Power Rankings: Did deadline shake up the contenders?

The trade deadline was an opportunity for all 30 teams to shake things up, to reinforce a bid to win now and earn a postseason slot, to retool a roster or to add talent with which to rebuild. As such, it's no surprise that it helped trigger a bit of a shakeup in the rankings. Two-thirds of the teams moved up or down this week, but perhaps the single biggest development was that the Astros and Dodgers are locked in a virtual tie for No. 1 in our voting, even with the Dodgers getting three first-place votes to the Astros' two. Will Zack Greinke swing that razor-thin margin in Houston's favor in another week? We'll see.

This week we also saw the Cubs return to the top 10, leapfrogging the Cardinals in the rankings as well as the NL Central standings. The Cubs were one of three teams to make a three-spot jump this week, joined by the Mets in the wake of the team acquiring Marcus Stroman and the Phillies as the field of teams in it to win it in the National League doesn't seem to be getting any smaller. In a case of taking a big step forward, the Indians climbed into the top five for the first time this season as they put pressure on the Twins in the AL Central race.

The most surprising development was seeing the Red Sox plummet seven spots in the rankings this week. After clawing their way back to No. 5 last week, to see them fall from the top 10 seems as much a reward for their inaction at the deadline as it was for their taking multiple beatings at the hands of the Yankees and Rays. That sort of precipitous decline is a comment on how precarious Boston's shot at defending its World Series title has become.

For Week 18, our panel of voters was composed of Bradford Doolittle, Christina Kahrl, Eric Karabell, Tim Kurkjian and David Schoenfield.

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  1. Los Angeles Dodgers

    2019 record:74-40

    Week 17 ranking:1



    Welcome to the majors, Gingergaard. Rookie Dustin May, with the long, curly, red locks, made his debut Friday and flashed the kind of stuff that made everyone realize why the Dodgers weren't about to trade him. He hit 98 mph with a sinker and showcased a low-90s cutter as 85 of his 97 pitches were fastballs or cutters. He pitched better than his final line indicated: 5 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO. At the trade deadline, the Dodgers held on to their prospects, acquiring only left-hander reliever Adam Kolarek from the Rays and veteran infielder Jedd Gyorko from the Cardinals.-- David Schoenfield



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  2. Houston Astros

    2019 record:73-40

    Week 17 ranking:2



    The additions of Zack Greinke and Aaron Sanchez bring clarity to the rotation, as promising rookie Jose Urquidy returned to Triple-A Round Rock, and injured swingman Brad Peacock figures to resume a long reliever role upon his return. The Astros sure do not lack for playoff depth now. Greinke, among the big league leaders in ERA, WHIP and walk rate, comes off a solid July with a 2.90 ERA for the Diamondbacks. Want consistency? Greinke's highest ERA in a month this season was 3.27. -- Eric Karabell



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  3. New York Yankees

    2019 record:72-39

    Week 17 ranking:3



    The Yankees were quiet at the trade deadline but responded by beating the Red Sox on Friday and sweeping a doubleheader Saturday. Unfortunately, the injury bug continues to strike. Edwin Encarnacion was hit by a pitch in the first game Saturday and suffered a hairline fracture in his right wrist; he could be out three-to-five weeks. In the nightcap, Aaron Hicks felt pain in his elbow while making a throw and landed on the IL Sunday because of a right flexor strain.AndGleyber Torreswas sent to the hospital Sunday night for a core injury. Meanwhile, Gary Sanchez is eligible to be activated and is "very close to being an option," Aaron Boone said. Luis Severino should get his first work from a mound this week, aiming for a late August or September return.-- Schoenfield



    ICYMI:It's on Yankees rotation to rise to the challenge

  4. Minnesota Twins

    2019 record:69-42

    Week 17 ranking:4



    Right-handers Sergio Romo and Sam Dyson were the big trade deadline acquisitions for a club with few issues offensively or, at this time, in the rotation, but lefty Taylor Rogers continues to thrive and figures to handle most of the save situations. Rogers is among the lefty relief leaders in strikeouts but with a better walk rate than those around him. Now in his fourth big league season, Rogers is throwing his fastball harder than ever and has lowered his walk rate while raising his K rate. -- Karabell



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  5. Cleveland Indians

    2019 record:66-45

    Week 17 ranking:6



    Getting both Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes should punch up the Indians' lineup, reinforcements nicely timed with Jose Ramirez's rediscovering his power stroke and Jason Kipnis' showing signs of life at the plate. The shored-up offense should give the Tribe the punch to trade blows with the Twins, Red Sox and Yankees in a rough bit of scheduling in the next few weeks, one that might define whether Cleveland can reclaim the lead in the Central or be relegated to wild-card contention. -- Christina Kahrl



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  6. Tampa Bay Rays

    2019 record:65-48

    Week 17 ranking:8



    The 2018 version of Jesus Aguilar -- a righty, power-hitting, DH type -- was precisely the player the Rays needed to bolster a position player group that provides a level of defense so essential to what Tampa Bay does that an offensive upgrade almost had to come from a DH. The risk here is that for most of the first half, Aguilar was a shadow of his 2018 self. He seemed to have turned things around with a strong July, and obviously the Rays saw enough to be convinced that he was the bat they needed rather than someone such as Nicholas Castellanos. That puts a spotlight on Aguilar going forward. His performance, along with the outcomes of the injury-related dramas surrounding starters Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow, will define what the Rays' season becomes. -- Bradford Doolittle

  7. Oakland Athletics

    2019 record:64-48

    Week 17 ranking:9



    Acquiring both Tanner Roark and Homer Bailey restocked the rotation for the time being, and with top prospects A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo nearing readiness as they bounce back from injuries, the staff could soon be even stronger by September. Now, if only Khris Davis could get entirely right (and healthy) for the stretch run. Since his wOBA peaked at .341 on May 17, he has generated just a .262 wOBA, an awful clip for a DH. -- Kahrl



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  8. Atlanta Braves

    2019 record:66-47

    Week 17 ranking:7



    The Braves had a good week all things considered, taking two of three from the Nationals on the road and winning two 10-inning games against the Nats and Reds. They also picked up three relievers at the trade deadline to help a bullpen that had a 5.76 ERA in July (following a 2.59 ERA in June): Shane Greene, Mark Melancon and Chris Martin. Greene blew his first save opportunity Saturday, but that came courtesy of a couple of soft hits. He picked up the loss Sunday, however, when Tucker Barnhart hit a three-run homer off him in the 10th. Welcome to the pennant race. -- Schoenfield



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  9. Chicago Cubs

    2019 record:60-51

    Week 16 ranking:12



    While the Cubs added bullpen depth and a key right-handed bat in Nicholas Castellanos, their postseason outlook still feels uncertain because of injury-related limbo. David Phelps will help, but a healthy-ish Brandon Morrow remains Chicago's best hope for stacking lights-out relievers in key spots in front of Craig Kimbrel. Now, as Chicago waits for the results of Monday's scheduled MRI on the hamstring of Willson Contreras, catcher might be a sudden area of need. The Angels' recent decision to DFA backstop Jonathan Lucroy could prove relevant to this situation. -- Doolittle




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  10. Washington Nationals

    2019 record:58-53

    Week 17 ranking:10



    Juan Soto continues to have the quietest 20-year-old season in recent memory. Entering Sunday, his 135 OPS+ ranks seventh-best for a 20-year-old since World War II, behind just Mike Trout, Al Kaline, Mickey Mantle, Alex Rodriguez, Frank Robinson and Ken Griffey Jr. Maybe the expectations were too high because he had a 143 OPS+ as a 19-year-old rookie. Still, he has a higher OBP and slugging percentage than fellow phenom Ronald Acuna Jr. -- Schoenfield



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  11. St. Louis Cardinals

    2019 record:58-52

    Week 17 ranking:11



    Despite carrying a one-game lead in the NL Central race into the deadline, the Cardinals didn't make any (healthy) veteran additions via trade. Perhaps they didn't need to: They got Marcell Ozuna (hand) back Saturday and Matt Carpenter (foot) on Sunday, and they might have Yadier Molina (thumb) back within the week. It'd be the first time they've had all three of them in the same lineup since June 25. -- Tristan H. Cockcroft

  12. Boston Red Sox

    2019 record:59-55

    Week 17 ranking:5



    The prominent storyline around the Red Sox this week was that the players were in a funk because Dave Dombrowski didn't make any moves before the trade deadline. They certainly played like it, losing eight in a row to the Rays and Yankees. But if one is looking to cast blame, look past the GM's office to the sorry state of Boston's starting rotation, which was supposed to be one of the team's strengths but has underperformed all season, including a 10.70 ERA and an average of fewer than five innings per start during the current slide. -- Steve Richards

  13. Philadelphia Phillies

    2019 record:58-53

    Week 17 ranking:16



    The acquisition of veteran outfielder Corey Dickerson might seem minor, but the offense continues to struggle against right-handed pitching, and Dickerson hit .330 with a .982 OPS against right-handers for the Pirates this season. An All-Star for the 2017 Rays and Gold Glove winner for the Pirates last year, a once-healthy Dickerson figures to push Jay Bruce to a bench role. In addition, look for rookie Adam Haseley to handle center field, with Scott Kingery pushing third baseman Maikel Franco to the bench role he has earned. -- Karabell



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  14. Milwaukee Brewers

    2019 record:57-56

    Week 17 ranking:13



    With the pitching staff flailing in recent weeks, Milwaukee's focus at the deadline was to add arms. Starters. Relievers. Openers. Out-getters. However you want to classify a hurler, the Brewers needed it. Although GM David Stearns couldn't land a big fish, he added a reliable starter inJordan Lyles, multi-inning relievers Jake Faria and the resurgent Drew Pomeranz, and a power arm in injury-plagued Ray Black. That's a lot of competent innings for Craig Counsell to work with. Unfortunately, just as the pitching depth improved, the offense suddenly went flat, increasing the concern that this might not be Milwaukee's year. -- Doolittle

  15. Arizona Diamondbacks

    2019 record:56-56

    Week 17 ranking:14

    Arizona's front office might have done the best job in terms of threading the needle between dealing assets and remaining competitive now and in the near term. The D-backs deserve kudos for adding four viable pieces, including two of Houston's top pitching prospects, while getting out from under more than $50 million of what's left on Zack Greinke's contract. Plus, they added Mike Leake (9-8, 4.27, signed through 2020 with a mutual option for '21) to fill Greinke's spot in the rotation.-- Richards



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  16. San Francisco Giants

    2019 record:56-56

    Week 17 ranking:18



    Kudos to GM Farhan Zaidi for dealing from where he had depth (veteran filler on his staff) to add younger, controllable talent and an infielder with some pop in Scooter Gennett. The Giants' odds of earning a wild-card spot might be long, but they would not have survived trading away Madison Bumgarner. Having kept him, the Giants can play out their hand, make a qualifying offer and see if there's a long-term deal to be struck with Bumgarner. -- Kahrl



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  17. New York Mets

    2019 record:55-56

    Week 17 ranking:20



    The Mets pitched much better in July, compiling a 3.29 ERA and 1.23 WHIP, which helped trigger a winning month and a return to the playoff race. Adding Marcus Stroman from the Blue Jays should only help things. While closer Edwin Diaz continues to struggle, especially based on his standout 2018 campaign, setup man Seth Lugo permitted nary a run in July over 12 innings, striking out 16 with one walk. Lugo posted six holds, a third of the team total. Diaz seems safe in his role, but if he and Jeurys Familia cannot perform better, Lugo could save games too. -- Karabell



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  18. Texas Rangers

    2019 record:57-54

    Week 17 ranking:17



    Texas sold high on Chris Martin at the deadline, getting lefty Kolby Allard from the prospect-rich Braves, so that was nice. With the trade speculation gone, All-Star Mike Minor posted his first win in a month, Lance Lynn posted his 14th win of the season, and the Rangers won four in a row -- though the last three were against the Tigers, which might be worth only partial credit.-- Richards

  19. Los Angeles Angels

    2019 record:56-57

    Week 17 ranking:15



    The Angels were quiet at the trade deadline, but improved performance from rookie third baseman Matt Thaiss could make a huge difference in lengthening the lineup. Thaiss, a lefty hitter and first-round pick in the 2016 amateur draft, has shown occasional power against right-handed pitching but, in a small sample, poor plate discipline, which goes against his minor league record. Thaiss posted a .390 OBP at Triple-A Salt Lake this season, and his overall OBP in 404 minor league games was .363. Be patient, Angels fans. -- Karabell



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  20. Cincinnati Reds

    2019 record:52-58

    Week 17 ranking:19



    It was an eventful week for the Reds, who took two of three games against the Pittsburgh Pirates but absorbed 17 total games' worth of suspensions -- that's excluding since-traded Yasiel Puig's three games -- following a nasty brawl on Tuesday. Bear in mind that these teams meet again in Pittsburgh on Aug. 23-25 and Sept. 27-29, when there might be additional fireworks. The team also added Trevor Bauer, one of the top pitchers available at the deadline, in the three-team deal with the Indians and Padres involving Puig, unexpectedly beefing up a rotation that ranked sixth in the majors at the time (3.88 ERA). It's make-or-break time for this team on the fringe of the NL Central and wild-card races. -- Cockcroft



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  21. San Diego Padres

    2019 record:51-60

    Week 17 ranking:22



    The Padres' big trade deadline acquisition was 2018 Futures Game MVP Taylor Trammell, a curious addition considering he had just six home runs and a .336 slugging percentage in 94 games for Double-A Chattanooga. As they did when they dealt for Fernando Tatis Jr. three years and one month prior, they took a chance on a high-ceiling prospect who has plenty of room for growth. It seems to have worked out with Tatis: Despite appearing in just 76 games so far this season, Tatis has 3.8 fWAR. -- Cockcroft



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  22. Colorado Rockies

    2019 record:52-60

    Week 17 ranking:21



    The struggles of Wade Davis in the closer role finally were too much for Rockies manager Bud Black, who on Friday announced that Scott Oberg would replace Davis. Oberg has been one of this season's most effective relievers, posting a 1.53 ERA and .184 batting average allowed. It was a move long overdue, as at the time of the announcement, the Rockies' 6.48 ERA in save opportunities was easily the majors' worst and nearly a half-run higher than any other team's. -- Cockcroft

  23. Pittsburgh Pirates

    2019 record:48-63

    Week 17 ranking:23



    A nine-game losing streak helped convince the Pirates to trade away veterans Corey Dickerson and Jordan Lylesand designate Jung Ho Kang for assignment. All-Star and Home Run Derby participant Josh Bell has slumped in a major way recently, as he hasn't homered since July 5 and has batted .169 (13-for-77) with only four extra-base hits, all doubles, in 23 games since. -- Cockcroft



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  24. Toronto Blue Jays

    2019 record:45-69

    Week 17 ranking:26



    Clearly in sell mode, the Jays made their share of deadline moves, trading awayMarcus Stroman, Eric Sogard, Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini, but the returns didn't wow most observers (OK, they didn't wow any observers). Then Sanchez went out and threw six innings in a combined no-hitter in his Astros debut, rubbing salt in the wounds for Jays fans. Hey, they still haveVladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio for years to come.-- Richards



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  25. Chicago White Sox

    2019 record:48-61

    Week 17 ranking:24



    For years, sabermetric doctrine has been that quality closers are out of place on rebuilding teams. But as baseball has run into a shortage of reliable end-of-game relievers, at this year's deadline teams looking to move from building to contention in 2020 -- such as the White Sox, Padres, Rangers and Pirates -- might have given extra consideration to the difficulty of replacing a ninth-inning stud. Thus,Alex Colome remains in Chicago for this season's stretch run and will be back next season as the White Sox push for a return to relevance. -- Doolittle

  26. Miami Marlins

    2019 record:42-67

    Week 17 ranking:27



    The Marlins didn't have the talent to make any big deals, but credit them with doing well with the trades they could. They flipped a pair of independent league pitching finds to the Rays to get a preseason top-100 prospect in Jesus Sanchez and a good arm in Ryne Stanek, plus Lewin Diaz's grade-70 power from the Twins for a Romo rental as he bounces back from an injury-marred 2018. Working with what little they had left, the Fish did well at the deadline. -- Kahrl

  27. Seattle Mariners

    2019 record:47-67

    Week 17 ranking:25



    The Mariners were no-hit for the second time this season Saturday, courtesy of Aaron Sanchez and three Astros relievers. The no-hitter at the hands of the Angels on July 12 was also a combined one. The Astros swept the three-game series, limiting the Mariners to seven hits while hitting seven home runs. No surprise here: The Mariners are now 1-12 against the Astros in 2019. Believe it or not, the Mariners won the season series last year 10-9. -- Schoenfield

  28. Kansas City Royals

    2019 record:40-73

    Week 17 ranking:28



    The Royals shed Homer Bailey, Jake Diekman and Martin Maldonado via trade during the run-up to the deadline while letting veteran stopgaps such as Ben Lively, Brad Boxberger, Terrance Gore, Wily Peralta and Lucas Duda move on. The Royals are going to be very young for the rest of the 2019 season. All this makes sense given their rebuilding timeline. Less easy to comprehend is the apparent unwillingness to pay down the contract of Ian Kennedyto find a taker for the veteran righty, who has done well in a relief role this season. Perhaps the Royals see him returning to serve as closer for a 2020 team they hope will make a better run than the 2019 version did. -- Doolittle

  29. Baltimore Orioles

    2019 record:38-73

    Week 17 ranking:29



    The Orioles didn't cash in any assets, and though they didn't have a lot to work with, it seems they could have dealt reliever Mychal Givens or outfielder Trey Mancini. But O's GM Mike Elias wasn't moved to deal, largely because the bulk of his players are under team control, and the trades he discussed wouldn't have raised the talent level of the organization, he told reporters. Meanwhile, Mancini had nine RBIs and slugged .667 with three doubles and two homers for the week.-- Richards

  30. Detroit Tigers

    2019 record:32-75

    Week 17 ranking:30



    The Tigers dealt the two bargaining chips they had that still had any value in Nicholas Castellanos and Shane Greene, getting a trio of live arms to dream on and a playable bat for the outfield in Travis Demeritte. That's not a bad bit of milking value from the regrettable Robbie Ray trade of 2014 and the last two months before Castellanos fled as a free agent. But with the big league roster weaker than ever, 110-plus losses looks unavoidable. -- Kahrl



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