MLB Power Rankings: Week 21

By Al McMordie - Covers Expert

We had virtually no change among our Top 6 teams this week as, other than Houston and KC swapping places, our teams maintained their ranking from last week. Once again, I was tempted to (finally) move St. Louis off its #1 perch, but the Cardinals staved off any demotion by salvaging a win Sunday against the Padres. With the Cardinals, Cubs and Pirates (all from the NL Central) currently owning three of the four best records in Baseball, perhaps MLB down the road will follow the lead of the NBA, and seed Playoff teams according to their record, rather than granting division winners a bye into the quarterfinals.

MLB Power Rankings

Rank Last Week Change Team W-L (ATS) Power Rating Team Comments
1 1 same 78-45
-126 St. Louis
The injury bug has hit the Cards' outfield hard as Randal Grichuk joined Jon Jay and Matt Holiday on the DL. And Jason Heyward is not 100%, nursing a sore hamstring. The Cards salvaged a tough weekend in San Diego with a big win on Sunday to hold onto their 3.5 game division lead.
2 2 same 69-55
-124 Toronto
Do the Jays deserve to be No. 1 in our Rankings? After all, they passed the Cards in run differential and are now the #1 team in that category in the Majors. But they haven't been able to dominate their division the way the Cards have, so for now, they'll have to settle for tops in the AL.
3 4 up 1 69-56
-118 Houston
Another no-hitter from an unlikely source as recent Astros pick-up Mike Fiers threw a no-no against a very good Dodgers team on Saturday. This team is clicking on all cylinders right now, especially the pitching, which allowed just eight runs in six games, dating back to August 18.
4 3 down 1 75-48
-117 Kansas City
The Royals can begin thinking about a magic number to close out their first Division Title since 1985. Of course, repeating what they did 30 years ago would be just fine with them, as KC took on its cross-state rival St. Louis and won the World Series in seven games that year.
5 5 same 74-48
-116 Pittsburgh
If the Pirates have had an Achilles' heel all season, it's probably their defense. Only the Brewers with 86 errors have more defensive gaffes than Pittsburgh (84), and it bit them again last week. But the offense and pitching have been good enough to overcome the errors in most games.
6 6 same 71-51
-113 Chi. Cubs
LHP Jon Lester was cruising along until a major hiccup in his last start as he allowed seven runs in 2 2/3 innings to the Tigers. Still, since the All-Star break, Lester has been very good, going 4-1 with a 3.55 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in six starts helping the Cubs get within three games of the Pirates.
7 8 up 1 68-55
-112 NY Yankees
The Yanks had a great opportunity to increase their lead in the AL East, playing two sub-.500 teams at home last week. But they didn't take full advantage. After sweeping the Twins in the first three games, New York went on to lose three of four to the Indians. Thus, the Jays are back in first place.
8 7 down 1 67-56
-111 LA Dodgers
The Dodgers' bullpen continues to under-perform in the month of August. Heading into the final week of the month, Dodger relievers are 13th in the league with a 5.76 ERA with only the Braves and Rockies being worse. If they keep that up, the Giants will surely take advantage.
9 9 same 66-58
-110 San Francisco
In a major blow, the Giants were forced to put outfielder Hunter Pence on the DL for the third time this season with an oblique strain. The Giants are 34-18 in games in which Pence has played (vs. 32-40 without him).
10 12 up 2 67-56
-106 NY Mets
The injury bug keeps biting the Mets. Just after the Mets activated Lucas Duda from the disabled list, he suffered another injury - again to his back - and returned to the DL. Bobby Parnell also went on the DL last week. But 3B Wright is coming back on Monday and the Mets offense continued to roll in Denver anyway.
11 14 up 3 62-61
-103 Arizona
OF AJ Pollock has gone from being a very good player to a great one this season. Pollock became the first D-Back player with 30 steals since Eric Byrnes had 50 in 2007. Pollock also has 13 HR, so a 20-40 season is not out of the question, and his 86 runs scored lead the National League.
12 10 down 2 62-61
-103 Baltimore
The O's started the week by finishing a four-game sweep of the A's and ended it by losing four straight to the Twins at home, dropping them more than a half-dozen games out in the East. And now Baltimore has to take on two of the AL's hottest teams on the road (KC and Texas).
13 13 same 62-61
-103 Washington
The good news heading into this past week was that the Nationals had the second-easiest schedule the rest of the month with a .448 opponent win percentage. The bad news is that a relatively easy schedule hasn't helped them so far. The other bad news is the Mets will have an even easier upcoming schedule (.427).
14 16 up 2 62-62
-101 Tampa Bay
The Rays have been playing well on the road, as they took the last game of the series in Houston and then proceeded to take two of three from the A's in Oakland. Tampa has now won 11 of its last 19 and finds itself just 2 1/2 games out in the race for the final AL Wild Card Spot.
15 11 down 4 63-61
100 LA Angels
Things were going great at the start of the week as the Angels took the first three games at home vs. the White Sox. But then it all fell apart as the Halos proceeded to lose their next four (the last one vs. Chicago and then three to Toronto) by a combined score of 44-12. Yikes!
16 15 down 1 54-71
102 Oakland
The A's got the services of closer Sean Doolittle back and boy could they use him right now. Oakland blew yet another late lead on Saturday, to deny Sonny Gray his 13th win. The A's have now lost nine of their last 12 heading into a week that has them on the road in Seattle and Arizona.
17 17 same 64-59
103 Texas
The Rangers continued to show they're serious about trying to win this season as they acquired OF Will Venable from the Padres. It's a minor acquisition, but Venable could be a key addition, especially in light of Josh Hamilton's third trip to the DL this season, last week.
18 18 same 58-65
104 Cleveland
The Tribe got some some good news in a month that hasn't brought much otherwise as their top offensive player, 2B Jason Kipnis, returned from the DL (shoulder). It didn't take long for the All-Star infielder to make an impact either, and the Indians took three of four games from the Yankees.
19 19 same 63-61
105 Minnesota
The Twins scratched and clawed their way back over the .500 mark, sweeping the O's, in Baltimore, over four games. But they still log one of the worst road records in the league (25-37) and 12 of their next 18 will be played away from Minneapolis.
20 23 up 3 61-63
106 San Diego
The trade of OF Will Venable to the Rangers may not be the last deal this team pulls off this season. James Shields is still available and the Padres would love to trade the veteran. The Yankees definitely could use him and are one of the few teams perhaps willing to take on his contract.
21 21 same 56-68
107 Boston
The biggest news of the week for Boston happened off the field as the Red Sox hired former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski to be their new President of Baseball Operations. The news seemed to wake up the Sox as they went 4-3 for the week, including a four-game split with the Royals.
22 22 same 59-64
108 Detroit
There was actually something to cheer in Detroit last week as veteran southpaw Randy Wolf made his first start since June of last season, and pitched very well, despite taking the loss. Wolf hurled seven innings, and allowed just three ER with five strikeouts and no walks against the Rangers.
23 24 up 1 58-64
111 Chi. White Sox
Better late than never I guess, as the White Sox offense finally showed what it's capable of at the end of the week, by plating 31 runs in four games vs. the Angels and Mariners. But the pitching continues to struggle, with the starters posting a 4.66 ERA over the past 30 days.
24 25 up 1 49-73
112 Colorado
Just how valuable was SS Troy Tulowitzki to this team? Consider this: the Rox were first in the NL in June in both runs (140) and average (.274). In July it was not much different (2nd in runs and 1st in BA). But so far in August (post-Tulo), they are 12th in BA (.252) and 10th in runs (86).
25 27 up 2 53-72
113 Milwaukee
OF Khris Davis is one of the few bright spots on this team. Davis is having a huge August and could be primed for a big breakout season in 2016. This month, Davis has nine home runs, 15 runs scored, and 22 RBI -- and there's still a week left.
26 20 down 6 51-71
114 Cincinnati
Ugly times for the Reds right now as they're mired in a horrible slump and have actually fallen behind the Brewers into last place in the NL Central. Cincinnati hasn't finished in last place in its division since 1983, but will likely do so this season. No doubt Manager Bryan Price's job is on the line.
27 26 down 1 50-74
121 Miami
ith David Phelps lost for the season with a broken arm (to go with the earlier trades of Dan Haren and Mat Latos, and the demotion of Jared Cosart), the only member of the original 2015 rotation left at this point is RHP Tom Koehler. And Jose Fernandez remains out with a biceps strain.
28 28 same 57-67
122 Seattle
Iwakuma followed up his no-hitter with a strong performance against another good offense, as he allowed just two runs against the Rangers for his fifth win. Unfortunately, very few Seattle players other than Iwakuma seem to be motivated. The M's finally gave up on Fernando Rodney, and designated him for assignment.
29 29 same 53-71
123 Atlanta
The Braves got a boost last week from the return of 1B Freddie Freeman. Unfortunately, one player - even one as good as Freeman - can't turn around a team as bad as Atlanta. After dropping all seven games last week (all on the road), the Braves are now 2-22 their last 24 roadies.
30 30 same 50-74
137 Philadelphia
The on-again/off-again trade saga of 2B Chase Utley finally concluded when the Phils shipped the 36-year-old veteran off to Los Angeles for a couple of minor-leaguers. In Southern California, Utley will be reunited with former teammate Jimmy Rollins in the Dodgers middle infield.

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.