Every week, the PL team publishes an update to our power rankings, reviewing the biggest risers and fallers of the past seven days. As always, you can skip to the full rankings at the bottom of this article…but where’s the fun in that?
The trade deadline has come and gone, and what a doozy it was. Head on over to our recap of the trade deadline moves if you need to get caught up on all the madness that took place.
For our purposes here on the power rankings, suffice to say that teams on the rise were definite trade deadline winners while the teams in a slide had questionable results, at best. We’ll focus more directly on results on the field in subsequent weeks, but I had to emphasize the impact of trades on each team’s ceiling for this edition. With that teaser, you shouldn’t be surprised by the teams on the rise.
On the Rise
The San Diego Padres
Rank Change: +4 (11 to 7)
Opponents Since Last Ranking: Twins (three games), Rockies (four games)
If you heard anything about the moves that happened at the trade deadline, you heard that Juan Soto is now playing for San Diego. While that upgrade alone was enough to launch the Padres forward in the rankings, it was far from being the only acquisition they made.
The Soto news overshadowed trades that would have been front-page news had the 23-year-old stayed in Washington. Josh Hader, the best closer in baseball, is now a Padre as well. And both Soto and Hader were overshadowed in their debuts by a third acquisition: Brandon Drury, formerly of the Reds, who hit a grand slam on his first day of work at Petco Park.
The quick take on the Padres before Tuesday was they had an abundance of starting pitchers but lacked the offensive firepower to be a serious championship contender. Now, they have an abundance of talent in their starting rotation, the best closer in the game, and once Fernando Tatis Jr. returns from injury, one of the best lineups in the league.
It feels cliche to hype the Padres right now, but it’s impossible to not be excited by the prospect of watching this team go head-to-head with the Dodgers in October.
Rank Change: +4 (15 to 11)
Opponents Since Last Ranking: Pirates (three games), Atlanta (two games)
The Phillies didn’t make any Earth-shattering moves in the vein of the Padres, but they filled significant holes by trading for the Angels’ Noah Syndergaard and Brandon Marsh and the Cubs’ David Robertson.
With Zach Eflin on the IL, Syndergaard provides stability at the back end of a rotation that consists of Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Kyle Gibson, and Ranger Suárez. He will slot in nicely as the number three starter. Meanwhile, his fellow Angels teammate Brandon Marsh is a big upgrade defensively in centerfield — he’s been good enough for 6 DRS per Fangraphs, as opposed to -3 for Vierling.
Robertson will bring much-needed reliability in a closer role. He takes the place of the DFA’d Jeurys Familia and Odúbel Herrera as the team’s go-to reliever in high-leverage situations. He’d put together a 2.18 ERA with 14 saves with the Cubs, and earned his 15th save in his first opportunity for the Phillies on Wednesday.
In addition to the new faces, second baseman Jean Segura also returned from the IL on Thursday to provide an offensive boost. Alec Bohm has been scorching baseballs throughout July, and Nick Castellanos is showing signs of life with his first home run since June coming on Wednesday.
Philadelphia is still outclassed by their division rivals in New York and Atlanta, but they’ve put a roster together that can contend for a Wild Card spot and make noise in October.
In a Slide
The Boston Red Sox
Rank Change: -4 (14 to 17)
Opponents Since Last Ranking: Brewers (three games), Astros (three games)
Yes, the Red Sox were the team I called out in a slide last week as well. They find themselves here again because the big takeaway from their trade deadline activity was that they ticked off their star shortstop without improving on their pitching depth. In fact, they traded away one of their more reliable arms in Jake Diekman.
Yet, they didn’t go whole-hog and try to get talent they could build on, either. They shipped catcher Christian Vázquez to the Astros but held on to other veterans like J.D. Martinez, Nathan Eovaldi, and Rich Hill. They also added Tommy Pham and Eric Hosmer, the latter of whom was originally involved in the Soto blockbuster until he refused to waive his no-trade clause.
In sum, they upgraded at first base, downgraded their bullpen and catching depth, and added another veteran outfielder. That’s not going to get them into the postseason this year and doesn’t do much for their prospects next season, either.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)