Thursday, August 22, 2013

MLB Power Rankings: Dodgers here to stay

Photo by USA Today
By Steve Roney

There are many reasons for the Dodgers' ascension -- from Adrian Gonzalez' consistency and Yasiel Puig's flash to the shutdown pitching. Blazing hot after the break, they're exactly the sort of team that no one wants to run into in October.

Here's how Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman, Nats writer Chase Hughes, and I see the rest of the league shaking out:

1. Atlanta Braves (77-49; LW: 2) - Zuckerman: The bullpen is so good, they've basically turned every game into a 6-inning affair.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers (73-52; LW: 1) - Hughes: Everyone knows about Yasiel Puig, but Hanley Ramirez has been as important as anyone to their unbelievable run over the past few months.

3. Pittsburgh Pirates (74-51; LW: 4) - Roney: Pedro Alvarez may never hit for average, but his power is seriously impressive -- as is leading the team with 83 RBI despite a .234 average.

4. Boston Red Sox (75-54; LW: 3) - Zuckerman: Everyone may have shared Dempster's sentiments, but his A-Rod plunking may have cost Boston that game.

5. Detroit Tigers (73-52; LW: 5) - Roney: It almost doesn't matter that Prince Fielder is disappointing. Miguel Cabrera is set to top last year's batting average, RBI, and home run totals -- which won him the Triple Crown and 2012 MVP.

6. Texas Rangers (73-53; LW: 7) - Hughes: Texas keeps holding off the Athletics for first in the division as they have for over two months. Their six remaining matchups should be fun to watch.

7. Tampa Bay Rays (72-52; LW: 9) - Zuckerman: Beating up on bad teams: 37-13 vs. under-.500 opponents this season.

8. St. Louis Cardinals (72-53; LW: 6) - Roney: The Cards have gotten huge stretch contributions from rookies in the recent past -- Kolten Wong could be the next.

9. Cincinnati Reds (71-55; LW: 10) - Roney: Hopefully Cingrani's back injury isn't anything too serious; for what it's worth, the pitcher has said he expects to make his next start.

10. Oakland A's (71-54; LW: 8) - Hughes: Who could have predicted that Derek Norris, of the four players shipped west for Gio Gonzalez, would be the only worthy contributor to the A's at this point?

11. Cleveland Indians (68-58; LW: 12) - Roney: Most casual fans probably wouldn't be able to name more than two of their starting pitchers, but they're right there in the wild card race.

12. Baltimore Orioles (67-58; LW: 11) - Zuckerman: They're hanging around, but at some point they've got to make their move.

13. New York Yankees (66-59; LW: 15) - Zuckerman: The A-Rod transformation is complete: He's now officially a professional wrestling heel.

14. Arizona Diamondbacks (65-59; LW: 14) - Hughes: Paul Goldschmidt should be the NL Most Valuable Player if he keeps it up over the next five weeks.

15. Kansas City Royals (64-60; LW: 13) - Roney: They won't make the playoffs, but if they can finish with 82 wins, that has to be considered solid progress.

16. Washington Nationals (61-64; LW: 16) - Zuckerman: 6th-most wins in MLB vs. teams with losing records, 3rd-fewest wins vs. teams with winning records.

17. New York Mets (58-66; LW: 20) - Zuckerman: Depending on what they do this offseason, they could actually be a dark horse in 2014.

18. Seattle Mariners (58-67; LW: 17) - Hughes: Only two Seattle players have appeared in over 100 of their 127 games. Shows how much turnover they've had, mainly due to injuries.

19. Colorado Rockies (59-68; LW: 18) - Hughes: Wilin Rosario is one of the best young catchers in the majors, but Colorado seems to hope his future is at first base.

20. Toronto Blue Jays (57-69; LW: 19) - Zuckerman: Victims of a tough division: 94 of 127 games have come vs. teams over .500.

21. San Francisco Giants (56-69; LW: 25) - Hughes: It has been a lost season for the defending champs, but Brandon Belt is realizing his promise and could be a big part of their future.

22. Minnesota Twins (55-69; LW: 22) - Roney: Mauer just went down with a concussion, which surely sent shivers up the spines of Minnesotans everywhere, seeing as Justin Morneau has never been the same after sustaining one of his own.

23. San Diego Padres (56-70; LW: 21) - Hughes: The 2nd worst pitching staff in the NL and the fifth lowest scoring offense. There's a lot of work to be done to revive the Padres' franchise.

24. Los Angeles Angels (55-70; LW: 24) - Hughes: Albert Pujols is officially done for the season now. You knew it'd be hard for him to live up to that contract, but this is ridiculous.

25. Philadelphia Phillies (55-70; LW: 23) - Zuckerman: Maybe Ryne Sandberg needed a tryout, but Charlie Manuel deserved better than that.

26. Milwaukee Brewers (55-71; LW: 27) - Roney: Catcher Jonathan Lucroy might be having the best season that no one is talking about: .288, 17 HR, 66 RBI.

27. Chicago Cubs (54-71; LW: 26) - Roney: It's far too early, of course, but the early returns on those contracts given to Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro haven't been all that great. If Epstein whiffs on these two, he may not be long for the job.

28. Chicago White Sox (50-74; LW: 28) - Roney: The Sox have actually strung together a decent past couple weeks, but this season has been a disaster. 

29. Miami Marlins (48-76; LW: 29) - Zuckerman: Did you know they haven't worn their gray road jerseys once this season? Maybe that's the problem!

30. Houston Astros (41-84; LW: 30) - Hughes: Houston should get a good look at their future in September with top prospect George Springer. He's close to a 40-40 season in the minors this year.


Don said...

I gotta go with the Dogers as the clear number 1 team. The Braves are a nice club, but the Dodgers have multiple Aces, they rake like mad, they can run and they defend well too.

SonnyG10 said...


Doc said...

**#@ the hated Dodgers!!!

We'll get 'em next year, when all their oldies start acting like oldies.

They are the West Coast Yankees, with a similar TV agreement!!!!!

baseballswami said...

Speaking of TV deals......??????

NatsLady said...

Honestly, I was hoping that the Dodgers would shellack Atlanta. But after this latest injury (Heyward) my heart has gone out of hating them. He was great to watch, especially his D.

Unknown said...

Please, we'll get 'em next year is what the Nats will be saying every year at the rate they are going with this club. The sad thing is that the Nats have reached their goal: mediocrity. Gave Rizzo a big contract as a reward for it right in the middle of a losing streak. Attendance is way up, the cash registers are ringing. All is good right here in the almost at 500 'hood. The goal is to be one of the 15 clubs that has a chance year to year, if they do better, then great! But that's gravy. The Yankees and Dodgers are actually looking to win it all every year. Clubs like the Red Sox, Rangers, Cards, Phils and Angels not far back in terms of going the extra mile to win. The Nats just have not shown the will or skill to be an elite club. Not sure why we should think that old dog Mike Rizzo and even older dog Ted Lerner will learn the new tricks needed to get it together any time soon.

Tcostant said...

One thing I think I'll miss next year, is guys like Werth hitting on 3-0 counts. Not many managers will do that.

NatsLady said...

Tcostant--LOL! I would love if Rizzo would do that, but I expect Werth wants to play full-time a couple more years. Plus, does he know pitching?

Muddy said...

Nice article this a.m. by Boz re Werth being worth this contract unlike most other mega deals -- Pujols (ouch), Hamilton (oh boy), Teixeira (the Nats reportedly did make him a huge offer but got lucky: he preferred the Yankees; hopefully others will, too, in the future), Howard, even Prince, who's looking very mortal. Mauer's contract looks marginally okay. So far the Nats haven't done too badly relative to the Angels, Boston (now Dodgers), and Yankees.

JD said...


Werth has certainly earned his salary this year and last. He still has 4 more years to go on the deal after this year but so far so good.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Agree with Boswell highlighting the dangers of free spending. Disappointed he seemed dismissive with what Werth has accomplished. I am certain the Nats will get more value from Werth's remaining $83MM than the Yankees will get from Rodriguez. As always with Boswell I wonder who is fueling his viewpoint. Almost always, I think it reflects the mindset of a certain segment of the Nats FO/brain trust, not necessarily Rizzo. Behind this article I heard some nit-picking about Werth's performce, health, possibly an implication that he had usurped a leadership role. I will be interested to see if anybody leaves this offseason besides Johnson.

NatsLady said...

Theo, unfortunately, I doubt it's within the Nats' power to fire Boz, so he won't be leaving.

Unknown said...

JD - Werth missed half of last season and a chunk of this year too. In 2012 it was great that he hit .300 but less than great that he had only 5 HR and a whopping 31 RBI. He's having a great 2013, but the idea that he was worth $13.5M in 2012 is hard to swallow and that he's already earned his $16.5M this year is at least somewhat gratuitous. He's on pace for what, maybe 75 RBI? They owe the guy $85M through his 39 yr old season. He was terrible in 2011, ok in 2012 and to date very good in 2013. But, the contract to date is a stinker and it does not look to get better.

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