Every week, the Pitcher List team publishes an update to our MLB Power Rankings, reviewing the biggest risers and fallers of the past seven days. As always, the full rankings can be found at the bottom of this article … but where’s the fun in that?
The 2023 regular season is nearing its end, with only ten days remaining. As such, we felt it prudent to remove the teams eliminated from the playoffs already from our Power Rankings as they are already focusing on 2024. Thus, eight teams (Boston, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland, Washington, St. Louis, and Colorado) have been removed. A few more (Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and both New York teams) are hanging by a thread, while Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Atlanta, and the Los Angeles Dodgers have already punched their postseason tickets.
The remaining squads are in full pennant-race mode, including two NL West squads coming off of diametrically opposite weeks – the Padres and the Giants.
Movin’ On Up
Rank change: +4 (19 to 15)
The Friars have underachieved all year and decided to finally play to their potential now that their season is on the brink. San Diego rides a seven-game winning streak into their weekend series against the Cardinals, bringing them to within 4.5 games of a Wild Card spot. Unfortunately, the Padres have only nine games remaining on their schedule and would have to win almost all of them to have a shot at a fantastic comeback. The good news is that the club will face the Giants and White Sox after the Cardinals, so there are no juggernauts on the road ahead. However, they’d have to pass four teams to get there and thus need help from the teams they’re chasing.
A seven-game winning streak is impressive. However, the last six came against the bottom-dwelling Rockies and Athletics. Even so, the Friars did what they needed to do last week to stay afloat. San Diego played well on both sides of the ball, scoring 39 runs in the six games while allowing only 17 – nine of which came in one game. The offense was led by the triumvirate of Xander Bogaerts, Juan Soto, and Fernando Tatis Jr. Bogaerts slashed .519/.552/.815 on the week and scored seven runs. Soto smacked two homers and drove in 11 while hitting .400, and Tatis homered, scored four runs, and had three RBI. In addition, all three players stole three bases.
The Padres’ pitching staff had a 2.67 ERA on the week and a 1.11 WHIP. The starters were all solid, especially Blake Snell, who held the Rockies scoreless over seven innings while striking out ten on Tuesday. Snell has been a bright spot on a rotation that only got 17 starts out of Joe Musgrove this year and a 4.56 ERA from Yu Darvish. Half the victories on the week were settled by three runs or less; thus, Josh Hader added three more saves to his total. After a rough 2022, Hader looked like his old self this season with 31 saves, a 1.21 ERA, and 13.7 strikeouts per nine innings. Unfortunately for San Diego, he and Snell are headed to free agency this offseason.
Hittin’ The Skids
Rank change: -4 (14 to 18)
The Giants were hot last week, but now they’re not. The enigmatic club came into the week winning five of six, then lost the first three games of a four-game series to the lowly Rockies in Denver. San Francisco followed that up by being swept by the division-rival Diamondbacks in a short, two-game series. Both series were devastating to the Giants’ postseason hopes. Heading into Thursday’s games, San Francisco was three out of the last Wild Card spot and had the Dodgers and Padres exclusively on their schedule down the stretch. Can you say, “Wait until next year?”
In the six games the Giants played last week, they were outscored 42-25. Twenty-five runs in six games isn’t too bad unless you consider four of the games were at Coors Field and that 11 of them came in one contest. The offense has struggled the entire second half; last week was no exception. Eight of the 11 players with 12 or more plate appearances hit .214 or lower despite two-thirds of the games being in the thin Denver air. Only LaMonte Wade Jr., who slugged two homers and scored five runs, and Thairo Estrada, who hit .409 with a .458 OBP, did much at the plate.
Logan Webb had a solid week on the mound, but Alex Cobb’s struggles continued. The veteran lasted only two innings against the D’Backs on Tuesday after allowing five earned runs off five hits, three of which were doubles, and a pair of stolen bases. Cobb’s ERA since the All-Star break is 5.25, a far cry from the 2.91 he posted in the first half.
The bullpen really struggled last week with an ERA of 7.33, a WHIP of 2.06, and two losses. Camilo Doval was tied for the NL lead in Saves through Wednesday but blew one last Friday and allowed a run in both his outings against the Rockies. Ryan Walker had an even worse week. The righty has had a good season but allowed seven earned runs in two short appearances in his last two outings. The Giants surprised many with their strong first half, but it appears the chickens have come home to roost on their 2023 season.
Week 25 MLB Power Rankings