Skip to content

MLB Power Rankings: Central dominance

Jun 27, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today

By Steve Roney
CSNwashington.com

The National League Central division is ruling baseball like never before, with the two best teams in the majors and a third (Cincinnati) not far behind. How many divisions throughout history boast have boasted a third-place team that would be atop many other divisions? The guess here is few.

Here's how Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman, Nats writer Chase Hughes, and I see the rest of the league shaking out:

1. St. Louis Cardinals (48-30; LW: 1) - Roney: Prince Albert has been gone for a while now, so it's no surprise that they don't miss him…but I'm still a little surprised. Allen Craig, Jon Jay, and especially Swiss army knife Matt Carpenter are an offensive force themselves.

2. Pittsburgh Pirates (48-30; LW: 7) - Roney: Former No. 2 overall pick Pedro Alvarez is finally cultivating an average (currently .242) that's at least vaguely acceptable when paired with his light tower power (19 HRs so far, 30 last year).

3. Boston Red Sox (47-33; LW: 3) - Zuckerman: Jacoby Ellsbury is 32-for-35 in stolen base attempts. And he hasn't even faced the Nats pitching staff!

4. Texas Rangers (45-33; LW: 9) – Hughes: Their pitching has been questionable over the last month, but they're still winning. Having Yu Darvish pitch every fifth day doesn't hurt.

5. Cincinnati Reds (45-34; LW: 2) - Roney: Every starter on the team has a sub-4.00 ERA, and none better than Mike Leake, who has rebounded from seasons past to be the Reds' most effective starter (7-3, 2.61).

6. Oakland Athletics (46-34; LW: 5) – Hughes: As a team, Oakland has drawn the most walks in the majors. For comparison's sake, the Nats have four players with 20 or more walks while the A's have ten.

Read more »

  1. JD - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    How about those Bucs?

  2. Faraz Shaikh - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    Hope we can get the game in before it starts raining.

  3. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    Faraz, I think they'll be fine. It looks like PA and NY are getting most of it.

  4. Eric - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    Interesting that Mark listed Werth as batting 7th.

  5. Tcostant - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    Yu Darvish could have been a National. Instead of paying Jackson and Haren $25M they should have used that as a down payment on the posting fee. I said it then and still say it now. This was no 30 year old pitcher, but a youngest who hasn't even enter his prime. I saw it live at 2009 World Baseball Classic and any shout there would have seen it too.

  6. Faraz Shaikh - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    Sec 3, that is nice. They just issued Tornado warning to Montgomery county, that is why I wondered.

  7. Eric - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    0% chance of rain here near College Park from now until 8 p.m. Only exception is a 25% chance at 6 p.m.FWIW.

  8. sjm308 - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Tcostant: Darvish is amazing but that wasn't an open bidding process was it? I thought each team submited an offer and the highest bid won. And that was just for the opportunity to then try and sign him. That would be pretty tough to try and figure out how high to go but I do agree that he seems to be worth it. Still can't figure out why the Cubs put 50+ million into our boy Edwin.From the last post – "The Wire" the best TV show I have ever seen, and I love Eric pulling out a fairly obscure Dylan song as well. I am partial to Gram Parsons and Emmy Lou Harris singing "Streets of Baltimore" but its been done by many others.Go Nats!!

  9. Eric - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    The Wire is amazing indeed.The version of Hattie Carroll on Rolling Thunder Revue is devastating.

  10. Tcostant - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    sjm308 said…Darvish is amazing but that wasn't an open bidding process was it? I thought each team submited an offer and the highest bid won. And that was just for the opportunity to then try and sign him. Me: All true. We knew it would take at least the $50M it took to get Dice-K, if the Nationals had bid $51M and lost I wouldn't say a word. But Rizzo was high on him and we didn't even bid.

  11. JD - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    TCostant, 29 teams didn't get Darvish and most of them chose not to participate in the closed bid process. It's not quite as simple as you make it out to be.

  12. d'grviii 8 - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    Emmylou Harris is from DC (graduated from Gar-Field HS in Prince William County) yet when she chose to sing about a city she chose Baltimore. Don't tell Ghost of Steve M.

  13. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Still got our minds set on Yu? It's gonna take money–a whole lot of money. It's gonna take plenty of money. Rudy Clark said it first, in 1962.

  14. Tcostant - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    JD – What not simple? You put in a bid and hope you’re the winner. If you loss, you loss nothing. If you win and Yu wants another $100M on top of that, you don't sign him and get the posting bid back. As an added bonus, you loss no draft pick and the posting fee doesn't count towards luxury tax.

  15. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    Somehow, I just can't imagine Emmylou Harris singing "Chocolate City."

  16. sjm308 - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    Used to listen to Emmy Lou for free down at the Childe Harold near Dupont back in the 60's. Was just amazed at her voice (umm, and maybe a few other things). She has aged beautifully and we never miss her when she is back in town.

  17. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Although … people can surprise you sometimes.

  18. Eric - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. sjm308 - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Sofa: if she did, it would be done well!!

  20. sjm308 - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Especially if Buddy Miller was playing lead guitar.

  21. Tcostant - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    But I would love to hear Emmylou Harris sing "God Bless America".Remember on Yu, we didn't know that Det would be that great last year, can you just image for a second if Yu was on this team???

  22. Eric - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    "Somehow, I just can't imagine Emmylou Harris singing 'Chocolate City.'"Ha!"Sofa: if she did, it would be done well!!"Indeed.That's awesome you got to see her back then, sjm. She is indeed a very beautiful woman.

  23. Eric - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Have y'all ever seen this article about the hunt for the Mothership in Seat Pleasant, MD (right on the DC border)?

  24. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jun 27, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    Maybe that should be our next meme, Eric, to replace "Best 25", when Harper and Buffalo get back: The Awesome Power of a Fully Operational Mothership! TAPOAFOM!

  25. Eric - Jun 27, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    Fantastic.I would love to hear some PFunk in the stadium, not to mention some good ol' Grateful Dead! I peg Werth as the most likely to bust out either one.

  26. Eric - Jun 27, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    Actually…Chocolate City would be fantastic as a replacement for Take on Me during the stretch."Gainin' on ya!""Can ya feel ma breath? HUH!"

  27. sjm308 - Jun 27, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    I am ready for them to do away with Take on Me and George Clinton can replace that with just about anything he has done!! I still think it should be Chuck Brown though. They used to use him but for some reason he doesn't make the playlist anymore.Baseball in a couple minutes!! Go Nats!!

  28. Eric - Jun 27, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    Chuck Brown would be awesome, too!Sometimes you can still find his soul banging on buckets outside the half street metro station. Always a nice treat.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 48 --
ATLANTA 58 51 1.5
MIAMI 53 55 6.0
NEW YORK 52 56 7.0
PHILADELPHIA 48 61 11.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 12:35 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter