MLB Power Rankings: Astros take No. 2 looking like World Series favourites

astros-yordan-alvarez-celebrates-with-third-base-coach-gary-bettis

Houston Astros' Yordan Alvarez, left, celebrates with third base coach Gary Pettis (8) after hitting a home run against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning on Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, in Houston. (David J. Phillip/AP)

There are only three starters in the American League with an ERA under 3.00. All of them are Houston Astros.

Led by Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke, the Astros march confidently towards a third straight AL West title, all while looking like the World Series favourite we all expected to see after a flurry of moves – including the Greinke deal – at the trade deadline.

Verlander and Cole seem to be locked in their own private duel for the Cy Young award, and the latter added a few more points to the board in his last start on Sunday, striking out 15 batters and earning the win against the Seattle Mariners, all while allowing just one run, one hit and one walk. Verlander may have faltered in Thursday’s start against the Oakland A’s, but he still struck out 11 batters and kept his ERA at 2.58 – best in the AL.

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Astros hitters have also been supporting their rotation all season long, with the best team batting average (.276) and second-best slugging percentage (.494) in baseball. Alex Bregman leads the power-laden squad in home runs (35) RBIs (103).

But it’s a Houston rookie that has impressed most at the plate.

Since being called up on June 9, 22-year-old Yordan Alvarez has looked like a natural in the big leagues, hitting .315 with a 1.069 and 24 home runs. A stellar addition to an already scary lineup.

The Astros are this week’s biggest winners in our MLB Power Rankings, as they take the No. 2 spot from the Los Angeles Dodgers, who may have clinched their division last Wednesday, but still need to prove they can take the next step to greatness after two straight World Series losses – the first of them to Houston.

Up from No. 9 to No. 7, the St. Louis Cardinals have taken a comfortable lead in the NL Central, currently four games ahead of the Chicago Cubs, who have lost ground this week after splitting a crucial four-game series against the already-eliminated San Diego Padres and helping the Cards take that cushion.

Here are this week’s MLB Power Rankings:

1. (1) New York Yankees


2. (3) Houston Astros


3. (2) Los Angeles Dodgers


4. (4) Atlanta Braves


5. (5) Minnesota Twins


6. (6) Tampa Bay Rays


7. (9) St. Louis Cardinals


8. (7) Oakland Athletics


9. (8) Cleveland Indians


10. (10) Washington Nationals


11. (12) Arizona Diamondbacks


12. (11) Chicago Cubs


13. (14) Philadelphia Phillies


14. (15) Milwaukee Brewers


15. (13) Boston Red Sox


16. (16) New York Mets


17. (19) Cincinnati Reds


18. (23) Pittsburgh Pirates


19. (17) San Francisco Giants


20. (18) Texas Rangers


21. (20) Los Angeles Angels


22. (21) San Diego Padres


23. (22) Chicago White Sox


24. (24) Toronto Blue Jays


25. (25) Seattle Mariners


26. (26) Colorado Rockies


27. (27) Kansas City Royals


28. (28) Miami Marlins


29. (29) Detroit Tigers


30. (30) Baltimore Orioles

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