MLB Power Rankings: Week 22

By Al McMordie - Covers Expert

It's been a long time coming, but Toronto finally ascended to the top spot in our Power Rankings. The Blue Jays have the Majors' best offense, and greatest run differential, and must now be considered the favorite to win the World Series -- especially since the American League owns home field advantage in the Fall Classic. The rest of our Top 8 remains unchanged from last week, as the teams seem to be settling in to their positions as we head into the final month.

MLB Power Rankings

Rank Last Week Change Team W-L (ATS) Power Rating Team Comments
1 2 up 1 74-56
(73-57-0)
-130 Toronto
3B Josh Donaldson would seem to be the favorite now for the AL MVP, having knocked Mike Trout off of his perch - at least temporarily - as the best player in the AL. The Jays wouldn't be where they are without the services of Donaldson, and nobody would be surprised if he took down top honors.
2 1 down 1 84-46
(67-63-0)
-129 St. Louis
A nine-game homestand this week is probably the most important stretch of games for the Cards this season. They have the Nationals, followed by the Pirates and Cubs. Anything less than six wins during this stretch would likely be deemed a disappointment.
3 3 same 72-59
(71-60-0)
-118 Houston
The Astros' offense needed a big game last week and they got it, scoring 21 runs in two games against the Yankees including 15 runs on Tuesday. But then Houston seemed to go back into hibernation, plating just nine runs in the weekend series which they lost to the Twins (two games to one).
4 4 same 80-50
(73-57-0)
-117 Kansas City
The Royals picked up where they left off last October in the ALCS, taking three of four games from the O's. Then they took two of three from the Rays in Tampa. They now are home for the next nine games, all against Division foes, ending with three against the Twins which could be the dagger.
5 5 same 79-50
(58-71-0)
-117 Pittsburgh
It sure doesn't look like the Pirates are going to suffer from the late-season fade we've become accustomed to in recent seasons. This team has been very consistent and has gotten stronger all season, posting 12 wins in April, 14 in May, 17 in June, 17 again in July, and now 19 in August (through Sunday).
6 6 same 74-55
(60-69-0)
-113 Chi. Cubs
The Cubs got some relief pitching help, by acquiring former Seattle closer Fernando Rodney from the Mariners for cash. The Cubs will not use Rodney as their stopper, however. Instead, they'll continue with Hector Rondon as their main ninth-inning option, but Rodney could help lessen the load late in games.
7 7 same 72-57
(66-63-0)
-112 NY Yankees
So much for the Yankees' plan to go to a six-man rotation. As soon as the team announced its intentions to expand its starting pitching, it was forced to put veteran southpaw CC Sabathia on the DL, and it appears now that the big man is lost for the remainder of the season.
8 8 same 72-57
(57-72-0)
-111 LA Dodgers
Somebody please tell the Dodgers to wake up and look at their dismal relief pitching before it's too late. Two of the relievers who were available a week ago are now gone as Fernando Rodney was traded to the Cubs, while Addison Reed went to the Mets. What is Mattingly & Co. waiting for?
9 10 up 1 72-58
(67-62-0)
-110 NY Mets
Early concerns about this team's lack of offense are a distant memory now. he Mets showed that it wasn't just the thin air of Colorado that allowed it to go on a scoring spree, as the hits and runs continued in Philadelphia (40 in four games). The Mets have now plated 91 runs in the last 10 games.
10 9 down 1 69-61
(72-58-0)
-107 San Francisco
Madison Bumgarner notwithstanding, the Giants' starting rotation - normally a strength - is in a bit of trouble. Veteran RH Matt Cain went on the DL (again) for a nerve issue and Ryan Vogelsong continues to get roughed up. Could San Francisco all of a sudden be an option for James Shields?
11 11 same 63-67
(68-62-0)
-105 Arizona
The D-Backs showed what being mediocre is all about. After sweeping arguably the worst team in the league (the Reds) over four games, Arizona had the favor returned by the best team in baseball, losing four straight to the Cards. They ended the week with the A's, but dropped two of three.
12 13 up 1 66-63
(57-72-0)
-105 Washington
As if things haven't been tough enough lately, the Nats got more bad news last week as CF and regular lead-off hitter Denard Span will undergo season-ending surgery on his ailing hip. It's hard to imagine this team catching the Mets without its catalyst at the top of the order.
13 12 down 1 63-67
(66-64-0)
-104 Baltimore
It's looking definitely like a two-horse race between the Yankees and Blue Jays in the AL East with the loser getting the first Wild Card spot, almost certainly. That decreases the Orioles' chances of getting to the post-season for the third time in the last four seasons dramatically.
14 14 same 64-66
(70-60-0)
-101 Tampa Bay
As you might expect, the only team the Rays have been able to beat consistently in the last 2+ weeks is the only one with a losing record (Oakland). Against the Rangers, Astros, Twins and Royals, the Rays have gone a combined 3-9.
15 17 up 2 68-61
(80-49-0)
101 Texas
At 36-29, the Rangers are one of the best road teams in baseball, but they continue to struggle at home. If they can find some consistency in Arlington in September, there's no doubt that they can win the AL West. They're home for their last seven games of the season vs. the Tigers and Angels.
16 19 up 3 67-63
(78-52-0)
102 Minnesota
When they started falling further and further behind the Royals, the Twins could have folded up shop and gone home, like the Orioles seem to have done. But Minny has responded with a strong run and appears to be a real threat to the Rangers for that second Wild Card spot.
17 15 down 2 65-65
(55-75-0)
104 LA Angels
Now that August is about to conclude, is Mike Trout finally ready to wake up from his slumber? He seemed to indicate that on Sunday, coming a HR shy of his second career cycle. Normally a run-scoring machine, Trout had crossed the plate just five times in August prior to Sunday's game.
18 18 same 63-66
(61-68-0)
106 Cleveland
Like Joe Maddon's situation last year, Manager Terry Francona has an opt-out clause in his contract that will kick in now that Mark Shapiro is going to take the job in Toronto. Unlike Maddon, however, Francona says he will not exercise this clause to leave the Indians.
19 16 down 3 57-74
(63-68-0)
106 Oakland
Not surprisingly, Oakland has the worst record in the league now. That's what happens when you trade away one of your best hitters (Ben Zobrist), starters (Scott Kazmir) and relievers (Tyler Clippard).
20 20 same 63-67
(65-65-0)
106 San Diego
In order for a traded player to be added to the post-season roster, he has to have been moved before September 1, so it seems increasingly likely that James Shields will remain with the Padres. If the same core of players returns in 2016, this team will need to figure out how to make it all work.
21 21 same 60-70
(61-69-0)
107 Boston
With only one victory coming from the bullpen and a 6.45 ERA, the Red Sox officially had the worst relief pitching in the month of August. That makes the fact that, as a team, they had a winning record for the month (14-12 heading into Monday) all that more impressive.
22 23 up 1 61-68
(62-67-0)
112 Chi. White Sox
No member of the White Sox - and possibly no player in the Majors - will welcome the end of August as much as RHP Jeff Samardzija. The one-time ace went 0-6 for the month with an 8.82 ERA and 1.78 WHIP. It doesn't get much uglier than that.
23 24 up 1 52-76
(64-64-0)
113 Colorado
Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez leads the National League with 31 homers. And his career high is 34 (back in 2010), so he almost certainly will top that. It's been a rough month, but at least the Rox ended the week on a high note with a 5-0 shutout of the Buccos in Pittsburgh.
24 25 up 1 55-75
(59-71-0)
113 Milwaukee
The main prize in the trade which sent Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to the Astros was a young OF named Domingo Santana. And Santana has already impressed in limited time with the Crew. His average isn't there yet, but Santana has hit three long balls in his first 24 at-bats.
25 22 down 3 60-70
(60-70-0)
114 Detroit
The Tigers have fallen into last place in the AL Central, winning just once in their last 10 games, including a demoralizing 12-5 shellacking at the hands of the lowly Reds. After scoring 131 runs in a short month of July, Detroit has managed to plate just 107 in August.
26 27 up 1 52-79
(61-70-0)
114 Miami
Slugging OF Giancarlo Stanton claims he is about a week away from returning to the lineup. This could be overly optimistic, however, as it seems that the team may be taking things very cautiously with its star who signed a massive 13-year, $325 Million contract in the off-season.
27 26 down 1 53-76
(65-63-0)
119 Cincinnati
Another rough week for a team that's had more than a few since July. The Reds had the fewest wins in the month of August (7) and a .249 team batting average in the last 30 days as well. They lost the battle for the cellar of the Central, losing two of three to the Brewers this weekend.
28 28 same 61-70
(56-75-0)
121 Seattle
If GM Jack Zduriencik was the main reason that Manager Lloyd McLendon hadn't been fired yet, then McLendon might just want to start worrying a bit more because the Mariners fired Zduriencik last week. Any decision on McLendon's future probably won't come until a new GM is found.
29 29 same 54-76
(65-65-0)
129 Atlanta
With the Phillies young talent pacing them to series wins over the Marlins and Padres, it's time for a change at the bottom. The Braves are mired in a 1-12 funk and they're losing big, being out-scored by 49-18 in their last five games. They've also scored the fewest runs in the NL in August (92).
30 30 same 52-79
(66-65-0)
138 Philadelphia
The Phils have to be excited by their young pitching prospects heading into 2016. Homegrown Aaron Nola has looked great, and Jerad Eickhoff -- acquired in the Hamels trade from the Rangers -- has shown some promise too. Adam Morgan is a work in progress, but could come around.

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.