MLB Power Rankings: July 2nd to July 8th
This Week: @ Chicago White Sox (3), vs. Minnesota (3)
What more is there to say about the Rangers? They’re the best team in baseball as it stands right now. They pitch, they hit, and they’re well represented in the All-Star game. It’s a good time to be a fan in Arlington, even if the entire nation is on fire with all this heat.
2. New York Yankees (+0, 48-30, 1st in AL East)
This Week: @ Tampa Bay (3), @ Boston (4)
Speaking of teams well represented in the All-Star Game, the Yankees and Rangers ran up the totals for players heading to Kansas City. However, what the Yankees don’t have right now is depth in their starting rotation. They’re going to miss their ace Sabathia for at least two starts, and Andy Pettitte is likely out until late August with a broken bone in his leg. All New York has to do is stay afloat. They’ll be fine in the long run.
3. Washington Nationals (+2, 45-32, 1st in NL East)
This Week: vs. San Francisco (3), vs. Colorado (3)
In all likelihood, Bryce Harper is going to win the Final Vote for the NL All-Star roster. That would bring the Nationals’ total to four, joining Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg and Ian Desmond. Its a strong representation for arguably the best team in the National League.
This Week: @ Cleveland (3), vs. Baltimore (4)
Last week, readers of the weekly PR called me out for giving too much credit to Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout for the Angels turnaround. Let me reiterate that, while I chose to highlight Double T last week, I also strongly believe credit is deserving for both C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver. Without those four players, yes, I really do believe the Angels would be struggling to compete. Now, cue the “but wait, Albert is turning it around!” comments I’m totally expecting.
5. San Francisco Giants (+4, 45-35, 1st in NL West)
This Week: @ Washington (3), @ Pittsburgh (3)
Don’t let the Dodgers sudden offensive brown out fool you. The Giants pitching is so good that those three consecutive shutouts against Los Angeles weren’t a fluke. This is a team that has always been driven to success by their rotation, including their World Championship 2010 season. It just so happens that this year, unlike in years past, they’re starting to hit. Editorial side note: how in god’s name did every San Fran player get that many votes? Honestly, everybody in the city of San Francisco had to vote more than 25 times for that to be possible. David Wright was leading by 450k votes with two days left…and Kung Fu Panda won by 1.6 million. You understand how little sense that makes?
This Week: @ LA Dodgers (3), @ San Diego (4)
Is there any team in the Majors that should feel more snubbed than the Reds in respect to the All-Star team? How in the world are Johnny Cueto and Brandon Phillips not only not on the team, but not in the Final Five voting? These are two of the best players not only in the National League, but in the Majors. At the same time, I get that Jay Bruce is having a nice season, but not any better than, say, Michael Bourn, who isn’t on the roster.
7. Boston Red Sox (+6, 42-37, 3rd in AL East)
This Week: @ Oakland (3), vs. NY Yankees (4)
Don’t look now, but the Red Sox may be back, and they’re still not close to being at full strength. Bobby Valentine has got his team five games over the .500 mark without Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford or Jacoby Ellsbury. Have I mentioned recently that Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez are under-performing as well? If the Red Sox keep this up, as unlikely as it sounds, there’s a chance David Ortiz enters the MVP race chatter, right?
8. Baltimore Orioles (-5, 42-36, 2nd in AL East)
This Week: @ Seattle (3), @ LA Angels (4)
That was not a good week at all. They gave up 10+ runs twice last week, including a real stinker from Jason Hammel that likely cost him a spot on the All-Star team. However, the team is still sending Jim Johnson, Adam Jones and Matt Wieters. Look, one bad week happens. The Orioles are for real. They’re going to hang around this race to the bitter end.
This Week: vs. Houston (4), vs. San Francisco (3)
Speaking of for real, have you bought into what the Pirates are doing? Nobody deserves to take Matt Kemp’s starting spot in the NL line-up more than Andrew McCutchen. He’s fantastic. I do feel bad for James McDonald. I think he did more than enough to prove he should be on this year’s All-Star team, especially considering the run of poor starts by chosen All-Star Lance Lynn. But, people see the 10 wins and immediately think he’s the bee’s knees. Unfortunate.
10. Los Angeles Dodgers (-6, 44-36, 2nd in NL West)
This Week: vs. Cincinnati (3), @ Arizona (4)
The Dodgers were shut out five times last week. Five. Was part of it they ran into some ridiculously good pitching by the Giants, then by R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana? Sure. The other part is Jerry Hairston Jr., is currently hitting third and Juan Rivera is batting clean-up. This team isn’t just completely different when both Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are out of the line-up, they’re a middle-of-the-pack AAA team offensively. They better get healthy, or they’re going to keep plummeting.
11. New York Mets (+0, 43-37, 2nd in NL East)
This Week: vs. Philadelphia (3), vs. Chicago Cubs (3)
The Mets looked absolutely terrible their first two games in Chicago last week. Then, they looked unbeatable in their next four, dominating Jeff Samardzija and then the Dodgers. Sunday, again, they looked really bad defensively. The Mets need to go for the kill this week and pile on before the All-Star break. The opportunity is there, they need to seize it.
This Week: vs. Texas (3), vs. Toronto (3)
The White Sox aren’t playing the best baseball they have all season, but they’re doing enough in a shamble of an AL Central. By all means, Paul Konerko should be the starting 1B in the All-Star Game, and there is a really good chance Chris Sale is the starting pitcher. Its really looking like Vinny Ginardi and myself are going to be forced to bite the bullet and pony up for All-Star Game tickets. R.A. Dickey vs. Chris Sale. I’ll take “Most Unlikely Pitching Match-Ups in Kansas City” for $800, Alex.
13. Atlanta Braves (+1, 41-37, 3rd in NL East)
This Week: vs. Chicago Cubs (4), @ Philadelphia (3)
I work with a huge Atlanta Braves fan, and even he’s pissed that Dan Uggla is starting the All-Star Game. Uggla’s inclusion is the direct reason why Brandon Phillips isn’t going to Kansas City. Jose Altuve had to make the team as the lone Houston Astro, and Ian Desmond deserved one of the infield spots on the roster. Uggla should be out, Phillips should be in, as should Michael Bourn. Fact.
14. St. Louis Cardinals (+1, 41-38, 3rd in NL Central)
This Week: vs. Colorado (4), vs. Miami (3)
Lance Lynn, Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina, Rafael Furcal. All of them are All-Stars. And yet, there just feels like something is missing from this Cardinals team. There’s the potential for so much more. Why does it feel as if something is just…not there. And no, I’m not talking about Albert Pujols. This team has a ton of players putting up great statistical seasons. But, the team isn’t getting the amount of wins you would expect. It’s a little baffling.
15. Tampa Bay Rays (-9, 41-38, 4th in AL East)
This Week: vs. NY Yankees (3), @ Cleveland (4)
Admittedly, I probably should’ve been more down on the Rays last week. You look at the nine spots they lost from one week to this one, and its a little intimidating. But, that’s the byproduct of getting swept by the Royals and dropping three of four to the Tigers. They now sit fourth in the AL East, and they look a lot more vulnerable today than they did yesterday. They need Evan Longoria back and healthy, and quickly.
This Week: vs. LA Angels (3), vs. Tampa Bay (4)
The Indians are hanging around. They aren’t wowing people, just like they didn’t last season. But, they’re winning. Jason Kipnis was robbed of an All-Star selection, as the players voted in Ian Kinsler over him as the back-up second basemen. Maybe he’ll use that as extra motivation in the second half and help lead the Indians to the complete season they weren’t able to put together last year.
17. Toronto Blue Jays (+1, 40-39, 5th in AL East)
This Week: vs. Kansas City (4), @ Chicago White Sox (3)
Seriously, you just wish that the Blue Jays were in a division like the AL Central. One game over .500, and in last place in the AL East. That’s just painful. What else is painful: Edwin Encarnacion being left off the All-Star roster AND the Final Five vote. Then again, I originally left off any Jays player in my initial ASG predictions piece. Then I got lambasted for writing “adieu” instead of “ado”. So, yeah. Its a tough situation to be in as a Blue Jays fan in the AL East. I get that.
18. Arizona Diamondbacks (-1, 39-39, 3rd in NL West)
This Week: vs. San Diego (3), vs. LA Dodgers (4)
Aaron Hill doesn’t just have two cycles this season, he had two in the month of June. That’s good enough to get him mentioned in the Final Five voting ballot. The Trevor Bauer wait is over, but now the Daniel Hudson wait begins (he likely needs Tommy John surgery). I knew Wade Miley deserved an All-Star nod after his incredible run of success, but it’s still an uneven place the D’Backs find themselves in.
19. Detroit Tigers (+0, 39-40, 3rd in AL Central)
This Week: vs. Minnesota (4), vs. Kansas City (3)
We’re still waiting for that run the Tigers are going to go on to get back on top of the AL Central. Still waiting. Maybe this is the week it starts, facing off against the two worst teams in their own division. It’s coming, isn’t it?
20. Miami Marlins (+1, 38-40, 4th in NL East)
This Week: @ Milwaukee (4), @ St. Louis (3)
The Marlins were in a deep, dark place before rattling off four straight wins, including a weekend sweep against the Phillies. I’m still not sure what the ceiling is for this team, but I’m confident we’ve seen the floor. The Marlins, from here on out, will not be as bad as they were a couple of weeks ago. Or, at least they hope they aren’t.
21. Oakland A’s (-1, 38-42, 3rd in AL West)
This Week: vs. Boston (3), vs. Seattle (3)
Last week, an A’s fan gave me a hard time because I didn’t rate the A’s higher than 20th after a strong week in which they went 4-2, including a sweep against the just-starting-their-skid Dodgers. He claimed I didn’t know what a Power Ranking really was. So, here’s my response. To us here at TWW, the Power Ranking is a reflection of the team’s entire season in the scope of one week. Just because you go 4-2, that doesn’t mean you’re promised a spot in the Top 15. Same as if you go 2-4, including a sweep at the hands of the Rangers, you don’t fall into last. Its a push-pull type system. Got it? Let’s move on.
This Week: vs. Miami (4), @ Houston (3)
I get it, Zack Greinke probably deserved to be on the All-Star team. But, the Brewers should also be playing at a much higher level than they currently are at. So, now, the next question: how much longer will the Brewers ace be…well…the Brewers ace? Will they trade him?
23. Philadelphia Phillies (+0, 36-45, 5th in NL East)
This Week: @ NY Mets (3), vs. Atlanta (3)
The fire sale has begun! OK, it hasn’t. Trading Jim Thome and Chad Qualls will never be considered a fire sale. But, Chase Utley is back, Ryan Howard is on the way, but the Phillies are falling deeper and deeper. Word is, they have begun to evaluate the trade market for both Hamels and Victorino. Is this just a precaution, or is it a sign of things to come?
24. Kansas City Royals (+0, 35-42, 4th in AL Central)
This Week: @ Toronto (4), @ Detroit (3)
Billy Butler was the managerial pick for the All-Star Game, instead of TWW favorite Mike Moustakas. I mean, I can’t really disagree with it. Butler is having a nice season, its just hard to justify picking a DH over a complete player like Moustakas.
This Week: vs. Baltimore (3), @ Oakland (3)
Predictably, Felix Hernandez received the only Mariners selection to Kansas City. He’s not having a King Felix-type season, but he’s still dominant enough to get another nod.
26. Minnesota Twins (+1, 33-45, 5th in AL Central)
This Week: @ Detroit (4), @ Texas (3)
Joe Mauer is the lone Twin going to Kansas City. Sounds about right. I’m not totally positive what else to say. So…shaboygen.
27. Houston Astros (-1, 32-47, 5th in NL Central)
This Week: @ Pittsburgh (4), vs. Milwaukee (3)
I’m glad Jose Altuve made the All-Star Game. He absolutely deserved it. An argument can be made that Jed Lowrie deserved more consideration as well, but it is hard to go against the selections of Furcal (fans), Starlin Castro and Ian Desmond.
28. Colorado Rockies (+0, 30-48, 4th in NL West)
This Week: @ St. Louis (4), @ Washington (3)
Carlos Gonzalez was picked to his first All-Star Game, and he has a strong chance of being Tony La Russa’s choice to be the team’s DH. As said earlier, Andrew McCutchen absolutely should be the starting center fielder, but Gonzalez should be considered for the starting gig, too.
29. San Diego Padres (+0, 30-50, 5th in NL West)
This Week: @ Arizona (3), vs. Cincinnati (4)
Well, somebody had to represent the Padres in Kansas City. Accurately predicted, Huston Street was the pick, as he’s re-established his trade value come the Deadline later this month. He and Carlos Quentin have the chance to bring back some good pieces. Or, a team may choose to essentially buy-out Street’s contract, as he’s still a significant injury risk.
30. Chicago Cubs (+0, 29-49, 6th in NL Central)
This Week: @ Atlanta (4), @ NY Mets (3)
Arguably the worst team in the Majors, the Cubs still managed to get two All-Stars. How, you ask? NL first basemen behind Joey Votto are struggling so badly that Bryan LaHair is truly the second best option, even though he no longer plays first and doesn’t start against lefties. Starlin Castro is still one of the most complete shortstops in the NL, despite his consistent brain farts in the field. Still, worst team in the Majors, two All-Stars. And yet, no Brandon Phillips or Johnny Cueto. Sigh…