Welcome to another edition of the Cubicle GM MLB Power Rankings. With one playoff race heating up, the rankings saw a bit of a shakeup in the middle. However, it has become abundantly clear that there are three distinct groupings of teams in MLB.
The top seven teams remain in a group of their own, as none of them received a vote below No. 8. The only change from last week was the flip-flop of the Cardinals and Rockies. While the teams tied in the voting, the Rockies get the edge as they hold a 4-0 advantage in the season series.
The next distinct group is the teams from No. 8 to No. 20. Only the No. 20 Milwaukee Brewers received a vote higher than in the teens.
The biggest movers this week were the Minnesota Twins, who jumped five spots to No. 11 while closing the gap in the AL Central. Close behind were the Atlanta Braves, who jumped to No. 8 while winning eight of their last 10. The biggest fall came from the Chicago Cubs, who dropped three spots after losing four straight, including two to the first-place Cardinals.
The bottom ten in the ranks look to stay that way for the rest of the season, as the No. 21 Houston Astros are four points behind the No. 20 Milwaukee Brewers and no team received a vote above No. 20. These 10 teams remained nearly stagnant from last week, as only the Royals and Nationals swapped places as KC has won three straight and five of six.
With just two weeks left in the regular season, the disagreements in the rankings between me, Gideon, and Mickey have almost worked themselves out. Mickey has come around on Seattle, Gideon has come around on Toronto, and I have put my NL Central bias aside with regards to Houston.
For the sixth straight week, there were no double-digit discrepancies between any of the ranks, and there was just one gap of seven or more, as Gid was pretty down on Detroit. There were, however, five gaps of six spots in the rankings, which were all between me and Gideon.
Detroit Tigers (8) - Mickey 9, Gideon 17
Tampa Bay Rays (6) – Gideon 9, Jacob 15
Florida Marlins (6) – Jacob 10, Gideon 16
Oakland Athletics (6) – Gideon 15, Jacob 21
Houston Astros (6) – Jacob 20, Gideon 26
Cleveland Indians (6) – Jacob 28, Gideon 22
On the divisional front, the AL East regained with an average of 12.00, narrowly edging the AL West’s average of 12.08. This was due to the slight climb of the Rays and slight drop of the Rangers. At the bottom, the NL Central re-took the cellar from its AL counter part thanks to the fall of the Cubs, coming in with a score of 19.22. The AL Central jumped out of the cellar with an average score of 18.93, thanks mostly to the climb of the Twins.
You can check out the backup data here. So, without further ado, onto the rankings. As always, last week’s ranks in parentheses.
1. New York Yankees (1) – The Yankees remain at the top of the rankings and hold on to a 5.5 game lead for the best record in the majors. Oh, and they clinched a playoff spot last night with a victory over the Angels.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (2) – The Dodgers have won three straight and eight of their last 10 to open up a five-game lead in the NL West, and are just two wins away from clinching a playoff berth. The Dodgers dismantled the Nationals on Tuesday, and in doing so, were encouraged by Clayton Kershaw’s return to the mound.
3. Boston Red Sox (3) – After winning 10 of 11, the BoSox have slipped a bit in losing two straight to the Royals. It’s hard to blame them for the latest one, as Zack Greinke blanked them over six innings while turning in another Cy Young-worthy performance.
4. Los Angeles Angels (4) – After winning four of five, the Angels were slowed by the Yankees in Anaheim last night despite coming back from a 5-0 deficit. The Angels got another mediocre start from Ervin Santana, who could be moved to the pen for the postseason.
5. Philadelphia Phillies (5) – After splitting a doubleheader with Florida, the Phillies lead the East by 7.5 games with just 12 games to play. The Phillies bullpen has been suspect as of late, but they could be getting some reinforcements in time for the playoffs.
6. Colorado Rockies (7) – The Rockies dealt with 45-degree weather, a poor outing from Jorge de la Rosa, and a shaky ninth inning from the bullpen, but still pulled out an 11-10 win over San Diego to maintain a five-game lead in the Wild Card race. The Rockies also got Huston Street back from injury, and he will return to the closer’s role.
7. St. Louis Cardinals (6) – The Cardinals have all but clinched a playoff berth, but are still in the hunt for the best record in the NL. The Cards could get a big bat back if Troy Glaus is able to return for the last week of the season.
8. Atlanta Braves (11) – After debuting in our rankings at No. 23, the Braves have made a huge climb and finally broken into the top 10. As they cling to life in the NL Wild Card race, the Braves took a hit as catcher Brian McCann left Tuesday night’s game with a hand injury.
9. Texas Rangers (8) – The Rangers are seeing postseason baseball slip from their grasp after losing seven of their last nine games. Doing without Josh Hamilton and Michael Young for the majority of September didn’t exactly help their chances.
10. San Francisco Giants (9) – The Giants have split their last four games since falling short in their effort to sweep Colorado last week, and now sit five games out of playoff contention. With the Giants nearly out of it, one SF Gate writer thinks it’s time to give top prospect Buster Posey a look.
11. Minnesota Twins (16)
12. Detroit Tigers (10)
13. Tampa Bay Rays (14)
14. Florida Marlins (13)
15. Chicago Cubs (12)
16. Seattle Mariners (15)
17. Toronto Blue Jays (17)
18. Chicago White Sox (18)
19. Oakland Athletics (19)
20. Milwaukee Brewers (20)
21. Houston Astros (21)
22. Cincinnati Reds (22)
23. Arizona Diamondbacks (23)
24. New York Mets (24)
25. San Diego Padres (25)
26. Cleveland Indians (26)
27. Baltimore Orioles (27)
28. Kansas City Royals (29)
29. Washington Nationals (28)
30. Pittsburgh Pirates (30)