Here are my MLB power rankings. For my thoughts on Brandon Hyde returning to Baltimore for a fourth season, click here.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (100-56, No. 1 last week): It might seem surprising that I have the Dodgers in front of the Giants, who have two more wins and held down the No. 1 spot from Week 13 until last week. But the Dodgers’ overall depth, especially in starting pitching, swayed me.
2. San Francisco Giants (102-54, No. 2): Kudos to the entire baseball operation from president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi on down to the field. This has really been a brilliantly constructed team. I don’t expect a deep run this year, but I think the Giants improve upon what they are right now in the years to come. The injury to closer Jake McGee is untimely.
3. Tampa Bay Rays (97-59, No. 4): Call me a reluctant admirer, but I am greatly looking forward to the Rays beating the White Sox if they play one another. It now seems inevitable that a Yankees-Rays series could decide who gets really serious about the Series.
4. Milwaukee Brewers (94-62, No. 3): The Brewers have been a great story all season long. But they’re 5-7 the past two weeks. Especially head-scratching were sweeps by the Tigers (two games) and Cardinals (four games). This week they go to St. Louis for three. The Brewers may want to win a couple to prove the Cardinals are human.
5. Houston Astros (91-65, No. 5): Interesting three-game series in St. Petersburg this week. Really solid season, but is it good enough? I am not so sure it is.
6. St Louis Cardinals (87-69, No. 10): The Cardinals’ now-16-game winning streak (and 18 out of 19) is reminiscent of the Rockies’ 2007 run, when Colorado won 21 of 22 entering the World Series against the Red Sox. The Cards have to hope they finish better than the Rockies did — a four-game sweep that ended the Rocktober run.
7. Chicago White Sox (88-68, No. 8): We know the White Sox have had this division won for a couple months, but the really great teams usually don’t just sort of tread water (22-22 in their last 44 games). It’s almost like the fight went out of them as they got healthier. I’m not optimistic for them. If they have a quick exit, wonder how GM Rick Hahn will feel about the Tony La Russa move that was forced on him.
8. New York Yankees (89-67, No. 9): It’s nothing compared to the Cardinals, but a 6-0 run is a reminder that a team of stars can be capable of great things. Giancarlo Stanton, in his fourth season in the Bronx, has really come through in the big moments. He hit 38 homers and knocked in 100 during his first season in New York, but this is the best he’s played in the AL.
9. Boston Red Sox (88-68, No. 6): Honestly, I’m really stunned the Sox got swept at home by the Yankees to allow New York to seize control of the top wild-card spot. But, before we hand that top spot to the Yankees, remember this — the Red Sox come to Baltimore for three and Washington for three. Wow. Not hard to imagine at least a 5-1 finish.
10. Toronto Blue Jays (87-69, No. 7): While the Jays have played much of their season without George Springer due to injuries, the outfielder really can be the difference this week. After returning from a wrenched knee, he has been mostly nonexistent at the plate. Since Aug. 30, he is hitting .187 with three home runs. However, he hit home runs in back-to-back games Sept. 25 and 26. The Jays need that to continue.
11. Atlanta Braves (83-72, No. 11)
12. Philadelphia Phillies (81-75, No. 12)
13. Seattle Mariners (86-70, No. 14)
14. Oakland Athletics (85-71, No. 13)
15. Cincinnati Reds (81-75, No. 15)
16. San Diego Padres (78-78, No. 16)
17. Cleveland Indians (76-79, No. 17)
18. Detroit Tigers (75-80, No. 18)
19. Los Angeles Angels (74-82, No. 20)
20. New York Mets (73-82, No. 19)
21. Kansas City Royals (71-84, No. 23)
22. Colorado Rockies (71-84, No. 22)
23. Minnesota Twins (69-87, No. 24)
24. Chicago Cubs (67-89, No. 21)
25. Miami Marlins (64-91, No. 25)
26. Washington Nationals (64-92, No. 26)
27. Pittsburgh Pirates (58-97, No. 27)
28. Texas Rangers (57-99, No. 28)
29. Arizona Diamondbacks (50-106, No. 29)
30. Baltimore Orioles (50-106, No. 30)