MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand 1 Month into 60-Game SprintAugust 24, 2020
MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand 1 Month into 60-Game Sprint
The usual suspects continue to occupy the top spots in our weekly MLB power rankings, but there are a pair of newcomers in the top 10 after impressive performances from the Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres.
As the season progresses, teams will continue to rise and fall in our weekly power rankings relative to their placement the previous week and based on their recent production. In other words, if a team keeps winning, it will keep climbing. If it keeps losing, the slide will continue.
Ahead, you'll find a quick breakdown of each of the 30 teams, along with our highlight of the week, the top individual performers of the week and a look at the leaders for MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year, which will be updated weekly.
Let's get started.
30. Pittsburgh Pirates (7-17)
The Pirates nearly doubled their season win total with a three-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend. An offense that ranks 29th in the majors with a .645 OPS exploded for 12 runs on Saturday and plated 24 total runs in the series. Despite that outburst, their minus-31 run differential is still the worst in the National League.
29. Boston Red Sox (9-20)
The Red Sox traded relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree to the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday in exchange for Nick Pivetta and pitching prospect Connor Seabold. That could be the start of a busy final week leading up to the trade deadline for a team that's going nowhere in 2020.
28. Los Angeles Angels (9-20)
With series losses to the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics, the Angels have slid to the bottom of the American League West standings. They are now 2-9 in their last 11 games with a minus-30 run differential during that span. The rotation ranks 28th in the majors with a 5.84 ERA, and the bullpen has converted just four of 12 save chances. Different year, same story.
27. Seattle Mariners (11-19)
A weekend sweep of the Texas Rangers was enough for the Mariners to leapfrog the Red Sox. Kyle Lewis had another big week at the plate, going 12-for-23 with three home runs. Meanwhile, left-hander Justus Sheffield continued his quietly productive season with six strong innings, giving him a 3.51 ERA and 2.42 FIP through five starts.
26. Kansas City Royals (11-17)
The Royals have not strung together consecutive wins since Aug. 9, when they won their fourth straight, and they have steadily slid down these rankings as a result. Whit Merrifield is once again a popular name on the rumor mill with the deadline fast approaching, but the team has given zero indication it'll consider moving the de facto face of the franchise.
25. Philadelphia Phillies (10-14)
With a disastrous 8.00 ERA in 75.1 innings of work from the bullpen this year, it was no surprise to see the Phillies pounce on an opportunity to upgrade the relief corps when they acquired Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree from the Red Sox. After a 2-5 week, they now sit in the NL East cellar with a minus-10 run differential, but their sights still appear to be set on the postseason.
24. Texas Rangers (10-17)
The Rangers have lost eight in a row with an unsightly minus-35 run differential during that skid after starting the season 10-9. It will be interesting to see how they handle the trade deadline. Upcoming free agent Mike Minor has struggled to the point he could be hard to move for a fair return, while Lance Lynn is pitching so well the front office may feel obligated to keep him if it hopes to make a push in 2021.
23. Washington Nationals (11-14)
The Nationals have just one outright series win on the year, and they logged two more series splits last week. Losing Stephen Strasburg to season-ending surgery on his pitching hand is a huge blow, and it will be up to the trio of Anibal Sanchez, Austin Voth and Erick Fedde to pick up the slack for a team built around its pitching staff.
22. New York Mets (12-14)
The Mets swept the Marlins in Miami in dominant fashion to begin last week, outscoring them 24-10 in the three-game series. Unfortunately, after two members of the team tested positive for COVID-19 following the Miami series, they have not taken the field since Wednesday. At this point, it appears the outbreak was contained. They have an off day Monday before the Marlins come to New York for a three-game series.
21. Arizona Diamondbacks (13-16)
After surging up last week's rankings following a 5-1 showing, the D-backs slide back into the bottom third after a weekend sweep at the hands of the San Francisco Giants. Zac Gallen has turned in five straight quality starts, allowing just two earned runs in 13 innings last week. The 25-year-old has a 2.25 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 36 innings on the year.
20. Detroit Tigers (11-15)
With third baseman Isaac Paredes (Monday), left-hander Tarik Skubal (Tuesday) and right-hander Casey Mize (Wednesday) making their MLB debuts on consecutive days, the youth movement is in full effect for the Tigers. All three rank among the team's top 10 prospects and have the potential to be impact players.
19. Cincinnati Reds (11-15)
Despite a stellar 3.40 ERA from the starting rotation, a sputtering offense (4.1 runs per game) and a leaky bullpen (5.59 ERA, 25th in MLB) have the Reds below .500 and in serious danger of falling short of preseason expectations. They dropped three of four against the St. Louis Cardinals over the weekend, scoring just 10 runs in the series.
18. Milwaukee Brewers (11-15)
Aside from an impressive series against the Chicago Cubs in which they took three of four earlier this month, the Brewers have not looked like the contender many expected them to be this year. The lineup is hitting just .214 (27th in MLB) with a .668 OPS (27th in MLB), and a middle-of-the-road starting rotation has been unable to pick up the slack. A 1-5 week in which they were swept by the lowly Pirates is enough to knock them out of the upper half of the rankings, and that could be just the start of the slide.
17. Miami Marlins (11-11)
The Marlins are now 4-10 in their last 14 games, and their unlikely 7-1 start is no longer enough to prop them up in the upper half of these rankings. They are still more than capable of being a nuisance to AL East and NL East contenders, but it's looking more and more like their early push toward relevance was smoke and mirrors.
16. San Francisco Giants (14-16)
The No. 27 team in these rankings a week ago, the Giants make a huge leap after taking three of four from the Angels before sweeping the D-backs over the weekend. Tyler Anderson (2 GS, 14.0 IP, 11 H, 5 ER) and Logan Webb (1 GS, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER) both threw the ball well last week, and the patchwork starting rotation continues to exceed expectations with a rock-solid 4.41 ERA that ranks 15th in the majors.
15. Baltimore Orioles (14-14)
A 2-5 week has the Orioles on the brink of slipping out of the upper half of the rankings, and they have now fallen to fourth among AL East teams. The offense was never going to be able to carry a shaky starting rotation (5.37 ERA, 27th in MLB) all year, but this is still a better team than anyone expected. Outfielder Anthony Santander is quietly having a breakout season, hitting .287/.333/.661 with 11 doubles, 10 home runs and 27 RBI in 28 games.
14. Colorado Rockies (13-15)
In last week's rankings, I wrote: "With the [Houston] Astros and [Los Angeles] Dodgers awaiting this coming week, we should have a good idea of how [the Rockies] measure up by next Monday." They went 0-7 and were outscored by 24 runs, falling to 2-12 in their last 14 games. At this point, a spot inside the top 20 might be generous, and they've all but erased their 11-3 start to the year.
13. Toronto Blue Jays (13-13)
Here come the Blue Jays! Despite dropping two of three to a red-hot Tampa Bay Rays team over the weekend, they still finished last week with a 6-2 record and now sit at .500 on the year. Cavan Biggio (11-for-25, 4 XBH, 9 BB) was the offensive star of the week, while Hyun-Jin Ryu (11.0 IP, 7 H, 2 ER) threw the ball well in his two starts.
12. St. Louis Cardinals (9-8)
The Cardinals played nine games in seven days last week, and that's more or less how the rest of their season is going to look if they hope to make up for lost time. In their 17 games of action, they rank third in the majors in team ERA (3.35), and they enter the week with some momentum after taking three of four from the Reds.
11. Houston Astros (15-13)
The Astros swept the Rockies to begin last week, but the Padres returned the favor over the weekend. They have yet to win a game against a team with a record over .500, checking in at 0-8 on the year, and they are just 5-9 away from Minute Maid Park. With Alex Bregman joining Justin Verlander on the injured list with a hamstring strain, they are now without arguably the two best players on their roster.
10. Chicago Cubs (17-10)
With a 4-7 record and a minus-16 run differential in their last 11 games, the Cubs are not playing good baseball right now. They managed to avoid a sweep at the hands of Chicago White Sox in the Crosstown Classic thanks to a gem from Yu Darvish on Sunday, but the bats have gone cold, and Jon Lester was shelled on Friday. Their upcoming 10-game road trip will be telling.
9. San Diego Padres (18-12)
Everything finally seemed to click for the Padres as they swept the Rangers and Astros and will carry a seven-game winning streak into the week. They are tied for second in the majors with 55 home runs, and they hit a grand slam in four straight and five times in six games last week. If the season ended today, Fernando Tatis Jr. would be the clear choice for NL MVP honors.
8. Chicago White Sox (17-12)
After sweeping a four-game series with the Tigers, the White Sox made a statement at Wrigley Field over the weekend, outscoring the Cubs 17-5 in the first two games of the Crosstown Classic and homering a ridiculous 12 times in the three-game series. Jose Abreu hit six of those home runs, vaulting himself into the AL MVP conversation in the process. Now it's up to the pitching staff to do its part if they're going to make a legitimate push.
7. Cleveland Indians (17-11)
The Indians went 4-2 last week after starting nine spots higher than the White Sox, and they have taken four of six from the South Siders on the year. For now, they still hold a slight edge in the rankings. Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger are eligible to be recalled from the alternate site Monday after they were optioned for breaking COVID-19 protocol. How the organization handles that situation will have a significant impact on the rest of the season.
6. Atlanta Braves (16-12)
With a 3-2 record last week, the Braves remain atop the NL East standings and their plus-22 run differential is good for third-highest in the NL. With Robbie Erlin, Josh Tomlin and Touki Toussaint now flanking Max Fried in the starting rotation and the No. 5 spot up in the air, it's clear this team needs to make a move ahead of the Aug. 31 trade deadline if they're serious about title contention.
5. New York Yankees (16-9)
A positive COVID-19 test from the Mets washed out the Yankees' weekend series, meaning they did not have a chance to redeem themselves after getting swept by the Rays. Despite the abridged schedule, that was still enough to move them down a few spots while they continue to battle significant injury issues. On a positive note, Luke Voit went 7-for-14 with five home runs in four games last week.
4. Minnesota Twins (19-10)
Aside from a brief hiccup earlier this month when they were swept by the Royals as part of a four-game losing streak, the Twins have looked very much like one of the teams to beat in 2020. The offense is scoring 4.8 runs per game, the starting rotation ranks sixth in the majors with a 3.58 ERA, and the bullpen also checks in sixth with a 3.34 ERA. This team is the real deal with an AL-best plus-40 run differential after series wins over the Brewers and Royals last week.
3. Oakland Athletics (20-9)
A four-game split with the D-backs and a series win over the Angels keeps the Athletics staked to the No. 3 spot in these rankings. The starting rotation behind rookie Jesus Luzardo and surprise standout Chris Bassitt remains an area of concern, and the trio of Frankie Montas, Mike Fiers and Sean Manaea needs to find some sort of consistency if this team is going to make a legitimate playoff push.
2. Tampa Bay Rays (19-10)
The Rays have gone 12-3 with a plus-27 run differential in their last 15 games. Oakland has gone 10-5 with a plus-17 differential during that same stretch, so there should be little debate as to who is the best team in the AL right now. It's also worth noting Tampa Bay has an MLB-leading 14 victories against teams with a winning record, while Oakland has played just three such games, albeit with a 3-0 record.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (22-8)
As hot as the Rays have been over the past few weeks, the Dodgers are in a league of their own right now with a plus-79 run differential that is still nearly double the second-highest total (Twins, plus-40). They took three of four from the Mariners and swept the Rockies last week, so there's really no argument for moving them off their perch atop these rankings.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Tampa Bay Rays
3. Oakland Athletics
4. Minnesota Twins
5. New York Yankees
6. Atlanta Braves
7. Cleveland Indians
8. Chicago White Sox
9. San Diego Padres
10. Chicago Cubs
11. Houston Astros
12. St. Louis Cardinals
13. Toronto Blue Jays
14. Colorado Rockies
15. Baltimore Orioles
16. San Francisco Giants
17. Miami Marlins
18. Milwaukee Brewers
19. Cincinnati Reds
20. Detroit Tigers
21. Arizona Diamondbacks
22. New York Mets
23. Washington Nationals
24. Texas Rangers
25. Philadelphia Phillies
26. Kansas City Royals
27. Seattle Mariners
28. Los Angeles Angels
29. Boston Red Sox
30. Pittsburgh Pirates
Highlight of the Week: Lourdes Gurriel Jr.'s Cannon Throw
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. moved from his natural middle infield spot to the outfield grass during the 2019 season, and he ended up leading all left fielders with nine outfield assists despite playing just 63 games at the position.
The 26-year-old is not often mentioned among the best outfield arms in baseball, but that could change after he unleashed the above rocket to nail Yandy Diaz at home plate.
The fact that Diaz is tied for 245th in the majors in sprint speed, according to Baseball Savant, takes nothing away from the impressive carry and accuracy of the throw. It just made the out call a bit easier for the umpire.
For all the attention heaped on Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio, Gurriel has a chance to be a major piece of the long-term puzzle in his own right.
Team of the Week
C Austin Nola, Seattle Mariners
(10-for-29, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R)
1B Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox
(16-for-30, 3 2B, 7 HR, 15 RBI, 9 R)
2B Cavan Biggio, Toronto Blue Jays
(11-for-25, 4 2B, HR, 6 RBI, 8 R)
3B Manny Machado, San Diego Padres
(11-for-28, 3 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 8 R)
SS Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox
(12-for-32, 2 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 9 R)
OF Kyle Lewis, Seattle Mariners
(12-for-23, 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 11 R)
OF Trent Grisham, San Diego Padres
(11-for-32, 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 7 R)
OF Anthony Santander, Baltimore Orioles
(10-for-30, 4 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R)
DH Nelson Cruz, Minnesota Twins
(7-for-20, 4 HR, 5 RBI, 6 R)
SP Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs
(2 GS, 2 W, 13.0 IP, 14 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 17 K)
SP Zack Greinke, Houston Astros
(2 GS, 2 ND, 14.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 11 K)
SP Zac Gallen, Arizona Diamondbacks
(2 GS, 2 ND, 13.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 14 K)
SP Aaron Civale, Cleveland Indians
(1 GS, W, 9.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K)
SP Trevor Bauer, Cincinnati Reds
(1 GS, W, 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K)
RP Taylor Williams, Seattle Mariners
(4 G, 3/3 SV, 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K)
1. Nelson Cruz, MIN
2. Jose Abreu, CWS
3. Brandon Lowe, TB
1. Fernando Tatis Jr., SD
2. Mookie Betts, LAD
3. Bryce Harper, PHI
AL Cy Young
1. Shane Bieber, CLE
2. Lance Lynn, TEX
3. Kenta Maeda, MIN
NL Cy Young
1. Trevor Bauer, CIN
2. Max Fried, ATL
3. Yu Darvish, CHC
AL Rookie of the Year
1. Kyle Lewis, SEA
2. Luis Robert, CWS
3. Randy Dobnak, MIN
NL Rookie of the Year
1. Jake Cronenworth, SD
2. Dustin May, LAD
3. David Peterson, NYM
All stats courtesy of MLB.com and Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.