The Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros retain the top two spots in our weekly MLB power rankings, and the Cubs and Orioles made a jump.
The trade deadline has come and gone, and while past results are certainly a major factor in our weekly MLB power rankings, projections based on newcomers must be factored in as well.
The Los Angeles Dodgers made the biggest splash at the deadline by adding Yu Darvish from the Texas Rangers and supplementing the move with a pair of lefty relievers. Darvish has yet to take the mound in Dodger blue, but Los Angeles continued its incredible roll of success with a 5-1 record over the past week, including a sweep of the Giants and two wins in three games against the Braves in Atlanta.
In their last 24 games, the Dodgers are 4-3 against the Braves and 17-0 against everyone else, which is perhaps one of the silliest, most useless stats of the season. Now 76-32 overall, the Dodgers hold an impenetrable 14-game lead in the NL West and have taken a commanding lead over the Houston Astros in the race for baseball’s best record.
As a result, the Dodgers held strong to the No. 1 spot in this week’s power rankings. Houston is holding strong at No. 2, but the Astros did not make a headline move at the trade deadline. The club also lost five games during the week, but with a 15-game division lead, is still in a good position to make a World Series run.
Last week: 4-3
Last rank: 30th
The Phillies made a strong push to pull themselves out of the bottom spot in our MLB power rankings by sweeping the Braves in four games (including two walk-offs and three one-run victories) and pushing their winning streak to five. However, three straight losses to the Angels to begin the month of August kept Philadelphia at No. 30 by a hair.
Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera have been hot at the plate recently. Hernandez entered Thursday’s series finale in Anaheim with 11 hits in his last six games, hitting .423/.483/.577 over that period. Herrera had nine hits in as many games, including two home runs and five RBI. Tommy Joseph, who had seven hits during that span, added a homer and led the club with six runs driven in over the week.
The Phillies got good pitching as well, especially from Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta. Velasquez tossed six shutout inning in his July 30 start against Atlanta. Pivetta followed with one run in six innings.
Chicago White Sox
Last week: 2-5
Last rank: 27th
Despite scraping out back-to-back walk-off wins to finish the month of July, the White Sox have been in a free fall. Dating back to July 4, Chicago is 4-18. During that span, the club traded away Jose Quintana, Todd Frazier, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Melky Cabrera, Dan Jennings and Anthony Swarzak. The club also put All-Star Avisail Garcia on the disabled list with a thumb injury and saw top prospect Yoan Moncada collide with Willy Garcia, sending Garcia to the DL with a concussion.
There are clubs with worse records, but given the depleted roster, the run of poor play and the bad luck the White Sox have had over the past calendar month, Chicago is the best bet to sink to No. 30 before the end of the season.