MLB.com Columnist

Alyson Footer

Blue Jays, Cardinals top final power rankings

Blue Jays, Cardinals top final power rankings

As we examine the final installment of the MLB Power Rankings, let's take a moment to pay homage to the one event that makes this time of year so much fun -- the champagne celebration.

They come in all forms, as we have learned in the past few days.

The Mets won, clinched the division and celebrated with champagne.

The Cubs lost, clinched a playoff spot hours later and celebrated with champagne -- after another loss the next day.

The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth, but didn't actually know it (long story), then won another game, clinching a postseason berth that everyone knew about. And then, they celebrated with champagne.

In total, six teams -- the Cardinals, Pirates, Blue Jays, Royals, Mets and Cubs -- are in. That leaves two more spots to be decided, and a slew of teams still have a chance. The Astros are trying to wrangle the American League West from the Rangers, while also keeping a close eye on the Angels and Twins in the race for the second Wild Card.

Must C: Mets clinch division

The Yankees have all but locked up the first Wild Card spot, which will net them home-field advantage in the Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser.

To the winners go the spoils -- and the champagne.

Biggest jump:
The Mets moved up three spots from seventh to fourth, ending the final regular season Power Rankings with a rightful spot in the top five. Between David Wright having a strong September after working much of the season to make a comeback, and Matt Harvey informing management he does not want to be on pitch limitations moving forward through the playoffs, plenty of harmony has been restored with the Mets. Their season featured lots of great baseball that made, at times, for great theater -- bizarre, head-scratching theater.

How They Got There: Mets

Biggest fall:
The Cubs dropped three spots, from third to sixth. They have had a nice September, and they held their own against their main division rivals, despite losing two of three to the Pirates over the weekend. Chicago clinched a playoff berth after its game Friday, and the club looks to be the second Wild Card. That said, there could be an argument for flip-flopping the Cubs with the Royals, who came in at No. 5.

The MLB Power Rankings top five:
1. Blue Jays: When was the last time any team other than the Cardinals occupied the top spot in the weekly rankings? It's been so long, we can't even remember. (We probably had the Nationals as No. 1 the very first week of the season, but let's not talk about that.) But it's time: If the Blue Jays had been playing with this roster all season, they'd be running away with the AL East instead of just merely dominating it. Few saw a 90-win season coming, but Toronto is now the "it" team. Many are picking the Jays to reach the World Series.

2. Cardinals (1): It's hard to find too much wrong with a team that has 98 wins with a week of games still remaining on the schedule, and it's important to remember St. Louis only dropped one spot. But the Cardinals split a four-game series with the Brewers, including losing one, 8-4, in gut-punching fashion on Sunday. That means the Pirates enter their three-game series with the Cardinals at home, with just a three-game deficit in the NL Central standings. Get your popcorn ready.

Cards go back-to-back in 7th

3. Pirates (5): The Pirates' winning streak reached eight before ending with a 4-0 loss to the Cubs on Sunday night. All eight wins came on the road, and by the time that streak was over, the Bucs had compiled 95 wins on the year. A really good final homestand against St. Louis and Cincinnati could net Pittsburgh its third 100-win season in club history, and its first since 1909, when the Pirates went 110-42.

4. Mets (7): Few could have envisioned, even a month ago, that the Mets would a) clinch the division with a week remaining, and b) have the luxury of not having to actually win any of the games against the Nationals the final weekend of the regular season. Still, homefield advantage in the NLDS is still very much in play, so don't expect too much snoozing toward the finish line. That said, the rotation will be at least moderately rested by the time the NLDS begins, and the Mets have to like their chances with a dynamite foursome of Jacob deGrom, Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz to anchor the rotation.

5. Royals (4): The Royals also have home-field advantage on the line as they enter the final week of the season, and it's looking like their final series -- a three-gamer in Minnesota -- will have Wild Card implications. That fact will probably force manager Ned Yost to field a competitive team that weekend, which shouldn't be a problem, considering the ALDS doesn't start until Oct. 8. That means plenty of downtime for Kansas City, regardless of how hard the club has to go next weekend.

Royals 2015 Season Highlights

The rest: 6. Cubs (3); 7. Dodgers (6); 8. Rangers (8); 9. Yankees (9); 10. Astros (10); 11. Angels (11); 12. Twins (13); 13. Giants (14); 14. Indians (12); 15. Orioles (16); 16. Nationals (15); 17. Rays (17); 18. Red Sox (19); 19. D-Backs (18); 20. Mariners (20).

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.