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Welcome to the NBC Sports EDGE MLB Power Rankings, a weekly feature that will run every Tuesday through the end of the 2022 regular season. These rankings are not fantasy-driven in any way, though I do tend to sprinkle in fantasy-relevant nuggets here and there. Who’s hot, who’s not, who to watch -- that sort of thing. Send any and all complaints to me on Twitter: @drewsilv.
Please believe me when I tell you that I do not hate your team.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Last Week: 1
In taking two of three from the Cardinals over the weekend, the Dodgers officially clinched the No. 1 seed on the National League side of the postseason bracket. And they’re also just one win away from locking in the best regular-season record in franchise history. Justin Turner can sometimes get lost in the shuffle of the many high-impact players that populate the depth chart in Los Angeles, but the 37-year-old third baseman is batting .308/.447/.630 across his last 123 plate appearances.
2. Houston Astros
Last Week: 2
They dropped the first two games of their four-game weekend series in Baltimore, but the Astros rallied for an 11-10 comeback win on Saturday and a 6-3 extra-innings victory on Sunday. That pushed their final road record to 51-30, second only to the Dodgers at a current mark of 54-21. Dusty Baker has his first triple-digit-win team since he debuted as a major league manager with the Giants (103-59) in 1993. He’s one of four skippers in MLB history to achieve a 100-win campaign in both leagues.
3. New York Mets
Last Week: 3
Pete Alonso was just named co-NL Player of the Week with Albert Pujols after tallying four home runs and 13 RBI in a six-game span between September 19-25. He broke the Mets’ single-season franchise RBI record in the process and, perhaps most importantly, helped keep New York at the very top of the National League East standings. They have a one-game lead on the second-place Braves with only eight more games to go. Those two teams will match up in Atlanta later this week.
4. Atlanta Braves
Last Week: 4
Bryce Elder was only recently thrust into a firm rotation spot in Atlanta, mostly under emergency circumstances with Spencer Strider hitting the IL due to a strained oblique, but the 23-year-old looks to be another immediate and long-term weapon for the defending World Series champs. Elder, in Monday night’s 8-0 win over the Nationals, became the first Braves rookie to throw a shutout since Steve Avery and Paul Marak both pitched one in 1990. The NL East crown remains up for grabs.
5. New York Yankees
Last Week: 5
As we wait to see whether Aaron Judge can top Roger Maris for the new single-season AL home run record -- he needs one to tie, two to break with nine games to go -- Triple Crown watch is very much on. Judge obviously has the home run (60) part all wrapped up and he also carries a comfortable lead in the RBI (128) department over Jose Ramirez (117). It’s batting average where the drama lies. Judge is at .314, and Luis Arraez and Xander Bogaerts are just behind him at .313.
6. Toronto Blue Jays
Last Week: 7
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning Monday as the Blue Jays pulled out a 3-2 win versus the Yankees. It delayed New York’s clinching of the AL East, if only for a moment, and also increased the Jays’ lead on the top AL Wild Card spot. They have a three-game advantage on Tampa Bay -- and 3 1/2 games on Seattle -- with just over a week to go. It’s looking like Toronto will host a best-of-three Wild Card Series, with unvaxxed players now welcome.
7. St. Louis Cardinals
Last Week: 6
Their trip out to the West Coast yielded only two wins in six games versus the Padres and Dodgers, but the Cardinals still have a sizable lead on the Brewers for first place in the NL Central and can officially clinch the division title this week in Milwaukee. Albert Pujols provided a jolt on Friday night in Los Angeles with the 699th and 700th homers of his Hall of Fame career. He joins Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), and Babe Ruth (714) as the only four players to reach that milestone.
8. San Diego Padres
Last Week: 10
Having won consecutive series against the D-backs, Cardinals, and Rockies, the Padres are holding strong to the second NL Wild Card spot. They are 1 1/2 games up on the Phillies, who occupy the third spot in those standings. Juan Soto sure seems to have found his groove again. The 23-year-old slugger fell into a 3-for-48 (.063) rut between August 29 and September 15 and recorded only one RBI in that 15-game stretch, but he’s gone 13-for-34 (.382) with eight RBI over his last nine games.
9. Cleveland Guardians
Last Week: 11
Steven Kwan earned AL Player of the Week honors for September 19-25 after going 14-for-32 (.438) with two home runs, two triples, 10 RBI, and nine runs scored in a span of seven games. Cleveland won all seven of those games and officially clinched the American League Central crown on Sunday afternoon. Kwan experienced some midseason struggles after a hot start, but he’s picked up again to the tune of a .311/.388/.477 batting line through 117 plate appearances so far in September.
10. Seattle Mariners
Last Week: 8
Julio Rodriguez landing on the injured list because of a lower back strain was obviously bad news, but the Mariners are all but assured of an AL Wild Card berth and the expectation is that the 21-year-old budding superstar will be ready to rock when first eligible next week. On a more positive note, Seattle signed Luis Castillo to a five-year, $108 million contract extension on Saturday. He’s posted a 3.34 ERA and 69/16 K/BB ratio in 59 1/3 innings (10 starts) since being acquired from the Reds.
11. Tampa Bay Rays
Last Week: 9
Shane McClanahan has struggled in his last couple of turns through the rotation and Shane Baz is headed for Tommy John surgery, but the Rays are about to get Tyler Glasnow (elbow) back in the fold as they steer toward a best-of-three Wild Card Series berth. Glasnow, 29, allowed just one run while tallying 14 strikeouts over four minor league rehab starts covering seven innings. The scheduled return outing Wednesday at Cleveland will be his first major league appearance since June 14, 2021.
12. Philadelphia Phillies
Last Week: 12
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Phillies are 1 1/2 games up on the Brewers for the third NL Wild Card spot. They snapped a five-game losing streak last Wednesday versus the Blue Jays and wound up splitting a four-game weekend set with the Braves. Now comes a 10-game road trip to close out the regular season, though the first seven of those 10 games are against the lowly Cubs and Nationals. Keep in mind that Philly holds the tiebreaker over Milwaukee should that race go down to the wire.
13. Milwaukee Brewers
Last Week: 13
It’s going to require a lot of good fortune for Milwaukee to leapfrog the Phillies in the NL Wild Card standings, but the Brewers do get to finish out the regular season at home -- 2 vs. STL, 4 vs. MIA, 3 vs. ARI -- where they’ve gone 42-30 so far this year. Compare that to their road record of 40-41. Willy Adames might deserve some down-ballot MVP love if the Brew Crew pull this off. The 27-year-old shortstop has 31 homers and 96 RBI, and he’s slashed .303/.363/.570 over his last 35 games.
14. Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 15
Gunnar Henderson had another box-score-filling night on Monday in Boston, drawing three walks and crushing a mammoth two-run homer to straightaway center field as the Orioles mashed their way to a 14-8 victory. The 21-year-old experienced a minor slump last week, but he holds an overall .281/.354/.506 batting line with 25 hits (11 of the extra-base variety) through his first 25 major league games. And the O’s aren’t completely dead yet at 3 1/2 games back of the third AL Wild Card.
15. Chicago White Sox
Last Week: 14
This time last week, the White Sox were a season-high-matching five games over .500 heading into a three-game series against the Guardians with a great opportunity to make up significant ground in the AL Central title hunt. But they got swept by Cleveland and were then swept by the Tigers over the weekend as their postseason hopes vanished in a flash. That crash all felt somewhat inevitable, though, for a talented but underperforming and oft-injured roster that just never fully clicked.
16. San Francisco Giants
Last Week: 18
Maybe the Giants can finish at .500 after all. That certainly wasn’t the goal this spring, coming off a franchise-record 107 regular-season wins in 2021, but they just went 6-1 on a seven-game road trip through Colorado and Arizona and will now match up with those same teams this week in a six-game homestand at Oracle Park. Logan Webb gets the ball in Tuesday night’s series opener versus the visiting Rockies following an abbreviated but dominant outing last Wednesday at Coors Field.
17. Minnesota Twins
Last Week: 16
It’s easy to forget that the Twins held a share of the AL Central lead on September 4. They’ve gone 6-15 since while sinking to 12 games back of the division-champion Guardians. Maybe a healthy Byron Buxton could have helped the cause, but he went on the IL on August 23 because of a hip strain and recently elected to undergo arthroscopic surgery to clean up a lingering knee issue. Buxton was limited to 92 games this year and has topped 100 games played just once in his career.
18. Boston Red Sox
Last Week: 17
Garrett Whitlock was officially shut down last week and has since undergone surgery to repair a hip injury that had bothered him for much of the season. Tanner Houck met a similar fate earlier this month due to a lingering back injury. Which helps to explain Boston’s rough 24-36 record in the second half. Red Sox pitchers have allowed 20-plus baserunners in 13 different games this year, including Monday’s loss to the Orioles. Only the Rockies and Royals have experienced more such blowups.
19. Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 19
Even as the Diamondbacks simply play out the string, Zac Gallen‘s starts have become must-watch events. The 27-year-old righty recorded a career-high 13 strikeouts over eight innings of one-run ball last Thursday against the NL West-champion Dodgers and is now set for a marquee duel versus Justin Verlander and the Astros on Wednesday in Houston. Gallen would appear to be tracking toward a second-place finish -- behind Sandy Alcantara -- for the 2022 NL Cy Young Award.
20. Los Angeles Angels
Last Week: 20
Mike Trout brought the thunder in Sunday’s series finale against the Twins, stroking two doubles and a no-doubt solo homer as the Angels earned a 10-3 victory. He missed around five weeks of action between mid-July and late August because of back and rib troubles, but Trout has made up for lost time since his return from the IL with a 1.019 OPS and 13 home runs in 32 games. He needs three more home runs in the Halos’ final nine games to secure his third career 40-homer campaign.
21. Texas Rangers
Last Week: 21
After getting swept by the Guardians over the weekend, the Rangers are now 7-16 so far in September and a season-worst 22 games under the .500 mark. They have put together only one winning month (17-10 in May) this season. Much of the blame goes to the poorly-constructed starting rotation, which has combined for a 4.60 ERA and 1.40 WHIP through 745 1/3 innings. And if you remove Martín Pérez‘s contributions from the equation, that team ERA shoots all the way up to 5.15.
22. Miami Marlins
Last Week: 22
Marlins manager Don Mattingly announced Sunday that he will be parting ways with the organization when the 2022 regular season comes to a close on Wednesday, October 5. It’s being called a mutual split. Despite a current 437-584 record at the helm there in Miami, Mattingly will go out as the longest-tenured and winningest skipper in the 30-year history of the franchise. Their only postseason appearance during his seven-year stay came in the COVID-affected 2020 campaign.
23. Chicago Cubs
Last Week: 24
Patrick Wisdom slugged his 25th home run of the year in Sunday’s series finale against the Pirates, becoming just the fourth third baseman in the 147-year history of the Cubs franchise to record multiple 25-plus-homer seasons. Ron Santo did it eight times, Aramis Ramirez did it seven times, and Kris Bryant got there four times. Wisdom is far more flawed than those other three -- he’s batting just .210 with a .303 OBP -- but he’s been a decent stopgap at the hot corner for Chicago.
24. Colorado Rockies
Last Week: 23
C.J. Cron has tailed off quite a bit in the second half, and so too have the Rockies as a whole, but the power-hitting 32-year-old first baseman did surpass 100 RBI last week and is the first Colorado player to reach that benchmark since Nolan Arenado departed for St. Louis. The next-best RBI total on this year’s roster is 77, belonging to 36-year-old free-agent-to-be Charlie Blackmon. Cron, the Rockies’ only All-Star representative in 2022, is under contract for $7.25 million in 2023.
25. Kansas City Royals
Last Week: 25
A new era is afoot in Kansas City with Dayton Moore getting cut loose from his role as president of baseball operations last Wednesday afternoon. J.J. Picollo, elevated to the position of GM last year, will now step in as the lead man in the Royals’ front office. Moore joined KC all the way back in 2006 and built a World Series championship team in 2015. But he got the boot amid a run of six straight losing seasons … and rumors of long-term extension talks with rising star Bobby Witt Jr.
26. Cincinnati Reds
Last Week: 26
There isn’t a whole lot to get excited about on the position player side of the Reds’ current MLB depth chart, but the buzz is growing for what top infield prospect Elly De La Cruz is and can be. The 20-year-old hit .304/.359/.586 with 28 homers and 47 steals in 120 games this summer between High-A Dayton and Double-A Chattanooga. As noted by Matt Eddy at Baseball America, those kind of power and speed MiLB totals have only been matched by a few other players in baseball history.
27. Detroit Tigers
Last Week: 27
Detroit put the final dagger in the White Sox over the weekend with a three-game sweep in Chicago, thanks to a string of solid pitching performances and timely knocks from Riley Greene. This has been a rollercoaster rookie season for Greene, but the 21-year-old center fielder is slashing .307/.389/.439 over his last 29 games (131 plate appearances) dating back to August 20. That’s for a Tigers team that has posted a combined .230/.286/.345 slash line in 5,042 total plate appearances.
28. Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 28
Pittsburgh might have something cooking with Luis Ortiz. The 23-year-old right-hander has worked to a 1.17 ERA with 17 strikeouts through his first three major league starts covering 15 1/3 innings. He’s allowed only five total hits, and he whiffed seven batters in just 4 2/3 frames on Sunday afternoon against the Cubs. There’s also Johan Oviedo. Acquired from the Cardinals in the José Quintana trade, he put up seven strikeouts across seven scoreless innings on Saturday versus Chicago.
29. Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 29
Jordan Díaz really burst onto the scene this summer in the minor leagues, batting .326/.366/.515 with 19 home runs, 34 doubles, and 83 RBI in 120 games between Double-A Midland and Triple-A Las Vegas. That led to a call to the majors on September 18, and the 22-year-old native of Monteria, Colombia has kept right on raking. He went 2-for-4 in Sunday’s series finale against the Mets -- a 13-4 loss -- and is now 8-for-20 (.400) through his first seven games at the MLB level.
30. Washington Nationals
Last Week: 30
In getting shut out by the visiting Braves on Monday night, the Nationals reached the 100-loss mark for the first time since 2009. Even still, Joey Menseses keeps raking. The late-blooming 30-year-old rookie singled and drew a walk in that 8-0 loss to the defending World Series champs and is one of only four players in MLB history to record 62-plus hits and 12-plus home runs through their first 47 major league games. The other three: Ryan Braun, Yordan Alvarez, and Orlando Cepeda.