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We have a new No. 1 atop Power Rankings

@alysonfooter
August 10, 2020

Each week, we’ve opened up our Power Rankings discussion with a rundown of what’s unusual, unexpected or downright strange in this odd season. So this time, let’s instead examine what about the season so far hasn’t been surprising. That list isn’t as long. We knew the Dodgers and Yankees had

Each week, we’ve opened up our Power Rankings discussion with a rundown of what’s unusual, unexpected or downright strange in this odd season.

So this time, let’s instead examine what about the season so far hasn’t been surprising. That list isn’t as long.

We knew the Dodgers and Yankees had the potential to be dominant. They have not disappointed.

Los Angeles was No. 1 heading into the season, although the Yankees supplanted them for the top spot last week. But with Walker Buehler hitting his stride, the Dodgers are back on top and looking like they might be there for a while.

Then there are the A’s, who we knew were going to be good; the only question was whether it would take them awhile to get hot. As we know, being a “second-half team” in a 60-game campaign isn’t helpful. With a quarter of the season in the books, it’s clear the A’s are not going to take their time revving up their engines. They enter a new workweek with the best record in baseball.

What else isn’t surprising? How about this -- teams that have regularly ended up at the bottom of our rankings the past few years are starting to climb upward. The Tigers, Marlins, Padres and Orioles -- all of whom are at various stages of rebuilding processes – are winning ballgames in the early going. In a short season with expanded playoffs, October baseball may be on the table for more teams than we think.

Biggest jump: We’ll have to check the official Power Rankings record book, but the Marlins may have just made the biggest jump in history. They were No. 27 last week and have climbed a whopping 12 spots, to No. 15. It’s not just that they’re winning. It’s how they’re doing it -- with a roster that has experienced more upheaval over a two-week stretch than most organizations would see over a full season. Yes, they have games to make up. Yes, it’s a small sample size. But when they have played, they’ve been entertaining.

(Honorable mention goes to the Rockies, who jumped eight spots, from No. 16 to No. 8, and are a half-game ahead of the Dodgers in the NL West standings.)

Biggest drop: The Blue Jays and the Nationals both dropped six spots -- Toronto from No. 19 to No. 25, and Washington from No. 11 to No. 17. The Nats are another team that has been affected by postponements, so it’s probably best to temper criticism of the World Series champs at this point. That said, they did not have a good weekend against the Orioles, who beat them 11-0 in the series opener Friday.

Power Rankings top 5:

1) Dodgers (2 last week)
The Dodgers have won nine of their past 12 games with a +29 run differential (65-36). AJ Pollock and Mookie Betts each homered on Sunday, extending the Dodgers’ home run streak to 11 consecutive games. Of those 11 games, they’ve produced two or more homers eight times.

2) Yankees (1)
The Yankees didn’t have a great weekend, dropping three of four to the Rays while losing Giancarlo Stanton to a strained left hamstring. The Yankees now seem a little more mortal at 10-6, and they’ll have to “get a little creative,” according to manager Aaron Boone, to find designated-hitter replacements. Mike Ford got the start at DH on Sunday, and Aaron Judge may see some at-bats at that position when he takes a night off from the field. Miguel Andújar and Clint Frazier will be considered for promotion as well.

3) A’s (7)
The A’s pulled off a three-game sweep over the Astros to extend their winning streak to nine games. It’s the longest win streak of any team this season. The rotation has been as good as advertised, and the bullpen, viewed as less of a sure thing when the season began, has been a strength so far. Relievers have posted a 0.81 (3 ER/33 1/3 IP) during the win streak.

4) Twins (3)
Although the Twins have lost four in a row, matching their longest losing streak from the 2019 season, our Power Rankings voting crew clearly still has confidence in these Bombas. Their overall record of 10-6 is still very good, even with a sweep by the Royals. The Twins are still hitting home runs -- they have 25 so far this year -- but 18 of them are of the solo variety. Byron Buxton has started to heat up -- he’s hit three home runs in his past four games.

5) Cubs (5)
The Cubs missed out on playing over the weekend due to their series with the Cardinals being postponed, but they took the hiatus in stride, worked out at Wrigley Field and will resume their season Tuesday in Cleveland. The Cubs are 10-3 and are the only team in the National League Central with a record above .500, giving them a sizeable lead in the division with a quarter of the season in the books.

The rest of the field of 30:
6) Braves (4 last week)
7) Indians (10)
8) Rockies (16)
9) Rays (6)
10) Astros (9)
11) Padres (8)
12) Reds (13)
13) White Sox (14)
14) Cardinals (12)
15) Marlins (27)
16) Phillies (17)
17) Nationals (11)
18) Mets (20)
19) Brewers (15)
20) Angels (18)
21) D-backs (21)
22) Orioles (26)
23) Red Sox (22)
24) Rangers (23)
25) Blue Jays (19)
26) Tigers (30)
27) Giants (24)
28) Royals (25)
29) Mariners (28)
30) Pirates (29)

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

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.