MLB Power Rankings: Updated Standings and Analysis

Benjamin Klein@BenjaminJKleinContributor IIIAugust 5, 2013

MLB Power Rankings: Updated Standings and Analysis

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    Things are starting to heat up in Major League Baseball.

    The July 31 trade deadline has come and gone, and now all focus shifts to the playoff races. Nearly all of the divisions are competitive, and the hunt to clinch a spot in each league’s Wild Card Game should be one of the most interesting things to watch as the final stretch of the 2013 season gets underway.

    On the following slides, you’ll find how each team stacks up against the others in the league. Each slide has the team's current rank, its rank from last week, its results from the past week and its schedule for the upcoming week. Keep in mind that the schedule is from August 5-11, even if a series extends past the 11th.

    Since not every club is still in the hunt for a spot in the postseason, we’ll be looking at a topic that applies to every team: free agency. Each team will have players hitting the open market once the offseason commences, and this week, we’re looking at the top impending free agent in each organization.

    Be sure to check back each week for updated power rankings.

    All statistics in this article were obtained via FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. All contract information was obtained via Cot’s Contracts and all injury information was obtained via Baseball Prospectus.

30. Houston Astros (36-74, LW: 30)

1 of 30

    Last Week's Results (1-5)

    at Baltimore Orioles (1-2)

    at Minnesota Twins (0-3)


    Top Impending Free Agent: No One

    The Astros don’t really have any notable players hitting the market this winter, but that really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Houston has been rebuilding the club in recent years, and the majority of the team is under contract for the long run or still in arbitration years.

    Nearly all of Houston’s roster should be back for the 2014 season, pending it trades or releases anyone in the coming months. General manager Jeff Luhnow has done a good job at stacking the team’s minor league system and locking up the players he knows will be a big part of the future, such as Jose Altuve.


    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Boston Red Sox (3)

    vs. Texas Rangers (3)

29. Chicago White Sox (40-69, LW: 29)

2 of 30

    Last Week's Results (0-7)

    at Cleveland Indians (0-4)

    at Detroit Tigers (0-3)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Paul Konerko, First Baseman

    Paul Konerko may be forced to hang up his cleats at the end of the season, as he has virtually no value after the terrible year he’s had thus far. The former slugger has had a rough time offensively in 2013, and it appears that he doesn’t have much left in the tank. Still, a club could sign him hoping that this season has been a fluke.

    Through 80 games, Konerko is hitting .241/.303/.353 with eight home runs and 36 RBI. He hasn’t finished a season with fewer than 20 home runs since 2003. It doesn’t seem likely that he’s going to hit 12 more the rest of the way to match that mark. He has just been painful to watch, and it will affect his next contract—if he gets one.


    This Week's Opponents

    vs. New York Yankees (3)

    vs. Minnesota Twins (4)

28. Chicago Cubs (49-62, LW: 21)

3 of 30

    Last Week's Results (1-7)

    vs. Milwaukee Brewers (1-3)

    vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (0-4)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Dioner Navarro, Catcher

    The Cubs have already gotten rid of a lot of their players who had expiring contracts, leaving Dioner Navarro as the most valuable player set to hit the market at the season’s conclusion. He won’t land a job as a starting catcher for next year, but he will definitely be a good backup option for many organizations.

    Navarro is having a strong year at the plate even though he’s only played in 59 games. In 2013, he’s hitting .291/.365/.503 with nine home runs and 20 RBI. That’s a lot of production for playing so sporadically. He’ll set a new career high if he hits one more home run and could also set a new personal best if he hits over .295.


    This Week's Opponents

    at Philadelphia Phillies (3)

    at St. Louis Cardinals (3)

27. Miami Marlins (43-67, LW: 28)

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    Last Week's Results (3-4)

    vs. New York Mets (2-2)

    vs. Cleveland Indians (1-2)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Juan Pierre, Outfielder

    Juan Pierre isn’t the player he once was, but while he'll be 36 years old soon, this might not be the last contract he has. Pierre told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald that he plans to throw his name out there over the winter and see if he can get a new deal. He did say that “it’s a strong possibility” that he retires.

    Pierre hasn’t been very productive for the Marlins this season, and the veteran is really only a platoon outfielder at this point in his career. He’s played in at least 100 games in each of the last six years and should hit the century mark in 2013, but his offense isn’t there anymore. He’s only hitting .245/.286/.299 this season.


    This Week's Opponents

    at Pittsburgh Pirates (3)

    at Atlanta Braves (3)

26. Philadelphia Phillies (50-61, LW: 26)

5 of 30

    Last Week's Results (1-5)

    vs. San Francisco Giants (1-2)

    vs. Atlanta Braves (0-3)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Chase Utley, Second Baseman

    Chase Utley will be up for grabs this offseason. That could change, though, as the Phillies are working on signing him to an extension, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. It’s a smart move by Philadelphia, as the club doesn’t have an immediate replacement at second base.

    Injuries have plagued the Phillies veteran in recent seasons, as Utley has failed to play in at least 120 games since the 2009 campaign. He’s having a strong year for the struggling Phils, as he’s batting .269/.331/.495 with 15 homers and 40 RBI through 82 games. He’s definitely injury-prone, though.


    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Chicago Cubs (3)

    at Washington Nationals (3)

25. Colorado Rockies (52-61, LW: 17)

6 of 30

    Last Week's Results (1-6)

    at Atlanta Braves (0-4)

    at Pittsburgh Pirates (1-2)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Jorge de la Rosa, Starting Pitcher

    Jorge de la Rosa is one of the top pitchers the Rockies have in their organization, and it seems like he'll be back with Colorado for another year. The team’s owner, Dick Monfort, told Thomas Harding of that the organization plans to pick up the pitcher’s option for the 2014 season.

    It’s a smart move by Colorado, as de la Rosa has been very effective on the mound. Through 23 starts, he’s 10-6 with a 3.31 ERA. He’s averaging 6.1 strikeouts and 3.2 walks per nine innings of work. The lefty has only made 36 starts from 2011 through this year, but that doesn’t seem to scare the Rockies.


    This Week's Opponents

    at New York Mets (3)

    vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (3)

24. Milwaukee Brewers (47-64, LW: 27)

7 of 30

    Last Week's Results (4-3)

    at Chicago Cubs (3-1)

    vs. Washington Nationals (1-2)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Corey Hart, Outfielder/First Baseman

    Corey Hart has yet to take the field for the Brewers this season due to a knee injury. Despite that, he’s still the top player set to hit the open market come the offseason. He’s been a solid option in the heart of Milwaukee’s lineup for the last few seasons.

    Hart hit .270/.334/.507 with 30 home runs and 83 RBI through 149 games. He’s hit at least 20 home runs in five of his last six seasons, and this season will be the first in three years where he didn’t play in at least 130 games. His knee could be a concern for clubs this winter, but if healthy, he could be very valuable.


    This Week's Opponents

    at San Francisco Giants (4)

    at Seattle Mariners (3)

23. New York Mets (49-60, LW: 25)

8 of 30

    Last Week's Results (3-4)

    at Miami Marlins (2-2)

    vs. Kansas City Royals (1-2)


    Top Impending Free Agent: John Buck, Catcher

    John Buck may not be slugging like he did in April, but a team with limited funds could use him as a starting catcher. He could also be signed as a strong backup catcher. He’s proven that he has power, and he could be a valuable right-handed option off the bench for a contending club.

    Buck hit nine home runs and drove in 25 runs for the Mets in April. However, he’s only hit five long balls since May began. In 91 games for New York this season, the catcher is only hitting .216/.281/.374 with 14 homers and 56 RBI. He’s hit double-digit home runs in each of the last four seasons, though.


    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Colorado Rockies (3)

    at Arizona Diamondbacks (3)

22. Seattle Mariners (52-59, LW: 20)

9 of 30

    Last Week's Results (2-4)

    at Boston Red Sox (0-3)

    at Baltimore Orioles (2-1)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Kendrys Morales, First Baseman

    The Mariners would be wise to bring Kendrys Morales back for at least one more season, as he’s been one of the team’s top offensive players this year. Through 106 games, the switch-hitter is batting .296/.350/.482 with 17 home runs and 63 RBI. He’s arguably having his best season since 2009 (.306, 34 HR, 108 RBI).

    Morales told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that he’d like to stay with Seattle going forward, but he isn’t going to talk about his contract until the end of the season. He’ll definitely be one of the more sought out players over the winter, as his ability to hit from both sides of the plate with power will be valuable to many clubs.


    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Toronto Blue Jays (3)

    vs. Milwaukee Brewers (3)

21. San Francisco Giants (41-61, LW: 24)

10 of 30

    Last Week's Results (3-3)

    at Philadelphia Phillies (2-1)

    at Tampa Bay Rays (1-2)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Hunter Pence, Outfielder

    San Francisco opted to stick with Hunter Pence for the remainder of the season, even though the team isn’t likely to make a late push for the postseason. Pence’s contract expires at the end of the season, and one would assume that the Giants will make him a qualifying offer to stay for 2014.

    Pence is hitting .280/.323/.457 with 14 home runs, 51 RBI, 58 runs and 15 stolen bases through 110 games this year. If he declines a potential qualifying offer, he’ll likely be the third-best outfielder on the open market. He could potentially get a large multi-year deal, and San Francisco should do everything it can to keep him.


    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Milwaukee Brewers (4)

    vs. Baltimore Orioles (3)

20. Minnesota Twins (48-60, LW: 23)

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    Last Week's Results (3-3)

    vs. Kansas City Royals (0-3)

    vs. Houston Astros (3-0)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Justin Morneau, First Baseman

    For whatever reason, the Twins decided to hang on to Justin Morneau past the July 31 trade deadline. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll be with the team for the rest of the year, but it was surprising that Minnesota didn’t get anything in return from him considering it doesn’t seem likely it’ll bring him back for the future.

    Morneau’s offense has been going downhill, as he’s far from an MVP candidate these days. Through 102 games this year, the first baseman is hitting .268/.326/.412 with 10 home runs and 57 RBI. He could still be a solid first baseman or designated hitter, but a team would be foolish to give him a multi-year deal at this point.


    This Week's Opponents

    at Kansas City Royals (3)

    at Chicago White Sox (4)

19. Washington Nationals (54-57, LW: 16)

12 of 30

    Last Week's Results (2-3)

    at Detroit Tigers (0-2)

    at Milwaukee Brewers (2-1)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Dan Haren, Starting Pitcher

    Dan Haren is having a horrific season for the Nationals, but considering most of the organization’s players are under contract for the foreseeable future, he’s the top guy set to become a free agent at the end of the year. Teams should be very wary about what the right-hander’s future holds, as he’s really struggled in 2013.

    Through 20 starts, the righty is 6-11 with a 5.14 ERA. Haren has never been good at keeping the ball in the park, and his trend of allowing plenty of home runs each year has continued this season. In 112 innings of work, he’s served up 21 home runs. His career high is 31. He might break that if he continues to pitch poorly.


    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Atlanta Braves (3)

    vs. Philadelphia Phillies (3)

18. San Diego Padres (52-60, LW: 22)

13 of 30

    Last Week's Results (4-2)

    vs. Cincinnati Reds (2-1)

    vs. New York Yankees (2-1)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Edinson Volquez, Starting Pitcher

    Edinson Volquez hasn’t done a good job at auditioning for potential suitors for next season. The right-hander used to be an above-average starter, but he has really fallen off as of late. This season has been more than forgettable for the veteran, as he’s really struggled for the Padres.

    Through 23 starts, Volquez is 8-8 and has a 5.56 ERA. He hasn’t completed a season with an ERA under 4.00 since 2008, when he was a member of the Reds. Walks seem to be his biggest issue, as he’s issuing an average of 4.3 free passes per nine innings this year. Even though that’s horrible, it’s still below his career average (4.82).


    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Baltimore Orioles (2)

    at Cincinnati Reds (3)

17. Toronto Blue Jays (51-60, LW: 19)

14 of 30

    Last Week's Results (3-4)

    at Oakland Athletics (2-1)

    at Los Angeles Angels (1-3)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Casey Janssen, Relief Pitcher

    Don’t be surprised if Casey Janssen is back with the Blue Jays next season. He’s been one of the club’s most reliable relievers this year, and his $4 million option for 2014 is a bargain. He’s been great out of Toronto’s bullpen the last three seasons, and he arguably deserves more than $4 million next season.

    The righty has allowed nine earned runs in 35.1 innings of work this season for a 2.29 ERA. If he gets that ERA lower than 2.26, he’ll set a new career best. Janssen also has 19 saves on the year and has only blown a pair of opportunities. He’ll likely be the team’s closer again next year.


    This Week's Opponents

    at Seattle Mariners (3)

    vs. Oakland Athletics (3)

16. Los Angeles Angels (51-59, LW: 18)

15 of 30

    Last Week's Results (3-4)

    at Texas Rangers (0-3)

    vs. Toronto Blue Jays (3-1)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Jason Vargas, Starting Pitcher

    Jason Vargas is having a strong season for the Angels, who have been a massive disappointment in 2013. The lefty is 6-4 with a 3.65 ERA. If he can maintain that ERA for the remainder of 2013, he’ll have a new career best. That should definitely aid him heading into the offseason.

    His strikeout rate will also help. Vargas hasn’t averaged more than six strikeouts per nine innings since his rookie season. But this year, he’s struck out 62 batters in 91.1 innings of work (6.11 per nine). He would be a great arm to have in the middle or back end of a contender’s rotation.


    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Texas Rangers (3)

    at Cleveland Indians (3)

15. Arizona Diamondbacks (56-55, LW: 13)

16 of 30

    Last Week's Results (2-4)

    at Tampa Bay Rays (1-1)

    at Texas Rangers (0-1)

    at Boston Red Sox (1-2)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Eric Chavez, Corner Infielder

    Eric Chavez is one of the best bargains in baseball. Though he’s signed to just a one-year deal worth $3 million, he’s made a major impact in Arizona’s offense. He’s hitting .298/.345/.530 with nine home runs and 37 RBI in 59 games for the Diamondbacks. Arizona has to be happy with how well he’s hitting.

    Teams will likely be calling Chavez’s agent nonstop over the winter, as he is a great piece to have off the bench. He still has a good amount of power and can play a variety of positions, including corner infield and designated hitter. He has a few good years left. 


    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Tampa Bay Rays (2)

    vs. New York Mets (3)

14. New York Yankees (57-53, LW: 12)

17 of 30

    Last Week's Results (2-3)

    at Los Angeles Dodgers (1-1)

    at San Diego Padres (1-2)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Robinson Cano, Second Baseman

    Robinson Cano is easily the top impending free agent, as he has been the complete package. He’s been the centerpiece of the Yankees lineup the last few seasons, and he is again having an impressive year. In 110 games this year, Cano is hitting .288/.369/.490 with 21 homers and 70 RBI.

    It will be interesting to see if the Yankees manage to bring him back. He’s certainly going to get a monster contract, but other teams may have the money to lure him away from New York. The Dodgers could definitely be an option, as they haven’t been reluctant to spend and could use an MVP-caliber second baseman.


    This Week's Opponents

    at Chicago White Sox (3)

    vs. Detroit Tigers (3)

13. Cincinnati Reds (61-51, LW: 9)

18 of 30

    Last Week's Results (2-4)

    at San Diego Padres (1-2)

    vs. St. Louis Cardinals (1-2)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Shin-Soo Choo, Outfielder

    Shin-Soo Choo is one of the best outfielders that you rarely hear much about. He’s about as consistent as he could be when he’s healthy, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the Reds tried to sign him to an extension before the end of the year. He’s played as expected since Cincinnati acquired him over the winter.

    The outfielder is hitting .281/.416/.461 with 15 home runs and 35 RBI. He’s scored 73 runs and stolen 12 bases this year as well. He might not be the best defensive outfielder in baseball—even though he doesn’t make many errors—but he should still land a lucrative deal during the offseason, if not earlier, from the Reds.


    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Oakland Athletics (2)

    vs. San Diego Padres (3)

12. Oakland Athletics (64-47, LW: 6)

19 of 30

    Last Week's Results (2-4)

    vs. Toronto Blue Jays (1-2)

    vs. Texas Rangers (1-2)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Bartolo Colon, Starting Pitcher

    Bartolo Colon is one of the reasons why the Athletics have been so good this season. Through 22 games, the veteran right-hander is 14-3 with a 2.50 ERA. He doesn’t strike many batters out—just 4.75 per nine innings—but he rarely gives out free passes. He only has 21 walks in 147.2 innings in 2013.

    While Colon may be a contender to win the AL Cy Young Award this season, it isn’t all good news for him. He’s been involved in the Biogenesis scandal, but he will avoid a suspension, according to John Hickey of the San Jose Mercury News. He served a suspension last year, and it’ll be interesting to see if it affects his next contract.


    This Week's Opponents

    at Cincinnati Reds (2)

    at Toronto Blue Jays (3)

11. Kansas City Royals (56-52, LW: 14)

20 of 30

    Last Week's Results (5-1)

    at Minnesota Twins (3-0)

    at New York Mets (2-1)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Ervin Santana, Starting Pitcher

    Ervin Santana should probably expect a qualifying offer from the Royals at the end of the year. Kansas City decided to hang on to him through the trade deadline, and that’s probably so it could still contend this season and make him a qualifying offer once the season concludes.

    Santana is in his first year with the Royals, and he’s really pitched well for the club. In 22 starts, the righty is 8-6 with a 2.97 ERA. That ERA would be a new career best if he can maintain for the remainder of 2013. His command has been great this year, as he’s only walking 2.00 batters per nine innings.


    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Minnesota Twins (3)

    vs. Boston Red Sox (4)

10. Cleveland Indians (62-49, LW: 15)

21 of 30

    Last Week's Results (6-1)

    vs. Chicago White Sox (4-0)

    at Miami Marlins (2-1)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Ubaldo Jimenez, Starting Pitcher

    Ubaldo Jimenez is one of the most intriguing players set to hit the market at the end of this season. He was a stud in the rotation for the Rockies, but he hasn’t been nearly as effective on the mound in Cleveland. This season has been decent for the righty, but he still needs to improve.

    Even though Jimenez is 8-6 this season, his ERA is still at 4.18. Yes, that’s better than it was a year ago, when he set a career worst with a 5.40 ERA. But this guy is walking way too many batters. He’s issuing an average of 4.8 free passes per nine innings in 2013. His command must improve going forward.


    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Detroit Tigers (4)

    vs. Los Angeles Angels (3)

9. Baltimore Orioles (61-51, LW: 10)

22 of 30

    Last Week's Results (3-3)

    vs. Houston Astros (2-1)

    vs. Seattle Mariners (1-2)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Nate McLouth, Outfielder

    Nate McLouth has been great for the Orioles this year. He’s done a fine job manning left field as well as hitting high up in the lineup. Through 100 games, the outfielder is hitting .283/.350/.420 with seven home runs, 23 RBI and 60 runs. He’s really flaunted his speed too, as he has a new career high with 25 steals.

    McLouth won’t be one of the top outfielders on the market this summer, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Baltimore brought him back for another year. He’s done nothing but good things for the team this season, and the club could probably get him for cheap. Baltimore also doesn’t currently have a better option for 2014.


    This Week's Opponents

    at San Diego Padres (2)

    at San Francisco Giants (3)

8. Texas Rangers (62-50, LW: 11)

23 of 30

    Last Week's Results (6-1)

    vs. Los Angeles Angels (3-0)

    vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (1-0)

    at Oakland Athletics (2-1)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Matt Garza, Starting Pitcher

    Even though the Rangers just acquired Matt Garza, it doesn’t mean that he'll be staying with the club for very long. The right-hander is 7-2 on the season with a 3.09 ERA through 14 starts between Texas and Chicago. As long as his ERA doesn’t jump to 3.32 going forward, he’ll set a new personal best.

    While Garza is an attractive option for teams seeking a top-of-the-rotation guy, organizations should be aware of his strikeout rate. He’s struck out at least eight batters per nine innings in each of the last two seasons. This year, however, he’s averaging just 7.52 strikeouts per nine. He needs to ring up more batters.


    This Week's Opponents

    at Los Angeles Angels (3)

    at Houston Astros (3)

7. St. Louis Cardinals (65-45, LW: 2)

24 of 30

    Last Week's Results (3-5)

    vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (1-4)

    at Cincinnati Reds (2-1)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Carlos Beltran, Outfielder

    The Cardinals need to do whatever it takes to ensure that Carlos Beltran is back with the club past this season. He’s been one of the most essential pieces of the team’s offense, and he is also a big reason why St. Louis will likely make the playoffs this year. The club can't afford to lose him. 

    Through 97 games, Beltran is hitting .302/.337/.514 with 19 home runs and 58 RBI. If the Cardinals decide against bringing him back, it’ll likely be because his power is down from a year ago (32 home runs in 2012) and because he isn’t walking much (5.2 percent walk rate in 2013; career walk rate of 10.5 percent).


    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (4)

    vs. Chicago Cubs (3)

6. Los Angeles Dodgers (61-49, LW: 7)

25 of 30

    Last Week's Results (5-1)

    vs. New York Yankees (1-1)

    at Chicago Cubs (4-0)


    Top Impending Free Agent: J.P. Howell, Relief Pitcher

    The Dodgers don’t have a ton of players set to hit the free-agent market this winter, but J.P. Howell is one guy to keep an eye on. While he might not be the most notable reliever in baseball, he’s been very valuable for Los Angeles in 2013. He’s allowed 11 earned runs in 45.2 innings of work this year (2.17 ERA).

    This year has been big for Howell, as he hasn't been very impressive the last two seasons. In 2011 with the Rays, he had a 6.16 ERA in 30.2 innings. Last season, also with the Rays, he had a 3.04 ERA in 50.1 innings, but he averaged 3.93 walks per nine innings. His walk rate is down to 3.35 per nine this year.


    This Week's Opponents

    at St. Louis Cardinals (4)

    vs. Tampa Bay Rays (3)

5. Detroit Tigers (64-45, LW: 4)

26 of 30

    Last Week's Results (5-0)

    vs. Washington Nationals (2-0)

    vs. Chicago White Sox (3-0)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Joaquin Benoit, Relief Pitcher

    Joaquin Benoit was one of the top eighth-inning relievers in baseball, but Detroit’s need for a closer required him to step into the role. So far, he’s done a solid job for the Tigers, which has increased his stock going forward. Teams now know they can use him in either role, and he’s bound to be successful.

    In 45 appearances this season for Detroit, Benoit is 2-0 with a 1.40 ERA in 45 innings of work. He’s averaging 10.6 strikeouts and 2.6 walks per nine innings, and he has yet to blow a save this season. The righty is also stranding 90.5 percent of runners in 2013, which is a very impressive percentage. He’s having a career year.


    This Week's Opponents

    at Cleveland Indians (4)

    at New York Yankees (3)

4. Tampa Bay Rays (66-45, LW: 1)

27 of 30

    Last Week's Results (4-2)

    at Boston Red Sox (1-0)

    vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (1-1)

    vs. San Francisco Giants (2-1)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Fernando Rodney, Relief Pitcher

    Fernando Rodney was one of the best closers in baseball a year ago. In 76 appearances, the righty was 48-for-50 in save opportunities and allowed just five earned runs in 74.2 innings for a 0.60 ERA. This year has been a bit of disaster for him, though, and that could impact how much he gets in the winter.

    Rodney has appeared in 47 games for the Rays this season and is 27-of-32 in save opportunities. His command hasn’t been good at all, as he’s walked 5.52 batters per nine innings of work. He’s still striking out nine batters per nine, but he’s been a big liability at times for Tampa Bay in 2013.


    This Week's Opponents

    at Arizona Diamondbacks (2)

    at Los Angeles Dodgers (3)

3. Boston Red Sox (68-45, LW: 5)

28 of 30

    Last Week's Results (5-2)

    vs. Tampa Bay Rays (0-1)

    vs. Seattle Mariners (3-0)

    vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (2-1)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Jacoby Ellsbury, Outfielder

    It doesn’t seem that Jacoby Ellsbury is going to be a power-hitting center fielder like some may have thought a few years ago. He hit 32 home runs in 2011, but he has only hit nine home runs combined the last two seasons—though, granted, he was only able to play in 74 games in 2012.

    Ellsbury’s free-agent stock is still sky high, though. He’s been fantastic for the Red Sox this season, as he’s batting .302/.361/.426 with five homers, 38 RBI, 67 runs and 40 stolen bases. It will be interesting to see if Boston is able to bring him back considering the outfield talent it has in the minor leagues.


    This Week's Opponents

    at Houston Astros (3)

    at Kansas City Royals (4)

2. Atlanta Braves (67-45, LW: 8)

29 of 30

    Last Week's Results (7-0)

    vs. Colorado Rockies (4-0)

    at Philadelphia Phillies (3-0)


    Top Impending Free Agent: Brian McCann, Catcher

    Teams looking for a starting catcher in the offseason will certainly be looking to land Brian McCann. Atlanta may not have the funds or the need to bring him back, but he’ll certainly earn himself a sizable contract for the next few seasons. He’s about as consistent as it comes from behind the plate.

    McCann is hitting .286/.370/.537 with 16 home runs and 44 RBI this season, even though he’s only played in 67 games. If he hits four home runs throughout the remainder of the year, he’ll have hit at least 20 long balls in six consecutive seasons. This guy still has a lot of power, and he will be a hot commodity over the winter.


    This Week's Opponents

    at Washington Nationals (3)

    vs. Miami Marlins (3)

1. Pittsburgh Pirates (67-44, LW: 3)

30 of 30

    Last Week's Results (6-2)

    vs. St. Louis Cardinals (4-1)

    vs. Colorado Rockies (2-1)


    Top Impending Free Agent: A.J. Burnett, Starting Pitcher

    If A.J. Burnett never went to the Yankees, he might be considered one of the top pitchers in baseball. He put together a fine season for the Pirates a year ago, going 16-10 with a 3.51 ERA through 31 starts and 202.1 innings of work. This year, he’s been somewhat better in a few categories.

    Through 20 starts, the right-hander is 5-7, but he currently has a 2.73 ERA. If he can keep his ERA that low throughout the remainder of the season, he’ll set a new career low. He’s walking an average of 3.36 batters per nine innings of work, which is high, but it’s still lower than his career average of 3.69.


    This Week's Opponents

    vs. Miami Marlins (3)

    at Colorado Rockies (3)