It was his first four-hit game since Aug. 30, 2019.

    He then played all three games of a crucial weekend series at home against the Milwaukee Brewers, homering twice on Sunday in a 6-3 win. It was his second multi-homer game of the season, with the other coming against the Pittsburgh Pirates back on May 22.

    Credit to manager Oli Marmol for doing a great job all season picking his spots with Pujols and keeping him fresh. He may not be the same impact player he was in his prime, but he can still make a difference on a playoff contender.

Team of the Week

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    Manny Machado (Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

    C Will Smith, LAD
    (7-for-17, 2 2B, HR, 5 RBI)

    1B Vinnie Pasquantino, KC
    (10-for-22, 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBI)

    2B Vaughn Grissom, ATL
    (7-for-18, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI)

    3B Manny Machado, SD
    (12-for-28, 5 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI)

    SS Corey Seager, TEX
    (9-for-26, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI)

    OF Joey Meneses, WAS
    (11-for-20, 4 HR, 6 RBI)

    OF Kyle Tucker, HOU
    (9-for-24, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBI)

    OF Michael Harris II, ATL
    (8-for-22, 4 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI)

    DH Albert Pujols, STL
    (7-for-14, 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI)

    SP Zac Gallen, ARI
    (2 GS, 2 W, 14.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 14 K)

    SP Chris Bassitt, NYM
    (2 GS, 2 W, 13.0 IP, 12 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 13 K)

    SP Brady Singer, KC
    (2 GS, 2 W, 13.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 13 K)

    SP Blake Snell, SD
    (2 GS, W, L, 11.2 IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 18 K)

    SP Luis Castillo, SEA
    (1 GS, ND, 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K)

    RP Camilo Doval, SF
    (4 G, W, 3/3 SV, 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K)

Award Rankings

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    Aaron Judge (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

    AL MVP

    1. Aaron Judge, NYY
    2. Yordan Alvarez, HOU
    3. Jose Ramirez, CLE
    4. Shohei Ohtani, LAA
    5. Rafael Devers, BOS
    6. Justin Verlander, HOU
    7. Jose Abreu, CWS
    8. Xander Bogaerts, BOS
    9. Julio Rodriguez, SEA
    10. Jose Altuve, HOU


    NL MVP

    1. Paul Goldschmidt, STL
    2. Freddie Freeman, LAD
    3. Austin Riley, ATL
    4. Nolan Arenado, STL
    5. Pete Alonso, NYM
    6. Manny Machado, SD
    7. Mookie Betts, LAD
    8. Francisco Lindor, NYM
    9. Dansby Swanson, ATL
    10. Juan Soto, SD


    AL Cy Young

    1. Justin Verlander, HOU
    2. Dylan Cease, CWS
    3. Shane McClanahan, TB
    4. Alek Manoah, TOR
    5. Nestor Cortes, NYY


    NL Cy Young

    1. Sandy Alcantara, MIA
    2. Max Scherzer, NYM
    3. Corbin Burnes, MIL
    4. Tony Gonsolin, LAD
    5. Julio Urias, LAD


    AL Rookie of the Year

    1. Julio Rodriguez, SEA
    2. Adley Rutschman, BAL
    3. Jeremy Pena, HOU


    NL Rookie of the Year

    1. Spencer Strider, ATL
    2. Michael Harris II, ATL
    3. Christopher Morel, CHC


    Stats courtesy of MLB.com and Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.

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