On the Ball: Baseball Power Rankings

By Dave Martin, Epoch Times
September 19, 2014 6:30 am Last Updated: April 24, 2016 6:31 am

With just a week and a half left in the baseball season, there’s still plenty of races to be finalized. Detroit and Kansas City play a pivotal series this weekend that could decide the AL Central, while Pittsburgh and Milwaukee square off with the NL wild card on the line.

10. St. Louis Cardinals (85–68): With Adam Wainright, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, and Michael Wacha in the rotation, St. Louis’s starting pitching is a strength. Unfortunately, the acquisition of John Lackey (2–2, 5.05 ERA in 8 starts) has yet to work out for them since he came over from Boston. Last week: 10

9. Kansas City Royals (83–68): Outfielder Nori Aoki, who’s been a disappointment since coming over from Milwaukee last year, was red-hot in the just completed three-game series against Chicago. The 32-year-old from Japan went 11-for-13 hitting and got on base 13 times in the series. Last week: 8

8. Seattle Mariners (82–70): The Yankees were wise to not match Robinson Cano’s 10-year contract offer from Seattle last winter, as the final 3–4 years of the deal will represent a major financial loss. Still, his production this season (.318 average, 14 home runs, 35 doubles) has been greatly missed in Joe Girardi’s lineup. Last week: 6

7. Oakland A’s (83–69): The free-fall of the A’s continues. They’re now 17–28 since dealing Yoenis Cespedes to Boston for Jon Lester on July 31. Although Lester is 5–3 with a sparkling 2.30 ERA in nine starts with Oakland, the offense went from averaging 5.0 runs per game to just 3.5. Last week: 4

6. San Francisco Giants (84–68): Boston traded away a number of starting pitchers at the trade deadline, and though Lackey hasn’t shined in St. Louis and the Lester-for-Cespedes deal hasn’t worked in Oakland, Jake Peavy has been an ace in San Francisco. The former Cy Young winner is 6–4 with a 2.16 ERA in 10 starts for the wild card-contending Giants. Last week: 6

5. Detroit Tigers (84–68): Despite having a trio of former Cy Young winners in the rotation (Justin Verlander, David Price, and Max Scherzer), the Tiger starter with the best ERA is actually Rick Porcello at 3.19. Porcello is having his best season (15–11 record) since 2009 when he was a just 20-year-old rookie. Last week: 7

4. Los Angeles Dodgers (87–66): There’s not a more feared duo of starting pitchers in the majors than LA’s Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. The two are a combined 34–11 in 55 starts with a microscopic 2.23 ERA and bring up memories of when Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling pitched Arizona to a World Series title in 2001. Last week: 3

3. Washington Nationals (88–64): Though the Nationals had the tremendous fortune of getting the No. 1 overall pick in consecutive top-heavy drafts in 2009–10, which landed them future stars Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, neither has distinguished themselves this season. Harper is hitting just .274 with 13 home runs in 91 games, and while Strasburg’s 3.46 ERA is above average, it’s only fourth on the staff. Last week: 5

2. Baltimore Orioles (92–60): Baltimore manager Buck Showalter should be in line for his third Manager of the Year award (also won it in 1994 and 2004). The longtime skipper has led the Orioles to their first division title in 17 years despite missing young starters Matt Wieters (he’s played 26 games) and Manny Machado (82 games) for much of the season. Last week: 2

1. Los Angeles Angels (95–58): Although Mike Trout will surely win MVP this season, he’s actually having a worse season than he did each of the past two years when he finished runner-up to Miguel Cabrera. For one thing, Trout’s prowess on the base-paths is down—his steals have gone from 49 two years ago to just 14 this year. In addition, the league leader in RBIs (107) also is first in strikeouts with a career-worst 173 and counting. Last week: 1