The final month of the MLB season is upon us, and things are getting interesting with hard-charging teams climbing the power rankings.
It feels like just yesterday that I was putting the final touches on my preseason MLB Power Rankings in March. Where has the time gone? The 162-game marathon is entering its final month, and teams are jockeying for position with several playoff spots still up for grabs.
Just when you thought it was safe to write off the Baltimore Orioles, they respond with back-to-back sweeps to jump back over .500. The Orioles are the big movers in this week’s Power Rankings. The Minnesota Twins also continue to move up as they refuse to relinquish their grip on the final AL playoff spot. The Twins have matched the Orioles win for win.
The St. Louis Cardinals, Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals all slide back in the rankings this week, and their playoff hopes are on life support. Read on to see where the rest of the league stands as MLB makes the final push for home in 2017.
Last week: 4-6
Last rank: 30
The homer streak has ended for Rhys Hoskins, but he has not stopped hitting. The rookie outfielder is hitting .299 with a 1.153 OPS and 11 homers and 25 RBI in his first 21 career games. He is also avoiding the strikeout and drawing walks at a solid clip. Hoskins looks like the real deal for the Phillies.
San Francisco Giants
Last week: 3-7
Last rank: 29
Lost in the fact that the Giants are having their worst season in decades is the fact that catcher Buster Posey appears set to end a four-year trend of declining OPS. Some of that may be attributable to the juiced baseballs, but it’s still a good sign for the Giants.
Johnny Cueto has made up his mind to pass on his opt-out date at the end of the year — smart thinking on his part. Cueto has only started 19 games this year and has the worst full-season ERA since his rookie year. At 31, entering his age-32 season, Cueto is not going to do better than the remaining four years of his deal at $20 million.
Chicago White Sox
Last week: 4-6
Last rank: 28
The White Sox are having a terrible year as their rebuild begins, but no one has had it worse than catcher Kevan Smith. The second-year backstop has been historically bad at throwing out runners. Smith has caught only four of 55 stolen base attempts. Catchers who throw out runners at a 20 percent clip are well below league average. Smith is catching seven percent. Yikes.