MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand Heading into Final Week of Season

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2020

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand Heading into Final Week of Season

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    Denis Poroy/Associated Press

    We have arrived at the final week of a 2020 MLB season that is like nothing we've seen before, so it's only fitting that the final seven days are lined up to be a wild ride.

    Only seven teams have punched their ticket to the 16-team playoff field, and 12 teams are still very much in the mix for one of the final nine spots. The National League picture, in particular, is extremely fuzzy with only the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres locked into a spot.

    Throughout the season, teams have risen and fallen in our weekly power rankings relative to their placement the previous week and based on their recent production. That all culminates in the final regular-season version of our Monday morning staple.

    Ahead is 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. Much like the playoff picture, many of those awards are still to be decided.

    Let's get to it.

Nos. 30-26

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    Brady Singer
    Brady SingerPaul Sancya/Associated Press

    30. Pittsburgh Pirates (15-38)

    The Pirates have a four-game "lead" over the Texas Rangers for the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft after a 1-8 week that pushed their season run differential to minus-88. Rookie third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes has been a bright spot, leading the team in WAR despite playing in just 17 games.

          

    29. Texas Rangers (19-34)

    It's almost impossible to believe the Rangers went 10-9 in their first 19 games. The 9-25 record they've posted since is the worst in baseball, and they have won consecutive games just once since Aug. 15. Will Lance Lynn hit the trade block this winter, or will they try to retool once again?

              

    28. Washington Nationals (20-32)

    The 1998 Florida Marlins have the dubious distinction of finishing with the worst record in MLB history for a defending World Series winner, going 54-108. The Nationals are currently on pace for a 62-100 record over a 162-game schedule, and they didn't blow up their entire roster in a fire sale of epic proportions. It will be interesting to see where they go from here.

          

    27. Boston Red Sox (20-34)

    The Red Sox did their best to play spoiler last week, taking two of three from a Miami Marlins team trying to lock up the No. 2 spot in the NL East. The offensive core of Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and Alex Verdugo is fun to watch, but the starting rotation will need to be rebuilt entirely, and both Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez will need to return strong.

          

    26. Kansas City Royals (21-32)

    The Royals tumble back down to the bottom five in the rankings after getting swept by the Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend. As the rebuild continues, the front office has to be pleased with what Brady Singer (10 GS, 4.14 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) and Kris Bubic (9 GS, 3.97 ERA, 1.39 WHIP) have shown on the mound, and there's plenty more pitching talent on the way.

Nos. 25-21

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    Willi Castro
    Willi CastroCarlos Osorio/Associated Press

    25. Detroit Tigers (22-30)

    The Tigers have fallen off after a surprising start, but it has still been a productive season with multiple top prospects seeing extended action and other young players like Jeimer Candelario and Spencer Turnbull showing they belong in the long-term plans. How many people outside Detroit know rookie shortstop Willi Castro is hitting .330/.364/.542 with five home runs and 19 RBI in 31 games?

           

    24. Arizona Diamondbacks (20-34)

    The D-backs are playing better of late, but an awful 2-18 stretch of games starting in the middle of August dug them an insurmountable hole in a 60-game season. Outside of rising ace Zac Gallen (11 GS, 3.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP) and free-agent signing Kole Calhoun (.894 OPS, 15 HR, 36 RBI), very little has gone right in 2020.

          

    23. Seattle Mariners (23-30)

    After going 2-5 last week, the Mariners will need to make up four games on the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League wild-card standings if they want to snap their longstanding postseason drought. They have gone 3-10 with a minus-43 run differential against the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics in 2020, and that's who they will need to go through in order to make up that deficit.

          

    22. Colorado Rockies (23-29)

    The Rockies were a .500 team and still very much alive in the NL wild-card picture on Sept. 6, but a 3-9 record in their last 12 games leaves them three games back with four teams to pass for the second NL wild-card spot. At the very least, bounce-back seasons from Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela have improved their short-term outlook.

            

    21. Baltimore Orioles (23-31)

    The fact that the Orioles rank 14th in the majors with a 4.36 team ERA is a victory in and of itself given the pitching staff they have cobbled together this year. While a 3-10 record in their last 13 games has slammed the door on their playoff hopes, few teams have exceeded expectations by larger amounts in 2020.

Nos. 20-16

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    Kevin Gausman
    Kevin GausmanAssociated Press

    20. Los Angeles Angels (23-31)

    The Angels kept their slim playoff hopes alive by taking two of three from the Rangers over the weekend, but they will need a lot to go right in the final week to sneak into the No. 2 wild-card spot. Despite the struggles of the pitching staff as a whole, the foursome of Dylan Bundy (10 GS, 3.12 ERA), Andrew Heaney (11 GS, 4.02 ERA), Griffin Canning (10 GS, 4.29 ERA) and Jaime Barria (4 GS, 3.26 ERA) is providing some hope for the future.

             

    19. New York Mets (24-29)

    With a 2.5-game deficit and three teams to leapfrog for the final NL wild-card berth, the Mets enter the final week of the season facing an uphill battle. They close out the season with four games on the road against a struggling Nationals team, but they first square off against the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays. Penciled in to start Monday and Saturday, Jacob deGrom will have two more starts to make his NL Cy Young case.

           

    18. San Francisco Giants (26-26)

    The Giants went 3-2 last week to carry a .500 record into the final week of the season. They have gone an impressive 16-9 with a plus-25 run differential at home, and their final eight games will all be at Oracle Park with four each against the Rockies and Padres. Right-hander Kevin Gausman returned strong from an elbow issue that cost him a start, and he could be the Game 1 starter if they snag a postseason spot.

          

    17. Toronto Blue Jays (27-26)

    A 1-6 showing last week sends the Blue Jays plummeting down the rankings. Luckily, they play in the American League, which means they are still sitting on a four-game cushion for the final playoff spot. With a much better record at "home" this year (12-7, plus-six RD) than on the road (15-19, minus-33 RD), playing their final seven games in Buffalo works to their advantage.

                 

    16. Milwaukee Brewers (26-26)

    The Brewers went 6-2 last week, and a victory over the Royals on Sunday moved them to .500 for the first time since Aug. 19. With Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff anchoring the rotation and Devin Williams and Josh Hader slamming the door in the bullpen, they could make some noise in October if the offense shows up.

Nos. 15-11

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    Jose Urquidy
    Jose UrquidyDavid J. Phillip/Associated Press

    15. Philadelphia Phillies (27-26)

    The Phillies are limping to the finish line with a 6-9 record in their last 15 games, but taking three of four from the Blue Jays over the weekend was enough to move them into the No. 7 NL playoff spot. Catcher J.T. Realmuto, who has been sidelined since Sept. 12, could return to the lineup Monday. The Nationals and Rays await as they look to clinch a postseason berth.

           

    14. St. Louis Cardinals (26-24)

    After playing 24 games in the last 20 days and going 13-11, the Cardinals will play eight more games in the season's final week. It has been an all-out sprint since a COVID-19 outbreak cost them the first half of August, and they are the only team in the NL Central outside the first-place Chicago Cubs with a positive run differential (plus-11). The five-game series against the Brewers to close out the season is going to be a doozy.

           

    13. Cincinnati Reds (27-27)

    A popular pick to climb up the standings and make a run at the NL Central title, the Reds have disappointed for much of 2020, but a 6-1 week has thrust them into the thick of playoff contention. With Sonny Gray sidelined by a back injury, Tyler Mahle (8 GS, 3.57 ERA, 1.10 WHIP) has stepped up big behind Trevor Bauer and Luis Castillo in the starting rotation.

         

    12. Miami Marlins (28-25)

    Despite a minus-26 run differential, the Marlins hold a half-game advantage for the No. 2 spot in the NL East standings. Sixto Sanchez and Sandy Alcantara have quietly been one of the best one-two punches in baseball for the past month, and Pablo Lopez is having a strong season in his own right. That trio has helped make them arguably the biggest surprise of 2020 as they look to secure just the third playoff berth in franchise history.

          

    11. Houston Astros (27-26)

    The job Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier and now a healthy Jose Urquidy have done keeping the Astros in the playoff hunt this year while Justin Verlander watches from the sidelines and Gerrit Cole wears pinstripes can't be overstated. A pair of series wins last week and a rough patch from the Mariners gives them a four-game lead for second in the AL West.

Nos. 10-6

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    Jose Ramirez
    Jose RamirezPaul Sancya/Associated Press

    10. Cleveland Indians (29-24)

    With a win and a Mariners loss Sunday, the Indians' magic number stands at two entering play Monday as they look to become the third AL Central team to punch their ticket. If things stretch that far, they have the luxury of closing out the season with three games at home against the Pirates. Jose Ramirez (11-for-26, 4 HR, 10 RBI) had a huge week at the plate, and he's hitting his stride at the perfect time.

             

    9. Chicago Cubs (31-22)

    The Cubs hold a 3.5-game lead in the NL Central standings, and their plus-21 run differential is good for the fourth-best mark in a wide open NL landscape. A relief corps that was the worst in baseball by a wide margin at the start of the season has rallied to rank 12th in the majors with a 4.26 ERA, and Craig Kimbrel has quietly returned to lights out form.

           

    8. Minnesota Twins (33-22)CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT

    After dropping three of four to the White Sox, the Twins rallied to take a weekend series from the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Jose Berrios has rounded into frontline form after a rocky start, tossing six shutout innings on Sunday night for his sixth straight start with three or fewer earned runs allowed. Rich Hill (7 GS, 3.27 ERA) and Michael Pineda (4 GS, 3.18 ERA) could round out the playoff rotation, despite late starts to their seasons.

           

    7. Atlanta Braves (31-22)

    The Braves have been perched atop the NL East standings since Aug. 16, and while teams jockey for position behind them, their magic number to clinch sits at five games after a 3-3 week. Cole Hamels made his long-awaited Braves debut Wednesday, allowing three hits and three earned runs in 3.1 innings. He has a chance to be a huge X-factor if he can help stabilize the starting rotation.

             

    6. New York Yankees (31-22)CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT

    The Yankees scored a staggering 43 runs in a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays, and a 5-1 record last week vaults them back into the top 10 in these rankings. The offense is firing on all cylinders, but questions remain in the starting rotation after rookie Deivi Garcia was knocked around Sunday.

Nos. 5-1

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    Walker Buehler
    Walker BuehlerMatt York/Associated Press

    5. Oakland Athletics (33-20)CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT

    The Athletics have had a losing streak of more than two games just twice this season, dropping three straight two different times, and that has helped them build the biggest division lead in baseball with a six-game advantage in the AL West. Jake Lamb will be tasked with replacing Matt Chapman at third base the rest of the way, and he went 8-for-22 with two doubles and two home runs last week.

           

    4. San Diego Padres (34-20)CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT

    With a playoff rotation of Mike Clevinger, Dinelson Lamet, Zach Davies and Chris Paddack, a bullpen stocked with quality late-inning arms and an offense that is averaging 5.6 runs per game, the Padres check all the boxes to be a bona fide title contender. The return of Eric Hosmer and Tommy Pham from the injured list makes them that much more dangerous.

           

    3. Tampa Bay Rays (35-19)CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT

    This year's Rays team has been more balanced than in years past, with the offense carrying its weight and the pitching staff doing an enviable job navigating injuries to remain a clear strength. First baseman Nate Lowe didn't see his first MLB action until Sept. 2, and now he's hitting cleanup with an .853 OPS and 10 RBI in 16 games. The depth in the Tampa Bay organization is staggering.

          

    2. Chicago White Sox (34-19)CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT

    Despite dropping two of three to the Reds over the weekend, the White Sox flexed their muscles last week by taking three of four from the rival Twins to clinch their first postseason berth since 2008. Dallas Keuchel returned from the injured list with four scoreless innings Saturday, which is a huge positive for their playoff outlook. Is the young roster ready for the bright lights of October?

           

    1. Los Angeles Dodgers (38-16)CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT

    The Dodgers just keep winning with a 5-2 record last week thanks to series wins over the Padres and Rockies. They have a four-game lead in the NL West standings as they look to claim their eighth straight NL West title. None of it matters if they don't bring home the trophy, though, as this team is clearly in World Series-or-bust mode. Walker Buehler is expected to return from the injured list Thursday, and he will be a major X-factor in October.

Complete Rankings

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Complete Rankings

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

Highlight of the Week: Albert Pujols Hits No. 661 to Pass Willie Mays

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    At 40 years old, Albert Pujols is no longer the perennial MVP candidate he was in his prime with the St. Louis Cardinals, but he is still capable of crushing a mistake.

    After hitting career home run No. 660 on Sept. 13 to pull into a tie with the legendary Willie Mays on the all-time list, Pujols homered twice in a 6-2 win over the Texas Rangers on Friday to move into sole possession of fifth place in the record books.

    "This is really special. You're talking about Willie Mays. He's just amazing," Pujols told reporters. "What he did on the field was pretty special, but who he was off it, I think that's what people really honor."

    Add to that 3,235 hits, 2,099 RBI and more walks (1,331) than strikeouts (1,302) over the course of a 20-year career and there's a strong case to be made that Pujols is the best right-handed hitter in MLB history.

    "He's a World Series champion, a Hall of Famer," Angels manager Joe Maddon told reporters. "We probably should just forget the five-year waiting program. He's all of that. He's just such a good baseball player."

    With one year left on his 10-year, $240 million contract, he needs 35 more home runs to pass Alex Rodriguez (696) for fourth on the all-time list.

Team of the Week

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    Luke Voit
    Luke VoitJohn Minchillo/Associated Press

    C Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals
    (10-for-20, 3 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 4 R)

    1B Luke Voit, New York Yankees
    (10-for-26, 2B, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 7 R)

    2B DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees
    (11-for-26, 4 2B, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 9 R)

    3B Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians
    (11-for-26, 2 2B, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 5 R)

    SS Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox
    (9-for-26, 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R)

    OF Kole Calhoun, Arizona Diamondbacks
    (11-for-24, 2B, 6 HR, 12 RBI, 7 R)

    OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Toronto Blue Jays
    (11-for-27, 2 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 7 R)

    OF Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins
    (9-for-24, 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R)

    DH Garrett Cooper, Miami Marlins
    (8-for-27, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 7 R)

    SP Kyle Gibson, Texas Rangers
    (1 GS, W, 9.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K)

    SP Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs
    (1 GS, W, 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K)

    SP J.A. Happ, New York Yankees
    (1 GS, W, 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K)

    SP Dinelson Lamet, San Diego Padres
    (2 GS, W, ND, 13.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 21 K)

    SP Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers
    (2 GS, W, ND, 10.2 IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 19 K)

    RP Edwin Diaz, New York Mets
    (3 G, 1/1 SV, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K)

Award Rankings

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    Freddie Freeman
    Freddie FreemanJulio Cortez/Associated Press

    AL MVP

    1. Jose Abreu, CWS
    2. Luke Voit, NYY
    3. Nelson Cruz, MIN

    NL MVP

    1. Freddie Freeman, ATL
    2. Mookie Betts, LAD
    3. Fernando Tatis Jr., SD

    AL Cy Young

    1. Shane Bieber, CLE
    2. Kenta Maeda, MIN
    3. Lance Lynn, TEX

    NL Cy Young

    1. Trevor Bauer, CIN
    2. Jacob deGrom, NYM
    3. Yu Darvish, CHC

    AL Rookie of the Year

    1. Luis Robert, CWS
    2. Kyle Lewis, SEA
    3. James Karinchak, CLE

    NL Rookie of the Year

    1. Jake Cronenworth, SD
    2. Devin Williams, MIL
    3. Dustin May, LAD

                        

    All stats courtesy of MLB.com and Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.