Some teams have already qualified for the postseason heading into the final week of the regular season, and that is anchoring them at the top of the Power Rankings.
The Rays – who clinched the AL East title for the second year in a row on Saturday with a win over the Tropicana Field crowd – are ranked No. 3 in this week’s rankings, following votes from the MLB.com expert panel. The Brewers (who conquered the National League Central) and the Astros (who have their magic number at two) are at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.
However, the battle that everyone still follows is the Dodgers-Giants rivalry. But both clubs will finish with more than 100 victories in 2021. Sure, there can only be one National League West champion. And only one can top the Power Rankings.
For our voters, it was a clear choice: San Francisco, which has a two-game lead over Los Angeles and owns the best record in the majors. The Giants were unanimous No. 1 this week, though anything can happen in the division fight. The Dodgers will conclude the season with series against the Padres and Brewers, while the Giants will finish against the D-backs and Padres.
Here, this week’s Power Rankings:
The biggest jump: The Yankees rose to No. 7. The Bronx Bombers seized the first Young Circuit Wildcard, leaving the Red Sox down thanks to a reaction in a curious eighth inning of Sunday’s game, which also included the third home run by Giancarlo Stanton of the series at Fenway Park after a grand slam on Saturday.
The biggest drop: The Blue Jays fell three spots from No. 8 to No. 11 after the Yankees passed them in the fight for the Wild Card. However, there is still plenty of time for Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Marcus Semien and company to drive Toronto into the postseason in their key series against the Yankees this week at the Rogers Center.
Top 5 of the Power Rankings
1. Giants (1 last week)
Giants ‘captain’ Brandon Belt has been on fire in September, hitting .337 with nine homers and a 1,150 OPS. His two-home run on Saturday helped San Francisco extend its lead over the Dodgers in the West – and helped his team hit 236 home runs this season.
2. Dodgers (2)
Although the Dodgers are still second in the division – which would have them as the hosts of the Wild Card Game on the Old Circuit – Trea Turner is having stellar performances. The infielder had his first multi-homer game as a member of the Dodgers this weekend, while also leading the National League in hits (182) and ripped off (31).
3. Rays (3)
Divisional champions again. Tampa Bay has made the playoffs for the third consecutive season. Brandon Lowe, who had four hits and three doubles in their division title game, now has 63 extra-base hits this season (34 homers, 29 doubles). That’s the second-most among major league second basemen, behind only Ozzie Albies of the Braves.
4. Astros (5)
Houston is close to clinching its fourth AL West title in the past five seasons and its fifth straight postseason move. Young ranger Kyle Tucker has been tasked with making his way through one of the deepest lineups in the majors – he’s hitting .328 with 13 homers and a 1.037 second-half OPS, including .354 with six home runs and a 1,179 OPS in September.
5. Brewers (4)
Ace Corbin Burnes guided Milwaukee to the NL Central title. The Brewers have won each of his last 12 starts, in which the right-hander is 7-0 with a 2.21 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 77.1 innings. Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta will give Milwaukee one of the strongest rotations this postseason.
6. White Sox (6 last week)
Voters: Alyson Footer, Anthony Castrovince, Jesse Sánchez, Mark Feinsand, Nathalie Alonso, Mike Petriello, Sarah Langs, Andrew Simon, David Venn