MLB Power Rankings: Gap widens between Giants, Dodgers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN DIEGO -- Thanks to the San Diego Padres, the trade deadline lived up to the hype. Now, the attention turns to something completely new.
The traditional jostling will be there as teams dive into the final third of the season, with several division races looking like they'll go down to the wire and plenty of teams still holding Wild Card hopes. But there's a twist thanks to the new CBA.
There will be byes in the postseason this year, and right now it looks like the first few days of October will be pretty quiet in New York. The Yankees and Mets are in position to skip the first round, along with the Astros and Dodgers, teams that know each other well. The four will be able to set their pitching up -- a nightmare for any team that gets through the first round and has to face Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer -- and get some rest for veterans.
It would be hard for anyone to crash the first-round-bye party at this point, but a lot is still up in the air as we hit the second week of August. Here's our latest look at all 30, with some notable changes after MLB's trade deadline:
30. Nationals (36-74): Their fans should be very, very disappointed with how things ended with Juan Soto, but at least the ownership group didn't force the front office to attach Patrick Corbin's contract to the deal, which would have dramatically lessened the return. The veteran southpaw has a 7.02 ERA after failing to get out of the first inning for the second time in three starts.
29. Pirates (44-64): They come to Oracle Park next week, which means the Giants get their first look at electric rookie Oneil Cruz. The 23-year-old has the power and speed to have a lot of fun with Triples Alley.
28. Tigers (43-67): Old friend Derek Law made a big league appearance for a fourth team when the Tigers called him up, but it didn't go that well. Law was DFA'd after two appearances and is now a free agent.
27. A's (41-68): It's all about the future in Oakland, so they must love what they're seeing from 20-year-old Tyler Soderstrom, a catcher taken 13 picks after the Giants drafted Patrick Bailey. He hit 20 homers in High-A before a recent promotion to Double-A.
26. Royals (44-65): How often do you see a catcher leading off these days? Rookie MJ Melendez did it on Sunday and reached base a couple of times while driving in six runs, half coming on his 13th homer.
25. Cubs (43-64): In retrospect, they should have gone all the way with their sale last year. They dealt most of their best players but held catcher Willson Contreras, and they inexplicably came away from this year's deadline with Contreras and Ian Happ still on a rebuilding team. Contreras certainly should have been dealt in the offseason.
24. Reds (44-63): Donovan Solano just keeps finding the barrel. He's batting .298 this season and is at .306 in 272 games since he returned to the big leagues in 2019.
23. Rockies (48-60): Just a completely insane deadline strategy. They didn't make a trade AND extended their 37-year-old closer. They're going to finish last in the NL West for a long, long time.
22. Angels (46-63): Steven Duggar's stay in Arlington was short. He was DFA'd by the Rangers but ended up with the division rival Angels, who will be his third team of 2022. Duggar was 3-for-17 with the Rangers but now gets to play with Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout and Matt Duffy.
21. Rangers (48-60): Old friend Matt Moore has a 1.94 ERA out of their bullpen. It's odd that they didn't find a way to turn that into prospects at the deadline.
20. Diamondbacks (48-59): Young and athletic, they've been a huge pain for the Giants this season, and they're about to get tougher. Center fielder Corbin Carroll is one of the top three prospects in the minors and has a .929 OPS since a promotion to Triple-A.
19. Marlins (49-59): Sandy Alcantara didn't get to start the All-Star Game, but he's headed for the Cy Young. He leads the NL with a 1.88 ERA and might end up throwing 20 more innings than the next closest pitcher in the league.
18. Red Sox (54-56): Old friend Jaylin Davis is back in the big leagues. He still has all the tools to be a good big leaguer:
17. White Sox (55-53): It's been an incredible bounce-back season for 36-year-old Johnny Cueto, who has a 2.91 ERA in 15 appearances. Cueto has thrown at least six innings in seven consecutive starts and has twice gone eight. He went six innings just five total times for the Giants last year.
16. Giants (53-55): It's now or never if they're going to get back in the wild-card race. When Evan Longoria returns Monday, they'll be as close to 100 percent healthy as you could hope for in August. A three-game series at Petco Park starts Monday night.
15. Orioles (56-52): They traded their leader (Trey Mancini) and closer (Jorge Lopez) at the deadline, but they're still playing solid baseball. They're just two games out of a playoff spot.
14. Guardians (56-52): Closer Emmanuel Clase has video game stuff and is putting up video game numbers. He has a 1.36 ERA and has allowed just 26 hits in 46 1/3 innings.
13. Twins (57-51): They had a savvy deadline, adding Tyler Mahle to their rotation and Jorge Lopez to their bullpen. They look like the team to beat in a tight AL Central race.
12. Brewers (58-50): Trading All-Star closer Josh Hader might have been the right move for future seasons, but it shook a clubhouse that was leading the NL Central. If they don't pick it up soon, the Brewers might find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture altogether.
11. Rays (58-50): Matt Wisler continues to thrive across the country. He has a 2.36 ERA in 36 appearances, including five as an opener.
10. Mariners (59-51): If you need an AL team to root for down the stretch, here's your pick. They have the longest playoff drought in the sport, an electric rookie in Julio Rodriguez, and soon, two popular former Giants. Curt Casali and Matt Boyd are both currently rehabbing injuries.
9. Blue Jays (60-48): Old friend Kevin Gausman threw six shutout innings Sunday, lowering his ERA to 2.91. He's sixth in the AL in strikeouts and has allowed just six homers in 21 starts.
8. Cardinals (60-48): They just became the first NL team in 15 years to get a three-game sweep of the Yankees. With seven straight wins, they're now leading the NL Central.
7. Phillies (60-48): The Soto trade didn't just strengthen the top of the NL West, it also weakened the bottom of the NL East. The Phillies took advantage, sweeping the Nationals over the weekend to make it 10 wins in 11 games. That kept the Giants from picking up any ground with their own strong weekend.
6. Padres (61-50): So much for the budding "rivalry." The Padres have lost 17 of 19 to the Dodgers, and their latest disappointing weekend has dropped them into the third wild-card spot.
5. Braves (64-46): A rough weekend in New York dropped them seven out in the loss column in the NL East. On a positive note, the always-positive Chadwick Tromp is back in the big leagues.
4. Astros (70-40): At the age of 39 and coming off Tommy John surgery, Justin Verlander is the favorite to win the AL Cy Young Award. He leads the Majors with a 1.73 ERA, the lowest of his career by more than half a run.
3. Yankees (70-39): They've lost five straight, and while they still have a huge lead in the AL East, they're now neck-and-neck with the Astros in the race for the AL's top seed and home field advantage.
2. Mets (70-39): The baseball world needs Jacob deGrom in the playoffs. In his second start back from a lengthy IL stint, deGrom struck out 12 of the 19 batters he faced, maxed out at 101.6 mph with his fastball, and got 18 swinging strikes on the 33 sliders he threw.
1. Dodgers (75-33): They responded to coming in second for Soto by sweeping the Padres, and they're only going to get better. Dustin May is due back in August and Walker Buehler expects to return in September.