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MLB Power Rankings: What to watch from each team down the stretch

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Welcome to the 12th and final edition of theScore's MLB Power Rankings for the 2022 regular season. Our last rankings were published on Sept. 5.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
101-44 8-2 +329 1 (-)

The real test is about to begin for the Dodgers, who have already clinched the division and another 100-win season. It's only a matter of time before home-field advantage throughout the playoffs is also wrapped up. The recent returns of Clayton Kershaw and Dustin May have given the club another boost. Despite nine straight playoff appearances entering this year, the team has won only one World Series, and that came in the COVID-shortened season. Regular-season success is fun, but it's World Series or bust for Los Angeles.

2. Houston Astros

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
96-51 8-2 +199 2 (-) 

The cheating scandal tainted the franchise, but Houston still built something special. The club is on the verge of winning a fifth division title in six years and has already clinched a postseason spot for a sixth consecutive season. The Astros have almost locked up the AL's top seed for the playoffs, too. Meanwhile, Justin Verlander is the front-runner to win his third AL Cy Young Award - a remarkable accomplishment for the 39-year-old coming off Tommy John surgery.

3. New York Mets

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
93-55 6-4 +146 3 (-) 

The Mets have already collected their most wins in a season since 2006 and are gunning for just the fourth 100-win campaign in franchise history. However, more importantly, New York needs to hold off Atlanta for the NL East crown - something they haven't won since 2015 when the club last reached the World Series. Max Scherzer is expected to come off the injured list Monday, and his return will go a long way in determining the division and a potential deep postseason run.

4. Atlanta Braves

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
91-55 6-4 +168 4 (-)

The reigning World Series champs possess all the tools to repeat. Capturing a fifth straight division title from the Mets and securing a first-round bye would be a major advantage for the Braves. New York currently holds the tiebreaker 9-7, but the teams face each other for a three-game set at Truist Park in the second-last series of the regular season. Losing Ozzie Albies stings, but Atlanta has already proven it can win despite key injuries.

5. New York Yankees

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
88-58 6-4 +209 7 (+2) ⬆️

Everything almost came crashing down in the Bronx, but the Yankees have shown signs of steadying the ship and are getting healthy at the most important time. The club has one hand on the AL East title - it would shockingly be just a second in 10 years - but they still need to hold off the Blue Jays over the final weeks. Aaron Judge sits just two homers back of tying Roger Maris' franchise home run record and is also closing in on a potential triple crown.

Justin Berl / Getty Images Sport / Getty

6. St. Louis Cardinals

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
87-61 6-4 +129 6 (-)

The Albert Pujols farewell tour continues to be the most captivating storyline in baseball. The future Hall of Famer has climbed within two home runs of joining the illustrious 700-homer club. In addition to being a great story, Pujols has been a major contributor for a Cardinals team that is in line to win the NL Central for the first time since 2019. The 42-year-old is putting together his best offensive year since 2016 and could have another moment of postseason glory in his bat.

7. Toronto Blue Jays

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
83-64 6-4 +69 9 (+2) ⬆️

Blue Jays fans were waiting to see the real Bo Bichette stand up, and the talented shortstop finally obliged as the calendar flipped to September. Bichette has been one of baseball's hottest hitters this month and is consistently putting together quality at-bats. Toronto appears to be hitting its stride at the perfect time and could put it all together for a run in October with the amount of talent it possesses. The AL East title is still in reach, but locking up home-field advantage for the wild-card round is highly important.

8. Seattle Mariners

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
80-65 4-6 +63 5 (-3) ⬇️

Seattle will snap its 20-year postseason drought barring a major collapse. It doesn't face an opponent with a winning record for the rest of the regular season. How far the team goes in the playoffs is a completely different question. Losing Eugenio Suarez to a broken finger is a considerable loss as he leads the club with 31 homers and 84 RBIs. Another question potentially hanging over the team is Robbie Ray's vaccination status. There's a chance the Mariners could travel to Toronto for the wild-card round.

9. Tampa Bay Rays

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
82-64 4-6 +73 8 (-1) ⬆️

It's been difficult to get a true read on the Rays. Every time it seems like they're putting it together, they hit another rough patch. Injuries have kept them from reaching their potential, and the number of key players lost would likely derail most clubs. Tampa looks poised to reach the playoffs for a fourth straight season and could be a tough opponent in a short wild-card series with Shane McClanahan and Drew Rasmussen leading the rotation, but an inconsistent offense could prevent a deep run.

10. San Diego Padres

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
81-66 6-4 +31 10 (-) 

What's happened to Juan Soto? The superstar outfielder has gone into the freezer at the plate since the Padres acquired him at the trade deadline, hitting .221/.386/.366 with four homers in 38 games. San Diego will need a rebound from Soto in short order, or it could be at real risk of being overtaken by the Brewers for the final NL wild-card spot. We might be in for a wild offseason if the Padres miss the playoffs.

11. Milwaukee Brewers

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
78-68 7-3 +26 14 (+3) ⬆️

Milwaukee is putting things together at the right time and making a charge in the wild-card race. The Brewers have reached the postseason in each of the last four seasons but failed to win a playoff round in the previous three. The club has the benefit of a favorable schedule over the next two weeks, with 11 of the remaining 16 games against teams under .500. However, Milwaukee won't be going against any of the clubs it's chasing.

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

12. Philadelphia Phillies

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
80-66 5-5 +68 12 (-)

With the division out of reach, the Phillies will attempt to secure a wild-card spot to earn a postseason berth for the first time since 2011 - the longest drought in the NL and second-longest in the majors. Philadelphia plays 10 of its remaining 17 contests against teams in playoff spots and finishes on a 10-game road trip. Bryce Harper is hitting .170/.291/.333 with two homers and 19 strikeouts in 14 games this month. The Phillies need more from their superstar if they want to avoid another underachieving year.

13. Cleveland Guardians

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
79-67 8-2 +29 18 (+5) ⬆️

The Guardians continue to defy the odds and appear to be in the driver's seat to emerge in the underwhelming AL Central. Although the lineup doesn't possess the star power of other teams, Cleveland's ability to avoid strikeouts while consistently putting the ball in play makes it a tricky matchup in the playoffs. With a three-headed monster of Shane Bieber, Triston McKenzie, and Cal Quantrill atop its rotation and a handful of wipeout arms in the bullpen, the ingredients are there for the Guardians to rock the boat in the postseason.

14. Baltimore Orioles

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
76-69 5-5 +1 11 (-3) ⬇️

This season has been a massive success for Baltimore even if it fails to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2016. There are clear signs that the Orioles are coming out of a painful rebuild as Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson look like legitimate future stars. With a number of other top prospects knocking on the door, the onus is now on the front office and ownership to spend this winter. The Orioles control one of the lowest payrolls in the majors and have just $3.9 million in guaranteed salaries on the books for 2023.

Richard Rodriguez / Getty Images Sport / Getty

15. Chicago White Sox

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
76-71 7-3 0 17 (+2) ⬆️

Despite being the most talented team in the division on paper, Chicago's postseason chances are on life support. The White Sox trail the Guardians by 3 1/2 games entering a crucial three-game set Tuesday, which could decide the division. It's imperative for Chicago to take at least two of three from Cleveland before entering a final stretch that sees it face the Tigers (three games), Twins (six), and Padres (three). The only problem is that Cleveland finishes with six straight at home against the Royals.

16. Minnesota Twins

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
73-73 4-6 +18 13 (-3) ⬇️

It's been a disappointing season in Minnesota - there's no way of sugarcoating it. The Twins held the lead in the AL Central for a good chunk of the campaign but have fallen on hard times in the second half. The continued health concerns surrounding All-Star outfielder Byron Buxton make his seven-year, $100-million extension a very risky proposition moving forward. Minnesota could have one more run in it this season as the club has plenty of talent. However, if the Twins are unsuccessful in their quest for a playoff spot, the question of Carlos Correa's future will come quickly to the foreground.

17. Boston Red Sox

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
71-75 4-6 -34 15 (-2) ⬇️

What a miserable season for the Red Sox, and now they're just killing time before a potentially franchise-altering offseason awaits. Xander Bogaerts' impending free agency looms, as does any extension talks with Rafael Devers. Bogaerts ranks second in franchise history among games played at shortstop (1,251) and is currently the team's longest-tenured player after being promoted in 2013. It could also be the final weeks of J.D. Martinez's and Nathan Eovaldi's time in Boston. Both were instrumental in winning the 2018 World Series.

18. San Francisco Giants

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
69-77 4-6 -5 19 (+1) ⬆️

Carlos Rodon still has a few starts left to bolster his Cy Young credentials. The 29-year-old ended up being one of the best free-agent signings last winter, putting together his second straight brilliant campaign. Rodon enters the home stretch leading the NL in strikeouts, K/9, and FIP while sitting top 10 in a slew of other categories. San Francisco may be playing out the string, but Rodon's final outings will be must-watch events for Giants fans.

19. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
68-78 3-7 -32 16 (-3) ⬇️

Despite another sub-.500 record, there's plenty to get excited about in the desert. Zac Gallen's breakout campaign has solidified him as the ace of the rotation and someone who could challenge for the Cy Young for years to come. The versatile Daulton Varsho has quietly emerged as one of the bright young stars in MLB. It will always be a difficult road with the Dodgers reigning supreme in the NL West, but the D-Backs appear poised to emerge as another worthy challenger.

Meg Oliphant / Getty Images Sport / Getty

20. Los Angeles Angels

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
64-82 4-6 -50 20 (-)

At the very least, the Angels can celebrate personal achievements, though we're not sure that makes the campaign better or worse. Shohei Ohtani has proven he isn't a one-season wonder and has somehow produced a better year than 2021's MVP-winning campaign. He has a legitimate shot at becoming the first back-to-back winner since Miguel Cabrera in 2013 and will likely get top-five Cy Young votes as well. Meanwhile, Mike Trout is four home runs away from his third 40-homer campaign. Who needs the postseason, right?

21. Texas Rangers

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
63-83 4-6 -22 21 (-)

A season that started with plenty of promise, even by a rebuilding team's standards, is ending in misery. Big-ticket free-agent acquisitions Marcus Semien and Corey Seager have been solid but not quite as great as the Rangers envisioned in the winter. The outfield remains something of a patchwork operation beyond Adolis Garcia. However, Texas' future will be on full display down the stretch. Top prospect Josh Jung has hit three homers in his first 10 big-league games. Speedy outfielder Bubba Thompson, a former first-round pick, has 16 steals in his first 40 contests. They'll both be staples in Arlington next year and on the next Rangers club that contends. As they continue to get their feet wet, remember that better days are ahead in Texas.

22. Colorado Rockies

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
64-82 7-3 -132 23 (+1) ⬆️

What is the plan moving forward in Colorado? The franchise clearly has no intention of a total rebuild after signing Kris Bryant and extending veteran reliever Daniel Bard. There are some exciting prospects in the pipeline, but the Rockies are lacking in the pitching department and aren't exactly overflowing with impact bats. GM Bill Schmidt could do something surprising again this offseason, but Colorado appears to be far from postseason contention.

23. Chicago Cubs

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
62-84 5-5 -98 24 (+1) ⬆️

The Cubs are one of the most fascinating teams to keep an eye on this offseason. Things didn't go according to plan this campaign, but there's been a few bright spots. Nico Hoerner's emergence as a strong all-around infielder and Justin Steele's breakout in the rotation are encouraging developments for the future. Chicago possesses the resources to make a major splash this offseason and could easily find themselves back in contention as early as 2023.

24. Miami Marlins

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
60-87 3-7 -106 25 (+1) ⬆️

Don't look now, but Miami is going to be playing some meaningful baseball in October. OK, we're stretching it just a little bit here. But before this latest lost Marlins season is done, Don Mattingly's club will have a say in the playoff picture. Miami's last nine games are against contenders: three at the Mets, four at Milwaukee, and a final three-game set at home against Atlanta. Will the Marlins roll over? Or will they shake up some pennant races with a couple of upset wins? Staff ace Sandy Alcantara will lead the club down the stretch as he attempts to win the first Cy Young in franchise history.

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

25. Kansas City Royals

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
58-89 3-7 -167 26 (+1) ⬆️

Kansas City is set to lose more games this season than last, though it feels like the future is brighter than this time last year. Bobby Witt Jr. is first on the club in RBIs and second in homers while playing jaw-dropping defense. Brady Singer is enjoying a breakout year with a 3.07 ERA over 140 2/3 innings. The problem is that the Royals have struggled to develop a strong core around these two young stars, and next season looks destined to be another development year.

26. Cincinnati Reds

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
58-89 2-8 -124 22 (-4) ⬇️

Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo are providing some hope for the starting rotation's future in Cincinnati. Greene's had an up-and-down rookie season, and his ERA and WHIP are higher than one might like. However, his electric fastball has helped him rack up 138 strikeouts over 108 2/3 innings. Greene struck out 11 across six innings of four-hit shutout ball in his return from the injured list Saturday, showing that he should finish the season strong. Meanwhile, Lodolo made a little history with consecutive 11-strikeout, zero-walk outings to open September. The only Reds pitcher with a lower ERA and FIP than Lodolo this season is Luis Castillo, who was traded at the deadline. Cincinnati's staff should be in good hands going forward with Greene, Lodolo, and the injured Graham Ashcraft in the rotation.

27. Detroit Tigers

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
55-91 4-6 -173 27 (-)

Somehow the Tigers have gone backward. The offense has been almost non-existent, scoring the fewest runs and homers in the majors. Big-ticket acquisitions Javier Baez, Austin Meadows, and Eduardo Rodriguez have disappointed. The hope is that Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson can finish the season strong and head into the offseason with some confidence. The eventual new GM will have a lot of work to do this winter.

28. Oakland Athletics

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
53-94 3-7 -191 28 (-)

It's been a long time since Athletics fans have seen their team be this bad, and Mark Kotsay's club is trying to avoid making some inglorious history. The A's are on pace to lose 100 games for just the second time since moving to Oakland in 1968. If they somehow lose out, they'd tie the 109-loss 1915 Philadelphia A's for the second-worst record in franchise history. A 16-game losing streak to finish the season is quite unlikely, even for a team this bad. But with nine of its final 15 contests against contenders, it may be difficult for Oakland to avoid the dreaded 100-loss mark.

29. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
55-92 4-6 -214 30 (+1) ⬆️

The Pirates will look to dodge posting back-to-back 100-loss seasons for the first time since the 1950s. There's a shot they can leapfrog the Reds to crawl out of the NL Central basement, which would be a small victory after finishing last in each of the previous three years. Pittsburgh needs to continue building for the future, and keeping its young players focused down the stretch is crucial. Hopefully, no more players will be snacking on seeds while the ball is in play.

30. Washington Nationals

Record Last 10 RD Previous Rank (Change)
51-95 3-7 -210 29 (-1) ⬇️

In a dreary season, the Joey Meneses story has been one glimmer in D.C. The 30-year-old journeyman finally made his MLB debut after grinding in the minors for 10 seasons. Meneses has taken full advantage of his long-awaited opportunity, posting impressive offensive numbers. Meneses' story might not possess staying power, but it's been a fun ride to follow.

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