Power Rankings: Top teams rolling into Oct.

September 28th, 2020

Did everyone enjoy that frantic finish?

Now that a wacky, exhilarating final day of the regular season is behind us and the field of 16 postseason teams is set, it’s time to both look ahead to October and reflect on a 60-game campaign that was historic, unique, difficult and challenging -- but it’s also complete, and that’s the most important part.

Raise your hand if you guessed four of five teams in the National League Central would make their way into the postseason. Or that two teams would make it with sub-.500 records. Or that the two teams whose seasons were upended early in the season because of COVID outbreaks would not only make the postseason but prove to be two of the strongest teams in the field of 16.

Before we roll into October, let’s take one more overhead glance of all 30 teams, in our final all-inclusive Power Rankings of 2020:

Biggest jump: The Twins and Orioles jumped four spots -- Minnesota from No. 7 to No. 3 and Baltimore from No. 24 to No. 20. In this space, let’s tip our cap to the Orioles, who improved their team ERA from last year by nearly a full run, while housing one of the top 10 bullpens in baseball.

Biggest drop: There wasn’t much movement this week; in fact, only one team dropped more than two spots -- the Angels, who fell to No. 25 from No. 22. Incidentally, this development occurred the same day as the club parted ways with GM Billy Eppler.

1) Dodgers (43-17; 1 last week)

First opponent: home vs. Brewers

Nothing new to see here, folks. The Dodgers won more than 70 percent of their games, becoming the first National League team with a .700-plus win percentage since the 1909 Pirates, who were 110-42, a .724 clip. The Dodgers won on Sunday and ended the regular season at .717. They ended the season with an ERA of 3.02 and a 1.06 WHIP, both the best in baseball.

2) Rays (40-20; 2)

First opponent: home vs. Blue Jays

The Rays finished the season on a hot streak, winning nine of their last 11 games to end with a 40-20 record, the best in the American League. The bullpen had a 2.13 ERA over that stretch (10 ER/42 1/3 IP). Individually, Nick Anderson posted a 0.55 ERA (1 ER/16 1/3 IP) in 2020, while opponents were just 5-for-55 with 26 strikeouts against him.

3) Twins (36-24; 7)

First opponent: home vs. Astros

The Twins will host the Astros at home in the first round of the postseason, with the operative word being “home.” Minnesota is an MLB-best 24-7 in home games. Also, the Twins’ 16-8 mark in September was the best in the AL.

4) Padres (37-23; 3)

First opponent: home vs. Cardinals

Fernando Tatis, Jr. homered in two of his past three games to finish in second place for the NL lead in homers with 17, behind Marcell Ozuna (18). They won on Sunday to wrap up their best regular season since 2006, while earning home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

5) A’s (36-24; 5)

First opponent: home vs. White Sox

The A’s bullpen scuffled down stretch, allowing 21 earned runs over 26 2/3 innings, but they still finished with the lowest bullpen ERA in baseball. Meanwhile, Jake Lamb, who is handling third-base duties in place of Matt Chapman, has nine RBIs in 13 games since joining Oakland on Sept. 14.

The rest of the field of 30:

  1. Yankees (at Indians/33-27; 4 last week)
  1. White Sox (at A’s/35-25; 6)
  1. Braves (vs. Reds/35-25; 9)
  1. Indians (vs. Yankees/35-25; 10)
  1. Cubs (vs. Marlins/34-26; 8)
  1. Reds (at Braves/31-29; 14)
  1. Blue Jays (at Rays/32-28; 12)
  1. Astros (at Twins/29-31; 11)
  1. Cardinals (at Padres/30-28; 15)
  1. Marlins (at Cubs/31-29; 13)
  1. Brewers (at Dodgers/29-31; 18)
  1. Phillies (28-32; 16)
  1. Giants (29-31; 17)
  1. Mets (26-34; 19)
  1. Orioles (25-35; 24)
  1. Tigers (23-35; 23)
  1. Mariners (27-33; 20)
  1. Rockies (26-34; 21)
  1. Nationals (26-34; 25)
  1. Angels (26-34; 22)
  1. Royals (26-34; 26)
  1. D-backs (25-35; 27)
  1. Rangers (22-38; 29)
  1. Red Sox (24-36; 28)
  1. Pirates (19-41; 30)