Jul 25, 2014, 6:00 AM EST
Here are this week’s MLB Power Rankings featuring thoughts on each team from Mark Zuckerman, Chase Hughes and myself, Steve Roney:
1. Oakland Athletics (LW: 1) – Hughes: It’s hard to find a weakness with this team right now. Maybe their stadium, but that’s it.
2. Los Angeles Angels (LW: 2) – Hughes: L.A. now has the highest scoring offense in baseball. Something tells me they catch up to the A’s before it’s all said and done.
3. Detroit Tigers (LW: 3) – Zuckerman: Justin Verlander’s 4.84 ERA is a full run worse than anybody else in Detroit’s rotation. Bizarre.
4. San Francisco Giants (LW: 5) – Hughes: Dan Uggla fits a need, but I’m not sure that guy has anything left. His drop-off was a remarkable one.
5. Washington Nationals (LW 7) – Roney: Did Ryan Zimmerman’s hamstring strain create a need to add an infielder, or solve those “where does everyone play?” issues from a few weeks ago? I’d be inclined to let it ride with Espinosa/Walters, and focus on the bullpen (Andrew Miller, please?).
6. Milwaukee Brewers (LW: 9) – Zuckerman: Pretty amazing that a team with a first base platoon of Lyle Overbay and Mark Reynolds leads its division.
7. Baltimore Orioles (LW: 6) – Roney: Chris Tillman has been more Hyde than Jekyll this year, but if they take the East, I think it will be thanks to a gloves-off Gausman down the stretch.
8. Atlanta Braves (LW: 8) – Roney: ‘Braves release Dan Uggla’, said another way: ‘Anchors aweigh.’ Give them back Omar Infante in his place and they lead the East.
9. Los Angeles Dodgers (LW: 4) – Hughes: The decision to either keep Matt Kemp for the pennant race, or to trade him, is a tough one.
10. St. Louis Cardinals (LW: 10) – Zuckerman: Second-to-last in NL in runs, last in homers. They need to find some offensive punch somewhere.
11. Pittsburgh Pirates (LW: 13) – Zuckerman: Quietly inching their way up the NL Central standings, determined to be in this race again.
12. Seattle Mariners (LW: 11) – Hughes: Does Mike Rizzo get credit for seeing something in Chris Young? The veteran is 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA this year through 117 1/3 innings.
13. Toronto Blue Jays (LW: 14) – Roney: Quietly contributing to the tune of .279/.333 at 2B this year is Munenori Kawasaki, who has more fun playing baseball than anyone on the planet. Love to see him doing well.
14. New York Yankees (LW: 16) – Roney: And just like that, Chase Headley walks off in his first game sans facial hair. How do the Yankees always manage to squeeze at least a little water from the veteran rocks they always pick up?
15. Cincinnati Reds (LW: 12) – Zuckerman: The absences of Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips are starting to show.
16. Cleveland Indians (LW: 17) – Zuckerman: Michael Brantley: AL MVP candidate. No, really.
17. Kansas City Royals (LW: 15) – Zuckerman: Can’t figure these guys out. Every time they appear to surge, they come crashing back down.
18. Tampa Bay Rays (LW: 22) – Roney: It’s been written about extensively, but Joe Maddon and his defensive shifts have really put the clamp down on offense – much more than many realize.
19. New York Mets (LW: 18) – Roney: Jacob deGrom is less-heralded than at least four other young Mets starters, but he’s put together a really great rookie campaign so far (4-5, 3.01, 8.8 K/9).
20. Miami Marlins (LW: 19) – Roney: Had he not exhausted his rookie status last year, Christian Yelich would have a good ROY case in a relatively weak NL field this year: (.282/.360/.430, 12 SB).
21. Boston Red Sox (LW: 23) – Roney: Call on the kids – and boy, does Boston have a bevy. I’m excited to see what Christian Vazquez has to offer at the plate (he’s already a boss behind it).
22. Chicago White Sox (LW: 20) – Zuckerman: Good to see Adam Dunn is back to his old self: .227 batting average, .364 on-base percentage.
23. Minnesota Twins (LW: 21) – Zuckerman: Brian Dozier is the only guy on the roster who has reached double digits in homers.
24. San Diego Padres (LW: 25) – Hughes: Chase Headley was arguably the best third baseman in the NL two years ago, can he revive his career in New York?
25. Arizona Diamondbacks (LW: 29) – Hughes: It’s hard to win when your starting rotation has a collective ERA of 4.55.
26. Philadelphia Phillies (LW: 24) – Roney: “Oh my god! We’re having a fire…sale.” Somehow, Ruben Amaro still hasn’t spoken these words. It’s arrested development in Philly.
27. Houston Astros (LW: 28) – Hughes: First they can’t sign their first overall pick, then George Springer goes on the DL. Tough month for the ‘Stros.
28. Chicago Cubs (LW: 27) – Zuckerman: Edwin Jackson: 5-10, 5.61 ERA. In the 2nd year of a 4-year, $52 million contract.
29. Colorado Rockies (LW: 26) – Hughes: Now Troy Tulowitzki and Justin Morneau are on the DL. Another tough year in Denver.
30. Texas Rangers (LW: 30) – Hughes: Crazy to think that just three years ago they were in their second consecutive World Series.
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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.
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SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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