MLB Power Rankings: Dodgers, Astros holding strong as MLB’s best

By Ben Verlander
FOX Sports MLB Analyst

The MLB playoff race is starting to shape up as we march toward September.

August is probably the toughest time of the season to win on a consistent basis. The All-Star Game has come and gone, teams have played more than 100 games, and the playoff stretch hasn’t quite begun. 

Often, teams will start coasting in the month of August. This year, some of the game’s elites have been doing just that, while others have taken full advantage and put themselves in great position.

MLB Power Rankings: Astros and Dodgers stay on top

Ben Verlander’s latest MLB Power Rankings feature Mookie Betts and the Los Angeles Dodgers at No. 1, with the Houston Astros close behind.

Watch “Flippin’ Bats with Ben Verlander” on YouTube, or subscribe on podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts.

Here’s this week’s MLB Top 10.

10. Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays are 12-4 in their past 16 games. All season, they have quietly been hanging around without the big superstars of many of their competitors. And the past couple of weeks, the Rays have turned it up a notch and propelled themselves into the middle of the playoff picture.

9. San Diego Padres

The Padres’ acquisitions at the trade deadline haven’t exactly been firing on all cylinders lately. Since joining the team, reliever Josh Hader has an ERA of 25.52. Juan Soto has been much better, reaching base in 19 of his 20 games as a Padre entering Sunday. This squad has the makings of a playoff team; now it’s time to play like it.

8. Seattle Mariners

These Mariners are a fascinating team. They match up with anybody, they play great defense, and their offense is good enough to get the job done. The Mariners are poised to end the longest playoff drought in the major American professional sports.

Ichiro Suzuki gets inducted into Seattle Mariners’ HOF

Ben Verlander talks about the Mariners’ latest Hall of Fame induction, with Ichiro Suzuki becoming the 10th member after his incredible career in Seattle.

7. Philadelphia Phillies

Since the beginning of June, the Phillies are 51-26, the third-best record in baseball in that stretch. They’ve been playing great and just added back reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper, who had been out for a couple of months due to a broken hand.

6. St. Louis Cardinals

Entering Sunday, the Cardinals are 11-3 in their past 14 games. Jordan Montgomery has been a star since St. Louis acquired him in a last-second deal at the trade deadline. In four starts with his new team, Montgomery has gone 4-0 with a 0.35 ERA. The Cardinals needed pitching at the deadline, and the moves they made have paid off in a big way.

5. New York Yankees

In the Yankees’ first 29 games after the All-Star break, they went 9-20. Lately, however, they’ve been getting back to their winning ways, taking five of their past seven games. They might not be as good as they looked the first couple of months of the season, but they also aren’t as bad as they looked after the All-Star break. The Yankees remain one of baseball’s elite teams.

Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols home run watch

Ben Verlander looks at the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who is back on pace to break the Yankees’ single-season home-run record, and Albert Pujols, who is seven home runs away from the 700 club.

4. Atlanta Braves 

Since June 1, the Braves are an MLB-best 56-22. That’s in large part due to their rookies, Michael Harris II and Spencer Strider, who have made a huge impact and are responsible for turning Atlanta’s season around.

3. New York Mets 

With Jacob DeGrom and Max Scherzer finally both healthy and in the rotation, the Mets have been flexing their muscles atop the NL East. This season, they’re 43-19 against their division, which is a big reason they’ve been able to fend off the surging Braves.

Ben Verlander’s Dream Rotation

Ben Verlander gives us his current dream rotation, including the Astros’ Justin Verlander, Mets’ Jacob deGrom, Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, Yankees’ Gerrit Cole and Brewers’ Corbin Burnes.

2. Houston Astros 

The Astros are the only team in MLB with a bullpen ERA under 3.00, and that’s a huge reason for their success this season. Houston’s pitching overall has been phenomenal and will be the reason the team winds up with a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers 

The Dodgers (88-38) are on pace to win a franchise-record 113 games, which would be the fourth-most wins in a season in MLB history and most since the Mariners’ MLB record of 116 in 2001. 

The Dodgers are elite in every facet of the game, but there are a few concerns arising with their pitching staff, with Walker Buehler undergoing Tommy John surgery and Tony Gonsolin hitting the injured list during a fantastic season. Still, the Dodgers’ elite offense is more than capable of carrying the team and has been doing just that lately.

Here’s to another great week of Major League Baseball!

Ben Verlander is an MLB Analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the “Flippin’ Bats” podcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2013. He spent five years in the Tigers organization. Follow him on Twitter @BenVerlander.

Get more from Major League Baseball Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more.

Source link