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This week’s MLB power rankings were pushed back a day from our usual Monday morning publish time to accommodate the non-waiver trade deadline. Now that it’s passed, it’s time for an updated look at where all 30 teams stand.
Along with on-field performance, this week’s rankings also took into account deadline activity. Teams on the fringe of contention, in particular, were impacted by the moves they made or didn’t make, as a clear line was drawn between contenders and also-rans.
These rankings are fluid. Teams rise and fall based on where they were ranked the previous week. If a team keeps winning, it will keep climbing—it’s as simple as that.
Here’s where all 30 teams stand heading into the rest of this week’s action:
Busiest Teams at the Deadline
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The Pittsburgh Pirates have been rolling of late with a 15-4 record and plus-46 run differential in their last 19 games, and it looks like they’re ready to make a serious run at a playoff spot.
They added former Texas Rangers closer Keone Kela to the back of their bullpen, and former Tampa Bay Rays ace Chris Archer will bolster their starting rotation. Those trades came at the cost of some quality young talent—Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow and Taylor Hearn—but both players are also controllable through at least 2020, so the moves were made with an eye on more than just a late-season push.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t call it quits after landing Manny Machado in a post-All-Star Game blockbuster.
They acquired slugging second baseman Brian Dozier from the Minnesota Twins to provide some punch against left-handed pitching and added veteran John Axford to the bullpen in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. Will that be enough to solidify the relief corps?
It’s also been a busy few days for the Milwaukee Brewers, who brought in Mike Moustakas and Jonathan Schoop as they try to chase down the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central.
Those two will undoubtedly bolster the offense, but they also created an infield logjam with Travis Shaw that will need to be navigated. What is arguably Milwaukee’s biggest weakness—the starting rotation—went unaddressed.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies also strengthened their cases for postseason berths.
The D-backs added relievers Jake Diekman and Brad Ziegler after acquiring infielder Eduardo Escobar last week. The Braves found the controllable starter they’ve been seeking in Kevin Gausman, who was the headliner in a six-player swap with the Baltimore Orioles. The Phillies picked up catcher Wilson Ramos and added lefty reliever Aaron Loup after nabbing Asdrubal Cabrera last week.
The American League was considerably quieter, and understandably so with four teams—the Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees—essentially locked in to postseason spots.
That said, the Seattle Mariners did make some notable acquisitions as they look to grab the second wild card. They added Zach Duke, Sam Tuivailala and Adam Warren to a bullpen that ranks 14th in the majors with a 3.90 ERA while also picking up the speedy Cameron Maybin to fill the fourth outfielder role.
Seattle, however, also failed to add a starting pitcher and will rely heavily on the unheralded duo of Wade LeBlanc and Marco Gonzales to keep pitching at a high level.
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The Colorado Rockies slipped four spots in the rankings as a result of their deadline inactivity.
With the Dodgers and Diamondbacks improving among National League West contenders and the Brewers, Phillies, Braves and Pirates bolstering their playoff hopes, the Rockies’ chances took a major hit.
They did acquire Seunghwan Oh from the Blue Jays last week and sign veteran Matt Holliday to a minor league deal, but they failed to land the controllable starter they were seeking. Jon Heyman of Fancred listed Colorado among the teams pursuing Gausman before he was traded to Atlanta.
The Indians acquired Leonys Martin to address their center field need, and they had obtained Brad Hand and Adam Cimber from the San Diego Padres.
But did they do enough to close the gap on that three-headed Astros-Red Sox-Yankees monster?
The Oakland Athletics were also quiet in the days leading up to the deadline after acquiring reliever Jeurys Familia from the New York Mets 10 days ago.
They had no reason to push their chips in after surprising more than a few people by contending sooner than expected, but their odds took a hit nonetheless.
Fringe Teams That Waived the White Flag
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The Los Angeles Angels, St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals appeared to accept that this isn’t their year.
“Bryce [Harper] is not going anywhere. I believe in this team,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post.
Rizzo apparently didn’t believe in it to the point of making additions to the roster, though, and he even traded reliever Brandon Kintzler to a fellow National League contender in the Cubs.
The Cardinals turned Tommy Pham into prospects in a trade with the Rays, opening a spot for Tyler O’Neill on the big league roster. They also sent off Luke Voit and Sam Tuivailala in small-scale moves while failing to add anyone of short-term significance.
And it looks like the Angels will squander another year of Mike Trout.
They traded catcher Martin Maldonado and second baseman Ian Kinsler, both impending free agents, but made no notable additions.
The San Francisco Giants also seem to be cooked.
They didn’t get rid of any veteran pieces, but they also didn’t add anyone to a team that is .500 and may have just lost Johnny Cueto to Tommy John surgery.
MVPs of the Week
Hitter: Jonathan Schoop, Baltimore Orioles
Stats: 11-for-29, 1 2B, 5 HR, 13 RBI, 6 R
After struggling to a .197/.242/.345 line with just eight home runs and 21 RBI over the first three-plus months of the season, Schoop has caught fire.
He’s hitting .360/.356/.700 with nine home runs and 19 RBI in July—enough to make him a hot commodity at the trade deadline, with the Brewers getting a deal done.
Second basemen have provided a brutal .242/.297/.362 line for the Brewers this year, so Schoop will be a welcome addition as they look to secure a postseason spot.
Pitcher: Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees
Stats: 1 GS, W, 9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K
While the Yankees were proactive in addressing their starting rotation with the additions of J.A. Happ and Lance Lynn, a strong finish to the season by Masahiro Tanaka would go a long way.
The 29-year-old twirled his third career shutout last Monday against the Rays, and he’s pitched to a 2.29 ERA in three starts since returning from the hamstring injuries that cost him roughly a month.
All told, he’s 8-2 with a 4.09 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 92 strikeouts in 92.1 innings.
Looking ahead, Tanaka showed in October how much of an impact he can make when he’s on top of his game, posting a 0.90 ERA over 20 innings in three postseason starts.
A similar run this year could push the Yankees over the top.
Video Highlights of the Week
Longest Home Run: Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies (454 feet)
Nolan Arenado has hit an NL-leading 28 home runs, including three in his last four games and eight in July.
His 26th blast came Friday in the form of this towering 454-foot shot off Athletics lefty Sean Manaea.
While that was the longest home run of the season for Arenado, it checked in as just the seventh-longest by Rockies hitters.
In fact, Carlos Gonzalez (473 feet, 461, 455), Ian Desmond (472, 459) and Trevor Story (464, 459) have multiple homers that have gone farther.
The Rockies rank eighth in the majors and second in the NL with 136 home runs.
Best Defensive Play: Jackie Bradley Jr., Boston Red Sox
Jackie Bradley Jr. is having a rough season offensively, hitting just .213 with a 76 OPS+ and 28 extra-base hits in 357 plate appearances.
He remains, however, a human highlight reel in center field.
The 28-year-old has been featured in our “best defensive play” section before, and he was at it again with this tremendous catch in the left-center field gap on what looked like a sure double.
Bradley’s 9.1 UZR/150 is the fourth-best mark among qualified center fielders and speaks to his elite instincts and tremendous range.
The Red Sox are the highest-scoring team in baseball with 5.3 runs per game, so they can afford to sacrifice some offense for an elite glove at a premium position.
Must-See Upcoming Matchup
Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (Friday-Sunday)
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Nothing like a World Series rematch to gauge where two contenders are heading into the final two months of the season.
Last time the Astros and Dodgers squared off, it was Game 7 of another thrilling Fall Classic, and both teams have title aspirations again this year.
The Astros rotation is lined up perfectly for this series, with Justin Verlander, Lance McCullers Jr. and Gerrit Cole slated to throw.
The Dodgers will counter with Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda and Walker Buehler. Ace Clayton Kershaw will make his next start Thursday against the Brewers.
This series won’t have a huge impact on the standings, but it will be an excellent barometer, and it should provide fans with a postseason atmosphere.