MLB Power Rankings: Week 18

·16 min read

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Welcome to the NBC Sports EDGE MLB Power Rankings, a weekly feature that will run every Tuesday through the end of the 2022 regular season. These rankings are not fantasy-driven in any way, though I do tend to sprinkle in fantasy-relevant nuggets here and there. Who's hot, who's not, who to watch -- that sort of thing. Send any and all complaints to me on Twitter: @drewsilv.

Please believe me when I tell you that I do not hate your team.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 75-33
Last Week: 2

Holding down the No. 1 spot for yet another week, the Dodgers ran their winning streak to eight with a three-game weekend sweep of the division-rival Padres and have extended their lead on first place in the National League West to a full 16 games. They are averaging 5.3 runs per game this year and also carry the best combined team ERA in the majors at 2.87. The only team since 1913 to finish a season scoring at least five runs per game with an ERA below 3.00 was the 1942 Yankees.

2. New York Mets
Record: 71-39
Last Week: 3

Having won 11 of their last 13 games, including four of five against the Braves, the Mets are threatening to run away with the NL East crown. The last three days have served as a pitching clinic in Queens, with Max Scherzer tallying 11 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings on Saturday, Jacob deGrom turning in 12 strikeouts over 5 2/3 frames on Sunday, and Chris Bassitt yielding just one unearned run across eight innings on Monday. Nobody is going to want to face this team come October.

3. New York Yankees
Record: 71-39
Last Week: 2

Aaron Judge hit his 44th home run and Andrew Benintendi delivered two doubles as the Yankees earned a 9-4 win in Seattle on Monday to snap a five-game losing streak. But there probably wasn't a whole lot of celebrating in the clubhouse afterward, as Matt Carpenter suffered a left foot fracture when he fouled a Logan Gilbert slider into his cleat in the top of the first inning. Given where we are on the baseball calendar, the veteran slugger could very well be done for the season.

4. Houston Astros
Record: 70-40
Last Week: 4

Their bats fell quiet over the final two games of a four-game weekend set in Cleveland, but the Astros remain in comfortable position at 11 1/2 games up over the Mariners for first place in the American League West standings. Trey Mancini has already delivered three home runs with seven RBI in six games played since being acquired from the Orioles ahead of the August 2 trade deadline. He belted his first career grand slam on Friday night against the Guardians, part of a 9-3 victory.

5. Atlanta Braves
Record: 64-46
Last Week: 5

It was a rough weekend for the Braves, who dropped four of five to the division-rival Mets and now sit a full seven games back of New York for first place in the NL East standings. Charlie Morton will try to help turn things around as he toes the slab in Tuesday's series opener at Fenway Park. The veteran right-hander worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts last Wednesday against the Phillies and boasts a 2.40 ERA over his last nine starts (56 1/3 innings) dating back to June 17.

6. Toronto Blue Jays
Record: 60-49
Last Week: 6

Kevin Gausman just earned AL Player of the Week for the first time in his career after spinning 14 scoreless frames with 15 strikeouts and only one walk between his August 2 start on the road versus the Rays and his August 7 assignment at Target Field in Minnesota. Gausman has been a stabilizing force for the Blue Jays' rotation all season long, boasting an overall 2.91 ERA and 137/20 K/BB ratio in 21 starts covering 117 2/3 innings. Next up for him is a home matchup against the Guardians.

7. San Diego Padres
Record: 61-51
Last Week: 9

Despite adding Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Brandon Drury, and Josh Hader in the leadup to the August 2 trade deadline, the Padres suddenly find themselves on a season-worst five-game losing streak. They were swept by the Dodgers over the weekend in Los Angeles and got shut out by the visiting Giants on Monday night at Petco Park. The return of Fernando Tatis Jr. (wrist) can't come soon enough. He is expected to move his rehab assignment to Triple-A El Paso sometime this week.

8. St. Louis Cardinals
Record: 60-48
Last Week: 13

Nolan Arenado was just named NL Player of the Week after going 10-for-21 (.476) with three home runs, two doubles, eight RBI, and eight runs scored in a span of six games against the Cubs and Yankees. St. Louis won all six of those games and will bring a season-best seven-game winning streak into Coors Field on Tuesday. Deadline acquisitions Jordan Montgomery and José Quintana have fit right in and the Cards are currently two games up on first place in the NL Central.

9. Philadelphia Phillies
Record: 60-48
Last Week: 10

After predictably dismantling the Nationals over the weekend, the Phillies have won 10 of their last 11 games and are 12 games above the .500 mark for the first time since August 20, 2018. They are 38-19 since firing Joe Girardi at the beginning of June and installing Rob Thomson as interim manager. And they have accomplished a lot of this without Bryce Harper, who went down with a fractured left thumb on June 25. Harper is said to be aiming to return in the early part of September.

10. Seattle Mariners
Record: 59-52
Last Week: 8

Julio Rodriguez is eligible to come off the injured list on Wednesday, but Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters Monday that the rookie outfielder is still “feeling it a little bit on the vibration” in his injured right wrist when he tries to take live batting practice. Which suggests that this IL stint will carry over into the weekend, and perhaps even through the weekend. Rodriguez, 21, is sitting on an .816 OPS with 18 home runs and 21 stolen bases through his first 96 major league games.

11. Milwaukee Brewers
Record: 58-50
Last Week: 7

Maybe already rethinking the Josh Hader trade, and their overall deadline approach, the Brewers have lost six of their last seven games while getting leapfrogged by the Cardinals in the two-team NL Central race. The new-look bullpen has struggled, and the lineup could still use a little more thump. Also of concern is that Freddy Peralta didn't seem quite right in his first start back from a right shoulder strain. A better showing from him Wednesday versus the Rays would ease some of the pain.

12. Minnesota Twins
Record: 57-51
Last Week: 11

Minnesota's front office did exactly what it needed to do at the trade deadline, plugging a hole in the rotation with Tyler Mahle and shoring up the bullpen mix with the additions of Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer. And yet it still feels like the three-time race for the AL Central title might come down to the final week of the regular season. As of Tuesday afternoon, the first-place Twins are only one game up on the second-place Guardians and two games ahead of the third-place White Sox.

13. Tampa Bay Rays
Record: 58-50
Last Week: 12

Tampa Bay won three of four this past weekend in Detroit, but there has to be at least some measure of concern that Shane McClanahan was on the mound for the lone loss. At one point the betting favorite for the 2022 AL Cy Young Award, McClanahan has allowed nine earned runs over his last 10 2/3 innings, with his season ERA rising from 1.76 to 2.24 in the span of just two outings. Justin Verlander is the current AL Cy Young frontrunner at -154. McClanahan's odds have climbed to +700.

14. Cleveland Guardians
Record: 56-52
Last Week: 14

It's mind-boggling that the Guardians opted to mostly sit out of the 2022 trade deadline given where they were -- and still are -- in the AL Central and Wild Card standings. All they really did was trade Sandy Leon to the Twins for minor league reliever Ian Hamilton, and Leon has since gone 3-for-7 with two doubles, three RBI, and two walks in three games played for Minnesota. Franmil Reyes is now on the Cubs, but that was a waiver claim. Cleveland designated him for assignment on Saturday.

15. Chicago White Sox
Record: 55-53
Last Week: 15

Aiming to stage a second-half push with better health up and down the depth chart, the White Sox have not lost a series since the first week of July. Their lineup last Thursday against the A's was the first this year to feature Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson, Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, and Yasmani Grandal all active and starting together. Lucas Gilioto and Lance Lynn both appear sharper, and Dylan Cease has worked 13 straight starts with one or zero earned runs allowed.

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16. Baltimore Orioles
Record: 57-52
Last Week: 18

With a 6-1 record so far in August, the Orioles find themselves five games above the .500 mark and just one game back of the third AL Wild Card spot. New closer Felix Bautista strutted his stuff in Monday night's 7-4 defeat of the division-rival Blue Jays, nailing down a four-out save against the heart of Toronto's order. The hard-throwing 27-year-old righty has registered a brilliant 1.72 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, and 63/15 K/BB ratio across his first 47 major league innings this season with Baltimore.

17. San Francisco Giants
Record: 54-55
Last Week: 16

That shutout win over the Padres on Monday had to feel pretty good for the Giants, who declined to sell at the trade deadline last week and have begun to get a number of key offensive players off the injured list. But they are still under .500 for the season and currently sit 5 1/2 games back of the crowded hunt for the third NL Wild Card spot. They are a whopping 21 1/2 games behind the arch-rival Dodgers for first place in the National League West. The playoffs are likely out of reach.

18. Boston Red Sox
Record: 54-56
Last Week: 17

At the very bottom of the AL East and still sinking, the Red Sox lost three of four to the Royals this weekend and are just 9-21 over their last 30 games dating back to July 4. They've fallen 4 1/2 games back of the third AL Wild Card spot and may wish they had taken a more focused and aggressive approach to the trade deadline, especially in light of Chris Sale's latest injury. A fascinating offseason awaits, with Xander Bogaerts preparing to opt out and Rafael Devers needing a long-term deal.

19. Miami Marlins
Record: 49-59
Last Week: 19

Easily-foreseeable offensive struggles continue to plague the Marlins, but Jesus Luzardo should offer a reason to tune in at times down the stretch. After missing nearly three months of action between mid-May and early August due to a left forearm strain, the 24-year-old southpaw yielded just one hit over seven shutout innings in a 3-0 win over the Cubs on Sunday and has worked to an overall 3.29 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 52/17 K/BB ratio in 41 innings (eight starts) when healthy this season.

20. Texas Rangers
Record: 48-60
Last Week: 20

Adolís Garcia was on the list of potential busts for every fantasy analyst this spring. And while he's still certainly a flawed player in some ways -- see the .287 career OBP -- Garcia has brought the thunder across the areas that matter in five-category leagues. He drove in five runs on Saturday as part of an 8-0 rout of the White Sox and is up to 70 RBI, 18 home runs, 15 stolen bases, and 58 runs scored through 104 games played this season. The 29-year-old outfielder looks like a keeper.

21. Arizona Diamondbacks
Record: 49-59
Last Week: 22

Zac Gallen, Joe Mantiply, and Ian Kennedy combined on a three-hit shutout of the Pirates on Monday as the Diamondbacks small-balled their way to a 3-0 victory. Gallen carries an impressive 3.12 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 114/34 K/BB ratio through 118 1/3 innings (21 starts) this season, and he's gone 7-2 for a D-backs team that is 10 games under the .500 mark. The 27-year-old right-hander is on track to set a new career high for innings pitched in a season this weekend at Colorado.

22. Colorado Rockies
Record: 48-63
Last Week: 21

With the Cardinals rolling into town for a three-game series that will get underway on Tuesday, it might be a good time to review the Rockies' return in the Nolan Arenado trade from the winter of 2021. Elehuris Montero is up and just enjoyed a nice week, but Austin Gomber has a 5.64 ERA in a swingman role, Mateo Gil holds a rough .194/.257/.358 batting line in High-A Ball, and Tony Locey and Jake Sommers are both showing ERAs above 5.20 in the lower minor leagues. Review complete.

23. Los Angeles Angels
Record: 46-63
Last Week: 23

Featuring a new hybrid changeup, Jose Suarez racked up eight strikeouts over seven scoreless innings in the Angels' 1-0 win over the Athletics on Monday night in Oakland. Suarez has now gone 18 innings without surrendering an earned run, lowering his season ERA from 5.60 to 4.02 in the process. The 24-year-old left-hander is essentially auditioning for a spot in the Opening Day rotation in 2023, and he has nailed the role thus far. He's tallied 61 strikeouts in 62 1/3 total innings on the year.

24. Chicago Cubs
Record: 44-64
Last Week: 24

Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer announced Monday that Jason Heyward will not back for the 2023 season even though he is owed a $22 million salary in the final year of that eight-year, $184 million free agent contract he signed with Chicago back in December 2015. Heyward is also done for the remainder of 2022 because of a knee injury, so this chapter of his career is fully closed. He ultimately hit just .245/.323/.377 in 744 regular-season games for the Northsiders.

25. Pittsburgh Pirates
Record: 44-65
Last Week: 26

Playing the role of spoiler in the two-team National League Central race, the Pirates began last week's slate with a three-game sweep of the Brewers before dropping two of three to the Orioles and then falling 3-0 on Monday night against the Diamondbacks. They have three more games versus second-place Milwaukee and nine more meetings with the first-place Cardinals. José Quintana could factor into all of this. He was terrific in his debut for St. Louis last Thursday against the Cubs.

26. Cincinnati Reds
Record: 44-64
Last Week: 27

Credit where it's due, the Reds have basically played .500 ball since their historically-awful 3-22 start to the season. They took two of three from the Brewers over the weekend and are 6-1-1 across their last eight series. Justin Dunn got roughed up by the Mets in his season debut on Monday, but it's encouraging that he is healthy and back pitching at the MLB level after battling through a serious shoulder injury. Dunn was acquired from the Mariners in March as part of the Jesse Winker trade.

27. Detroit Tigers
Record: 43-67
Last Week: 25

Miguel Cabrera casually hinted last Thursday that he was unsure what his status would be in 2023, but he came back over the top on Sunday -- probably after a chat with his agent -- and fully committed to returning to the Tigers for what is the final guaranteed year of an eight-year, $240 million deal. Cabrera has been in and out of the lineup as of late due to a balky knee and is expected to get regular days off down the stretch, but Miggy milestone watch will continue for at least one more season.

28. Kansas City Royals
Record: 44-65
Last Week: 28

Unthinkable just a few weeks ago, maybe Bobby Witt Jr. really can make a late charge at AL Rookie of the Year. Julio Rodriguez remains on the injured list with lingering discomfort in his right wrist, and Jeremy Pena has hit just .206/.233/.373 over his last 133 plate appearances going back to the end of June. Witt, meanwhile, is batting .333 with an .855 OPS in his last 97 plate appearances and is up to 15 homers, 56 RBI, 21 steals, and 54 runs scored through his first 98 big league games.

29. Oakland Athletics
Record: 41-69
Last Week: 29

They had a little something going toward the end of July, but the Athletics got shut out by the Angels on Monday night and have lost six of their last eight games. As of Tuesday afternoon, they have the worst combined batting average (.215) of all 30 major league teams and rank second-worst in combined team OPS (.622) -- ahead of only the Tigers. This is shaping up as a 100-loss season, after the 2021 club finished with a respectable record of 86-76. Shame on Oakland's ownership.

30. Washington Nationals
Record: 36-75
Last Week: 30

It's getting to the point where the Nats might have to seriously consider releasing Patrick Corbin and eating the astronomical $35.4 million salary that he is owed in 2023. The 33-year-old left-hander has failed to make it past the first inning in two of his last three starts and he holds a brutal 7.02 ERA and 1.82 WHIP through 110 1/3 total frames (21 starts) this season. He is 15-39 with a 5.89 ERA since the beginning of the 2020 campaign. Thank him for 2019 and send him on his way.