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MLB Power Rankings: Orioles hanging around, M's trying to end drought

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Welcome to the 11th edition of theScore's MLB Power Rankings for the 2022 season. Our last rankings were published on Aug. 22.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
92-41 6-4 +294 1 (-)

Mookie Betts might be putting together one of the finest seasons of his career. The 29-year-old has already set a new career-high with 33 homers in just 115 games and is slashing .327/.394/.694 with 18 extra-base hits and just 16 strikeouts over the last month. He also added five stolen bases and an MLB-leading 29 runs over that time. Los Angeles is so deep, but the team seems to go as Mookie goes, and right now, that's pretty darn good.

2. Houston Astros

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
86-48 7-3 +169 3 (+1) ⬆️ 

Alex Bregman is kind of post-hype now, but he's officially back. After finishing runner-up for AL MVP to Mike Trout in 2019, the two-time All-Star has been pretty good. But in his first full season since that, Bregman has returned to the league's elite, hitting .347/.435/.644 (202 wRC+) with seven homers and 28 runs through 29 games since the beginning of August. On a team that has dealt with an awful lot of turnover since their World Series, Bregman is a familiar face, and his recognizable dominance will be important as October nears.

3. New York Mets

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
85-50 6-4 +121 2 (-1) ⬇️

Is it finally time to give Brodie Van Wagenen some credit? Edwin Diaz is making history as the Mets' closer, earning Reliever of the Month honors three consecutive times and leaping into the NL Cy Young discussion. Since the start of July, Diaz boasts a truly mind-boggling 0.09 FIP, striking out 52.1% of opposing batters without surrendering a single homer. Meanwhile, Jarred Kelenic - whom Sandy Alderson couldn't believe Van Wagenen traded away - is stationed at Triple-A Tacoma. If the Mets pull this off, Van Wagenen should get a World Series ring.

4. Atlanta Braves

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
84-51 7-3 +155 4 (-)

Where would the Braves be without their rookies? Michael Harris II has been a revelation. A relatively unheralded speed-first prospect, Harris has been one of the best hitters in baseball over the past month, crushing six dingers and posting a bonkers 1.047 OPS. No wonder Atlanta was giddy about locking him up to an eight-year, $72-million contract shortly after he made his debut. Perhaps more impressive, though, has been breakout ace Spencer Strider. Over his past six starts, the righty has struck out 40.3% of hitters and has an MLB-best 1.05 FIP.

5. Seattle Mariners

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
76-58 9-1 +66 7 (+2) ⬆️

Is it time to start really believing in Seattle? The Mariners appear poised to end an MLB-worst 20-year postseason drought and are firing on all cylinders at the right time. Julio Rodriguez is the spark, but it's encouraging to see a well-balanced attack during the team's recent hot streak. Cal Raleigh has four home runs and 10 RBIs over his last 12 games while leading all MLB catchers with 22 homers. The club also boasts a solid potential playoff rotation, as Robbie Ray (1.41 ERA), Luis Castillo (2.03), and George Kirby (2.23) have all been exceptional over the last month in 16 combined starts.

6. St. Louis Cardinals

Michael Reaves / Getty Images Sport / Getty
Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
79-55 8-2 +138 6 (-)

It's weird: The league-wide talk around the Cardinals is about legacy. You've got Albert Pujols' pursuit of 700 career homers and Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright becoming the most storied battery in modern history. But, in many ways, that's overlooking the fact that St. Louis has become a legitimate contender. Jordan Montgomery is certainly the best deadline acquisition any team has made this year, and the lefty improved to 5-0 with a 1.47 ERA after his most recent outing. Even further, Lars Nootbaar has gone from everyone's favorite name to a very key bat, hitting .277/.411/.564 with six homers and three steals since Aug. 1.

7. New York Yankees

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
80-54 4-6 +186 5 (-2) ⬇️

The Yankees escaped Tampa Bay with a win Sunday, but New York's once insurmountable 15 1/2-game lead in the division has dwindled to five. With 28 games remaining - and only three more with the Rays - the Yankees still possess an 85.1% chance at winning the AL East, per FanGraphs, but anything less than a World Series appearance will be a major disappointment. To turn things around, Aaron Judge needs help. The superstar outfielder has seven home runs and a 1.314 OPS over the last two weeks. Meanwhile, Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Gleyber Torres, Aaron Hicks, and DJ LeMahieu have combined to go 27-for-167 (.162) with zero home runs over that span.

8. Tampa Bay Rays

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
74-58 7-3 +70 13 (+5) ⬆️

It's pretty much been the same story all year for the Rays. They're elite at preventing runs (currently ranking fourth in MLB) but can't score well (ranking 19th). That combination usually equates to a fringy playoff club at best, but Tampa Bay improbably finds itself hunting down the Yankees for AL East supremacy down the stretch. The Rays have one of the tougher schedules in the final month, facing the Astros, Blue Jays, and Yankees multiple times. But for a side that sat fourth as recently as July 4th, Tampa Bay is in an excellent spot to disrupt once again. And when they're in the playoffs, the Rays' myriad of breakout aces - led by Drew Rasmussen and Jeffrey Springs - could carry them who knows how far.

9. Toronto Blue Jays

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
73-59 6-4 +57 9 (-)

After an uneven August, the Blue Jays kicked off September with a much-needed sweep of the Pirates. Toronto controls its playoff destiny with 19 games remaining against the Rays and Orioles. If the Blue Jays hope to qualify for the postseason, they will surely need a better performance down the stretch from All-Star first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The slugger has 27 home runs but has had issues with consistency and sits tied for the league lead in double plays (22).

10. San Diego Padres

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty
Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
74-61 6-4 +35 10 (-)

With a month to go in the regular season, it's still hard to pinpoint what the Padres actually are. On paper, they should easily be a postseason team, and we keep waiting for them to play to their full potential. A major problem is that too many key figures are underperforming. Sean Manaea (9.21 ERA) and Mike Clevinger (5.72) have been awful the last month, Josh Bell has just two homers and a .181 average in 29 games since joining the club, and Juan Soto has just two extra-base hits over his last 56 at-bats.

11. Baltimore Orioles

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
71-62 7-3 +22 15 (+4) ⬆️

We've reached September, and the Orioles are still hanging around. Baltimore sits just 2 1/2 games back of Toronto for the final playoff spot, and those two sides face each other another 10 times to finish out the year. Expect rookie Gunnar Henderson to feature a lot in those games. The 21-year-old top prospect has been electric since his promotion, going 6-for-19 (.316) with three extra-base hits and a stolen base in five games.

12. Philadelphia Phillies

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
73-61 4-6 +65 8 (-4) ⬇️

The Phillies have yet to take advantage of an incredibly soft schedule, going 7-6 overall despite their last four series coming against clubs with losing records. Philadelphia will play its next nine games against the Marlins and Nationals. If the club is going to hold off the Brewers for the final playoff spot and snap an 11-year drought, it needs to start capitalizing on weaker opponents.

13. Minnesota Twins

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
68-64 6-4 +28 12 (-1) ⬇️

It's been a nightmarish stretch for the Twins, but they're still firmly in contention for the AL Central crown thanks to inconsistency from the Guardians and White Sox. Minnesota could use a vintage performance from Carlos Correa down the stretch. Although he's put together an above-average campaign at the plate, Correa hasn't put up the numbers many Twins fans expected. All-Star outfielder Byron Buxton's uncertain status is another X-factor in assessing Minnesota's chances of going on a run down the stretch. If Buxton can find a way back into the lineup from nagging hip and knee injuries, the Twins possess enough talent to be a quality postseason club.

14. Milwaukee Brewers

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
70-63 5-5 +28 14 (-)

The Brewers haven't been able to keep pace with the surging Cardinals and have recently dropped some tough contests to the Pirates and D-Backs. Although he's struggled mightily in San Diego, the Josh Hader trade has clearly thrown Milwaukee's bullpen out of whack - Brewers relievers sit 17th in the league in ERA since the deadline. Milwaukee is certainly capable of closing the gap on St. Louis or overtaking one of the NL wild-card clubs but will need its pitching and the bullpen, in particular, to lead the charge.

15. Boston Red Sox

Boston Globe / Boston Globe / Getty
Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
67-68 7-3 -40 17 (+2) ⬆️

Boston appears destined for a second last-place finish in the AL East in three seasons, but at least Triston Casas finally arrived. The 22-year-old has been one of the organization's top prospects in recent years and will hopefully solidify first base for a team that has struggled to receive any production at the position the last two years (27th with 0.2 WAR). Bobby Dalbec and his .644 OPS this campaign were optioned to Triple-A, and it will be interesting to see if the Red Sox move him this winter.

16. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
64-69 8-2 -13 19 (+3) ⬆️

Zac Gallen is on an absolutely incredible run. The right-hander tied the MLB record Sunday with his sixth straight scoreless start and extended his scoreless streak to 41 1/3 innings. He last allowed a run Aug. 2 against the Guardians. Gallen, who owns a 0.58 WHIP over that streak, is still 17 2/3 innings away from matching the all-time record.

17. Chicago White Sox

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
67-67 4-6 -27 16 (-1) ⬇️

The White Sox are lucky they reside in the AL Central. Despite sitting at .500, owning a losing record at home, and a minus run differential, Chicago still finds itself two games back of the division lead. Injuries have played a role, but still, the club can't seem to get anything going despite playing out an easy schedule. The White Sox went 13-16 in August even though 20 of those games came against teams under .500. The team has started September 3-1, so maybe this is finally the breakout?

18. Cleveland Guardians

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
68-64 2-8 +18 11 (-7) ⬇️

Even though Shane Bieber is back and finding himself as a dark horse Cy Young contender, losing both Aaron Civale and Zach Plesac in a tightly contested division race is a tough blow. Run prevention has been the name of the game for Cleveland for months. But on the bright side, Cal Quantrill and Triston McKenzie have been helping the rotation the most behind Bieber. Over his last six starts, Quantrill owns a 2.13 ERA and 3.44 FIP. Even further, while McKenzie's lack of command still haunts him with a high homer rate, his swing-and-miss stuff is starting to play more regularly as he racks up more strikeouts.

19. San Francisco Giants

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
64-68 3-7 +10 18 (-1) ⬇️

The Giants underwent a lengthy losing streak before snapping it against the Phillies. After setting a franchise record with 107 wins last year, the Giants have seen almost nothing go according to script in 2022. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi will have to get creative if he wants to get his club back into the thick of contention with the likes of the Dodgers and Padres next season and beyond.

20. Los Angeles Angels

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
58-76 6-4 -57 21 (+1) ⬆️

Trading Raisel Iglesias away for scraps months after re-signing him to a four-year deal was definitely puzzling. However, Jimmy Herget has come in as the closer and hasn't missed a step. The funky-throwing righty has notched four saves and authored a 0.49 ERA since the beginning of August. His 2.36 FIP - thanks to a mediocre strikeout rate - indicates some regression, but his odd delivery and deceptive arm angle seem to be flummoxing opponents.

21. Texas Rangers

Michael Zagaris / Getty Images Sport / Getty
Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
58-75 2-8 -11 20 (-1) ⬇️

Quick, who has been the single hottest hitter since the beginning of August? Nope, it's not Aaron Judge, Paul Goldschmidt, or Nolan Arenado, although they've all been scorching as well. It's Nathaniel Lowe and his 225 wRC+. Lowe's been the most difficult hitter to retire over that span, boasting an MLB-best .466 OBP, while his .669 SLG only ranks behind Arenado, Goldschmidt, and Betts, all of whom will receive MVP consideration. He hasn't actually changed his approach much - he's still walking less than 10% of the time - and he's benefitting heavily from a very favorable .448 BABIP (the aforementioned trio all have a BABIP well below .350, for comparison's sake). However, he's putting the finishing touches on a solid breakout campaign (147 wRC+, 23 homers) and should provide strong lineup protection for Marcus Semien and Corey Seager for years to come.

22. Cincinnati Reds

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
53-79 5-5 -109 26 (+4) ⬆️

The best closer since the start of August by WAR has the last name Diaz, but not the first name you might expect. Yes, the Mets' Edwin has been great too, but his brother Alexis has quietly dominated with a 0.68 ERA and 0.95 FIP in his last 13 outings. He's striking out 41.5% of batters over that span and hasn't allowed a single home run. Now, if only the Reds could give him some more leads to protect.

23. Colorado Rockies

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
57-78 3-7 -140 22 (-1) ⬇️

That strong stretch from Charlie Blackmon feels like an eternity ago now. After a decent beginning to the year and a white-hot June, the veteran outfielder has been abysmal, ranking as one of the worst hitters in baseball since the beginning of August with a 49 wRC+. In fact, he hasn't hit a homer since July 27. Not what you want from a guy who plays half his games at Coors Field, but at least this will likely be his penultimate year with the club.

24. Chicago Cubs

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
56-78 2-8 -101 24 (-)

The Cubs have had the single worst pitching staff in MLB since the start of August, collectively authoring a 4.03 ERA and 5.02 FIP. Of the 14 pitchers on the team who have thrown 10 or more innings over that span, seven have both an ERA and FIP above 4.00. It's been an abysmal stretch for run prevention at Wrigleyville. On the plus side, Chicago wasn't making the postseason anyways. The front office is focused on a rebuild, and this does put the club in a better position to win MLB's first draft lottery.

25. Miami Marlins

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
55-78 1-9 -92 23 (-2) ⬇️

It's rough times in Miami, no doubt. Losing seven straight, the already-bad club is in freefall heading into the final stretch. However, there are still bright spots. Jesus Luzardo is starting to look like the ace scouts once believed he would. The lefty owns a 2.97 ERA and 2.46 FIP over his last six starts, and with Sandy Alcantara getting uncharacteristically knocked around lately, it's nice to see Luzardo finding his groove.

26. Kansas City Royals

Bob Levey / Getty Images Sport / Getty
Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
55-80 5-5 -146 25 (+1) ⬆️

After a slower-than-expected start - and who can blame him with all that hype? - Bobby Witt Jr. has settled in very nicely in the majors, becoming one of the very select rookies to ever post a 20-20 season. His 102 wRC+ for the year looks rather pedestrian and won't turn many heads, but he's hit five homers with 12 RBIs over his last 15 matchups - all while switching between third base and shortstop. Not bad for a 22-year-old who has been pro for less than 300 total games, including the minors.

27. Detroit Tigers

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
51-83 4-6 -154 28 (+1) ⬆️

Miguel Cabrera gave fans an incredible moment with his 3,000th hit earlier this season, but he's struggled mightily for the majority of the campaign. The Tigers placed the 39-year-old on the IL Sunday amid a career-worst season in a handful of offensive categories. Cabrera has just four home runs with slugging and on-base percentages just a shade above .300. Although the future Hall of Famer has said he plans to return in 2023, it's fair to wonder if that ends up coming to fruition.

28. Oakland Athletics

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
50-85 4-6 -157 27 (-1) ⬇️

The A's are a ways away from contention, but they're already seeing some of the fruits of their latest rebuild sprouting up. JP Sears and Ken Waldichuk have flashed signs of potential as quality starting pitchers after Oakland acquired them in the Frankie Montas deal. Meanwhile, young catcher Shea Langeliers has shown some inconsistency in his first few MLB games but has also displayed the tools that made him one of the big chips in the Matt Olson blockbuster.

29. Washington Nationals

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
47-87 6-4 -206 30 (+1) ⬆️

The Nationals are in the territory of counting Pyrrhic victories as actual wins, so let's get to it. Patrick Corbin - the worst starter in baseball by pretty much every metric - had to face former Nats ace Max Scherzer on Saturday, and the lefty somehow outdueled the three-time Cy Young winner, tossing seven innings of one-run ball. Of course, it did end with the team's Twitter account getting body bagged by a literal building:

30. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
49-84 2-8 -209 29 (-1) ⬇️

Despite the struggles, Pittsburgh's rotation is showing some encouraging signs. JT Brubaker, Mitch Keller, and Roansy Contreras have all put together quietly solid campaigns. Contreras was one of the big pickups in the Jameson Taillon deal, and he boasts high-end stuff. On the offensive side, it's been a mixed bag for young star Oneil Cruz. The talented shortstop has displayed all of his tools on both sides of the ball but has also shown his inexperience, with a high strikeout rate and several errors.

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