Sox sweep Yanks, stay on top [MLB Power Rankings]
The NL playoff teams are virtually locked up, with just a few things left to be determined. In the AL, it's a bit more interesting, with 6 teams fighting for the last two playoff spots. This should be a fun final few weeks.
Without further ado, here are your MLB Power Rankings for week 24:
1. Boston Red Sox (92-59) [Last week: 1]
Eric: Most observers though the Shane Victorino signing would be a disaster, but he’s been very good this year, hitting .294/.352/.454 with excellent defense.
Pat: After sweeping the Yankees, the Sox have vanquished another foe in the AL East race, and have the division all but locked up at this point.
2. Atlanta Braves (89-60) [LW: 2]
Eric: Brian McCann hit his 20th homer earlier this week. That’s his 6th straight season with 20 homers, joining Piazza, Berra, and Bench as the only other catchers to do that.
Pat: Jason Heyward has been taking batting practice and looking pretty solid in the process. If he can come back strong for the playoffs, that would be huge.
3. Oakland Athletics (88-61) [LW: 4]
Eric: Bartolo Colon shut down the Rangers on Saturday. If he’s bounced back from injury and an August slump, it’s a huge boost for the A’s in the playoffs.
Pat: Josh Donaldson should finish in the top 10 vote for the AL MVP... and he didn't even make the All Star Game.
4. St. Louis Cardinals (87-62) [LW: 3]
Eric: Pete Kozma is the only true weakness in the Cardinals lineup. He’s hitting a putrid .218/.274/.273. Last year’s lucky streak feels like a long time ago.
Pat: Matt Carpenter is a surprising leader in the Cardinals offense, hitting .319 with an incredible 116 runs scored.
5. Detroit Tigers (86-63) [LW: 6]
Eric: Max Scherzer has had four attempts to win his 20th game this year, yet it hasn’t happened. Such is the variance of pitcher wins.
Pat: As ridiculous as it is, Scherzer's struggle to get that 20th win might have a huge impact on the Cy Young race. If someone's ignorant enough to base it all on wins, they might also be ignorant enough to knock Scherzer down a peg or two just because he didn't get 20.
6. Pittsburgh Pirates (87-62) [LW: 7]
Eric: Reports are Gerrit Cole will be put in the bullpen for the playoffs. That’s a curious decision given how shaky the Pirates’ rotation is after Liriano and Burnett.
Pat: Earlier in the season, the Pirates just couldn't hit the ball at all. Now, their lineup actually looks pretty solid, and their rotation is the main concern. Man, baseball is a funny game.
7. Los Angeles Dodgers (86-63) [LW: 5]
Eric: Puig has cooled off a bit, but he still has an .874 OPS in the second half.
Pat: Now that he's 4 wins behind Adam Wainwright, Clayton Kershaw's chances of winning the pitching Triple Crown are all but nil.
8. Cincinnati Reds (84-66) [LW: 9]
Eric: Billy Hamilton has become the new Herb Washington. He's played 6 games so far and has just 2 ABs and no hits, but also has 5 stolen bases (and zero caught stealings) and 4 runs scored.
Pat: The Reds are falling behind the Pirates and Cardinals, and are almost a lock to finish as one of the two wild cards in the NL.
9. Tampa Bay Rays (81-67) [LW: 10]
Eric: The Twins appear to have cured what ailed the Rays.
Pat: After a rough start, David Price has bounce back and is the ace that the Rays need him to be.
10. Cleveland Indians (81-68) [LW: 12]
Eric: The Indians’ schedule the rest of the way – 3 at KC, 4 vs. HOU, 2 vs. CWS, 4 at MIN. Absolute cake, which could very well power them to the playoffs.
Pat: Rookie pitcher Danny Salazar has been fantastic, but the Indians have him on (approximately) an 80-pitch limit per outing, and he's been struggling to make it long enough to qualify for wins.
11. Texas Rangers (81-67) [LW: 8]
Eric: The Rangers have collapsed and what looked like a certain playoff spot is now much in peril. In many ways, they’re keeping the hopes of all those team chasing alive.
Pat: The Rangers are collapsing again. Is this team just not good enough to make the playoffs? Or are they just ridiculously streaky?
12. Washington Nationals (79-70) [LW: 15]
Eric: Their late run is at least a reminder that this is still a pretty talented team that can’t be counted out next year.
Pat: The Nationals are 8-2 in their last 10 games. It's too bad they sucked so bad early in the season and destroyed their playoff chances, because they'd be a dangerously hot opponent right now.
13. Baltimore Orioles (79-70) [LW: 11]
Eric: From the best record in one-run games in a century last year, the Orioles now have the worst record in one-run games this year, 16-28.
Pat: 10 of their 13 remaining games are against the Red Sox and Rays. The other three are against the Blue Jays, who seem to relish the role of spoiler. This could be tough for the O's.
13. New York Yankees (79-71) [LW: 13]
Eric: The Yankees have a negative run differential. They are very lucky to have been in the race this long.
Pat: Getting swept by the Red Sox officially ended the Yankees' chances in the AL East, and unofficially took them out of the wild card chase as well.
15. Kansas City Royals (78-71) [LW: 14]
Eric: Jeremy Guthrie threw a 13 hit complete game yesterday. Despite getting lucky enough to not give up a boatload of runs, Guthrie was left to pitch the 8th inning, where he gave up the game losing home run, and likely ended all hope of the playoffs.
Pat: Eric Hosmer is quietly having a pretty solid season. Perhaps he can be a pretty good player after all.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks (75-73) [LW: 16]
Eric: In case you’re wondering, Heath Bell has a 4.43 ERA this year, and from the few times I’ve seen him pitch, I’m surprised it’s not higher.
Pat: Patrick Corbin and Paul Goldschmidt are the best pitcher-hitter combo that you probably hadn't heard of before the 2013 season.
17. Los Angeles Angels (72-77) [LW: 17]
Eric: It took all of my restraint not to respond to this article on Trout and Cabrera. The thing is no one’s bothering to argue for Trout this year because they know it’s not worth it and will only result in ad hominem attacks against them (oops, I used a Latin term, some people don’t like that). Also, when did Trout complain about playing left field? A quick Google search produced nothing of that sort.
Pat: Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar have been surprising bright spots for the Angels, but not enough to make up for the disappointing seasons from Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.
18. San Francisco Giants (69-81) [LW: 24]
Eric: Brandon Belt has had a great second half (.335/.404/.540) and is showing he can be as good as many thought he would be.
Pat: The Giants suddenly are looking like they know how to win games... now that it's too late.
19. Philadelphia Phillies (69-80) [LW: 20]
Eric: Not to beat a dead horse, but the Phillies now have the second worst run differential in all of baseball.
Pat: Jimmy Rollins is hitting .246 and is starting to look really, really old.
20. San Diego Padres (68-80) [LW: 21]
Eric: Will Venable leads the Padres in homers and OPS and was rewarded with a two year extension a few weeks back.
Pat: Speaking of Venable, he has been pretty much the only source of offense for the Padres lately. He's having a hell of a season.
21. Toronto Blue Jays (68-81) [LW: 18]
Eric: Every Blue Jay that has started more than 3 games this season has an ERA greater than 4.
Pat: With 3 games left against the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays and Orioles, the Blue Jays could do some serious spoiling.
22. Colorado Rockies (68-82) [LW: 19]
Eric: A tip of the cap to Todd Helton, who announced he would retire at the end of the season. Time will tell if he makes the Hall of Fame, but he certainly has the honor of Greatest Rockie.
Pat: I think Helton's a Hall of Famer. But that's just based on the eye test. I'm not sure if his home/road splits will stand the test of time.
23. New York Mets (67-82) [LW: 23]
Eric: The youngest member of the Mets lineup is 24 year old center fielder Juan Lagares, who has a great glove but not much bat. They really don’t have any young offensive talent.
Pat: Poor David Wright.
24. Seattle Mariners (66-83) [LW: 22]
Eric: In Tajuan Walker and James Paxton, the Mariners top pitching prospects are receiving their first taste of the majors.
Pat: Why'd they trade Brendan Ryan? He seemed to fit well in their offensively inept lineup.
25. Milwaukee Brewers (65-83) [LW: 25]
Eric: I have nothing to say about the Brewers, so here’s a Yuni Betancourt update: .207/.233/.356, -1.7 bWAR, -1.8 fWAR. Tied for 4th worst in baseball in Fangraphs WAR.
Pat: I think the Brewers will make the playoffs in 2014. You heard it here first. Now go get some pitching, guys.
26. Minnesota Twins (64-84) [LW: 26]
Eric: Josmil Pinto, replacing Joe Mauer at catcher, has a 1.166 OPS in his first 11 career games.
Pat: Between Pinto and Miguel Sano, the Twins have a pair of extremely exciting offensive prospects.
27. Chicago Cubs (63-86) [LW: 27]
Eric: Year 1 of the Edwin Jackson deal was a disaster. He sports a 4.76 ERA and his K rate dropped to 6.9 per nine, from 8.0 last year.
Pat: The Cubs' World Series drought will extend to at least 107 years. I'm convinced. For those of you doing the math at home, that would mean they keep losing through at least 2015.
28. Chicago White Sox (58-91) [LW: 28]
Eric: There is not a single White Sox position player with an OPS+ over 100, including both regulars and part-time players. That’s mind blowing.
Pat: In case you're not familiar with OPS+, that means every single White Sox hitter is a below average hitter.
29. Miami Marlins (55-94) [LW: 29]
Eric: I was pleasantly surprised that most people and commentators sided with Jose Fernandez in this week’s flap. Usually the peanut gallery can’t wait to get on a young player every time they show enthusiasm about anything.
Pat: Jose Fernandez is the man. That is all.
30. Houston Astros (51-98) [LW: 30]
Eric: Cody Clark has spent 11 years in the minors, and started his big league career 0-for-25. He finally snapped that streak and got his first big league hit on Friday night. Good for him.
Pat: This team is terrible.
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