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MLB Power Rankings: Angels flying high

Aug 29, 2014, 12:03 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, Chase Hughes and myself, Steve Roney:

LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY

1. Angels (LW: 1) – Zuckerman: The Garrett Richards injury is big, but not too big to completely derail this very good team.

2. Nationals (LW: 4) – Hughes: Over the next five days we’ll see Zimmermann vs. King Felix and Fister vs. Kershaw. Yes please.

3. Athletics (LW: 3) – Zuckerman: Haven’t been the same since Cespedes-Lester trade, but the sense is this is more a brief blip than a full-scale collapse.

4. Orioles (LW: 2)  – Hughes: Chis Tillman has been pitching like an ace over the last month. I like the O’s chances in October a lot more if he keeps it up.

5. Dodgers (LW: 5) – Zuckerman: Ryu close to returning from injury, which will fortify that rotation.

6. Royals (LW: 6) – Roney: If you’re a fan of the game, how could you not pull for the Royals in their push for October?

7. Brewers (LW: 7) – Roney: Scooter Gennett (.307/.340/.473) has been the middle infield breakout this year – unfortunately, Jean Segura (.237/.277/.320) has cratered in a tough (and personally trying) sophomore campaign.

8. Tigers (LW: 9) – Roney: Like the A’s, they have been down since their bold deal for another ace – and as with Lester, it’s not because Price has disappointed. More runs, please.

9. Mariners (LW: 11) – Zuckerman: Do they have what it’ll take to beat out the loser of the AL Central race for the final wild card?

10. Cardinals (LW: 8) – Roney: The term “dead arm” should terrify every Cards fan right now – those “phases” are never over quickly.

11. Giants (LW: 12) – Zuckerman: Not a whole lot seems to going well in San Fran these days, but they’re clinging to the final wild card berth.

12. Braves (LW: 10) – Hughes: If only the B.J. Upton for Edwin Jackson trade didn’t fall through. Seeing E-Jax join the Braves in a pennant race would have been something.

13. Marlins (LW: 16) – Hughes: Giancarlo Stanton already has 150 career home runs and could have an MVP award on his mantel by the end of this year. He’s 24 years old.

14. Yankees (LW: 13) – Hughes: They are just three games out of a wild card spot and could get Tanaka back soon. Will Jeter play in October one more time?

15. Pirates (LW: 14) – Roney: Gerrit Cole is back and dealing, but is it already too late?

16. Blue Jays (LW: 15) – Hughes: Toronto has fallen hard with a 7-16 record in August. Maybe next year they will get it together for a full season.

17. Reds (LW: 19) – Roney: Raise your hand if you picked Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco to be 1-2 in homers for the Reds this year. Awesome bounce back/breakout seasons there.

18. Indians (LW: 17) – Roney: Danny Salazar has been much better since returning from exile – the goal now is to refine the control and build confidence for 2015.

19. Rays (LW: 18) – Hughes: Nice to see them salvage their season, but I think at this point it’s clear they aren’t making the playoffs.

20. Mets (LW: 20) – Hughes: Lucas Duda (26 HR, 76 RBI, .349 OBP) gives the Mets a solid position player to build around with their pitching staff already showing promise.

21. Padres (LW: 22) – Zuckerman: Have been playing better than most realize, just dug themselves into too big a hole early on.

22. Phillies (LW: 23) – Hughes: The Phillies are first in something – they have the best record among last place teams this year.

23. Red Sox (LW: 27) – Hughes: Boston has been awful this season, but David Ortiz has been good once again. He has 30 homers, 93 RBI and an .886 OPS at age 38.

24. White Sox (LW: 21) – Roney: Maybe my favorite Chris Sale stat: 5.7 K/BB ratio. No one else on the staff has a ratio above 3.

25. Cubs (LW: 23) – Roney: Another Cubs slugger/phenom homers in his first game. They may not ever be great, but these teams could be very fun to watch over the coming years.

26. Twins (LW: 26) – Roney: It baffles me that more bad teams don’t unload their closers. What is Glen Perkins still doing in Minneapolis?

27. Diamondbacks (LW: 28) – Zuckerman: Out of nowhere, David Peralta looks like a pretty solid ballplayer for Arizona.

28. Astros (LW: 25) – Zuckerman: If they can somehow get to 70 wins, would be huge accomplishment after 3 straight 100-loss seasons.

29. Rockies (LW: 29) – Zuckerman: Not a single starter with an ERA under 4.00. It’s like the old days at Coors Field.

30. Rangers (LW: 30) – Zuckerman: An utter disaster of a season in Texas.

LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY

  1. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    Just testing something. Please disregard.

    (Whaddayamean, that’s SOP?)

  2. Hiram Hover - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    So if I have this right, last Friday the Nats were #4, after winning 7 straight.

    This Friday, the Nats are #2, after going 2-4, including a 3-game sweep by the Phils.

    Can someone explain this? Please?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:46 PM

      It’s referred to in sports as a MAKEUP CALL!

      I’m happy. Better late than never. At the end of the day we know this means nothing except a sign of respect.

    • Nats Amore - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      I mean the rankings are done by three CSN Washington guys, what’s wrong with a little home cooking? Seriously though, the ESPN Power Rankings come out on Mondays and the Nats were third there before the Philly series, which seems fair enough. Should be interesting to see how the Seattle series goes and where ESPN has them after that.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:09 PM

        ESPN on Baseball Tonight last week had Nats at #1.

        Grantland and Jonah Keri with the Nats at #1

        Home cooking had the Nats here at #4 last week after the 7th win in the eventual 10 game winning streak.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      Maybe there’s a lag in reporting the votes from the rural precincts?

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:11 PM

        Now in Chicago, they’re more efficient. They get the votes counted BEFORE the election.

      • natsfan1a - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:56 PM

        Plus, you don’t have to be alive to vote. So there’s that.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 29, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        Sort of like the Internet.

    • bowdenball - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:23 PM

      I assume one of the teams they passed was the Orioles, who also were swept by a mediocre team over the last week, putting up only four runs during a three-game series in Chicago.

  3. Section 222 - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    I’m amazed how much some people care about week by week rankings like this. You could argue whether OAK, LAA, LAD, BAL, or the Nats are the best team till the cows come home. As for who you’d bet on in the playoffs/World Series, I think starting pitching is the key, and that knocks out LAA and BAL. The Dodgers, A’s, and Nats, and even the Mariners and Tigers if they can squeeze into the postseason, look like they’ll fight it out.

    I like our chances, but it’s no gimme, that’s for sure. Our next two series will be an interesting test.

    • Hiram Hover - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      Good points.

      As someone who has criticized their rankings: speaking only for myself, I will say that I actually don’t care about them very much. I think the exercise is kind of pointless, and would be perfectly happy if Mark and Chase stopped doing it.

      But if they’re going to do it, they really ought to do it better.

  4. Pete "Hit 'n Run" Wood - Aug 29, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    Damn, this is hard on the heart palpitations:) gotta keep the smalling salts close by.

  5. Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 29, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    reposted, just because I’m interested in the answer

    2nd base with 1 out still has a higher likelihood of scoring a run than man on 1st and no outs.

    Ghost, what are you basing that on? I’m looking at TangoTiger’s Run Expectancy Matrix and also Data from Project Scoresheet/Baseball Workshop, and they both seem to confirm the opposite, that run expectancy is greater with a runner on first and no outs than runner on second with one out.

  6. everendp - Aug 29, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    Get lost

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
ATLANTA 76 77 13.0
MIAMI 74 79 15.0
NEW YORK 74 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Friday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
LOS ANGELES 88 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 86 68 3.5
-----------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 69 5.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 75 10.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 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.

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