The Braves aren't giving up their top spot anytime soon [MLB Power Rankings]
As the season winds down, there will probably less movement since we pretty much know where teams stand at this point, barring some drastic winning or losing streaks. But still, there are a few teams making moves in one direction or another.
Without further ado, here are your MLB Power Rankings for week 21:
1. Atlanta Braves (84-53) [Last week: 1]
Eric: Andrelton Simmons is having a truly special season defensively. He’s rates +35 runs saved above average at shortstop, and what the eyes see matches what the numbers say.
Pat: This team is still a talented team, and if they can get guys like Brandon Beachy and Jason Heyward back in the playoffs, they could be the favorite.
2. Boston Red Sox (82-57) [LW: 3]
Eric: Clay Buchholz might return soon, and if he’s anywhere close to how good he was to start the year, the Red Sox will have enough important rotation piece for the playoffs.
Pat: 20-year-old Xander Bogaerts is batting .316 in his first 8 games in the majors. This kid has a chance to be a monster someday.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers (82-55) [LW: 4]
Eric: I know all the talk about the Dodgers involves Puig, Kershaw, and Hanley Ramirez, but Juan Uribe has a 102 OPS+ this year. How did that happen?
Pat: Clayton Kershaw has all but locked up the NL Cy Young. If he can pick up a few more wins, he could win another pitching Triple Crown.
4. Detroit Tigers (81-57) [LW: 2]
Eric: At this point, the #1 priority for the Tigers is getting Miguel Cabrera fully healthy for the postseason.
Pat: The Tigers are strong against their own division (38-23 vs the Central), but are a combined 31-29 against teams from the AL East and West. That doesn't bode too well for them in the playoffs, where they'll play the best teams from those divisions.
5. Pittsburgh Pirates (80-57) [LW: 5]
Eric: I didn’t get the chance to make this point last week, but remember when Felix Pie was called up and batted lead-off? What was up with that?
Pat: Congrats to the Pirates. I'm now willing to conceded that they're about to have their first winning season since 1992.
6. St. Louis Cardinals (79-58) [LW: 6]
Eric: Adam Wainwright has gotten bombed two straight outings, both against the Reds. Having not seen either game, I don’t know if it’s a sign going forward or just two off days against the wrong opponent.
Pat: The Cardinals are starting to tail off for a bit, but thanks to their dominance early in the season, it's not the end of the world for them. They'd obviously be much better off if they can win the division.
7. Texas Rangers (79-58) [LW: 8]
Eric: It’s déjà vu for the Rangers. Comfortably in a playoff spot heading into September, but trying to hold off a hot A’s team for the division, and more importantly, to avoid the Wild Card game.
Pat: If the voters can get past Max Scherzer's ridiculous W/L record, Yu Darvish will get quite a few Cy Young votes. As it stands now, however, I'm guessing he'll finish 2nd.
8. Oakland Athletics (79-58) [LW: 10]
Eric: Brett Anderson has been activated after an injury plagued season, with the current intent of shoring up the bullpen.
Pat: The A's are hot again, going 7-1 since last week's power rankings were posted.
9. Cincinnati Reds (77-61) [LW: 9]
Eric: Help me out here. Everyone outside of Cincinnati media and the MLB Tonight studio realizes that a.) Joey Votto is awesome, b.) a lack of RBIs does not diminish Votto’s awesomeness, and c.) Brandon Phillips has so many RBIs because he hits behind Votto. Right? Just say yes for my own sanity.
Pat: Yes, Eric. Yes.
10. Tampa Bay Rays (75-61) [LW: 7]
Eric: The Rays offense turned back into their old crappy ways in getting swept against Oakland. It may have put the AL East all but out of reach of them.
Pat: The Rays have gone 1-7 since last week's power rankings.
11. Baltimore Orioles (73-63) [LW: 12]
Eric: Every time I think the O’s are out of the playoff race, they win a game to pull me back in. Late August/September baseball is stressful.
Pat: The Orioles are definitely right there in the playoff hunt, but they're right behind the light-hitting but pitching-heavy Rays, who are basically the polar opposites of the O's.
12. Cleveland Indians (72-65) [LW: 11]
Eric: In the first half of the season, Cleveland hit .258/.330/.418 as a team. In the second half, they’ve only hit .238/.308/.376.
Pat: The Indians are slipping, and they're working their way out of playoff contention if they keep this up. There are quite a few teams contending in the AL, and the Indians don't have a lot of room to breathe.
13. New York Yankees (73-64) [LW: 13]
Eric: I thought Pie was the strangest thing that happened recently, until Mark Reynolds started at second base during one game last week.
Pat: The Yankees are going to miss the playoffs. And that feels good.
14. Kansas City Royals (71-66) [LW: 14]
Eric: Five games above .500 isn’t that much of an accomplishment, but it would be the Royals first winning season since 2003. Was that worth making the Shields/Myers trade?
Pat: The real question is whether or not Shields over Myers is the reason they're 5 games over .500. But at the end of the day... no, that trade wasn't even remotely worth it.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks (69-67) [LW: 15]
Eric: Their playoff odds are down to 2.2%. The NL playoff field is essentially set.
Pat: As Eric said, the playoffs will basically be the Braves, Dodgers, Cardinals, Pirates and Reds. The only question is which NL Central team will avoid the dreaded one-game playoff. Sorry, D-Backs.
16. Washington Nationals (69-68) [LW: 16]
Eric: They’ve played better recently against a weak schedule in a classic case of too little, too late.
Pat: The Nationals seem to have the talent, and their pitching staff should be great for years to come. They should be back next year.
17. Colorado Rockies (65-74) [LW: 17]
Eric: I honestly have no idea what to say about the Rockies. Cut me some slack, I was at a race all weekend and missed everything in baseball except Friday’s O’s/Yankees game at a bar.
Pat: Carlos Gonzalez will be back off the DL and in the lineup tonight, but that really only matters in fantasy baseball, because the Rockies' season is essentially over.
18. Los Angeles Angels (64-72) [LW: 20]
Eric: Jonah Keri mentioned this first in his power rankings for Grantland, but the Angels are completely devoid of young talent at the major league level except for Mike Trout. That’s a not good sign for their future.
Pat: The Angels are actually kinda hot right now. Too bad it doesn't matter.
19. Seattle Mariners (62-75) [LW: 18]
Eric: Until dumping Michael Morse this week, the M’s had decided at the trade deadline to keep its veterans to maintain respectability. They’ve gone 12-17 since.
Pat: Felix Hernandez would look great in a Red Sox uniform. Ok, maybe I'm trolling.
20. New York Mets (62-74) [LW: 21]
Eric: As depressing as the Matt Harvey injury was, Mets fans can take solace in the fact that Zack Wheeler has looked pretty good after a shaky beginning to his major league career.
Pat: The most depressing thing about Harvey's injury isn't anything to do with this year. He was about to get shut down anyway. The worst part is that next year is likely a complete loss, too.
21. Philadelphia Phillies (63-75) [LW: 23]
Eric: They straight up cut Delmon Young and traded Michael Young. Maybe the front office is slowly coming to terms with the situation.
Pat: It's too bad the front office waited to come to terms with the situation until after they signed Chase Utley to a huge extension.
22. Toronto Blue Jays (63-75) [LW: 24]
Eric: It hasn’t been as good as his 2009, but Adam Lind is hitting .283/.355/.468 this year is a big improvement from every year after that supposed breakout.
Pat: This team is awful. I still can't believe people really thought that a bunch of Marlins castoffs were going to win the toughest division in baseball.
23. San Diego Padres (61-76) [LW: 19]
Eric: The Padres are 24-44 on the road this season. Only the three obviously crappy teams (White Sox, Marlins, and Astros) are worse.
Pat: The Padres have a lousy lineup and a garbage rotation. It's surprising that they're even doing this well, to be honest.
24. San Francisco Giants (61-76) [LW: 22]
Eric: While we look for silver linings into the Giants season, Brandon Belt is starting to blossom, hitting .280/.356/.477, for a 140 OPS+.
Pat: When you look at their roster, it's mind-blowing that they're this bad of a team.
25. Minnesota Twins (60-76) [LW: 25]
Eric: Fourth outfielder at best Alex Presley is the best the Twins could do for Justin Morneau? Morneau’s fallen that far? Ouch.
Pat: The Morneau trade was a bit sad, seeming like the end of an era in Minnesota. That said, there's no place for him on that team anymore. He's in a better place now. And that's the only time you'll ever hear me call Pittsburgh a "better place."
26. Milwaukee Brewers (59-78) [LW: 26]
Eric: Rookie outfielder Khris Davis is doing a good impression of his differently spelled namesake, smacking 8 home runs and slugging .598 in 102 ABs this year.
Pat: Aramis Ramirez is another guy who has done very well lately. He spent a good chunk of the season on the DL, and the Brewers sorely missed his bat.
27. Chicago Cubs (58-79) [LW: 27]
Eric: Starlin Castro continues to have a miserable season, hitting just .242/.282/.344. It’s a big concern for the Cubs given that he was supposed to be a big part of their future.
Pat: The Cubs have a lot of concerns even outside of Castro, but they still just need to work on reloading their farm system for the future.
28. Chicago White Sox (56-80) [LW: 28]
Eric: The White Sox are last in the AL in scoring. Yes, even worse than the Astros.
Pat: Anytime you're worse than the Astros in ANYTHING, really, that's a terrible sign.
29. Miami Marlins (51-85) [LW: 29]
Eric: After Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins leader in OPS is Logan Morrison with .753, which calculates to a 106 OPS+.
Pat: As Eric points out, the Marlins' problem is their lineup. When their 2nd best hitter is essentially around the league average, that's a terrible sign. Especially since Stanton is having an overall subpar year.
30. Houston Astros (45-92) [LW: 30]
Eric: They’re now on pace to go 53-109.
Pat: The Astros are terrible. That is all.
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