MLB Power Rankings – Which Teams Will Be In The Playoffs … And Which Won’t

Major League Baseball is losing its mind. While the players? Lose their pants and their cool and maybe ten games should any single pitcher remain foolish enough to attempt to brave the mound and one single inning with sticky, foreign, illegal, banned spin rate and grip enhancing stuff anywhere on their person. Highlights? Wild. Max Scherzer? Livid. Let’s stick to our scheduled program anyway and power rank the league.

Chaos Ball is the best thing to happen to the Seattle sports universe since the first great legendary season of the Legion of Boom. 

Top Tier: Teams that, without question, deserve a spot in the playoffs.

1. Houston Astros: Absolutely no one is watching the best team in baseball redirect their early slump season onto a blistering pace for one hundred wins or more. This team is staggeringly underrated. They are smoking pitches. They might wind up hitting for a team batting average of .300 plus. Nine straight wins gave Houston the AL West division lead.

2. San Francisco Giants: Even though the laudatory praise has turned into a national storyline among baseball media circles. There was also always a sneaking never-ending suspicion that this was a run on par with what the Kansas City Royals had through the first forty games of the season. I distinctly remember conspiring with myself in comparing these current Giant Steps to what the Rockies did through forty games last season, what the Mariners did through twenty games two seasons ago. But remarkably, I’m wrong. This one is real. This team looks like they’ll take the NL West division win over of all powerhouse teams – can you believe it? – Dodgers and Padres. The Giants have the best record in baseball (47-26).

3. Boston Red Sox: Took them a minute longer than I foresaw. But here they come now. There is a new AL East division leader not called the Tampa Bay Rays. Boston is in front and they look, well, menacing. Bean Town’s best are third in runs (371), third in batting average (.258), and third in slugging percentage (.441).

4. San Diego Padres: Maybe they read what I wrote about them last week. Just kidding. Unless…No. But the Slam Diego Godres are back on their ish again. Six straight wins. Against great teams too, four big W’s swiped from the Big Red Machine, plus two straight taken from the Dodgers. And they still have the best ERA in baseball (3.10).

5. Los Angeles Dodgers: Seems insane that this team might miss the playoffs. Yet it’s possible. They still have many games left against two of the best NL teams, though for entirely different reasons, we’ve seen in years, Padres and Giants. As of this moment, however, the Dave Roberts led team is first in Quality Starts (43), first in batting average against (.211), second in WHIP (1.11), and third in ERA (3.27).

6. Seattle Mariners: Baseball Gods, have mercy on me! The astonishing beauty of the Power Rankings is that it shows us the best of the last week. That’s it. Or at least, that’s all it should do. That’s all it was until the corruption of desperate sports news television set in way out in Connecticut. I have so many great reasons to launch a madman’s sports writing insurgency against ESPN. But one fact shows me I don’t need to supply the rest right now. This: no matter what ESPN does on behalf of – while enraging anyone and everyone that does not support a top ten payroll team in a big market – producing for fans their own power rankings. The power rankings we die-hards know, and trust, and will always believe best, the lists that ring true, are the kind that when read reflect what actually happens, what’s actually going on, what actually transpires right now, and only right now because power rankings are entirely subjective and void of logic and of the moment. It’s all about what’s in the moment. ESPN is never on the pulse anymore. They are as partisan and flawed as the rest of the damnable and only in-name true cable news juggernauts. Momentum does not know logic exists. The up-to-date power rankings should not reflect much beyond some of what we remember from earlier this season. They should show us this week and today. After the Houston Astros – as of the Wednesday morning I wrote this – there is no hotter team in baseball than the Seattle Mariners. In case you were under a rock this week, the Mariners delivered the previously best team in baseball, AL East division leaders, and defending AL champions, Tampa Bays Rays their actual worst losing streak in literal years – and in swaggering style too. As I said before, Chaos Ball is the best thing to happen to Seattle Sports since the first great season of the Legion of Boom. The Mariners clobbered Grand Slams on back-to-back days for wins over the Rays. And the hardest-hit ball this season by any Mariners player was J.P. Crawford’s 109.8 MPH frozen rope grand slam into the right-field bleachers Saturday Night. Crawford has the best batting average from the leadoff position this season in all of baseball. This man is making a case for AL MVP against a man who has a true chance at the first AL Triple Crown since Miguel Cabrera way back at the begging of this decade, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. And I mean it, not only is Crawford an All-Star, but the best athlete in Seattle – think about it for a second and remember how Dangeruss can’t hit a big-league fastball because it’s the hardest thing to do in all sports, and you’ll see I’m not wrong – actually has a shot at the AL MVP if he maintains this type of showmanship. He is The Show at the highest level of baseball which is The Show in big league parlance. And speaking of showmanship, my word – man! Shed Long Jr. with the walk-off highlight of the season, the fourth win in a four-game sweep of the defending AL Champions for the team that now leads all of baseball in wins earned during their last at-bat, Seattle has 14. Chaos Ball is the best thing to happen to Seattle Sports since the first great season of the Legion of Boom. I’ll repeat it until I pass out. Dave Simms shouting, “Bada-Bing-Bada-Boom!” And Shed Long Jr. followed up his slam with another bomb for another late innings win Tuesday night. The Mariners have won five straight games. And the Mariners have also won 8 out of their last 9 games. This is finally fun again. The first time Mariners baseball has been real, true fun since 2001. One more time: Chaos Ball is the best thing to happen to Seattle Sports since the first great season of the Legion of Boom.

Second Tier: Teams that most likely will deserve a shot at the playoffs sometime this or next week.

7. Oakland Athletics: You cannot both lose the AL West division lead and lose three out of four if you’re playing the worst Yankees team this decade and the Texas Rangers in those games in question and remain anywhere near the top tier of these power rankings. 

8. Tampa Bay Rays: They’ve lost seven in a row and I could not be more ecstatic. Now watch them finish behind the Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays. Sounds ludicrous. Then again, sounds astute. Check back with me this time next week, and the week after and after the All-Star break. I’m sure I’ll have something fresh to say even if it’s the same thing again.

9. Chicago White Sox: Same beef with this squad that I have with the Rays. They were swept by an AL West super squad, though it was the Astros. However, sticking with the theme – starting Friday, they play the next hottest team in baseball, the Seattle Mariners. Doesn’t look so good for the Southsiders. 

10. New York Mets: Their defending Home Run Derby champion, first-baseman Pete Alonso announced he would participate in this year’s explosive warm-up for the main event in Denver. And this year’s All-Star game should have some serious pop one full mile above sea level. 

11. Cleveland Indians: We knew their starting pitching was the reason they were constantly within striking distance of the AL Central division-leading White Sox. Now with the major league leader in Wins, Aaron Civale (10) expected to miss time away, they might drop closer to their division rivals Kansas City’s level – five games under five hundred – if they’re not careful.

12. Milwaukee Brewers: They have the worst batting average in baseball right now (.212) and yet they lead the NL Central. Maybe not for long.

13. Chicago Cubs: My primary beef with this team was their lack of strong statistical punch. Perhaps they’re turning the corner in some areas though. They’re twelfth in batting average against (.230), and ERA (3.75). And now they’re eleventh in slugging percentage (.402).

14. Cincinnati Reds: They looked amazing for a while there. But a four-game sweep at the hands of the Slam Diego Godres will devastate a team in ways no one of us can nor will know unless they’ve been through it already once. The Mariners know this specific type of pain too. M’s starting pitcher Chris Flexen said it best, describing what happened amidst a drubbing he will never forget, and it’s exactly what happened to the Cincinnati pitching staff as well, “I threw a lot of horse-s&%$ pitches…” And the Godres, “did what they were supposed to do with them.” The Reds also lost to the Twins Tuesday.

15. Toronto Blue Jays: Many summers ago Derek Jeter said he wanted to sit out the All-Star Game. Everyone lost their minds. I imagine that some if not all of the Blue Jay faithful screamed when they learned Vladimir Guerrero Jr. said he was going to sit out this year’s Home Run Derby. Seems like he’s passing up on something special for no good reason. I empathize with the frustration.

Third Tier: Teams that don’t belong in the post-season conversation this week but will emerge as contenders after the All-Star break.

16. Los Angeles Angels: Shohei Ohtani was the first power-hitting star to announce his participation in the Home Run Derby. Good for him. Soon to be competitor, Mets first baseman, Pete Alonso said Ohtani is a real threat and has a real shot to win the competition because Alonso thinks Ohtani has, “Stupid juice.” Stupidest pitcher since Babe Ruth.

17. New York Yankees: Guess what? They’re not very good. Four games over five hundred but a negative run differential. This is a team that was built for home runs in a home run ballpark. And it’s not working. Who do we blame? They lost to the Royals at home Tuesday.

Fourth Tier: For many reasons, I don’t see any of these teams making the playoffs this season with all the available information I have this week.

18. St. Louis Cardinals
19. Atlanta Braves
20. Philadelphia Phillies
21. Minnesota Twins
22. Washington Nationals
23. Kansas City Royals 
24. Miami Marlins
25. Detroit Tigers
26. Pittsburgh Pirates
27. Texas Rangers 
28. Miami Marlins
29. Baltimore Orioles
30. Arizona Diamondbacks

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About Jackson Pappin 51 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