Published On: Mon, Aug 22nd, 2016

MLB Power Rankings: Royals rally up the standings

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With roughly a quarter of the season left to play, the defending champions are making their run. The Kansas City Royals are our high riser in this edition, climbing six spots to No. 13 after a perfect 7-0 week. The Royals will need to keep their impressive pace up if they’re to hold off the Seattle Mariners (up four spots), who have won 14 of 20 to sneak back into the playoff race and muddy the crowded AL wild-card field.

Our biggest drop-offs of the week include playoff-aspiring clubs such as the slumping Giants (-5) and Mets (-4), while the inconsistent Astros (-5) slide five spots despite salvaging their week with a three-game winning streak.

1. Chicago Cubs

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
78-45 83-40 1 (-)

Cubs starters own a 1.91 ERA in August thanks in large part to the efforts of Kyle Hendricks. The 26-year-old breakout star owns a 1.23 ERA this month, lowering his season ERA to an MLB-best 2.19 among qualified starters.

2. Washington Nationals

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
73-50 77-46 2 (-)

Mark Melancon has shored up the back end of the Nationals’ bullpen. Since his July 30 acquisition, the closer has allowed just one run and six hits in 9 1/3 innings while striking out 10 and converting all six save opportunities.

3. Texas Rangers

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
73-52 63-62 3 (+2)

The Carlos Gomez era in Texas has begun as the confrontational outfielder was brought in to replace the injured Shin-Soo Choo. Gomez will serve as the 10th outfielder the Rangers use this season and might not be the last should he not improve upon his .594 OPS.

4. Cleveland Indians

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
71-51 71-51 7 (+3)

The Indians have shown a flair for the dramatic the past two weeks, capping an 11-game homestand Sunday with another wild come-from-behind victory over the Blue Jays. Cleveland went 8-3 at Progressive Field, with six comeback wins, including two walkoffs.


5. Toronto Blue Jays

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
70-54 72-52 4 (-1)

The Blue Jays fell to 14-22 in one-run games on the season with a pair of heart-wrenching losses in Cleveland this weekend as their remarkably consistent bullpen finally cracked. Despite the hiccup, Toronto relievers own the third-lowest ERA in baseball this month.

6. Boston Red Sox

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
69-54 72-51 6 (-)

The Red Sox starting pitching has been excellent this month, but a shaky bullpen will likely cause plenty of anxious moments for the club down the stretch. Boston’s relief corps own a 6.54 ERA and have blown an AL-high four saves over the past two weeks.

7. Los Angeles Dodgers

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
68-55 68-55 9 (+2)

The Dodgers went 3-3 against two teams with a combined 102-132 record, but there’s still plenty of reasons to smile in Chavez Ravine as Clayton Kershaw said his back feels 100 percent and Rich Hill is on the verge of coming off the DL.

8. San Francisco Giants

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
68-55 67-57 3 (-5)

The only thing more scary than the Giants second-half slump is Hunter Pence’s face. The team is hitting just .209 with runners in scoring position since the All-Star break, leading to the third-fewest runs scored in the NL.

9. St. Louis Cardinals

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
66-57 69-54 11 (+2)

The Cardinals picked up their major-league leading 38th road win Sunday as they ended a nine-game roadtrip 6-3. However, they might not want to return to St. Louis as they’re the only team with a record below .500 at home.


10. Baltimore Orioles

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
67-55 63-60 8 (-2)

The Orioles hit 16 homers and averaged five runs per game this week, but still finished 1-5 and sit just one game ahead of the Mariners for the second wild card. Baltimore’s pitchers own a 6.05 ERA over the past two weeks – the majors’ second-worst mark.

11. Seattle Mariners

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
66-57 67-56 15 (+4)

The Mariners have their King back, as Felix Hernandez hasn’t lost an outing since coming off the DL on July 15. He’s also striking out a batter per inning while limiting opposing hitters to a .194 average over the last 30 days.

12. Miami Marlins

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
65-59 64-60 13 (+1)

Giancarlo Stanton may be able to return from a groin strain before season’s end, which is fantastic news for the Fish, who remain near the top of the hunt for a wild-card spot.

13. Kansas City Royals

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
64-60 59-65 19 (+6)

The Royals’ tremendous week featured an eight-game winning streak and some fantastic baseball from Alex Gordon, who knocked five long balls and slugged 1.130. Meanwhile, the Royals bullpen didn’t allow a single run over 18 1/3 innings. The rally mantis is strong and alive in K.C.


14. Detroit Tigers

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
65-59 63-61 12 (-2)

Aside from J.D. Martinez, it was a bad week for the Tigers’ offense, as Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, and Victor Martinez all hit under .200 while Detroit was easily handled by K.C. This team needs to score to win.

15. Houston Astros

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
64-60 67-57 10 (-5)

After a terrible start to the week, Houston landed in Baltimore for a slug fest and came out winners of three straight. The four-game series produced 63 runs between the two sides.

16. New York Yankees

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
63-60 58-65 17 (+1)

Gary Sanchez continued an incredible August that featured a 1.790 OPS over the past week after he made Blue Jays pitchers pay before another impressive series against the Angels. Watch out Seattle, you’re next.

17. Pittsburgh Pirates

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
62-59 61-60 16 (-1)

After sweeping the Giants at home, the Pirates disappointed their hometown fans with three straight losses to the Marlins, who they’re neck-and-neck with for one of the two wild-card spots.

18. New York Mets

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
61-62 61-63 14 (-4)

The Mets are still fun to watch thanks to Noah Syndergaard’s home runs and Yoenis Cespedes’ flare, but being at .500 isn’t where the Mets hoped to be at this point in the season after such an impressive 2015.


19. Colorado Rockies

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
60-64 64-60 18 (-1)

The Rockies can mash with the best of them, which was apparent in their series against the Cubs, but even with Nolan Arenado making a case for NL MVP after an 11-RBI week, Colorado still isn’t playing .500 ball.

20. Chicago White Sox

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
59-64 57-66 20 (-)

Even with the ridiculous turnaround by the Royals’ Danny Duffy, Jose Quintana is arguably the best lefty in the AL right now, but his lack of run support and playing for a losing team may kill his chances of winning a Cy Young.

21. Philadelphia Phillies

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
58-67 50-75 21 (-)

The Phillies aren’t bad enough to get the top pick again, but they’re not good enough to draw fans, either as Citizen Bank Park was half full for Sunday’s finale against St. Louis. Yes, it’s been a conflicting season for Phillies fans, who cheered Chase Utley as he single-handedly beat them this week even though their team is suddenly just 5 1/2 games behind the Mets for third place.

22. Tampa Bay Rays

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
52-70 60-62 27 (+5)

It’s too little too late for the Rays, who have quietly put together a solid second half. Tampa’s won 17 of 30 games, triggered by the hot play of Evan Longoria and Brad Miller, who are slugging .702 and .778, respectively, over the last two weeks.

23. Cincinnati Reds

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
53-70 52-71 28 (+5)

Armed with the second-best record since the break at 21-13, the Reds are on the verge of finally moving out of the basement. A big reason for Cincinnati’s recent success continues to be the amazing Joey Votto, who’s hitting .447 (51-for-114 with 15 extra-base hits) in the second half.

24. Oakland Athletics

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
53-71 52-72 23 (-1)

Oakland’s disastrous season took a dark turn last week and it had nothing to do with losing five of six games. Before Billy Butler and Danny Valencia reportedly fought in the clubhouse, Coco Crisp accused management of purposely benching him to avoid activating his vesting option.


25. San Diego Padres

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
53-71 56-68 24 (-1)

The Padres are fresh off just their third series win of the second half – small consolation for a team outscored 25-3 during a three-game series with the Rays to begin the week.

26. Arizona Diamondbacks

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
51-73 50-74 26 (-)

D-Backs ownership is reportedly considering firing its front-office brain trust, but that won’t do much this season to help the pitching staff, which owns a major-league worst 5.13 ERA.

27. Los Angeles Angels

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
52-72 58-66 25 (-2)

Forget the Angels (losers of 15 of 20, and 20 of 30) and let’s focus on Mike Trout instead. The superhuman 25-year-old sports his highest average, OBP, and stolen base totals since 2013.

28. Milwaukee Brewers

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
53-70 53-70 22 (-6)

The Brewers have been playing for next year for quite some time now, and judging by the play of rookie Keon Broxton, there’s actually something to look forward to. The young center fielder continues to impress, coming off a 14-day stretch in which he slashed .341/.438/.610 with three homers and seven steals.

29. Minnesota Twins

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
49-75 53-71 29 (-)

What a difference a half makes. Brian Dozier has rediscovered his All-Star form since the break, smacking an MLB-best 14 homers in 36 games while producing the third-most WAR (1.9) in the AL.

30. Atlanta Braves

RECORD PYTHAG RECORD PREVIOUS RANK (CHANGE)
45-79 46-78 30 (-)

The Dansby Swanson Era is underway in Atlanta, where the promise and hope of a new stadium and a fresh start can’t come quick enough. The Braves, losers of eight of their last 10, remain on track to pair another No. 1 pick with the aforementioned shortstop after ending the week with a four-game “lead” for worst record in the majors.

*The composite rankings were compiled by theScore MLB editors Lucas Casaletto, George Halim, Jonathan Soveta, Dan Toman, and Brandon Wile.



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