We are days away from Wednesday’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline, and though there have been a few deals made already -- Marcus Stroman to the Mets being the most high-profile so far -- it’s clear the party is just getting started.
This week’s Power Rankings spotlight teams that, with an exception here and there, have one thing in common: The past couple of weeks have not been easy on the win-loss records.
Other than the Astros, most of the elite clubs have hit rough patches lately, whether it’s because of starting pitching (Yankees), bullpen issues (Twins) or poor defense (Dodgers).
By now, all contending teams have undoubtedly identified their weaknesses, and most are expected to do something before the Deadline passes on Wednesday. Some teams may tweak here and there, while others are expected to dive into something splashier. With only one true Trade Deadline, the next 72 hours should be fascinating to follow.
Biggest jump: The Cardinals jumped five, from No. 13 to No. 8. Paul Goldschmidt has been a force, slashing .345/.387/.966 with six homers and 13 RBIs over his past seven games. In his previous 41 games, he had a slash line of .201/.288/.368 with six homers and 17 RBIs.
Biggest drop: The Cubs (No. 10 to No. 5) and the Rays (No. 12 to No. 7) each dropped five spots. Chicago won big on Sunday over the Brewers, avoiding its first sweep at Miller Park since 2013, which helped to erase some of the bitterness from a week's worth of games that produced two wins. The Rays also won Sunday, but they barely squeaked by the Blue Jays in a 10-9 victory. Tampa Bay's pitchers have given up 22 runs in the seventh inning or later over their past 12 games (but none on Sunday).
1. Dodgers (2 last week)
They had a bit of a sloppy ending to their series with the Nationals, losing 11-4 in the finale, but the past 10 days or so have been relatively steady for the National League West leaders. Their plus-164 run differential leads the Major Leagues, with the next-highest belonging to the Astros, at plus-126. Still, the Dodgers are not without their issues -- they've acknowledged they need to clean up their defense, which has had several glaring lapses since play resumed after the All-Star break.
2. Astros (3)
A lineup that was already on a tear is now back to full strength with the recent activation of Carlos Correa off the injured list. The Astros have won nine of their past 11 games and have scored 67 runs -- 6.1 per game -- during that stretch. Of all of the mashers in Houston's lineup, one stands out among the rest -- Yuli Gurriel, who is batting .430 (28-for-65) with six home runs and 15 RBIs during his 16-game hitting streak.
3. Yankees (1)
The Yankees snuck out of Boston with a win on the final day of a brutal four-game series with the Red Sox. Losing three of four did nothing to hurt New York in the American League East standings -- they're still in full control with an 8 1/2-game lead -- but it exposed some flaws in the starting rotation. Now the Yankees have to figure out how serious the issues are -- did they just have a bad week, or is this a sign of more to come? Over their past eight games, Yankees pitchers have allowed 79 runs.
4. Twins (6)
The Twins needed a lift, and they got one on Sunday, in the form of a landslide win over the White Sox. That sealed a series win and took some of the negative attention off the bullpen, which, entering Sunday, had allowed 35 runs over 37 innings (6.57 ERA) over 11 games. On a slightly sunnier note, Nelson Cruz has been on a tear, logging 10 home runs and 16 RBIs during a 16-game on-base streak.
5. Braves (4)
In the first two games of their weekend series with the Phillies, the Braves scored 24 runs on 23 hits, and their hitters scored more often than they struck out (24-21). Ronald Acuna Jr., even with his early exit on Sunday with neck soreness, is riding a streak of 32 games in which he's reached base safely. It's the longest active on-base streak in the Majors. In his past seven games, Acuna is slashing .357/.471/.571.
The rest of the top 20:
- Indians (9 last week)
- Red Sox (10)
- Cardinals (13)
- Nationals (11)
- Cubs (5)
- A’s (8)
- Rays (7)
- Phillies (14)
- Giants (17)
- Brewers (12)
- D-backs (15)
- Angels (19)
- Rangers (16)
- Reds (NR)
- Mets (NR)