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Fresh MLB Power Rankings: Reds Remain on Top, Braves Climb to No. 5

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2012

Fresh MLB Power Rankings: Reds Remain on Top, Braves Climb to No. 5

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    With the trade deadline passed, we have a much better idea of what the playoff picture may look like come October.

    Players continue to move via waivers, and there are a number of impact players who are on their way back from injury. For the most part, though, contenders' rosters are set for the stretch run. On the other side of things, teams out of the playoff hunt will begin calling up prospects and evaluating for the future.

    So here are this week's MLB power rankings. Be sure to check back here each Monday morning for an updated look at where your favorite team stands.

     

    *Note: Rosters taken from MLBDepthCharts.com.

30. Houston Astros (36-73, Previous: 30)

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    Current Lineup

    2B Jose Altuve
    SS Marwin Gonzalez
    RF Steve Pearce
    1B Brett Wallace
    LF J.D. Martinez
    3B Scott Moore
    C Chris Snyder
    CF Jordan Schafer
    Pitcher 

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Lucas Harrell
    SP Jordan Lyles
    SP Bud Norris
    SP Dallas Keuchel
    SP Armando Galarraga
    CL Wilton Lopez

     

    Last Week's Record: 1-5

     

    Team Outlook

    The Astros are a rag-tag group post-trade deadline, and they seem like all but a lock to lose 100 games this season.

    The final few months of the season will be of serious importance to first baseman Brett Wallace, who is now 25 and no longer a top prospect. He'll get every chance to prove he can be the everyday first baseman and a key run producer, and he has nothing left to prove in the minors.

29. Colorado Rockies (38-68, Previous: 29)

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    Current Lineup

    RF Tyler Colvin
    SS Josh Rutledge 
    CF Dexter Fowler
    LF Carlos Gonzalez
    1B Todd Helton
    C Ramon Hernandez
    3B Jordan Pacheco
    2B DJ LeMahieu 
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation 

    SP Jeff Francis
    SP Drew Pomeranz
    SP Tyler Chatwood
    SP Alex White
    CL Rafael Betancourt

     

    Last Week's Record: 1-5

     

    Team Outlook

    The Rockies continue the ongoing shuffle of their starting rotation, as they recently brought up Alex White and Tyler Chatwood to replace Jonathan Sanchez and Christian Friedrich, the latter being out for the season with a stress fracture in his back.

    Right fielder Michael Cuddyer also hit the DL, and Tyler Colvin finds himself in an everyday role once again as a result. Finding a way to get him everyday at-bats will be one thing the team needs to figure out in the offseason, as he has been terrific this year.

28. Chicago Cubs (43-63, Previous: 24)

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    Current Lineup 

    RF David DeJesus
    CF Brett Jackson
    1B Anthony Rizzo
    LF Alfonso Soriano
    SS Starlin Castro
    C Steve Clevenger
    3B Josh Vitters
    2B Darwin Barney
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Matt Garza
    SP Jeff Samardzija
    SP Travis Wood
    SP Justin Germano 
    SP Chris Volstad
    CL Carlos Marmol

     

    Last Week's Record: 1-5

     

    Team Outlook

    The Cubs did what they needed to at the deadline, dealing Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson and Geovany Soto for prospects. Add to that list Jeff Baker, who was traded to the Tigers for two players to be named on Sunday.

    Also on Sunday, the team called up top prospects Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters, and they each made their big league debuts. Jackson went 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Vitters went 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter. They will both get a long look over the final two months, and that should be reason for excitement on the North Side.

27. Kansas City Royals (45-62, Previous: 28)

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    Current Lineup

    LF Alex Gordon
    SS Alcides Escobar 
    RF Lorenzo Cain
    DH Billy Butler
    3B Mike Moustakas
    C Salvador Perez
    1B Eric Hosmer
    2B Chris Getz
    CF Jarrod Dyson

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Bruce Chen
    SP Luke Hochevar
    SP Luis Mendoza
    SP Will Smith
    SP Jeremy Guthrie
    CL Greg Holland

     

    Last Week's Record: 4-2

     

    Team Outlook

    The Royals wound up moving closer Jonathan Broxton to the Reds at the deadline, but they were unable to find a taker for outfielder Jeff Francoeur or infielder Yuniesky Betancourt, both of whom the team would have liked to be rid of.

    Betancourt was designated for assignment on Sunday, and Francoeur has been moved to the bench. The question remains: When we will see Wil Myers make his big league debut? He appears to be over his midseason slump and has a .304 BA, 33 HR, 93 RBI line on the season.

26. San Diego Padres (46-64, Previous: 25)

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    Current Lineup

    2B Alexi Amarista
    RF Will Venable
    3B Chase Headley
    LF Carlos Quentin
    1B Yonder Alonso
    CF Cameron Maybin
    C John Baker
    SS Everth Cabrera
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Edinson Volquez
    SP Clayton Richard
    SP Jason Marquis
    SP Ross Ohlendorf
    SP Eric Stults
    CL Huston Street

     

    Last Week's Record: 3-4

     

    Team Outlook

    The Padres will move forward with three players many believed would be long gone come August, as the team extended Carlos Quentin and Huston Street and opted not to trade highly sought-after third baseman Chase Headley.

    With that, the team appears to have their sights set on a return to contention sooner rather than later, and with one of the deepest farm systems in all of baseball, it will be interesting to see what prospects get a look over the final months of the season.

25. Minnesota Twins (47-61, Previous: 27)

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    Current Lineup

    CF Denard Span
    RF Ben Revere
    C Joe Mauer
    LF Josh Willingham
    1B Justin Morneau
    DH Ryan Doumit
    SS Brian Dozier
    2B Alexi Casilla
    3B Jamey Carroll 

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Scott Diamond
    SP Cole De Vries
    SP Nick Blackburn
    SP Samuel Deduno 
    SP Brian Duensing
    CL Glen Perkins

     

    Last Week's Record: 4-3

     

    Team Outlook

    The Twins offense has been surprisingly productive all season, and it continues to be led by a healthy Joe Mauer and offseason signee Josh Willingham.

    The pitching staff is another story, as the rotation needs a complete overhaul aside from Scott Diamond (9-5, 2.93 ERA), who has turned in one of the biggest out-of-nowhere performances of the season.

24. Miami Marlins (49-60, Previous: 22)

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    Current Lineup

    LF Bryan Petersen
    RF Scott Cousins
    SS Jose Reyes
    1B Carlos Lee
    CF Justin Ruggiano
    3B Greg Dobbs
    2B Donovan Solano
    C John Buck
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Josh Johnson
    SP Mark Buehrle
    SP Ricky Nolasco
    SP Wade LeBlanc
    SP Nathan Eovaldi
    CL Steve Cishek

     

    Last Week's Record: 2-6

     

    Team Outlook

    The Marlins sold in a big way at the deadline, and with the players they traded off combined with the fact that both Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison are on the DL, their lineup is not pretty.

    Wade LeBlanc has been moved to the rotation after posting a 1.15 ERA in 11 relief appearances spanning 15.2 innings. He was solid in his first start of the year, going 4.1 innings and allowing just one run. He could very well be auditioning for a rotation spot next season.

23. Milwaukee Brewers (48-59, Previous: 26)

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    Current Lineup

    RF Norichika Aoki
    CF Carlos Gomez
    LF Ryan Braun
    3B Aramis Ramirez
    1B Corey Hart
    2B Rickie Weeks
    C Jonathan Lucroy
    SS Cesar Izturis 
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Yovani Gallardo
    SP Randy Wolf
    SP Michael Fiers
    SP Marco Estrada
    SP Mark Rogers
    CL John Axford

     

    Last Week's Record: 3-3

     

    Team Outlook

    The Brewers pulled the trigger at the deadline on their ace Zack Greinke, and they got a solid package of prospects as a result, with shortstop of the future Jean Segura ranking as the key acquisition.

    The team is out of the postseason hunt this year, but they have a good enough core of players in place that they could be right back in the thick of things next season. The rotation remains their biggest question moving forward, and we should see top prospect Wily Peralta again at some point.

22. Philadelphia Phillies (49-59, Previous: 23)

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    Current Lineup

    SS Jimmy Rollins
    RF Nate Schierholtz
    2B Chase Utley
    1B Ryan Howard
    CF John Mayberry Jr.
    LF Domonic Brown
    C Erik Kratz
    3B Kevin Frandsen
    Pitcher 

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Roy Halladay
    SP Cliff Lee
    SP Cole Hamels
    SP Vance Worley
    SP Kyle Kendrick
    CL Jonathan Papelbon

     

    Last Week's Record: 4-2

     

    Team Outlook

    In the wake of trading Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, and with Carlos Ruiz and Placido Polanco on the DL, the Phillies lineup has more than a few unfamiliar faces.

    Erik Kratz is a 32-year-old minor league veteran, while Kevin Frandsen is a 30-year-old with roughly a full season's worth of at-bats under his belt. The player to watch, however, is Domonic Brown, as the player favored by many to win NL Rookie of the Year last season is playing for an everyday job in 2013.

21. Cleveland Indians (50-58, Previous: 19)

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    Current Lineup

    RF Shin-Soo Choo
    SS Asdrubal Cabrera
    2B Jason Kipnis
    C Carlos Santana
    CF Michael Brantley
    DH Travis Hafner
    1B Casey Kotchman
    3B Jack Hannahan
    LF Ezequiel Carrera 

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Justin Masterson
    SP Ubaldo Jimenez
    SP Zach McAllister
    SP Corey Kluber
    SP Chris Seddon 
    CL Chris Perez

     

    Last Week's Record: 0-6

     

    Team Outlook

    The Indians parted ways with a pair of veterans last week, as they designated Johnny Damon and Derek Lowe for assignment. It was a smart move, as neither player was playing particularly well, nor did they factor into the team's future plans.

    Triple-A starters Corey Kluber (26 years old, 11-7, 3.59 ERA) and Chris Seddon (28 years old, 11-5, 3.44 ERA) have both been given rotation spots, and while neither is young enough to be considered a prospect, they could put themselves in position for a rotation spot next year with a good showing down the stretch.

20. Seattle Mariners (51-59, Previous: 21)

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    Current Lineup

    2B Dustin Ackley
    RF Casper Wells
    C John Jaso
    DH Jesus Montero
    3B Kyle Seager
    CF Michael Saunders
    1B Mike Carp
    LF Eric Thames
    SS Brendan Ryan

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Felix Hernandez
    SP Jason Vargas
    SP Kevin Millwood
    SP Hisashi Iwakuma
    SP Blake Beavan
    CL Tom Wilhelmsen

     

    Last Week's Record: 4-2

     

    Team Outlook

    Oddly enough, the Mariners are 9-4 since trading Ichiro Suzuki on July 23, as they are playing their best baseball of the year of late.

    The team's acquisition of Eric Thames at the deadline may go down as the under-the-radar move of the year, as the 25-year-old has a ton of offensive potential and could figure greatly into the team's future plans since he is under team control through 2017.

19. New York Mets (53-56, Previous: 20)

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    Current Lineup

    SS Ruben Tejada
    RF Jordany Valdespin
    3B David Wright
    1B Ike Davis
    2B Daniel Murphy
    LF Jason Bay
    CF Andres Torres
    C Josh Thole
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP R.A. Dickey
    SP Jeremy Hefner
    SP Matt Harvey
    SP Jon Niese
    SP Chris Young
    CL Frank Francisco

     

    Last Week's Record: 4-3

     

    Team Outlook

    The Mets finally put together a solid week, taking three of four from a good Giants team, but it's likely too little too late, as they are nine games out of the wild card.

    Their second-half slide kept them from making any moves at the deadline, and with ace R.A. Dickey coming back down to Earth, they are likely on their way to a .500 finish. Still, they have plenty to build off of and around moving forward.

18. Toronto Blue Jays (53-55, Previous: 16)

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    Current Lineup

    3B Brett Lawrie
    CF Colby Rasmus
    1B Edwin Encarnacion
    2B Kelly Johnson
    SS Yunel Escobar
    DH David Cooper
    LF Rajai Davis
    C Jeff Mathis
    RF Anthony Gose 

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Ricky Romero
    SP Aaron Laffey
    SP Carlos Villanueva
    SP Henderson Alvarez
    SP J.A. Happ
    CL Casey Janssen

     

    Last Week's Record: 2-5

     

    Team Outlook

    With 12 players currently on the major league disabled list, it is safe to say the Blue Jays' season has been greatly hindered by injuries. Originally, it was their pitching staff that was hit hard, but their lineup is now without Jose Bautista, J.P. Arencibia and Adam Lind.

    It looks as though the injuries will be more than the Blue Jays can overcome this season, but they have a good core of players in place and are a franchise that is moving in the right direction.

17. Boston Red Sox (54-55, Previous: 18)

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    Current Lineup

    CF Jacoby Ellsbury
    LF Carl Crawford
    2B Dustin Pedroia
    1B Adrian Gonzalez 
    DH Cody Ross
    C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
    3B Will Middlebrooks
    RF Ryan Sweeney
    SS Pedro Ciriaco

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Josh Beckett
    SP Jon Lester
    SP Felix Doubront
    SP Aaron Cook
    SP Clay Buchholz
    CL Alfredo Aceves

     

    Last Week's Record: 3-4

     

    Team Outlook

    Once a team with an abundance of outfielders, the Red Sox are now without an outfielder on the bench, as Cody Ross has moved to DH with David Ortiz on the DL, Scott Podsednik was traded, and both Ryan Sweeney and Daniel Nava hit the DL last week.

    When Ortiz returns, the lineup will be at full strength, but it is shaping up to be a lost season for the Red Sox, as first-half injuries and poor starting pitching have proved too much to overcome. On the plus side, closer Andrew Bailey is on the rehab trail and should make his Red Sox debut sometime in the near future. 

16. Arizona Diamondbacks (55-53, Previous: 17)

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    Current Lineup

    CF Gerardo Parra
    2B Aaron Hill
    LF Jason Kubel
    1B Paul Goldschmidt
    RF Justin Upton
    C Miguel Montero 
    3B Chris Johnson
    SS Stephen Drew
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Ian Kennedy
    SP Trevor Cahill
    SP Wade Miley
    SP Joe Saunders
    SP Patrick Corbin
    CL J.J. Putz

     

    Last Week's Record: 4-2

     

    Team Outlook

    The Diamondbacks have quietly remained in contention in the NL West, and with Chris Johnson shoring up the hole at third base and Patrick Corbin called back up to assume the fifth rotation spot, the team is in a good position to make a late-season run.

    Center fielder Chris Young (.215 BA, 11 HR, 29 RBI) was benched for much of last week and could at the very least find himself in a platoon role with Gerardo Parra from here on out.

15. Tampa Bay Rays (56-52, Previous: 14)

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    Current Lineup

    LF Desmond Jennings
    CF B.J. Upton
    2B Ben Zobrist
    RF Matt Joyce
    DH Jeff Keppinger
    1B Carlos Pena
    3B Ryan Roberts
    C Jose Molina
    SS Sean Rodriguez

     

    Current Rotation

    SP David Price
    SP James Shields
    SP Alex Cobb
    SP Matt Moore
    SP Jeremy Hellickson
    CL Fernando Rodney

     

    Last Week's Record: 3-3

     

    Team Outlook

    The Rays continue to stay in the thick of things for the AL Wild Card, sitting just two games back despite an abysmal offense that was not improved at the deadline.

    Third baseman Evan Longoria could help solve that problem, as he could rejoin the team when they take on the Blue Jays starting Tuesday, according to a report from ESPN. The star slugger has been out since May 1 with a partially torn hamstring. 

14. Baltimore Orioles (57-51, Previous: 15)

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    Current Lineup

    RF Nick Markakis
    SS J.J. Hardy
    DH Chris Davis
    CF Adam Jones 
    C Matt Wieters
    3B Wilson Betemit
    LF Nate McLouth
    1B Mark Reynolds
    2B Omar Quintanilla

     

    Current Rotation 

    SP Wei-Yin Chen
    SP Miguel Gonzalez
    SP Chris Tillman
    SP Zach Britton
    SP Tommy Hunter
    CL Jim Johnson 

     

    Last Week's Record: 4-2

     

    Team Outlook

    As the Orioles continue to search for an answer in left field (no, Lew Ford was not the answer) the latest player to see time there is former All-Star Nate McLouth. He's not been overly impressive at Triple-A, hitting .244 BA, 10 HR, 33 RBI, but he did go 2-for-4 with a double in his first start.

    The team seems to have finally found a solid rotation combination, but they will need to make a decision regarding the futures of Jake Arrieta and Brian Matusz at some point. They still have trade value, but the organization may not be ready to give up on them quite yet.

13. San Francisco Giants (59-49, Previous: 12)

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    Current Lineup 

    CF Angel Pagan
    2B Ryan Theriot
    LF Melky Cabrera
    C Buster Posey
    RF Hunter Pence
    3B Marco Scutaro
    1B Brandon Belt
    SS Brandon Crawford
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Tim Lincecum
    SP Madison Bumgarner
    SP Matt Cain
    SP Barry Zito
    SP Ryan Vogelsong
    CL Santiago Casilla

     

    Last Week's Record: 4-3

     

    Team Outlook

    The Giants' acquisition of Hunter Pence ranks as one of the better pickups of the deadline, as he is controlled through next season and gives the Giants added firepower to back their terrific pitching staff.

    The NL West is shaping up to be quite a battle down the stretch, as the Giants and Dodgers both got better at the deadline and the Diamondbacks remain in the thick of things.

12. Detroit Tigers (58-50, Previous: 11)

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    Current Lineup

    CF Austin Jackson
    LF Quintin Berry
    3B Miguel Cabrera
    1B Prince Fielder
    DH Brennan Boesch
    RF Andy Dirks
    SS Jhonny Peralta
    C Alex Avila
    2B Omar Infante

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Justin Verlander
    SP Doug Fister
    SP Max Scherzer
    SP Rick Porcello
    SP Anibal Sanchez
    CL Jose Valverde

     

    Last Week's Record: 4-2

     

    Team Outlook

    Led by MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera (.325 BA, 27 HR, 91 RBI) and with the return of Andy Dirks and acquisitions of Omar Infante and now Jeff Baker, the Tigers offense is in the best shape it's been all season.

    On the other side of things, Doug Fister is hitting his stride, as he has gone 4-1 with a 1.62 ERA over his last five starts. He gives them team a legitimate second ace alongside Justin Verlander when he is on top of his game.

11. Los Angeles Dodgers (59-50, Previous: 10)

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    Current Lineup

    LF Shane Victorino
    2B Mark Ellis
    CF Matt Kemp
    RF Andre Ethier
    SS Hanley Ramirez
    1B James Loney
    3B Luis Cruz
    C A.J. Ellis
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Clayton Kershaw
    SP Aaron Harang
    SP Chris Capuano
    SP Chad Billingsley
    SP Joe Blanton
    CL Kenley Jansen

     

    Last Week's Record: 3-3

     

    Team Outlook

    Even after the trade deadline passed and the team added Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Brandon League and Randy Choate, the Dodgers continue to deal, as they acquired Joe Blanton off waivers from the Phillies.

    Blanton won't be asked to be anything more than a fifth starter, and he looked good enough in his first start with the team on Sunday, as he allowed two runs over six innings of work against the Cubs in a no-decision. The Dodgers came away with the walk-off win to finish off a sweep and bounce back from a sweep at the hands of the Diamondbacks.

10. Oakland Athletics (58-50, Previous: 9)

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    Current Lineup

    CF Coco Crisp
    2B Jemile Weeks
    RF Josh Reddick
    LF Yoenis Cespedes
    DH Chris Carter
    1B Brandon Moss
    3B Brandon Inge
    C Derek Norris
    SS Eric Sogard

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Bartolo Colon
    SP Tom Milone
    SP Jarrod Parker
    SP Daniel Straily 
    SP TBD
    CL Ryan Cook

     

    Last Week's Record: 3-4

     

    Team Outlook

    Last week saw the debut of breakout minor league pitcher of the year Daniel Straily, who went 8-6, 2.60 ERA, 175 Ks, 138.1 IP between Double-A and Triple-A this year.

    The former 24th-round pick went six innings and allowed five hits and one earned run. He'll no doubt be an asset to the team down the stretch after they did not make any significant moves, despite their impressive climb into contention.

9. St. Louis Cardinals (59-49, Previous: 13)

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    Current Lineup

    SS Rafael Furcal
    CF John Jay
    LF Matt Holliday
    RF Carlos Beltran
    1B Allen Craig
    C Yadier Molina
    3B David Freese
    2B Skip Schumaker
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Kyle Lohse
    SP Adam Wainwright
    SP Lance Lynn
    SP Jake Westbrook
    SP Joe Kelly
    CL Jason Motte

     

    Last Week's Record: 5-1

     

    Team Outlook

    The Cardinals made the most of facing lesser competition last week, as they took two of three from the Rockies before sweeping the Brewers.

    After making a late-season run last year that eventually ended in the wild-card spot and a World Series title, the Cardinals find themselves just 2.5 games out of the wild card this season and in a great position to make a late-season run once again.

8. Los Angeles Angels (58-51, Previous: 7)

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    Current Lineup

    CF Mike Trout
    RF Torii Hunter
    1B Albert Pujols
    LF Mark Trumbo
    DH Kendrys Morales
    3B Alberto Callaspo
    2B Howie Kendrick
    SS Maicer Izturis
    C Chris Iannetta

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Jered Weaver
    SP C.J. Wilson
    SP Dan Haren
    SP Zack Greinke
    SP Ervin Santana
    CL Ernesto Frieri

     

    Last Week's Record: 3-4

     

    Team Outlook

    The Angels ran into tough competition this past week as they faced the Rangers and White Sox on the road, and they managed to come away with a respectable 3-4 finish on the week.

    MVP candidate Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and Albert Pujols give the Angels as good a middle of the order as any in baseball, and with an already-deep rotation bolstered by the addition of Zack Greinke, the Angels are in a great position heading into the season's final months.

7. Chicago White Sox (59-48, Previous: 8)

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    Current Lineup

    CF Alejandro De Aza
    3B Kevin Youkilis
    DH Adam Dunn
    1B Paul Konerko
    RF Alex Rios
    C A.J. Pierzynski
    LF Dayan Viciedo
    SS Alexei Ramirez
    2B Gordon Beckham 

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Jake Peavy
    SP Chris Sale
    SP Jose Quintana
    SP Phil Humber
    SP Gavin Floyd
    SP Francisco Liriano
    CL Addison Reed

     

    Last Week's Record: 4-2

     

    Team Outlook

    With the return of Chris Sale to the rotation this coming week, the White Sox will use a six-man rotation moving forward, and it will be interesting to see what sort of dynamic that adds to the team's postseason run.

    Francisco Liriano (2 GS, 0-0, 2.45 ERA) and Brett Myers (8 G, 0.00 ERA, 6.2 IP) have already proved to be fantastic pickups, and the White Sox are in a great position to make a playoff push.

6. Pittsburgh Pirates (61-46, Previous: 5)

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    Current Lineup

    LF Starling Marte
    RF Travis Snider
    CF Andrew McCutchen
    1B Garrett Jones
    2B Neil Walker
    3B Pedro Alvarez
    C Rod Barajas
    SS Clint Barmes
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Erik Bedard
    SP James McDonald
    SP A.J. Burnett
    SP Jeff Karstens
    SP Wandy Rodriguez
    CL Joel Hanrahan

     

    Last Week's Record: 3-3

     

    Team Outlook

    Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen put together an absolutely phenomenal month of July, hitting .446/.510/.739 with seven home runs and 15 RBI, as he has been a major part of the Pirates being in a position to contend.

    McCutchen has to be the front-runner for NL MVP right now with a .368 BA, 23 HR, 67 RBI line on the season. The additions of Wandy Rodriguez and Travis Snider were not the major splash many hoped the Pirates would make, but they should make a significant impact down the stretch.

5. Atlanta Braves (62-46, Previous: 6)

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    Current Lineup

    CF Michael Bourn
    LF Martin Prado
    RF Jason Heyward
    3B Chipper Jones
    1B Freddie Freeman
    C Brian McCann
    2B Dan Uggla
    SS Paul Janish
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Tim Hudson
    SP Mike Minor
    SP Kris Medlen
    SP Ben Sheets
    SP Paul Maholm
    CL Craig Kimbrel

     

    Last Week's Record: 5-2

     

    Team Outlook

    Despite down seasons from Brian McCann and Dan Uggla, as well as a offensively inept shortstop in Paul Janish, the Braves continue to win, as they are just three games behind the Nationals in the NL East and currently hold the first NL Wild Card spot.

    The rotation remains a question mark, with Tommy Hanson hitting the DL, but the team is still in a good position to make the postseason, and once they get back Hanson and Andrelton Simmons, they should have no problem earning a postseason spot.

4. Texas Rangers (63-44, Previous: 4)

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    Current Lineup

    2B Ian Kinsler
    SS Elvis Andrus
    CF Josh Hamilton
    3B Adrian Beltre
    RF Nelson Cruz
    DH Michael Young
    LF David Murphy
    C Mike Napoli
    1B Mitch Moreland

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Ryan Dempster
    SP Derek Holland
    SP Yu Darvish
    SP Matt Harrison
    SP Scott Feldman
    CL Joe Nathan 

     

    Last Week's Record: 4-3

     

    Team Outlook

    While the addition of Ryan Dempster was made in hopes of shoring up the starting rotation, the staff remains a significant question mark moving forward.

    Roy Oswalt was sent to the bullpen after struggling, and Derek Holland (5.18 ERA) has not been much better. Alexi Ogando remains an option to start out of the bullpen, but at the end of the day the Rangers are a team that is driven by its offense, and it is the best offense in baseball even with Josh Hamilton slumping.

3. New York Yankees (63-44, Previous: 3)

29 of 31

    Current Lineup

    SS Derek Jeter
    CF Curtis Granderson
    1B Mark Teixeira
    2B Robinson Cano
    RF Nick Swisher
    DH Raul Ibanez
    3B Eric Chavez
    LF Ichiro Suzuki
    C Russell Martin

     

    Current Rotation

    SP CC Sabathia
    SP Hiroki Kuroda
    SP Freddy Garcia
    SP Ivan Nova
    SP Phil Hughes
    CL Rafael Soriano

     

    Last Week's Record: 3-3

     

    Team Outlook

    The Yankees were forced to deal with an injury to Alex Rodriguez right before the deadline, as he will be sidelined for a significant amount of time with a fractured hand. Casey McGehee was acquired to provide some depth, as he and Eric Chavez will fill the void until A-Rod is back. 

    The pitching staff has gotten better as the season has gone on, and Andy Pettitte should be back sometime in early September for the stretch run.

2. Washington Nationals (65-43, Previous: 2)

30 of 31

    Current Lineup

    2B Steve Lombardozzi
    RF Bryce Harper
    3B Ryan Zimmerman
    LF Michael Morse
    1B Adam LaRoche
    CF Jayson Werth
    SS Danny Espinosa
    C Kurt Suzuki
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Stephen Strasburg
    SP Gio Gonzalez
    SP Jordan Zimmermann
    SP Edwin Jackson
    SP Ross Detwiler
    CL Tyler Clippard

     

    Last Week's Record: 4-3

     

    Team Outlook

    The Nationals were quiet at the deadline, but they acquired catcher Kurt Suzuki off waivers from the A's on Friday. He steps in as the everyday catcher, although it remains to be seen if he is even an upgrade over Jesus Flores.

    Stephen Strasburg bounced back from one of the worst outings of his career to pull his record to 12-5 with a 2.97 ERA and 11.3 K/9, and the team welcomed back Jayson Werth from the DL, as they look as strong as ever entering August.

1. Cincinnati Reds (66-42, Previous: 1)

31 of 31

    Current Lineup

    SS Zack Cozart
    CF Drew Stubbs
    2B Brandon Phillips
    RF Jay Bruce
    LF Ryan Ludwick
    3B Scott Rolen
    1B Todd Frazier
    C Ryan Hanigan
    Pitcher

     

    Current Rotation

    SP Johnny Cueto
    SP Mat Latos
    SP Bronson Arroyo
    SP Homer Bailey
    SP Mike Leake
    CL Aroldis Chapman

     

    Last Week's Record: 5-2

     

    Team Outlook

    The Reds' only move at the deadline was to add reliever Jonathan Broxton, but they will get a far bigger addition once Joey Votto returns from knee surgery.

    Even without him, the team has gone 16-4 over their past 20 games, as they are the hottest team in baseball and legitimately looking like the team to beat in the NL with the way they are playing right now. 

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