Wednesday, August 3, 2011

MLB Power Rankings - August edition

Now that the trade deadline is done and for the most part, teams have made the changes they need for the last 1/3 of the season, here are the latest power rankings.  Numbers in brackets are movement from last month, and their high/low rank for the season.   Look at previous rankings  (JanFebruary, March, Opening Day, May, June, July) for explanations of how the teams got to where they are. 

#1 – Philadelphia (--, 1/2) – I  may have mentioned this before – but there are some guys who know how to pitch a ball pretty good out in Eastern Pennsylvania.   Getting Hunter Pence at the deadline wasn’t a necessity but certainly doesn’t hurt.

#2 – Boston (--,1/8) – They’ve been playing at about a 110 win pace since their horrid 2-10 start.  And they just traded for Erik Bedard, who despite all of his uncertainties has a lower ERA than Clay Buchholz.  If he performs to his potential and Buch returns from the DL and is effective down the stretch, this team will have a rotation of Beckett, Lester, Buchholz and Bedard in the playoffs.   And John Lackey is a luxury at number 5.   But if Bedard falters, and Buchholz doesn’t return, than John Lackey becomes a shaky #3, and who starts game 4 ??? Miller? Wakefield? Aceves?  The difference between being World Series favourites and being lucky to win a division series rests on the health and effectiveness of Bedard and/or Buchholz.  Otherwise, they would get a no-brainer #1 power ranking.

#3 – San Francisco (--, 3/12) – See #1.  Replace Eastern Pennsylvania with the Bay area.  Offense still below average, but that didn’t stop them last year, and Carlos Beltran is a huge improvement.  Now if only they would start letting Brandon Belt play.

#4 - Texas (+2, 3/10) Improved themselves and now look like a tough team to beat in the playoffs.

#5 - Yankees (-1, 4/10) Playing very well, but surprised they didn't make any deadline moves.  CC who can't beat the Red Sox is their #1, and after that lots of question marks.  Will the good or the bad AJ Burnett show up for the playoffs?  Will Colon still be pitching?  Will Freddy Garcia keep blowing people away with his 85 MPH fastball?  Will Hughes be effective?  Will Ivan Nova start a playoff game?  

#6 - Atlanta (-1, 5/16) They have exceeded my expectations more than any other team.  Thought they wouldn't be a factor, but if it wasn't for the pitching in Philly and San Fran, they'd be the NL favourties.

#7 - Detroit (+1, 7/14) Not much competition to win their division.  Verlander starting 2 games in a 5 game Series makes them a team that nobody wants to face in the ALDS.

#8 - Milwaukee (+1, 7/18) St. Louis is going downhill, Pittsburgh was never a serious contender, the Reds have dropped out of sight... might be able to coast into the playoffs.  Once there, most analysts won't give them much of a chance to overcome the pitching of the Phillies or Giants, but anything can happen.

#9 - St. Louis (+1, 4/15) Added Edwin Jackson and Furcal, and also some relief castoffs.

#10 - Arizona (+2, 10/27)  - Have kept up with the Giants.  Will they stick around?  I would guess not, but then again, I didn't think they'd stick around this long.

#11 - Tampa Bay (-4, 5/11) I have always ranked this team high, but now it looks like they'll struggle to say ahead of the the Blue Jays in the division, and are no longer contenders for a playoff spot.  

#12 - Toronto (+1, 12/20) As a Red Sox fan, I'm starting to hope for division realignment soon, because with the addtion of Rasmus, and the young stars they have in Arencibia, Lawrie, Drabek, Hill and more  and some Bautista guy, this team is going to be very good, very soon, and stay that way for a long time.

#13 - Angels (-2, 11/22) Another team playing much better than I gave them credit for at the beginning of the season.  Could make a run at the division, but stood pat while the Rangers improved themselves.

#14 - Florida (+6, 5/20) After looking lost in the month of June, bounced back strong in July.  Too little too late to contend, but certainly capable of a strong 3rd place finish.

#15 - Pittsburgh (-1, 14/29) - Made some additions at the deadline, but still too little, too late.  Too bad I didn't do the rankings a couple of weeks ago, or they would have been much higher.

#16 - Cincinnati (-1, 14/18) 

#17 - Minnesota (+4, 3/24) - Maybe they're not as good as the team I had ranked #3 in the preseason.  But they're not a last place team.  I think they will still end up in second place in their division, and just dug too deep of anhole to catch the Tigers.

#18 - Cleveland (-2, 12/30) - Have been playing above their heads all season, but have started to cool down late.  Will Ubaldo Jimenez be a difference maker?  Doubt it.

#19 - Washington (-2, 17/27) Better than a last place team.  At least as long as they're in the same division as the Mets.

#20 - Mets (-2, 18/28) They're near .500.  They won't end there.  All the .500 teams are much better than them.

#21 - Colorado (+1, 2/22) That early World Series prediction I made isn't looking too good. At least I was right when I said "one of my top teams always ends up being a woeful disappointment".

#22 - White Sox (-3, 15/23) Still playing Adam Dunn and Alex Rios, and traded a pitcher to a team that turned him into Colby Rasmus.  What are you thinking?

#23 - Oakland (--, 4/23) Maybe that pitching is overrated playing half their games in a pitcher's ballpark?

#24 - San Diego (+4, 17/29) 

#25 - Cubs (+1, 12/26) If they had a decent closer, would their season have been different?  Or do they have too many holes for one change to have made a difference?

#26 - Kansas City (+1, 22/28) Getting Navarro from Boston for Aviles is another future looking move.  This team may be very strong in 2013.

#27 - Dodgers (-3, 20/27) It just gets worse at Chavez Ravine.

#28 - Seattle (-3, 22/27) Were starting to look good for a while, and then showed their true colours losing 17 in a row.

#29 - Baltimore (--, 17/29)

#30 - Houston (--, 28, 30) Unlike KC future doesn't look much brighter than the present.  Traded some good young players who they had control for the next few season.s

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