The MLB season — despite multiple coronavirus outbreaks — continues to rage on.
More than a month into the season and, outside of a couple of bad apples, the season has carried on amid the pandemic without a monumental problem. Even if a couple of teams don’t make it all the way to 60 games, the season should be played in its entirety.
With most teams playing over 20 games, we’re starting to get a good idea for what teams have staying power and what teams just got off to a fast start. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the updated MLB power rankings for the third week of August.
Don’t look now but the Diamondbacks recently won six in a row to get above .500. A sweep of the Padres over the weekend is nothing to scoff at, especially since the D’Backs are finally starting to find their groove offensively. There are still some a couple of rotation spots that need to be sorted out, but if the Diamondbacks can figure out their pitching, they’ll be a team to watch.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are worth mentioning simply because they’re finally back on the field. St. Louis sat out the entire first month of August, not playing until this past Saturday. With few off days the rest of the way, the Cards will be challenged by a difficult schedule. But this team was in the NLCS a year ago, so they’re worth watching now that they’re finally playing again.
Now onto the top 10:
10. Houston Astros (Last Week: Unranked)
Well, look who decided to join us. The Astros had a world of problems early in the season, especially after Justin Verlander was sidelined with a concerning injury. However, Houston has rattled off eight straight wins to get above .500 and put a little pressure on Oakland inside the AL West. The catalyst for the turnaround has been Houston’s young starters. The Astros allowed a total of seven runs during the six wins during that streak that weren't play at Coors Field. The lineup is clicking just yet, but if the Astros are finding answers to their rotation problems, they will once again be a threat in the American League.
9. Atlanta Braves (Last Week: 6)
It’s been a crazy week for the Braves, who lost four in a row, only to respond with three straight wins. Atlanta remains at the top of the NL East, although that’s primarily because the presumed challengers have all been disappointments this season. Outside of Max Fried, the Braves are having trouble getting reliable performances from their rotation, putting a lot of pressure on their lineup, which isn’t producing much down in the order.
8. Colorado Rockies (Last Week: 2)
After a brilliant start to the season, things seem to be leveling off for the Rockies. Colorado has won just two of its last 10 games. The good news is that it could be just a blip on the radar. Charlie Blackmon is still having an amazing season while Trevor Story has been a great running mate. Of course, it’s all about the Colorado rotation continuing to perform. As long as the Rockies are getting quality starts, they have a chance.
7. Chicago Cubs (Last Week: 5)
The Cubs are still holding steady at the top of the NL Central. Losing three out of four games to the Brewers over the weekend was a hit to their lead. However, Chicago’s long-term projections are still looking good. Some of the heavy hitters in the lineup have slumped a little in August. But the rotation is still going strong, which should help the Cubs avoid the kind of losing streak that could threaten their lead atop the NL Central.
6. Minnesota Twins (Last Week: 8)
Technically, the Twins lead the AL Central, but something still doesn’t seem right about this team. Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi have yet to hit their stride this season. Until that happens, the Twins are still a little too reliant on their offense. In fairness, Minnesota’s lineup is quite potent and full of power hitters, especially with Byron Buxton having a breakout campaign. The Twins will surely be playoff-bound and may even win the AL Central for the second straight season. But until the top of the rotation improves, it’s hard to view the Twins on the same level as the top teams in the American League.
5. Cleveland Indians (Last Week: 7)
While the Indians are below the Twins in the standings, it’s hard not to be impressed by Cleveland’s pitching. Even with Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac away from the team after breaking protocol, the Tribe is still red-hot, winning six in a row. With the Tigers on Cleveland’s schedule this weekend, that isn’t likely to change anytime soon. Of course, the lineup is another issue with several regulars still hitting under .200. But with leading Cy Young candidate Shane Bieber leading the way, the Indians are built for a short season and the postseason.
4. New York Yankees (Last Week: 4)
Things aren't looking so good for the Yankees after they got swept by the Rays this week. The good news for the Bronx Bombers is that they've taken care of business against every team other than Tampa Bay. The bad news is that injuries are hitting them for the second straight season. However, it's too early to give up hope that the Yanks can get healthy and get back on track.
3. Oakland A’s (Last Week: 1)
A rather average week has allowed a couple of teams to pass Oakland in the power rankings. But make no mistake, the A’s are still among the best teams in baseball. Offensively, they are one of the best offensive teams in the American League, and some of their best hitters aren’t even having good seasons, so there’s room for improvement. Oddly enough, the same is true for Oakland’s rotation with Mike Fiers and Sean Manaea struggling to get going. However, the A’s are scoring runs at a high rate and getting incredible performances from the bullpen, which is why they are poised to remain one of the best teams in baseball all season.
2. Tampa Bay Rays (Last Week: 10)
The Rays are simply crushing it these days, especially against the Yankees. After sweeping New York this week, Tampa Bay has won six of seven against the Yanks this season. Overall, they've won 12 of 14 thanks to a combination of good hitting and a pitching staff that's coming around. If they can dominate the Yankees like that, there's no telling what the Rays are capable of doing this year.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (Last Week: 3)
It’s finally happening, the Dodgers are getting hot with seven wins in a row. Both Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger are starting to get into midseason form, and with the supporting cast around them, that’s a scary thought. Even with Walker Buehler winless on the season, the L.A. rotation is in good shape. Meanwhile, the back end of the bullpen has been dominant. The Dodgers have five relievers who have made at least seven appearances this year and have an ERA under 1.00. As long as that continues, they’ll be difficult to beat.
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