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MLB Power Rankings: Nats on fire

Aug 22, 2014, 1:04 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

Here is a look around Major League Baseball with analysis of each team from Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman and myself, Chase Hughes:

LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY

1. Angels (LW: 2) – Hughes: My preseason World Series pick of the Angels over the Dodgers never felt so good. Just don’t ask Zuckerman for his…

2. Orioles (LW: 4) – Hughes: The O’s have the third best record in the AL, yet they lead their division by nine games. Since when did it become a luxury to be in the AL East?

3. Athletics (LW: 1) – Hughes: The A’s are 8-11 since trading Yoenis Cespedes and have dropped six of their last seven. Perhaps Billy Beane overthought that one.

4. Nationals (LW: 5) – Zuckerman: One more win and this’ll be longest streak by a D.C. ballclub since 1933 … just before the end of Babe Ruth’s career. Hmm…

5. Dodgers (LW: 3) – Hughes: The Nats and Dodgers play in 10 days. Unless something happens to either rotation, Fister and Kershaw are lined up for Game 2.

6. Royals (LW: 11) – Zuckerman: K.C. is quickly becoming THE story of the 2014 season.

7. Brewers (LW: 8) - Zuckerman: Three guys with 20 homers already … and Braun isn’t one of them!

8. Cardinals (LW: 7) – Zuckerman: Just when you were starting to count them out, they’ve won 7 of 8.

9. Tigers (LW: 6) – Zuckerman: Does it get any more hard-luck than David Price losing to his former team despite throwing a 1-hitter?

10. Braves (LW: 16) – Zuckerman: How demoralizing must it be for Atlanta to win 6 of 7 and actually drop a game in the standings?

11. Mariners (LW: 12) – Hughes: Robinson Cano is one of those rare players that actually lives up to a monster contract in his first year. He’s been excellent.

12. Giants (LW: 9) – Hughes: It will be interesting to see Michael Morse return to Nationals Park, especially given he’s having such a good year (16 HR, 56 RBI, .827 OPS)

13. Yankees (LW: 14) – Hughes: Brandon McCarthy (5-2, 1.90) has been great since joining the Yankees in a July trade.

14. Pirates (LW: 10) – Zuckerman: Can healthy McCutchen and Cole get them back on track after 7-game losing streak?

15. Blue Jays (LW: 13) – Hughes: Not only are the Blue Jays unlikely to make the playoffs, now they are picking a fight with Creighton University over their logo. Good grief.

16. Marlins (LW: 19) – Zuckerman: Giancarlo for MVP? If Miami can get and stay above .500, it’ll help his cause.

17. Indians (LW: 18) – Zuckerman: Zach Walters: 4 homers in his first 9 games with Cleveland.

18. Rays (LW: 17) – Hughes: I still don’t like their playoff chances, but it is very good timing to have Wil Myers coming back.

19. Reds (LW: 15) – Zuckerman: Chase had them winning the NL Central. How’s that looking these days?

20. Mets (LW: 21) – Zuckerman: Lucas Duda has turned into a legitimate power force at first base. Looks like they made the right call picking him over Ike Davis.

21. White Sox (LW: 20) – Zuckerman: Adam Dunn says he’s thinking about retiring after the season. If so, would have never made playoffs in career.

22. Padres (LW: 22) – Hughes: San Diego is 11-6 this month and 18-11 since July 19. They are now seven games out of the Wild Card spot. Those are long odds, but it’s good to see them keep fighting.

23. Cubs (LW: 26) – Zuckerman: Edwin Jackson since signing with Chicago: 14-32, 5.47 ERA. And there are still two more years on his contract.

24. Phillies (LW: 24) – Zuckerman: Just not very much to get excited about right now on Broad Street.

25. Astros (LW: 28) – Hughes: Chris Carter is hitting just .230 with 138 strikeouts, but he’s got 30 homers. The new Mark Reynolds?

26. Twins (LW: 23) – Zuckerman: Rough year in the Twin Cities, but they did put on an excellent All-Star Game!

27. Red Sox (LW: 25) – Hughes: Boston is going all in with this Rusney Castillo guy at seven years and $72.5 million. If he’s the next Yasiel Puig or Jose Abreu, it will be well worth it.

28. Diamondbacks (LW: 27) – Hughes: Without Paul Goldschmidt in the mix, the Diamondbacks are a sight for sore eyes.

29. Rockies (LW: 29) – Hughes: Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez are out for the year. At this point, you have to see what you can get in a trade, whenever you have the chance.

30. Rangers (LW: 30) – Hughes: Ron Washington will be back next year. I think he’s taken a lot of unfair criticism in recent years but, man, that’s a surprise.

LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY

  1. Hiram Hover - Aug 22, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    A 10 game winning streak doesn’t get any better than #4? Behind the 2-8 Athletics?!

    • Doc - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:00 PM

      Yeah correctomundo, HH.

      Sham on you MarkMeister!

      We’re No. 1

      We’re No. 1

      We’re No. 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. ratiocinational - Aug 22, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    Chase,

    I have to point out, since it’s the second time you’ve used it recently, that “a sight for sore eyes” means the exact opposite of what you think it does.

  3. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 22, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    This is total BULLSH-T

    You factor in the loss of Garrett Richards, the extremely weak AL East and the recent troubles of the As.

    Later. I will wait for a new post.

    • Section 222 - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:32 PM

      Easy Ghost. You’ll give yourself ulcers. There are lots of things to get exercised about. Power rankings are not one of them

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:40 PM

        :) Angels were #1 until Garrett Richards was lost for the year. Oreos are solid but I don’t see even 1 ace in their starting pitching and they look like the 2002 Texas Rangers.

        Nats are #1 without a doubt. They fully earned the spot this week. ESPN at least got it right on Baseball Tonight.

  4. coop202 - Aug 22, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    Fister – Kershaw? Guns in the west

  5. Theophilus T.S. - Aug 22, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    There’s a lot to complain about in this list but it’s due to the presence of so many flawed teams at this time of the year. Angels, I agree, are suffering from injuries. Orioles may be nine up but their pitching staff is quite capable of giving up 11 runs in any playoff game. A’s lost much of my respect by folding against the Braves. That leaves the Nats at the top of my list — based solely on W-L(0) over the last ten days. The only thing to complain about is they’ve been winning without dominating, for the most part. Giants and Ms should be ranked higher but I’m not sure exactly where they fit among the Royals, Cardinals, Tigers and Braves. Tigers definitely trending down with Scherzer not carrying his share of the load, Venable looking lost and Sanchez gone indefinitely(?) — I don’t see them as a playoff team.

  6. veejh - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    Might as well change the name to the standings rankings.

  7. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    Injury Daze and Giants Series Preview

    Still no takers on the free ticket. Maybe there will be another two hour rain delay and I can use it myself. :)

    • Hiram Hover - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:25 PM

      Thanks for the preview, NL.

      I hadn’t been following that closely, but see from your numbers that Morse is on fire again. A lot of that seems to be driven by good luck on BABIP.

      Here’s wishing him a very warm welcome, and very cold luck, at Nats Park.

      • npb99 - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:56 PM

        Yeah I hope he gets a big cheer, he deserves that.

    • NatsLady - Aug 22, 2014 at 3:03 PM

      Yes, I’ve been watching the Giants recent games. Morse looks healthier than he did in July. Made a couple of nice plays in the field also. Yes, a .547 BABIP is unsustainable, expecially since he’s, er, not fast. But he’s been hitting the ball hard.

  8. Section 222 - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    Hey what happened to the third guy who used to do these rankings?

    • TimDz - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:51 PM

      Vacation?

      • Section 222 - Aug 22, 2014 at 3:06 PM

        A baseball writer takes a vacation on August? Surely you jest. Even a football writer wouldn’t do that. Maybe his main gig is hockey?

  9. NatsLady - Aug 22, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    Well, me and my ticket are off to work. Won’t be done until 9 pm. It would take a LONG rain delay for me to get to the game… So, see you all on the other side. GO for ELEVEN!!

  10. mauimo22 - Aug 22, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    This is a fair assessment. Nats should only be Top 3 if they start pounding the Barves. Good things are happening though. Nats getting confidence by winning close games. Need to focus on converting RISP. Need to work on making contact in these crucial ABs instead of Ks.

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