MLB Power Rankings – Dog Days Of August Done

If anyone nearby or from afar tells you with the utmost sincerity they saw any of the current MLB late-season drama long before what’s actually unfolded over the last month – I’m serious, now – get away from that person instantly because they will also soon describe at least five full fathom fictions for getting rich in the next half hour. No one, nobody, not one baseball writer, analyst, figurehead, pundit, superfan, little league coach – which amounts to exactly zero percent of us – saw this careening closing action coming beforehand. 

And that is also exactly why our current MLB regular season is the best this century. 

Now, as the dog days of August baseball come to a close, preseason football making noise, with September fast approaching; and the extra innings ghost runner rule designed to eliminate marathon midnight games obliterated just last night, this morning in San Diego; I’m thrilled to say I was totally wrong last year when I said the shortened 2020 MLB season was the strangest season we’ve never seen; because it’s what’s happening right now that keeps the spirit of the game alive. 

MLB Power Rankings. Let’s do it.

1. San Francisco Giants: They’re playing like a better or at least more efficient version of last year’s championship-winning Los Angeles Dodgers. They have the best record in baseball (82-44). And they lead baseball in home runs (192) and sit second in ERA (3.25).

2. Los Angeles Dodgers: Man, they look good. And they’ve figured it out just in time. Stellar on both sides of the game too. Third in RBI (632). And they are 9-1 over their last ten games. Second most wins in baseball behind the Giants. They lead baseball in ERA (3.03), and last night they prevented the no matter their current run on woe ultra loaded Padres from getting hits for a whopping four hours straight before Fernando Tatis Jr. homered in the fifteenth inning when Chris Taylor basically Jose Conseco-ed the bomb he tried to rob with his outstretched glove. Kind of insane to think this team might only get a Wild Card spot going into the postseason.

3. New York Yankees: Same story as the Dodgers, in a lot of ways. The Bronx Bombers are vastly more than menacing these days. They’re truly terrifyingly good. And with a lineup that features seven or eight guys who could hypothetically run away with a Home Run Derby Crown – they’re basically a team flush with Goliath archetypes. They’ve won 11 games in a row. 

4. Tampa Bay Rays: The only reason they’re not third on this list is that the Yankees have won 11 games in a row. They’re second in Runs (674) despite being sixteenth in batting average (.239). They lead the AL East. 

5. Milwaukee Brewers: ESPN gives them a 100% chance of making the playoffs. Odds are we’ll see them in the NLCS. Third in ERA (3.36), fourth in quality starts (55), fifth in WHIP (1.18), and second in batting average against (.216). 

6. Houston Astros: I cannot believe I’m about to say this, but the ‘Stros are the dark horse favorites to win the World Series. They lead baseball in batting average (.268), RBI (656), and hits (1,171).

7. Chicago White Sox: While taking three of four from the Athletics recently, they’ve also now lost 5 of their last 7. I’m not too worried. They’re sixth in ERA (3.66) and WHIP (1.19). Plus, they’re fifth in batting average (.252) and OBP (.331). So they will absolutely bounce back in time for the playoffs.

8. Seattle Mariners: If you’re not watching this ridiculously enthralling team play unbelievably exciting games, I cannot help you, and you cannot be saved. They are far and away the best young team not from Toronto. J.P. Crawford is going to win another Gold Glove. East Coast bias and national sports news media obliviousness be dammed. Ty France has been the single best hitter in the American League since the All-Star Break. The bullpen is the best in baseball that no one outside the PNW is talking about. And Kyle Seager has the most home runs in the second half of the season. Manager Scott Servais was asked about his ballclub’s recent successful road trip hot streak. The M’s won 6 of 8 games against Texas, Houston, and Oakland, despite losing the run differential margin by a significant amount. And he said, more or less, that his team wins games because they absolutely destroy other teams when it comes to “Fun Differential.” The M’s begin a four-game set against the Royals Thursday, only 2.5 games back in the Wild Card race. 

9. Oakland Athletics: If you saw the way their atrocious bullpen crumbled against Seattle, then you know this team is not going to the playoffs. They are 2-8 over their last 10 games. 

10. Boston Red Sox: Man, they’ve been bad lately. Taking it on the chin against the Rangers, losing 10-1. Dropping slugfests to the Twins, losing 9-6. And they’re not alone, but it is safe to say they’ve had the only second-half worse than everyone else in baseball, aside from the San Diego Padres. They’ve lost 14 of their last 23 games. At this rate, they might miss the post-season entirely if they continue to regress.

11. Atlanta Braves: This is the kind of thing, the kind of team I’m talking about when I say no one saw this coming. They are just as hot as the Yankees lately. A World Series between the Braves – who almost terminated the Yankees’ winning streak last night – and the Yankees would not surprise me nor be the worst thing in the world. They are now first in the AL East by 5 games. They’ve won 18 of their last 24.

12. Cincinnati Reds: Same sort of out-of-this-world type of winning streak fever as the Braves. The Big Red Machine is firing on all cylinders. This week, they finally overtook the plummeting Padres in the Wild Card standings and now have a game and half lead over San Diego.

13. San Diego Padres: I still have nightmares from the Seattle Mariners games at PetCo Park earlier this season. So it’s now most certainly some kind of inexplicably disorienting and vertiginous ordeal to look at the current MLB standings and notice the Reds and the M’s have a better winning percentage than this team, that is tragically, a shell of its former self.

14. Toronto Blue Jays: Who knows with this team anymore? ESPN gives them an 11.5% shot of snagging a Wild Card spot, but that is way too high if you’ve watched them lately. They’re just completely stacked at the plate, a lot like the Reds. But when they blow leads late and drop big games against other playoff-bound squads, they begin to remind me of the, although it’s another sport, San Diego Chargers team from long ago when the Bolts actually led the entire NFL in points scored and points allowed per game – yet still managed to miss the playoffs. 

15. A lopsided and incongruous yet oddly unified five-way tie between five teams we can almost guarantee will miss the playoffs because they fall under that umbrella wisdom of, “Man, they could have been something special this year. But…” And they are, in order, the (15.1) St. Louis Cardinals, (15.2) Philadelphia Phillies, (15.3) Cleveland Indians, (15.4) Los Angeles Angels, and (15.5) New York Mets.

20. Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera recently became the 28th baseball player to hit 500 home runs in his career. Which is amazing. But then home run 501 traveled at least 423 feet, and far and good enough for the second-longest home run of his season, which is unbelievable, really. Reaction time, slightly slower, but the pop is still alive and well. 

21. Colorado Rockies: 43-22 at Coors Field. 15-47 on the road.

22. Kansas City Royals: They’re actually 7-3 over their last ten games despite a below-average season.

23. Minnesota Twins: Tough to be a fan of any team this far down on the list. Yet Wednesday evening, Miguel Sano smoked a baseball that almost makes up for some of the misery. On Sano’s mammoth 495 foot blast, from the Associated Press, “The third-inning solo homer was the longest at Fenway since Statcast began measuring them in 2015. It left the ballpark high above the 379-foot marker at the centerfield edge of the Green Monster, clearing the 37-foot wall, four rows of counter-height seats, an aisle behind them, and a 6-foot fence behind that.”

24. Chicago Cubs: They completed baseball’s best and most expansive and utterly devastating yard sale at the Trade Deadline, thus signaling the start of the rebuild. But one big question remains. Who will manage the Cubs next season? It can’t be David Ross, again, right?

25. Washington Nationals: It’s kind of wild to think that this team is so far back and off and away from playoff contention while they still rank fourth in batting average (.258) and second in OBP (.333).

26. Miami Marlins: Dead last in the worst division in baseball.

27. Pittsburgh Pirates: They’re last in baseball in quality starts, runs, and slugging percentage. Small market baseball strategy is brutal on every fan base forced by proximity to affiliate and participate.

28. Texas Rangers: They are 30.5 games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West.

29. Arizona Diamondbacks: Left-hander Caleb Smith became the second pitcher ejected this season during a game for using a banned foreign substance after a routine glove, hat, and belt inspection on the field.

30. Baltimore Orioles: Earlier this week, the O’s snapped a 19 game losing streak once Trey Mancini cleansed the clubhouse and the dugout, and the field with sage. Shortly after, Baltimore homered three times against Shohei Ohtani. 

About Jackson Pappin 50 Articles
Jackson Pappin is a freelance writer. A 2018 WSU Edward R. Murrow College of Communication alumni, he writes fiction, journalism, columns, essays and poetry. His work has been published in Anastamos, The Oregonian, The Spokesman Review, The Seattle P.I. Reader Blogs, The Daily Evergreen, The Central Circuit, LandEscapes and at the Spectra Art Gallery. His writing is available at https://jacksonpappin.blogspot.com

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