As we roll past the three-quarter point of the season, it's time for the third installment of our 2013 MLB power rankings.
|Photo from: weei.com|
Two things of note; First, the statistics used for these rankings are all prior to Tuesday's games. Second, the numbers in parentheses indicate where the team's ranked in our midseason power rankings back on July 24th.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (13) - If this is a surprise, you have probably been asleep the last quarter of the season. In the middle of an incredible 42-10 run (25-5 since the All-Star break), the Dodgers are far and away the best team in baseball at the moment. Led by the best pitcher in the game in Clayton Kershaw, their staff boasts the lowest earned run average (ERA) in the big leagues since the break. Their bats are nothing to sneeze at either, as the Dodgers have the best batting average (AVG) and highest on-base percentage (OBP) in the majors in that span as well. They not only clawed their way into the NL West division hunt, they are now starting to run away with it.
2. Atlanta Braves (7) - The Braves have turned it on in the second half of the season, posting a solid 22-7 mark since the All-Star break. Led by dominant pitching, they have held their opponents to the lowest AVG in all of baseball in said time frame. Not lost amid the impressive run is their current run of 19-3 in their last 22 games, having won 14-straight to start it off. Atlanta has all but clinched their cakewalk of a division, holding a double-digit lead in the NL East.
3. Detroit Tigers (4) - With the best hitter in the world on their side and easily one of the top pitching rotations, the Tigers could make a case for first on any list. They hit for the best average in the majors and have kept up their offensive pace, sitting second in runs scored since the All-Star break. Their downfall? Detroit is the only division leader under .500 in 1-run games (14-18). Their bats help them avoid such affairs, but the postseason brings a lot of tight contests, so they will need to be better than that come crunch time.
4. Texas Rangers (8) - Before August started, the Rangers found themselves 4-games back of the Athletics for divisional supremacy in the AL West. They now lead by half a game and are gaining steam. Not only are they 18-12 since the break, but Texas has a very soft schedule remaining until October. With Oakland hot on their tail, they're certainly not guaranteed a playoff spot, but expect the Rangers to stay hot and win the division.
5. Boston Red Sox (2) - Although they are only 2-games above .500 (16-14) since the All-Star break, Boston still sits atop baseball's toughest division, with a 1-game lead over the Rays. The Red Sox do everything right, and are clicking offensively. This month they lead the league in AVG and are second in OBP. This is a damn good club and it is almost a foregone conclusion that John Farrell will win Manager of the Year for what he's done in Beantown this year.
6. Tampa Bay Rays (6) - As mentioned, the Rays are right in the hunt for the AL East crown. They are 18-12 since the break, which is tops in the division. Having won 5 of 6 games, they are playing great baseball despite a recent 5-game drought versus the NL West; 3 losses to the Dodgers and 2 to the Diamondbacks.
7. Pittsburgh Pirates (5) - The Pirates are a dismal 3-7 over their last 10 games and are just 17-14 since the All-Star break. Their team ERA has climbed from 3.08 to 3.19 in that short period of time. That said, they still hold the best ERA in the majors and sit 22-games above .500. They hold a 1-game lead in the NL Central, and have the second-best record overall in professional baseball.
8. Oakland Athletics (1) - Although their pitching remains solid and has kept them in the hunt for October, the A's are not playing the same kind of baseball they were back in June. They are only 15-14 since the break and have squandered away their division lead. This club is capable of making some noise, but it's very possible they don't even qualify for the postseason this year.
9. St. Louis Cardinals (3) - The Cardinals started to fall well behind the Pirates in the NL Central, but they are right back in it, sitting only 1-game back. With their leader, catcher Yadier Molina, back from the DL, this team should scare anybody they face. St. Louis has won 3 in a row, and if they don't win the division, you can expect them to earn a wild card spot.
10. Cincinnati Reds (9) - Cincinnati is 7-3 in their last 10 games, and have won 2-straight. They are still in the running for the NL Central, sitting only 2.5-games back. In a 3-horse race for the division, even if the Reds fall short of winning the crown, they have a legitimate chance of qualifying for the playoffs as a wild card.
11. Kansas City Royals (21) - The Royals started the second half of the season on fire, coming out of the gates at 10-2. Since then, they have faltered, but not in typical Kansas City fashion. The Royals are still 11-8 since the beginning of August, but are 4-6 in their last 10 games, having now lost 2-straight. Kansas City is 8.5-games behind the Tigers for the division lead. While their postseason hopes will likely fall short, the fact that they are 5-games over .500 should be a positive sign of things to come in the future.
12. Baltimore Orioles (11) - On the shoulders of the best defense in baseball, by both fielding percentage and errors committed, the Orioles continue to find themselves in the mix for the highly coveted AL East crown. At 10-games over .500, the O's are 5.5-games back in the division and 4-games back of a wild card spot. In spite of being only 4-6 in their last 10 games, and only 14-14 since the break, Baltimore is far from dead.
13. Cleveland Indians (10) - The Indians currently sit in second place in the AL Central, 6.5-games back of the Tigers. If they could find a way to win more games on the road, Cleveland would be a force to be reckoned with. The Indians are 7th in team ERA and 9th in AVG in the majors since the break, but have only converted those impressive numbers to a mediocre 16-14 record during that span.
14. Arizona Diamondbacks (12) - Arizona might be higher on many people's lists, but they have consistently declined all season long and currently find themselves outside of playoff contention. Outside is likely where they'll stay, considering the red-hot Dodgers are pulling away from them fast. The Diamondbacks are 15-14 since the All-Star break, which is par for them this year. They rank 27th in AVG in all of baseball since then. They must start hitting better and getting more men on base if they plan to get back in the NL West race.
15. New York Yankees (14) - The Bronx Bombers have been swimming in controversy all year long with Alex Rodriguez and the Biogenesis scandal. That, in no way, justifies their season, but it certainly gives Yankee fans something to blame it on. Since the break, New York has been a .500 club, posting a 14-14 record. That said, they are still alive (barely), sitting 8-games back of the Red Sox in the AL East. To boot, the Yankees have been playing good baseball of late, winning 7 of their last 10 games.
16. New York Mets (25) - The huge jump in the rankings for the Mets can only mean one thing; they are finally playing decent baseball again. New York leapfrogged over Philly in the East, moving to third place, with second in striking distance. New York is 17-16 since the break and have the major's 9th-best ERA during that stint. It is all for naught this season, however, as they are still 18.5-games back of the Braves, but it at least gives fans in Queens something to take with them from the 2013 campaign.
17. Seattle Mariners (24) - The Mariners are 10-games under .500 and 14.5 back in the division. It is obviously just a 2-horse race in the AL West, with neither horse named Seattle. They are merely playing for respect at this point, and they're garnering a little, at least. Since the All-Star break, the M's are 14-15 and have more than earned their place near the middle of our power rankings.
18. Toronto Blue Jays (17) - Canada's team has not lived up to the hype this year, and currently sit 11-games under .500. After an impressive run in June, the Blue Jays have fallen back into their inexplicable slump. Since the break, the Jays are a 12-20 with an ERA hovering just a hair below 5. Toronto is dead last in the AL East, and that is where you can expect them to stay.
19. Colorado Rockies (20) - The Rockies are 7th in ERA and 8th in AVG in the majors since the All-Star break. So why are they still so bad? Colorado has managed a miserable 13-18 record in that period and sit way back of division, albeit in third place, 15-games out of first. One of the surprise teams back in April, the Rockies are not what they once were.
20. Washington Nationals (16) - Last year's NL East champs are a shadow of their former selves, sitting 16-games back in the division and playing like a team that should be even further back than that. The Nationals have lost 2-games in a row and are only 13-17 since the break. At 4-games under .500, Washington fans should be thinking about next season.
21. San Diego Padres (26) - San Diego is 13-games under .500 and near the bottom of the NL West. The Padres are 14-15 since the All-Star break, which is not awful, but that is about the only reason they aren't further down these rankings. In lieu of that, San Diego is playing pretty much as expected. Their roster is average at best, and if not for their easy division, they could find themselves doing much worse.
22. Minnesota Twins (28) - The Twins could arguably be much lower than this. The only reason they are 22nd is the fact that they are 15-16 since the All-Star break, which, to be this far down on the list, isn't too shabby. Regardless, they are 28th in the majors in AVG since the break and 21st in team ERA, which sits close to 4. The Twins are also 3-7 in their last 10 and are way back of Detroit in the Central, chasing an 18.5-game deficit.
23. Chicago White Sox (27) - If you have gotten to this point, you may think 23rd is too high for this team, but a recent sweep of the Yankees added to the fact that they have hit the most home runs in the majors in August has them moving in the right direction. Having said that, Chicago is still the second-worst team in the AL and sit 23.5-games back in the division. Maybe 23rd is too high.
24. Milwaukee Brewers (22) - If you're last in a division that has the Cubs in it, even if by only half a game, you are not a good ball club. Still, the Brewers are playing closer to mediocrity of late, sitting at 16-15 since the All-Star break.
25. Los Angeles Angels (18) - On paper, the Angels are loaded, but it hasn't translated to wins on the diamond. Since the break, they are 11-20 and have an ERA well over 5, worst in baseball. Los Angeles has blown 7 save opportunities in that time, and needless to say, their bullpen has been dismal. With Albert Pujols now out for the season, things couldn't get much worse for the Angels.
26. San Francisco Giants (19) - Last year's champs are this year's joke. Currently last in the National League West, the Giants are 20th in average and 23rd in ERA since the break. They have been plagued by horrible defensive play and have committed the 5th-most errors in all of baseball. They are a brutal 12-18 in the second half of the season. Needless to say, they won't be repeating.
27. Florida Marlins (29) - Florida is last in the National League East, a division with only one team over .500. They are a whopping 27.5-games back of the Braves, and have the worst record in the NL. The Marlins have hit the fewest home runs in all of baseball, both since the break and for the entire season. Better luck in 2014.
28. Chicago Cubs (23) - Chicago is 12-19 since the All-Star break, and are a miserable 5-12 in the month of August. They have the second-worst AVG in baseball in the second half of the season, and sit 19-games back in the division. "The Curse of the Billy Goat" will live to see at least one more year.
29. Philadelphia Phillies (15) - Philadelphia's record isn't quite as poor as the other teams down here in the basement, but their play of late has landed them right near the bottom. Since the break, they are 7-21 (worst in the majors) and have the worst AVG and ERA in the NL. They also have the least hits in that span in all of baseball. With new manager Ryne Sandberg, things haven't gotten any better; 2 shutouts in his first 2 games at the helm.
30. Houston Astros (30) - Simply put, the Astros are awful. If they were anywhere but dead last on this list, it would be a travesty. Houston is 8-22 since the break, and have an ERA over 5 in that time. The Astros have blown 10 saves in the second half of the season en route to locking down baseball's worst record. Only 3 batters and 3 pitchers on the entire squad are above the league average in OPS and ERA, respectively. Expect things to be bad in Houston for the foreseeable future.
That concludes our third power rankings for the 2013 season. Stay tuned for the fourth and final installment as we rank the playoffs teams at the end of the regular season.