Post-Trade Deadline MLB Power Rankings – Who Is The New #1 Team?

Last-minute tectonic talent swaps within the last hours of the MLB Trade Deadline? Check. Titanic all-new All-Star studded rosters assembled on the fly? Check. Blockbuster games and series with lethal flamethrowers and next-generation sluggers flourishing between both past World Series foes and also potential World Series opponents this postseason where not one but many trash cans are hurled onto the field, and at least half a dozen fistfights break out in the stands between Astros and Dodgers fans just days ago at Dodgers Stadium? Check.

Oh, my Baseball Gods – this is something else.

Baseball is unbelievably good right now.

I may honestly believe this is the single most competitive season I’ve ever witnessed. I don’t know who will make the playoffs, nor who the Wild Card favorites are, let alone my World Series favorite. And typically, by this point in the regular season, we all know exactly who those teams are. Still, because everything has been upended – from the sticky stuff scandals to the return of now directly related higher and higher batting averages, our collective and subjective assessments of talent and mettle are constantly fluctuating and deeply unreliable.

Excellent.

Huge, high-stakes, ultra-dramatic games are on the horizon. And now, just one week after the MLB Trade Deadline, let’s power rank the league.

1. San Francisco Giants: My fearless editor and I agreed the Dodgers would take the number one slot in the first week after the trade deadline. And you know what? Nope. No way. We were wrong. The Giants got this number one slot on lock. (At least for now.) Is Brandon Crawford a better power-hitting shortstop than Corey Seager? He’s certainly not more valuable (add in his defensive skills) than Fernando Tatis Jr., is he? Who knows. He leads the Giants in batting average, home runs, and RBI – .288/18/63 – and the Giants lead baseball in home runs – 164. 

2. Houston Astros: This team is just downright mean. And lethal. And tough. And good. They lead baseball in batting average – .266. And yes, they dropped two of three against the Giants. But their game one win of two in Los Angeles was a spectacle of composure. Dodger Stadium was rocking, and they shut out one of the best assemblies of power-hitting since Murderer’s Row. I hate to say, Well done. But I was impressed.

3. Milwaukee Brewers: I’ve underrated this squad the entire season because you and I both know what those crazy spin rate reductions – once the sticky stuff bans and enforcements were announced – implied. And yet, despite all I believed about their stuff, and that extra stuff, and since the bans, the pitching staff for the Brewers have remained elite. They are second in ERA, fourth in Quality Starts, fourth in WHIP, and first in Batting Average Against – 3.33/50/1.17/.213.

4. Chicago White Sox: Speaking of power pitching. The addition of the revamped and reborn and now once again totally deadly Craig Kimbrel to the Sox would perhaps almost exactly resemble the Aroldis Chapman trade the Cubs made to add to an already overpowered bullpen during their World Series-winning campaign – were it not for the fact that everywhere else the actual demolition of the championship-winning Cubs roster was the biggest baseball news story in what has to be the most exhilarating MLB trade deadline of all time. 

5. Los Angeles Dodgers: This ranking will not last another seven days. I know that much. But LA looked not much like, or really not even close, to what their trade deadline swaps and spending was supposed to produce when they faced the Astros. They left many runners on base in the first game and during their late innings opportunities as well. Great teams are supposed to win tough games even when they have bad nights. I expect they’ll prove this factotum true very, very soon.

6. Tampa Bay Rays: Before the end of the season, they’ll most certainly swap the AL East division lead with the Red Sox a half dozen more times. Right now, they have the fourth-best record in baseball. And for whatever reason, they can run the table against the Sox, Jays, and Bronx Bombers, yet they cannot defeat the ultra cagey Seattle Mariners. What gives?

7. Boston Red Sox: Three and seven over their last ten. Yikes. They dropped two of three against the red-hot Detroit Tigers too. Maybe Kyle Schwarber was not the ideal Big Move at the deadline? (It wasn’t.)

Tied at 8. San Diego Padres: Actually seems like they’re falling off. They’ve slipped to ninth in Runs, eighth in batting average, seventh in on-base percentage, and twelfth in slugging percentage. Though in the past, earlier this year, when they won, they won in bunches. Maybe they win something like eighteen of their next twenty.

Tied at 8. Oakland Athletics: Doubling up on vibes, impressions, here now – actually seems like they’re falling off as well. They’ve not once risen above the level of, just, kind of, pretty good, at the plate all year. They’re sixteenth in Runs, twenty-third in batting average, nineteenth in on-base percentage, and fifteenth in slugging percentage. Might dog them down the stretch. Though in the past, earlier this year, when they won, they won in bunches. Maybe they win something like fifteen straight.

10. New York Yankees: The biggest winners at the Trade Deadline not named the Los Angeles Dodgers? The Bronx Bombers. Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo are red hot. And despite multiple starting pitchers landing on the Covid IL, they took seven of their last ten again. Gerrit Cole won’t be in attendance for his own bobblehead night, but the Yankees have a huge series against the Seattle Mariners this weekend. 

11. Toronto Blue Jays: A team that ranks third in hits and third in RBI is not going to stay dormant for long. Great chance they sneak up on the Wild Card spot and perhaps even host the Wild Card game.

12. Seattle Mariners: Where do we even begin? This season, they won six of seven against the best team in the AL East, Tampa Bay Rays. And just this last week, they dropped two games via walk-off home run against the abysmally awful Texas Rangers. They consistently defy the laws of winning baseball. It’s not Moneyball. It’s not outspending the rest of the league. It’s weird. The Seattle Mariners are actually the best team in baseball if I’m forecasting the top of the top three years from now. No question. They’re like a better version of the Tampa Bay Rays now, and with a budget significantly larger than the Rays too. The M’s even have a better fan base, it seems. In their second win against the Rays just this last week, the lineup Scott Servais penned was, and is right now, what a Wild Card lineup would consist of, with maybe a red hot Logan Gilbert slated to start the game instead of Yusei Kikuchi, though that is and this will always be debatable. 

Let’s look at it right now. 

SS – J.P. Crawford – On the verge of winning a second straight Gold Glove and has the best batting average of his career.

RF – Mitch Haniger – On the verge of eclipsing his single season-best mark for home runs, 26. He might even finish with 40 bombs this year.

1B – Ty France – The single best trade deadline acquisition from last season and my favorite Mariners player right now because he’s, according to recent statistics, the best defensive first baseman in baseball, and he’s finally the long-awaited ultra pop kind of Justin Smoak prospect we thought we were getting many moons ago, and now the M’s finally have a great hitting first baseman. 

3B – Kyle Seager – How can you not love this bulldog of a veteran?

2B – Abraham Toro – How can you not love how every single person who mocked the Kendall Graveman trade deadline decision is eating heaping, steaming tons of crow every single night? This guy picks up three hits and four RBI and turns double plays better than Brett Boone. And this man is fluent in three languages. And he’s from Quebec, Canada. And Mariners Twitter is already beginning to call the ultra-competitive combination of Toro and France the “French Connection.”

LF – Jake Fraley – How much better are the M’s when Fraley is in the lineup? The dude is going to finish the year with a .500 on-base percentage.

CF – Jarred Kelenic – Guess who can finally hit the ball like we thought he could before he was called up? And just one tiny adjustment was all it took before the pop kid future King found his stroke. The key? Stand up straight at the plate, instead of leaning over the plate so much, and now suddenly he can spot every single left-hander’s breaking ball from way far away and lay off the stuff off the plate thrown to get him to chase. Just genius. Was it Ichiro whispering in his ear, perhaps?

DH – Luis Torrens – For now, he’s got the spot. But this could change. When he was called back up after being sent down, he was slugging the ball. Yet a couple more 0-5 nights, like his last in Tampa Bay, and someone else will get the lineup spot. He could bounce back.

C – Cal Raleigh – You already know he’s the next Jarred Kelenic. 

This lineup can take six out of seven from the best team in the AL East, Tampa Bay Rays. Now they have a huge test in four games against the revamped Yankees. I like our chances.

13. Cincinnati Reds: Dark horse. Dark horse. Dark Horse. Dark Horse.

14. New York Mets: Huge splash at the trade deadline, middle infielder Javier Baez. Is it enough to compensate for the loss of Jacob deGrom?

(Unorthodox assessment alert!) 

A five-way tie at 15 between these teams: Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels.

All five of these teams have absolute killers on their rosters—multiple All-Stars. On paper, the rosters look amazing. But then you watch them blow late leads and fail to score with runners in scoring position – and then you just have to say it, even though you don’t want to, for whatever reason, “Wow. This team kind of sucks.” And it applies equally to all five of these teams. None of them are going to the playoffs. 

20. Detroit Tigers: Only five games below five hundred. And they just took two of three from the Red Sox. Something strange is happening in the Motor City. Keep an eye out. 

21. Chicago Cubs: They blew it all up, so of course they’re here now.

22. Washington Nationals: I sound like a broken record with all of these symmetrical team assessments strafing this week’s power rankings. But they blew it all up, so of course, they’re here now.

23. Colorado Rockies: Does anyone know the single season worst road record of all time? The Rockies are 13-40 playing away from Coors Field.

24. Kansas City Royals: Anyone out there as surprised as I was that Whit Merrifield wasn’t dealt at the trade deadline?

25. Miami Marlins: Quick! Name one current Marlins player! Oh, you can’t? You’re not alone. 

26. Minnesota Twins: Nelson Cruz will be missed.

27. Pittsburgh Pirates: What if the Heinz family just all of a sudden decided it was time to pseudo-diversify their professional sports team portfolio? 

28. Texas Rangers: They took two straight via two straight walk-off home runs against the Mariners. And it was brutal. I said, to my dog, Titus, right after the second walk-off win for Texas. “It’s like getting stabbed.”

29. Baltimore Orioles: Cedric Mullins will be a huge piece for some team someday if he can finagle a deal to get him out of Baltimore.

30. Arizona Diamondbacks: Only twenty-five more to go before they get to one hundred…losses. So, check back in by the end of August.

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

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*