The MLB season is fast approaching its final month, and several teams are making a push up the Power Rankings in the pursuit of a playoff spot.
September is right around the corner, and the MLB playoff races are still up in the air in several divisions, especially the NL Central, where the Milwaukee Brewers refuse to give up their pursuit of the Chicago Cubs. The St. Louis Cardinals have also clawed back into the playoff picture. The Cubbies are going to have to fight all the way to the final days of the season.
Out in the NL West, the Los Angeles Dodgers continue on at record-setting pace, but things are getting interesting behind them. The Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks have been slumping to close out August, opening up a path for one of the NL Central losers to make a push for a Wild Card.
Over in the AL, the divisions are essentially wrapped up, with the possible exception of the AL East. The Wild Card is still anyone’s for the taking, with six teams within four games of the Minnesota Twins for the final playoff spot. Mike Trout’s Los Angeles Angels have been as hot as any team in the league, and if he can push them back into the playoffs for the first time since 2014, it could give him another MVP award.
It’s now crunch time for any team that wants to make a run at a playoff spot and the World Series. Who’s climbing up the MLB Power Rankings as we prepare to enter the crucial final month of the regular season?
Last week: 3-7
Last rank: 30
The Phillies got more disastrous news last week when Vince Velasquez was forced out of his last start after only one inning with numbness and swelling in his middle finger. The right-hander is undergoing testing to try and determine what caused the injury, but finger injuries in pitchers — especially with numbness involved — can often point to something more sinister going on in the elbow region. Velasquez has been unable to stay healthy after a promising first season with the Phillies in 2016.
Now, for a bit of good news from the City of Brotherly Love. Rhys Hoskins was called up to the big leagues and has already hit two home runs in his first five games. After an ugly first half, Odubel Herrera is hitting .383/.450/.692 in the second half and generally looking like the bubbly All-Star he was last year.
Chicago White Sox
Last week: 3-7
Last rank: 29
The White Sox dodged a scare with Yoan Moncada avoiding injury after a scary outfield collision the first week of August. While still looking somewhat overmatched at the plate, Moncada did deliver his first career walk-off. The 22-year-old Cuban phenom has now struck out 50 times in his first 34 MLB games, but has shown a solid command and grasp of the strike zone as evidenced by his 18 career walks.
The important thing for the White Sox to keep sight of with Moncada is that he needs to be allowed to struggle it out the rest of the year. He was called up by the Boston Red Sox last year in the middle of a pennant race. In that situation, leaving him on the bench made sense. There are no indications that the White Sox plan to do anything but play Moncada nearly every day as they play out the string of this rebuilding year.