By Ben Verlander
FOX Sports MLB Analyst
From Albert Pujols‘ chase to 700 home runs to Aaron Judge‘s pursuit of the American League single-season home run record to a modern-day Babe Ruth in Shohei Ohtani to the NL East division race, baseball is in an incredible place right now.
The races are hot, and the playoffs are just over a week away, so let’s take a look at the latest top 10 of my MLB Power Rankings.
Houston Astros join the 100-win club
Ben Verlander gives us his latest MLB Power Rankings with just days left in the regular season. The Dodgers and Houston are still the top teams. See who else makes the list!
10. Tampa Bay Rays
Since Aug. 12, the Rays have turned their season around and put themselves in a good spot to make the playoffs. In that time, they own the third-best winning percentage in baseball. And they’re about to get much better on the mound this week, with flamethrower Tyler Glasnow expected to make his return from Tommy John surgery.
The Mariners are limping to the finish line of the season. With their first playoff berth in more than 20 years right there for the taking, things aren’t coming easily for Seattle.
Rookie phenom Julio Rodriguez, who leads the team in most every offensive category, has officially hit the injured list, which is a huge blown to the team. The Mariners still hold a sizable lead over the Orioles in the AL wild card, but if they don’t turn things around, they could find themselves in a fight to the end.
Julio Rodriguez on the injured list: What does it mean for Mariners?
Ben Verlander and Alex Curry talk about the Mariners’ concerns as rookie sensation Julio Rodriguez is placed on the 10-day IL due to a lower back strain.
Currently, the Blue Jays are holding down the top spot in the AL wild-card race, and they’re almost certainly headed to the playoffs. The Jays’ recipe for success is simple: If the offense is hot, they will win; if the offense goes cold, it could be a quick October for them.
This team is built around its offense, which has the highest team batting average in baseball. The Jays will be a fun team to watch in October.
It’s time to put some massive respect on the Guardians’ name. Just two weeks ago, they were neck and neck with the Twins and White Sox in the AL Central. Now, thanks to a seven-game winning streak, the Guardians have won the division and look like a team you don’t want to run into in October.
The Guardians might not be a flashy team full of superstars, but they deserved to win their division and are now set to take on the league’s best in October.
There’s something magical going on with the Cardinals this season. Since the end of July, they have the second-best winning percentage in baseball. More than that, though, this season just feels special.
You have Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado having great years, and then you have the Pujols resurgence, including his hitting his 700th career home run in what has to be the greatest farewell tour of all time. The Cardinals are heading to the playoffs this year, and I wouldn’t want to stand in their way.
Albert Pujols joins 700 home run club
Ben Verlander and Alex Curry react to Albert Pujols hitting his 699th and 700th home runs Friday, making him the fourth player in MLB history to reach the milestone.
The Yankees are back to playing the brand of baseball we became accustomed to in the first half of this season. After a very odd and very bad stretch, they’re showing why they are one of the best teams in the league and will finish with close to 100 wins.
Judge continues to be on the doorstep of history, which should make for an exciting last few days of the season as the division and No. 2 seed in the playoffs are all but a formality for the Bronx Bombers at this point.
Aaron Judge chasing history and the triple crown
Ben Verlander and Alex Curry talk about what Aaron Judge is doing in New York as he chases the AL single-season home run record and the triple crown.
Since May 31, only the Dodgers have a higher winning percentage than the Braves, and no team has a higher home winning percentage. That’s important to note as we head into the biggest series of the year later this week, when the Braves host the first-place Mets.
The NL East is going to come down to the last few days of the season.
We are heading straight into an NL East clash between the Mets and Braves, who just happen to be two of the best teams in baseball. For as good as the Braves have been since the end of May, the Mets have been good enough to not let them get ahead.
The Mets have won eight of their past 10 games and sit 1.5 games ahead of the Braves as we enter the new week. On Friday in Atlanta, the two teams will square off for one final series.
Albert Pujols, Juan Soto and Manny Machado lead off team of the week
Ben Verlander gives us his latest team of the week, featuring the Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara, the Yankees’ Aaron Judge and Oswaldo Cabrera, the Brewers’ Willy Adames and Kolten Wong, and the Braves’ Kenley Jansen!
The Astros’ pitching continues to be arguably the best in baseball from top to bottom and the most underrated staff. Their 88 quality starts as a rotation are by far the most in MLB and nine more than the second-place San Diego Padres.
Their bullpen also has the best bullpen ERA in MLB. The Astros have wrapped up their division and will be the No. 1 seed in the American League when the playoffs get underway.
Since the All-Star break, the Dodgers have kicked their season into another gear to the tune of a .726 winning percentage, which is by far the best in baseball. They have the ability to surpass the 110-win mark, which would put them among the top five teams all time in single-season wins. The Dodgers are poised for another deep run in the playoffs.
Ben Verlander is an MLB analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the “Flippin’ Bats” podcast. Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2013. He spent five years in the Tigers organization. Follow him on Twitter @BenVerlander.
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