MLB power rankings Week 27: Can the Nationals ride the wave to a title?

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By TONY CONSIGLIO
XNsports.com

The 30 have become 10. After 2,430 games, the Major League Baseball regular season has come to an end with a third of the teams now chasing the World Series trophy.

It wasn't an easy journey for all of them to get to this point, as the season literally came down to its final day for some of these teams. It made for a drama-filled Sunday, but no playoff spots changed hands from those that owned them heading into the final weekend.

So, in these final power rankings, the playoff teams occupy the top 10 spots, and any of them could own the number one spot that really matters at the end of October.

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MLB power rankings week 27
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MLB power rankings Week 27: Can the Nationals ride the wave to a title?

30. Arizona Diamondbacks (64-98) (Last Week 30)

As the Diamondbacks finished with the worst record in baseball, the organization has hired a new man to oversee the rebuilding process. Dave Stewart was named the new general manager after the firing of Kevin Towers. Among Stewart’s first tasks will be to find the successor to Kirk Gibson, who was also let go.

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

29. Colorado Rockies (66-96) (LW 28) 

One of the few highlights of the Rockies’ season was the career resurgence of Justin Morneau. His .319 batting average was the third-highest of his career, and good enough for him to claim the N.L. batting crown.

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

28. Texas Rangers (67-95) (LW 29) 

Now that the season has finally come to an end, the process begins to find the team’s next manager. They will start with interviews for Tim Bogar, Mike Maddux, and Steve Buechele. Whoever gets the job will have to help the team rebound from its worst season since 1985.

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

27. Houston Astros (70-92) (LW 25) 

Jose Altuve concluded one of the best offensive seasons in Astros history with a 2-for-4 performance on Sunday to clinch the first batting title ever for an Astros player. He almost didn’t get the chance to play, needing to talk himself into the lineup after team management wanted to hold him out to protect his average.

(AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

26. Minnesota Twins (70-92) (LW 27)

Phil Hughes made some Major League history this season. His 11.63 K/BB rate is the best all-time among pitchers who qualified with enough innings. Unfortunately, because of a rain delay in his last start, he missed out on a $500,000 bonus by just one-third of an inning.

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

25. Boston Red Sox (71-91) (LW 26)

Among the benefits of not being in a pennant race was the Red Sox getting a glimpse at their future, and they may have found their leadoff hitter of the future in Mookie Betts. The rookie hit .291/.368/.444 with 18 extra-base hits, seven stolen bases, and 34 runs in 52 games.

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

24. Philadelphia Phillies (73-89) (LW 23)

The nightmare is over in Philadelphia, at least for now. The Phillies finished in last place for the first time since 2000, all while boasting a team-record payroll.

(Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

23. Chicago White Sox (73-89) (LW 21)

Sunday’s season finale provided for a changing of the guard in Chicago. Long-time first baseman Paul Konerko ended his career, as likely Rookie of the Year, and future first baseman, Jose Abreu was in the dugout to say goodbye.

(Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

22. Chicago Cubs (73-89) (LW 24)

Hector Rondon was a Rule 5 pick last year, and all he did this season was solidify himself as the Cubs’ closer. In 64 games, he posted a 2.42 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and .218 BAA while averaging a strikeout an inning. He also became the fourth Cubs pitcher to have 26 saves in a season by the age of 26.

(Photo by Tom Lynn/Getty Images)

21. Cincinnati Reds (76-86) (LW 22)

Johnny Cueto capped his stellar season by picking up his 20th win on Sunday and, in the process, ending the Pirates’ hopes of a division title. Cueto became the first Reds right-handing to reach the 20-win mark since 1965.

(NuccioDiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)

20. Miami Marlins (77-85) (LW 20)

The Marlins lost ace Jose Fernandez for the season in early May, seemingly ending any hope of success the team may have had. But they remained in Wild-Card contention into September. As a reward, manager Mike Redmond earned a contract extension through 2017.

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

19. Tampa Bay Rays (77-85) (LW 17)

 The offense was nowhere to be found in Tampa this season. The Rays finished the year with just 612 runs scored. That set a new franchise low, breaking the mark set by the inaugural Tampa team in 1998.

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

18. San Diego Padres (77-85) (LW 18) 

The Padres enjoyed some very good stretches this season, thanks to their pitching. The staff’s 3.23 ERA was the majors’ third-lowest. They just didn’t have the offense to match. Jedd Gyorko led the team with a mere 51 RBI.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

17. Atlanta Braves (79-83) (LW 19)

The Braves finished with 1,369 strikeouts this season, which was the fourth most in among all teams. Leading the way was B.J. Upton, who set a new franchise record with 173. His brother Justin was only two behind.

(Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

16. New York Mets (79-83) (LW 16) 

The Mets finished with their best record since 2010 and finished tied for second in the N.L. East. It’s the first time they have finished higher than third in six seasons.

(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

15. Milwaukee Brewers (82-80) (LW 14)

The Brewers were among the best teams in baseball in the first half and were in first place as recently as August 31st. But the three straight losing months to end the year was enough to keep Milwaukee from the postseason.

(Photo by Tom Lynn/Getty Images)

14. New York Yankees (84-78) (LW 13)

Derek Jeter went out in a way only befitting The Captain. In his last at-bat at Yankee Stadium, he hit a first-pitch walk-off single. Then, in his last career at-bat, he legged out an infield single at Fenway Park.

(Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

13. Toronto Blue Jays (83-79) (LW 15) 

Thanks to the Royals making the playoffs this year, the Blue Jays are now the poster child for futility. Toronto’s streak of 21 straight seasons without a playoff appearance is not only the longest in baseball, but is also the longest in all of the four major sports leagues.

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

12. Cleveland Indians (85-77) (LW 12)

The Indians relied heavily on their bullpen this year with 574 relief appearances, setting a new A.L.record. But it was worthwhile. The team’s 3.13 bullpen ERA was MLB’s seventh-best.

(Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)

11. Seattle Mariners (87-75) (LW 11)

The Mariners had their chances down the stretch, and came within an A’s win on Sunday from forcing a play-in game. But a five-game losing streak within the season’s last nine games, in which they were outscored 43-10, did them in.

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

10. Oakland Athletics (88-74) (LW 10) 

It came down to Game 162, but the A’s managed to keep from completing a historic collapse and snuck into the postseason. Oakland did go 5-2 against Kansas City this season, but the A’s stumbled to a 10-16 record in the final month of the year.

(Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)

9. Pittsburgh Pirates (88-74) (LW 8) 

In committing to their push for the N.L. Central title down the stretch, the Pirates took Francisco Liriano out of the equation for the Wild-Card game. The Giants were just 30-30 against lefties this year. Though Edinson Volquez has been good this year, San Francisco was 58-44 against righties. At least for Pittsburgh, they tied for the N.L.’s best home record at 51-30.

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

8. San Francisco Giants (88-74) (LW 7)

If the Giants can get through the Wild-Card game, they will have Jake Peavy to match up against the Nationals. In 12 games with San Francisco since his trade from Boston, he is 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, which are among the best of his career.

(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

7. Kansas City Royals (89-73) (LW 9) 

The Royals are back in the playoffs for the first time since 1985, and they get to host the Wild-Card game. James Shields will get the ball after a solid September in which he was 2-1 in five starts with a 2.31 ERA. 

(Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

6. Detroit Tigers (90-72) (LW 6)

Detroit is back in the playoffs, looking to redeem itself after losing in last year’s ALCS. Then, the Tigers’ bullpen was their undoing. Will it hold up better this October? Detroit’s bullpen ERA this year was 4.30, which was the fourth-worst in MLB.

(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

5. St. Louis Cardinals (90-72) (LW 5) 

The Cardinals open their postseason with a rematch of last year’s NLCS with the Dodgers. St. Louis, which had the seventh-worst offense in baseball this season, has had trouble scoring against L.A. this season. In their seven games against them, the Cards scored only 14 runs, managing just three wins.

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

4. Baltimore Orioles (96-66) (LW 2) 

The Orioles won their first division title in 17 years, now they try to take the next step on their journey through the postseason. The will play the Tigers in the ALDS, against whom they were just 1-5 in the regular season, being outscored 33-20.

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

3. Los Angeles Dodgers (94-68) (LW 4)

Clayton Kershaw finished off one of the best seasons for a starting pitcher in recent memory with a 21-3 record and 1.77 ERA. Followed by Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, L.A. will boast a postseason front three that will be as formidable as any in October.

(Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

2. Washington Nationals (96-66) (LW 3) 

As if the Nationals needed to send more of a message that they are heading into the playoffs as one if baseball’s hottest teams. Jordan Zimmermann‘s first career no-hitter in the season finale was also the franchise’s first since 1993 when they were the Expos.

(Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

1. Los Angeles Angels (98-64) (LW 1) 

The Angels finished the year as baseball’s best team with the number one offense. But will that be enough to get them a World Series title? Their rotation is not nearly at full strength as injuries have taken their toll.

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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