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MLB Power Rankings: Astros, Dodgers clinch as Padres, Phillies flinch

Fansided 9/19/2022 Tim Boyle
© Provided by Fansided

This week's MLB Power Rankings include a couple of playoff clinches and a few clubs flinching as they barely hold onto a postseason berth.

This is the home stretch. Teams are finding themselves clinching playoff spots as others are on the verge of a wild card spot flinch. This week's MLB Power Rankings offer a late September look into trends around the league, what happened, and what we can expect in these final days of the regular season.

The MLB playoffs are nearing. Every win matters more than ever.

How, in these final weeks of the MLB season, do the 30 teams rank?

30) MLB Power Rankings: Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals are getting familiar with the last-place spot on this list. Once held for weeks by the Cincinnati Reds, there came a point in the 2022 season when the baton was handed off to the Nationals. They ran off with it even further post-trade deadline.

The Nationals are only a few losses away from reaching 100 on the season. After nearly a decade of at least playing competent baseball each year and having a chance, Washington has re-entered their early years before Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. Well, Strasburg is still on the payroll.

29) MLB Power Rankings: Oakland Athletics

MLB should make things interesting and force the Oakland Athletics to play the Nationals in a best of 5 series to determine who gets the first pick in next year's draft. Would anyone even attend or care? If Oakland won, it would only be a matter of time before they traded the draft pick anyway.

One of baseball's messiest organizations right now, the Athletics are crawling to the finish line. They've followed the script perfectly this year. At least they can cause a little heartbreak with upside victories against better teams in the division.

28) MLB Power Rankings: Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates are showing their true colors in these final weeks. Their run differential might just end up worse than whatever the Nationals have at the end of 162 games. Oneil Cruz finding his power swing early on as a rookie this year might be one of the only few bright spots for fans to carry with them into the offseason.

Pittsburgh is in an uncomfortably familiar position. The games matter more for padding statistics than anything else. Sadly, it doesn't seem like the front office will do much to help the club in the winter.

27) MLB Power Rankings: Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers, on the other hand, might have a front office interesting in making a real effort to better the team. Sure, things went terribly wrong for them in 2022. But a young core is already in place and the front office did at least spend money during last winter.

The greatest need for the Tigers is clear: power. Barring some kind of miracle streak of home runs from Javier Baez or Jeimer Candelario in the final weeks, no one on the Tigers will reach 20 home runs. Eric Haase is literally the only hitter with a slugging percentage over .400. The only hope for this team's bats would be to move the fences in another 50 feet.

26) MLB Power Rankings: Kansas City Royals

Let's try to spin the Kansas City Royals in a positive way. Brady Singer looks good. Bobby Witt seems to have potential. Salvador Perez isn't fully cooked. They aren't the Tigers.

Barely ahead of the rival team in Detroit, the Royals are far from perfect and they know it. At least they have been able to score runs this year. Perhaps they'll even come away as winners in the trade deadline moves they did make.

25) MLB Power Rankings: Cincinnati Reds

The coveted No. 25 spot on the MLB Power Rankings belongs to the Cincinnati Reds this week. Why? A flip of the coin against the Royals is the answer. The Reds are equally as bad as Kansas City but they are a bit further ahead in their rebuilding process.

A tie-breaker, if a coin toss is how one would like to decide these things, could always end with a missing quarter or your choice of currency getting lodged on its side. If so, let's give the Reds a great benefit of the doubt for having a better team more recently than the Royals. Fortunately for Cincinnati, this should give fans faith in a quicker turnaround.

24) MLB Power Rankings: Miami Marlins

Sandy Alcantara is probably the only reason why the Miami Marlins aren't quite at the level of some other teams behind them in the MLB Power Rankings. A mostly incompetent ball club that nobody expected to compete this year, we should all prepare ourselves to see them fall within the bottom five by the end of the season.

The Marlins have a lot of work to do. Is it time for a huge change like firing Don Mattingly? Or maybe they should simply become a team that spends money. That second point seems to be the bigger problem. Their prospects aren't good enough to carry them. This is a ball club that's biggest offseason splashes need to be wetter than Avisail Garcia and Jorge Soler.

23) MLB Power Rankings: Colorado Rockies

We need to discredit the Colorado Rockies a little more. Their run differential is getting increasingly bad and that truly is the greatest difference between teams that squeak by with victories and those that are actually decent.

The Rockies' biggest problem is with their pitching staff. There doesn't seem to be any answer in sight. Colorado is a horrific destination for free agent pitchers. With a not-so-outstanding offense as well, they won't even be capable of flipping some bats for arms.

22) MLB Power Rankings: Chicago Cubs

It's pretty important for the Chicago Cubs to have a decent finish. They don't have to rip through their opponents. They just need core members of the roster to perform at a high level and give fans a bit more hope for next year.

The Cubs are fully capable of having a huge offseason and getting back into the playoff picture. The 2023 campaign could be one to push forward. Rather than settle for lesser signings like last offseason's additions of Andrelton Simmons and Jonathan Villar, the Cubs need to soak themselves with the splashes they do create.

21) MLB Power Rankings: Los Angeles Angels

Mike Trout looks unstoppable. Shohei Ohtani is having a masterful season. What else could the Los Angeles Angels possibly ask for?

It's a long list, actually. The Angels haven't gotten much out of the rest of the offseason. Taylor Ward has had a good year and Luis Rengifo looks promising. Even some of the members from the starting pitching staff have earned some trust already this year. Things could be better next year. They could also maybe get much, much worse. Hold your breath!

20) MLB Power Rankings: Texas Rangers

It's the Nathaniel Lowe Show in the Lone Star State. The Texas Rangers first baseman has had an awesome year for them in a season where the Rangers have actually put together some fine offensive numbers as a team.

Unfortunately, it doesn't do them much in the MLB Power Rankings or the standings. This is an empty ball club without the pitching to support their increasingly good offense. Have some faith for next year. This one has been over for months.

19) MLB Power Rankings: Boston Red Sox

It's never a good thing for the Boston Red Sox when it's September and the goal is to simply finish with more wins than losses. Can they do it? It's going to take a better effort as they remain a handful of games under the .500 mark.

Several Red Sox players have had good years with Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers each falling into that category. It will be interesting to see what the front office does in the offseason. The Red Sox look capable of rebounding and competing next year or going through a major overhaul.

18) MLB Power Rankings: Arizona Diamondbacks

For a while, the Arizona Diamondbacks looked like they were going to be a problem for any team on the remainder of their schedule. They've fallen back to reality and the weaknesses they do have are showing.

Many of the Diamondbacks players are inexperienced and that has slowed them down. A roster full of guys in their early 20s will experience some growing pains. For their sake, we can only hope they get a lot of them out of the way in a lost 2022 campaign's final days.

17) MLB Power Rankings: San Francisco Giants

Just barely ahead of the rival Diamondbacks are the San Francisco Giants. We've seen them play much better baseball in the past. With rumors about Aaron Judge possibly signing with them in the offseason already on the minds of fans, some positive news is already hitting this ball club that ironically hasn't hit enough.

The Giants are usually a smart organization willing to make necessary moves to improve the roster. Their problem this year was believing their success in 2021 would carry over. It hasn't and we have ourselves a ball club that overachieved early before realizing the truth: they are good but not playoff good.

16) MLB Power Rankings: Minnesota Twins

Not enough has been made about how badly the Minnesota Twins collapsed. They've been getting beaten up a lot over the last month and a half. Despite some sweet trade deadline moves, they've handed over their lead in the American League Central and no longer appear like they'll participate in the postseason.

Nearly all of the usual culprits are to blame. Injuries, players that were once playing well being reminded of who they are, and some silent days at the plate. The Twins aren't yet dead in the postseason race but seem to be fading too quickly to have enough time to play catch up.

15) MLB Power Rankings: Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles are a lot of fun this year. However, it's hard to rank them much higher right now. The reason is they only have one path to the postseason. It involves the wild card.

Baseball fans hoping for a miracle Orioles story this season will be left disappointed. Baltimore delivered a "too little, too late" performance. The arrow is pointing up, though. Watch for the fun of this year's team to turn into success in 2023.

14) MLB Power Rankings: Chicago White Sox

The Chicago White Sox are barely hanging on. Practically out of the wild card race yet competitors for the American League Central, this is a ball club that has the veterans and young stars capable of making a late push to capture the division title.

Elvis Andrus has been terrific since joining them and is already among the team leaders in WAR. Along with Johnny Cueto, the name of the game for this year's White Sox team is to give guys a chance. If they can sneak into the postseason, the White Sox could be a capable spoiler thanks to their pitching staff led by Dylan Cease.

13) MLB Power Rankings: Milwaukee Brewers

Also just outside of the playoff picture, we have the Milwaukee Brewers. They are in a different position than the White Sox. Their only path is through a wild card berth. They already lost their chance at the National League Central title. They blew it!

The Brewers will need a mix of their own success and one of the next two teams on this list to collapse. It's not impossible. It just might all be for nothing as the Brewers' downward trend for the last several weeks definitely suggests they wouldn't go far in the postseason.

12) MLB Power Rankings: San Diego Padres

The San Diego Padres should definitely be better than their record says. Who do we blame? Their trade deadline acquisitions haven't exactly lifted the offense nearly enough. Even the once talented pitching staff has shown its faults.

The Padres are a team that might still cause trouble in the postseason against any team. Shorten the rotation, put the bats in pressure situations, and maybe they can execute more regularly. Before we get there, they need to clinch. The Brewers are right behind them.

11) MLB Power Rankings: Philadelphia Phillies

Barely ahead of the Padres in this week's MLB Power Rankings are the Philadelphia Phillies. Another team with some great players but not so wonderful results, they have too much in common with the Padres for us to have any more faith in one over the other.

Philadelphia's bullpen woes have continued and appeared a little frequently for the liking of fans. Their offense, while capable at times, isn't as frightening as it can be. When they aren't hitting home runs, the Phillies can go away silently. It's an advantage when things go well. It's a huge weakness when they don't.

10) MLB Power Rankings: Cleveland Guardians

When the Cleveland Guardians first caught the Twins, it looked like there would be a nice pennant race in the American League Central. Instead, they've held their ground. The ultimate underdogs likely to make this year's postseason, the Guardians look disinterested in handing things over.

There's still a long road ahead for a team that, frankly, can probably only hope to play spoiler. Maybe a division title actually convinces the front office to do something and give these players more help.

9) MLB Power Rankings: Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays feel like the weakest of the potential American League Wild Card clubs only because they don't have the same star power. It's still hard to understand how they have managed to be this good for as long as they have in 2022. They aren't fading. They're going to the playoffs.

The Rays may even be able to manipulate their way into getting the best postseason seed possible—whatever that ends up being for them. This is a team to believe in only because explaining what's so great about them is difficult aside from pointing at the win/loss record.

8) MLB Power Rankings: Seattle Mariners

They've marched through the desert since 2001 and can finally see a glass of water in front of them. The Seattle Mariners own the long playoff drought in baseball. It's going to end with a strong ball club that did more than sneak in.

Big hits and even bigger pitching are what can give the Mariners a chance to go deeper into the postseason than some might expect. The American League playoff picture is pretty evenly matched with the exception of one ball club. The Mariners know them well. They're ready to face them in the ALCS.

7) MLB Power Rankings: Toronto Blue Jays

Only a hair ahead of the Mariners we find the Toronto Blue Jays in this week's MLB Power Rankings. When things are this close, the Blue Jays get the extra points for having the superior roster. Everyone expected them to make the postseason while the Mariners weren't so favored at the start of the season.

Despite the Blue Jays underperforming in some ways this year, they also have some big advantages. Securing the top wild card spot is important because it would give them a unique home field advantage based on vaccination status. It might not be fair but it's something every postseason team will have to face if the Blue Jays are the opponent.

6) MLB Power Rankings: St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals didn't fall in this week's MLB Power Rankings; other teams just passed them. The Cardinals haven't looked as unstoppable as they did earlier this month. Baseball's most immovable playoff team with the third spot in the National League East secure, the only concern is that it gets to their head.

What should scare teams about the Cardinals most is that they are getting gets healthy. The Albert Pujols chase to 700 home runs has hardly been a distraction because each dinger adds to their win total. They might be the fourth team in the National League in the eyes of many yet they wield a ton of power.

5) MLB Power Rankings: New York Yankees

The New York Yankees get awarded the No. 5 spot this week because they've stabilized themselves. There is plenty to worry about being able to manage through all of their recent injuries should give fans some hope.

They have a home run chase of their own to watch. As Aaron Judge looks to hit 61+ and overtake the number Roger Maris hit way back in 1961, the team will also hope those home runs come late and with runners on base. Hopefully, the first-round bye doesn't become the excuse for the team when the bats get cold when the ALDS begins. It already feels like it will.

4) MLB Power Rankings: Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves tried so hard and got so close. In the end, it may not even matter. They held onto the National League East title only briefly a few weeks ago. Despite constant winning and keeping pace with their greatest nemesis this year, this might end up being a World Series favorite that has to go through every round.

It doesn't seem like much will slow the Braves down. Since their early summer surge, they've been playing the best brand of baseball possible. This is a team that has even gotten veteran Charlie Morton to start producing. Watch out! Settling for a wild card spot might just make them angrier.

3) MLB Power Rankings: New York Mets

It's the New York Mets who will make the Braves play an extra two or three games. The leaders in the division, they aren't ready to hand it over to anyone let alone the reigning champions.

The Mets have had some ups and downs over the last week yet so have the Braves. It was inevitable that both teams would start losing a few extra games. However, both remain strong. The Mets will have Max Scherzer back soon, too, which will only motivate them more to pull away and secure the division before their next meeting with the Braves.

2) MLB Power Rankings: Houston Astros

Can anyone in the American League stop the Houston Astros? All of the wild card contenders and division leaders headed to the playoffs feel like they're in a tier below Houston. While Yankees fans might be whining that the bye would slow down momentum, it feels like the Astros would welcome it as a time to relax.

We can probably already punch this team's ticket to the World Series. It's going to take a big slingshot to slay this MLB Goliath. With the postseason already clinched, all they need now is to keep playing their brand of winning baseball.

1) MLB Power Rankings: Los Angeles Dodgers

The first team in the National League to clinch their playoff spot, the Los Angeles Dodgers are back at number one in the MLB Power Rankings. They may not have a bulletproof roster. Parts of their lineup do get empty at times and when too many members of the pitching staff are hurt, they lose a part of their invincibility.

The Dodgers always get a slight edge over everyone simply because of how familiar they are with the playoffs. The last time they didn't make it to the playoffs was 2012. Even if the names and faces have changed, the organization has a formula no one can argue against.

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