Below is a list I have compiled based on the power rankings of Major League Baseball teams. Enjoy!
1. Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox have a good offense and a great top of the rotation with Josh Beckett and John Lester. Their weakness is their age, as many of their players get injured and they need more production out of the back of their rotation with Daisuke out.
2. New York Yankees
The Yankees are up to their old tricks and that is mashing the hell out of the ball. They boast the best lineup in baseball but have some major holes in the pitching staff. The top of their rotation and Mariano Rivera are nasty but the rest of the staff is mediocre.
3. Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies and Dodgers are the class of the National League and no other NL team has a chance in October vs. these two. The Phillies have a great lineup and the Roger Maris (Raul Ibanez) addition was exactly what Philly needed to stay on top. They have a great offense and a good bullpen but they may need Roy Halladay if they want to repeat.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are everyone’s favorite team and ,what do you know, an LA team is the sexy pick of the 2009 season. Their lineup is great and they have a nice top of the rotation, but can they count on Clayton Kershaw in October? He will likely set a new career high in IP this season and I am not so sure about Randy Wolf, Hiroki Kuroda, Jeff Weaver, and Jason Schmidt in the post season.
5. Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays snuck up on everyone last season and the brutal AL East is not letting them this season. They have a ridiculous lineup, play great defense, run the bases well, have speed and power but they play in the best division in baseball and three AL East teams cannot make the playoffs.
6. Los Angeles Angels
Can I be honest?Thanks.
The Los Angeles Angels have no business being 14 games over .500, no business. They have battled injuries (Vladimir Guerrero, Torii Hunter, Kelvim Escobar, John Lackey, Scot Shields) all season long and have also worked around the Nick Adenhardt tragedy. The pitching staff has struggled all season but the offense can beat you in so many ways. For some reason this is a good AL team and I do not get it.
7. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs own MLB’s third highest payroll and have a bunch of players under performing, hence their mediocre record. Alfonso Soriano, Milton Bradley, and the offense have struggled all season long but the pitching remains the strength. The Cubs remain the favorites to win the NL Central.
8. Chicago White Sox
The South Siders have been without 2008 MVP candidate Carlos Quentin for over a month now and have not rushed him back due to their winning ways. He is now back and the Sox find themselves only 1.5 GB of the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers. The Sox have had a mediocre season but have not collectively played well and are the most talented team in the AL Central.
9. Toronto Blue Jays
If the Jays did not play in the AL East they would be in a much better spot than fourth place and out of the playoff picture. They would probably be in second place in the AL West and most likely on top of the AL Central. They have a dynamic offense led by the emerging Adam Lind and are looking to get a nice package for Roy Halladay. I think trading Halladay will help them long term and they may wait to deal him until next season.
10. St Louis Cardinals
The Cards have the best player in MLB in Albert Pujols but with Ryan Ludwick and Rick Ankiel having down years, teams are starting to pitch around the 2009 MVP. The starting staff is very good and the bullpen is OK but the offense has really struggled lately, hence the Mark DeRosa trade. If someone decides to hit on this team the Cardinals can give the Cubs a run.
11. Texas Rangers
The Rangers have been terrific all season long but I think they are starting to feel the Texas heat. They stumbled out of the second half box by nearly being swept at home vs. an average Twins team and now face the best team in baseball this week. I cannot take serious any team with a starting pitching staff like that.
12. Colorado Rockies
The Rockies are a good team. Not a great division winning, playoff bound team but a nice fun team. I love Ian Stewart, Dexter Fowler, Troy Tulowitzki, and Brad Hawpe but I cannot take Cy Young, er (cough), excuse me Jason Marquis serious. The starting staff is average at best and when Jason Marquis and Aaron Cook are your best starters you are not going the playoffs. Want a sleeper team for Roy Halladay?
13. San Francisco Giants
Besides Ben Zobrist, Jason Marquis, and the Mariners the Giants have become 2009’s biggest surprise. Days after being promoted from the Giant bullpen Jonathan O. Sanchez captivated America for a night by tossing a no hitter. I cannot take that offense serious but I can take that pitching staff very serious.
14. Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers are another fun team to watch since they have one of the best hitting combos in baseball. Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Yovani Gallardo, and Trevor Hoffman are all scary but the rest of the team is below average. If they did not trade for C.C. Sabathia last season they might be in the running for Roy Halladay. Oops!
15. Baltimore Orioles
Just another case of good team wrong division. The Orioles showcase one of the best young offenses in baseball but any team with Rich Hill in the rotation is not a contender. Baltimore has a few nice young pitchers ready to be called up but they will not be effective for another few years. One thing the Red Sox and Yankees do not have is Adam “Don’t Call Me Pac Man” Jones.
16. Seattle Mariners
The M’s might be the biggest surprising team of 2009. Obviously Ichiro has a lot to do with the team’s success but the emergence of Russell Branyan and Franklin Gutierrez has led to the team being six games over .500. The pitching staff has also been dominant and when you have great pitching you are going to win a lot of games. They need a lot of help but if Seattle can make some moves to help out the offense they can contend as early as this season.
17. Detroit Tigers
The AL Central leading Tigers are playing well over their spikes. Any team that starts Ryan Raburn, Clete Thomas, Gerald Laird, Adam Everett and if this was a normal year Brandon Inge will not contend for anything. With a few breaks (Carlos Quentin’s injury) the Tigers have found themselves atop the AL Central but now that Carlos Quentin is back the Tigers will not be there long.
18. Minnesota Twins
The Twins quite possibly have the best 3—for—4 hitting combo of all time in Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. Mauer has actually been struggling lately but that goes for a lot of his teammates. Carlos Gomez, Kevin Slowey, Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, and Delmon Young are all under performing and if they do not pick it up, the division will be lost in a month.
19. Florida Marlins
A lot of people thought this would be the year where the Fish contend but it turns out they are still a few years away. Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson are two of the best players to build a franchise around but the rest of the team is mediocre. They have a nice young staff, which is nice for the future but not the present. The offense swings and misses too much and Marlins management will need to make some personnel changes next season.
20. Atlanta Braves
If the Mets were any good this season the Braves would be even worse. The NL East is not very good this season and the Braves are struggling to reach .500. Any team with Garret Anderson and Ryan Church starting is not going to win very many games. I love their top three starters.
21. Houston Astros
The ‘Stros are at the .500 mark due to their lackluster starting pitching staff. Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez have been great all season but when you trot out Mike Hampton, Russ Ortiz, and Brian Moehler you will not win very many games.
22. Cincinnati Reds
Although the Reds find themselves only 5.5 GB this team does not have what it takes to contend for a division title. Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto are both good hitters but the Jay Bruce injury really hurt their already anemic offense. The pitching staff is filled with names (Harang, Volquez, Cueto, Bailey) but they cannot collectively get it together. Until they do, the Reds will struggle.
23. New York Mets
It is something new every year with this team. This season they have a legitimate excuse as many of their stars have landed on the DL. There is little a team can do when you lose names like Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Calros Delgado, and John Maine but maybe it is karma for signing a clown like Oliver Perez to a lucrative long term deal.
24. Pittsburgh Pirates
Hey, hey, the Pirates are not that bad! Well, they are still bad but for the first time in years they have coveted players. They finally called up Andrew McCutchen and minor league stud Pedro Alvarez should be the starting 3B next season. The Bucs have been actively shopping Jack Wilson, Adam LaRoche, and Freddy Sanchez but will not likely receive anything but middle relievers in return. Pittsburgh is still many years away from contending.
25. Arizona Diamondbacks
Two years ago Arizona was the envy of the NL. They were a very young team in the NLCS with a very bright future. Well Chris Young turned into a pumpkin, they traded Carlos Quentin, and Brandon Webb’s injury is not helping this season. This season is going to be a tough one to take but Arizona should be able to contend for a division title very soon.
26. San Diego Padres
The Pads are bad. Not as bad as some but there are not very many players I would want on my team that play in America’s most beautiful city. The Jake Peavy injury hurt them not only in the standings but now teams do not want to trade for him. Adrian Gonzalez is the man and the rest of the team is dreadful.
27. Kansas City Royals
Although I expected more out of the Royals this season, it is not all their fault. They traded away their best reliever Ramon Ramirez for Coco Crisp and Coco played only 49 games before being injured and out for the season. Other injuries to Alex Gordon, Mike Aviles, and Kyle Farnsworth, have also hurt KC’s chances of winning anything. Maybe next season they can stay healthy and hopefully win over 81 games.
28. Oakland A’s
I also expected more out of Oakland this season but maybe I was just being foolish. The offense is very bad and Matt Holliday is not helping himself score that $150 million this off—season. The offense is old and the pitching is too young. Due to their young staff the A’s will be good in a few years, very good.
29. Cleveland Indians
Everyone wants the manager fired but GM Mark Shapiro took full responsibility for his team’s pathetic play. The offense is fine but they and the Nationals might have the worst pitching staffs in the history of MLB. I am joking but they are terrible. Cliff Lee should start selling his house.
30. Washington Nationals
The Nats are awful, so bad in fact, they have an interim GM and Manager. So who is in control here?! For some reason they spent a bunch of money on Adam Dunn and will likely trade him this season or next. When or if the Nationals ever get good again, they will have two players on this active roster on the team that is good: Ryan and Jordan Zimmerman (no relation).