MLB Power Rankings (All-Star Game Edition): Yankees, Rangers… Nats?
MLB Power Rankings (All-Star Game / All-Star Break Edition): New York Yankees, Texas Rangers Share Spotlight with Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates
It’s been a crazy first half. The Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates hold division leads and it’s July. Perennial favorites like the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers are off to great starts, but others like the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies are getting desperate. Can the underdogs hold on for another 80 games? Where does everyone else fall in? As the All-Star break begins and the home run derby steals desperate headlines the night before the All-Star Game, it’s a great time for mid-season MLB power rankings.
1. New York Yankees (52-33): This lineup is almost unfair and despite the loss of Mariano Rivera and countless issues in the pitching rotation, the best team money can buy truly is the best team of the first half.
2. Texas Rangers (52-34): Like the New York Yankees, the Texas Rangers have high expectations for this season. Also like the Yankees, the lineup is spectacular and the pitching has done the job. Ron Washington may be a terrible manager, but with this much talent it might not matter.
3. Washington Nationals (49-34): Bryce Harper’s appearance in the All-Star Game may be stealing headlines, but pitching is the story in DC. Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Jordan Zimmermann give the Expos one of the best rotations in baseball.
4. Chicago White Sox (47-38): The acquisition of Kevin Youkilis from Boston could be the trade of the year. He’s a man on a mission, and the White Sox suddenly look like a contender. If only someone could teach him how to hold a bat.
5. Pittsburgh Pirates (48-37): The Pirates have had a greedy owner with a bad but profitable team and loyal fans for decades. Finally, Pittsburgh has the team they deserve. Nobody tell AJ Burnett that there might be expectations in the second half, though.
6. LA Angels (48-38): Albert Pujols appears to be out of his slump, which has allowed the Angels to sneak back into contention.
7. Baltimore Orioles (45-40): They’ve fallen off a bit, but the Orioles are a complete team. The lineup is formidable, the rotation is solid, and the bullpen is no longer a glaring weakness. With Buck at the helm, this team could make the playoffs.
8. Detroit Tigers (44-42): Detroit has won five in a row and finally looks like the team we expected Prince Fielder to make them into. Justin Verlander can’t do it all himself, though.
9. Atlanta Braves (46-39): The Braves are a streaky bunch. They’ve won four in a row to close out the first half, have an excellent bullpen, but lack depth and consistency.
10. LA Dodgers (47-40): Chris Capuano complements Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley nicely in this rotation. The lineup has arguably the best player in baseball on it. Still, something tells me not to trust the Dodgers to keep this up.
11. Cincinnati Reds (47-38): The Wild Card race in the National League seems like it will be exciting, with most of the league in the hunt. The Reds have a dangerous lineup and solid pitching, and should be a contender to catch the Pirates or at least steal a playoff spot.
12. St. Louis Cardinals (46-40): I don’t see how the Cardinals are winning this much, but they’re a franchise you can never count out. They sport a weak rotation, no closer, no Pujols, but are squarely in the hunt.
13. San Francisco Giants (46-40): As always, the Giants have great pitching and no bats. The exception this year is that “The Freak” is freakishly bad.
14. New York Mets (46-40): RA Dickey is having an unbelievable season, and so are the Mets. Without Jose Reyes, David Wright is carrying the load and late inning comebacks, chemistry, and excitement appear to make up a winning formula for these Mets.
15. Tampa Bay Rays (44-41): The Rays have spent most of the season without Evan Longoria, but they’re still in the hunt. Solid, young arms and a fantastic coaching staff will keep this small market club above .500, but they may fall victim to the toughest division in baseball.
16. Cleveland Indians (44-41): Justin Masterson figured it out recently, but nothing about the Indians is all that impressive. I don’t expect them to finish anywhere near the playoff hunt, but they’re the last of the 16 teams over .500.
17. Boston Red Sox (43-43): Boston appears to be less of a disaster lately. Given the size of their payroll and apparent talent on the roster, the Red Sox can’t possibly be this bad, can they?
18. Toronto Blue Jays (43-43): The Blue Jays lineup is solid, but they again lack pitching and consistency.
19. Miami Marlins (41-44): The Marlins have star power and a new stadium, but they aren’t there yet. This team is capable of stringing together wins, but they’ve also strung together lengthy losing skids this season.
20. Arizona Diamondbacks (42-43): After watching the Padres pick this team apart, it’s hard to see them contending. Then you look at the division they play in, and nobody is really out of it.
21. Oakland Athletics (43-43): They won’t compete with the Angels and Rangers, but the Athletics are fighting for their .500 record and got hot at the end of the first half.
22. Milwaukee Brewers (40-45): The loss of Prince Fielder weakened this lineup considerably, but pitching and a relatively weak division will keep the Brewers right around .500 all year.
23. Philadelphia Phillies (37-50): Ryan Howard is back healthy, so maybe the season isn’t completely lost. They’re running out of time to string some wins together before Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino become the prizes off the trade deadline.
24. Kansas City Royals (37-47): The Royals are young, but they’re not competitive yet. There are a few recognizable names on this team, but Billy Butler is barely worthy of the All-Star Game.
25. Minnesota Twins (36-49): Remember when the Twins lost to the New York Yankees every year in the playoffs?
26. Seattle Mariners (36-51): They have King Felix… for now.
27. Chicago Cubs (33-52): So… how many years did it take Theo Epstein to win the World Series in Boston?
28. San Diego Padres (34-53): Maybe with Mariano Rivera injured, Trevor Hoffman can come out of retirement to pitch for this sham of a baseball team. I don’t think they’ll win enough games for him to catch Mo, though.
29. Colorado Rockies (33-52): I guess the Rockies’ four-man rotation isn’t working out so great.
30. Houston Astros (33-53): Who didn’t see this coming when the Astros traded Hunter Pence last year?
Disagree? Comments? Feel free to sound off below.
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