Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Updated MLB Power Rankings

Posted by mizzou1028 on August 23, 2010

Back in May, I put a list of MLB power rankings together.  Needless to say, I had some of the teams placed correctly, and some, well…..not so much.  My most egregious errors were putting the Padres and Braves way too low, and I had teams such as the Tigers and Nationals placed too high.  Here is how I see the teams ranked 1-30 as we sit now in late August, and just for fun the ranking from May is in parentheses.

1. (5)  New York Yankeees – The Yankees seem to always have the talent to be up toward the top.  Certainly their payroll has a lot to do with that, but they certainly have the tools to be a major factor in the playoffs as they try to repeat.  The rotation is solid in all five spots, and the bullpen is as good as it gets.  They have to be concerned about the injuries to A-Rod and Lance Berkman, but the rest of the veteran lineup is doing more than enough to pick up the slack.  The team should be money in a short playoff series against virtually anyone.

2. (17)  San Diego Padres – This is without the question the team I misfired most on early in the year.  I thought for sure they would go away.  They haven’t.  Their rotation has been dominant, led by guys many casual fans haven’t heard of.  Even die hard fans are just getting to know Mat Latos, Clayton Richard and Wade LeBlanc.  The offense gets the job done with solid fundamentals, and they made a statement that they’re going for it this year by acquiring Miguel Tejada and Ryan Ludwick at the trade deadline.  This team is for real, and they are not going away.  They may just win the whole thing.

3. (9) Texas Rangers – The Rangers have the ability to light up the scoreboard offensively on any night.  That ability will get even better once Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler return from the DL.  Their starting pitching has improved greatly over the course of the season, and at the trade deadline they added a true ace in Cliff Lee to anchor it.  There is still a lot of youth on this team, and that could be their downfall against a team with experience, but the talent is definitely there.

4. (1) – Tampa Bay Rays – Tampa Bay is right there with the Yankees at the top of the AL East.  They have more than enough ability offensively with a potent lineup, but their hitting has been very streaky.  While it has been good enough to produce a ton of runs, they have also been no hit on two occasions this season and were one out away from getting no hit a third time.  Fortunately, the starting pitching, especially David Price, and bullpen are terrific.  That is enough most nights, but the Rays had better the lineup doesn’t hit a low streak in the playoffs.

5. (2) Philadelphia Phillies – The Phillies’ biggest problem has been injuries, but they are starting to get guys healthy.  They added Roy Oswalt at the trade deadline to join an already potent rotation, and their lineup can score runs like just about anyone.  Their bullpen is very inconsistent, and while I think it won’t be bad enough to prevent them from winning the NL East, it might be bad enough to allow the Braves to catch them.

6. (6) San Francisco Giants – San Francisco has the pitching (Lincecum, Zito and Cain) to win a playoff series just on that.  They also have really beefed up their lineup, thanks to the additions of Buster Posey, Pat Burrell and Jose Guillen.  This team does have the talent to be a real player in the playoffs, but they may still have a hard time catching the Padres, so they may need to get the wild card to make it.

7. (20) Atlanta Braves – Another team that I really underestimated.  The starting rotation is among the best in the league, and so is their bullpen.  The offense took a big blow with the season ending injury to Chipper Jones, but the Braves added Derrek Lee via trade to compensate.  Atlanta has a good mix of young and veteran talent, and they will need to keep overachieving to hold off the Phillies in the east.

8. (3) St. Louis Cardinals – The Cardinals suddenly find themselves in a dogfight for the NL Central after they had a big lead early in the year.  Albert Pujols has certainly done his thing with 33 home runs, but he hasn’t had a lot of help.  Matt Holliday is not playing to his contract level, and the rest of the lineup has struggled to score runs consistently.  The pitching is very good (Adam Wainwright is an easy Cy Young candidate), and that has kept them afloat.  They need to step up the offense though going forward.

9. (14) Cincinnati Reds – I thought in May that the Reds were putting a nice team together that might be able to make a run next year.  They have sped up the timetable with clutch hitting and a rotation that rarely falters with a really bad game.  If St. Louis doesn’t get its hitting together soon, the Reds may just find themselves in the playoffs.  They must however get better outings from Edinson Volquez, who has been terrible since coming off the DL last month.

10. (4) Minnesota Twins – The drop in the rankings isn’t really due to anything the Twins have done, it’s more of a reflection of other teams playing better than expected.  Minnesota has plenty of good hitting, and the bullpen has overcome the loss of closer Joe Nathan at the start of the season.  The biggest issue I see for the Twins is their starting pitching doesn’t quite stack up to the other top teams in the American League.  They have a really good shot to hold the White Sox off for the division title, but I don’t think this team is set up well to win in the playoffs.

11. (21) Chicago White Sox – Chicago has actually done a nice job overcoming a terrible start, and while they still trial the Twins by five games in the central, they have managed to put themselves in contention after middling in last place in late May.  The White Sox have managed to get their starting rotation in good shape thanks to major improvement from Edwin Jackson and Gavin Floyd, and their lineup can score.  The problem is the bullpen, which currently has no suitable closer.  This will be their downfall and why they probably won’t win the division ultimately.

12. (16) Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox have been riddled with injuries all season.  Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia probably won’t be back, and that will hurt their lineup.  The rotation has been very up and down despite all the big names, and even Jonathan Papelbon has blown several saves.  Boston is trying to get Johnny Damon back to help make a late run, but the Yankees and Rays are too good to get caught.

13. (8) Toronto Blue Jays – It really seems unfair to drop the Blue Jays because they have done better this year than anyone expected.  The rotation has been very good even without Roy Halladay, and the lineup has been blasting home runs left and right.  So why the drop?  They just don’t quite have enough to compete in the AL East, and they are too far back in the standings to have a shot at the playoffs.  This however is a team to watch in 2011.

14. (12) Colorado Rockies – I’m sure I have my hometown team ranked too high, but the middle of the pack seems appropriate for them.  The Rockies have had a lot of good (Ubaldo Jimenez, Carlos Gonzalez), but they have a lot of bad to go with it (the now released Brad Hawpe and horrible pitching from Aaron Cook).  The Rockies are just way too inconsistent offensively, especially on the road.  They also will need to cut down the defensive errors next season.  They’ve made late runs before to make the playoffs, but it seems there is too much ground to make up this time.

15. (25) Los Angeles Dodgers – You can’t say they aren’t trying to make a playoff run.  It seemed they brought in everybody at the trade deadline, getting Ryan Theriot, Octavio Dotel and Scott Podsednik.  The problem has been the pitching, usually a strength for this team.  The bullpen has been especially bad with Jonathan Broxton getting removed as the closer for a time.  They’re playing better but are just too far behind to catch the Padres and Giants.

16. (15) Florida Marlins – The Marlins are another team that has way much talent to be hovering around .500.  Josh Johnson is an elite pitcher anchoring the rotation and Hanely Ramirez is an elite player leading the lineup, and while both have been very good most of the season, they haven’t gotten help when they’ve needed it.  This team looks like it’s about to tail off.

17. (11) Oakland Athletics – The A’s don’t have what you would call a sexy lineup, but they have enough to be competitive most nights.  The problem is while they’re competitive, they haven’t been winning consistently enough.  If I could pick a team to finish 81-81, it would be this one.  There is a lot of young talent here, but they seem like they’re going to finish right around .500.

18. (7) Detroit Tigers – I am somewhat at a loss to explain what happened to the Tigers, who nearly made the playoffs last year.  The rotation has really underachieved, and the lineup has been even worse when it comes to run production.  This is mostly the same cast from last year, so it is hard to say why they’ve struggled. Perhaps next year might be different if they keep the team together.

19. (22) Los Angeles Angels – The Angels made a big splash at the deadline acquiring Dan Haren to anchor the rotation, but that hasn’t worked out.  Their lineup has not hit consistently despite being loaded with talent, although losing Kendry Morales to injury was devastating.  This team should rebound next year as well, and could play spoiler to a lot of teams in September.

20. (19) Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers are another team that is not playing near to the level of their talent.  The bullpen has been a big problem, particularly Trevor Hoffman, who may never get to 600 career saves if he keeps blowing opportunities.  The lineup needs to start producing like their talent if this team wants success going forward in future seasons.

21. (27) Houston Astros – Houston strangely enough has played much better since dealing away Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman at the deadline.  It appears that there is enough youth here that the rebuilding is well underway.  If Houston fans are patient, the future could be bright down in Texas.

22. (30) Baltimore Orioles – There isn’t much talent here, but they are playing really hard for new manager Buck Showalter.  They have managed to climb out of the cellar in terms of worst record in baseball, and they have beaten several contending teams in recent weeks.  I sense a good September for them, and a bright outlook for 2011.

23. (28) Seattle Mariners – The Cliff Lee acquisition didn’t work out, but now that he’s gone it seems as if this team is pointed at the future.  There are some good hitters in their lineup (I really like Justin Smoak, acquired in the Lee trade to Texas), and there is a lot of potential in the starting pitching.  They’ve got to get better next year or there is something wrong.

24. (13) Washington Nationals – I had them ranked high in May because they were winning a lot of games.  Obviously that’s tailed off, but there still have some talented hitters.  The future also looks really bright with Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.  I’ll be curious to see if Adam Dunn is still with the club in 2011.

25. (18) Arizona Diamondbacks – Arizona has a lot of talent.  They also don’t have any consistency.  The lineup is potent at times with numerous hitters capable of mashing home runs, but they also strike out a lot.  The bullpen is terrible, and that alone has cost them numerous games.  The prospects acquired in the Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson deals should help going forward.

26. (10) – New York Mets – This ranking has as much to do with what has happened off the field as on it.  Closer Francisco Rodriguez is a complete embarrassment for punching his father in law, and the Mets were right to terminate his contract.  They also have a lot of money tied up in Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay with nothing to show for it.  Even ace Johan Santana has been really up and down.  This team has too many veteran guys who are past their window of opportunity, and they need to blow it up and start over.

27. (24) Chicago Cubs – The rebuilding is well underway.  Gone are Derrek Lee, Ryan Theriot, and even manager Lou Pinella, who retired.  They would like to unload Aramis Ramirez’ large contract as well, but he is refusing to waive his no trade clause. They will spend September taking a good look at young talent.  Cubs fans have a century’s worth of patience under their belt, and they’ll need it for a few more years before they are good again.

28. (26) – Cleveland Indians – Cleveland is a team that appears to be lacking any kind of direction.  They don’t any names that jump off the page at any position, save for Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore, both of whom are so injury riddled they might not have anything left.  They had better hope that help is coming from the farm system soon.

29. (23) – Pittsburgh Pirates – As always, this team has the feel and look of a Triple A club.  They have young talent, but it seems inevitable that all the good players will be traded when ownership can’t afford them or doesn’t want to pay for them.  They have endured 17 consecutive losing seasons.  To put it another way, they have not had a winning season the Rockies and Marlins came into existence in 1993.

30. (29) – Kansas City Royals – I feel really bad for Kansas City fans as well.  The Royals, like Pittsburgh, trade away their best players year after year, and even when they try to keep good talent (Zack Grienke, Joakim Soria), it doesn’t seem to help them.  They have the combined problem of cheap ownership with management that doesn’t know what they’re doing.  Improvement doesn’t seem to be coming soon in either area.

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4 Responses to “Updated MLB Power Rankings”

  1. jtosborne said

    Nice post. Would you be interested in doing a link exchange? I also have a sports blog – Whatupsports.wordpress.com. Let me know if your interested. Thanks.

  2. ScruffMoney said

    So it just came out that the Pirates were profitable despite being in a record stretch of futility, what about the Royals? Are they awful and making money or just awful?

  3. mizzou1028 said

    @ScruffMoney: Great question. It does seem that the Royals, like many other small market clubs, aren’t shy about dipping into their share of revenue sharing. According to Forbes, the Royals actually rank 24th in total value, well ahead of the last place Pirates. So on the surface it seems as though the Royals are turning a profit as well, but they are also guilty of bad baseball decisions ($55 million over five years for the utterly mediocre Gil Meche comes to mind). I think Pittsburgh has made no attempt to spend money on players, while the Royals have spent money on some of the wrong guys.

  4. brouhahasports said

    The Detroit Tigers suffered multiple injuries, including Magglio, that tanked their season. Are the Padres for real? If so, it will be interesting to see what they do in the playoffs. The Reds appear to be legit contenders, and I can’t discount the Rays. They have a great manager.

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