By: Chris Larson
This is the second to last Week In Review/Top 15 Power Rankings report for this year's regular season and it is certainly hard to believe. This season seemed to go by in the blink of an eye, but provided plenty of excitement throughout and there's still some competitive baseball going on, most notably in the National League. Regardless, with one week left in the regular season, we will likely be treated to a couple more monumental moments before the final bell rings next Sunday, but first let's take a look at what happened over the past week and hand out credit where it is due.
Week In Review
1. Houston Astros (98-57) [Ranking Last Week: 1]
2. Boston Red Sox (105-51) [Ranking Last Week: 2]
3. Los Angeles Dodgers (87-69) [Ranking Last Week: 7]
4. Chicago Cubs (91-64) [Ranking Last Week: 4]
5. Atlanta Braves (88-68) [Ranking Last Week: 10]
6. Cleveland Indians (87-68) [Ranking Last Week: 9]
7. Oakland Athletics (94-62) [Ranking Last Week: 5]
8. Milwaukee Brewers (89-67) [Ranking Last Week: 6]
9. New York Yankees (95-60) [Ranking Last Week: 3]
10. Colorado Rockies (85-70) [Ranking Last Week: 8]
11. St. Louis Cardinals (87-69) [Ranking Last Week: 11]
12. Tampa Bay Rays (87-68) [Ranking Last Week: 15]
13. Seattle Mariners (85-70) [Ranking Last Week: 14]
14. Philadelphia Phillies (78-77) [Ranking Last Week: 13]
15. Arizona Diamondbacks (79-77) [Ranking Last Week: 12]
Summary of Thoughts
It's definitely hard to argue with the first two teams in the Top 15 Power Rankings list. As was written about last week, the Houston Astros are the BEST team in baseball, even though the Boston Red Sox record might say that Boston is really. Houston has it all going for them, however, the Charlie Morton situation is something that will be worth keeping an eye on. Charlie Morton was slated to play a significant role in the postseason for Houston and if they are without him, it's a bit of a step back. However, they have plenty of pitching depth in guys, such as Chris Devenski, Colin McHugh, and others who can hopefully help to fill the void. Outside of the Astros and Red Sox, the Los Angeles Dodgers saw the biggest climb this week and it's easy to see why, based on their 8-2 record over their last 10 games. There's no denying the fact that the Dodgers have turned their style of play up a notch and have really kept their foot on the gas pedal here over this final month. Also, Los Angeles has a dangerous 1-2 punch in, Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler now, something that could help them advantageously come October.
Beyond those 3, rounding out the Top 5 are the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves. Again, hard to argue with both of those choices based on recent play and just how both teams have fared throughout the course of this season, especially the young Atlanta Braves, who have already clinched the NL East. The Braves have a lot of things to like about them as do the Chicago Cubs who will likely be a threat in October once again. Both teams have been a lot of fun to watch down the stretch and Chicago is keeping things interesting in their race for the, NL Central crown, with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Outside of the Top 5, there's not many other notable thoughts on the Top 10, besides the fact that it was extremely difficult trying to rank the Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics, and Milwaukee Brewers, without putting any of the 3 in a tie for a certain position. All three teams have their advantages and weaknesses, but overall all 3 deserve a significant amount of recognition and will provide interesting storylines here over the final week of the regular season and come the postseason.
Beyond that, the most notable move in the bottom 5 on the list was the Tampa Bay Rays, who moved from the 15th spot to the 12th spot, over the span of this last week. Tampa Bay has played a very good brand of baseball since the beginning of August and are starting to show the tremendous amount of potential that they have going into next year. If the Rays played in another division, besides the American League East, they would probably be in a valuable position right now and could even have a chance of making it into the postseason. Hopefully, this winter the Rays front office can make the necessary moves to get the team over the hump and in next year's postseason mix.
MVPs of the Week
1. Blake Snell (Tampa Bay Rays): 0.00 ERA over 11.2 IP with 16 Strikeouts and a 0.69 WHIP
2. J.A. Happ (New York Yankees): 0.82 ERA over 11.0 IP with 13 Strikeouts
3. Yuli Gurriel (Houston Astros): 12-for-26 with 3 doubles, 3 home runs, 10 RBI, a .462 batting average, and a .462 on-base percentage
4. Luke Voit (New York Yankees): 7-for-19 with 4 home runs, 8 RBI, 1 walk, a .368 batting average, and a .400 on-base percentage
1. Kyle Hendricks (Chicago Cubs): 1.10 ERA over 16.1 IP with 13 Strikeouts and a .123 Opponent Batting Average Against
2. Hyun-Jin Ryu (Los Angeles Dodgers): 0.00 ERA over 13.0 IP with 13 Strikeouts and a 0.62 WHIP
3. Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves): 12-for-26 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 8 RBI, 2 walks, a .462 batting average, and a .500 on-base percentage
4. Freddy Galvis (San Diego Padres): 10-for-23 with 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 5 RBI, a .435 batting average, and a .435 on-base percentage