The first round of the postseason is in the books. The field of eight has dropped to four, and that makes it a good time to revisit Pinstripe Alley’s MLB Postseason Power Rankings. For a refresher, here’s the first installment. We’ll provide a final installment before the World Series.
- Yankees (Last week: 2) - The Bombers coasted through the ALDS, sweeping the 101-win Minnesota Twins. Aaron Boone’s savages displayed patience at the plate, refusing to expand the zone. As a result, they crushed Minnesota’s mistakes. The team also put its vaunted bullpen to work and received good enough performances from the starting pitchers. They made everything look easy and enter the ALCS with plenty of rest.
- Astros (LW: 1) - For the first two games against the Rays, it appeared that the Astros would once again sit atop our power rankings. Then Zack Greinke got shelled at Tropicana Field, and Tampa Bay exposed Justin Verlander as mortal after all. Their series went all five games, and forced A.J. Hinch to burn Verlander and Gerrit Cole. They’re still a major threat, but their path is just a little more difficult.
- Nationals (LW: 7) - I think I seriously underestimated the Nats. I was right, however, when I said that Washington’s success “will likely be on the backs of their starting pitchers.” The trio of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin carried them to their first postseason series victory in team history. The rest of the bullpen will need to tighten things up in the NLCS, though, as depth proves a little more important in a seven-game series.
- Cardinals (LW: 8) - What a week the Cards had. Jack Flaherty demonstrated why he’s one of the game’s top young pitchers, while Adam Wainwright turned the clocks back to 2013. They also pulled a Tom Brady and crushed Atlanta’s hopes and dreams in Game Five. Their bullpen proved shaky, however, with Carlos Martinez an especially unreliable closer.
- Rays (LW: 5) - Tampa Bay did the Yankees a solid and forced a Game Five. They may have also created a road map for getting to Verlander.
- Dodgers (LW: 3) - Good grief, can you think of a more disappointing exit? Dave Roberts seriously mismanaged LA’s bullpen, and it sent them packing. The decisions to ride Clayton Kershaw and Joe Kelly will confound fans all winter long.
- Braves (LW: 6) - I didn’t have high expectations for Atlanta because of their late-inning bullpen options. Turns out that isn’t a big concern when you give up double-digit runs in the first.
- Twins (LW: 4) - The Bomba Squad were the only losing team to get sent home without winning a game. They had a fun season and will get back to business next year.
Disagree with this list? Make your own in the comments section below!