MLB Power Rankings: Who’s No. 1 in the final week of the regular season?

All these weeks, all these games, all these rankings — and here we are.

It’s the final week of the regular season, and also the final week of our MLB Power Rankings. With the postseason scheduled to begin in eight days, a lot of what matters in the standings has been figured out. Divisions clinched, wild-card teams positioned and a just a few questions remain.

Those aren’t the same goals as the goals here in the Power Rankings. Each week, I try to tell you who is the best team in baseball and who is next up, and so on. So the final week feels like our season finale. It’s all been leading up to this. Well, at least until the October games start.

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So, without further ado, here’s how I see all 30 teams in MLB this week — and which one is my choice for the best team in baseball as we head into October.

The Astros clinched the AL West title on Sunday. (Photo by Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The Astros clinched the AL West title on Sunday. (Photo by Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

THE CONTENDERS

1. Houston Astros (102-54; last week: 1)

Putting the numbers aside for a second, I looked at this week and distilled the No. 1 spot into: “Which team would I least want to face in the postseason?” It’s Houston, no question. They’ve got the best unit of three starting pitchers (they rank fourth in team ERA). The lineup is boomin’ (third in runs scored, top in OPS). They have issues because every team does, but they’re the most complete right now.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers (100-56; last week: 2)

By and large, the Dodgers were the best team in baseball for most of 2019, but how good are they now? They got another encouraging start off Cy Young candidate Hyun-Jin Ryu. Their offense is capable. Their bullpen will make you cross your fingers sometimes, but this team remains the best of the recent bunch of Dodgers World Series chasers.

3. New York Yankees (102-55; last week: 3)

The Yankees just can’t seem to get everything going in the right direction, even in the most crucial time. Luis Severino and Giancarlo Stanton are back, and those are huge factors for October, but they’re most likely without Domingo German for the postseason amid MLB’s domestic violence investigation. Sure, they can beat the Astros in a short series, but with their question marks, they wouldn’t be the favorite.

4. Atlanta Braves (96-61; last week: 4)

The Braves in the second half? 42-24. The Dodgers in the second half? 40-24. Atlanta is eyeing that upset, which would lead to a World Series trip, and that stat has to make them feel good.

5. Minnesota Twins (96-60; last week: 5)

The question with the Twins is the same one we’ve been asking since April: Can the pitching hold up? They score runs and hit homers with the best of them, but their team ERA ranks 10th. Their best bet is getting into an October slugfest with the Yankees.

6. Oakland A’s (94-62; last week: 6)

The A’s will finish close to 100 wins again, with a small payroll, no household names and with a starting rotation that nobody outside of the Bay Area can probably even name. They’re the most overlooked team in baseball and have the talent to surprise someone in October. Here’s an impressive stat: They’ve only lost consecutive games twice since Aug. 1.

7. St. Louis Cardinals (89-67; last week: 9)

After an up-and-down year, the Cardinals are finishing in the right direction. They sent a message by sweeping the Cubs at Wrigley. And that message is that the NL isn’t just purely a Braves-Dodgers race to the World Series.

8. Milwaukee Brewers (86-70; last week: 12)

The Brewers, after months of being .500ish, are 17-4 in September. There’s something to be said about getting hot at the right time. The Brewers are doing it, even without their MVP, Christian Yelich. Incredibly, they’ve only lost twice since his season-ending knee injury.

9. Tampa Bay Rays (92-64; last week: 7)

The Rays have leaned on their pitching all year long and it’s still No. 3 in the league. Other than that, the Rays feel sort of unspectacular these days. They’ve been good all year but not really great. They have the makings of a team that can probably win a wild-card game, but it’s tougher to envision them going on a serious October run.

10. Cleveland Indians (92-64; last week: 10)

The Indians and Rays are very similar — and not just because of the record. Stellar pitching, question marks on offense. That they’re now tangled up for the final AL playoff space should at least be interesting theater.

11. Washington Nationals (85-69; last week: 8)

The Nationals will make the wild-card game barring any last-week disappointment, which is an achievement considering how bad they were at one point this season. In some moments a few weeks ago, I was even talking myself into the Nats as a wild-card team that could take out the entire NL. That’s still a possibility, but they haven’t fared well lately with the Cardinals and Braves.

The Nationals are trying to sew up a wild-card spot. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
The Nationals are trying to sew up a wild-card spot. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

ON LIFE SUPPORT

12. Chicago Cubs (82-74; last week: 11)

13. New York Mets (81-74; last week: 13)

14. Arizona Diamondbacks (80-76; last week 15)

15. Philadelphia Phillies (79-75; last week: 14)

These four will all count 2019 as a disappointment for different reasons. The Phillies spent big and didn’t deliver, making them probably the biggest disappointment of the bunch. The D-backs didn’t have high expectations but played good enough to enter the wild-card conversation. The Mets and Cubs didn’t have results that matched their talent. All four teams are technically still alive in the final week, but the highest chance of any of them making the playoffs is the Cubs at 2.6 percent, according to Fangraphs.

TRY AGAIN NEXT YEAR

16. Boston Red Sox (81-74; last week: 16)

17. Texas Rangers (75-81; last week: 17)

18. San Francisco Giants (75-81; last week: 18)

20. Cincinnati Reds (73-83; last week: 20)

19. Los Angeles Angels (70-86; last week: 19)

21. San Diego Padres (70-86; last week: 21)

22. Colorado Rockies (67-89; last week: 22)

24. Chicago White Sox (68-87; last week: 24)

25. Seattle Mariners (66-90; last week: 25)

23. Pittsburgh Pirates (65-91; last week: 23)

26. Toronto Blue Jays (63-93; last week: 26)

27. Kansas City Royals (57-100; last week: 27)

28. Miami Marlins (54-101; last week: 28)

29. Baltimore Orioles (51-105; last week: 29)

30. Detroit Tigers (46-109; last week: 30)

We officially have four 100-loss teams, with the Royals reaching three-digit losses. It’s only the second time in MLB history four teams have lost so prolifically. If you’re wondering: The Blue Jays have only six games this week, so the worst they could do is 99 losses.

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Mike Oz is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @mikeoz

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