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2022 MLB Power Rankings: Big Deadline Moves

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The cards have been shuffled one final time as playoff hopefuls positioned for new players at the trade deadline. Let’s take a look at how three teams strengthened their outlook for the remainder of the season and how it affects the 2022 MLB Power Rankings.

San Diego Padres

Juan Soto. Josh Bell. Josh Hader. Brandon Drury. The San Diego Padres made an all-time splash by acquiring four All-Star calibre players at the deadline. Bell and Hader are upgrades over pieces they were dealt for, but Soto and Drury extend an already solid lineup.

Even without factoring in Fernando Tatis Jr.’s return, the Padres now have six legitimate infield bats. The Padres are also experimenting with Tatis in the outfield in his rehab assignments, so the embarrassment of riches could extend to the outfield. When the weakest part of the outfield is Jurickson Profar (123 OPS+in 2022), something has gone right for that organization.

While Hader was shaky at the end of his Milwaukee tenure, there are few (if any) more dominant arms. Even with his recent struggles, Hader still fans 15.4 batters per nine, right in line with his career average. In a park where it is more difficult to hit home runs, Hader could return to 2021 form (1.23 ERA).

The Padres have lost four in a row – three straight to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In this mini slide, the Padres have slipped to the sixth spot in the NL playoff race. However, it took a seven-game win streak from the St. Louis Cardinals, a five-game win streak from the Philadelphia Phillies, and the aforementioned four-game losing streak from San Diego.

The Padres will be okay.

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Seattle Mariners

The Seattle Mariners already had a sturdy rotation. Robbie Ray, Logan Gilbert, Marco Gonzalez, Chris Flexen, and George Kirby all have ERAs below 4.00 in a total of 102 starts. At the deadline, they added Luis Castillo from the Cincinnati Reds, an All-Star with a sub-3.00 ERA in 2022. Had he remained in the National League, Castillo likely would have gotten some down-ballot Cy Young support.

For the rest of the regular season, the Mariners will have six competent starters to hold off the slew of Wild Card contenders. Seattle has the fifth-best record in the AL, but they hold the third Wild Card spot. One of the chasing teams will win the AL Central, but there are four other teams within five games of Seattle. Adding Castillo gives the Mariners that one extra arm that could be the difference at the end of the season.

For the playoffs, Castillo is a capable arm. In a potential 1-2-3, the Mariners could churn out Castillo, Ray, and Gilbert. The issue is that they have combined for exactly two playoff starts. The exciting part is both Castillo and Ray are excellent at generating strikeouts. If they can hold off the other contenders in the AL, the Mariners would be a dangerous out.

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Houston Astros

Houston has been struggling (by their standards), but the duo of Christian Vasquez and Trey Mancini makes the lineup that more deadly. Mancini has gotten off to a roasting start, launching three home runs in his first 18 plate appearances. Vasquez has started 1-for-9, but he offers much more offensive upside than the incumbent Martin Maldonado. The Astros already had five players with 275 plate appearances and a 120 OPS+, but Mancini and Vasquez added depth to spots in the order that had not been hitting.

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When Michael Brantley returns from the IL, the Astros could have a lineup with nine hitters that are above average this season. Throw in the steady Aledmys Diaz as a utility player, and the Astros have 10 position players that could cause problems in a playoff series.

As a quick reminder, the Astros made the World Series in 2021. They have made at least the ALCS in five straight seasons. With that said, this team might be deeper than any team that came before it. It is yet another World Series or bust season in Houston.

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Ryan Potts is an avid football and baseball fan. He covers the NFL and Major League Baseball, focusing on the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Braves.