<
>

Power Rankings: Deadline deals help deliver a new No. 1

play
AL powers claim top three in Power Rankings (1:10)

The Red Sox, Astros and Yankees hold the top spots in the MLB Power Rankings while there is some disagreement on the fourth-best team in baseball. (1:10)

The slow roll of this season's trade deadline couldn't stop one big tide from rolling in, because for only the second time all season we have a unanimous No. 1. After weeks of splitting the vote with the reigning World Series champs in Houston, the Red Sox regained the highest perch in the Power Rankings for the first time since Week 4. That wasn't the only shake-up in the top five, as the Dodgers nudged past the Cubs by the most slender of margins, perhaps a reward for their acquiring stars Manny Machado and Brian Dozier in a middle-infield makeover that might be enough to put away the NL West race.

That said, these small, significant moves at the top of baseball's pecking order reflect a week in which there wasn't a ton of dramatic movement in the rankings. The Red Sox's anticlimactic annihilation of the Yankees over the weekend can't elevate them any higher than No. 1, the Athletics and Cubs already have made their moves past their rivals in Seattle and Milwaukee, and there's still a lot of baseball to be played before we know who will ultimately take the division title in that tight NL East race.

Will the moves the contenders made provide bigger changes in the weeks to come? We'll have to see, even as we anticipate some clubs taking care of unfinished business by swinging a few August deals to make the most of their opportunity to advance into October's action.

This week, our panel of voters is composed of David Schoenfield, Eric Karabell, Tim Kurkjian, Bradford Doolittle and Sarah Langs.

Week 17 Rankings | Week 16 | Week 15 | Week 14 | Week 13 | Week 12 | Week 11 | Week 10 | Week 9 | Week 8 | Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Preseason

1. Boston Red Sox

Record: 79-34
Week 17 ranking: 2

The Red Sox went out and got a starter they needed to bolster the middle of their rotation, trading for Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi's Red Sox career thus far? Fifteen innings pitched, zero runs allowed, including eight scoreless innings against the Yankees. That's pretty much just what the doctor ordered in Boston. They also traded for Ian Kinsler, who can both improve their offensive production from second base and greatly help the defense -- but he's already on the DL. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information


2. Houston Astros

Record: 71-42
Week 17 ranking: 1

The Astros made a few moves at the deadline, acquiring catcher Martin Maldonado from the Angels, reliever Ryan Pressly from the Twins and most notoriously closer Roberto Osuna from the Blue Jays. Osuna and Pressly add to an Astros bullpen that already ranked third in baseball and second in the AL in ERA through the end of July, and has by far the highest strikeout-to-walk ratio in the majors this season. -- Jacob Nitzberg, ESPN Stats & Information


3. New York Yankees

Record: 68-42
Week 17 ranking: 3

The Yankees entered their four-game series with the Red Sox with a chance to get as close as 1.5 games of the AL East lead. Instead, they've emerged from the series now trailing by 9.5 games after coming out on the wrong end of a sweep. It may seem hard to believe, but New York and Boston were tied atop the division as recently as July 2. The Red Sox are 23-5 since that day, while the Yankees have played sub-.500 baseball at 14-15. -- Paul Casella, ESPN Stats & Information


4. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 62-51
Week 17 ranking: 5

Having already added Manny Machado, the Dodgers acquired the other half of MLB's most improved middle infield at the deadline by landing second baseman Brian Dozier, perhaps in anticipation of another strong finish from the former Twin. But beyond these two huge trades, perhaps the biggest surprise was that those were their only major moves, as they settled for adding journeyman John Axford to their bullpen. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com


5. Chicago Cubs

Record: 64-47
Week 17 ranking: 4

The Cubs made a couple of moves around the deadline, most notably acquiring veteran lefty Cole Hamels from the Rangers. Hamels became just the fourth pitcher to allow no earned runs and strike out nine or more hitters in his Cubs debut. He's slated to make his first home start for the Cubs next Sunday night (on ESPN). He is 3-1 with a 1.76 ERA in his career at Wrigley Field, including a no-hitter in 2015. -- Nitzberg


6. Cleveland Indians

Record: 61-49
Week 17 ranking: 6

The Indians addressed two of their main problem areas before the trade deadline, acquiring relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber to shore up their struggling bullpen and adding Leonys Martin to give them a center fielder who won't be stretched covering ground at the position. But with Indians right fielders slugging a weak .379 and with both Lonnie Chisenhall and Tyler Naquin out until at least September, they might have one more area to address before the end of August. -- Kahrl


7. Oakland Athletics

Record: 67-46
Week 17 ranking: 7

In the end, the A's didn't make the much-anticipated move to add a starting pitcher, instead placing their faith in their trio of veteran journeymen beyond Sean Manaea. But the A's won't need a fifth starter until next week, and Edwin Jackson, Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill have combined for a 3.44 ERA, while the team has gone 20-10 in their starts. Should you be that surprised they let it ride as their surprising run takes them past Seattle for the second wild card? -- Kahrl


8. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 62-51
Week 17 ranking: 8

You could accuse the Snakes of settling for adding complementary players at the deadline, but getting Eduardo Escobar to man third base now that Jake Lamb is out for the season has significant follow-on benefits -- such as freeing Daniel Descalso to play elsewhere -- and relievers Brad Ziegler and Jake Diekman provide them with the kind of depth to ensure an injury or two doesn't undermine a unit with the second-best bullpen ERA in baseball. -- Kahrl


9. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 65-50
Week 17 ranking: 9

The Brewers were aggressive at the deadline, acquiring Joakim Soria, Mike Moustakas and Jonathan Schoop. The additions of Moustakas and Schoop will help improve a Brewers offense that is below average in runs per game. In particular, the left-handed-hitting Moustakas should benefit by moving to Miller Park. The question for manager Craig Counsell is where he'll play everyone in the infield. -- Nitzberg


10. Atlanta Braves

Record: 60-48
Week 17 ranking: 11

The Braves were busy at the deadline, adding Jonny Venters, Brad Brach and Darren O'Day to their bullpen, Kevin Gausman to their rotation and Adam Duvall to their outfield. They originally drafted Venters in the 30th round in 2003. He made his debut with the Braves in 2010 and appeared in 230 games for them from 2010-12 before needing his second Tommy John surgery in 2013. Following a third Tommy John surgery, he has made it back to the majors and to his original team. -- Langs


11. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 63-48
Week 17 ranking: 10

The Phillies shored up their infield with the acquisition of Asdrubal Cabrera, then added lefty Aaron Loup and catcher Wilson Ramos as well. Ramos' impact remains to be seen, as he's currently sidelined with hamstring tightness, but the move should pay dividends. Prior to the injury, Ramos was hitting .297 with 14 home runs and an .834 OPS. If he gets healthy, he'll get the chance to play in the postseason for the second time in his career -- he played in the 2014 NLDS for the Nationals. In his best year, 2016, he got hurt right before the playoffs and wasn't able to participate. -- Langs


12. Washington Nationals

Record: 57-54
Week 17 ranking: 13

The question entering deadline day was "Will they or won't they?" regarding Bryce Harper and a potential trade. We learned that the answer was "won't," as the Nationals stood pat on the Harper front and held on to the 2015 NL MVP. What's more, they didn't do much else other than trading away Brandon Kintzler, a deadline-day acquisition from a year ago. Now the Nationals will try to make up a number of games in the standings over the last two months with pretty much the same team they've had all year. -- Langs


13. Colorado Rockies

Record: 59-52
Week 17 ranking: 12

The Rockies' roller-coaster season continued last week. Colorado raced out of the gate following the All-Star break by going 6-2, winning series against the Diamondbacks and Athletics, while splitting a two-game set with the Astros. Last week, however, they dropped a pair of pivotal series against fellow wild-card hopefuls St. Louis and Milwaukee. Things won't get any easier for the Rockies, who are 15 games into a 28-game stretch against teams with winning records. -- Casella


14. Seattle Mariners

Record: 64-48
Week 17 ranking: 14

Is it time to panic in Seattle yet? At this time a month ago, the Mariners seemed well on their way to snapping the longest active postseason drought in the majors. They had an eight-game lead over the Athletics for the final AL wild-card spot as recently as July 3. Yet with those teams trending in opposite directions, Seattle has watched that eight-game lead turn into a 2.5-game deficit. -- Casella


15. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 58-54
Week 17 ranking: 17

The Cardinals traded Tommy Pham to the Rays on deadline day. Pham is a year removed from a career season in which he hit .306 in 128 games with a .931 OPS and 23 home runs. But 2018 wasn't going quite as well. Before July 31, the Cardinals also traded Sam Tuivailala to the Mariners for Seth Elledge. Pham is currently sidelined for Tampa Bay due to a broken foot after playing two games for his new team. -- Langs


16. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 57-55
Week 17 ranking: 16

Despite a rough first start in black and gold, new addition Chris Archer should help secure the Pirates' status as a dark horse for a wild card in the years to come as the front office quickly reinforced this season's success and last winter's re-gearing the roster. And with Corey Dickerson back from the DL, this year's bid could look stronger still if he keeps hitting as well as he was immediately after the All-Star break when he ripped four homers in five games. -- Kahrl


17. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 55-58
Week 17 ranking: 15

The hits just keep coming for the Angels -- and not the good kind, as they slipped below the .500 mark. Mike Trout missed his first games of the season, four straight with a wrist injury, while left-hander Tyler Skaggs became the latest Angels pitcher to land on the disabled list. -- Casella


18. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 56-56
Week 17 ranking: 18

The Rays continue to exploit a freedom of action unencumbered by tradition or expectations. Trading away Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Nathan Eovaldi and Matt Andriese (among others) might sound like a rebuild, but not exactly. Their constantly changing roster and player-usage patterns keep them around .500 baseball while acquiring even better future possibilities. An outfield with Tommy Pham and Austin Meadows flanking Kevin Kiermaier might run down everything, while Tyler Glasnow might finally deliver on his promise. -- Kahrl


19. San Francisco Giants

Record: 57-56
Week 17 ranking: 20

Every team made at least one trade in July, but the Giants made precisely that -- one trade. And it didn't come near the deadline, it was on July 8, when they traded Austin Jackson, Cory Gearrin and Jason Bahr to the Rangers for a player to be named later. The player has yet to be named, and Jackson didn't even play a regular-season game for the Rangers before being released. He's now on the Mets. The Giants were the only team not to make at least one deal from the All-Star break through the trade deadline. -- Langs


20. Minnesota Twins

Record: 52-58
Week 17 ranking: 19

Twins reliever Oliver Drake made a bit of history on Saturday. There was nothing special about his outing, other than the fact that Drake was pitching for his fifth team of the season. According to Elias Sports Bureau research, Drake -- who also has pitched for the Brewers, Indians, Angels and Blue Jays in 2018 -- is the first pitcher in major league history to pitch for five teams in the same season. -- Casella


21. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 49-63
Week 17 ranking: 21

Adding to their already impressive in-season turnaround, the Reds acted sensibly at the deadline. There was no compelling reason for them to deal top relievers Raisel Iglesias or Michael Lorenzen if they weren't going to get premium prospects back -- so they didn't. Sending Adam Duvall to the Braves for pitching depth and an outfield prospect was a nice return on the three years and 84 home runs they got from Duvall after his inclusion in the Mike Leake trade in 2015. -- Kahrl


22. Texas Rangers

Record: 49-64
Week 17 ranking: 24

Rougned Odor has turned in two of the most unusual stat lines of the season within the past 10 days. Back on July 28, he went a perfect 5-for-5 with two home runs, including one legged out inside the park. He was the first player to do that in a game since 1919. Then, just five days later, he went 1-for-1 with a home run and five walks. He's just the fourth player with a homer and five walks in the same game -- and the only one to do it in a nine-inning game. -- Casella


23. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 51-60
Week 17 ranking: 22

Plenty of Blue Jays fans made the annual trip to Safeco Field this weekend to watch their club take three of four from the Mariners. Unfortunately, that came on the heels of their being swept in Oakland. The Jays return home this week to host the Red Sox and Rays, against whom they are a combined 4-15 this season. -- Casella


24. Detroit Tigers

Record: 47-65
Week 17 ranking: 23

The Tigers were painted to be a major seller at the deadline, with names such as Francisco Liriano, Mike Fiers, Shane Greene and Leonys Martin all rumored to be on the block. However, Detroit's only move at the deadline was to trade Martin to the Indians, receiving shortstop Willi Castro -- ranked the Indians' No. 5 prospect entering the season by Keith Law -- in return. -- Nitzberg


25. New York Mets

Record: 45-64
Week 17 ranking: 25

The Mets didn't do much at the deadline -- in fact, they didn't do anything the day of, other than sending out a tweet about claiming an infielder off waivers and sending him to Triple-A. That being said, they did trade a few players earlier in the month -- reliever Jeurys Familia and infielder Asdrubal Cabrera. The return they got on each isn't immediately evident at the major league level, so the jury's still out. -- Langs


26. San Diego Padres

Record: 44-70
Week 17 ranking: 26

The Padres struggled through July, posting a 5-20 record that included their two longest losing streaks of the season. It was San Diego's worst 25-game stretch in more than five years; they went 5-20 in June and July of 2013. The Padres had the second-lowest batting average (.221), OBP (.287) and OPS (.638) in MLB in July, leading to an NL-low 3.6 runs per game for the month. -- Nitzberg


27. Miami Marlins

Record: 46-67
Week 17 ranking: 27

The Marlins have by far the worst run differential in the NL, and they are on pace to be outscored by more than 200 runs. The only time they had a single-season run differential worse than minus-200 came during their 108-loss season in 1998, when they were outscored by 256 runs just one year after winning the World Series. -- Casella


28. Chicago White Sox

Record: 41-70
Week 17 ranking: 28

The White Sox slipped out of the deadline almost without making a move. Which is not to say the Sox might sail through August similarly silent. Jose Abreu's value through 2019 before he reaches free agency might be worth it for the right contender, while Carlos Rodon could draw interest as an under-control starter for the next three seasons who is one of the AL's hottest hurlers -- his 2.94 ERA since June 1 ranks fourth in the league. -- Kahrl


29. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 34-78
Week 17 ranking: 30

After trading Manny Machado and Zach Britton earlier, Baltimore wasn't done, trading Brad Brach, Kevin Gausman and Darren O'Day at the deadline to the Braves and Jonathan Schoop to the Brewers. Their return for the trades totaled three major leaguers, 12 minor leaguers, international bonus-pool money and a savings of upward of $30 million. While the Orioles might be on pace for their worst season since moving to Baltimore, the future is nevertheless slightly brighter. -- Nitzberg


30. Kansas City Royals

Record: 34-77
Week 17 ranking: 29

The Royals made a few trades early, so their only move around the deadline was dealing Mike Moustakas to the Brewers for Jorge Lopez and Brett Phillips. While Phillips had struggled at the plate at Triple-A, he already has shown off his throwing arm for the Royals, launching a 100 mph throw to nail Leury GarcĂ­a at home Thursday. Last season with the Brewers, he had two throws of 104 mph, one of two outfielders to throw that hard in the Statcast era (since 2015). -- Nitzberg