MLB Power Rankings: Braves Peak, Cardinals Crash Top 5, Yankees' Slide Continues

Joel ReuterAugust 23, 2022

MLB Power Rankings: Braves Peak, Cardinals Crash Top 5, Yankees' Slide Continues

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    Dansby Swanson (Brett Davis/Getty Images)

    With series wins over the New York Mets and Houston Astros last week, the Atlanta Braves have announced themselves as legitimate title contenders once again.

    That said, everyone is still looking up at the Los Angeles Dodgers in our weekly MLB power rankings, and they've simply been on another level for most of the summer.

    The St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays also have some good momentum as the pennant race heats up, while the New York Yankees and Milwaukee Brewers have been trending in the opposite direction.

    All of that means plenty of shuffling once again in this week's rankings.

    Just remember, 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 Sunday's games. Records include Monday's results.

Nos. 30-26

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    Eduardo Rodriguez (Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    30. Washington Nationals (41-82)

    Previous Rank: 30

    The Nationals are 5-13 since trade deadline day, though they did manage to split a four-game series with the San Diego Padres on the road over the weekend. Outfielder Lane Thomas homered twice last week, and he is now the active team leader with 12 long balls on the year, a total that still trails Juan Soto (21) and Josh Bell (14) before they were traded.


    29. Pittsburgh Pirates (47-75)

    Previous Rank: 27

    Losing two of three to the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend was a blow in the Pirates' battle to avoid the NL Central cellar. Outfielder/designated hitter Ben Gamel went 10-for-23 last week, and he has quietly posted a 104 OPS+ in 320 plate appearances playing on a one-year, $1.8 million deal.


    28. Oakland Athletics (45-78)

    Previous Rank: 28

    A four-game split with the Texas Rangers and a series win over the Seattle Mariners ranks as one of the more successful weeks of the season for the Athletics. Catcher Sean Murphy is hitting .289/.405/.567 with seven home runs and 17 RBI in 116 plate appearances since the All-Star break, and his 3.3 WAR on the year ranks sixth among all catchers.


    27. Kansas City Royals (50-74)

    Previous Rank: 24

    The rise of Brady Singer continues to be the biggest second-half storyline for the Royals, as the right-hander has posted a 2.10 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 56 strikeouts in 51.1 innings with seven quality starts in his last eight outings. He was on the mound for the team's only win last week.


    26. Detroit Tigers (47-76)

    Previous Rank: 29

    A 4-3 record, including a weekend series win over the Los Angeles Angels, was enough for the Tigers to climb three spots in this week's rankings. Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez returned to the active roster on Aug. 21 after three months away from the team and tossed five scoreless innings.

Nos. 25-21

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    Jake Fraley (Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

    25. Cincinnati Reds (48-72)

    Previous Rank: 26

    The Reds claimed a weekend series win over the Pirates in Pittsburgh, and that's no small feat for a team that has gone just 22-35 away from Great American Ball Park on the year. Since returning to action on July 30 following a 78-game stint on the injured list, outfielder Jake Fraley is hitting .357/.448/.714 with six home runs in 67 plate appearances.


    24. Los Angeles Angels (52-70)

    Previous Rank: 22

    The Angels went 1-5 last week, scoring three or fewer runs in five of those six games, and outside of Shohei Ohtani and an upstart Luis Rengifo the offense has been virtually non-existent the last few weeks. Left-hander Patrick Sandoval tossed the team's second complete game of the season on Friday, shutting out the Detroit Tigers in a four-hitter.


    23. Miami Marlins (53-69)

    Previous Rank: 23

    The Marlins have not scored more than four runs in a game since July 28, and they have plated just 38 runs in 19 games in August entering play on Monday. Hard-throwing Edward Cabrera has delivered 14.2 scoreless innings with 21 strikeouts in three starts since being recalled from the minors on Aug. 5.


    22. Colorado Rockies (53-70)

    Previous Rank: 21

    The Rockies took two of three from the San Francisco Giants at home over the weekend as they continue to play contention-level baseball at Coors Field, but they were swept by the St. Louis Cardinals on the road to begin the week. Shortstop José Iglesias quietly ranks fourth in the NL batting title race with a .312 average.


    21. Chicago Cubs (52-69)

    Previous Rank: 25

    The Cubs have seemingly rallied around the front office's decision to keep Willson Contreras and Ian Happ, going 11-7 since the trade deadline, including series wins over the Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers last week. With two quality starts last week, lefty Justin Steele now has a 3.25 ERA with 120 strikeouts in 113.2 innings on the year.

Nos. 20-16

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    Zac Gallen (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

    20. Arizona Diamondbacks (55-66)

    Previous Rank: 19

    The D-backs may be an also-ran here in 2022, but there have been plenty of promising signs for the future throughout the season. Over his last three starts, Zac Gallen has rattled off 21.1 scoreless innings, limiting opposing hitters to a .132 average while striking out 26 of the 71 batters he has faced.


    19. Texas Rangers (56-66)

    Previous Rank: 20

    The Rangers improved to 6-4 in their last 10 games with a weekend series win over the Minnesota Twins, and they entered play on Monday just five wins away from matching their 2021 total. First baseman Nathaniel Lowe is hitting .364/.408/.587 with six home runs and 16 RBI in 130 plate appearances since the All-Star break.


    18. San Francisco Giants (60-61)

    Previous Rank: 18

    The Giants continue to hover around the .500 mark after going 3-4 last week against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. Third baseman Evan Longoria has found the fountain of youth recently, hitting .333/.382/.633 with three doubles, two home runs and seven RBI in his last 11 games.


    17. Boston Red Sox (60-62)

    Previous Rank: 17

    The Red Sox allowed 15 runs to the Baltimore Orioles on Friday, marking the 12th time this season they've allowed double-digit runs. At this point, a .500 record might be the best they can hope for as their postseason hopes have all but evaporated while residing in the AL East cellar.


    16. Chicago White Sox (62-60)

    Previous Rank: 16

    The White Sox ran their winning streak to five games with wins over the Houston Astros on Monday and Tuesday, but followed that up by losing three straight, effectively erasing the ground they made up in the AL Central standings. Where would this team be without Johnny Cueto and his 2.58 ERA in 118.2 innings of work?

Nos. 15-11

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    Bryce Harper (Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

    15. Minnesota Twins (62-58)

    Previous Rank: 15

    The Twins took care of business with a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals last week, but they lost back-to-back games to the Texas Rangers at home on Saturday and Sunday, and they were shut out by Kohei Arihara and Taylor Hearn on Sunday. They next face the AL Central-leading Cleveland Guardians on Sept. 9.


    14. Milwaukee Brewers (65-56)

    Previous Rank: 12

    The Brewers fell to 7-11 with a minus-six run differential in August after losing two of three to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field over the weekend. After entering the month with a three-game lead in the NL Central, they now find themselves on the outside looking in for a postseason spot.


    13. Toronto Blue Jays (65-55)

    Previous Rank: 11

    After losing a series to the Orioles, the Blue Jays responded by taking three of four from the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Their next 12 games are against the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates as they look to solidify their standing in the AL wild-card race.


    12. Baltimore Orioles (63-58)

    Previous Rank: 14

    With series wins over the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox last week, the Orioles improved to 27-29 against the rest of the AL East, which is nothing to scoff at given the fact that there are four legitimate contenders in the division. A three-game series against the Astros in Houston this weekend will be a good test of where they stand.


    11. Philadelphia Phillies (67-55)

    Previous Rank: 8

    Since ripping off a seven-game winning streak earlier this month, the Phillies had gone just 4-7 in their last 11 games entering play on Monday. On a more positive note, Bryce Harper is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment soon, and Sept. 2 has been pointed to as a tentative return date.

Nos. 10-6

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    Steven Kwan (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

    10. Cleveland Guardians (64-56)

    Previous Rank: 10

    With a 12-7 record and plus-15 run differential in August, the Guardians have seized control of the AL Central race, and their 3.07 ERA this month ranks third in the majors. After a bit of a lull following his red-hot debut, rookie Steven Kwan is hitting .350/.403/.480 with 10 extra-base hits in 134 plate appearances since the All-Star break.


    9. Seattle Mariners (66-56)

    Previous Rank: 9

    The Mariners have the easiest remaining schedule of any team, according to Tankathon, which bodes well for their chances of erasing a postseason drought that stretches back to 2001. They won four in a row last week before suffering back-to-back losses to the Oakland Athletics, and they'll look to get back on track at home this week.


    8. San Diego Padres (68-56)

    Previous Rank: 6

    The Padres have gone 5-5 against the Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins in their last 10 games, scoring just eight runs in four games last week against a Nationals pitching staff that ranks last in the majors with 5.16 ERA. Manny Machado is hitting .337/.398/.615 with four home runs and 19 RBI in 21 games in August.


    7. New York Yankees (75-48)

    Previous Rank: 5

    It's hard to know where to slot the Yankees. These rankings are shuffled on a weekly basis based on recent performance, but the foundation is still the entire season's body of work, and for much of the year they were the best team in baseball. That's been far from the case in August, though. They've gone 5-14 through their first six series this month, and series losses to the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays last week drop them two more spots.


    6. Tampa Bay Rays (66-55)

    Previous Rank: 13

    The Rays improved to 11-7 in August with series wins over the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals last week, and in the process they moved to the top of the AL wild-card standings. Outfielder Manuel Margot returned to action on Saturday after missing two months with a patellar tendon strain, and he hit .302/.365/.423 in 200 plate appearances prior to the injury.

Nos. 5-1

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    Dustin May (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    5. St. Louis Cardinals (70-51)

    Previous Rank: 7

    The Cardinals improved to 19-7 since the All-Star break by sweeping the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks last week, and their lead over the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central swelled to five games entering play on Monday. MVP front-runner Paul Goldschmidt is hitting .340/.422/.636 with 34 doubles, 31 home runs, 100 RBI and 6.8 WAR in 114 games.


    4. Houston Astros (78-45)

    Previous Rank: 3

    Despite going 3-4 on the road last week against the Chicago White Sox and Atlanta Braves, the Astros still have a 3.5-game lead over the New York Yankees for the best record in the American League entering play on Monday. The Astros will play 24 of their final 39 games at home where they have a .684 winning percentage on the year.


    3. New York Mets (79-45)

    Previous Rank: 2

    The Mets had a tough draw last week with four games each against the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies on the road. They finished 4-4 overall, but dropped three of four against the Braves, which was enough to flip flop those two teams in the rankings for the time being. The Mets still lead the season series 9-7 and have a four-game lead in the division, but the Braves are playing better baseball right now.


    2. Atlanta Braves (76-48)

    Previous Rank: 4

    Not only had the Braves gone 11-2 in their last 13 games entering play on Monday, but they picked up series wins over the two teams ranked directly ahead of them last week in the New York Mets and Houston Astros. That's enough to bump them up to the No. 2 spot, and they'll have another tough test this weekend with a three-game series in St. Louis.


    1. Los Angeles Dodgers (84-37)

    Previous Rank: 1

    With a 24-6 record since the All-Star break following a three-game sweep of the Miami Marlins over the weekend, the Dodgers are simply on another level right now. Young right-hander Dustin May made his return from Tommy John surgery on Saturday with five scoreless innings, and that's just one more weapon for an already stacked team.

Complete Rankings

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    Eric Espada/Getty Images

    Complete Rankings

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

Highlight of the Week: Patrick Sandoval Throws a 'Maddux'

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    Duane Burleson/Getty Images

    Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux was known for his efficiency, to the point that throwing a shutout with fewer than 100 pitches has unofficially become known as a "Maddux" in baseball circles.

    Patrick Sandoval delivered his first career "Maddux" on Friday against the Detroit Tigers, needing just 97 pitches to toss a four-hit shutout in a 1-0 victory.

    The left-hander now has a 3.14 ERA with 115 strikeouts in 109 innings, though he has not always worked deep into games, failing to complete six innings in 12 of his 20 starts.

    "Usually, I’m like through four innings on 97,” Sandoval told reporters while laughing. “So to get through nine is awesome. I was just throwing everything through the zone and I felt really good. Once I got to the fifth or sixth inning, everything started clicking. I felt better deeper in the game. I felt crisper and smoother as the game went along."

    The 25-year-old has the potential to be a significant piece of the Angels' rotation puzzle going forward, and he's controllable through the 2026 season.

Team of the Week

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    Sean Murphy (Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

    C Sean Murphy, OAK
    (10-for-26, 2 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI)

    1B Paul Goldschmidt, STL
    (13-for-24, 3 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBI)

    2B Jeff McNeil, NYM
    (16-for-34, 6 2B, 3 RBI)

    3B Alex Bregman, HOU
    (9-for-30, 6 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI)

    SS Francisco Lindor, NYM
    (12-for-36, 3B, HR, 2 RBI)

    OF Kyle Tucker, HOU
    (12-for-31, 3 2B, HR, 6 RBI)

    OF Starling Marte, NYM
    (11-for-32, 3 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI)

    OF Jake Fraley, CIN
    (6-for-22, 4 HR, 8 RBI)

    DH Albert Pujols, STL
    (8-for-13, 3 HR, 7 RBI)

    SP Patrick Sandoval, LAA
    (1 GS, W, 9.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K)

    SP Johnny Cueto, CWS
    (2 GS, 2 W, 16.2 IP, 11 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)

    SP Charlie Morton, ATL
    (2 GS, W, ND, 12.2 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 23 K)

    SP Zac Gallen, ARI
    (1 GS, W, 7.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 12 K)

    SP Justin Steele, CHC
    (2 GS, 2 ND, 12.0 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 14 K)

    RP Pete Fairbanks, TB
    (4 G, 2/2 SV, 2 HLD, 3.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K)

Award Rankings

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    Paul Goldschmidt (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

    AL MVP

    1. Aaron Judge, NYY
    2. Yordan Álvarez, HOU
    3. Shohei Ohtani, LAA
    4. José Ramírez, CLE
    5. Rafael Devers, BOS
    6. Justin Verlander, HOU
    7. Jose Abreu, CWS
    8. Julio Rodríguez, SEA
    9. José Altuve, HOU
    10. Andres Gimenez, CLE


    NL MVP

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


    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. Tony Gonsolin, LAD
    3. Corbin Burnes, MIL
    4. Max Scherzer, NYM
    5. Julio Urías, LAD


    AL Rookie of the Year

    1. Julio Rodríguez, SEA
    2. Adley Rutschman, BAL
    3. Steven Kwan, CLE


    NL Rookie of the Year

    1. Spencer Strider, ATL
    2. Michael Harris II, ATL
    3. Brendan Donovan, STL


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

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