Weekly power rankings will be posted every Sunday/Monday. Without further ado…
1. Tampa Bay Rays- I have a feeling they’ll be up here for awhile. They have balance all over their roster. The starting rotation ranks fourth (expect that to climb) in ERA in the AL, the bullpen is third in ERA, the offense is second in runs scored, and theroster in first in defensive efficiency. They are eight games up in the tough AL East, even after losing four in a row this past week.
2. Texas Rangers- They currently hold the best record in baseball. All this team does is win, and they do it with their offense. First in runs scored in the AL, and in the middle as far as starters ERA. You have to figure, if they get a decent starter to replace Hochevar or Sanchez, they will. This team will be that more deadly if they can get a solid #2, and someone they can hand the ball to in confidence.
3. St. Louis Cardinals- Ever since the firing of their ex-GM, this team hasn’t been solid. Coincidence maybe? I think not. They seem like a beatable team now, as evident by the 7-1 and 7-2 wins by the Pirates. They’ll make the playoffs, but holding onto the division lead just got a whole lot tougher. Thankfully for Cardinals fans, they have Colorado this week for a four game set.
4. Cleveland Indians- Put up your hand if you had Cleveland winning this division at the start of the season. If your hand is up, you’re lying to yourself. They currently hold a six game lead in the division, and haven’t shown many signs of slowing up. Sure,they just lost three straight to the Orioles, but all good teams have a downfall at some point. Trading for Brandon Morrow shows the league Cleveland is for real, and poised to make a playoff push.
5. Pittsburgh Pirates- They just had their seven game win streak snapped by the Cardinals, which we knew was going to happen sooner or later. They went an impressive 18-9 in June, and plan on continuing their march into a playoff position. Eric Bedard will need to keep up his impressive start to the season if the Pirates want to hold onto that wild card spot.
6. Oakland Athletics- Another shocker this season, and they’ve been doing it with pitching. They had a mediocre week, but they still lead the AL wild card. This team relies on their pitching, as their hitter with the highest average is only hitting .282 (Pennington). If the pitching goes south, this team could be in for a long final two months.
7. Washington Nationals- No one wants to win the NL East, or so it seems. The Nationals had the best record this week among the top three NL East teams, so they get the honour of being above Miami and Atlanta for the week. Don’t worry, that will probably change next week. They were rumoured to be in talks for Ian Kennedy, but felt the asking price was too high. I believe Washington was right in going after a starter. They also need a middle of the order bat as well in order to stay a contender.
8. Toronto Blue Jays- This team is 10-3 in their past 13, and coming off a four game series sweep of the Angels. They have Kansas City and the White Sox before the all-star break, so everything seems to be going their way for the moment. Acquiring Halladay tells the Blue Jays fans that they are aiming for the playoffs, and anything short of that will be considered a disaster. This team has the offense, but do they have the pitching?
9. New York Yankees- After coming off a five game losing streak, they now have a four game winning streak. As always, they will be in contention for a playoff spot all throughout the year. Signing Xue-liang Wong to a four year contract worth 41M is a risky move, but a move the Yankees can afford to make. Adding a solid rotation arm would make this team even more dangerous then they already are.
10. Atlanta Braves- No one wants to win the NL East, or so it seems. The Braves had the second best record this week among the top three NL East teams, so they get the honour of being above Miami and behind Washington for the week. Don’t worry, that will probably change next week. This team still has a solid lineup (even after the Freeman trade), but their pitching, which was supposed to be a strong point, still needs to be found. This team needs an upgrade in the rotation, or else they will be on the outside looking in come playoff time.
11. Miami Marlins- No one wants to win the NL East, or so it seems. The Marlins had the worst record this week among the top three NL East teams, so they get the honour of being below Washington and Atlanta for the week. Don’t worry, that will probably change next week. The rotation has been phenomenal, holding teams to a 3.18 ERA when the starters pitch. Their offense though, has not been what it was hyped up to be. They have not scored more than three runs in their past seven games. Crisis time in Miami?
12. Seattle Mariners- I believe this team has been playing better than their record would dictate. They are about average in every offensive and defensive category, yet they hold a tie for the second wild card spot. Adding a solid #3 pitcher, or better, may make this team a contender. As for right now, I don’t see it, even though they’ve won eight of their past twelve.
13. Cincinnati Reds- What happened to the team that was doing so well at the start of the season? I’ll tell you what happened, they hit a wall, and can’t seem to figure out how to get back up. The rotation isn’t the problem, the offense is. They need to figureout how to get men on base in front of Votto and Bruce, as Span and Coghlan aren’t doing it. This team still has time to turn it around, and I believe they will, but some changes need to be made.
14. Milwaukee Brewers- Even though they just lost to Arizona 13-7, they are still one of the hottest teams in the league, as they had won five in a row before then. This team is in an interesting spot, as Joe mentioned in his article “The Unmagnificent Seven”, as to whether buy or sell this month. I think that question would be better answered in a few weeks, closer to the deadline. Signing Santiago Mateo was a good move for the club, and could be a solid hitter in the MLB.
15. Los Angeles Dodgers- The first NL West team, and they’re ranked 15th. This is just sad for baseball, as the Dodgers are two games below .500, and still winning the division. Rotation has been solid, and the lineup has been below average. They have now lost five in a row. Will the winner of the NL West be above .500 this season?
16. Detroit Tigers- For a team that was expected to win the division this season, they sure aren’t playing like it. They are at .500, but the offense is the only reason for that. Losing Montero will hurt their production, which could see this team go in a free fall in the coming weeks.
17. Boston Red Sox- This team has been mediocre all season long. Mediocre isn’t good enough in the AL, especially the AL East. By acquiring Russel Martin, they hope he can spark the offense, which ranks 11th in the AL in runs scored. Surprisingly, their starting rotation ranks first in ERA in the AL. Their bullpen is tenth. An uproar in Boston could soon occur if they don’t turn it around.
18. Minnesota Twins- This team’s offense is horrid, ranking near the bottom in each category. The good news is their pitching has made up for it, mainly Sonnanstine. They have won seven in a row, and are in purgatory, having no idea how good of team they really have. I wouldn’t be surprised if they lose seven in a row this week. This team is that streaky.
19. San Francisco Giants- No one saw this coming. They are second in their division, and five games below .500. Luckily, they’re in the NL West, and only two games behind the Dodgers for the division lead. They are dead last in runs scored in the NL, which will need to improve if they want to have any shot at making the playoffs.
20. New York Mets- This team is only two games below .500, and four and a half out of the division lead. Their #1/#2 pitchers (Santana and Niese) have been exceptional this season, and they are fourth in runs scored in the NL. This team could be a contender if they grab a starting pitcher or two. Kirk Nieuwenhuis was just called up this week, and is hitting in the number three spot. He tore up AAA, so it will be interesting to see how he does in the majors.
21. Philadelphia Phillies- Why is this team so low? They were on an eight game losing streak before beating the Marlins on the 29th. They are in apparent rebuild mode, as they shipped Halladay to Toronto for d’Arnaud. Charlie Manuel has made the most of whathe’s been given, and he’ll need to continue working some magic if this team wants to stay a contender.
22. Los Angeles Angels- They have been through a lot this month. Their GM was fired, and the team was taken over by the league. Pujols went AWOL for a couple weeks, and they went 9-17 this month. And they had a nine game losing streak. After signing Pujols and C.J. Wilson in the off-season, this team looked to be a playoff contender. All eyes are on next year now, unless new management really turns this team around, and quickly.
23. Chicago Cubs- This team is currently on an impressive eight game win streak. I don’t think anyone in baseball saw this coming. But lets be realistic, this team is in full rebuild mode, and doesn’t have a chance of contending this season. Their fans have had some fun this past week though.
24. San Diego Padres- Another weak team in a weak division. Their pitching has been very below average, and their batting average is worst in the NL, hitting at a .240 clip. The good (and sad) news? They’re only four games out of a playoff spot with a 35-44 record.
25. Kansas City Royals- This team hasn’t been able to go on a good winning streak yet this season, and this is why they’re last in the Central. If this team is to be successful, they need to move Ian Stewart out of the #2 hole. What is Ned Yost thinking?
26. Baltimore Orioles- This season is already lost for them. Wilson Betemit has shown he can hit the long ball though, as he has done it 17 times this season. They also beat Cleveland three straight times before dropping the series finale. Will Middlebrooks, their top prospect, has hit .339/.388/.484 in a small sample. Don’t expect him to keep up this pace though.
27. Colorado Rockies- This past week, they have gone 1-6, giving up a total of 82 runs in that span. Jamie Moyer hasn’t looked good since coming back this year after his injury last season. He has a 6.37ERA in 12 starts (14 games). The good news? They’re only six games out of a playoff spot.
28. Chicago White Sox- General Manager Chris Levant still believes they have a chance this season to make the playoffs, “…I believe there is still a shot at the playoffs.” he said. Acquiring Dempster is a step in that direction, but in the midst of a seven game losing streak, and a record of 32-46, I don’t see it happening.
29. Arizona Diamondbacks- Ex-general manager Berk Spears put this team in the hole from the beginning, and the new GM, Jordan Shutta, hasn’t dug them out since. You know this team is bad when Drabek is leading the team with a 4.67 ERA.
30. Houston Astros- This team has not looked good all season, and they aren’t getting better. They have to look at the future, with Singleton and Appel. They’ll be lucky to get to 60 wins. It will continue to be a long, long season for their fans.