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2023 Vendetta MLB Power Rankings: August

(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

2023 Vendetta MLB Power Rankings: August

We have two months left in the 2023 MLB season, and now that the trade deadline has passed, let’s dive into our August MLB Power Rankings! We have the same at the top, but a new No. 2 and shake-up throughout the rest of the top half! O.K., no more spoilers! It’s power rankings time!

30. Oakland Athletics

Last month: 30

Average: 30

(Matt Hanifan 30, Jack Sabin 30, Andrew McGuinness 30)

The A’s are back in last place for this month’s power rankings. They dealt Shintaro Fujinami, who’s struggled mightily with his control this season, to the Orioles, Jace Peterson to the Diamondbacks and Sam Moll to the Cincinnati Reds. They didn’t have many tradable pieces, anyways. Their farm system, which ranks in the bottom third in MLB (according to FanGraphs), still lacks quality pitching prospects, but they were able to build a portion of that depth with the trades they made.

29. Kansas City Royals

Last month: 29

Average: 29

(Matt 29, Jack 29, Andrew 29)

The Royals were another team that did not have many tradable players. They were able to flip Scott Barlow in a last-minute trade to the Padres for a couple of pitching prospects. They had a July stretch of losing 16 of 20 before a recent four-game win streak against the Twins and Mets. This is a bad team looking ahead to the future, but they are banking on the development of Bobby Witt Jr., Michael Massey and Brady Singer, who’s taken a step back this season.

28. Colorado Rockies

Last month: 28

Average: 28

(Matt 28, Jack 28, Andrew 28)

I said it last time and it’s no different now: There isn’t really anything to say about this Rockies team. They are exactly what we thought they were gonna be, very bad. They sit at 42-66 and were sellers at the deadline–trading C.J. Cron and Randal Grichuk. At least the front office actually acknowledged it this time and actually traded away aging vets. Still a long way to go for the Rockies and the rest of this season will continue to be a “Rockie” one. — Jack Sabin

27. Chicago White Sox

Last month: 25

Average: 26.3

(Matt 26, Jack 27, Andrew 26)

The White Sox were sellers at the deadline, parting with Lance Lynn, Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito, Kenyan Middleton, Kendall Graveman and Jake Burger. They were able to land considerable value back, including two of the Angels’ top prospects in Edgar Quero and Ky Bush, Nick Kastrini from the Dodgers and Korey Lee for Kendall Graveman. Chicago needed a reset while holding onto Tim Anderson–who’s having a down season–and Dylan Cease, who was one more year left of control and would’ve commanded a haul. Good for the White Sox, but can they finally put it together in 2024 or 2025 with a new core? We’ll wait and see!

26. Detroit Tigers

Last month: 26

Average: 26

(Matt 25, Jack 26, Andrew 27)

The Tigers only made one big trade deadline move, dealing Michael Lorenzen for Hao-Yu-Lee. They had a deal in place to trade Eduardo Rodriguez to the Dodgers before he invoked his no-trade clause to remain closer to his family on the East Coast, which is perfectly acceptable! They also held onto closer Alex Lange, Tyler Holton, Jason Foley and Jose Cisnero, all of whom would’ve helped teams in the bullpen. Riley Greene returned from injury on July 8 and looked even better than his pre-injury self, slashing .343/.405/.537 with seven extra-base hits, six RBIs and six walks in 74 plate appearances in July.

The Tigers, No. 26 in our July power rankings, shipped Lorenzen to Philadelphia on deadline day!

25. Washington Nationals

Last month: 27

Average: 25

(Matt 27, Jack 24, Andrew 24)

The Nationals, to nobody’s surprise, were sellers at the deadline. They did what everyone expected them to do by trading Jeimer Candelario, who was having a career year in his age-29 season. They received two prospects in return, fitting for a Nationals team in the middle of a rebuild. They are still hampered by the Patrick Corbin and Stephen Strasburg contracts, but will have a ton of financial freedom once they are rid of those. But for now, there isn’t too much more to be said about the Nationals. They won’t be good this year but as long as their young guys perform, I’m sure they don’t really care. Keep building for the future Washington! — Sabin

24. Pittsburgh Pirates

Last month: 21

Average: 24.7

(Matt 24, Jack 25, Andrew 25)

The Pirates were fairly active throughout this trade deadline, shipping Rich Hill and Ji-Man Choi to the Padres, Rodolfo Castro to the Phillies, Carlos Santana to the Brewers and Austin Hedges to the Rangers. I’m surprised they still held on David Bednar, even though he still has three years left of control left, and Mitch Keller, who has two additional years but was one of the top (available) pitchers who weren’t on the market by the end of the deadline. The price for both would’ve been hefty, which is something to consider in retrospect. They had MLB’s third-worst offense in July, the biggest reason why they went 8-16 and fell 11 games below .500. They took the right course of action at the deadline, so perhaps their future looks brighter than it did mere days ago.

What was the worst trade in MLB Deadline history? Check out why it might be the Chris Archer trade here!

23. St. Louis Cardinals

Last month: 24

Average: 22.7

(Matt 23, Jack 23, Andrew 22)

The Cardinals have been a disaster all season and pressed the medium-sized button at the MLB Trade Deadline–selling, but not trading either one of Nolan Arenado or Paul Goldschmidt. They were able to get a crop of good prospects for Jack Flaherty, Jordan Montgomery, Jordan Hicks and Genesis Cabrera–including Drew Rom and Cesar Prieto, who could make their MLB debuts this year. They did a solid job setting themselves up for 2024 and beyond to make another run after this cataclysmic season. But there are still questions–specifically in the outfield–that must gain more clarity in the winter.

22. New York Mets

Last month: 20

Average: 22.3

(Matt 22, Jack 22, Andrew 23)

Ohhhh the Mets. As a Phillie fan, I truly love watching this downfall happen before my eyes. Steve Cohen has finally realized that this team is a mess with no real shot at making a run anytime soon. They have gone into full sell mode trading Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Tommy Pham, Mark Canha and David Robertson. The season was already going downhill and a playoff spot is all but impossible for them now. Selling is the right choice, more so moving off these big contracts, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable as a Mets hater. They are at least getting some decent prospects in return and will be done with some of these bad contracts in a couple more years. But the rest of 2023 will be rough for the Mets. — Sabin

21. Minnesota Twins

Last month: 16

Average: 20.7

(Matt 20, Jack 21, Andrew 21)

The Twins, first place in the AL Central by two games, failed to address the need to boost their offense, which was No. 14 in wRC+ (102). Second baseman Edouard Julien has been their best hitter, sporting a .889 OPS, but the rest of the lineup has been league-average at best. The only real move made was a reliever swap, bringing in Dylan Floro for Jorge Lopez. In the end, little-to-no change was the worst decision for the Twins to make, who are hanging on by a thread in a very weak AL Central.

20. Cleveland Guardians

Last month: 17

Average: 19.3

(Matt 21, Jack 18, Andrew 19)

Despite being in the chase for the AL Central, the Guardians elected to sell off Aaron Civale to Tampa–albeit for a top-5 prospect in their system–plus Josh Bell and Amed Rosario, clearing up a logjam in the middle infield. It was still a head-scratching deadline for Cleveland, who just placed RHP Shane Bieber on the IL. Their offense is still below average and will need to improve if they want to snag the AL Central crown from the Twins yet again.

19. Seattle Mariners

Last month: 18

Average: 18.3

(Matt 18, Jack 17, Andrew 20)

The Mariners flipped Paul Sewald to Arizona and AJ Pollock to the Giants, but stood pretty pat at the deadline. To many people’s surprise, they did not trade outfielder Teoscar Hernandez, and were still able to build depth around the diamond. Believe it or not, they’re still in the playoff chase, positioned only 3.5 games out of the final wild-card spot in the AL. Plus, they’re coming off their best month of the season, where they sported a top-10 offense with series wins over the Rays, Giants, Astros, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks and, most recently, the Red Sox. They’re not going to catch Houston or Texas, but I wouldn’t sleep on them catching the final bid over any of their AL East (New York, Boston, Toronto) foes.

18. Chicago Cubs

Last month: 23

Average: 17.7

(Matt 16, Jack 20, Andrew 17)

The Cubs were in an interesting spot going into the trade deadline. They were teetering at .500 with many unsure of what direction they would go. Many thought they would sell and trade guys like Cody Bellinger and Marcus Stroman. But then right before the deadline, the Cubs got red hot. Cody Bellinger was playing out of his mind and the team as a whole was playing much better. The Cubs then quickly made it clear that neither of the two would be available via trade and stayed pretty quiet. It’s still gonna take quite a bit to get them to the playoffs sitting at 55-53. They made a solid move by bringing in 3B Jeimer Candelario, which addresses a need they had to bring in another bat. I still don’t think it’s enough to get the Cubs into the playoffs, but crazier things have happened. — Sabin

17. New York Yankees

Last month: 10

Average: 17.3

(Matt 19, Jack 15, Andrew 18)

The Yankees could’ve gone in two directions: 1.) Sell, get something in return and give more opportunity to its young players (outside of Anthony Volpe) to position itself better for 2024/2025 or 2.) Go all in and address their lethargic offense, which cannot hit outside of Aaron Judge. They did … neither? Correct. The Yankees bolstered their biggest strength–their bullpen–by acquiring Kenyan Middleton (and Spencer Howard, who immediately got sent down to AAA), but did nothing to address their anemic offense. The Yankees are now stuck by continuing to rely on age-old veterans in Anthony Rizzo, DJ LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton, who are slashing a combined .217/.297/.353 (.653 OPS; 81 wRC+) since the start of May and providing zero protection for Judge. The organization doesn’t have any direction, clarity or reputable future for the next two seasons (at least) and Brian Cashman’s “in it to win it” message is a far cry from the team’s actions–or inaction–at the deadline. Their placement at No. 17 this month in the power rankings feels disrespectful to the teams behind them.

The Yankees have one of MLB’s worst offenses, the biggest culprit to why they’re No. 17 in the August power rankings!

16. San Diego Padres

Last month: 19

Average: 17

(Matt 17, Jack 19, Andrew 15)

I admittedly didn’t love the Padres’ activity–or lack thereof–for most of the deadline, until the last-second Scott Barlow splash that helps the back end of their bullpen. Given where they’re at in the NL Wild Card chase, I would’ve strongly considered selling high-er on Juan Soto, who has one more year left of control, and on Blake Snell, despite the personal catcher relationship he’s developed with Gary Sanchez. Snell’s been one of MLB’s best pitchers for two-plus months and Soto’s sported an OPS north of 1.000 since May 19. Though San Diego went 15-10 in July–their best month yet–and are now four games out of the final wild-card spot, so perhaps they’re gaining steam at the right time for one last push.

15. Los Angeles Angels

Last month: 15

Average: 14.7

(Matt 15, Jack 16, Andrew 13)

The Angels are a team that could climb these rankings a bit in the next couple of months. They realize that if they want to win with Shohei Ohtani they have to do it now. They were one of the biggest buyers at the deadline. Lucas Giolito was the main addition, but C.J. Cron and Randal Grichuk will also be welcome additions. The Angels are pulling out all the stops but it just might be too little, too late. However, with Trout set to come back soon, this Angels team could be poised to make a late-season run. Let’s just see if these deadline additions prove to be worth it. — Sabin

14. Boston Red Sox

Last month: 22

Average: 13.7

(Matt 14, Jack 11, Andrew 16)

The Red Sox were as much of a tweener team at the deadline as you’ll find. Perhaps after last year’s one foot in, one foot out approach didn’t work, Chaim Bloom was more hesitant than he would’ve been to make a move this time around. Boston still has a chance at the wild card – their lineup is deep, their bullpen is strong and there’s enough upside in the rotation. But there just may not be enough for the Red Sox to separate themselves from the pack. — Andrew McGuinness

The Red Sox, No. 14 in our August power rankings, had a fairly inactive deadline.

13. Milwaukee Brewers

Last month: 14

Average: 10.7

(Matt 13, Jack 14, Andrew 11)

The Brewers were desperate to add offense at first base, where they were producing MLB-worst production with a fluctuation of bodies all season. Milwaukee did just add, adding switch-hitting Carlos Santana–who’s also a solid defender–as well as outfielder Mark Canha and reliever Andrew Chafin. They are still on the outside-looking-in on the NL Central race behind the surging Cincinnati Reds, but did more than their division rival at the deadline to (hopefully) propel them. Let’s see how a pair of veteran bats can help assist Christian Yelich offensively, which it needs more than air.

12. Miami Marlins

Last month: 6

Average: 10.7

(Matt 12, Jack 8, Andrew 12)

While the Marlins didn’t make any groundbreaking moves at the deadline, they still signaled to the rest of MLB that they want to compete as early as this season. Trades for Josh Bell and David Robertson show that this Marlins team doesn’t want to wait around too much longer. Truth be told, I can’t say I blame them. They sit at 58-51 with a real shot at securing a Wild Card spot. They made sure to not deplete their farm system and upgraded as positions of need. The pitching has been great all year with Sandy Alcantara starting to get back into his groove. The lineup has been a little inconsistent at times but later in the season, this can be a very annoying team. They could be a dangerous team if they sneak into that wild card spot. — Sabin

11. Cincinnati Reds

Last month: 13

Average: 10.3

(Matt 11, Jack 10, Andrew 10)

The Reds have had a season from heaven and, understandably, didn’t rush the process at the trade deadline even though they needed a push in the pitching staff. They acquired Sam Moll, but that was it. Ideally, one would’ve liked to see them add more arms to their pitching staff with forgoing too much of their future on the farm, but they did not do that. Nobody expected Cincy to be in this position, so whatever happens the rest of the season is gravy. Can this budding young squad make a push in a tight NL playoff race? Grab your popcorn … we all hope Elly De La Cruz makes the playoffs, right?

Carlos Santana was traded to Brewers, who rank just inside the top-half of our August power rankings!

10. Philadelphia Phillies

Last month: 12

Average: 10.3

(Matt 9, Jack 13, Andrew 9)

The Phillies probably have the best roster of any of the teams in the NL postseason race log-jam (save for the Dodgers, if you count them as being on the bubble). But every day that their stars fail to live up to their pedigree puts more stress on the rest of the roster – especially the bullpen. Essentially every pitcher returning from last year’s World Series run is coming off a career-high in innings pitched. The greater they are taxed, the greater the chances of an injury or a late-season implosion. Never normal, always confounding… but, still, it’s a good team on the whole. Of course, that only makes them even more maddening. — McGuinness

9. San Francisco Giants

Last month: 8

Average: 10.3 (tie goes to Giants because of record)

(Matt 8, Jack 9, Andrew 14)

The Giants were unlike their NL West counterparts and had a relatively silent deadline. San Francisco is a pair of games up on the Brewers in the Wild Card race and are 2.5 games back of the Dodgers in the NL West race. Their offense crashed back to earth in July–when it had an MLB-worst 74 wRC+ and an NL-worst .289 on-base percentage. Their pitching staff–namely their bullpen–has been nails, but the offense will need to look like it did in June to maintain their spot in the postseason chase.

8. Arizona Diamondbacks

Last month: 4

Average: 10

(Matt 10, Jack 12, Andrew 8)

The Diamondbacks bullpen has been a complete disaster, the biggest reason why they’re on the outside-looking-in on the NL West division race and why they dropped to No. 8 in this month’s power rankings. They went 8-16 with a 6.04 bullpen ERA–third worst in MLB–in July. Their offense–namely Corbin Carroll–also took a step back, which it will need to pick back up if wants to make the postseason. They slightly addressed their bullpen needs by acquiring Paul Sewald, but I can’t help but wonder if they did enough. We’ll wait and see, I guess.

7. Toronto Blue Jays

Last month: 11

Average: 7

(Matt 7, Jack 7, Andrew 7)

While they have the 10th-best bullpen ERA across MLB, you can never have enough pitching depth. Toronto bolstered their backend by adding two flame-throwing Cardinals in righty Jordan Hicks and lefty Génesis Cabrera. Paul DeJong is in the 97th percentile for outs above average and is back to within arm’s reach of being a league-average hitter. Thankfully, his addition isn’t as important as it could’ve been thanks to the good news on Bo Bichette’s status, even though he was placed on the 10-day IL. — McGuinness

6. Tampa Bay Rays

Last month: 2

Average: 6

(Matt 6, Jack 6, Andrew 6)

The Rays were talking a big game entering the deadline, but ultimately stuck to their nature and flew under the radar. Like Baltimore, their biggest need was starting pitching, and they went a little off the board to address it by nabbing Aaron Civale from Cleveland. For a team that generally doesn’t spend big, trading for a starter with a 2.34 ERA and two more years of control is about as good of a scenario as you could hope for. — McGuinness

5. Houston Astros

Last month: 9

Average: 5

(Matt 5, Jack 5, Andrew 5)

The Astros were arguably the biggest winner of this trade deadline by re-acquiring Justin Verlander, who spent the previous four-and-a-half years with the franchise before signing with the Mets for nearly $100 million over the offseason. Verlander won two world titles and two AL CY Young awards–ahem, including one in 2022–with the franchise he will now call home again. After beginning 2023 on the injured list, Verlander sports a 1.49 ERA over his last seven starts, albeit a 3.18 FIP. Oh, and Houston also re-acquired Graveman, who’s having a down season, from the White Sox, adding length to its bullpen. Houston’s betting on the back of the baseball card for both pitchers, who both have a good enough track record to justify upending multiple top prospects in hopes for yet another World Series chase.

The Astros, No. 5 in our August power rankings, were one of the biggest winners this MLB Trade Deadline with their acquisition of Verlander.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers

Last month: 7

Average: 4

(Matt 4, Jack 4, Andrew 4)

The Dodgers were in a position to acquire Eduardo Rodriguez from the Detroit Tigers … until they weren’t. Rodriguez wanted to remain closer to family, so the Dodgers’ only sizable moves near the deadline were acquiring Enrique Hernandez, Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly without shelling their farm system. I expected Andrew Friedman to address the pitching staff even more, but he did not once the Rodriguez trade fell through. They should be getting Walker Buehler back next month, but will have to rely on their young arms to keep them in position to secure yet another NL West crown.

The Dodgers make the top-5 once again in this month’s power rankings!

3. Texas Rangers

Last month: 3

Average: 2.7

(Matt 3, Jack 2, Andrew 3)

Are the Rangers and Astros the most fun intrastate rivalry now? It sure seems like it. The Rangers were very active this deadline, making splashes for Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery in their rotation, in addition to Austin Hedges–a good defensive catcher–and flamethrower Aroldis Chapman. Texas is neck-and-neck for first place in the AL West, which should be perhaps the most exciting division race in MLB over the final two months. The two sides will play each other once more in early September.

2. Baltimore Orioles

Last month: 5

Average: 2.3

(Matt 2, Jack 3, Andrew 2)

We have a new No. 2 in our monthly power rankings! The Orioles were actually in one of the trickier spots of any team at the deadline. Usually, there wouldn’t be as much pressure on such a young team that is also the best in their league. Even worse was that Baltimore’s biggest weakness, starting pitching, was the hardest thing to add. They did O.K. in acquiring Jack Flaherty, who’s been O.K. for the Cardinals but is enjoying his first season pitching more than 80 innings since 2019. Shintaro Fujinami has starting experience but profiles better as a reliever, at least for 2023. Baltimore is going to be a team that will have to be carried by their bats to win in October. — McGuinness

1. Atlanta Braves

Last month: 1

Average: 1

(Matt 1, Jack 1, Andrew 1)

The Braves rank atop our power rankings, continuing to play their incredibly high standard of baseball. They were pretty silent at the deadline, really only adding relief help in Brad Hand, but didn’t really need to make any moves. They arent truly weak at any position with another starting arm being the only potential upgrade for them. Their lineup is one of the best in the league and speaks for itself on a daily basis. Max Fried and Kyle Wright are both due back soon which likely played a part in the hesitance to go after another starter. They run the NL East and very likely have the division locked up. They are the best team in MLB and will be one of the favorites coming out of the NL for the World Series. — Sabin

Was your team to high or too low in our August power rankings? Let us know in the comments!


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