We’ve made it to the crux of the MLB season. The trade deadline has come and gone, the stretch run is around the corner, and the dog days of August are here.
There are arguably 16 teams with legitimate playoff hopes at the moment, but we want to go one step further to separate the best from the best.
Here are our top-10 MLB power rankings as of Aug 1.
10. New York Yankees
Kudos to Brian Cashman. It only took a few big-time trades to get the Yankees into the top 10 of our power rankings. Getting both Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo has the potential to be transformative for the Bronx Bombers.
From an offensive standpoint, it’s exactly what the Yankees needed and has already started to pay off for them. For what it’s worth, all they did over the weekend with those additions was sweep the Marlins. The pitching still has a lot to prove during the final two months of the season. But the Yankees finally have the type of lineup that is more than capable of hitting its way to a Wild Card spot.
9. San Diego Padres
Fernando Tatis going back on the IL is a huge blow to the Padres. While they have the depth to replace him, at least to some extent, his status is still a huge concern. Keep in mind that San Diego’s rotation isn’t as deep as we thought it would be at the start of the season. In fact, there are probably a handful of better rotations in the National League. That makes the injury to Tatis even more impactful.
We’re starting to doubt that the Padres are truly on the same level as the elite teams in the NL, which is why they are close to the bottom of our top 10.
8. Toronto Blue Jays
Why are the Blue Jays ranked No. 8 in our power rankings but so far out of the playoff picture? It’s because they have the fourth-best run differential in the American League and aren’t far from being second behind the Astros in that category. Also, the Jays made significant additions to both their rotation and bullpen at the trade deadline, most notably acquiring ace Jose Berrios.
If Toronto can get better pitching down the stretch, the Jays will become a more serious threat in the playoff race. The additions of Berrios and Brad Hand make the Jays a little more balanced between hitting and pitching. They look much better on paper than they did a couple of weeks ago, they just have to turn it into wins.
7. Chicago White Sox
Something isn’t quite right with the White Sox right now. They went 3-6 to close out July and have had trouble getting going since the All-Star break. Obviously, it’s not the end of the world because they have a comfortable lead in the AL Central. But while they shored up their bullpen at the trade deadline, the White Sox didn’t do enough to improve their lineup.
Instead, they’ll wait to get healthy. But that's a tall task with just two months left to get their stars ready for the postseason.
6. Milwaukee Brewers
Why aren’t more people talking about the Brewers? Milwaukee is now 20 games over .500 and running away with the NL Central.
The pitching has been there all season with the likes of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta. But the offense is starting to come along, too. The Brewers are getting offense from some unexpected sources and added Eduardo Escobar at the deadline for good measure.
It’s not a lock that the NL West is going to produce the pennant winner this year. The Brewers look like a legitimate threat that needs to be taken seriously.
5. Boston Red Sox
Boston’s trade deadline moves were a little disappointing. Adding Kyle Schwarber should payoff, but it’s not always a good thing when your biggest addition is on the IL at the time of the trade. It’s worth noting that Chris Sale is getting close to returning to the big leagues. He should provide a lift for a rotation that has overachieved this season but still isn’t among the elite in the majors.
However, the Red Sox struggled offensively late in July, causing them to lose four of their last five games to close out the month. It was a reminder that while Boston’s pitching has been solid, this team is vulnerable when the offense isn’t clicking.
4. Tampa Bay Rays
Separating the Rays and Red Sox isn’t the easiest task in the world. The two teams look like they could be neck and neck throughout the rest of the season.
The difference is that Tampa Bay has the best team ERA in the American League. They’ve also scored nearly as many runs as the Red Sox despite not having nearly as much power in their lineup.
In the end, Tampa’s pitching outweighs Boston’s offensive prowess ever so slightly in our power rankings. But if we’re being honest, we just want to watch these two continue to battle it out for the AL East title over the next two months.
3. San Francisco Giants
No matter what happens or who’s on the IL, the Giants just keep on getting the job done.
San Francisco’s pitching continues to get the job done with all five starters having an ERA under 4.00. And while the injuries are a little concerning, whenever the Giants need somebody to step up, somebody seems to step up.
The addition of Kris Bryant at the deadline will also help the Giants keep things rolling until they get back to full health.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Officially, they remain behind the Giants in the NL West, but after what they pulled off at the trade deadline, the Dodgers look like the best team in the National League.
Nobody is even worried about Trevor Bauer’s status now that Max Scherzer is in Los Angeles. The Dodgers also saw their lineup get a huge spark from Trea Turner, not to mention the return of Corey Seager from the IL.
The Dodgers now have two months to fit all of the pieces together and start playing their best. But it’s hard to look at them right now and not see the best team in the National League.
1. Houston Astros
The Astros finished July on a hot streak, giving them the most wins and the best run differential in the American League. When they’re at their best, they look like the team to beat in the AL, and perhaps in all of baseball.
The young pitching has held steady all the way through the season to this point. On top of that, they have arguably the most intimidating lineup in the majors. It’s possible that we haven’t even seen the Astros when everything is clicking offensively, and yet there seems to be no stopping them at times, which has earned them the top spot in our power rankings heading into August.
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