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Home Sport Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019

Power Rankings — Who starred for each team in 2019

Heading into the last week of the season, the division races are almost all won, leaving the wild-card races to provide a bit of drama. You’ll find some of that same balance between certainty and anticipation in this week’s rankings. The voters unanimously selected the newly crowned American League West champion Astros our unanimous No. 1 over the challenges from the Dodgers and Yankees. They also rewarded the teams doing the best job of securing their wild-card bids, with the A’s cracking the top five and the Brewers climbing up to No. 11.

For Week 25, our panel of voters was Bradford Doolittle, Christina Kahrl, Eric Karabell, Tim Kurkjian and David Schoenfield.

  • Houston Astros
    2019 record: 102-54
    Week 24 ranking: 1

    While another World Series title would be nice, several awards should be coming Houston’s way this fall. Right-hander Justin Verlander figures to earn his second Cy Young Award (he won with Detroit in 2011), likely holding off teammate Gerrit Cole. Meanwhile, rookie outfielder Yordan Alvarez boasts an OPS better than 1.000 and could end up knocking in a run per game. Sure, Alvarez has played barely half a big league season, but the numbers are ridiculous. Carlos Correa won top AL rookie honors in 2015, but he did not have numbers like these. — Eric Karabell

    ICYMI: A superteam showdown? A historic rematch? The World Series matchups we want to see

  • Los Angeles Dodgers
    2019 record: 100-56
    Week 24 ranking: 2

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 1 Cody Bellinger is not only the Dodgers’ MVP for 2019, but probably the favorite to win the National League MVP, as well. Clayton Kershaw won MVP honors in 2014, but the last Dodgers position player to win was Kirk Gibson in 1988. With 8.6 bWAR entering Sunday, Bellinger has recorded just the 11th 8-WAR season by a position player in Dodgers history and the highest since Adrian Beltre’s 9.6 in 2004. The others: Mike Piazza, Willie Davis, Duke Snider (three times), Jackie Robinson (three times) and Dan Brouthers. — David Schoenfield

    ICYMI: How the Dodgers are better built for October than everyone else

  • New York Yankees
    2019 record: 102-55
    Week 24 ranking: 3

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 2 Yankees fans like to spin DJ LeMahieu as an overall AL MVP candidate. He has been an amazing story, but he isn’t on the level of Mike Trout or Alex Bregman. However, LeMahieu clearly is the team MVP with 6.0 WAR, plus some bonus points for his ability to play all over the field. LeMahieu leads the team in runs and RBIs and still has a shot at the AL batting crown. I guess he can hit outside of Coors Field.– Schoenfield

    ICYMI: Severino’s sizzling return shakes up October picture

  • Atlanta Braves
    2019 record: 96-61
    Week 24 ranking: 4

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 3 Ronald Acuna Jr. and Freddie Freeman are potential top-five finishers in the NL MVP vote — but they only rank third and fifth on the team in bWAR: Josh Donaldson 5.9, Mike Soroka 5.6, Acuna 5.5, Ozzie Albies 4.8, Freeman 4.6. Who do you have? I give the slightest of nods to Acuna. That power/speed combo at the top of the lineup sets the tone, plus he has started in center, left and right, with very good defensive metrics. — Schoenfield

    ICYMI:Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 4 Who was Braves’ best addition to earn NL East repeat?

  • Oakland Athletics
    2019 record: 94-62
    Week 24 ranking: 6

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 5 With 32 home runs and 120 runs scored, shortstop Marcus Semien clearly is having a season for the ages from the leadoff slot for the A’s. But his 7.9 WAR also ranks 19th among MLB shortstops since 1947, and just three shortstops have delivered that kind of season in the past 20 years — Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, Hall-worthy Alex Rodriguez and peer Francisco Lindor just last season. — Christina Kahrl

    ICYMI: How the A’s rebuilt a winner without tanking

  • Minnesota Twins
    2019 record: 96-60
    Week 24 ranking: 5

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 6 Shortstop Jorge Polanco will not lead the Twins in home runs or RBIs, but he is the clear club leader in wins above replacement and makes the strongest case for Twins MVP. Yes, five Twins have surpassed 30 home runs, but Polanco is by far the leader in hits and total bases. A year ago, Polanco served an 80-game PED suspension, and while he hit in the second half, few viewed him as a potential star. Prospect Nick Gordon figured to displace Polanco at some point. Few are talking about that now. Good for Polanco, a rock for the likely AL Central champs in the No. 2 lineup spot and at shortstop. — Karabell

  • Tampa Bay Rays
    2019 record: 92-64
    Week 24 ranking: 7

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 7 The Rays might or might not reach the playoffs, but they’ve already topped 90 wins. They have one position player (Willy Adames) with a chance to play in 150 games and just one pitcher anywhere close to qualifying for the ERA title. That pitcher, Charlie Morton, has been the one Rays starter who has simply been there for the team all season. He is going to end up with 33 starts and over 190 innings, with a 143 ERA+. The Rays might have been able to piece together his innings total had Morton thrown, say, 100 IP. But thanks to him, they didn’t have to, and his performance would have been tough to replicate even with Tampa Bay’s hive approach to roster building. — Bradford Doolittle

    ICYMI: What do the Rays have to do to make the playoffs?

  • St. Louis Cardinals
    2019 record: 89-67
    Week 24 ranking: 8

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 8 Four critical victories in Chicago during the weekend have the Cardinals on the verge of clinching the NL Central title, having already earned at least a wild-card spot. It has been a total team effort of late, with numerous Cardinals players standing out. But one in particular has been veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright: He has won four consecutive starts to begin September, with an 0.33 ERA in those games. — Tristan H. Cockcroft

    ICYMI:Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 4 Cards close in on postseason return at Cubs’ expense

  • Cleveland Indians
    2019 record: 92-64
    Week 24 ranking: 10

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 10 Projection systems such as ZiPS of FanGraphs’ Dan Szymborski picked Shane Bieber as a big breakout player in 2019. But seeing that on the page is one thing; watching it unfold over six months of baseball is another. Bieber has posted a league-best walk rate, he leads the majors in complete games and shutouts, his 10.9 K/9 rates in MLB’s top 10 — and we would not be talking about the Indians’ shot at winning an AL wild card if not for his stepping up during the same season that saw Cleveland lose former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber to injury. — Kahrl

    ICYMI: Inside the Indians’ season-long domination of the Tigers

  • Washington Nationals
    2019 record: 85-69
    Week 24 ranking: 9

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 11 Anthony Rendon has earned himself a massive payout this winter as a free agent with a season that could win him NL MVP honors. He finished fifth in 2014 and sixth in 2017, but he will go higher this year. He is right up there with Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich as the top three favorites. And with Yelich missing the final two-plus weeks and Bellinger fading a bit down the stretch, Rendon could steals honors after hitting .351 in the second half with 58 RBIs in 65 games. — Schoenfield

    ICYMI: Scherzer no lock to start wild-card game for Nats

  • Milwaukee Brewers
    2019 record: 86-70
    Week 24 ranking: 13

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 12 The question isn’t whether Christian Yelich is the most valuable player in Milwaukee, it’s whether he is once again the NL MVP — and that question remains open. However, that Yelich is head and shoulders above his teammates only underscores how special it is that the Brewers have rolled on even after his season was ended by a broken kneecap. Milwaukee had won 10 of 12 since Yelich last played on Sept. 10, and his replacement, rookie Trent Grisham, has filled in effectively. — Doolittle

    ICYMI: Yelich talks about his injury

  • Chicago Cubs
    2019 record: 82-74
    Week 24 ranking: 11

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 13 The MVP of the Cubs’ season is a little difficult to suss out. Kris Bryant is probably the best player. Javier Baez remains the most dynamic and has a huge impact defensively. But I’ll go with Anthony Rizzo as the best combination of all the above. On a team that has been less than the sum of its parts for two seasons in a row, Rizzo has flourished situationally, with a big edge on Bryant and, especially, Baez in win probably added. On the intangible front, his early return from a badly sprained ankle for this weekend’s huge series against St. Louis was Willis Reed stuff. Rizzo is the heart and soul of the Cubs. — Doolittle

    ICYMI: Even Rizzo’s magic can’t save these Cubs

  • Boston Red Sox
    2019 record: 81-74
    Week 24 ranking: 12

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 14 For any grief outgoing Red Sox baseball ops honcho Dave Dombrowski has and will receive, he figures to be able to point to the six-year, $120 million extension he gave to Xander Bogaerts as a big positive. Boston’s World Series defense was a dud, but don’t blame Bogaerts. He delivered the goods after signing his big deal this past offseason, establishing career highs in virtually every offensive category, playing improved defense and looking like a foundation piece for a Red Sox team that potentially faces significant change in the near future. — Steve Richards

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  • New York Mets
    2019 record: 81-74
    Week 24 ranking: 14

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 16 Rookie Pete Alonso and versatile stalwart Jeff McNeil have definitely been the most valuable Mets hitters this season, but give credit to outfielder Michael Conforto for reaching 30 home runs for the first time. Conforto might never graduate to top-10 status among major league outfielders, but there is a statistical baseline for reliable power, a strong walk rate and competent defense. And at 26 years old, he can still improve. Better results versus left-handed pitching would be nice, and he is not really a center fielder, but Conforto has become a reliable, if occasionally overlooked, performer. — Karabell

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  • Arizona Diamondbacks
    2019 record: 80-76
    Week 24 ranking: 15

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 18 Ketel Marte won’t win the NL MVP, but he is just outside the inner circle of contenders in one of the most surprising breakout seasons of 2019. Heck, he even had an All-Star team named after him. Placing sixth in baseball in WAR among position players, as well as seventh in slugging and OPS, plus having the versatility to play center field, second base and even a little shortstop, will do that for you. — Richards

    ICYMI: Back injury ends Marte’s season

  • Philadelphia Phillies
    2019 record: 79-75
    Week 24 ranking: 16

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 19 The Phillies will look to lock up catcher J.T. Realmuto to a long-term contract this offseason. Realmuto sailed past career bests in home runs and runs batted in, and his excellent work throwing out potential base stealers should result in his first Gold Glove recognition. Myriad Phillies are to blame for the disappointing season — from the rotation to the injured bullpen to the inconsistent offense — and, clearly, management gets no pass. But Realmuto, acquired from the Marlins in February, has been awesome. — Karabell

    ICYMI: Are Phillies MLB’s biggest disappointment of 2019?

  • Cincinnati Reds
    2019 record: 72-83
    Week 24 ranking: 18

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 20 Eugenio Suarez continued to build on his historic season despite the Reds’ elimination last week. Suarez hit home run No. 48 on Wednesday, moving him within four of George Foster’s 42-year-old franchise record, and he now has batted .358/.442/.806 with nine homers in 19 games in September. He has been one of the team’s better stories in an otherwise forgettable year. — Cockcroft

    ICYMI:Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 4 Castillo, Suarez rank among Law’s biggest surprises of 2019

  • Texas Rangers
    2019 record: 75-81
    Week 24 ranking: 17

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 22 As flawed as WAR might be in judging pitchers, if one of your guys leads baseball in that category for virtually the whole season, it’s hard to argue he isn’t your MVP. That applies to the Rangers’ Mike Minor, who just in the past week or so was passed by Justin Verlander but still ranks second among MLB pitchers with a 7.5 WAR. Of course, Minor’s teammate Lance Lynn is just behind Minor with 6.7 WAR, fourth in baseball, and also is fourth in FanGraphs WAR at 6.0, while Minor is 19th in fWAR (4.0). So take your pick. — Richards

  • San Francisco Giants
    2019 record: 75-81
    Week 24 ranking: 19

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 23 Let’s accentuate the positive here and celebrate Madison Bumgarner getting back over 30 starts and 200 innings pitched for the first time since 2016, following two fluke injury-shortened seasons. With MadBum heading toward free agency, it was a great bounce-back campaign from one of the defining stars of the decade. Of course, it also inspired the Giants to keep him at the trade deadline as they briefly flirted with contention, which didn’t turn out quite as well. — Kahrl

    ICYMI: Mike Yaz — HR in Fenway ‘super special’

  • Los Angeles Angels
    2019 record: 70-86
    Week 24 ranking: 21

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 24 Infielder David Fletcher is likely to end up the second-most valuable Angels player by WAR, which is something few expected back in March. Fletcher, in his second big league season, has played more than 35 games at three different infield positions — and also has aided in the outfield — and he easily will lead the club in hits. No, Fletcher is not much of a power hitter, but contact options remain important to a lineup, especially when they can handle most every position. Who knows what happens in 2020 or whether Fletcher secures a starting role, but for 2019 give the 25-year-old much credit. — Karabell

  • San Diego Padres
    2019 record: 70-86
    Week 24 ranking: 20

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 25 The firing of manager Andy Green on Saturday creates an attractive opening for the team’s next prospective skipper, coming off a season in which rookies Chris Paddack and Fernando Tatis Jr. should pick up votes in the Rookie of the Year race and the team has had a strong core consisting of Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer and Kirby Yates. But the beneath-the-radar story of the Padres’ second half has been Dinelson Lamet, who has a 3.20 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 45 innings in eight starts since Aug. 1. — Cockcroft

    ICYMI:Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 4 Why was Pads manager Andy Green fired?

  • Chicago White Sox
    2019 record: 68-87
    Week 24 ranking: 24

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 27 The ChiSox’s 2019 MVP, Lucas Giolito, may not have more to contribute this season now that he’s shelved for the remainder of the season, but his emergence as a top-tier starter is a cornerstone development for a team emerging from a rebuild. Giolito has improved in every facet. His strikeouts are up by more than five per nine innings. His walks per nine have dropped from 4.7 to 2.9. And when everyone is hitting home runs, Giolito has given up fewer long balls than a season ago. He has been consistent and durable, traits increasingly rare among starting pitchers. The White Sox hope that a year or two from now we’ll see Giolito as just one of their aces, but for the time being at least they have one. — Doolittle

    ICYMI: Sox shut Giolito down with lat strain

  • Toronto Blue Jays
    2019 record: 63-93
    Week 24 ranking: 26

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 28 Yes, he leads the Blue Jays in batting average (.276) and OPS (.789), but he is just seventh on the team with 15 home runs and his WAR logs in at 0.0. Still, the numbers matter not — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the slam dunk MVP of the Jays for invigorating baseball in Toronto (and beyond) and providing great hope for years of excitement and electricity to come. — Richards

    ICYMI: Biggios now second father-son duo to hit for cycles

  • Seattle Mariners
    2019 record: 66-90
    Week 24 ranking: 25

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 29 No team has ever employed more players in one season than the 67 that have shuffled through Seattle in 2019. What, you don’t remember Zac Rosscup, Parker Markel, David Freitas or Nick Rumbelow? Backup catcher Tom Murphy leads position players in WAR, which says everything you want to know about this team. But I’ll give team MVP honors to Marco Gonzales, who has won 16 games with a 4.09 ERA, even more impressive considering Seattle’s defense has been among the worst in the majors. — Schoenfield

  • Colorado Rockies
    2019 record: 67-89
    Week 24 ranking: 23

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 30 The Rockies continue to audition youngsters for potential 2020 roles this September, and one of their bright spots this month has been utility man Garrett Hampson. The 24-year-old rookie has made starts at second base, shortstop and center field; and he has batted .357/.410/.589 with three home runs and has seven stolen bases this month. — Cockcroft

  • Pittsburgh Pirates
    2019 record: 65-91
    Week 24 ranking: 22

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 31 With all due respect to Josh Bell, Adam Frazier and Bryan Reynolds, Starling Marte‘s performance seems to drive the Pirates’ performance unlike any other player. He has been sidelined for the past 13 days with a wrist issue, during which time the Pirates are 2-9. In fact, accounting for any of Marte’s absences this season, the Pirates are just 4-20 when he has been unavailable to play. — Cockcroft

  • Kansas City Royals
    2019 record: 57-100
    Week 24 ranking: 27

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 32 You’d like to see a team MVP be a little more well-rounded than Jorge Soler, but in absence of an obvious pick, his record-setting home run spree is enough to get the nod. Soler already has obliterated Mike Moustakas‘ single-season franchise mark for homers, and with Mike Trout out for the remainder of the season, Soler’s next dinger will make him the Royals’ first home run champion. He still defends like the designated hitter he ought to be, but Soler’s power display has given Royals fans something to follow during a rebuilding season. — Doolittle

  • Miami Marlins
    2019 record: 54-101
    Week 24 ranking: 28

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 33 A fractured finger ended his season a month ago, but it reflects just how shallow a talent pool the Fish swim in that Brian Anderson still is the easy choice for most valuable Marlin. A defensive asset at third base and out in right field, like most non-Marlins he also had a breakout season at the plate, setting career highs in extra-base hits despite playing in 30 fewer games than in 2018. — Kahrl

  • Baltimore Orioles
    2019 record: 51-105
    Week 24 ranking: 29

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 34 For a team on pace for just 53 wins, the Orioles have a few reasonable choices for an MVP. Trey Mancini has an .889 OPS, 36 doubles, 34 home runs, 101 runs and 93 RBIs. Jonathan Villar has 3.9 WAR and 38 stolen bases. And Hanser Alberto has 3.1 WAR and a .310 batting average. But our co-MVPs are Chris Davis and Henry Frasca. Huh? Davis, with a .176/.268/.315 slash line and just 11 home runs to offset 134 whiffs? And who is Henry Frasca? He is a 9-year-old fan from Massachusetts who wrote a letter of encouragement to Davis during his record 0-for-54 stretch in April. Davis was so moved, he kept the letter with him throughout the season and spent the afternoon with Henry on a return trip to Fenway Park in August. After watching this video, we suspect you’ll endorse our pick. — Richards

  • Detroit Tigers
    2019 record: 46-109
    Week 24 ranking: 30

    Power Rankings -- Who starred for each team in 2019 35 A rough second half took a lot of the shine off Matthew Boyd‘s big campaign, but his first-half 3.87 ERA turned heads and his full-season 11.6 K/9, good for sixth in the majors, should keep them turned. And sure, while pitcher wins don’t mean much, you try flirting with a .500 season (he is 9-11) while pitching for a team due to lose more than 110 games and featuring MLB’s worst offense. — Kahrl

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