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Giants stay ahead of Dodgers in late-season power rankings originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO -- The slight NL West edge the Giants have brought home from their final road trip of the year might be enough to prevent Game 163, and with the way the St. Louis Cardinals have played since the last version of our MLB Power Rankings -- they haven't lost a game -- there's not all that much drama left in the NL.
But on the other side of the bracket, it's hard not to root for chaos.
There is a somewhat plausible scenario in which three AL East teams tie for the two wild card spots, and the A's and Mariners haven't thrown in the towel, either. The final week of the regular season is going to be incredible, and it should lead to a postseason that will have MLB executives smiling from ear to ear.
We know the Giants, Dodgers, Brewers, Rays and White Sox are in, and other teams with huge fan bases are getting close. Before we get to the playoffs, though, here's our final regular season look at all 30 teams:
30. Orioles (50-106): They've lost 100 games for the third time in four seasons, but at least they have a star in Cedric Mullins. The 26-year-old outfielder has 30 homers, 30 stolen bases and a .903 OPS.
29. Diamondbacks (50-106): They've had the top overall pick twice, taking Justin Upton and Dansby Swanson, with the latter being dealt for Shelby Miller. Oops. They have a shot to get the top pick again, but first they'll try to play spoiler in San Francisco. Madison Bumgarner starts Thursday at Oracle Park.
28. Pirates (58-97): Old friend Bryan Reynolds is finishing off another very strong season. The former Giants top pick has a .293/.383/.504 slash line with 24 homers.
27. Rangers (57-99): This won't be a comfortable couple of weeks for Chris Woodward, who is 157-221 in three seasons as their manager.
26. Cubs (67-89): They've been awful since the deadline, but at least seem to have found some pieces for next year's club, which they hope will jumpstart a quick rebuild. Patrick Wisdom has 28 homers and former A's first baseman Frank Schwindel has a 1.041 OPS in 50 games in Chicago.
25. Nationals (64-92): Can you win the MVP on a team that's going to approach 100 losses and sold at the deadline? Juan Soto is going to try. The absurdly talented 22-year-old has a .544 on-base percentage and 18 homers since the All-Star break. The OBP is up to .598 (!!!) in September.
24. Marlins (64-91): Jesus Luzardo had a 6.87 ERA in Oakland and is at 6.92 since a trade to the Marlins.
23. Twins (69-87): The Taylor Rogers rumors before the deadline were fun, but he got hurt in late July and won't make it back this year because of the sprained finger. If he shows up at a Giants playoff game he'll be able to pull some pretty good pranks, though.
22. Royals (71-84): Sal Perez is trying to become the first catcher to ever hit 50 homers in a season and also leads the AL with 116 RBI. He has allowed just 18 stolen bases. On a better team, he's crashing the Vlad-Ohtani MVP race.
21. Rockies (71-84): They should go into a full rebuild and hand the baseball operations department over to someone really creative who can try to figure out Coors. It sounds like they won't, which means they're headed for another mediocre year in a loaded division.
20. Angels (74-82): There's nobody under more pressure this offseason than the men in the Angels front office. Joe Maddon, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani have all said in recent days that it's time to win more games in Los Angeles. They need pitching, pitching and then more pitching.
19. Tigers (75-80): Did you know that Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario leads the majors with 42 doubles? Now you do.
18. Mets (73-82): Aside from the Padres, they're the most disappointing team in the NL, but don't blame Javier Baez. He has a .923 OPS since the trade from Chicago. The Mets would be smart to lock him up alongside Francisco Lindor.
17. Indians (76-79): Shout out to Gaucho Shane Bieber, who didn't shut it down after missing more than two months with injury. He returned last week to throw three shutout innings for a team going nowhere.
16. Padres (78-78): They have reshuffled their scouting departments in recent weeks, but that won't be enough. Like Andy Green, Jayce Tingler proved not to be the answer. This loaded roster needs a manager who has a bit more experience. But will A.J. Preller allow it?
15. Phillies (81-75): Soto is charging, but with the Padres tailing off, Bryce Harper enters the final week as the favorite to win NL MVP. He leads the league with a 1.055 OPS and has a .496 OBP and eight homers in September. If the Phillies catch the Braves, Harper is a lock.
14. Reds (81-75): They've fallen out of the playoff race but good for them for rewarding David Bell with a two-year extension. The problems were with the roster and injuries, not in-game management.
13. Mariners (86-70): They have been outscored by 61 runs, which puts them on par with the Marlins and Rockies ... and yet, they can sneak into the AL Wild Card Game with a huge final week.
12. A’s (85-71): A weekend sweep of the Astros temporarily kept them alive, but they have to run the table this week. They visit the Mariners before closing the season with three more at Houston.
11. Braves (83-72): Will Smith makes it interesting, and Braves fans certainly aren't comfortable with him in the ninth, but he leads the majors with 57 games finished and has a career-high 35 saves, one more than he had for the 2019 Giants.
10. Blue Jays (87-69): There will be much bigger shortstop names on the free-agent market this winter, but give us Marcus Semien, who at 31 years old has 43 homers while playing every single game for Toronto. In his last two 162-game seasons, Semien has been worth more than 15 Wins Above Replacement.
9. Red Sox (88-68): They enter the final week with a one-game lead for the final AL postseason spot and should be able to hold it. They finish with series against the last-place Orioles and Nationals.
8. White Sox (88-68): Given how bad their division is, they should have had home field in the AL, but they're limping to October. They're 34-33 since the All-Star break and 11-12 in September.
7. Yankees (89-67): Behind Giancarlo Stanton's 10 RBI, they swept the Red Sox in Boston to move back atop the AL wild-card race. The final week is rough, though: Three in Toronto followed by three at home against the Rays.
6. Cardinals (87-69): They’re the first NL team since the 1951 New York Giants to win 16 straight, but that’s not even what makes them most terrifying as the second wild-card team. They’ll either face the Dodgers or Giants, and Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt have spent most of the last decade terrorizing the two NL West leaders.
5. Astros (91-65): You know, they're doing a pretty good job of putting all that controversy behind them. The Astros are closing in on a division title and are doing it behind Jose Altuve, who was at the center of a lot of the cheating rumors the last couple of years. Altuve has 30 homers and a .837 OPS.
4. Brewers (94-62): They're locked into the No. 2 seed in the NL, but there's still plenty to play for the final week. Right-hander Corbin Burnes is a co-frontrunner for the NL Cy Young Award with Max Scherzer and will get one last chance to make his case against the Dodgers next weekend.
3. Rays (97-59): The AL East might have four 90-win teams and the Rays still managed to wrap it up over the weekend. The AL playoff race will go through The Trop, with Tampa Bay poised to wrap up home field on that side of the bracket.
2. Dodgers (100-56): Imagine being the Dodgers right now. You're going to shoot past 100 wins as expected, and you have a couple of second-half sweeps of a Padres team that was supposed to end your run atop the West. Everything has gone according to plan ... except for the rival Giants sneaking to the top of the race. Must be hard to swallow.
1. Giants (102-54): Sure, the Dodgers remain on their tail, but the bigger concern at the moment is an X-ray. Brandon Belt came out of Sunday’s game after getting hit by a pitch and is hoping for the best. This lineup is remarkably deep, but Belt is the one who has taken it to another level over the past month.