Power Rankings: Dodgers double down on dominance

Dodgers rolling atop Week 18 Power Rankings (1:44)

The Baseball Tonight crew unanimously has the Dodgers as the top team in the majors, with the Red Sox jumping into the top five after a six-game win streak. (1:44)

With the trade deadline in this season's rearview mirror, it's clear some teams are very much in it to win it this year. Start with the Dodgers, who aren't going to let something like a Clayton Kershaw injury take the bounce out of their stride -- they simply rented Yu Darvish for the remainder of the season to help their quest to win the World Series for the first time since 1988. Between that and their sizzling performance over the past 50 games or so, they were this week's unanimous No. 1 from our voters for the first time this season. And the Astros, having stood pat at the deadline, didn't even get every second-place vote, an ominous hint for their future within these rankings.

Both inside and out of the top 10 for Week 18, the Red Sox were the team that made the single biggest gain this week, rebounding from last week's decline to climb four places to reach No. 5. The Brewers also reclaimed a spot in the top 10 at the expense of the Royals, who dropped two slots. The other big moves up or down this week? The Angels jumped up three places as they try to remain in the American League's wild-card pack, and the Tigers gained three as well down among the also-rans. The biggest drops were from the fading Rangers and Mets, who each declined by three rungs in the rankings.

This week's voters are Bradford Doolittle, Eric Karabell, Tim Kurkjian, David Schoenfield and Mark Simon.

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1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 79-32

Week 17 ranking: No. 1

After the Dodgers made history by going 43-7 in their past 50 games through Saturday, the historically minded might now be asking if they can go 38-13 in their last 51 games to set a new record for wins in a season. With their overstuffed roster crammed with part-time players and rotation spares competing for the right to make the postseason 25-man roster, there's no reason to expect the Dodgers to coast while exploiting their stretch schedule. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

2. Houston Astros

Record: 71-40
Week 17 ranking: No. 2

Though Dallas Keuchel might be frustrated by the lack of any major deadline moves, one benefit the coasting Astros have been able to reap is to explore what they can ask of various players in game situations. While Carlos Correa and George Springer are on the mend, they're getting to play Alex Bregman at short and Yuli Gurriel at third, and giving regular at-bats to Derek Fisher, Jake Marisnick and Tyler White. They might just be breaking even in wins and losses, but they're gaining some flexibility they'll need in October when every roster choice and tactical decision matters. But there's still the big question: Can they add a top starter before the end of August? -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

3. Washington Nationals

Record: 65-44
Week 17 ranking: No. 3

He barely has played this season because of injuries, but Howie Kendrick seems fresh and ready to try to win a ring. He went 5-for-5 in his third start and he's versatile enough to play left field or perhaps serve as a late-game defensive replacement for Daniel Murphy at second base in the postseason. Sometimes the best trade-deadline moves turn out to be under-the-radar ones like this. As I like to say: Remember Geoff Blum (a surprise World Series hero on the 2005 White Sox). -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

4. Cleveland Indians

Record: 59-50
Week 17 ranking: No. 4

Losing Jason Kipnis for a month might have delayed the Indians' bid to end the AL Central race early, but now that he's back from the DL there's more at stake than just adding space in the standings. An entirely healthy Kipnis provides the Tribe with a top-tier table-setter in front of Francisco Lindor and the heart of the lineup. But if his production limps along as it did during his injury-marred 2014 season, that could hurt them now and in October. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

5. Boston Red Sox

Record: 63-49
Week 17 ranking: No. 9

What a difference a week makes. Last Monday, the Sox trailed the Yankees by a half-game in the AL East, but now they're on top again. The offense has been hot and Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz have been great. On the down side, David Price suffered a setback with his elbow injury last week, so this team really needs Rick Porcello to return to Cy Young form. -- Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information

6. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 63-48
Week 17 ranking: No. 5

Robbie Ray's return from his post-concussion symptoms can't come soon enough. The injury-wracked Snakes are 13-20 since their high-water mark 22 games above .500 on June 27. At least Ketel Marte has been earning his keep as an injury replacement, bashing four homers while providing value on defense at shortstop. If he keeps that up, the D-backs can worry slightly less about Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed both recovering in time to contribute down the season's last leg. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

7. New York Yankees

Record: 59-51
Week 17 ranking: No. 6

The Yankees have had a major power outage lately. They were 12-6 in their first 18 games after the All-Star break with a team OPS of .733, scoring 4.4 runs per game. But in their last six games, they're just 2-4, scoring just 2.7 runs per game and sporting an OPS of .641. One big dropoff? Aaron Judge, who's hitting .182 since the All-Star break, 177th of 185 qualified players since the break. He hit .329 in the first half, which ranked fifth of 166 qualified players. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

8. Chicago Cubs

Record: 58-52
Week 17 ranking: 7

The early returns on Kyle Hendricks are encouraging. He has a 2.76 ERA in three starts since returning from the disabled list. The biggest positive is that Hendricks' changeup has been money. Pre-injury, opponents hit .266 against it, but they're 2-for-23 with nine strikeouts since. What Hendricks most needs is the Cubs to score for him. They've totaled five runs in his three starts, scoring two or fewer in each. -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

9. Colorado Rockies

Record: 64-48
Week 17 ranking: No. 8

The Rockies might be a near-lock to earn a wild-card spot, but they've managed to kill off some of their early season "how they're doing it" narratives. They're next to last in the National League in OPS on the road, and last in power production (via Isolated Power) away from Coors Field. And their defense? Next-to-last in defensive runs saved in the NL since July 1, costing them almost two wins' worth of runs in that time. What's still working? The bullpen, which ranks fifth in the majors in road ERA. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

10. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 59-54
Week 17 ranking: No. 11

The Brewers have won four of their past six to start recovering from a 5-11 stumble coming out of the break. In an odd twist, it's thanks to their starting pitching. The rotation is fifth in the majors in ERA in the second half, led by Zach Davies, who has been brilliant in his past four starts after a rocky outing coming out of the break. And they've needed it, since the offense is 29th in runs per game since the All-Star Game. -- John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information

11. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 58-55
Week 17 ranking: No. 12

Lucas Duda always seemed like a classic AL player when he was with the Mets and he's showing himself to be a good fit with the Rays. Duda homered in three of his first four games and has been reaching base with great regularity. Getting to the postseason would be a nice accomplishment and a chance at redemption for Duda, who was a good Met, but is remembered by some of the team's fans for the throwing error in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series, a game that gave the Royals the title. -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

12. Kansas City Royals

Record: 57-53
Week 17 ranking: No. 10

The Royals' biggest move at the deadline was adding Melky Cabrera, and he hasn't hit much in his short tenure with the team. But the Royals keep winning thanks to their offensive core staying hot at the plate. If they want to catch the Indians, they need their starting pitchers to deal down the stretch; Royals starters have an ERA of 4.99 since July 1, which is in MLB's bottom 10. -- Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information

13. Seattle Mariners

Record: 57-56
Week 17 ranking: No. 14

Felix Hernandez might be back on the DL, but the King is far from dead -- although there might be a new claimant to the crown. James Paxton has thrown eight straight quality starts, won seven straight games, he hasn't given up a homer since June and his 31 percent strikeout rate during that run is third among AL starters behind Corey Kluber and Chris Sale. You can shelve those assumptions about who's going to win the AL Cy Young, because if Paxton keeps this up we have a race on our hands. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

14. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 55-56
Week 17 ranking: No. 13

I got into a good discussion with a member of our analytics team on whether the Cardinals should have gone for it at the trade deadline even though their playoff probability was 25 percent. Though the NL Central was there for the taking, it seems like in his heart of hearts, GM John Mozeliak knew his team needed more than one big deal to be able to compete with the Cubs. He probably decided not to do anything foolish, saving a significant shakeup for the winter. -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

15. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 55-57
Week 17 ranking: No. 18

Mike Trout is back and as good as ever, but that's not the only bright spot for this team this year. Andrelton Simmons is having a fantastic season, ranking second in the majors in WAR (trailing only José Altuve) and is on pace to set multiple career highs at the plate. And in classic Simmons fashion, he's second in the majors in defensive runs saved. But the best news is that he's under team control through 2020. -- Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information

16. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 55-56
Week 17 ranking: No. 17

Tim Beckham might be the greatest Oriole ever. The jury's still out, but he has had one of the best starts to an Orioles career we've ever seen. Baltimore acquired the former first overall pick by the Rays at the deadline, and all he did was notch a multi-hit game in each of his first five games, including three home runs. According to Elias Sports Bureau research, his 13 hits were the most by any Orioles player in his first five games with the team and his three homers tied for the most. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

17. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 54-57
Week 17 ranking: No. 16

The Pirates are more spoiler than contender and they'll definitely have a significant say in the NL Central race the last couple of months. The shame of their season is that they are 15-8 against the Cubs and Brewers, but they're 3-13 against the bottom-feeding Giants and Reds. If they had even played .500 against those latter two teams, they'd essentially be right where the Brewers are now. -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

18. Texas Rangers

Record: 53-58
Week 17 ranking: No. 15

"Wait 'til next year" mode is in full swing. The Rangers might be down one Japanese ace after trading Yu Darvish, but their other trades for international slot money suggest they'll do more than potentially re-sign Darvish as a free agent this winter -- they might go all in on bringing Shohei Otani to the U.S. In the meantime, they've reshuffled their defense, playing Joey Gallo in left more often while moving Nomar Mazara back to right, which should help them evaluate if that might be their outfield alignment for 2018. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

19. Miami Marlins

Record: 52-57
Week 17 ranking: No. 21

Giancarlo Stanton continues his assault on the home run leaderboard, taking the lead from Aaron Judge this week. He has been perhaps the most dangerous hitter in the league since the break, showing no effects from his participation in the Home Run Derby. J.T. Realmuto and Christian Yelich have also done damage in the second half. -- John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information

20. Minnesota Twins

Record: 53-56
Week 17 ranking: No. 19

Bartolo Colon had himself a night on Friday. He gave up a home run to Carlos Gomez, his first allowed at Target Field to make it the 43rd venue in which he has given up a homer, tying Jamie Moyer for the most parks surrendering a blast in MLB history, according to Elias Sports Bureau research. Colon also became the oldest player in Twins/Senators history to throw a complete game, having thrown one with eight different teams, tied with Doyle Alexander for the second most in MLB history. Only Mike Morgan (nine) did so for more. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

21. Detroit Tigers

Record: 51-59
Week 17 ranking: No. 24

The Tigers made a few trades at the deadline, but they might not be done because Justin Verlander cleared revocable waivers -- so he can be traded to any team this month. That probably won't happen because Verlander is still owed more than $50 million, but if Al Avila can pull it off, it would go a long way toward clearing up the books and making their unavoidable rebuild a little less expensive. -- Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information

22. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 52-59
Week 17 ranking: No. 23

Justin Smoak continues to stand out, proving himself the team's most valuable player in a losing season. Smoak has 31 home runs so far, 11 more than his previous career high. The Jays haven't taken advantage of all of those dingers -- they're 16-13 when he hits at least one homer in a game; that's tied with Khris Davis for losses in a games they homered in; just Joey Gallo and Joey Votto have more. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

23. New York Mets

Record: 49-60
Week 17 ranking: No. 20

An eagle-eyed fan sitting a row behind me last Friday noted that new shortstop Amed Rosario has an odd hitch in his approach. He steps forward and then slightly to third base as he swings. Early on, he has shown vulnerability to outside pitches. He missed seven of his first 11 swings on pitches thrown to the outer-third or off the outside corner. Given Rosario's youth, this might be something he has to try and fail at before having the breakthrough that will allow him to succeed. -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information

24. Atlanta Braves

Record: 51-59
Week 17 ranking: No. 22

With 11 of their next 15 games coming against teams under .500, the Braves have got a chance to fight their way back toward .500.Their biggest takeaway from this season has been that despite his injury this has been the best year of Freddie Freeman's career. He's looking at career highs in OBP and slugging, and he's homering at a career-high rate. He also has looked comfortable at third base when he has played at the hot corner. -- John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information

25. Oakland Athletics

Record: 50-62
Week 17 ranking: No. 25

Trading Yonder Alonso to the Mariners on Sunday might have yielded less value than it might have earlier, but it's worth remembering his production was regressing back to his former (low) standard. The most valuable Athletic in the lineup lately has been third baseman Matt Chapman. The A's are four games above .500 in a little more than a month's worth of games with Chapman at the hot corner, and their rotation ranks fifth in the AL in ERA and fourth in ground-ball rate during that time. Chapman's slick fielding is especially important for a rotation with the league's lowest K rate, a number sure to go lower still now that Sonny Gray wears pinstripes. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com

26. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 45-66
Week 17 ranking: No. 27

The Reds have been the worst team in the NL since the break. The offense is 28th in runs per game, the rotation is 27th in ERA and the bullpen is 28th. The good news is that Joey Votto is having another great season. His OPS is over 1.000, thanks to a slugging percentage that would be the second highest of his career. They've got a chance to play spoiler the next two weeks -- 10 of their next 17 games are against the Brewers and Cubs. -- John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information

27. San Diego Padres

Record: 49-61
Week 17 ranking: No. 26

In the first three months of the season, the Padres had the third-worst record in the NL. But since the calendar flipped to July, they're actually over .500. The offense is in the top 10 in runs scored since then, and that's with their best offensive player, Wil Myers, hitting below .200 in that time. -- Michael Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information

28. San Francisco Giants

Record: 44-69
Week 17 ranking: No. 29

The Pablo Sandoval effect might be real. In his first game back with the Giants, Sandoval started and batted cleanup Saturday, and the Giants did something they hadn't done in almost a year -- they came back from a four-run deficit in the seventh to win 5-4 in extra innings. The Giants hadn't won a game they trailed by four or more runs at any point since late August 2016, and hadn't won one they trailed by four or more entering the seventh since early August 2016. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

29. Chicago White Sox

Record: 41-68
Week 17 ranking: No. 28

Tim Anderson was the 17th overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft. He played 99 games last season and has played 98 this season. He already has set a career high with 10 home runs (after nine last season) but there are issues for him to work on -- strikeouts and defense. He has a 28 percent strikeout rate in his career, which ranks 141st of 150 players with at least 800 plate appearances over the past two seasons. In the field, Anderson has minus-7 DRS at shortstop this season, fifth fewest at the position. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information

30. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 40-69
Week 17 ranking: No. 30

Aaron Nola continues to be a real bright spot for this team, with a 1.76 ERA in his past nine starts, giving up two runs or fewer in all of them. But he's not alone -- Odubel Herrera has looked like his former All-Star self since the beginning of June, and Nick Williams has shown some power in his first taste of the big leagues. -- John Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information