Major League Baseball Power Rankings: Deadline Edition
This is week two of my weekly power rankings. With so many rosters having changed in the last two days, it might get a little crazy, so please bear with me!
I will not be taking things like divisional factors into account very much, although they are very real, I don't think that's the purpose of power rankings. So we're now about a week into the second half, let's see where each team stands.
1. New York Yankees (62-40)
Although the Yankees didn't make any big moves at the deadline, it looks like they probably won't need to. Even if the Red Sox are able to overtake them for the AL East title, I just don't see anyone challenging them for the wild card.
The Yanks have continued to play great baseball, even without much quality starting pitching. Their amazing offense has carried them, and they've been helped by a few role players stepping up. They remain 2.5 games up in the East.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (63-39)
The Dodgers haven't been playing well over the last 4 or 5 days, but they still have the best record in baseball, and that's hard to ignore. The only piece the Dodgers added at the deadline was lefty reliever George Sherrill from the Orioles, but he should be able to solidify their bullpen a little bit. They remain the heavy favorites to win the NL West.
3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (60-40)
The fact that the Angels have continued to surge without Torii Hunter or Vladimir Guerrerro baffles me, and I still don't see anyone overtaking them in the AL West. They're 11-3 since the All-Star break, and you have to assume that they'll only get better when they get their star outfielders back.
4. Philadelphia Phillies (58-42)
With the Phillies recent acquisition of reigning American League Cy Young award winner Cliff Lee from the Indians, they have pretty much solidified their playoff chances. With that offense, and with Hamels and Lee heading their rotation, I don't see any other team even coming close to challenging them. At this point, they may be the favorites to win it all.
5. Boston Red Sox (59-42)
The Red Sox greatly improved their team today, by acquiring all-star catcher Victor Martinez from the Cleveland Indians. They lead the wild card, and I think still have a really good shot at overtaking the New York Yankees in the AL East. David Ortiz heating up as of late hasn't helped them as much as you would expect, but you have to figure it's going to be big for them in the long run.
6. Texas Rangers (57-43)
The Rangers have been playing great baseball. They've managed to nearly keep pace with the Angels, despite the fact that they've gone 11-3 since the break. The Rangers don't have the pitching to hang with the Angels for the next two months, but I still think they made the right choice for their future by not cutting a deal for Roy Halladay.
7. San Francisco Giants (56-46)
With their acquisitions of Ryan Garko and Freddy Sanchez, the Giants become the favorites to win the NL Wild Card. Offense has been their problem all season, and they made great strides towards fixing it. If their pitching can hold up, which it should, they have a good shot at making a postseason appearance.
8. Chicago Cubs (54-46)
The Cubs just came out of nowhere, surging out of the gate after the all-star break. The reasons they weren't winning in the first half were mainly the poor offensive efforts from Alfonso Soriano and Milton Bradley, and the loss of Aramis Ramirez to the DL. Now that all three of those problems have corrected themselves, they're winning games, and they've passed the Cardinals and now sit atop the NL Central.
Alfonso Soriano had three long balls and 10 RBI in his last 10 games.
9. Tampa Bay Rays (55-47)
The Rays are a really good team, but they have the ultimate misfortune of playing in the AL East. They still have a shot at the wild card, but it's a long shot, and they'll probably have to wait until at least 2010 to see the playoffs again. I think they did the right thing in staying pat at the deadline.
10. Colorado Rockies (55-47)
The Rockies are still right in the thick of things in the NL Wild Card race, and if they're going to stay in contention they'll need to continue getting good contributions from both Jason Marquis, and Ubaldo Jimenez. The only move they made at the deadline was the acquisition of reliever Joe Beimel from the Nationals - I thought it was a good move, but I just don't know if marginally solidifying the pen is going to be enough to give them the push they need.
11. St. Louis Cardinals (56-49)
The Cardinals are the most talented team in the NL Central. They just are. They a great lineup, highlighted by Albert Pujols and new addition Matt Holliday, and they have Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter topping off their rotation. They're half a game back of the Cubs, but I expect that to change in the very near future.
12. Detroit Tigers (53-47)
The Tigers took three out of four from the White Sox in a big series this week, and re-gained sole possession of the AL Central lead in the process. Despite not getting much offensive production this season, the Tigers opted to go for pitching at the deadline, and they ended up cutting a deal for Jarrod Washburn from the Mariners. Now, Washburn isn't going to be as good in Detroit as he was in Seattle - Comerica Park is smaller than Safeco, and their outfield defense isn't as good - but he'll be alright, and may be enough to get them to the playoffs.
13. Florida Marlins (53-49)
The Marlins don't have any chance at making a run for the NL East, but with today's acquisition of Nick Johnson from the Nationals, they most certainly could make a run for the NL Wild Card. I think the key for the Fish going forward will be what they get out of young pitcher Ricky Nolasco.
14. Seattle Mariners (53-49)
The Mariners made the right decision by selling high on Jarrod Washburn today, but they aren't waving the white flag, and they aren't giving up on playoff hopes for this season. Their chances are slim to none, but general manager Jack Zduriencik was able to both buy and sell, while improving the team both now, and for the future. I look forward to the M's contending as soon as 2010.
15. Minnesota Twins (52-50)
Will the acquisition of shortstop Orlando Cabrera be enough to get the Twins over the hump? Probably not, but that isn't to say they aren't going to make the playoffs. Orlando Cabrera won't make a huge difference, but they also have arguably the best 3-4-5 hitters in baseball (Mauer, Morneau, Kubel). I'm not huge on their chances though, especially with Kevin Slowey apparently out for the remainder of the season.
16. Atlanta Braves (52-50)
I'm still not ready to count the Braves out, for one reason: Pitching. They have a great pitching staff, and that's what has kept them in contention this season. There's always a chance that an acquisition like the one they made today, in which they got Adam Laroche from the Red Sox, will be enough to give them a surge. We'll have to wait and see.
17. Chicago White Sox (52-51)
I think the AL Central race is most likely going to come down to the Tigers and the White Sox. I wouldn't be saying that if not for Chicago's acquisition of Jake Peavy today from the Padres, and although he's injured, if he's able to return within the next month he may be able to carry them to the postseason. It should be interesting to watch that race unfold.
18. Houston Astros (51-51)
Once you get into the middle of the NL Central it's pretty much a crap-shoot, but I don't see the Astros going anywhere this season. They're still only four games back of the Cubs, and 3.5 back of the Cardinals, but I don't think they have the pitching to stay in that race. They have a somewhat powerful offense, but I don't see that as being enough in that division.
19. Milwaukee Brewers (51-51)
I feel about the Brewers almost exactly the same way as I feel about the Astros. They have a great lineup, better than Houston's but they also have almost no starting pitching, probably even less than Houston's. They have Yovani Gallardo, who is a great young pitcher, but aside from him, almost nothing. I see that race coming down to the Cubs and the Cardinals.
20. Toronto Blue Jays (49-53)
The Blue Jays opted to keep Halladay at the deadline, but they did move another aging veteran. They dealt third baseman Scott Rolen to the Reds today for Edwin Encarnacion and a minor leaguer. I applaud JP Ricciardi for that move, by the way. Since they still have Halladay, they should continue to play respectable baseball for the next couple of months, but due to the fact that they're in the AL East, they clearly won't contend for anything. In fact, they probably won't contend for anything for at least two or three years.
21. New York Mets (49-53)
There's really not all that much to say about the Mets this year. They've been killed by injuries to most of their stars, and it's impossible to figure out what position they'd be in if not for that fact. They would probably right up there with the Phillies, but alas, that isn't the case.
22. Baltimore Orioles (44-57)
The Orioles didn't go into full fire-sale mode at this deadline like a lot of people expected, but they did yet again add to their minor league talent yesterday by dealing George Sherrill to the Dodgers. They continue to have one of the better farm systems in baseball, and will probably contend in the not so distant future.
23. Cincinnati Reds (45-56)
Now it's clear that the Reds aren't going to contend for anything this season, so the fact they traded for Scott Rolen today really baffled me. I guess they just don't like Edwin Encarnacion. As for their playoff chances in 2009, the loss of Jay Bruce to the DL pretty much put the final nail in the coffin.
24. Arizona Diamondbacks (44-58)
I was very surprised when the Dbacks didn't trade more of their veterans. They don't have much of a farm system, so you would have thought they would try to bolster it, and they're obviously not going to the playoffs this season. Should be interesting to see where that organization goes.
25. Oakland Athletics (43-58)
The A's have had a rough season, but their future looks bright. They have a ton of young pitching talent, on top of recent acquisition Brett Wallace, who could be big for their future, offensively at least. They'll be back to contending in the AL West before you know it.
26. Pittsburgh Pirates (43-58)
The Pirates got a great haul at the deadline. They knew they weren't going to contend, so they committed to sell mode, and improved their farm system greatly. They got a good load of high ceiling prospects, highlighted by Giants pitching prospect Tim Alderson. It might take awhile, but if they stick to the plan they could be a great team in a few years.
27. San Diego Padres (41-62)
The Padres are in a similar situation as the Pirates, only on a slightly smaller scale. They really only dealt one valuable veteran, and that was Jake Peavy to the White Sox. They got a really good haul for him, though, and I would expect that it was the right move. As for their 2009 season? Well, they're having a really bad year. Bad pitching, bad offense.
28. Cleveland Indians (42-60)
The Indians were yet another team in fire sale mode at this years deadline, and they also did fairly well. I'm not sure if I would be happy with the package they got for Cliff Lee, it was alright, but I would almost definitely be happy with the three players they got from the Red Sox today for Victor Martinez.
They've had a good offense all year, but they've had terrible pitching after the #1 spot.
29. Kansas City Royals (40-61)
The Royals were another team that you would expect to be selling off veterans - the only problem is, they didn't have any veterans to trade. They really had no one of value that was a realistic trade candidate. The way I see it, the Royals aren't going to go anywhere until they get rid of Dayton Moore.
30. Washington Nationals (32-70)
Everything that can be said about how bad the Nationals are has already been said. They're absolutely God awful. One thing I will say, though, is that it was a really stupid move holding onto Adam Dunn. Come on Rizzo.
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