MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand at the Start of July

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2013

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand at the Start of July

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    The month of July is here, and that means two things in baseball: the MLB All-Star Game and the wheelings and dealings that come with the July 31 trade deadline.

    With the line between buyer and seller becoming more clear by the day, what happens over the next month will play a huge role in how the postseason picture shakes out.

    While landing a high-priced trade target at the deadline can make all the difference, getting solid production at a bargain price is just as important for contention. With that in mind, I've decided to take a look at who ranks as the biggest bargain for each team in the first half of the season.

    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.

     

    *All salary information via Cot's Baseball Contracts. Salary totals reflect what the player will make for the entire 2013 season, not what he has made to this point.

     

    **Special note to the reader

    Those of you who regularly read my power rankings have likely noticed that I try to come up with a different area of focus for my analysis each week. This week's focus is on the biggest bargain for each team, last week's was on what to watch for in the second half, etc. It's admittedly not easy coming up with a fresh, engaging idea each week, so I'm opening the floor to suggestions. If you have an idea for what I should focus on in a future power rankings piece, just leave a comment, and I'll take it into consideration. Thanks.

30. Houston Astros (30-52, Previous: 29)

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    Last Week's Results: 1-4

    vs. St. Louis Cardinals (1-1)
    vs. Los Angeles Angels (0-3) 

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: C Jason Castro ($496,600)

    With a payroll of just over $26 million and no one player making more than $3 million, most of the Houston Astros roster could be considered a bargain at this point.

    That said, I've opted to go with who I feel has been their best player so far this season in Castro. The 26-year-old has posted an .805 OPS with 11 home runs this season, as he's finally started to realize the potential that made him the No. 10 pick in the 2008 draft.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Tampa Bay Rays (4)
    at Texas Rangers (3)

29. Chicago White Sox (32-47, Previous: 28)

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    Last Week's Results: 1-5

    vs. New York Mets (1-1)
    vs. Cleveland Indians (0-4)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: SP Chris Sale ($850,000)

    Chris Sale was phenomenal in his first season as a starter last year, going 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA and finishing sixth in AL Cy Young voting.

    That was enough for the White Sox to give the 24-year-old a five-year, $32.5 million extension in March. While his salary will spike to $3.5 million next year and as high as $12 million in 2017, he remains an absolute steal right now and has a 2.79 ERA and 9.6 K/9 on the year.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Baltimore Orioles (3)
    at Tampa Bay Rays (3) 

28. Miami Marlins (29-51, Previous: 30)

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    Last Week's Results: 4-1

    vs. Minnesota Twins (2-0)
    vs. San Diego Padres (2-1)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: SP Jose Fernandez ($490,000)

    Though right fielder Giancarlo Stanton remains a steal at $537,000, he is not off to the best start this year, so the choice, instead, is 20-year-old rookie Fernandez.

    He entered the season without having pitched above the High-A level, but injuries opened up a spot for him in the rotation out of spring training, and he's 4-4 with a 2.98 ERA and 8.9 K/9. He won't be arbitration-eligible until 2016 and is under team control through the 2018 season.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. San Diego Padres (1)
    at Atlanta Braves (3)
    at St. Louis Cardinals (3)

27. Milwaukee Brewers (32-48, Previous: 25)

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    Last Week's Results: 1-5

    vs. Chicago Cubs (1-2)
    at Pittsburgh Pirates (0-3)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: SS Jean Segura ($492,000)

    Acquired from the Los Angeles Angels at the deadline last season for Zack Greinke, Jean Segura was a highly regarded prospect who looked to have a bright future, but it's safe to say no one assumed he'd be this good this quickly.

    He was the first player in the NL to 100 hits and is currently batting .327/.360/.508 with 11 home runs and 24 steals. Though he exhausted his rookie eligibility last season, he still won't be arbitration-eligible until 2016.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Washington Nationals (4)
    vs. New York Mets (3) 

26. New York Mets (33-45, Previous: 27)

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    Last Week's Results: 3-3

    at Chicago White Sox (1-1)
    at Colorado Rockies (1-0)
    vs. Washington Nationals (1-2) 

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: SP Matt Harvey ($498,750)

    Arguably the best pitcher in baseball so far this season, Matt Harvey is in a good position to get the starting nod at the All-Star Game in front of his home fans at Citi Field.

    He's 7-1 and leads the NL with a 2.00 ERA and 132 strikeouts through his first 17 starts, and at just 24, he looks as though he'll be one of the league's top pitchers for the foreseeable future. With Scott Boras as his agent, he's going to get paid big whenever he signs his next contract, but for now, he's an incredible bargain.


    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (4)
    at Milwaukee Brewers (3) 

25. Seattle Mariners (35-47, Previous: 22)

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    Last Week's Results: 1-4

    vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (0-2)
    vs. Chicago Cubs (1-2)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: 3B Kyle Seager ($510,400)

    The Seattle Mariners had the lowest-scoring offense in the American League last season, and Kyle Seager was one of the few bright spots as he led the team with 20 home runs and 86 RBI while posting a .738 OPS.

    He's been solid once again this year, with 11 home runs and 36 RBI, and at just 25, he looks to be a solid piece of the Mariners future and is not arbitration-eligible until 2015.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Texas Rangers (3)
    at Cincinnati Reds (3) 

24. Chicago Cubs (35-45, Previous: 26)

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    Last Week's Results: 4-2

    at Milwaukee Brewers (2-1)
    at Seattle Mariners (2-1)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: SP Travis Wood ($527,500)

    Acquired from the Reds prior to last season in the trade that sent Sean Marshall to Cincinnati, Wood went a modest 6-13 with a 4.27 ERA in 26 starts with the Chicago Cubs last year.

    He's been a different pitcher this season, though, and while he's just 5-6 on the season, he has a 2.85 ERA and has turned in a quality start in 15 of his 16 outings, which is tied for the NL lead. He'll be arbitration-eligible for the first time after this season and is no doubt in line for a huge raise.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Oakland Athletics (3)
    vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (3) 

23. Minnesota Twins (36-42, Previous: 20)

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    Last Week's Results: 2-4

    at Miami Marlins (0-2)
    vs. Kansas City Royals (2-2)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: OF Oswaldo Arcia ($490,000)

    Though not as highly regarded as fellow prospects Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton, Oswaldo Arcia did enter the season as the Minnesota Twins' No. 3-ranked prospect and the No. 41 prospect in all of baseball, according to Baseball America.

    The 22-year-old played his way into an everyday outfield spot early on this season, and he's hit .284/.348/.469 with six home runs and 24 RBI in 48 games. He's been one of the few bright spots in the Minnesota lineup.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. New York Yankees (4)
    at Toronto Blue Jays (3) 

22. Philadelphia Phillies (39-44, Previous: 21)

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    Last Week's Results: 3-4

    at San Diego Padres (2-1)
    at Los Angeles Dodgers (1-3)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: LF Domonic Brown ($500,000)

    Domonic Brown entered the 2011 season as the No. 4 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America, but it was not until this season that he finally put it all together and enjoyed some success at the big league level.

    The 25-year-old is currently hitting .274/.321/.545 with 21 home runs and 57 RBI, and he'll be important piece of the future on an aging Philadelphia Phillies roster. He will make the minimum once again next season before becoming arbitration-eligible in 2015.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Pittsburgh Pirates (3)
    vs. Atlanta Braves (3) 

21. San Francisco Giants (39-42, Previous: 15)

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    Last Week's Results: 1-5

    at Los Angeles Dodgers (0-3)
    at Colorado Rockies (1-2) 

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: SP Madison Bumgarner ($950,000)

    Though the San Francisco Giants starting rotation has been something of a disappointment this season, the 23-year-old Madison Bumgarner has continued to pitch well. He's 8-5 with a 3.08 ERA in 17 starts.

    He signed a five-year, $35 million extension last April, and while it tops out at $11.7 million in 2017, the backloaded deal means he's still making six figures this season. By comparison, Tim Lincecum ($22.25 million), Matt Cain ($20.83 million), Barry Zito ($20 million) and Ryan Vogelsong ($5 million) are all making substantially more.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Cincinnati Reds (4)
    vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (3) 

20. San Diego Padres (40-42, Previous: 16)

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    Last Week's Results: 2-4

    vs. Philadelphia Phillies (1-2)
    at Miami Marlins (1-2)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: SS Everth Cabrera ($1.275 million)

    The rookie contract of Jedd Gyorko ($490,000) got some serious consideration here, but in the end, it was Everth Cabrera who came away as the San Diego Padres' biggest bargain.

    After leading the NL in steals with 44 last year, he's already swiped 31 bases this year, and he's done it while raising his average from .246 last season to .305 currently. He got a nice raise this past offseason as a Super 2 in arbitration, and he's likely in for another sizable bump in pay this coming winter.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Miami Marlins (1)
    at Boston Red Sox (3)
    at Washington Nationals (3) 

19. Colorado Rockies (41-42, Previous: 17)

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    Last Week's Results: 2-4

    at Boston Red Sox (0-2)
    vs. New York Mets (0-1)
    vs. San Francisco Giants (2-1)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: RP Rex Brothers ($491,000)

    Every season, it seems like there's a handful of middle relievers who step forward and just pitch substantially better than their counterparts. Count Rex Brothers among that group this season, as he's allowed just two earned runs in 34.1 innings of work for a 0.52 ERA.

    The 25-year-old southpaw appears to be the closer-in-waiting behind Rafael Betancourt, and as a former first-round pick, it's no surprise to see him thriving. He was 8-2 with a 3.86 ERA and 11.0 K/9 in 75 appearances last season and has a real chance at making the All-Star team this time around.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (3)
    at Arizona Diamondbacks (3) 

18. Kansas City Royals (38-41, Previous: 19)

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    Last Week's Results: 3-3

    vs. Atlanta Braves (1-1)
    at Minnesota Twins (2-2)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: RP Greg Holland ($539,500)

    Greg Holland was the Kansas City Royals' primary setup man last season before they traded Jonathan Broxton to the Reds, and he went 16-of-18 on saves with a 1.98 ERA and 11.5 K/9 in the closer's role the rest of the way.

    The 27-year-old has thrived in the ninth inning again this year, as he's 17-of-19 on saves with a 2.10 ERA and has 50 strikeouts in 30 innings of work, while opponents are hitting just .181 against him. He'll be arbitration-eligible for the first time this coming offseason, and the Royals could opt to buy out his arbitration years with an extension if he keeps pitching well.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Cleveland Indians (3)
    vs. Oakland Athletics (3) 

17. Los Angeles Angels (39-43, Previous: 24)

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    Last Week's Results: 6-0

    at Detroit Tigers (3-0)
    at Houston Astros (3-0) 

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: CF Mike Trout ($510,000)

    There was some controversy this offseason when the Angels decided to renew Mike Trout's contract for $20,000 over the league minimum, as he was coming off of an MVP-caliber rookie season.

    In all reality, though, why wouldn't the Angels pay the 21-year-old as little as they can now while they're still able to? Trout is going to make a ton of money in this league in the very near future, so stealing another season of front-line production at the minimum when there's really nothing the player can do is just good business on the Angels' part.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. St. Louis Cardinals (3)
    vs. Boston Red Sox (3) 

16. Los Angeles Dodgers (38-43, Previous: 23)

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    Last Week's Results: 6-1

    vs. San Francisco Giants (3-0)
    vs. Philadelphia Phillies (3-1)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: RP Kenley Jansen ($512,000)

    Coming off a season in which he saved 25 games and posted a 2.35 ERA with 13.7 K/9 over 65 appearances, Kenley Jansen would have been the closer entering the year had concerns over his heart problems not prompted the team to sign Brandon League.

    It didn't take long for Jansen to steal the ninth-inning role back, though, and the Curacao native is 7-of-10 on save chances with a 2.41 ERA and 13.0 K/9 on the year. He'll be up for arbitration for the first time after this season, and the Dodgers will no doubt look to lock the 25-year-old up long-term.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Colorado Rockies (3)
    at San Francisco Giants (3) 

15. Arizona Diamondbacks (42-39, Previous: 12)

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    Last Week's Results: 1-5

    at Washington Nationals (1-2)
    at Atlanta Braves (0-3)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: 1B Paul Goldschmidt ($500,000)

    This was perhaps the toughest decision of any to make, as breakout ace Patrick Corbin is currently making just $494,000. In the end, I opted to go with the everyday player and NL MVP candidate in Paul Goldschmidt.

    After hitting .285 with 20 home runs and 18 steals in his first full big league season last year, Goldschmidt signed a five-year, $32 million extension. However, it doesn't kick in until next season when he'll still be a great bargain at $1.1 million. For now, though, the Diamondbacks are paying Goldschmidt next to nothing for his .940 OPS and 19 home runs.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at New York Mets (4)
    vs. Colorado Rockies (3) 

14. New York Yankees (42-39, Previous: 11)

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    Last Week's Results: 1-5

    vs. Texas Rangers (1-2)
    at Baltimore Orioles (0-3)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: RP Adam Warren ($490,525)

    While Travis Hafner ($2 million) and Lyle Overbay ($1.25 million) were terrific bargains over the first month of the season, they've fallen off big time and are no longer as impressive of signings.

    Instead, the pick here is Adam Warren, who is serving as the team's long reliever this year. The 25-year-old is 1-0 with a 3.11 ERA and has thrown 37.2 innings in just 13 appearances. He was a starter coming up through the system and should get a look in the rotation at some point, but for now, he's a valuable young arm out of the 'pen.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Minnesota Twins (4)
    vs. Baltimore Orioles (3) 

13. Toronto Blue Jays (40-41, Previous: 10)

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    Last Week's Results: 2-5

    at Tampa Bay Rays (1-2)
    at Boston Red Sox (1-3)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: RP Brett Cecil ($510,000)

    Entering the season, the $500,000 salary of Brett Lawrie would have been the odds-on favorite to earn this spot, but with a .209/.269/.374 line prior to landing on the DL, the young third baseman has not been much of a bargain.

    Instead, the nod goes to Brett Cecil, who entered spring training out of options and on the roster bubble but has quickly emerged as the team's best setup man. A middling starter early in his career, he's posted a 1.54 ERA and 10.3 K/9 in his first season as a full-time reliever, and he'll be in line for a nice raise via arbitration this coming winter.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Detroit Tigers (4)
    vs. Minnesota Twins (3) 

12. Washington Nationals (41-40, Previous: 18)

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    Last Week's Results: 4-2

    vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (2-1)
    at New York Mets (2-1) 

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: LF Bryce Harper ($2 million)

    The Washington Nationals really don't have anyone earning around the league minimum who is also making an impact this season, as recent first-round picks Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon all signed major league deals upon being selected.

    That said, the five-year, $9.9 million deal that Harper signed is still a bargain, given how quickly his ascent to the majors has been. He's currently shelved with a knee injury, but he's managed 12 home runs and a .973 OPS in 150 at-bats this season.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Milwaukee Brewers (4)
    vs. San Diego Padres (3) 

11. Detroit Tigers (43-37, Previous: 5)

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    Last Week's Results: 1-5

    vs. Los Angeles Angels (0-3)
    at Tampa Bay Rays (1-2)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: RP Drew Smyly ($498,000)

    For as much talent as they have top to bottom on their roster this season, the Detroit Tigers' bullpen has been incredibly shaky with a 4.01 ERA and nine blown saves as a group.

    One pitcher who has been consistently reliable is Drew Smyly, as he has a 2.20 ERA and 9.4 K/9 over 29 appearances. The left-hander will still likely end up in the rotation at some point, but for now, he's a valuable arm in a shaky 'pen. 

     

    This Week's Results: 

    at Toronto Blue Jays (4)
    at Cleveland Indians (3) 

10. Tampa Bay Rays (43-39, Previous: 14)

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    Last Week's Results: 4-2

    vs. Toronto Blue Jays (2-1)
    vs. Detroit Tigers (2-1) 

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: SP Alex Cobb ($502,200)

    Though a scary head injury resulting from a line drive currently has him on the disabled list, Cobb did more than enough before the injury to prove he was in the midst of a breakout season following a solid campaign last year.

    The 25-year-old was 6-2 with a 3.01 ERA in 13 starts before the injury, and if all goes well with his rehab, he should be back shortly after the All-Star break. The Tampa Bay Rays' starting rotation has been an issue so far this season, so getting him back to pitching at pre-injury form will be important in their postseason hopes.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Houston Astros (4)
    vs. Chicago White Sox (3) 

9. Cleveland Indians (44-38, Previous: 13)

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    Last Week's Results: 6-2

    at Baltimore Orioles (2-2)
    at Chicago White Sox (4-0)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: 2B Jason Kipnis ($509,400)

    With 11 home runs and 20 steals at the All-Star break last season, Jason Kipnis looked to be on his way to stardom before slumping in the second half to finish with just 14 home runs and 31 steals.

    The 26-year-old has been a first-half force once again this season, with 12 home runs, 19 steals and a .917 OPS. He's also been as hot as anyone in the league over the past month, hitting .419/.517/.699 with 25 RBI in the month of June.

    Luckily for the Cleveland Indians, he won't be arbitration-eligible until 2015, so they'll get him for around the minimum once again next season.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Kansas City Royals (3)
    vs. Detroit Tigers (3) 

8. Cincinnati Reds (46-36, Previous: 4)

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    Last Week's Results: 1-4

    at Oakland Athletics (0-2)
    at Texas Rangers (1-2) 

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: SP Tony Cingrani ($490,000)

    The Reds haven't gotten much in the way of major contribution from their low-price guys, but top pitching prospect Tony Cingrani has been a valuable weapon as essentially the team's No. 6 starter, filling in for the injured Johnny Cueto during his three separate DL stints this year.

    The left-hander is 3-0 with a 3.42 ERA in 12 games (seven starts) with a .214 BAA and 10.8 K/9. He'd have an unquestioned rotation spot on nearly every other team in the league with the way he's thrown the ball this year.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. San Francisco Giants (4)
    vs. Seattle Mariners (3) 

7. Atlanta Braves (48-34, Previous: 9)

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    Last Week's Results: 4-1

    at Kansas City Royals (1-1)
    vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (3-0)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: SP Mike Minor ($505,000)

    There were plenty of good options in Atlanta, as Evan Gattis ($490,000), Freddie Freeman ($560,000) and Craig Kimbrel ($655,000) all got serious consideration, but in the end, the choice was Mike Minor, who's been the team's best starter.

    After going 6-4 with a 2.16 ERA in the second half last season, the 25-year-old is 8-3 with a 2.98 ERA on the year. He shot to the majors after being taken with the No. 7 pick in the 2009 draft, but he still has one more season before he becomes arbitration eligible.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Miami Marlins (3)
    at Philadelphia Phillies (3)

6. Baltimore Orioles (47-36, Previous: 8)

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    Last Week's Results: 5-2

    vs. Cleveland Indians (2-2)
    vs. New York Yankees (3-0)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: 3B Manny Machado ($495,000)

    A strong case can be made for Chris Davis being the team's biggest bargain at $3.3 million this year, but it's hard to ignore the numbers that the 20-year-old Manny Machado has put up for $5,000 above the league minimum.

    He's put together a .321/.350/.489 line and leads all of baseball with a whopping 38 doubles, and he continues to play stellar defense at third base to boot.

    Going back to the Davis argument, Machado has actually posted a very similar WAR to the slugger (4.2 for Machado, 4.6 for Davis, via FanGraphs), thanks to his all-around game at a premium position.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Chicago White Sox (3)
    at New York Yankees (3) 

5. St. Louis Cardinals (49-32, Previous: 2)

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    Last Week's Results: 2-3

    at Houston Astros (1-1)
    at Oakland Athletics (1-2) 

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: 2B Matt Carpenter ($504,000)

    With Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal and Pete Kozma all making the league minimum, Lance Lynn making $513,000 and Allen Craig still making just $1.75 million, there were plenty of choices in St. Louis.

    I opted to go with perhaps the biggest surprise on the roster this season in Matt Carpenter, who has transitioned to second base while also filling a glaring need in the leadoff spot. The 27-year-old has hit .322/.397/.482 and currently ranks eighth among all MLB position players with a 4.1 WAR, according to FanGraphs.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    at Los Angeles Angels (3)
    vs. Miami Marlins (3) 

4. Oakland Athletics (48-35, Previous: 6)

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    Last Week's Results: 4-1

    vs. Cincinnati Reds (2-0)
    vs. St. Louis Cardinals (2-1) 

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: 3B Josh Donaldson ($492,500)

    A former first-round pick of the Cubs back in 2007, Josh Donaldson was acquired in the deal that sent Rich Harden to Chicago back in 2008, but it was not until the second half of last year that he finally started to make an impact. 

    Recalled on August 14 after an early-season demotion, Donaldson hit .290/.356/.489 with 26 RBI in 47 games the rest of the way to help Oakland's stretch run. He's been even better this season, putting together a .316/.384/.525 line with 13 home runs and 53 RBI, as he looks like a solid All-Star candidate.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Chicago Cubs (3)
    at Kansas City Royals (3) 

3. Boston Red Sox (50-34, Previous: 7)

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    Last Week's Results: 5-1

    vs. Colorado Rockies (2-0)
    vs. Toronto Blue Jays (3-1)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: LF Daniel Nava ($505,000)

    Signed out of the International League prior to the 2008 season, Daniel Nava saw decent playing time as a backup last year with a .742 OPS and 33 RBI in 267 at-bats.

    Already 30 years old, he's played his way into a starting role this season and is hitting .285/.375/.441 with 10 home runs and 49 RBI in just four fewer at-bats than he saw all of last year. Despite his age, he still won't be arbitration-eligible until after next season, so he'll remain a terrific bargain.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. San Diego Padres (3)
    at Los Angeles Angels (3) 

2. Texas Rangers (48-34, Previous: 1)

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    Last Week's Results: 4-2

    at New York Yankees (2-1)
    vs. Cincinnati Reds (2-1)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: RP Tanner Scheppers ($493,600)

    Had a hamstring injury not cost him time on the DL, Mitch Moreland and his $502,700 contract may have gotten the nod here, but Tanner Scheppers has been brilliant in a setup role regardless.

    The former first-round pick has a 1.55 ERA in 39 appearances on the year, as he and fellow bargain Robbie Ross ($497,400) have formed a terrific, young setup duo to bridge the gap to closer Joe Nathan. With his rookie eligibility still intact, Scheppers won't be up for arbitration until 2016.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Seattle Mariners (3)
    vs. Houston Astros (3) 

1. Pittsburgh Pirates (51-30, Previous: 3)

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    Last Week's Results: 5-0

    at Seattle Mariners (2-0)
    vs. Milwaukee Brewers (3-0)

     

    Biggest Bargain of the First Half: SP Jeff Locke ($497,500)

    This was another tough choice, as Starling Marte ($500,000), Mark Melancon ($521,000), Pedro Alvarez ($700,000) and offseason signing Francisco Liriano ($1 million) all qualify as great bargains to this point.

    In the end, though, the pick had to be Jeff Locke, as the 25-year-old is 7-1 with a 2.06 ERA in 16 starts this season after only winning a rotation spot out of camp because Liriano opened the year on the DL.

    His 3.84 FIP and .225 BABIP indicate that he's likely in line for some regression, but that does nothing to take away from what he's already accomplished on the year.

     

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Philadelphia Phillies (3)
    at Chicago Cubs (3)