MLB Power Ratings
WagerTalk handicapper Tony Finn offers his late-August MLB state of the union and updated power ratings. Believe it or not, we are just five weeks away from the start of the Major League Baseball playoffs. Which teams are in top form heading into the postseason? Which teams are scratching and clawing to hold onto their spots?
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MLB State of the Union
The first full month of American Football is upon us. This time of the year signals that Major League Baseball is in the final chapter of the regular season; the September call-ups make postseason contenders scuffling with injuries healthier and the soon-to-be arrival of 2021’s National Hockey League, NFL, College footies, plus roundball from the college ranks and the Association.
The Fall-Classic tournament bracket is roughly five weeks away. I am one of a few from the school of thought that the only portion of the Major League Baseball postseason schedule that needs to be decided, filled if you will, is the two leagues pair of Wild Cards. All things equal, the Wild Card spots aren’t a mystery and won’t surprise, not if the current form of the Dodgers, Giants, Reds, and Yankees hold serve.
The NL Wild Card spots will be filled by two of the following; Dodgers, Giants, and Reds. The NL West title runners-up, either Los Angeles or San Francisco will fill the No. #1 Wild West slot. The Yankees currently reside at the top of the American League, owning the No. #1 Wild Card seat. Thus, the second AL Wild Card is the only postseason spot that is truly still to be decided.
The Boston Red Sox currently stand on the Fall Classic’s final podium spot. However, the Oakland Athletics will have a say as to who owns that AL wild card second slot in the first week of October if the Red Sox don’t find a way to stop the bleeding of their pitching staff.
The Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox, and New York Yankees are newcomers in the Finn Factor top 10 rankings. Conversely, the Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, and New York Mets were replaced in the top 10 by the trio outlined above.
August 24 MLB Power Ratings
1. San Francisco Giants – Record: 80-44 (Previous ranking: 2)
There are many positives to mention about what the 2021 San Francisco Giants have done in this post-COVID campaign. The move from ranking second behind Houston is, in most part, due to what the Giants have done in the last week-plus. However, some of the climb by the NL West’s first-place team has to do with what the Astros didn’t do.
The Giants took two of three from the Big Apple Mets and the Oakland Athletics. The first team to reach 80 wins in any season should be at the top or close to the No. #1 spot in any portals pole, not just WagerTalk’s.
I was somewhat surprised, shocked might be more accurate, when told about yet another historical mark that the Giants accomplished this past week. On Saturday night, just this past weekend, San Fran’s LaMonte Wade Jr. crushed the A’s spirit with a two-run homer in the ninth that proved to be the game-winner. Wait a minute, don’t let your mind go wandering off into a different dimension. Why? Because the Giants pulled off a consecutive win via a late-inning long ball, less than 24 hours since sending Oakland into a dark spiral, the Giants poured salt in the Athletics’ wounds. Donovan Solano completed a rinse and repeat of Wade with his two-run bomb, turning what appeared to be a disappointing afternoon for Giants’ faithful into a 2-1 head-shaking Sunday getaway-day win and a significant series victory.
My surprise, shock rather, came when it was brought to my attention that the Giants’ Saturday and Sunday night highlights were historic. San Francisco became the first team in MLB history to get pinch-hit homers in the eighth inning or later turn a deficit into a lead in back-to-back games. Really? In the history of the game? In all of Major League Baseball history? Wow!
2. Houston Astros – Record: 73-52 (Previous ranking: 1)
There is something amiss with this Houston Astros club. That something is difficult to put your arms around and intelligently explain. They have been less than in several different variables since I last reported nearly two weeks ago.
Let us travel back in time to the evening of June 14; the Astros completed a three-game sweep of division rival Oakland while the then-first-place Mariners lost to Boston, allowing the defending champions to leap into the top spot AL West.
Yes, I did write first-place Mariners. I, too, had to take a delicate whiff of smelling salts to remember that Seattle was the first-place team in the American League West in June.
Wait, stop. I have gone too far back in time. My sincerest apologies for setting the time machine to August 23 of 2018, and the timeline I was reviewing was three years ago.
Wait, stop. The Mariners were in first place of the AL West in June of 2018?
If you can, and would, wake me from time to time and request that I keep my eye on the prize and remain focused on the 2021 Big Boy Power Poll.
How concerned are most Vegas and Offshore shops that Houston might choke the top spot in the West up in the form of projectile puke? Unfortunately, if there is any head-scratching in the meeting rooms of sportsbooks worldwide, it isn’t reflected in the MLB Division and World Series futures.
BetMGM updated their divisional and World Series futures today, and the Houston Astros are the team most likely to represent the American League in the 2021 Fall Classic, checking in at +425. The second-place Oakland Athletics are currently +3000 to win the 2021 MLB World Series.
Frontline help is on the way for the Strohs and in the form of starting pitching. Jose Urquidi (right shoulder) is returning to Houston a week from today, on September 1.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers – Record: 78-47 (Previous ranking: 3)
The Dodgers are in second place in the National League West two-and-one-half games back of the San Francisco Giants, yet they are the overwhelming favorite to repeat as the World Champs in 2021. BetMGM has positioned the Dodgers at +290 to win four games in the final series of this falls playoff bracket.
4. Tampa Bay Rays – Record: 77-48 (Previous ranking: 4)
Despite being the team that owns the gold medal podium in the AL East, the Rays are +1100 to win the 2021 Fall Classic, while the New York Yankees, who reside in the first chair of the Junior Circuit Wild Card table, are at +900 according to BetMGM.
5. Milwaukee Brewers – Record: 76-49 (Previous RANKING: 5)
The NL Central Brewers are the second choice of BetMGM to be the National League Pennant winners and represent the Senior Circuit in October when the two leagues tangle for the right to call themselves baseball’s best. The Crew’s odds were updated this morning to +825 at MGM.
The @Dodgers have won 10 of their last 11.
Can they catch the Giants? pic.twitter.com/NHC3i0rRpP
— MLB (@MLB) August 25, 2021
6. Atlanta Braves – Record: 68-57 (Previous ranking: 9)
7. Chicago White Sox – Record: 72-54 (Previous ranking: 6)
8. New York Yankees – Record: 73-52 (Previous ranking: 13)
9. Cincinnati Reds – Record: 69-57 (Previous ranking: 15)
10. Boston Red Sox – Record: 71-55 (Previous ranking: 14)
11. Oakland Athletics – Record: 70-56 (Previous ranking: 7)
12. Philadelphia Phillies – Record: 63-61 (Previous ranking: 8)
13. New York Mets – Record: 61-63 (Previous rank: 10)
14. San Diego Padres – Record: 68-58 (Previous ranking: 11)
15. Toronto Blue Jays – Record: 65-58 (Previous ranking: 12)
16. Seattle Mariners – Record: 68-58 (Previous ranking: 16)
17. St. Louis Cardinals – Record: 63-60 (Previous ranking: 22)
18. Los Angeles Angels – Record: 62-64 (Previous ranking: 18)
19. Cleveland Indians – Record: 61-61 (Previous ranking: 17)
20. Washington Nationals – Record: 53-70 (Previous ranking: 19)
21. Kansas City Royals – Record: 56-68 (Previous ranking: 26)
22. Detroit Tigers – Record: 60-66 (Previous ranking: 23)
23. Miami Marlins – Record: 51-74 (Previous ranking: 20)
24 Minnesota Twins – Record: 54-70 (Previous ranking: 24)
25. Colorado Rockies – Record: 57-68 (Previous ranking: 25)
26. Chicago Cubs – Record: 55-72 (Previous ranking: 21)
27. Pittsburgh Pirates – Record: 45-80 (Previous ranking: 27)
28. Texas Rangers – Record: 43-81 (Previous ranking: 28)
29. Arizona Diamondbacks – Record: 42-84 (Previous ranking: 30)
30. Baltimore Orioles – Record: 38-85 (Previous ranking: 29)
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