MLB Power Rankings: Blue Jays up; how dominant are the Dodgers?

By Ben Verlander
FOX Sports MLB Analyst

We are just a couple of weeks away from the Major League Baseball playoffs, and there is so much excitement all around the league. 

Not only are there playoff races garnering everyone’s attention, but plenty of history is happening and being chased around the league as well. 

We’ve run the gamut from the historic home-run chases of Albert Pujols aiming for 700 and Aaron Judge eyeing Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs to Spencer Strider getting to 200 strikeouts in a season faster than any other pitcher in history, a record previously held by Randy Johnson.

Baseball is going strong right now. Let’s take a look at the teams going the strongest in this week’s power rankings.

MLB Power Rankings: Astros & Dodgers are STILL the top teams in baseball

Ben Verlander gives us his updated MLB Power Rankings with just weeks left in the regular season.

10) Cleveland Guardians

Since Sept. 1, the Guardians’ .833 road win percentage is tied for the best in baseball. The Guardians have also won nine of their past 11 inatthe most critical time of year. This week, they have a chance to really put an exclamation mark on the division through a head-to-head matchup with the second-place Chicago White Sox

9) Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays can thank their pitching for where they are this season. Rays starters have been dominant all year, posting the third-best ERA (3.39) in the majors, and the bullpen has been heavily leaned on. No team has gotten more innings from its bullpen than the Tampa Bay Rays. Right now, they’re sitting in the second spot in the AL wild-card race. 

8) Seattle Mariners

The Mariners are legitimate contenders come October due to their pitching. Since acquiring Luis Castillo, the best pitcher available at the trade deadline, the Mariners have the fifth-best starting ERA in baseball at 3.30. Pair good pitching with a stud named Julio Rodriguez, and you have a scary team. 

Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez leads three reasons Seattle can make the World Series

Ben Verlander and Alex Curry share their three reasons the Seattle Mariners can contend in the postseason.

7) Toronto Blue Jays

Since September started, no team has more wins than the Blue Jays with 13. Their team .268 average is the best in baseball, and they’ve scored the third-most runs in that span. The Blue Jays live and die by their offense. If the bats are hot, they are a tough team to beat. Over the past few weeks, they’ve been extremely hot — and very tough to beat.  

6) New York Yankees 

The Yankees’ season is a tale of two halves. In the first half of the season, they were on pace to break the single-season wins record set in 2001 by the Seattle Mariners. But after the All-Star break, the Yankees went on their worst 50-game stretch in more than 30 years. As for the third and final act? Time will tell. The Yankees have been better as of late, and Aaron Judge has put the team on his back as he continues his quest for the AL home run record.

Related: AL MVP hub — stats, information and cases for both Judge and Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani vs Aaron Judge: AL MVP update as the race heats up

Ben Verlander and Alex Curry give a weekly American League MVP update as both the Yankees’ Aaron Judge and Angels’ Shohei Ohtani make their MVP cases.

5) St. Louis Cardinals

Since the trade deadline Aug. 2, no team has more wins than the Cardinals with 33. They do it by jumping on you early. The Cardinals have scored 250 runs in innings 1-3, good for second in baseball. The Cardinals have an eight-game lead in the division with just a couple of weeks remaining. It’s time to start Albert Pujols every game and help him get to 700 home runs before the end of the season.

Related: Albert Pujols’ comeback season shows some storyies have happy endings

4) Atlanta Braves

Since June 1, the Braves are a remarkable 68-28, the best record in baseball. They still sit in second in the NL East behind the Mets, and the division title is important — as it would help them stay out of the wild card. Whether they make the playoffs via winning the division or as the first-seeded wild card, the Braves are one of the game’s elite teams.  

3) New York Mets

The Mets are one of two teams in MLB that have not lost more than three consecutive games this season. Their division rivals, the Braves, are the only other team that can say that. The Mets are scratching and clawing to stay atop the NL East, but it hasn’t been easy, with the Braves playing better than anyone else the past few months. The Mets have been great all year and have a very favorable schedule down the stretch, which should help them hold off Atlanta.  

2) Houston Astros

The Astros became the second team in baseball to punch their ticket to the playoffs last weekend, and they continue to have one of the most underrated staffs in baseball. The starters, led by Justin Verlander, have been phenomenal, sporting a 3.04 ERA, which is second in MLB. The bullpen sports a 2.77 ERA, by far the best in MLB. The Astros’ offense is led by superstars such as Yordan Alvarez, but the pitching is the reason the Astros are on pace for the second-most wins in a season in franchise history. They’re also just days away from making their fifth division title in a row official.  

Houston Astros clinch a playoff spot: Are they the best team in the AL?

Ben Verlander and Alex Curry react to the Houston Astros clinching a playoff spot for the sixth straight season. Ben also talks about Justin Verlander leading the pitching staff and continuing his Cy Young case.

1) Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers became the first team to clinch a postseason spot more than a week ago, and they became the first team to clinch a division title last week. The Dodgers also reached 100 wins last week after just 144 games. That’s the fastest road to 100 wins since the 2001 Mariners did so in 140 games. Now it’s time to get the job done in October, or else this season will be considered a failure for the Dodgers. World Series or bust. They’re just that talented. 

Here’s to another great week of Major League Baseball!

Ben Verlander is an MLB analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the “Flippin’ Bats” podcast. Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2013. He spent five years in the Tigers organization. Follow him on Twitter @BenVerlander.

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