All the big trades reorder Power Rankings

August 2nd, 2021

There’s no perfect time to start watching Wild Card races in earnest, but the end of the Trade Deadline always seems to be a good marker. In a way, it serves as an unofficial signal that we’re deep into the season, and it’s OK to examine those standings with a little more clarity on who has a realistic shot at the postseason. 

In the American League, the Yankees, mired in mediocrity for much of the season, now look like a team that has a chance to get its act together before October. They addressed a dire need for a more balanced lineup by acquiring two lefties with pop in Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo, and while one weekend sweep of the Marlins is not nearly enough to tell us how they’ll fare down the stretch, the Deadline moves alone indicate the front office has not counted out this group.

Entering play Monday, the Yankees are only 2 1/2 games out of the second Wild Card spot. The Blue Jays and Mariners are right behind them, 3 1/2 games back. As it stands, the Red Sox and A’s are the leaders in the AL Wild Card race. 

In the National League, the surging Reds have some work to do if they’re to catch either the Dodgers or Padres, but a four-game deficit in the Wild Card standings is hardly insurmountable. There are plenty of us who have always assumed the two Wild Card teams will come out of the West, but there’s at least one Midwest team that might quibble with that theory.

Biggest jump: Not a lot of movement in this area -- three teams jumped two: the Dodgers (3 to 1), Marlins (23 to 21) and Twins (24 to 22). Let’s use this space to send a hat tip to the Tigers, who, after spending all season in the bottom five, cracked the top 20 this week. Here’s a fun fact: The Tigers led baseball in runs scored in July with 147. The Dodgers were second with 145.

Biggest drop: The Nationals dropped four spots, from 20 to 24. While it’ll probably be another week before the flurry of Trade Deadline moves will reflect as a whole on the Power Rankings, it’s clear that our voting body didn’t need to wait to see what will happen to the Nats after they traded Max Scherzer and Trea Turner.

Power Rankings Top 5

1) Dodgers (3 last week)
The Dodgers have a must-see series coming up this week -- they’ll host the Astros, who will play for the first time in front of fans at Chavez Ravine since details of the sign-stealing scandal became public in 2019. The Dodgers plan to start Walker Buehler (Tuesday) and Scherzer (Wednesday). This will be Scherzer’s Dodgers debut.

2) Giants (1)
The Giants were given a boost by their newest acquisition, Kris Bryant, who homered in Sunday’s 5-3 win over Houston. That sealed a series win over the Astros and marked the Giants’ 66th win, the most in baseball. Their lead in the NL West could increase even more this week -- on Monday, the Giants begin a four-game series in Arizona against the struggling D-backs.

3) Astros (2)
Houston is 3-3 so far on what is arguably its most challenging road trip of the year. The Astros won two of three in Seattle before losing two of three in San Francisco, and they’ll end the West Coast sojourn with two against the Dodgers. The Astros addressed their one real area of concern when they strengthened their bullpen at the Trade Deadline, but the rotation of late has had its struggles, too. Astros starting pitchers have a 6.98 ERA in their past six starts.

4) White Sox (5)
The White Sox haven’t had a great week, though they ended it on a high note, squeaking by the Indians with a 2-1 win on Sunday. Even with seven losses in their past 11 games, they’re in no danger of losing their stronghold on the AL Central division, which they lead by nine games entering Monday. They’ll host the Royals this week, beginning Tuesday, looking for redemption after dropping three of four in Kansas City last week.

5) Rays (4)
The Rays swept the Red Sox in a three-game set over the weekend, giving them a 1 1/2-game lead in the highly contested AL East. This is the first time the Rays have been in first place entering August since 2008, when they made their first playoff and World Series appearance.

The rest of the field of 30
6) Red Sox (6 last week)
7) Brewers (8)
8) Padres (7)
9) A’s (10)
10) Mets (9)
11) Blue Jays (11)
12) Yankees (12)
13) Reds (13)
14) Mariners (14)
15) Braves (15)
16) Phillies (17)
17) Indians (16)
18) Cardinals (18)
19) Angels (19)
20) Tigers (21)
21) Marlins (23)
22) Twins (24)
23) Cubs (22)
24) Nationals (20)
25) Royals (26)
26) Rockies (25)
27) Orioles (28)
28) Pirates (27)
29) Rangers (29)
30) D-backs (30)

Voters: Alyson Footer, Anthony Castrovince, Jesse Sanchez, Mark Feinsand, Nathalie Alonso, Mike Petriello, Sarah Langs, Andrew Simon, David Venn.