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! Continue reading
Tag Archives: Giants
We all know the Giants’ strength, pitching, and we all know their weakness, hitting. Pretty straightforward, right? The question is, which will prevail as SF heads down the stretch in a tight race for the National League Wild Card berth. At the start of this post, the Giants and Colorado Rockies were tied for the Wild Card spot. However, by the time we’re done here, it looks as though the Rockies will have a one game advantage. Though, since the Giants have been the frontrunners for a long stretch prior to this, many have posed the question whether they can hang on or not. Typically, when you’re nine games over .500, you’re talking about winning the division. But the Dodgers don’t appear to be slowing down any time soon, so Giants’ fans are left focusing on the Wild Card.
Tim Lincecum appears to be getting more and more unhittable with each start. Matt Cain has always showed potential, but lacked run support. This year, though, he’s finally turned the corner, and the offense has seemingly turned it with him – for his starts at least. Problem is, after that you’re looking at Randy Johnson, Barry Zito, and Jonathan Sanchez. Johnson may only get worse as the year goes on. He’s currently sideline with a strained left shoulder, which doesn’t bode well for a pitcher in his 40s. He’s already slated to be out longer than originally anticipated, so we won’t see the Big Unit until next month at the earliest. Despite throwing the first no-hitter in 30+ years for the Giants, SF fans will be the first to say they don’t exactly go in expecting a W when Sanchez is on the mound. He’s had his moments, and he looked great when he put those moments together for 9 full innings 10 days ago. Tonight, he went 6 innings giving up 3 earned runs. That is even considered a great game for him. Then there’s Barry Zito. I don’t want to kick a guy while he’s down, so I’m going to refrain from talking about Zito for the rest of his career presumably.
On the offensive side, Pablo Sandoval is having a well-documented breakout year, but when you look down the rest of the order, it looks very Athletic-like, numbers-wise. It’s not like there’s really any veteran players who are due to break out any time soon either. The offense is, and most likely, will be anemic for the remainder of the year. Therefore, it seems logical that they need to trade for a bat. They have two young pitchers who could net the offensive help they need, but the front office seems pretty locked in on Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson, so they don’t appear to be going anywhere.
I think the only move that makes sense would be to acquire one more veteran pitcher who can turn it on down the stretch. It’s often assumed that the Giants have two guaranteed wins each time through the rotation: Lincecum and Cain. Problem is, they almost have three guaranteed losses each round with Zito, Sanchez, and Johnson fill-in, Ryan Sadowski. I know what you’re saying. “Sadowski has a 1.00 ERA!” But, go look at Vin Mazzaro’s stats. Tell me their first three starts don’t look identical, and then look at what Mazzaro’s done since then. Ok? Ok.
Basically, the Giants will be LUCKY to play .500 ball the rest of the way. I project them winning 7 of every 15 games, and quite frankly, that won’t be enough. BUT, they are locked in a playoff race, and at this point in the season, that’s all a team can ask for.
We’ve taken the Vegas win total over/unders for each and gave them the ol’ Doin Work twist. ….
Arizona 8 ½ Wins
Brian: Under. I don’t see Warner having as good a year as he had last year. He has amazing receivers, but losing Boldin isn’t going to help them.
Matt: Under. The much-maligned running game won’t get any better in Beanie Wells’ first year.
Andre : Over. Let’s see here… SF, SEA, and STL are a given 6 wins this year, if they lose 1 of those I’ll be really surprised. Cardinals will come back strong, I’m actually very intrigued to see what Beanie/Hightower combo can do in year 1.
Atlanta 8 Wins
Brian: Over. They look like a team on the rise, and are banking on Ryan to get better in his second year of action.
Matt: Over. Matt Ryan and Michael Turner should be a postseason staple for years to come.
Andre : Over. The Falcons brilliant recovery from disaster in 2008 was story book really, and they only got stronger this offseason. I think they can get to 10 wins in the NFC South, with the addition of a HoF security blanket at TE and The Burner and Roddy White entering their primes.
Baltimore 8 ½ Wins
Brian: Under. This is a tough one, but I thought they overachieved a little last year.
Matt: Under. Gone are Steve McNair and Derrick Mason. Terrell Suggs’ 6-year deal has trouble written all over it.
Andre : Under. Not enough at WR to work with, lack of #1 RB at this point, and an aging CB corp and MLB (sorry Ray) will slow the D and keep that O off the field to begin with.
Buffalo 7 ½ Wins
Brian: Under. I’m not sold that Trent Edwards can have a healthy season, and any team with two trouble makers TO and Marshawn is bound for disaster.
Matt: Over. I think they’ll be the same old Buffalo team, finishing 8-8 on the outside looking in.
Andre : Over. I’m gonna gamble and say the addition of TO pays off for Lee Evans and opens up the passing game, and once Marshawn comes back from his suspension he’ll be fresh and ready to go for the heart of the schedule.
Carolina 8 ½ Wins
Brian: Over. With the running game they have, they can control the clock every game, which goes a long way in winning games.
Matt: Under. Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith aren’t getting any younger.
Andre : Over. Love that running game, they will definitely shorten the game and keep their O on the field. And that D is nasty at times but needs to show up every week. Re-signing Peppers needs to be a priority, but for now he’s playing for a contract so that means big year ahead.
Chicago 8 ½ Wins
Brian: Over. We’ll see what Mr. Insulin is made of now that he’ll have a defense. Problem is he doesn’t really have anyone except a former returner to throw to.
Matt: Under. The addition of Jay Cutler should give fans reason for optimism, but I don’t see the Bears hanging with Minnesota and Green Bay
Andre : Under. The Bears have no leader on Offense. Haven’t had a leader on offense for a long time, and didn’t acquire one in any big trades this offseason (I’m looking at you Jay, can you handle that??). Guessing the Bears look much like the Broncos did last year, big arm and nothing else, doing just enough to fall short
Cincinnati 6 Wins
Brian: Under. Ask a Cincinnati fan why you should bet on the under, oh wait, never mind, there aren’t any…
Matt: Over. This is a crapshoot, but I’m banking on an up year for Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson. Do they have any running backs yet?
Andre : Over. But not by much. I’d be willing to bet they have the strongest D in many years, but in the AFC North that’s just not good enough. Palmer and *% should come back strong, but Benson at RB? Really?? Are there any lakes to party on in Ohio? Just curious…
Cleveland 7 Wins
Brian: Under. Braylon leads the league in drops over the last two years, which exemplifies their lack of discipline.
Matt: Over. If anyone’s due for a playoff appearance it’s the Browns. Hopefully they can decide on a QB and trade the other for some help in other areas.
Andre : Under. Just a no go all around. They need to pick one of their young strong arm QBs and go with him, for good. Use the bargaining chip while he’s still young with little wear and tear, then go pick up a vet to back-up. After that they can start working on revamping the D, as that side was fairly miserable last year and not getting any better.
Dallas 9 Wins
Brian: Under. With TO and Jessica out of Romo’s life, the love fest between him and Witten will reign supreme in Dallas, but not in a good way.
Matt: Over. Dallas isn’t as good as the teams they’ve fielded in recent years, but the new digs oughta boost them to a solid finish.
Andre : How can you go wrong here? Talent everywhere, especially at RB with two great back-ups with game changing speed in Jones and Choice. The D comes back strong, and most likely less drama for yo baby’s mamma. Ok, no more TO.
Denver 7 ½ Wins
Brian: Under. They may get first in the AFC West with under 8 wins! Their defense was a disaster, Brandon Marshall is complaining, and they lost Cutler.
Matt: Under. I have high hopes for Knowshon Moreno, but I don’t see a Kyle Orton-led offense winning the AFC West.
Andre : Under. Way too easy here. Question marks at QB, RB, WR (is Marshall going to play??), the Defense was atrocious last year. They might not get to 6 wins.
Detroit 5 Wins
Brian: Under. I’m more sure on this bet than any of my others so far!
Matt: Under. The Lions did a major overhaul on their roster – er, no they didn’t. Stafford isn’t going to be working any miracles.
Andre : Under. Do we even know if Stafford will play this year? Are they really rolling out Culpepper?? Could be another scary year in Motown, and look forward to seeing them at the top of the draft again next year.
Green Bay 9 Wins
Brian: Over. They need a better year from Ryan Grant, and their secondary is getting older. We’ll see I’m wishy washy on this one.
Matt: Over. The Packers, with their core of Rodgers, Grant, Jennings, and Barnett, might be the class of the NFC this year.
Andre : Under. I truly believe Minny has the inside track in the North, QB or no QB. GB might challenge to make it a 2 team race, the definitely Bears won’t and the Lions who? I think Rodgers will have a hard time if Ryan Grant can’t come back stronger than he did last year, even with strong weapons at receiver. I think 8-8 might be a good season this year for the Pack.
Houston 8 Wins
Brian: Over. I like the core they have on offense and defense. I think they are going to be playoff bound this year.
Matt: Push. The Texans seemed destined for another 8-8 season. Their division schedule is a killer.
Andre – Under. The Texans are doing good things, and Schaub to A Johnson will be a great combo all season. RBs are small and might not be able to gain the physical yards, while the D is not quite a strong as it needs to be against the run to be successful.
Indianapolis 10 Wins
Brian: Over. They’ve won at least 12 games every year since 2003, so I see them finding some way to make it over 10.
Matt: Over. The Colts have found a way to get it done in the regular season this whole decade. Shouldn’t be any different this year.
Andre : Under. I was very close to a push, but settled back to 9 wins. Will Addai come back strong? We know Wayne will get his, but then what? Clark is injury prone, Gonzales still making his name. The defense really gelled at the end of the regular season, but fell apart in the playoffs.
Jacksonville 8 Wins
Brian: Under. I really have no idea what to expect from this team. It’s a surprise every week seeing what team will show up.
Matt: Under. Brian’s right. The Jaguars really do have a lot of question marks.
Andre : Under. I’m not sure MJD can carry a full load, and the WR corp was thin to begin with. Last season was a big step back, and I believe we could see more of the same this year. The defense has been overhauled in the last two years, not quite a scary as it used to be.
Kansas City 6 Wins
Brian: Over. This is a toss up, the race to six or seven wins may win the AFC West!
Matt: Under. KC has put all their proverbial eggs in one basket with Matt Cassel. I still think they’re another year or two away.
Andre : Push. Six wins sounds just about right for a team gambling on a brand new QB with 1 year under his belt. First year growing pains will be rough while he builds a relationship with his WRs, and the loss of Tony Gonzalez doesn’t make it any easier, as well as a question mark at RB. The defense is a work in progress, but looked to be advancing.
Miami 7 Wins
Brian: Over. They need to try and sign Vick! I could only imagine the damage he could do in that Wildcat offense!
Matt: Over. Barely. If they can build on last year’s success, they should challenge Buffalo for 2nd in the AFC East.
Andre : Under. Sorry Miami, I haven’t seen enough improvement to warrant a 7 win season. No receivers, half a QB, and a great running game means all kinds of blitzes and run stopping schemes. Good luck with that. Defensively they might be ok, but they’ll be on the field way too much.
Minnesota 9 Wins
Brian: Under. All Day can only carry them so far. I don’t see their defense leading the league in turnovers again.
Matt: Under. They’re still a franchise QB away from contending. But, if they bring in Favre? Nah, still a .500 team at best.
Andre : Over. As I mentioned earlier, I’m high on Minny winning that ugly North division. Minny was a great all-around team without a true QB last year, so whether they go with Favre or someone else I don’t think it matters too much. Great running game, the D is fast and physical, special teams are strong. AP better step it up and his 3rd year as a true leader of that franchise..
New England 11 ½ Wins
Brian: Over. I’ve bet against Brady too many times in spite. I guess I’ll try to jinx the Pats by putting them in the playoffs.
Matt: Under. I don’t think they’ll reach 12 wins, but 11-5 or 10-6 will be enough to win the division.
Andre : Under. Actually, UNDER. As in Under .500. I think this is the year the Pats just don’t get the bounces and calls going their way, all good things must come to an end. This team’s core is only getting older, and unlike a nice bottle of wine it’s not tasting any better. Last year Cassel stepped in admirably, but again with no running game and an aging D there will be a lot of pressure on Brady’s pretty little shoulders.
New Orleans 8 ½ Wins
Brian: Over. Their defense has to stop the other team a few times this year, right!?! Well in either case, I think Brees can orchestrate 9 wins.
Matt: Over. I’m torn, but I think a healthy Colston and Bush can put this team over the .500 mark.
Andre : Under. We’re all in love with Brees and Bush and Colston (or am I the only one?), but this team will once again need to prove they can win high-scoring shootouts with their less than mediocre D. The NFS South will be very competitive this year, and I can see all 4 teams finishing between 9-7 and 7-9. Unfortunately, I see the NO as the 7-9 team.
NY Giants 10 Wins
Brian: Under. Do they have any receivers yet?
Matt: Under. The NFC East is going to be a killer this year, and Manning to Steve Smith doesn’t seem that potent.
Andre : Under. With no passing game and defenses only getting stronger in their Division (aka Albert Haynesworth), they won’t be able to rely on their horse Jacobs quite as much. Where will they go for 3 and long?? Who knows, but Manning could look more like the Eli of his first 2 years rather than the last 3.
NY Jets 7 Wins
Brian: Under. Too tough of a division, and the Dolphins pushed them down even further.
Matt: Under. A rookie QB and an aging, though effective, running back won’t be enough to contend with the Pats, Dolphins, and Bills.
Andre : Over. With the Pats slowing down, and the Dolphins making no big moves, I think the Jets are primed to take advantage even with a rookie QB if Sanchez does start. They are loaded in the running game with Jones, Washington and Greene to help ease the load, and their D is set to be a top ranked unit next year. 9-7 is definitely not a stretch.
Oakland 5 ½ Wins
Brian: Under. I can’t jinx them yet, but I’d gladly lose this bet. 8-8 would feel like a championship these days.
Matt: Over. This is ridiculous, I know. But I see Jeff Garcia winning the starting spot, and they have plenty of weapons on both sides of the ball.
Andre : Under. Can you have negative wins in a season? Just curious. And who is faster in a foot race, Garcia or Russell? Only because that’s how they make all of their other personnel decisions. This might be McFadden’s time to shine if he can stay healthy, cause they will be behind a lot and just wanting to hold onto the ball.
Philadelphia 9 ½ Wins
Brian: Under. Westbrook turns the dreaded 30 for a running back. McNabb will probably miss a few games now that he signed his extension.
Matt: Under. The Eagles are giving the impression that they won’t persevere through the loss of the heart and soul of the team, Brian Dawkins.
Andre : Under. I wish I could say push, since they did have a tie last year and finish with 9 wins and that tie. Anyways, all told I think the Eagles will be the Eagles and finish just above 500 and either sneak in or somehow miss by a hair. Seems like the same story every year recently. And don’t count on seeing Kolb start for this team any time soon.
San Diego 9 ½ wins
Brian: Under. I foresee another 8-8 year, but then again they do get to play a bunch of games against their weak division.
Matt: Over. The Chargers have been inconsistent of late, but anything less than a 5-1 division record would be a surprise.
Andre : Over. With a healthy LT, Merriman and Cromartie, this team will be back to ‘07 form. Franchising Sproles made great sense as insurance, all Philip Rivers does is win (and through injuries), and the Chargers are guaranteed several wins in their own division this year as usual. After several years of difficult and grueling schedules, this year’s softer line-up bodes well.
San Francisco 7 Wins
Brian: Over. I think Singletary will put the 49ers back to respectability mark.
Matt: Over. The Cardinals should regress a bit, and the Rams and Seahawks haven’t gotten any better.
Andre : Under. Unlike the Vikings, having no QB in this situation really does matter. In no way is this 9er team talented enough all around to carry the team past their ongoing search for a passer. Gore will wear the brunt, and it will wear on him. No thanks in part to a terrible Oline. The defense is iffy at best, but could be strengthened if Singletary dresses on Sundays.
Seattle 7 ½ Wins
Brian: Over. They can’t have as many injuries as last year. A healthy Hasselbeck will make them competitive again.
Matt: Under. But not by much. TJ should prove to be a great addition to the offense.
Andre : Under. With the exception of AZ, the NFC West looks like it might be a vacation for opponents this year. Hass is coming back from an injury, and Seattle decided not to draft a youthful replacement for down the road. No WR help, no RBs at this point, and a porous D will be very hard to overcome this year.
St. Louis 5 ½ Wins
Brian: Under. I didn’t think they were going to win one game for awhile there last year, and this year their roster looks even worse this year.
Matt: Under. The Rams should challenge the Lions for the bottom spot in the NFC this year.
Andre : Under. Who farted? Oh, that’s just the stench coming out of STL. Could have addressed the QB issue, didn’t. Could have gotten WR help, didn’t. Did help the Dline, but didn’t address LBs. This could be brutal, they should start clearing cap space for signing top 3 picks over the next few years.
Tampa Bay 6 ½ Wins
Brian: Under. Too much turnover in the organization to be competitive this year.
Matt: Over. No matter what happens, the Bucs usually find a way to contend. They won’t make the playoffs, but they’ll finish better than 6-10
Andre : Over. I see TB getting to at least .500 this year, if not a game better. They seem to have made the right moves based on necessity that many teams did not this year. If Cadillac can rebound from a slow year coming back from injury, the running game should be their strength along with Winslow as a solid addition and safety net at TE.
Tennessee 9 Wins
Brian: Over. They showed they have a lot of good pieces on defense and in the running game.
Matt: Over. The Titans might’ve been the best team in the NFL for a majority of the year last season. Lendale White has decided to show up this year.
Andre : Push. I see the Titans fighting for 9 wins and a playoff berth with the Colts, as it appears there will be only one team coming out of this division. The running game will remain a strength with LenDale coming in 20 pounds lighter, but the loss of Haynesworth in the middle of the Dline will leave them scrambling. A 4 man rotation will be nowhere near as effective.
Washington 8 Wins
Brian: Under. Lots of talent, but they like to give away games.
Matt: Under. If Clinton Portis holds up this year, they’ll be alright, but the QB situation may hold them back.
Andre : Over. The NFC East will be a two horse race between the Cowboys and Indians, sorry, Redskins. The offense should continue to improve with Campbell at the helm and Portis back at full strength. The biggest off-season move by any team, the signing of Haynesworth to clog the Dline, will pay off huge dividends quickly. This WILL be the top D in the league this year.
Since my last piece examined the state of the NBA on the decline, I figured that it would be fitting to give an assessment of the MLB during the financial crisis . Baseball is in the beginning stages of seeing exactly how bad the country’s unwillingness to spend is affecting them. We’ll know exactly what is going to happen with 19 teams within 6 games of first place in their divisions. As the July 31st trade deadline approaches, will any teams make any big moves adding money to their payroll? Baseball is facing their biggest financial hurdle since they came back from the 94 strike, but this time they don’t have the influx of steroids to save them. Even the rich teams are feeling the financial crunch as the powerhouses like the Yankees and Red Sox are even seeing declining ticket sales.
With teams struggling to get fans through the turnstiles, they’ve turned to alternatives to lure people to the games. In Arizona, they gave away an unprecedented amount of 41 season tickets to 14 different families which was worth approximately $100K. The Marlins are giving away $2,500 towards a mortgage or rent payment for 11 Saturday’s this season. They are also giving away free tickets on Monday night games to any person with proof that they were laid off. Baseball, more than other sports, is driven by ticket sales, and this year has shown that even the mighty Yankees and Red Sox aren’t immune to the recession, as many games aren’t selling out the way they have over the past decade and a half.
Last year there were many big names swirling around before the deadline like CC Sabathia, Mark Teixiera, Manny Ramierez, Jason Bay, Rich Harden, and Joe Blanton. Like many years past, all of the marquee names found a new home for the 2nd half of the season to help their respective teams during the playoff push. Maybe last year’s market had more top dogs than most, but this year you can hear a pin drop around most camps with teams trying to find ways to save. I haven’t heard one intriguing rumor for any player that would make a significant impact on a team pushing for a playoff spot. As we approach the July 31st trade deadline, it’s the time of the year when teams have to decide if they are a buyer or a seller. This year it seems as though everyone is a seller, and every team has players on the block as they just want to clear salary. It doesn’t seem like teams even want to improve in this bizarro situation that is mirroring the NBA. Are Mark Derosa and Eric Hinske going to be the biggest names we hear moved this year? So far it’s shaping up that way. The Red Sox, Phillies, Giants, and Mets seem like the only teams that are willing to take on a significant amount of salary. The economy has made GM’s much more cautious. Even if there are trades made, I doubt it will be much more than a 7-9 hitter or a 4th or 5th man in the pitching rotation. I hope we see some fireworks from one or two teams before it’s all said and done. I need something to look forward to, since my A’s were placed on the sellers list a month ago by positioning themselves firmly in last place in the AL West. Hopefully they can get a few parts via trade, that can be immediately inserted into their D rated offense for one of their proven players (their old guys or Holliday).
The first Doin Work MLB Power Rankings! Sure there may be a few surprises in here, but where else can you see a westcoast biased rankings!?! I would think it should be a little refreshing after always hearing an East Coast point of view! Feel free to rip the placement of any of the teams, but this is our rundown of the league through 6/18.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers – They have the best record in the league, with Juan Pierre leading the team in average after Manny’s suspension. The team hasn’t been hitting as well the last couple of weeks, but their pitching is the real story, as they lead the majors with a 3.59 ERA and are holding opponents to a league low .235 BA.
2. Boston Red Sox – The much maligned Boston squad has surged of late to become the second team to 40 wins. They’ve ridden the success of the best home record in the majors (23-8), as well as the best record against their division (20-8). We all know about their success against the Yankees this year, but what some might not know is they’ve struggled against the AL West (5-10). Only the Orioles have a worse record.
3. Texas Rangers – Somehow the Rangers and manager Ron Washington have figured out ways to win in Texas. Will it will last through the dog days of August when pitchers usually start getting blown up in Arlington? We will see. Everyone knows their offense will hit, but can Millwood and Feldman keep rolling the way they have?
4. Anaheim Angels – This might be a little high, but the Angels have the longest current win streak in the majors. They’re also a proven contender whose main concern in the early going was injuries. They were without John Lackey, Vladimir Guerrero, and Ervin Santana but managed to stay afloat. Now, all three are back and the Angels look poised to reclaim control of the AL West. Joe Saunders and Jered Weaver have combined for a 14-6 record. If Lackey and Santana can regain their form, this team could be dangerous.
5. Philadelphia Phillies – They are (36-28) with a 3 game lead in their division, but they have struggled at home (13-18), which has knocked the reining champs down a few spots in the rankings. The placement of Ibanez on the DL probably won’t hurt them as much as their bullpen has this year as they rank 26th in pitching. They’ve made up for the pitching woes with the fifth most runs scored and the 3rd most HR’s in the league.
6. Milwakee Brewers – They seem to be back on track, winning their last 3 at Cleveland in a series that saw them put up 30 runs. They gave up 25, which could be reason to be alarmed, but they came away with the W each time. Assuming they’ve bounced back from the previous stretch where they lost 6 of 7, Milwaukee should remain atop an NL Central that is very winnable. They currently have, by far, the best intra-divisional record at 21-10. Prince Fielder, who leads the majors in RBI, heads up an explosive offense. Their fate will lie with their rotation. Yovani Gallardo is pitching like an all-star, but Suppan, Looper, Bush, and Parra will need to pick their game up to help the Brewers win the Central.
7. New York Yankees – Since A-Rod came back from the DL, Teixeira is on a tear with 15 homers and 38 RBI’s since June 9th. The Bronx bombers still have question marks on the pitching side as they are currently ranked 26th in ERA. The main question is whether the new ballpark is evening out their superior batting lineup, as they give up nearly as many runs as they score in the new version of Arlington. So far they have fared well at their new home (21-13), and have gotten lucky at times as well (Castillo comes to mind). They are only 3 games back of Boston in a very tough AL East division.
8. Toronto Blue Jays – They’ve proved they’re for real this year, especially on the offensive side. If everything goes according to plan, they should finish 3rd in the AL East! The only question mark for the Blue Jays has been their pitching, and that just got a lot more complicated with the loss of Roy Halladay.
9. St. Louis Cardinals – Big Albert has been on a tear lately slugging 10 homers with 21 RBI’s over the last month which has helped them stay within a game of the division leading Brewers. St. Louis boasts the sixth best era in the league (3.47), which has been a key in their success. Carpenter has been stellar since coming off the DL giving up a total of 9 runs in 41 innings.
10. Tampa Bay Rays – Tampa has been strong lately going 12-5 over their last 17. They are currently 3 games over .500 for the first time this season. They are determined to show that last year wasn’t a fluke, and have added to the congestion atop the AL East. They currently are +72 in run differential which is the highest in the league, so you have to figure sooner or later they are going to go on a good stretch in the win column.
11. Colorado Rockies – They have been as hot as any team in baseball, since they fired Clint Hurdle and replaced him with Jim Tracey they’ve gone a solid 14-4 since the switch. Their early season schedule was one of the toughest in baseball, which is why I think they struggled out of the gate. Their recent power surge has raised them to 8th in runs scored and they are now tied for 8th in HR’s in the MLB.
12. Detroit Tigers – Granderson and Inge are leading the charge as the Tigers look to be what everyone thought they would be last year. I would’ve put them higher but they have lost four in a row including two to lowly Pittsburgh.
13. New York Mets – This is just about the area in the rankings where the contenders segue into the pretenders. The Mets are still in the upper echelon of MLB teams, but have yet to show they can put together a full season. Luis Castillo’s game losing drop seemed an awful lot like September foreshadowing though!
14. San Francisco Giants – The offense has been bad, as expected, but they’ve managed to stay above .500 for some time now, thanks in large part to Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, who are likely to keep up their pace. Anywhere above .500 should keep the Giants in the wild card race.
15. Cincinatti Reds – They’ve managed to stay afloat despite injuries to Edinson Volquez, Edwin Encarnacion, and I guess Joey Votto. Add to that poor starts to the season by Bronson Arroyo and Micah Owings. If the Reds can get healthy, even they could make a run at the division.
16. Chicago Cubs – Currently sitting in 4th place, but only 4 games back of the first place Brewers. The Cubs need to figure out two things if they’re going to make any noise this season: how to win on the road and how to win in their division.
17. Minnesota Twins – The Twins have been extremely inconsistent thus far, but they always end up finding a way to win. At 34-34, they are still very much in the wild card picture, but they’ll need the team to click altogether to make a run at the postseason. Their pitching won’t dominate, but it’ll keep them close and games will be winnable with Mauer and Morneau leading the way at the plate.
18. Chicago White Sox – It appears that the starting pitching has turned the corner with many great outings lately, led by Jose Contreras only giving up 3 hits in his last two starts (16 IP). The offense will have to pick it up soon if they are going to contend.
19. Florida Marlins – Ten different pitchers have started games for the Marlins this year. However, Josh Johnson has been the only one to prove he belongs. They’ve made attempts to get back to .500 but can’t quite get there.
20. Seattle Mariners – The M’s started the season making some people believe they would be a contender in the West, but since the hot start they have struggled and look about the same as the last few seasons lackluster performances.
21. Atlanta Braves – They haven’t been consistent and don’t look to be taking the NL East anytime soon, with a few good teams now residing in their division. Chipper needs to break out of his slump for them to make any kind of a move.
22. Pittsburgh Pirates – Pittsburgh isn’t in last in their division for once. Somehow they have kept it going after trading away a top player (McClouth) for MORE prospects. I guess they’re just stockpiling them for something good to come along. Their pitching has kept them in games as they are currently ranked 13th overall in ERA.
23. Oakland A’s – A win against the Dodgers bumped them up a spot, but they have looked awful in the field and at the plate. Not the recipe for success for any team. Holliday, Giambi, and Cabrera seem to be battling it out for the biggest bust on the team.
24. Cleveland Indians – Like many teams at the bottom of the rankings and standings, breaks just don’t come their way. They look good for a week and terrible the next week. Their pitching has been awful this year which, makes it hard for any team to compete. They are ranked last in ERA.
25. Houston Astros – Tejada is the only bright spot on the team being 2nd in the NL in BA, and first in doubles (23). As we get closer to the All-Star break it looks as though we’ll see what players they are going to trade away. I saw the Vegas odds on a Houston firesale at 2/1.
26a. San Diego Padres – Not much to say here, except Adrian Gonzalez’s NL home run lead was just taken from him by Pujols. They had a ten game winning streak, but came crashing back to earth by losing 11 out of 17 after the winning streak.
26b. Arizona Diamondbacks – At least the weather’s nice there, and they have Danny Haren. It was basically a matchup of Gonzalez and Haren to take the coveted 26a spot! As close to a tie as you’ll see on a power rankings!
28. Baltimore Orioles – Being in the toughest division in baseball they have shown everyone how to struggle. They have been outscored by opponents by 56 runs. It’s the largest run differential in the league. Oh and Matt Wienters has arrived if you didn’t know, oh you did, cool.
29. Kansas City Royals – They probably don’t deserve to be this low, but they haven’t shown anything that would make any fan of them care what their rank is. They have some pitching as they lead the league in complete games (8).
30. Washington Nationals – They are 2nd to last in pitching and 20th in hitting. They need to sign Strasberg and get him on the mound this year for them to move out of the cellar. They’re on pace to lose over 100 games.