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


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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