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MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand with 2 Weeks to Go

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2017

Cleveland Indians' Carlos Santana, left, Francisco Mejia, Jose Ramirez, Giovanny Urshela and Abraham Almonte, right, celebrate winning the American League Central Division and defeating the Kansas City Royals 3-2 after a baseball game in Cleveland, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Phil Long)
Phil Long/Associated Press

Four teams have punched their tickets to the MLB playoffs, but there's plenty left to be decided with two weeks remaining in the regular season.

Who will win the AL East and NL Central titles? Can the Colorado Rockies and Minnesota Twins—two teams that lost a combined 190 games a year agohold on to claim the final wild-card spots in their respective leagues? Or will we finally see Mike Trout in October for just the second time in his career?

Those are the burning questions that have yet to be answered as we come down the homestretch.

Just remember these rankings are fluid and teams rise and fall based on where they were ranked the previous week. If a team keeps winning, it will keep climbing—it's as simple as that.

Here's a look at where all 30 teams stand:

 Updated Rankings 
1img Indians (93-57)img
2img Dodgers (96-53)img2
3img D-backs (87-63)img
4img Astros (91-58)img1
5img Nationals (90-59)img3
6img Red Sox (85-64)img
7img Cubs (83-66)img2
8img Yankees (82-67)img1
9img Brewers (79-70)img1
10img Rockies (82-68)img
11img Twins (78-71)img1
12img Cardinals (77-72)img1
13img Angels (76-73)img
14img Mariners (74-76)img2
15img Orioles (73-77)img1
16img Rangers (73-76)img1
17img Royals (73-76)img
18img Rays (73-77)img
19img Blue Jays (70-80)img3
20img Athletics (66-83)img1
21img Braves (67-81)img
22img Padres (66-83)img2
23img Reds (66-84)img3
24img White Sox (60-89)img3
25img Mets (65-84)img
26img Pirates (68-82)img3
27img Phillies (58-91)img2
28img Marlins (69-80)img4
29img Tigers (62-87)img1
30img Giants (58-93)img

        

American League Playoff Picture

Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

The Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros both punched their tickets to the postseason over the weekend, and they are separated by just 1.5 games for the best record in the American League.

Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox are considered a playoff lock by FanGraphs. The AL East rival New York Yankees are as close as you can get, with a 99.9 percent chance of reaching October.

With a four-game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the wild-card standings and a six-game cushion for a playoff spot, the Yankees have their sights set on chasing down the Red Sox who have seen their AL East lead whittled down to just three games.

The Twins enter the week with a 69.2 percent chance of claiming a playoff spot, as they hold a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels, whose chances sit at 25.5 percent.

Beyond those three teams battling for the two wild-card spots, everyone else can be considered a long shot at this point, as last week finally brought some clarity to what has been a crowded AL wild-card picture.

The Seattle Mariners (4.5 GB, 2.3 percent), Kansas City Royals (5 GB, 1.8 percent), Texas Rangers (5 GB, 0.6 percent), Tampa Bay Rays (5.5 GB 0.5 percent) and Baltimore Orioles (5.5 GB, 0.3 percent) are all technically still alive, but time is not on their side.

As far as head-to-head matchups are concerned, the Yankees and Red Sox have already finished playing each other this season, and the same goes for the Angels and Twins.

However, the Yankees and Twins are set to meet for a three-game series, starting Monday.

Despite an 8-8 record in September, the Twins have a plus-24 run differential, as their offense has been firing on all cylinders and averaging 6.2 runs per game during that span.

Could we see two of the game's most electric young pitchers, Luis Severino and Jose Berrios, face off in the AL Wild Card Game?

         

National League Playoff Picture

Kamil Krzaczynski/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Dodgers joined the Washington Nationals in clinching at least a spot in the playoffs last week, and their magic number to wrap up the NL West title sits at four games.

They won't close the 9.5-game gap in the standings, but the Arizona Diamondbacks are considered a lock to make the playoffs by FanGraphsno small feat considering they lost 93 games just a year ago.

If they can survive the winner-take-all play-in game, Arizona figures to be a tough draw for anyone on the NL side of things. They have a terrific starting rotation and a high-powered offense led by NL MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt and deadline addition J.D. Martinez, though the bullpen is a bit of a question mark.

That leaves the NL Central title and the second wild-card berth still up for grabs.

The Chicago Cubs helped their cause considerably with a weekend sweep of the rival St. Louis Cardinals, and they enter the week with a four-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers and a six-game advantage over the aforementioned Cardinals.

The Cubs and Brewers will meet for a four-game series at Miller Park, starting Thursday, that could decide the NL Central champion.

Assuming the Cubs can hold on and capture another division crown, the Cardinals and Brewers will be left battling with the Colorado Rockies for the final NL spot.

The Rockies are heavy favorites, with an 86.5 percent chance of making the playoffs, while the Brewers (11.1 percent) and Cardinals (4.7 percent) are lagging considerably behind.

The Rockies will play three straight non-contenders (the San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres and Miami Marlins) before closing things out at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals and Brewers both have a series left against the Cubs before wrapping up the regular season head-to-head in St. Louis.

It's going to take a lot breaking right for those final three games to matter for both teams.

              

MVPs of the Week

AL MVP: SP Justin Verlander, Houston Astros

Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Stats: 2 GS, 2-0, 15.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 19 K

Better late than never.

After months of scouring the starting pitching market and debating whether to pull the trigger on a blockbuster deal—going all the way back to the winter meetingsthe Houston Astros swung a trade to acquire Justin Verlander from the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 31.

Three starts is obviously a small sample size, but he's looked like that missing piece who could push the Astros over the top in their pursuit of a title.

  • Sept. 5 (@SEA): W, 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
  • Sept. 12 (@LAA): W, 8.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
  • Sept. 17 (vs. SEA): W, 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K

The 34-year-old Verlander is 7-5 with a 3.39 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 112 strikeouts in 98.1 career playoff innings, and slotting him alongside incumbent ace Dallas Keuchel gives Houston the one-two punch to make a deep October run.

Tip of the cap to Corey Kluber (2-0, 16.0 IP, 8 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 17 K) and Matt Boyd (1-1, 14.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 K), who were both brilliant as well as two-start pitchers last week.

       

NL MVP: RF J.D. Martinez, Arizona Diamondbacks

Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Stats: 10-for-23, 3 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 8 R

Remember back in 2015, when Yoenis Cespedes joined the New York Mets at the trade deadline and transformed their offense, leading some to pitch him as a legitimate NL MVP candidate despite spending just two months in the league?

Martinez has been better in a similar situation this year.

A lot better.

  • Cespedes, 2015: 57 G, .287/.337/.604, 14 2B, 17 HR, 44 RBI
  • Martinez, 2017: 51 G, .289/.358/.732, 10 2B, 24 HR, 51 RBI

A .732 slugging percentage over 212 plate appearances and one home run every 7.9 at-bats is nothing short of outrageous in any situation.

Suffice it to say, the 30-year-old has added some zeros to his free-agency asking price since joining the Diamondbacks.

To that point, Nick Piecoro of AZCentral Sports:

"Still, a panel of scouts and executives surveyed don't think Martinez will have any trouble securing a huge deal, drawing comparisons ranging from Hunter Pence's five-year, $90 million contract to Justin Upton's six-year, $132.75 million deal. No one expects a deal as long as Jason Heyward's eight-year, $184 million, but Heyward's $23 million annual average value could be comparable, one scout said."

Not bad for a guy who was once outright released by the Astros.

              

Stats of the Week

Let's dive into some of the better nuggets from around the league.

We'll start with the best pitcher on the Washington Nationals right now, and we're not talking about Max Scherzer.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Stephen Strasburg's scoreless streaks ends at a franchise-record 35 innings https://t.co/IU22kA7OGY

Since the All-Star break, Stephen Strasburg has gone 5-1 with a 0.72 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 62 strikeouts in 50 innings spanning eight starts.

The NL Cy Young race is shaping up to be the most compelling among the major awards.

A pair of rookie sluggers has taken the league by storm in the second half, as Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger have given way in the headlines to Matt Olson and Rhys Hoskins.

Jason Collette @jasoncollette

Rhys Hoskins + Matt Olson = 39 homers and 79 RBIs in 298 at bats.

They won't close the gap in Rookie of the Year voting, but Hoskins (129 AB, 18 HR, 39 RBI) and Olson (169 AB, 21 HR, 40 RBI) have cemented their place as long-term pieces on a pair of rebuilding teams.

We've already talked plenty about Martinez, but here's another fun tidbit.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

J.D. Martinez: 5th player in MLB history to hit 40 home runs in season he played for multiple teams (Last:Adam Dunn, 2008) via @EliasSports

The others on that list: Greg Vaughn (1996, MIL/SD), Mark McGwire (1997, OAK/STL) and David Justice (2000, CLE/NYY).

The Yankees have made the playoffs just once in the past four seasons and haven't won a World Series since 2009, but this is still awfully impressive.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

The @Yankees extended the longest active streak of seasons above .500. That and more from @EliasSports: https://t.co/22Jg22eOg0 https://t.co/Fe6sRXGJId

And finally, let's watch Joey Gallo demolish a baseball.

#Statcast @statcast

490 feet! (You read that right.) @JoeyGallo24 tests the limits of the batter’s eye. Wow. https://t.co/dNsNrL3Mbc #Statcast https://t.co/UqSytdF1LS

That's 85-grade power, folks.

        

Must-See Upcoming Matchup

Jose Berrios
Jose BerriosJim Mone/Associated Press

Minnesota Twins vs. New York Yankees (Monday-Wednesday)

There's a good chance this will serve as a preview of the AL Wild Card Game.

The Yankees are still chasing the Red Sox for the AL East title, and the Twins' two-game lead over the Angels for the second wild-card spot is by no means insurmountable.

But if the season ended today, it would be these two battling it out for a spot in the ALDS.

The Twins will have their two best pitchers on the hill to kick things off, as Ervin Santana goes up against Jaime Garcia on Monday and Jose Berrios takes the ball against CC Sabathia on Tuesday.

Don't be surprised if those first two games are used as an audition of sorts for who would take the ball for the Twins in that potential one-game playoff.

Berrios held the Yankees to six hits and one earned run over 6.2 innings back on July 19. Santana will be facing them for the first time.

A strong start from Masahiro Tanaka on Wednesday against Bartolo Colon could also give the Yankees reason for pause when considering who to start with the season on the line. The smart money is still on Luis Severino, though.

Once this series wraps, the Cubs head to Miller Park for a four-game set with the Brewers that will carry plenty of playoff implications as well.

              

All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted and accurate through Sunday.

Looking for someone to yell at about where your favorite team was slotted in the latest rankings? I'll meet you in the comments section.

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