MLB Power Rankings (as of 08/19/2010)
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It’s around this time of year that we often realize just how long the baseball season is.
Teams that led the divisions all year can find themselves suddenly in trouble and, as we’re seeing now, some slow starters are making Dog-Day surges back into contention – and up the power rankings.
(Previous ranking in brackets)
1. (1) Tampa Bay Rays (74-46): Crazy to think that the Rays have played as well as they have despite a strange power outage from Evan Longoria. Maybe he’ll catch fire in time for the playoffs.
2. (2) New York Yankees (74-46): As long as it took A-Rod to reach 600 homers, as much as his age has shown…he leads the majors in RBI.
3. (6) Minnesota Twins (70-50): Is there something in the water at Target Field (or the old Metrodome, for that matter)? Every year, these guys find a way to win. Now they’re doing it without Justin Morneau (concussion).
4. (11) Atlanta Braves (71-49): Good on them for coaxing Derek Lee into joining the pennant push. They need to replace injured Chipper Jones and Troy Glaus and Lee has been one of baseball’s best hitters since July. Also – Tim Hudson for Cy Young?
5. (4) Philadelphia Phillies (68-51): The best thing about a 162-game season: it eliminates pretenders and allows the truly talented teams to climb. It was only a matter of time for the Phillies, who welcomed Chase Utley back this week and are about to do the same for Ryan Howard.
6. (8) San Diego Padres (72-47): The Padres have to be baseball’s most inspiring story this season, as almost every forecaster picked them for dead last in the National League. It’s also great to see them keep their star, Adrian Gonzalez, rather than pulling a Pittsburgh and cashing him in.
7. (9) Cincinnati Reds (69-51): Maybe getting swept by St. Louis last week was a blessing? The Reds got angry instead of wilting and quickly recaptured their division lead by beating on anyone not named St. Louis in their path.
8. (15) Boston Red Sox (69-52): No team is happier about the Red Sox’s trying season that Toronto. How does it feel to play good baseball and never gain ground on your division rivals, Boston?
9. (3) Texas Rangers (67-52): Gulp. The Rangers still have an eight-game lead, but it’s just small enough to make you wonder if the Angels will pull yet another magic trick. Nelson Cruz’s injury stings.
10. (12) Toronto Blue Jays (63-57): Up to their old tricks. Went 6-3 against the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox…then lost two of three to Oakland.
12. (7) San Francisco Giants (67-54): Never thought I’d write these words, but the Giants would be much safer in the playoff hunt right now if Tim Lincecum was pulling his weight.
13. (5) Chicago White Sox (65-55): They fit Ozzie Guillen’s personality, as they’ve been baseball’s streakiest team this season, constantly up and down. Gavin Floyd has carried them for the last few months, so it makes sense that the Pale Hose are tanking now that he is.
14. (13) Colorado Rockies (62-57): History tells us never to count them out over the last five or six weeks of a season. They’re within striking distance of the NL Wild Card and Carlos Gonzalez is leading the charge. He’s an MVP candidate.
15. (22) Florida Marlins (59-60): Josh Johnson is the latest in a truckload of pitchers who have looked like Cy Young frontrunners only to tank suddenly this season.
16. (17) Oakland Athletics (59-60): If they devote next offseason to finding offense and building around Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill, maybe they can make noise in the AL West.
17. (19) New York Mets (60-60): I’m hoping you didn’t hammer their futures lines when they were surging a few months back. From Jason Bay’s concussion to K-Rod’s old-man punching woes, this team is cursed.
18. (14) Los Angeles Dodgers (61-60): How the mighty have fallen. People talked up Matt Kemp as an elite player and MVP hopeful entering this season; now I’m not even sure he’ll be a Dodger in 2011.
19. (29) Seattle Mariners (48-73): Don’t read too much into this. The Mariners are just a bit hot when the games don’t matter anymore.
20. (18) Los Angeles Angels (60-61): Like the Twins, they have a strange magnetism pulling them toward division titles every year. A game under .500 yet not out of the hunt.
21. (23) Milwaukee Brewers (57-64)
22. (20) Detroit Tigers (58-62)
23. (26) Kansas City Royals (51-69)
24. (16) Houston Astros (52-67)
25. (27) Baltimore Orioles (42-79)
26. (25) Chicago Cubs (50-71)
27. (28) Arizona Diamondbacks (47-74)
28. (21) Washington Nationals (51-69)
29. (24) Cleveland Indians (49-71)
30. (30) Pittsburgh Pirates (40-80)
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