Power Rankings: Down to the wire

September 27th, 2021

Teams are clinching postseason positions now as we enter the final week of the regular season, and that's solidifying their spot in the top tier of the MLB.com Power Rankings.

The Rays, who clinched their second straight American League East title on Saturday with a win over the Marlins in front of a sold-out crowd at Tropicana Field, come in at No. 3 in the rankings this week, as voted on by a panel of MLB.com experts. The Astros and Brewers, who could be the next to lock up division titles in the AL West and National League Central, respectively, come in at No. 4 and No. 5.

But the race everyone is watching is still the Dodgers vs. Giants rivalry. Both teams are going to finish with over 100 wins in 2021. But there can only be one NL West champion. And only one top team in the Power Rankings.

Which, for our voters, was a clear choice: San Francisco, which holds a two-game lead over Los Angeles and has the best record in baseball. The Giants were a unanimous No. 1 this week, even though anything can happen in that division race. The Dodgers close out the season with series against the Padres and Brewers; the Giants finish against the D-backs and Padres.

Here are this week's Power Rankings.

Biggest jump: The Yankees jumped from outside the top 10 (they were ranked 11th last week) up to No. 7. The Bronx Bombers overtook the Red Sox for the top spot in the AL Wild Card standings on Sunday thanks to a wild eighth-inning rally including Giancarlo Stanton's third home run of the series, following his go-ahead slam Saturday.

Biggest drop: The Blue Jays fell three spots from No. 8 to No. 11 as the Yankees overtook them in the Wild Card race. There's still plenty of time for Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Marcus Semien and Co. to slug the Blue Jays back into the postseason, though, as the Jays host the Yankees for a critical series in Toronto this week.

Power Rankings Top 5

1) Giants (1 last week)
Giants "Captain" Brandon Belt has been huge in September, batting .337 with nine home runs and an 1.150 OPS. His two-homer game on Saturday helped San Francisco extend its lead over the Dodgers in the West -- and helped the Giants set a franchise record with their 236th home run of the season.

2) Dodgers (2)
Though the Dodgers still trail the Giants in their division, which would set them up to host the NL Wild Card Game, All-Star trade acquisition Trea Turner is turning in some All-Star performances. Turner recorded his first multi-homer game as a Dodger this weekend, and he's leading the league in both hits (182) and stolen bases (31).

3) Rays (3)
Division champions again. The Rays are heading to the playoffs for a third straight season. Brandon Lowe, who had four hits and three doubles in the AL East clincher, now has 63 extra-base hits this season (34 homers, 29 doubles). That's second-most among second basemen behind the Braves' Ozzie Albies.

4) Astros (5)
The Astros are close to clinching their fourth division title in the last five seasons and their fifth straight postseason berth. Young outfielder Kyle Tucker has been leading the way for one of the deepest lineups in baseball -- he's batting .328 with 13 home runs and a 1.037 OPS in the second half, including .354 with six homers and an 1.179 OPS in September.

5) Brewers (4)
Ace Corbin Burnes has helped pitch Milwaukee to the NL Central title. The Brewers have won each of his last 12 starts, a run in which he's 7-0 with a 2.21 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 77 1/3 innings. Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta will give Milwaukee one of the toughest playoff rotations of 2021.

The rest of the field of 30

  1. White Sox (6 last week)
  2. Yankees (11)
  3. Red Sox (7)
  4. Cardinals (10)
  5. Braves (9)
  6. Blue Jays (8)
  7. Mariners (16)
  8. A's (12)
  9. Phillies (15)
  10. Padres (13)
  11. Reds (14)
  12. Indians (19)
  13. Tigers (18)
  14. Mets (17)
  15. Rockies (21)
  16. Angels (20)
  17. Marlins (22)
  18. Royals (25)
  19. Twins (24)
  20. Cubs (23)
  21. Nationals (26)
  22. Rangers (27)
  23. Pirates (28)
  24. D-backs (29)
  25. Orioles (30)

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