MLB Power Rankings: Braves, Cardinals, Mets Battle for Position Behind No. 1 Dodgers

Joel ReuterAugust 30, 2022

MLB Power Rankings: Braves, Cardinals, Mets Battle for Position Behind No. 1 Dodgers

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    Michael Owens/MLB Photos via Getty Images

    We are now just six short weeks from the start of the 2022 MLB postseason, and there are still 15 teams within three games of claiming one of the 12 postseason spots that are up for grabs in the expanded playoff format.

    Everyone is still chasing the Los Angeles Dodgers at this point, and while there are a number of legitimate contenders on the National League side of things, the American League is a bit more jumbled behind the Houston Astros and New York Yankees, who are both staked to big division leads.

    Further down the standings, rebuilding teams are assessing their in-house talent and gearing up for next season, while middle-of-the-pack teams are trying to build some momentum while also playing spoiler. All of that means plenty of shuffling in our weekly MLB power 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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    Joey Meneses (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

    30. Washington Nationals (43-85)

    Previous Rank: 30

    The Nationals still have not won a series in August, and they've gone 7-16 with a minus-48 run differential since the trade deadline. On a positive note, they may have a keeper in 30-year-old rookie Joey Meneses, who is hitting .333/.371/.583 with six home runs in 89 plate appearances since making his MLB debut on Aug. 2.

    29. Pittsburgh Pirates (48-80)

    Previous Rank: 29

    The Pirates snapped a seven-game losing streak on Sunday with a four-hit shutout of the Philadelphia Phillies. It was just their third win in their last 16 games. The fact that Bryan Reynolds leads the team with 48 RBI tells you all you need to know about the current state of an offense that ranks dead last in the NL in most statistical categories.

    28. Oakland Athletics (48-81)

    Previous Rank: 28

    In back-to-back wins over the New York Yankees on Saturday and Sunday, the Athletics pitching staff surrendered a combined five hits, with strong starts from Adam Oller (8.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER) and Adrián Martínez (5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) leading the way. It was a nice finish to what started as a 1-4 week, but they still have a firm hold on the AL's worst record.

    27. Cincinnati Reds (50-77)

    Previous Rank: 25

    After getting swept by the Philadelphia Phillies in a four-game series, the Reds bounced back to take two of three from the Washington Nationals. The final month of the season will be about assessing in-house talent, and the outfield in particular is an area to watch with Jake Fraley, Nick Senzel, TJ Friedl, Aristides Aquino and Stuart Fairchild all currently seeing regular action.

    26. Kansas City Royals (52-77)

    Previous Rank: 27

    The Royals scored a season-high 15 runs on Sunday to avoid getting swept by the San Diego Padres. After going 3-for-4 with a home run in the rout, Salvador Perez is now hitting .282/.312/.487 with seven home runs and 26 RBI in 30 games since the All-Star break following a disappointing, injury-plagued first half.

Nos. 25-21

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    Matt Manning (Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    25. Detroit Tigers (50-78)

    Previous Rank: 26

    The Tigers are 7-5 over their last four series, and with 18 games left against contending teams, they are well-positioned to play spoiler. After missing time with a shoulder injury, former top prospect Matt Manning has a 2.40 ERA in 30 innings over five starts, including six shutout innings against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.

    24. Colorado Rockies (55-74)

    Previous Rank: 22

    With a 12-24 record since the All-Star break, the Rockies are limping to the finish line. They did manage to blank the New York Mets on Sunday behind seven shutout innings from Germán Márquez, avoiding a four-game sweep in the process, but with 20 of their final 33 games on the road, the losses could pile up before the season is over.

    23. Chicago Cubs (55-74)

    Previous Rank: 21

    Positives have been few and far between for the Cubs this year, but the development of left-hander Justin Steele has been a major takeaway from the season. The 27-year-old has a 0.96 ERA in 28 innings in August, and he has a 3.18 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 119 innings on the year as a potential building block in the rotation.

    22. Miami Marlins (55-73)

    Previous Rank: 23

    The Marlins had 57 runs scored in 25 games in August following Sunday's 8-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. With Jazz Chisholm Jr. on the injured list, there is no one in the starting lineup with an OPS+ over 107, where both Brian Anderson and Garrett Cooper currently sit. Until it addresses its offensive shortcomings, this team is going nowhere.

    21. Los Angeles Angels (56-73)

    Previous Rank: 24

    The Angels swept the Blue Jays in Toronto over the weekend, outscoring them 22-3 in the three-game series. Since returning from the injured list on Aug. 19, Mike Trout has a .955 OPS with four home runs and seven RBI in 38 plate appearances, and he had gone deep in four of his last five games entering play on Monday.

Nos. 20-16

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    Nathaniel Lowe (Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

    20. Texas Rangers (58-69)

    Previous Rank: 19

    They may not be contending, but the Rangers should blow past the 60 wins they posted in 2022. The story of the second half has been Nathaniel Lowe. The young first baseman is hitting .367/.408/.646 with 10 home runs and 27 RBI in 37 games since the All-Star break, and he has a 141 OPS+ and 2.4 WAR on the season.

    19. San Francisco Giants (61-66)

    Previous Rank: 18

    The Giants held their trade chips at the deadline in hopes of climbing back into contention, but after falling to 2-8 in their last 10 games following a weekend sweep by the Minnesota Twins, their playoff hopes have all but evaporated. After hitting a bump in the road in July, left-hander Carlos Rodon has a 1.44 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 31.1 innings in his last five starts.

    18. Chicago White Sox (63-65)

    Previous Rank: 16

    The White Sox entered play on Monday six games back in the AL wild-card standings with three teams to overtake to move into the No. 3 spot. A 2-9 record in their last 11 games could prove to be the death rattle of a disappointing season that fell miles short of expectations entering the year.

    17. Arizona Diamondbacks (60-67)

    Previous Rank: 20

    The D-backs swept the White Sox over the weekend to improve to 14-11 in August. However, they have the toughest remaining schedule of any team, according to Tankathon, with only nine games remaining against teams with a losing record. Right-hander Zac Gallen leads all qualified pitchers with a 0.80 ERA in 45 innings since the All-Star break.

    16. Boston Red Sox (62-67)

    Previous Rank: 17

    The Red Sox rallied from a 1-6 stretch of games to take two of three from the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend, and with 22 games left against AL East contenders, they have abundant spoiler opportunities. Left-hander Rich Hill—the oldest pitcher in baseball this season at 42 years old—struck out 11 batters over seven scoreless innings on Saturday.

Nos. 15-11

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    Ross Stripling (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

    15. Minnesota Twins (66-61)

    Previous Rank: 15

    The Twins lost six in a row before sweeping the San Francisco Giants over the weekend, and despite their recent struggles, they are still within striking distance of the AL Central lead and a wild-card spot. That said, they are still currently on the outside looking in for a postseason berth. Carlos Correa went 8-for-12 with a double and a home run in the Giants series.

    14. Milwaukee Brewers (68-59)

    Previous Rank: 14

    The Brewers won just their second series of the month when they took two of three from the Chicago Cubs at home, and while the St. Louis Cardinals have started to pull away in the NL Central standings, Milwaukee is still alive in the wild-card race. Leadoff man Christian Yelich is hitting .429/.474/.629 in 38 plate appearances over his last nine games.

    13. Toronto Blue Jays (69-58)

    Previous Rank: 13

    The Blue Jays ripped off a 7-1 stretch of games before getting swept by the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend. Where would this Blue Jays team be without Ross Stripling? The veteran swingman has a 2.35 ERA in 69 innings over 13 starts since joining the starting rotation full-time in early June.

    12. Baltimore Orioles (67-60)

    Previous Rank: 12

    The Orioles entered play on Monday just 1.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the third AL wild-card spot, and they still have seven games remaining head-to-head in September. The O's are 21-14 with a plus-21 run differential since the All-Star break, and the pitching staff ranks ninth in the majors with a 3.59 ERA during that stretch.

    11. San Diego Padres (71-59)

    Previous Rank: 8

    The Padres are playing roughly .500 in August and really going as far back as the All-Star break, and while that might be enough for them to sneak into a wild-card spot, they need to flip the switch to be viewed as legitimate postseason contenders. A tough test against the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers on the road awaits this week.

Nos. 10-6

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    Bryce Harper (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

    10. Cleveland Guardians (67-59)

    Previous Rank: 10

    Despite losing three of four against the Seattle Mariners, the Guardians still wrapped up last week with a two-game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central standings. The pitching staff leads the AL with a 2.83 ERA in August, and the bullpen has nailed down eight of nine save chances this month.

    9. Seattle Mariners (70-58)

    Previous Rank: 9

    The Mariners went 4-2 last week, and they have one of the easiest remaining schedules with only eight more games against teams with a winning record. Prized offseason signing Robbie Ray has looked a lot like the 2021 AL Cy Young winner in August, going 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 33 innings over five starts.

    8. Philadelphia Phillies (72-57)

    Previous Rank: 11

    The Phillies bounced back from a tough series against the New York Mets two weeks ago to go 6-1 last week against the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates, improving their position in the NL wild-card standings in the process. Slugger Bryce Harper returned on Friday after missing 51 games, and he went 3-for-10 with two RBI in his first three games back.

    7. New York Yankees (78-51)

    Previous Rank: 7

    The Yankees finally seemed to awaken from their second-half slumber with a five-game winning streak, but they failed to secure a series win over the Oakland Athletics with back-to-back losses on Saturday and Sunday. Left-hander Nestor Cortes landed on the injured list last week with a groin strain, and Clarke Schmidt has replaced him in the rotation.

    6. Tampa Bay Rays (70-57)

    Previous Rank: 6

    With a 16-9 record in August and a 5-2 showing last week, the Rays entered the week in the No. 1 spot in the AL wild-card standings. Infielder Isaac Paredes slugged four home runs last week, and he is now the team leader with 18 long balls in 291 plate appearances. Randy Arozarena is the only other player in double figures with 17 homers.

Nos. 5-1

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    Justin Verlander (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

    5. Houston Astros (82-47)

    Previous Rank: 4

    After a red-hot start to August, the Astros have lost two of their last three series, dropping two of three against the Baltimore Orioles at home over the weekend. AL Cy Young front-runner Justin Verlander had to exit his start on Sunday after just three innings and 60 pitches with calf discomfort, and his health will be monitored closely in the coming days.

    4. New York Mets (82-47)

    Previous Rank: 3

    The Mets came up short against the rival New York Yankees with a pair of 4-2 losses on Monday and Tuesday, but they followed that up by taking three of four from the Colorado Rockies at home. The offense has scored three or fewer runs in six of their last eight games, and a big series against the Los Angeles Dodgers awaits this week.

    3. Atlanta Braves (79-50)

    Previous Rank: 2

    The Braves have the best record in baseball since Aug. 9 at 15-4 with a plus-57 run differential, but they ran into another hot team over the weekend when they lost two of three against the St. Louis Cardinals. Center fielder Michael Harris II is making a strong push to overtake teammate Spencer Strider in the NL Rookie of the Year race.

    2. St. Louis Cardinals (75-54)

    Previous Rank: 5

    The Cardinals have won six consecutive series, going 13-4 during that stretch while outscoring opponents by a 100-58 margin. Back-to-back wins over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday and Sunday was enough to vault them to No. 2 in this week's rankings. With their next 13 games against sub-.500 teams, the Cardinals have a chance to run away with the NL Central title.

    1. Los Angeles Dodgers (89-38)

    Previous Rank: 1

    After going 4-2 against the Milwaukee Brewers and Miami Marlins last week, the Dodgers are now on pace for a 113-win season. That would easily surpass the franchise-record 106 wins they tallied in 2019 and 2021 and give them home-field advantage: They've gone an absurd 45-16 at Dodger Stadium this season. Mookie Betts is playing his way into the NL MVP conversation with a .333/.378/.686 line and 19 extra-base hits in 24 games in August.

Complete Rankings

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    Nolan Arenado (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

    Complete Rankings

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

Highlight of the Week: Julio Rodríguez Joins 20/20 Club, Signs Extension

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    Julio Rodríguez (Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

    On Wednesday, Julio Rodríguez hit his 20th home run of the season, and in the process, he became just the 12th rookie in MLB history to join the 20/20 club.

    Of the previous 11 players to reach that milestone, six went on to win Rookie of the Year honors, including Nomar Garciaparra (1997), Carlos Beltran (1999), Mike Trout (2012) and Randy Arozarena (2021).

    Two days later, Rodríguez signed a long-term extension with the Mariners that could be worth as much as $470 million, depending on a variety of different club options and incentives.

    "Julio is among the most exciting players in the game and has only scratched the surface of what's to come," Mariners team president Jerry Dipoto told reporters. "We feel the uniqueness of this deal befits the person. His infectious personality and ability on the field are only surpassed by his character away from it. We are thrilled that generations of Mariners fans will have the privilege of watching him play in T-Mobile Park for many years to come."

    The 21-year-old is trying to lead the Mariners to their first playoff appearance since 2001.

Team of the Week

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    Aaron Nola (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

    C J.T. Realmuto, PHI
    (9-for-23, 3 2B, 3B, HR, 8 RBI)

    1B Nathaniel Lowe, TEX
    (10-for-26, 3B, 4 HR, 11 RBI)

    2B Isaac Paredes, TB
    (6-for-18, 4 HR, 6 RBI)

    3B Nolan Arenado, STL
    (9-for-20, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI)

    SS Corey Seager, TEX
    (8-for-21, 2 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI)

    OF Mookie Betts, LAD
    (9-for-26, 3 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBI)

    OF Mike Trout, LAA
    (7-for-25, 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBI)

    OF Christian Yelich, MIL
    (12-for-26, 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI)

    DH Justin Turner, LAD
    (10-for-23, 3 2B, 4 RBI)

    SP Aaron Nola, PHI
    (1 GS, W, 9.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K)

    SP Domingo Germán, NYY
    (2 GS, W, ND, 14.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K)

    SP Robbie Ray, SEA
    (2 GS, 2 W, 13.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 14 K)

    SP Kyle Bradish, BAL
    (1 GS, W, 8.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K)

    SP Cole Irvin, OAK
    (1 GS, ND, 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K)

    RP Félix Bautista, BAL
    (3 G, W, 2/2 SV, 5.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K)

Award Rankings

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    Aaron Judge (Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

    AL MVP

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

    NL MVP

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

    AL Cy Young

    1. Justin Verlander, HOU
    2. Shane McClanahan, TB
    3. Dylan Cease, CWS
    4. Alek Manoah, TOR
    5. Shohei Ohtani, LAA

    NL Cy Young

    1. Sandy Alcantara, MIA
    2. Tony Gonsolin, LAD
    3. Max Scherzer, NYM
    4. Julio Urías, LAD
    5. Max Fried, ATL

    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 and Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.


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