MLB Power Rankings 2012: The Washington Nationals and Underrated Playoff Teams

James Maahs@Jmaz90Contributor IIIOctober 2, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 01:  The Washington Nationals run around the field and celebrate after winning the National League East Division Championship after the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park on October 1, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The MLB season has been a tense one, to say the least.

Four of the six divisions had tight playoff races that included two or more teams, and the Wild Card in both leagues is coming down to the wire.

Regardless, in order for any of these teams to make it far, they have to come in hot and poised to make a deep postseason run.

Some of the more underrated playoff teams include the Washington Nationals and the Detroit Tigers.

But teams that are considered favorites in the playoffs such as the New York Yankees or the Cincinnati Reds may succumb to a hot Wild Card team or one flying under the radar.


Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals are having a great season at 96-63, but while they may be big favorites to win the World Series according to Vegas, many in the MLB might consider them underdogs.

The sitting of pitching ace Stephen Strasburg has a lot to do with that, as he will be out for the rest of the playoffs.

It's hard to ignore some of the young talent on the Nationals roster such as Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman. If this team starts to play their best ball come October, they can make a deep postseason run.


St. Louis Cardinals

While the St. Louis Cardinals have at least secured a tie for the second Wild Card spot, make no mistake—this team is still very formidable come the postseason.

The loss of slugger Albert Pujols certainly doesn't help their odds at defending their World Series title, but the Cardinals are as dangerous as any other playoff team.

The Cardinals are first overall in on-base percentage, and rank fourth in overall batting average.

Such stats could come to haunt whoever the Cardinals match up against if they make it past a tie for the second Wild Card spot.


Detroit Tigers

Such a big payroll for a team that was expected to have a little better season than it did in 2011.

Regardless, the Detroit Tigers just beat out the Chicago White Sox for the AL Central Division crown and now will open up the postseason at home.

This team is held together by the possible AL MVP Miguel Cabrera and first baseman Price Fielder.

But come the postseason, the Tigers' pitching will have to pick itself up and be able to produce down the stretch.



2012 MLB Power Rankings

1. Cincinnati Reds

2. Washington Nationals

3. Texas Rangers

4. San Francisco Giants

5. Atlanta Braves

6. New York Yankees

7. Baltimore Orioles

8. Oakland Athletics

9. St. Louis Cardinals

10. Detroit Tigers

11. Los Angeles Angels

12. Tampa Bay Rays

13. Los Angeles Dodgers

14. Chicago White Sox

15. Milwaukee Brewers

16. Philadelphia Phillies

17. Arizona Diamondbacks

18. Pittsburgh Pirates

19. Kansas City Royals

20. Seattle Mariners

21. San Diego Padres

22. New York Mets

23. Toronto Blue Jays

24. Miami Marlins

25. Boston Red Sox

26. Cleveland Indians

27. Minnesota Twins

28. Colorado Rockies

29. Chicago Cubs

30. Houston Astros


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