MLB Power Rankings: Week 27

By Al McMordie - Covers Expert

With the Playoffs on the horizon, we have our final 2015 season rankings. The Blue Jays and Pirates remained perched in the Top 2 spots, while Chicago leapfrogged St. Louis to finish in 3rd place. But, unfortunately (and unfairly), one of our Top 3 teams will be knocked out Wednesday night in the NL Wild Card game at PNC Park. Major League Baseball definitely needs to take a page from the NBA book, and adjust how teams are awarded byes into the quarterfinal round. Looking into my crystal ball, I foresee the Blue Jays besting the Dodgers in the Fall Classic.

MLB Power Rankings

Rank Last Week Change Team W-L (ATS) Power Rating Team Comments
1 1 same 93-69
-126 Toronto
The Jays completed the season with an incredible run differential of +221. That number is made even more incredible by the fact that it's 99 runs higher than the next best (STL +122). You can't have a run differential that high without solid pitching to go with a strong lineup.
2 2 same 98-64
-118 Pittsburgh
Will Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle win his second Manager of the Year trophy in the last three seasons? Unfortunately, Hurdle's biggest - pardon the pun - hurdle is the guy who chased him all season, as the Cubs' Joe Maddon seems to be the odds-on choice to win the award.
3 4 up 1 97-65
-117 Chi. Cubs
With another brilliant performance -- and his 22nd win last week -- Jake Arrieta may have taken the lead in the NL Cy Young race over Zack Greinke. Arrieta could put an exclamation mark on his incredible season by pitching the Cubs into the NLDS by defeating Pittsburgh this coming Wednesday.
4 3 down 1 100-62
-115 St. Louis
Despite their injuries, the Cards hung on to win their third straight NL Central crown. In the process, they also registered the only 100-win season in the Majors this year and their first since 2005. Adam Wainwright came back from injury to pitch out of the pen, but his playoff role remains up in the air.
5 6 up 1 95-67
-114 Kansas City
Who is the AL Comeback Player of the Year for 2015? Ask the Royals and they'll tell you it's a slam dunk for DH Kendrys Morales. Morales was no more than an afterthought when KC signed him in December at a bargain price. And, now, he has a .290/.361/.486 slash line with 22 HRs with 106 RBI.
6 5 down 1 86-76
-113 Houston
Is having arguably the best pitcher in the league (Dallas Keuchel) start a Wild Card game a blessing or a curse? Both, it would seem. You have a probable Cy Young winner going to the mound for the most important game of the year, but he's had much worse stats on the road, and he also won't be available early in the ALDS, should Houston advance.
7 7 same 92-70
-111 LA Dodgers
The Dodgers wrapped up a third straight NL West title and this season might be their best chance to go deep. In 2014, they had a patchwork of starters after Kershaw and Greinke (Haren and Ryu), but now they have a better - and healthier - group (Anderson, Bolsinger, Wood) behind their two aces.
8 8 same 90-72
-110 NY Mets
Just when you thought nothing could go wrong for the feel-good NL team of 2015, Mets OF Yoenis Cespedes was hit on the hand by a pitch on Wednesday and dropped his bat in agony. Fortunately, x-rays were negative (bone bruise), so he'll have plenty of time to recuperate before the NLDS.
9 10 up 1 88-74
-109 Texas
The fact that the Rangers were able to win their Division AND finish with a record 14 games over .500 despite posting the 3rd-worst ERA in the AL (4.26) is amazing. You have to give credit to their hitting coaches who were able to coax enough runs out of the offense to make up for that god-awful pitching.
10 9 down 1 87-75
-108 NY Yankees
The Yankees hit two milestones on the same day when they locked up a Wild Card berth and won their 10,000th game last Thursday. The Yanks became the sixth MLB franchise to reach that number and, despite struggling over the weekend, they will still host the Wild Card game on Tuesday.
11 11 same 85-77
-106 LA Angels
Somebody had to be the odd-team out in the AL Wild Card race. Unfortunately for baseball fans in Anaheim, it was the Angels. This is not a team that's getting younger, either, so expect some club changes in the off-season especially with new GM Billy Eppler (Yankees) taking over the reins.
12 12 same 83-79
-103 Washington
In a bizarre ending to an even more bizarre season, Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper clashed in the Nats' dugout last Sunday. This was then followed up later in the week by Max Scherzer pitching his second no-hitter of the season, becoming the first hurler to do that since 1973 (Nolan Ryan).
13 13 same 79-83
-101 Arizona
With an offense which finished second in the National League in runs scored, with 700, and a bullpen that finished fourth in relief ERA (3.42), the Diamondbacks are right to feel optimistic going into the off-season. They can focus on addressing their lone glaring weakness - starting pitching.
14 14 same 83-79
-101 Minnesota
The Twins' record and situation (no playoffs) might be almost exactly the same as that of the Angels, but the feeling in Minneapolis should be quite different than in Anaheim. The Twins have to be thrilled with what they accomplished. And with a roster of budding young stars, the future looks very bright.
15 16 up 1 81-81
-100 Baltimore
Although they say "all is fine," sources say that tensions have risen between Manager Buck Showalter and GM Dan Duquette in the last week. There's no question who is more popular in Baltimore these day (Showalter), so if a power struggle breaks out, there's little doubt who will come out on top.
16 17 up 1 81-80
101 Cleveland
The Cleveland rotation finished the season very strong, with a 15-12 record and a 3.60 ERA for September/October. The 15 wins were the most by starters of any team in the American League for the last five weeks of the season, and the 3.60 ERA ranked 4th for starters, as well.
17 18 up 1 78-84
103 Boston
John Farrell, who recently completed his final course of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, will return as manager of the Sox in 2016. The Red Sox's winning percentage since August 2 (.574) was the third-best in the league behind only the Blue Jays and Rangers.
18 15 down 3 84-78
103 San Francisco
The team which is tied for the most World Series titles this century (along with the Red Sox) won't be taking sole possession of that honor this year as the Giants were knocked out of post-season contention. Most off-season questions will concern San Fran's pitching, which should get a makeover.
19 19 same 80-82
103 Tampa Bay
The Rays crushed the Jays in the final game, 12-3, but in one respect they may be feeling a bit bad about it. The Jays were trying to get Mark Buehrle two innings in that start so he could become just the fifth MLB pitcher with 15 straight seasons of at least 200 innings pitched, but he didn't make it out of the 1st.
20 20 same 76-86
106 Chi. White Sox
Chris Sale topped the 107-year-old White Sox record for strikeouts in a season on Friday. With his third strikeout in that game against the Tigers, Sale reached 270, and passed the previous club record of 269 set by Ed Walsh in 1908. Walsh set his record in 464 innings, while Sale needed just 203.
21 21 same 71-91
107 Miami
With three hits on Sunday, Dee Gordon was able to win the NL batting title just ahead of Bryce Harper. And with his 58 steals, Gordon became the first NL player to lead the league in batting average (.333) and stolen bases in the same season since Jackie Robinson did it in 1949.
22 23 up 1 68-94
111 Oakland
Barry Zito, who began his career with a start and a win over the Angels 15 years ago as a member of the A's, likely ended it on Wednesday with a four-inning start against the Angels (which the A's also won). Not many players get to come full circle like that, and Zito now says he feels "complete."
23 22 down 1 74-88
113 San Diego
The Padres' biggest off-season acquisition - OF Matt Kemp - ended this year's campaign not the way he wanted. The Padres had long since lost hope for the post-season, but then lost Kemp to a hand injury which kept him out of the final five games after he appeared in the first 157.
24 24 same 68-94
115 Milwaukee
Youth will be served in 2016 with 30-year-old David Stearns as the GM and 45-year-old Craig Counsell as Manager. The Brewers should also infuse some youth into the roster next season to see if they can build a winner for the future.
25 26 up 1 68-94
116 Colorado
The Rockies finished the season with the worst team ERA (5.07) and WHIP (1.51) in baseball and were the only team with an ERA over five runs and a WHIP over 1.5. It's the third time in the last four seasons that Colorado has finished with the worst team ERA.
26 25 down 1 76-86
116 Seattle
Former Angels GM Jerry Dipoto didn't stay away from the front office very long. And he won't have to leave the West Coast as the Mariners have named Dipoto their new GM. Perhaps the first thing for Dipoto to think about is whether to retain Manager Lloyd McClendon, who looked lost this season.
27 28 up 1 74-87
127 Detroit
In an apparent change of heart, Tigers' GM Al Avila has announced that Manager Brad Ausmus will be back with the team in 2016. That takes Ausmus' name off the list of candidates for teams that will be in the market for a new skipper, including the Marlins, Padres, and possibly Rockies.
28 30 up 2 67-95
131 Atlanta
The Braves completed the regular season with an unlikely three-game sweep of the Cardinals, and shut them out by a combined score of 12-0. Or was it really that unlikely? Before Atlanta fans get too excited, the Cards were the only playoff-bound team not playing for anything in the last weekend.
29 27 down 2 64-98
131 Cincinnati
The Reds' abysmal finish to the season had them threatening the Phils for the worst record right up to the last day. The Reds lost 14 of their last 15 to finish at 64-98, their worst record since they lost 101 in 1962. Despite this, it's been reported that Bryan Price will be back as Manager in 2016.
30 29 down 1 63-99
133 Philadelphia
The Phils barely avoided finishing a season with 100 losses for the first time since 1961. But 99 losses is still the most that the franchise has suffered since '69 when it finished with an identical 63-99 record.

Power Ratings compute offensive and defensive statistics into one number for each team, while accounting for factors like recent performances and strength of schedule. Power Ratings can be used as a baseline for relative spread index to compare current or future match-ups between two teams. The relative spread does not account for non-statistical factors like home-field advantage, recent injuries, game time decisions, rivalries, publicity, and weather.