Team (Current Record|Last Week's Ranking)
1. Toronto Blue Jays (21-12|1)—The Jays are still (surprisingly?) sitting atop the hardest division in baseball. How great have Aaron Hill and Adam Lind been for this team? The Blue Jays lead the MLB in runs (199), hits (353), RBI (190), and batting average (.292). They're also in the top five of on base percentage (.362), slugging (.468), OPS (.830), and extra base hits (119).
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (22-10|2)—Manny drama makes this ranking hard. They're 1-2 without him, but that was the fault of the pitching.The Dodgers have the best record in baseball.They lead the National League in runs (179), hits (312), RBI (170), total bases (465), batting average (.288), on base percentage (.379), and OPS (.807). The pitching leads the NL in ERA (3.72) and batting average against (.228). The bullpen has blown eight saves so far, tied for the MLB worst.
3. St. Louis Cardinals (19-12|3)—Pujols is a legitimate triple threat crown. The red birds are the second best in the National League in slugging (.445) and RBI (160).The Cardinals could use Chris Carpenter back, as it looks like Lohse and Pineiro are coming back down to Earth, each losing both of their last two starts. Franklin has been dazzling out of the bullpen (0.00 ERA, nine saves).
4. Boston Red Sox (19-12|4)—The Red Sox set a record by scoring 12 runs in a row without getting an out. Youkilis is stunning, Pedroia has returned to form, and I bet Boston loves Bay all that much more now (Manny who?).The Red Sox are second in the American League in runs (181), RBI (174), batting average (.282), and on base percentage (.372). Wakefield continues to shine, but Lester continues to prove he was overrated and Beckett is struggling.The Red Sox have the weakest strength of schedule in all of baseball.
5. New York Mets (16-13|23)—The Metropolitans have won six in a row. They know how to get on base, leading the National League in on base percentage (.368) and coming second in batting average (.287). Beltran could bat .400 this year. Pitching continues to be a concern (excluding Santana's brilliance), but if the staff pitched like they pitched last week, this team is going to be dangerous.
6. Kansas City Royals (18-13|7)—The Royals won six in a row, up until playing the Angels.Greinke was excellent in his first loss, pitching a complete game while only yielding one earned run.Guillen is healthy and on a tear, which should really help their offense. The Royals pitching staff leads all of baseball with a 3.49 ERA.Callaspo has been good while Aviles continues his sophomore struggles.
7. Milwaukee Brewers (18-13|14)—The Brew Crew went 6-1 last week. The pitching staff leads all of baseball with 18 quality starts.The bullpen, however, also shares the lead in the MLB in blown saves with eight.Braun has been dazzling (.349, 8 HR, 28 RBI), and is a legitimate triple threat contender.Gallardo has also been amazing, but the rest of the starters need to be more consistent.
8. Cincinnati Reds (17-13|11)—Votto's injury wasn't good news for this team, but they still managed to win without him. This pitching staff is scary. Cueto has a 1.59 ERA and Harang and Volquez have returned to All Star form. The staff's ERA is 3.93, good for fifth best in all of baseball. The Reds, still, are the only team to not have blown a save all season, which is very impressive.
9. Detroit Tigers (16-13|8)—If the Tigers had a more consistent offense, they would run away in the AL Central. Cabrera is a legitimate triple crown threat, and nothing bad can be said about the all around play of Inge and Granderson. Imagine if Ordonez and Guillen returned to All Star form. Verlander has returned to his normal self, which is very scary for opponents. The staff has the fourth best ERA in baseball (3.87).
10. Texas Rangers (16-14|19)—When Hamilton comes back to this already explosive offense, it's going to explode even bigger. Kinsler and Young are putting excellent numbers. The Rangers lead the MLB in homers (50), slugging (.491), and extra base hits (120). They finally have a positive run differential (+9). Milwood continues to shine, but the rest of the staff has to be better. Francisco has been amazing out of the bullpen (0.00 ERA, nine saves).
11. Philadelphia Phillies (15-13|5)—The Phillies' offense and pitching are at opposite ends of the spectrum. The offense is the best team in the National League in homers (42) and slugging (.461). The pitching is the worst team in the National League in ERA (5.44) and quality starts (9). The Phillies still have the best defensive team in the MLB, only having committed eight errors. Ibanez and Utley continue to shine, and Howard has raised his average. Rollins needs to follow suit.
12. Los Angeles Angels (15-14|20)—Abreu, Hunter, and Napoli continue to be the spark for this offense. Morales has been a nice surprise and Kendrick can drive runs in. Saunders outperformed Greinke in an absolute gem, which is hard to do. Palmer has looked solid in all of his outings. It looks like the Angels are back with a good pitching staff. Catching up in the AL West will not be hard.
13. Chicago Cubs (16-14|13)—Right when the Cubs thought they got Ramirez back, he went down to injury again, which will hurt this offense. The Cubs need Lee, Bradley, and Soto to all return to their All Star form. They're all batting .200 or worse. Lily is their best pitcher now, as Zambrano went down with injury. More consistency is needed from Dempster and Harden. Hopefully, the Scales project will work out.
14. San Francisco Giants (15-14|17)—The Giants have a winning record, despite nobody on the team batting .300 or better. In fact, the Giants are bottom two in the National League in runs (102), hits (235), homers (16), RBI (94), total bases (342), on base percentage (.303), slugging (.357), and OPS (.659). Molina continues to be underrated. Lincecum and Cain continue to dazzle, combined with Zito returning to his Oakland form. The Giants could very easily win the NL West with their pitching.
15. Florida Marlins (17-14|10)—The fish continue to be the streakiest team in baseball. Hopefully for them, they go on a long winning streak soon. Ramirez is returning to form, and Cantu is their main offense, but they're going to need more than those two and Baker. Johnson and Volstad are still impressive, but Sanchez's injury combined with Nolasco's struggles do not spell good things.
16. Minnesota Twins (15-16|13)—Boy are they glad to have Mauer back (.483 batting average). Perkins is their only consistent starter. Slowey may have five wins, but that's due to run support as he has a 5.50 ERA.Morneau, Span, and Kubel continue to put up some great numbers, but could use more help. Casilla has been demoted and Gomez has reduced playing time.
17. Tampa Bay Rays (15-17|21)—There is no better three-four punch right now than Longoria/Pena. Pena and Longoria have 24 home runs and 76 RBI combined. Also, don't forget Longoria's .367 batting average. Crawford and Bartlett have also been on offensive tears. If Navarro and Upton would shape up, this team would be in contention. The starting pitching staff is improving, the bullpen needs some major work.
18. Chicago White Sox (14-15|15)—Konerko and Dye are all this offense has. Thome and Ramirez batting .200 is not going to get the job done. Quentin should return to form when he fully recovers. Buehrle has been sensational, and Danks and Colon have been consistent. The demotion of Contreras should really help this team out in terms of pitching.
19. Seattle Mariners (15-16|6)—The M's have now lost six in a row. Branyan and Lopez have cooled down significantly over the past week. Bedard and Washburn continue to perform well, but King Felix and the rest of the pitching staff must be more consistent (what's going to happen with Silva?)
20. New York Yankees (14-16|9)—The Bronx Bombers finished last week 1-6, including losing four to the Red Sox and Rays. Damon has been tearing things up offensively. If Teixeira would play like he's being paid to, the Yankees would be doing a lot better. More offense is needed, especially with Nady and Posada out. Hopefully for the Yankees, CC's last start was a sign of good things to come. Is this the end of the Rivera era?
21. Atlanta Braves (14-16|22)—Their pitching staff has consistently played well this year. Jurrjens has a 2.01 ERA and Vazquez pitches gem after gem. The team needs more offense from anybody. The Braves have lots of people batting for average (Jones, Kotchman, and Francouer), but not enough people driving in runs.
22. Houston Astros (13-17|25)—The story is the same. Lee and Pence continue to provide the offensive spark that won't be enough until the Big Puma starts batting better than .190. Rodriguez has been sensational for the pitching staff. Oswalt has yet to get his first win and Hampton and Ortiz continue their struggles. The Astros have also blown eight saves.
23. Baltimore Orioles (13-18|29)—This offense is so packed that it can explode at any time. Markakis continues to perform at MVP numbers, yet there are some people who have never even heard of him. Jones, Roberts, Scott, and Markakis are putting up great numbers. The pitching staff is the problem (.539 ERA, .294 batting average against, and only 10 quality starts).
24. San Diego Padres (13-18|24)—Gonzalez didn't get a single RBI last week and his batting average dropped oer .020 points. This team has no offense without Gonzalez. All of the starting pitching staff is struggling, including Peavy. The bullpen is phenomenal as Meredith has four wins and Bell has yet to yield an earned run.
25. Oakland Athletics (11-17|27)—The offense continues to struggle as the A's are the worst team in the American League in runs (121), hits (237), homers (18), total bases (342), batting average (.239), RBI (116), on base percentage (.312), slugging (.344), and OPS (.657). Braden and Cahill are consistent pitching wise, and the bullpen is a bright spot.
26. Arizona Diamondbacks (12-19|18)—They fired their manager. The problem is that they're bottom two in the National League in runs (110), hits (232), RBI (105), batting average (.226), on base percentage (.302), and OPS (.683). The pitching staff is coming around (Haren is a stud, Davis is doing well, and Garland is calming down), but they need support from the offense.
27. Pittsburgh Pirates (12-18|12)—The Bucs have now lost seven in a row, being outscored 46-17. The offense centers around Sanchez, McLouth, and Morgan, but that's not enough. Duke continues to do well, but Maholm and Ohlendorf had their worst performances of the year last week.
28. Washington Nationals (10-18|30)—The Nats finally move out of the last spot.They have a three game winning streak and have won six out of their last ten.Zimmerman has a 27-game hit streak and Dunn is still hovering around .300, but has finally taken the lead on his team in strikeouts. Better pitching is needed from Olsen, Zimmerman, and Cabrera.
29. Colorado Rockies (11-18|26)—Hawpe and Helton continue to perform well as each is batting .337. They need more help from Tulowitzki and Spilborghs.Marquis and De La Rosa continue to perform well, but the Rockies need Cook to return to his last year's form.
30. Cleveland Indians (11-20|28)—Sizemore can drive runs in (22 RBI), but is going to have to bat a lot better than .227 if this the Tribe is going to be successful. Lee has a 3.45 ERA, but is 1-5 due to lack of run support. Carmona and Pavano need to shape up.
Biggest climb: The New York Mets climbed 18 spots from No. 23 to No. 5 by winning six in a row and sitting atop the NL East.
Biggest fall: The Pittsburgh Pirates dropped 15 spots from No. 12 to No. 27 by losing seven in a row and sitting at the bottom of the NL Central.
Best team average: The Toronto Blue Jays have the best ranking average of 1.6 by maintaining the top spot for four weeks and being fourth once.
Worst team average: The Washington Nationals have the worst team ranking of 29.6 by maintaining the bottom spot for four week and being No. 28 once.
Teams yet to fall out of the top ten: Blue Jays, Dodgers, and Cardinals
Teams yet to climb out of the bottom ten: Nationals, Indians, and Astros
Teams who have not done worse since Week One: Dodgers, Red Sox, Reds, Brewers, and Nationals
Note: no team has failed to ever move up in the rankings and no team has yet to experience either the top or bottom ten.
Prediction of the week: The Dodgers will lose five games.
Division Rankings/Picture (Record|Last Week's Ranking):
*Divisional rankings are based on the average power rankings.
1. AL East (82-75|1): Tor (1), Bos (4), Tam (17), Nyy (20), and Bal (23).
2. NL Central (95-87|2): Stl (3), Mil (7), Cin (8), Chc (13), Hou (22), and Pit (27).
3. AL Central (74-77|3): Kan (6), Det (9), Min (16), Chw (18), and Cle (30).
4. NL East (73-75|5): Nym (5), Phi (11), Fla (15), Atl (21), and Was (28).
5. AL West (57-61|5): Tex (10), Laa (12), Sea (19), and Oak (25).
6. NL West (73-79|6): Lad (2), Saf (14), Sad (24), Ari (26), and Col (29).
If the playoffs started today...
1. Toronto v. 3. Texas
2. Kansas City v. 4. Boston
1. Los Angeles v. 4. Milwaukee
2. St. Louis v. 3. New York/Florida
If awards were given out today...
AL MVP: Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay Rays)
NL MVP: Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers)
AL Cy: Zack Greinke (Kansas City Royals)
NL Cy: Johan Santana (New York Mets)
AL RoY: Andrew Bailey (Oakland Athletics)
NL RoY: Colby Rasmus (St. Louis Cardinals)
AL MoY: Cito Gaston (Toronto Blue Jays)
NL MoY: Joe Torre (Los Angeles Dodgers)
AL Comeback: Victor Martinez (Cleveland Indians)
NL Comeback: Nick Johnson (Washington Nationals)
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