Another week has passed, which means that the race for Bryce Harper is heatin' up! What team will lose enough games in 2009, and in turn, receive the privilege to draft one of the most hyped young talents in the past decade?
Let's take a look at the "other important race" going on in baseball, one that has nothing to do with the playoffs or pennants.
1. Washington Nationals
This team is just too good...at losing. A 2-6 record since last Monday cements the Nationals stronghold on top of the Harper Sweepstakes, but even though the Nationals have a hold on the race right now, they're one winning streak away from potentially being upended.
2. Kansas City Royals, 4.5 Games Back
I was pulling for the Royals to make a strong run at Harper...really, I was. But then yesterday, word came down that GM Dayton Moore was given a four-year contract extension for no reason at all.
And that was the end of that.
If the Royals want to make a run at Harper, they should shut down Zack Greinke for the remainder of the season because this guy is incredible and actually gives the Royals a chance to win when he pitches.
3. Pittsburgh Pirates, 8 Games Back
Are the Pirates no longer contenders for Harper? Hard to say. The Pirates' schedule down the stretch isn't that overwhelming (Cubs, Reds, Astros, etc.), but they still have seven games left against the first place Dodgers. Can they make up eight games in September to put themselves in a position for Harper?
Doubtful, but keep the hope alive Pittsburgh!
4. Baltimore Orioles, 8 Games Back
I don't believe the Orioles are in a position to pick up Harper. Their next 17 games are all against American League contenders (Yanks, Red Sox, Rangers, Rays) so the potential for a massive tank job is there. But there simply might just be too much talent on this team for that to happen.
5. San Diego Padres, 10.5 Games Back
How much longer will it be before the Mets have overtaken the Padres for the No. 5 spot in the Harper standings? They're only three games back!