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MLB Power Rankings: A’s the WS favorites

Jul 17, 2014, 1:53 PM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

Here are this week’s MLB Power Rankings featuring thoughts on each team from Mark Zuckerman, Chase Hughes and myself, Steve Roney:

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1. Oakland Athletics (LW: 1) – Roney: I still love the trade for the Shark and Hammel, but you have to wonder if Russell could have been better used to bring in, say, David Price. Wonder too each starter’s if long-term price tag played a role.

2. Los Angeles Angels (LW: 2) – Roney: This is finally the team that Arte Moreno envisioned about three years ago. Props to Mike Trout on his MVP performance in already his third (!) All-Star Game.

3. Detroit Tigers (LW: 3) – Hughes: Justin Verlander (8-8, 4.88) will need a big second half to correct what has so far been the worst season of his career.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers (LW: 5) – Roney: So now the Dodgers are looking into bringing Jonathan Papelbon aboard, ostensibly to give them 2011’s dirtiest bullpen.

5. San Francisco Giants (LW: 7) – Roney: Still a bad deal when it was signed, but Tim Lincecum has actually been worth the $17 million he’s being paid. Not sure if that says more about his pitching or the going rate.

6. Baltimore Orioles (LW: 6) – Zuckerman: If Davis and Machado get hot, watch out.

7. Washington Nationals (LW: 8) – Zuckerman: Time for Harper to get going at last.

8. Atlanta Braves (LW: 9) – Zuckerman: They need Gattis back healthy and productive, big-time.

9. Milwaukee Brewers (LW: 4) – Hughes: Milwaukee hung on to their division lead by a thread heading into the break and they play the Nats next.

10. St. Louis Cardinals (LW: 11) – Hughes: Mike Matheny’s decision to start pitch-groover Adam Wainwright and select Pat Neshek to the All-Star Game really backfired. Will it come back to bite the Cards in October?

11. Seattle Mariners (LW: 10) – Roney: Seattle should be buyers over the next two weeks, which still feels odd to put into writing.

12. Cincinnati Reds (LW: 13) – Hughes: Cincinnati has been arguably the NL’s best team the last few weeks. They should be the favorite to win the NL Central at this point.

13. Pittsburgh Pirates (LW: 14) – Hughes: Little late to this one: Josh Harrison is a good player, but an All-Star?

14. Toronto Blue Jays (LW: 12) – Zuckerman: They really need somebody in their rotation besides Buehrle and Dickey to step up.

15. Kansas City Royals (LW: 15) – Hughes: The Royals are so close that they should be active at the trade deadline. Their fans deserve the postseason.

16. New York Yankees (LW: 16) – Zuckerman: Just don’t see how they can hang on all summer with that decimated rotation.

17. Cleveland Indians (LW: 17) – Hughes: They’ve taken a step back this year, but I like the Indians in 2015. Michael Brantley is a star.

18. New York Mets (LW: 21) – Zuckerman: They’re not going to challenge for a postseason berth, but Collins keeps these guys playing hard.

19. Miami Marlins (LW: 18) – Zuckerman: Stanton gets the attention (and deservedly so) but Ozuna is turning into a solid hitter as well.

20. Chicago White Sox (LW: 20) – Hughes: Jose Abreu has 29 homers in 82 games and is on pace to break Mark McGwire’s 1987 rookie record of 49.

21. Minnesota Twins (LW: 22) – Hughes: I’ve been saying this for a while now, but when will the Twins call up Alex Meyer? He’s 24 with a 3.06 career ERA in the minors.

22. Tampa Bay Rays (LW: 19) – Zuckerman: They’ve got two weeks to try to get back in the race, or else bye-bye Price.

23. Boston Red Sox (LW: 24) – Zuckerman: Could become first team ever to go worst to first and back to worst again.

24. Philadelphia Phillies (LW: 25) – Zuckerman: Props to Utley, who is showing he still has plenty left in the tank.

25. San Diego Padres (LW: 23) – Roney: If you don’t like Omar Minaya for Pads GM, here’s a more dynamic name: Kim Ng, currently in MLB’s front office. She’s interviewed for GM openings twice before – third time’s a charm?

26. Colorado Rockies (LW: 28) – Roney: Funny how organizations develop, and continue to fulfill, long-lasting stereotypes. Colorado just cannot pitch consistently.

27. Chicago Cubs (LW: 29) – Hughes: Anthony Rizzo looks like a future star right now, just wait until he gets some help in Chicago’s lineup.

28. Houston Astros (LW: 27) – Roney: I knew there was a youth movement underway, but I didn’t realize just how extreme – Dexter Fowler is the oldest regular in the field, at a ripe 28.

29. Arizona Diamondbacks (LW: 30) – Roney: Sad that Bronson Arroyo had to go under the knife – you couldn’t ask for a more durable starter over the last 10 years (326 starts).

30. Texas Rangers (LW: 26) – Roney: Rare to see a club built to win now occupy the absolute bottom slot. They’re wasting some excellent Darvish with so many others on the shelf for the year.

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  1. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    How is San Fran #7? Did getting back Marco Scutaro last week really propel them up?

    Also Machado has been blazing hot the last week but Cruz went cold and Chris Davis looks like the player he was in 2012. Will they finally spend for a real Ace? If not they will be done before the playoffs get to Round #2.

    Chase, you wrote the comments on #12 and #10 and if you have the Reds winning the central, why aren’t they #10?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      By the way, the Tigers trade of Prince for Kinsler has turned out a strategic one for them and improved their infield defense immensely while freeing up tons of cash for the future.

      Verlander is the key to how far they go.

      • NatsLady - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:09 PM

        Interesting that even without Fister, and with not much in return for him (Krol is basically a LOOGY and his ERA is 4.44, and below replacement level (-.5 fWAR) and Joe Nathan, whom they presumable needed the money to sign, is exactly 0.0 fWAR). Speaks to the strength of the rest of DD’s team.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:10 PM

        Exactly NatsLady. Ausmus has been better than advertised.

    • Section 222 - Jul 17, 2014 at 5:10 PM

      SF is actually listed as #5. That’s crazy talk. I guess since they are only a game behind the Dodgers at the break, and the Dodgers are #4, that’s how they get to be 5. But they are 5-5 in their last 10 games. Blech.

      So Oakland is 1 and the Angels are 2. Dodgers are 4 and Giants are 5. Nats are 7 and Braves 8, Brewers are 9 and Cards are 10. Seems a little too pat, but I believe Chase told us at one point that the three of them do independent rankings and then take an average.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2014 at 5:25 PM

        Thanks 222. Yes, 5 and probably should be 8 to 10. Do you remember when Mark had the Texas Rangers near the top of his stack?

        Oakland is the clear #1. They have the “it” factor. Great team chemistry and they love playing the game. That right there is hard to overcome. Luckily they are in the AL.

        The best team in the NL is the Dodgers. It doesn’t mean they will go far in the playoffs because they lack what the A’s have and that is team chemistry and that’s what will make it open in the NL for whoever can get that X Factor going.

        My pick is Cody Ross but I wouldn’t mind Brandon Barnes or Reed Johnson on my bench to get 2 guys to go with Frandsen and Lobaton and McLouth. Yes, I send Danny to AAA immediately. The rules allow him to come back in case of an injury at any time.

        Here’s Cody Ross’s slash .381/.409/.476/.885 and that’s in 22 pinch-hitting appearances.

        http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/split/87/minpa/25

  2. NatsLady - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    One of the guys at my Injury site worked up this analysis of injuries by team. Nats had far from the worst situation, although the report doesn’t evaluate the impact of the injured players (that is, stars or Eury Perezes.)

    http://www.sportsinjuryalert.com/2014/07/2014-mid-season-dl-statistics.html#.U8gaLvldXng

    • DaveB - Jul 17, 2014 at 5:42 PM

      You say “far from worst” and I guess that is certainly true as the Rangers had almost twice as many injury days as anyone else, but the Nats were in third place out of all 30 teams.

  3. NatsLady - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    Ha! Nats are snubbed even in this list!

    • ehay2k - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:04 PM

      “After their playoff collapse in 2002,…” Hmmm, if only we had a team then.

  4. David Proctor - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    Interesting little tidbit dropped into Kilgore’s article:

    “The Nationals view themselves as remarkably fortunate with bullpen help this season; nontheless, they have discussed dealing for another reliever to add durability and protect against injury. In 2012, their staff tired down the stretch.”

    I wonder who we’d be looking at? And I guess that would kick Barrett to AAA.

    • NatsLady - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:18 PM

      Maybe. But it might also kick Stammen to the DL for a month, which he could probably use, and then come back for late August and the stretch.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:26 PM

        My first move is Treinen for Barrett and some creative way to rest Stammen and restart him.

      • David Proctor - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:27 PM

        Come on NL,what makes you think Stammen is hurt? He went through this last year too and was fine. He’ll be fine.

      • NatsLady - Jul 17, 2014 at 4:35 PM

        He’s probably not “hurt” any more than other pitchers at this time of year–which is, at the very least, sore and tired. I’ve watched a lot of pitchers (including Gio) come back from a relatively short (month or less) DL-stint and make really good starts. I’ve often thought if there was a way to do it, every pitcher should have a couple of weeks off mid-season.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:26 PM

      I realize this may sound like an SEC football coach, but I’d say find out who Atlanta wants/needs the most, then get him first.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:32 PM

        Eugene, they are trying addition by subtraction in trying to rid themselves of Uggla and add a lefty bullpen arm.

      • David Proctor - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:37 PM

        They want Andrew Miller from the Red Sox. I wouldn’t mind him.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 17, 2014 at 5:07 PM

        That’s the hot lefty du jour. Miller in the last 30 days has recorded a 15.27/K9 and has lowered his ERA in the process to 2.23. He’s given up 1 run in the last 30 days but I will say they use him sparingly compared to early in the season. The lighter workload has paid off.

  5. rabbit433 - Jul 17, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    Orioles vs Nationals!!!!! That’s why they play’em.

  6. Section 222 - Jul 17, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    Metheny’s crappy ASG managerial decisions will come back to bite the Nats or the Dodgers, not the Cards. Without Molina, I wouldn’t be surprised if they collapse.

  7. Section 222 - Jul 17, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    When was the last time that Rizzo dealt anyone to get midseason help? I guess we traded for Hairston, right? But he usually picks guys up off the waiver wire – Mike Gonzalez for example. I think we might be engaged in a little wishful thinking here. Much as I’d like to see Cody Ross or Papelbon on our team, I doubt it will happen.

    • therealjohnc - Jul 17, 2014 at 6:10 PM

      You want to see Papelblown on this team? Seriously? Not only is he no better than what the Nats already have, but he’s a clubhouse cancer and carries an albatross contract (aka, a “Ruben Amaro” contract). Picking up Papelblown would be subtraction by addition. No, no, no, DO NOT WANT

      • Section 222 - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:35 PM

        At the right price for the stretch run, sure I’d take Papelbon. I think the clubhouse cancer stuff is overblown and he’s been an effective closer. Wouldn’t you like Storen, Clip, Papel, and Sori at the backend of your bullpen? But my real point was Rizzo doesn’t make trades for pricey players. I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:51 PM

        I’m fine with all of those guys in the bullpen except Papelbon. His velocity is down, his strikeouts are down, his walks are up, and his success is built on an unsustainable BABIP of .237. His career BABIP is .280, and he hasn’t had a BABIP even that low since 2009.

        Rizzo knows this as well as I do. If the Nats picked him up they would be loading up an albatross contract, throwing $13M for 2015 and probably 2016 to an aging closer as his BABIP regresses to his late career norms. That, my friend, is an ugly ugly picture.

  8. therealjohnc - Jul 17, 2014 at 6:17 PM

    As for the World Series Odds, according to Fangraphs the current odds of each team winning the WS are:

    16.4%: Tigers
    16.1%: Nationals
    14.8%: A’s
    11.8%: Dodgers
    10.5%: Angels
    5.0%: Giants
    4.4%: Orioles
    3.7%: Braves
    3.6%: Cardinals
    3.3%: Blue Jays
    1.8%: Pirates
    1.6%: Mariners
    1.5%: Brewers
    1.3%: Reds
    1.2%: Indians
    0.9%: Royals
    0.6%: Yankees, Rays, Red Sox
    0.0%: [Everyone Else}

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