MLB Power Rankings: The 2020 MVP for all 30 teams

MLB

As we enter the final week of the regular season, the playoff field is taking shape, as are ESPN’s Power Rankings. After a period where they slipped out of our top five (and nearly slipped out of a playoff berth), the Yankees righted the ship and have looked like the powerhouse most expected to see all along. The Bronx Bombers ran off 10 consecutive wins and check in at No. 5 in this week’s rankings.

Also bumping up are the White Sox, who have clinched their first postseason berth since 2008 and move up two notches to No. 3 in the Power Rankings.

As part of this week’s rankings, David Schoenfield weighs in with his picks for every team’s individual most valuable player of 2020.

Previous: Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7

Record: 38-16
Playoff probability: Clinched
Week 7 ranking: 1

With some of last year’s stars struggling, Mookie Betts has been the one constant in the offense. His power hasn’t suffered after moving from Fenway Park to Dodger Stadium and he has a shot at National League MVP honors. Shoutout to Clayton Kershaw for his 6-2 record and 2.15 ERA.

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Record: 35-19
Playoff probability: Clinched
Week 7 ranking: 2

It’s been a team effort for Tampa Bay, but Brandon Lowe has been the team’s best hitter, leading the Rays in home runs, runs, RBIs and OPS while trailing only the Yankees’ DJ LeMahieu among MLB second basemen in WAR. His versatility also has helped, as he’s started seven games in right field and four in left field.


Record: 34-19
Playoff probability: Clinched
Week 7 ranking: 5

Luis Robert has been a revelation, Eloy Jimenez has slugged and Tim Anderson has been even more amazing than he was last season, but first baseman Jose Abreu led all American League position players in bWAR and RBIs entering Sunday while hitting above .300 with a 1.000 OPS. He and Anderson both have a shot at AL MVP honors.

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Record: 34-20
Playoff probability: Clinched
Week 7 ranking: 3

A couple of weeks ago, shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. looked like a lock for NL MVP. He’s slumped since then, however, and third baseman Manny Machado has passed him in OPS, home runs and RBIs, so now it looks like a four-man race for MVP honors among Tatis, Machado, Mookie Betts and Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman.

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Record: 31-22
Playoff probability: Clinched
Week 7 ranking: 9

Most Yankees fans would likely go with first baseman Luke Voit, who is having a monster power and RBI season, leading the majors with 21 home runs. We could go with that, although right-hander DJ LeMahieu has the edge in WAR (fielding and baserunning count), and Gerrit Cole, despite some home run hiccups, is 6-3 with a 3.00 ERA.

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Record: 33-20
Playoff probability: Clinched
Week 7 ranking: 4

The bullpen has been Oakland’s strength, so let’s go with closer Liam Hendriks, who is 3-0 with 13 saves, a 1.23 ERA and a 32-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In a season when so many teams have struggled to find a closer, Hendriks has been the best in the game.

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Record: 33-22
Playoff probability: Clinched
Week 7 ranking: 6

Nelson Cruz, who turned 40 on July 1, is on pace for the best OPS+ of his career, beating his previous best set last season. Yeah, he’s a designated hitter, but given that the Twins have been unable as a team to match last year’s offensive prowess, Cruz has carried the lineup. He is now ninth on the all-time list for home runs for players 30 and older.


Record: 31-22
Playoff probability: 100%
Week 7 ranking: 8

Bill James tweeted the other day that Freddie Freeman will be a Hall of Famer. The first baseman needs a few more big seasons, but he is better than ever at age 30 and in the running for NL MVP. His most similar player on Baseball-Reference.com is Eddie Murray, and that’s a good comp. They called Murray “Steady Eddie.” We can call Freeman “Steady Freddie.”


Record: 31-22
Playoff probability: 100%
Week 7 ranking: 10

Given the struggles of most of the Cubs’ hitters, Yu Darvish is an easy call. The right-hander is in the Cy Young race at 7-2 with a 1.86 ERA and 79 K’s in 63 innings entering Sunday’s start. Since the second half of 2019, Darvish has made 23 starts and is 11-6 with a 2.36 ERA and an incredible 197-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 144⅔ innings.

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Record: 29-24
Playoff probability: 100%
Week 7 ranking: 7

Shane Bieber is a lock for the AL Cy Young and might even rate as the MVP favorite. He’s 8-1 with a 1.74 ERA and an incredible 112 strikeouts in 72⅓ innings. Cleveland can’t hit, but it will be fun to see if Bieber and his rotation mates can carry the Indians to their first World Series title since 1948.


Record: 27-26
Playoff probability: 99.8%
Week 7 ranking: 11

How about “none of the above”? Shortstop Carlos Correa leads in bWAR, but that’s thanks to some positive defensive metrics and not his bat. Outfielder Kyle Tucker has a case thanks to his high RBI total. Right-handers Zack Greinke and Cristian Javier have near identical WARs, although Greinke has the much better FIP. Outfielder Michael Brantley leads in win probability added, so he’s been the most “clutch.” So, yeah, there really isn’t a good choice.

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Record: 27-26
Playoff probability: 98.0%
Week 7 ranking: 12

The Jays invested heavily in a new rotation in the offseason and it would be a complete mess if not for the efforts of Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is 4-2 with a 3.00 ERA and has allowed two runs or fewer in eight of his 11 starts.


Record: 27-26
Playoff probability: 73.7%
Week 7 ranking: 13

Four players have carried the team: catcher J.T. Realmuto, outfielder Bryce Harper and right-handers Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler. If we average Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs WAR, we get Wheeler at 2.15, Nola at 2.0, Harper at 1.55 and Realmuto at 1.5. Harper’s .400-plus OBP has been big, even as he’s struggled of late, plus he’s played more games than Realmuto. Nola has a lot more K’s than Wheeler, but Wheeler has limited home runs. Realmuto has excelled at a position where most teams have struggled to generate offense. Flip a coin. Harper has more big hits than Realmuto, so he wins the flip.


Record: 27-27
Playoff probability: 51.9%
Week 7 ranking: 17

Trevor Bauer is only 4-4 due to a lack of run support, but he has a 1.80 ERA, has tossed two seven-inning shutouts and has dominated in the secondary stats as well with 88 strikeouts in 65 innings and an opponents’ batting average of .161.


Record: 26-24
Playoff probability: 80.8%
Week 7 ranking: 14

Adam Wainwright is 5-1 with a 2.87 ERA while averaging nearly seven innings per start, including two complete games (one seven innings) that have helped save the bullpen as the Cardinals had to play all those doubleheaders. It’s the best the right-hander has looked in six years.


Record: 26-26
Playoff probability: 43.1%
Week 7 ranking: 15

Outfielder Mike Yastrzemski was a surprise as a 28-year-old rookie last year and has been an even bigger surprise in 2020, ranking near the top of the WAR leaderboard, among other categories, all season. He’s led the way for an offense that has improved from one of the worst in the majors to one of the best.


Record: 28-25
Playoff probability: 70.5%
Week 7 ranking: 19

Nobody stands out, so we’re going to default to win probability added — and shortstop Miguel Rojas is the clear leader here. Entering Sunday, he’s hit .588 in high-leverage situations (10 for 17) with two home runs and 13 RBIs.

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Record: 24-29
Playoff probability: 6.9%
Week 7 ranking: 16

The only knock against Jacob deGrom is he’s averaged just 5⅔ innings per start, but he’s been as dominant as ever, going 4-1 with a 2.09 ERA in his 10 starts. The offense has led the way, but deGrom has a shot at a third consecutive Cy Young Award. He will start Monday and possibly once more if the Mets are still in the hunt later in the week.

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Record: 26-26
Playoff probability: 58.2%
Week 7 ranking: 18

Corbin Burnes has rebounded from a brutal 2019 campaign (1-5, 8.82) to go 4-0 with a league-leading 1.77 ERA. Entering Sunday, the right-hander led the NL not only in ERA but FIP, K’s and fewest hits per nine innings, and he’s allowed just one home run in 56 innings. As a starter (eight outings), his ERA is 1.25.


Record: 23-29
Playoff probability: 1.9%
Week 7 ranking: 20

With Nolan Arenado having a bad year, especially at the plate, shortstop Trevor Story is the easy choice in what has been a disappointing season for the Rockies after their 11-3 start (at which point their playoffs odds were about 75%).


Record: 20-32
Playoff probability: 0.0%
Week 7 ranking: 21

It obviously has been a lost season for the Nationals, but outfielder Juan Soto picked up where he left off last October and has arguably been the best hitter in the game, hitting .338/.463/.677 with 11 home runs, 11 doubles and 32 RBIs in 37 games entering Sunday. If he hadn’t missed the start of the season, he’d be right up there in the MVP discussion.


Record: 23-31
Playoff probability: 0.7%
Week 7 ranking: 22

Right fielder Anthony Santander is out for the season with an oblique strain, but he showed impressive power numbers in his 37 games, with 11 home runs and 13 doubles, while also improving his strikeout and walk rates from 2019.


Record: 23-31
Playoff probability: 0.5%
Week 7 ranking: 24

Baseball-Reference hates Mike Trout‘s defensive metrics, so it gives the bWAR edge to Anthony Rendon. FanGraphs had Rendon tied with Tim Anderson for the AL lead in WAR among position players entering Sunday (although just barely ahead of Trout). So maybe it’s Rendon, except Trout has a big edge in home runs, runs and RBIs. We’re going with Trout.

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Record: 22-30
Playoff probability: 0.2%
Week 7 ranking: 23

Jeimer Candelario is the pretty easy selection for a team devoid of any star talent right now. The switch-hitting first baseman might be for real, as his advanced metrics such as hard-hit rate and expected slugging percentage line up with his numbers.


Record: 23-30
Playoff probability: 0.9%
Week 7 ranking: 27

Kyle Lewis is right up there with Luis Robert in the AL Rookie of the Year race, hitting for power, drawing walks and playing a solid center field. He’s cooled off after a hot start (.373 through his first 28 games) but still has had a nice all-around short season.

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Record: 21-32
Playoff probability: 0.0%
Week 7 ranking: 26

Right-hander Brad Keller got a late start due to a positive COVID-19 test, but he’s 4-2 with a 2.06 ERA in seven starts. Most impressively, he hasn’t allowed a home run. Ground balls are your friend when you don’t have a high strikeout rate. Second baseman Whit Merrifield has been solid and catcher Salvador Perez has mashed in his 30 games, but Keller gets the nod.


Record: 20-34
Playoff probability: 0.0%
Week 7 ranking: 25

It’s been a mess of a season for the Diamondbacks, who entered with high expectations after a winning campaign in 2019. Right-hander Zac Gallen has been the one player who has lived up to those expectations. He’s just 2-2, but that’s not his fault, as he has a 3.00 ERA and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in nine of 11 starts.


Record: 20-34
Playoff probability: 0.0%
Week 7 ranking: 28

Outfielder Alex Verdugo has hit for average, hit for some power and played excellent defense. He’s actually a pretty easy choice over third baseman Rafael Devers (slow start, bad defense) and shortstop Xander Bogaerts (good, but not as dominant as 2019) as Boston’s best player in a miserable season.


Record: 19-34
Playoff probability: 0.1%
Week 7 ranking: 29

Right-hander Lance Lynn has been outstanding for a second consecutive season with a 2.53 ERA, and he has pitched the most innings in the majors. With one year left on his contract, he’ll draw a lot of trade interest in the offseason.


Record: 15-38
Playoff probability: 0.0%
Week 7 ranking: 30

Wow, third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes actually leads the team in bWAR because he’s played well in his 17 games. That probably doesn’t make him the team MVP, but who else do you go with? Catcher Jacob Stallings, apparently. Ugh.

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