I haven’t put up some baseball power rankings for awhile. Probably because the A’s had a rough patch, but now that they are on fire, and I can justify putting them in with the top 16 teams in the league again, it’s time to get some new power rankings up for the first 17 weeks of the season. It’s been a year of surprises, and I didn’t see the Padres being ranked third at any point, let alone this deep in the season! With about 100 games in the books every series starts to become more important than the last!
#1 New York Yankees (63-36) – Their rotation and bullpen aren’t lights out these days, but having Texiera catching fire like he always does in the second half of the season is helping them in numerous ways. Their ridiculous +129 run differential shows how much they’ve dominated their opponents, but when you have a 1-6 in the batting order like they do there are no breaks for an opposing pitcher.
#2 Tampa Bay Rays (61-38) – The Rays pitching has found it’s groove again. Besides Matt Garza’s no hitter Monday night the whole staff seems to have picked it up, and has kept that semi-weak bullpen from throwing too many innings, and giving up the leads. They look like they are coming out of their funk and should be in the divisional race by the end of the year.
#3 San Diego Padres (58-40) – The Padres keep on going. I keep thinking that they will fall back to earth, but Bud Black is doing something right down in SD. They’ve given up the fewest runs in the league by over 50, only allowing 340 to cross home plate. I’m not sure what’s more impressive. Is it that they have no glaring weakness? Or is it the fact that they only have spent $37 million on this team? They better hope Mat Latos doesn’t have any more sneeze attacks!
#4 Texas Rangers (59-41) – Ron Washington has his boys playing well, and they look fired up every game. As long as the A’s struggle, I will continue believing my theory of “The Curse of the Wash.” They might just be the best team from top to bottom in the entire AL. They should be getting back Rich Harden and Derek Holland at some point. If they are anything close to healthy and throwing well, the Rangers will be a factor in October with having Cliff Lee toping the rotation.
#5 San Francisco Giants (57-44) – The Giants are the hottest team since the All-Star break. We knew they had tons of pitching, but their biggest addition was calling up Buster Posey, and trading away Bengie Molina. Posey’s 20 game hit streak is as impressive as how he’s handled the pitching staff. With the Rockies and Dodgers struggling, the Giants look like the only team that will challenge the Padres, and could win the wild card if they can’t win the division. They’ve won 16 of their past 20, and look like they can keep it up as long as Posey doesn’t hit some kind of rookie wall.
#6 Atlanta Braves (57-42) – Alex Gonzalez has been playing well since they traded for him, but this team is all about their pitching. Their rotation looks a lot better with Jurjens in there. They have a Cy Young candidate in Tim Hudson. They’ve allowed the third fewest runs in the league, and now that they are scoring some runs they could be even tougher to beat.
#7 St. Louis Cardinals (55-45) – They went on that 8 game win streak, and everyone was jumping back on their bandwagon to win the Central. I thought they would keep it up longer, but sometimes you just get swept. They are starting to get healthy, but I think they should entertain the idea of adding a solid pitcher to round out the rotation. They need to be more consistent either on the mound or behind the plate, or it’s going to keep the door open for the Reds to sneak in.
#8 Chicago White Sox (54-44) – Surprisingly I picked them in our pre-season predictions, and they’ve clawed their way back into the race. I don’t think anyone that saw them play in April and May would’ve thought they’d be leading the division. Instead of jumping in on the Adam Dunn sweepstakes, I think they should try to make a play for Soria or some other reliever. Ozzie shouldn’t have to rely on a closer by committee situation.
#9 Cincinnati Reds (56-46) – The Reds have faded a little without their clubhouse leader, Scott Rolen, but now that he’s back and going 3 for 3 they should start lighting up the win column again. They have a great shot at winning the division or the Wild Card spot. I’m wondering when Arlondis Chapman will be called up, so I have just one more great reason to root for this team I had no attachement to before the season started! Anything the rookie phenom can add to their bullpen would be a big plus.
#10 Minnesota Twins (55-46) – Minnesota needs their main man Morneau back. I need him back too for my fantasy teams sake. They also need to figure out something within their rotation. There’s no doubt that they are looking into deals to acquire a #1 type of starter, but will they find one in a slim pickens kind of market? At least Detroit is fading with it’s injuries, so they still have a shot at the two man race for this division. The question also becomes is Joe Mauer hurt?
#11 Boston Red Sox (57-44) – Just when you think the Red Sox are picking up steam their offense disappears. I’m sure it has something to do with the laundry list of injuries, but they haven’t looked like the team that put up the 2nd most runs in the league lately. Being in the AL East isn’t going to help them out much either, and losing to teams like the Mariners isn’t going to keep them in the race. If they continue to struggle at the plate, they aren’t going to be close to making the playoffs. Can Josh Beckett start dominating again to sure up that rotation behind Lester? Only time will tell.
#12 Philadelphia Phillies (54-46) – They haven’t added a pitcher yet, but they have gotten some injured pitchers back like JA Happ, and Cole Hammels. I’m not sure they are going to make a deal with this current team playing as well as it has. I’m sure they are holding onto Werth and Happ tightly, unless the perfect scenario presents itself. They are by no means out of the playoff race, so there’s no reason for them to do a panic trade. If anything I’d like to see them try to add someone to replace Lidge.
#13 Oakland Athletics (50-49) – Too high on the rankings you say. Screw you, the A’s might be playing the best they have all season. They’ve won 9 of their last 12, and have taken series wins over Boston, Anaheim, and Chicago along the way. Beane even said he wasn’t going to tinker with the team. Maybe because all the other teams are only inquiring about our youth instead of guys like Crisp and Sheets. They have six games against the Rangers in the next couple weeks, should be a real test to see if they are in this race. Even though they lost game one of the Texas series last night, not many teams put up that good a fight against Cliff Lee.
#14 Los Angeles Dodgers (54-46) – It seems like benching Matt Kemp a month ago sent him a nice little wake up call. With Manny needing an HGH cycle to keep him off the DL, they are going to need their rising starts to shine a little more. I’m not feeling too confident about this team, but we’ll see if they make any moves to improve themselves at the trade deadline. If they don’t add a decent pitcher, they are looking at a steep climb to win the West. At least Billingsly seems to have found his stride.
#15 Florida Marlins (50-50) – The Marlins have crept themselves back to .500 with a bunch of walk off wins, too bad they pulled a Kendry Morales and got hurt. They will be truly tested in the coming weeks. They have a Cali trip to SD and SF, and then a home-stand against Philly and St. Louis. If they have a good run here, we will know if they are for real. I’m still saying that Josh Johnson is the choice over Ubaldo for Cy Young, as I said in my mid season awards. Lower ERA and WHIP > Wins.
#16 Detroit Tigers (51-48) – The Tigers looked great until the injury bug hit them hard. They’ve lost 10 of their last 14, and losing both pitching and hitting due to injury gives them more needs than answers to compete in the ever tightening AL Central. If they keep falling back in the race, at least Tiger fans can cheer for Triple Crown hopeful, Miguel Cabrera. I won’t count them completely out, but the way they are filling up that DL, there’s just no way to replace those guys.