MLB Power Rankings: Fresh Take on the League's Best and Worst Teams

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2013

MLB Power Rankings: Fresh Take on the League's Best and Worst Teams

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    Entering the first full week back from the All-Star break, we find ourselves a little more than a week away from the July 31 trade deadline.

    As a result, next week's rankings could be affected as much by each team's play on the field as it is by the wheelings and dealings that go on around the league.

    For now, here is a look at where all 30 teams currently stand, as well as a glimpse at who their best current major leaguer under the age of 25 is. Those are the kind of guys who tend to take a big step forward out of the blue and could be in for a big second half as a result.

    Be sure to check back here each Monday for an updated look at where your favorite team stands.

30. Houston Astros (33-64, Previous: 30)

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    Last Week's Results

    vs. Seattle Mariners (0-3)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: 2B Jose Altuve (23)

    Already an All-Star, Altuve has emerged as one of the few legitimate building blocks for the Astros moving forward. And as a result, the team locked him up with a four-year, $12.5 million extension earlier this month.

    He's hitting .279/.313/.355 with 21 steals on the season and could emerge as a perennial .300 hitter with 30-plus steals if he can build off of what he has already achieved.

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Oakland Athletics (3)
    at Toronto Blue Jays (4)

29. Miami Marlins (35-61, Previous: 29)

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    Last Week's Results

    at Milwaukee Brewers (0-3)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: SP Jose Fernandez (20)

    Though he entered the season as the No. 5 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America, few expected Fernandez to break camp with the big league club after not pitching above High-A in 2012.

    However, a pair of injuries late in the spring opened up a rotation spot, and he wound up being the team's All-Star representative. He's 5-5 with a 2.75 ERA and 8.9 K/9, and while he'll be shut down somewhere between 150 and 170 innings, per Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald, he remains a legitimate NL Rookie of the Year candidate.

    This Week's Opponents

    at Colorado Rockies (4)
    vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (3)

28. Chicago White Sox (39-56, Previous: 28)

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    Last Week's Results

    vs. Atlanta Braves (2-1)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: SP Chris Sale (24)

    After spending the first two seasons of his career in the bullpen, Sale made the move to the rotation last season, going 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA to finish sixth in AL Cy Young voting.

    He's just 6-8 on the season, but he has a 2.85 ERA and 9.8 K/9, as he is already one of the most dominant arms in all of baseball. He signed a five-year, $32.5 million extension in March, and that deal already looks like an absolute steal.

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Detroit Tigers (4)
    vs. Kansas City Royals (3)

27. Milwaukee Brewers (41-56, Previous: 27)

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    Last Week's Results

    vs. Miami Marlins (3-0)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: SS Jean Segura (23)

    Acquired from the Angels in last July's Zack Greinke trade, Segura was a top prospect, but few expected him to be this good this quickly.

    He currently leads the NL with 124 hits, and he's batted .326/.363/.484 with 11 home runs and 29 steals as one of the most productive shortstops in all of baseball. He doesn't walk much (17 in 405 0PA), and his defense is average at best, but his future looks bright nonetheless.

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. San Diego Padres (4)
    at Colorado Rockies (3)

26. Minnesota Twins (41-54, Previous: 26)

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    Last Week's Results

    vs. Cleveland Indians (2-1)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: LF Oswaldo Arcia (22)

    The Twins have two of the top prospects in baseball in Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton. But as far as current big league talent under the age of 25, they are somewhat thin.

    Aaron Hicks has struggled in his first taste of the majors this year, but Arcia has been a pleasant surprise. After a breakout season between High-A and Double-A last year, he's hitting .257/.317/.408 with six home runs and 25 RBI.  

    This Week's Opponents

    at Los Angeles Angels (3)
    at Seattle Mariners (4)

25. San Diego Padres (43-56, Previous: 24)

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    Last Week's Results

    at St. Louis Cardinals (1-2)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: 2B Jedd Gyorko (24)

    After back-to-back 100-RBI seasons in the minors, the Padres moved Gyorko from his natural position of third base, where he was blocked by Chase Headley, to second base, and he opened the season in the starting lineup.

    His defense is still a work in progress, but he's hitting .269/.325/.431 with eight home runs and 26 RBI, and it looks like he'll be a terrific run producer for the team long-term.

    This Week's Opponents

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

24. Chicago Cubs (43-53, Previous: 23)

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    Last Week's Results

    at Colorado Rockies (1-2)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: 1B Anthony Rizzo (23)

    Entering the season, 23-year-old Starlin Castro was viewed as the face of the franchise. But he has struggled to a .247/.283/.354 line this season and will need to get back on track in the second half.

    Instead, the team's best under-25 player right now is Rizzo, who has hit .241/.328/.440 with 13 home runs and 55 RBI and looks to be a perennial 30-home run, 100-RBI threat. Plenty more young talent is on the way in Chicago, led by Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant.

    This Week's Opponents

    at Arizona Diamondbacks (4)
    at San Francisco Giants (3)

23. New York Mets (43-51, Previous: 25)

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    Last Week's Results

    vs. Philadelphia Phillies (2-1)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: SP Matt Harvey (24)

    Over 10 starts as a rookie last season, it became clear that Harvey would be something special for the Mets, as he had a 2.73 ERA with 10.6 K/9.

    He's been even better this season, sitting at 7-2 with a 2.35 ERA and an NL-high 147 strikeouts in 130 innings of work. It's been a rough year for the Mets, but Harvey has provided plenty of hope for the future. Between him, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard, pitching looks to be a serious plus moving forward.

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Atlanta Braves (4)
    at Washington Nationals (4)

22. Seattle Mariners (46-52, Previous: 22)

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    Last Week's Results

    at Houston Astros (3-0)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: 2B Nick Franklin (22)

    There may be no team in baseball with more high-end young talent than the Mariners. They've already seen Nick Franklin, Mike Zunino and Brad Miller debut this season and should get a look at right-hander Taijuan Walker in the second half, along with a few others.

    Others may have more upside, but right now, Franklin has been the best of the bunch. In 162 at-bats, he's hit .265/.330/.444 with 11 doubles, six home runs and 20 RBI. A shortstop for much of his time in the minors, he now profiles as one of the better offensive second basemen in the league long-term.

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Cleveland Indians (3)
    vs. Minnesota Twins (4)

21. Philadelphia Phillies (49-50, Previous: 18)

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    Last Week's Results

    at New York Mets (1-2)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: SP Jonathan Pettibone (23)

    The Phillies have traded away much of their high-end minor league talent in recent seasons. They now find themselves in a position where a rebuild is imminent, but they do still have a few solid pieces to build around in-house.

    Pettibone was the first of a handful of promising pitching prospects to reach the majors; he's gone 5-3 with a 3.89 ERA in 16 starts so far this season. Left-hander Jesse Biddle, who has more upside, may find his way to Philadelphia at some point in 2013, but for now, Pettibone is the team's top young player.

    This Week's Opponents

    at St. Louis Cardinals (3)
    at Detroit Tigers (3)

20. Toronto Blue Jays (45-52, Previous: 16)

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    Last Week's Results

    vs. Tampa Bay Rays (0-3)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: 2B/3B Brett Lawrie (23)

    The Blue Jays traded away a good portion of their future in a pair of offseason blockbusters. While they do still have some solid minor league talent, headlined by right-hander Aaron Sanchez, they're short on under-25 players at the big league level.

    After hitting .293/.373/.580 in 150 at-bats as a rookie in 2011, Lawrie looked like a star in the making. However, injuries cut into his production last season and have limited him to just 41 games and a .201/.260/.370 line this season. Still, the potential is there for him to be a perennial All-Star.

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (3)
    vs. Houston Astros (4)

19. San Francisco Giants (45-52, Previous: 20)

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    Last Week's Results

    vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (2-1)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: SP Madison Bumgarner (23)

    The Giants pitching staff has been the hallmark of the team's recent run of success. But it has been a shell of what it was expected to be so far this season. That is, except for Bumgarner.

    A big leaguer at the age of 19 back in 2009, Bumgarner has gotten progressively better each season, going 16-11 with a 3.37 ERA last year. An All-Star for the first time this season, he's 10-5 with a 3.02 ERA and 0.952 WHIP in 19 starts, emerging as the ace of the staff.

    This Week's Opponents

    at Cincinnati Reds (1)
    vs. Cincinnati Reds (2)
    vs. Chicago Cubs (3)

18. Los Angeles Angels (46-50, Previous: 21)

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    Last Week's Results

    vs. Oakland Athletics (2-1)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: CF Mike Trout (21)

    There is a deep crop of talent under 25 in the MLB right now, but most would agree that the 21-year-old Trout is the best of the bunch, as he can do it all.

    After perhaps the greatest rookie season in baseball history last year, he's avoided the sophomore slump with a .322/.401/.569 line thus far. With 16 home runs and 21 steals, he's on pace for a second straight 30/30 season as well.

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Minnesota Twins (3)
    at Oakland Athletics (4)

17. Kansas City Royals (45-50, Previous: 19)

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    Last Week's Results

    vs. Detroit Tigers (2-1)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: C Salvador Perez (23)

    The Royals' homegrown core of hitters has been something of a disappointment so far this season at the plate. But All-Star catcher Salvador Perez has been solid and should continue to climb the ranks of the game's best backstops in the second half.

    Aside from his ability to handle a staff at such a young age, Perez has also hit .282/.315/.395 with four home runs and 41 RBI, and there is plenty of room for improvement across the board.

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Baltimore Orioles (4)
    at Chicago White Sox (3)

16. Washington Nationals (48-50, Previous: 15)

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    Last Week's Results

    vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (0-3)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: LF Bryce Harper (20)

    After becoming the youngest position player in MLB All-Star Game history last season, Harper became the youngest starter since Ken Griffey Jr. this year, and he should be a staple at the Midsummer Classic for the next decade-plus.

    A knee injury has limited him to just 61 games so far, but he's hit .263/.368/.512 with 13 home runs and 29 RBI. If he is healthy in the second half, he could hit 30 home runs.

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (4)
    vs. New York Mets (4)

15. Colorado Rockies (48-51, Previous: 17)

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    Last Week's Results

    vs. Chicago Cubs (2-1)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: C Wilin Rosario (24)

    When the Rockies signed Ramon Hernandez to a two-year deal prior to last season, the thought was that he'd bridge the gap to Rosario taking over in 2013. 

    Instead, Rosario seized the job early on last season, finishing his rookie campaign with 28 home runs and 71 RBI in just 396 at-bats. The power has been there once again this season, as his 13 home runs are tied for third among all catchers, and his 47 RBI are fifth.

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Miami Marlins (4)
    vs. Milwaukee Brewers (3)

14. Cleveland Indians (52-46, Previous: 12)

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    Last Week's Results

    at Minnesota Twins (1-2)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: RP Cody Allen (24)

    The Indians have one of the top prospects in baseball in 19-year-old Francisco Lindor. But until he reaches the majors, the team is thin on impact players under 25.

    Allen, who was taken in the 23rd round in 2011, has been a pleasant surprise out of the bullpen this season. In 42 appearances, he has a 2.18 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 41.1 innings of work as the team's most reliable reliever.

    This Week's Opponents

    at Seattle Mariners (3)
    vs. Texas Rangers (3)

13. New York Yankees (52-46, Previous: 13)

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    Last Week's Results

    at Boston Red Sox (1-2)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: LF Zoilo Almonte (24)

    Among all players in the organization under 25, prospects Mason Williams and Gary Sanchez both look to have a bright future and closer Mark Montgomery could be the heir to Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning.

    However, there's not much in the way of young impact players at the big league level. After posting an .808 OPS with 21 home runs and 15 steals in Double-A last season, Almonte earned a call-up this year due to injuries and has hit .261/.305/.341 in 88 at-bats.

    This Week's Opponents

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

12. Arizona Diamondbacks (51-47, Previous: 11)

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    Last Week's Results

    at San Francisco Giants (1-2)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: SP Patrick Corbin (24)

    On the bubble to even make the big league rotation this spring, Corbin edged out top prospect Tyler Skaggs for the No. 5 starter spot and quickly emerged as the team's best pitcher.

    In 19 starts, the left-hander has gone 11-1 with a 2.35 ERA and 0.997 WHIP. And while the rest of the Arizona rotation has been hit or miss, he's been a legitimate ace in the team's push toward an NL West crown.


    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Chicago Cubs (4)
    vs. San Diego Padres (3)

11. Los Angeles Dodgers (50-47, Previous: 14)

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    Last Week's Results 

    at Washington Nationals (3-0)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: RF Yasiel Puig (22)

    Ace Clayton Kershaw just misses the cut here, as he turned 25 in March. But Puig is a worthy choice as well after a terrific first half.

    The Cuban defector has hit .369/.400/.581 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in 160 at-bats, showcasing the full toolbox of skills. He's hit just .254/.286/.354 in July, as the league has begun to adjust to him, but the talent is still there for him to be a superstar.

    This Week's Opponents

    at Toronto Blue Jays (3)
    vs. Cincinnati Reds (4)

10. Atlanta Braves (55-43, Previous: 8)

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    Last Week's Results

    at Chicago White Sox (1-2)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: 1B Freddie Freeman (23)

    This one was a toss-up between Freeman and slick-fielding shortstop Andrelton Simmons, but we'll go with the All-Star Freeman for now until Simmons proves he can make an impact with the bat as well.

    After a pair of solid seasons to open his career, Freeman has stepped his game up this year, hitting .310/.386/.476 with 10 home runs and 64 RBI. His .863 OPS is the best among regulars and tied for sixth among all first basemen.

    This Week's Opponents

    at New York Mets (4)
    vs. St. Louis Cardinals (3)

9. Detroit Tigers (53-44, Previous: 7)

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    Last Week's Results

    at Kansas City Royals (1-2)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: RP Drew Smyly (24)

    The Tigers' top prospect, 21-year-old Nick Castellanos, could make an impact in the second half in left field. Until then, however, the team's top under-25 player is left-hander Drew Smyly.

    A starter in the minors and a swingman last year, he's been one of the best setup men in the game so far this season. In 38 appearances, Smyly has a 1.83 ERA, 0.949 WHIP and 9.3 K/9. And while he may still wind up as a starter long-term, he's been an invaluable arm out of the 'pen this season.

    This Week's Opponents

    at Chicago White Sox (4)
    vs. Philadelphia Phillies (3)

8. Texas Rangers (54-44, Previous: 6)

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    Last Week's Results

    vs. Baltimore Orioles (0-3)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: 2B/SS Jurickson Profar (20)

    He may only be scratching the surface of his long-term potential right now, but Profar is already making a positive contribution for a team with legitimate title aspirations.

    A natural shortstop, he's played all over the field this year in an effort to get him more playing time. All told, he has 145 at-bats in 43 games and has hit .241/.315/.345 with three home runs and 11 RBI. The tools are all there, he just needs to continue to adjust to life in the big leagues.

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. New York Yankees (4)
    at Cleveland Indians (3)

7. Cincinnati Reds (55-43, Previous: 9)

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    Last Week's Results

    vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (2-1)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: SP Tony Cingrani (24)

    The Reds have dealt with some injuries this season, with perhaps the most significant being ace Johnny Cueto limited to just nine starts so far. 

    Luckily, Cingrani has stepped in and pitched like a seasoned veteran in his absence. In 15 games (10 starts), he's gone 3-1 with a 3.23 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 64 innings of work. He should be able to lock down a rotation spot next year, but for now, he provides fantastic depth.

    This Week's Opponents

    at San Francisco Giants (3)
    vs. San Francisco Giants (1)
    at Los Angeles Dodgers (4)

6. Baltimore Orioles (56-43, Previous: 10)

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    Last Week's Results

    at Texas Rangers (3-0)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: 3B Manny Machado (21)

    For all of the attention that Mike Trout and Bryce Harper receive, Machado is just as good at the same point in his career, and he joined them on the All-Star team this season.

    A natural shortstop, Machado has played Gold Glove-caliber defense at third base since being called up in the second half last season. His bat is not too shabby either, as he's hitting .310/.338/.465 with an MLB-best 39 doubles so far this year.

    This Week's Opponents

    at Kansas City Royals (4)
    vs. Boston Red Sox (3)

5. Oakland Athletics (57-41, Previous: 4)

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    Last Week's Results

    at Los Angeles Angels (1-2)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: SP Jarrod Parker (24)

    Acquired from the Diamondbacks in the Trevor Cahill deal prior to last season, Parker was arguably the A's best pitcher last season, going 13-8 with a 3.47 ERA in 29 starts.

    After going 1-4 with a 7.36 ERA in six April starts, he's gone 5-2 with a 2.76 ERA since, as he once again looks like he'll be the long-term ace of the A's talented young staff. For now, however, that role clearly belongs to Bartolo Colon.

    This Week's Opponents

    at Houston Astros (3)
    vs. Los Angeles Angels (4)

4. Pittsburgh Pirates (57-39, Previous: 3)

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    Last Week's Results

    at Cincinnati Reds (1-2)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: LF Starling Marte (24)

    When all is said and done this season, 22-year-old Gerrit Cole may wind up as the team's best under-25 player. But for now, the choice has to be Marte.

    After impressing in a 47-game audition last year, Marte was given the everyday left field and leadoff spot out of spring training. He's responded by hitting .286/.339/.459 with 10 home runs and 28 steals, as he's been a valuable catalyst atop an improved Pirates lineup.

    This Week's Opponents

    at Washington Nationals (4)
    at Miami Marlins (3)

3. Tampa Bay Rays (58-41, Previous: 5)

28 of 30

    Last Week's Results

    at Toronto Blue Jays (3-0)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: SP Matt Moore (24)

    Generally a strength of the team, the Rays' starting rotation was a mess earlier this season. But it has finally rounded into form, and the team looks like a legitimate contender as a result.

    After going 11-11 with a 3.81 ERA in what was a somewhat disappointing rookie season given the hype, Moore has gone 13-3 with a 3.44 ERA so far this season, looking like the ace he was expected to be and making his first All-Star appearance in the process.

    This Week's Opponents

    at Boston Red Sox (4)
    at New York Yankees (3)

2. Boston Red Sox (60-40, Previous: 2)

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    Last Week's Results

    vs. New York Yankees (2-1)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: SS/3B Jose Iglesias (23)

    Heading into the season, most would have guessed that Will Middlebrooks would claim this honor. But when he struggled to the point of demotion, it opened up at-bats for Iglesias.

    Long known as one of the better defensive shortstop prospects in the game, there were legitimate questions as to whether or not Iglesias would ever hit enough to be an everyday player. Luck has played a part with a .406 BABIP, but Iglesias has been impressive nonetheless, with a .356/.405/.445 in 191 at-bats.

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Tampa Bay Rays (4)
    at Baltimore Orioles (3)

1. St. Louis Cardinals (59-37, Previous: 1)

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    Last Week's Results

    vs. San Diego Padres (2-1)

    Best MLB Player Under 25: SP Shelby Miller (22)

    The biggest reason the Cardinals were confident in letting Kyle Lohse walk in free agency was that top prospect Shelby Miller was finally deemed ready to step into the big league rotation.

    He's more than held his own so far, going 9-6 with a 2.92 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 104.2 innings of work. He's 1-2 with a 6.87 ERA in his last four starts, but a lengthy break here at midseason could be what he needs to get back on track.

    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Philadelphia Phillies (3)
    at Atlanta Braves (3)