TSN.ca MLB Power Rankings
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 6:11 PM
The Tigers, Red Sox and Pirates finish on top in the season's final edition of the MLB Power Rankings.
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This Week1Last Week1Detroit Tigers93-69
The second-highest OPS (.780) in baseball, coupled with power arms (8.79 K/9 is best) gives the Tigers a shot at the crown. Obviously, they need 3B Miguel Cabrera to keep slugging, but the supporting cast -- 1B Prince Fielder, RF Torii Hunter and DH Victor Martinez -- will need to produce for a station-to-station team that swiped an MLB-low 35 bases.
Key Injuries: SS Jhonny Peralta (suspension).
This Week2Last Week2Boston Red Sox97-65
With the best OPS (.795) and base-stealing (123-for-142, 87.0%), the Red Sox scored 57 more runs than second-place Detroit, but the Boston pitching comes with more questions, though if Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy, Jon Lester and John Lackey throw well, they could be just fine.
Key Injuries: None.
This Week3Last Week3Pittsburgh Pirates94-68
Pitching has been the core of the Pirates' success, with a 3.26 ERA (third) and .650 OPS against (first) and that will have to continue to be great because, aside from CF Andrew McCutchen, they've been mediocre offensively. IF 1B Justin Morneau (.681 OPS, 0 HR in 25 GP with Pittsburgh) started producing, that would help matters.
Key Injuries: LHP Wandy Rodriguez (forearm).
This Week4Last Week4Los Angeles Dodgers92-70
SS Hanley Ramirez and rookie RF Yasiel Puig have provided much-needed pop in the lineup, but the Dodgers' hopes are pinned on a pitching staff that had a baseball-best 2.75 ERA after the All-Star break, with Zach Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Ricky Nolasco providing quality rotation support for Clayton Kershaw, who was merely the best pitcher in baseball this year.
Key Injuries: RHP Josh Beckett (neck/shoulder), RHP Chad Billingsley (elbow), OF Andre Ethier (ankle).
This Week5Last Week6St. Louis Cardinals97-65
The Cardinals hit .330 with runners in scoring position (Detroit was second at .282) along with a league-best .402 on-base percentage, which explains their success, though the average with RISP doesn't seem like an advantage that can be sustained in the long run. Nevertheless, they also have power arms -- Adam Wainwright, Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn and near no-hitter Michael Wacha -- that could make a difference in the playoffs.
Key Injuries: RHP Jason Motte (elbow), LHP Jaime Garcia (shoulder), RHP Jake Westbrook (back).
This Week6Last Week5Cincinnati Reds90-72
1B Joey Votto (.435) and CF Shin-Soo Choo (.423), rank second and fourth, respectively, in on-base percentage, yet they are sandwiched around a baseball-worst .281 on-base percentage in the second spot of the batting order, handicapping their chances before the game even starts.
Key Injuries: None.
This Week7Last Week7Oakland Athletics96-66
3B Josh Donaldson, 1B Brandon Moss and CF Coco Crisp (who went 20-20) provide the power and rookie RHP Sonny Gray may be vital to the playoff rotation as support behind ace Bartolo Colon, who just posted a career-best 2.65 ERA.
Key Injuries: C John Jaso (concussion).
This Week8Last Week8Tampa Bay Rays91-71
The offence is typically patchwork, with 3B Evan Longoria and rookie RF Wil Myers the real threats, but the starting pitching can be really good. Alex Cobb, Chris Archer, Matt Moore and David Price combined for a 3.18 ERA this season, 2.95 after the All-Star break.
Key Injuries: None.
This Week9Last Week9Atlanta Braves96-66
While veteran RHP Freddy Garcia has a 1.83 ERA in three starts with the Braves, and Atlanta had an MLB-best 3.18 ERA this season, it's a tad troubling when he's reportedly set to start Game Four of Atlanta's playoff series. They also hit a National League-best 181 home runs, with five -- 1B Freddie Freeman, LF Justin Upton, C Brian McCann, OF Evan Gattis and 2B Dan Uggla -- going for more than 20.
Key Injuries: RHP Tim Hudson (ankle), RHP Brandon Beachy (elbow).
This Week10Last Week10Washington Nationals86-76
No playoffs for the Nationals, my top-ranked team in the preseason, as they had too many holes in their lineup, but there is still a strong core in place, with a trio of pitchers -- Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez -- that will give them a chance to remain competitive.
This Week11Last Week11Cleveland Indians92-70
Have a chance because RHP Ubaldo Jimenez has suddenly re-discovered his game, with a 1.82 ERA in 13 starts since the All-Star break, giving them a viable staff ace. C Carlos Santana and 2B Jason Kipnis lead the offence, but it's going to have to be a collective effort for the Tribe to keep going.
Key Injuries: None.
This Week12Last Week12Texas Rangers91-71
Nelson Cruz returning from suspension could help, but the Rangers don't have enough pitching, beyond ace Yu Darvish, to be confident in their postseason chances, should they even get past the Rays in Game 163.
Key Injuries: RHP Colby Lewis (elbow), LHP Matt Harrison (back).
This Week13Last Week14Kansas City Royals86-76
Figures, in a year that the Royals invest in pitching, they got results from the bump -- their 3.45 staff ERA led the AL -- but a .694 OPS ranked 21st, their 112 home runs the fewest in the AL by a long shot (the Yankees were next-lowest with 144).
This Week14Last Week13New York Yankees85-77
Given they had the 22nd-ranked OPS (.683), 18th-ranked ERA (3.84) and gave up 21 more runs than they scored, it's kind of remarkable that the Yankees were even in the playoff discussion in September. That's also a sign of how far they have fallen and how much of a mess 2013 was thanks to all the injuries of their aging, high-priced talent.
This Week15Last Week15Baltimore Orioles85-77
1B Chris Davis had a year to remember (53 HR, 138 RBI, .286 AVG, 1.004 OPS, 199 K) and 3B Manny Machado is on his way to stardom if a late-season knee injury doesn't slow his ascent, but their starting pitchers had a 4.57 ERA, ahead of only Houston, Toronto and Minnesota.
This Week16Last Week17Arizona Diamondbacks81-81
Not enough support in the lineup for 1B Paul Goldschmidt, who hit 22 more home runs than Martin Prado, who ranked second on the team with 14. A fitting .500 team, okay on offence, okay pitching, not good or bad enough to sway too far from the middle.
This Week17Last Week18San Francisco Giants76-86
As usual, couldn't hit enough, though 1B Brandon Belt, C Buster Posey and RF Hunter Pence each had an OPS over .820, and the pitching wasn't typically dominant, with a staff ERA of 4.00 putting the Giants 22nd after finishing no worse than seventh in the previous four seasons.
This Week18Last Week16Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim78-84
Not nearly enough starting pitching, especially in the 33 games that Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton took the hill, and much more concerning going forward was mediocre (to poor) seasons from big money RF Josh Hamilton and 1B Albert Pujols. If they're declining this sharply, the Halos are in deep trouble.
This Week19Last Week19Colorado Rockies74-88
Of course they have mashers -- LF Carlos Gonzalez, SS Troy Tulowitzki, C Wilin Rosario and RF Michael Cuddyer -- but there's no middle ground with the starting pitching. Tyler Chatwood, Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa all had and ERA under 3.50, making a total of 81 starts, but no other starter had an ERA under 5.00 in the other 81.
This Week20Last Week20Milwaukee Brewers74-88
CF Carlos Gomez and SS Jean Segura both swiped 40 bags, but with LF Ryan Braun (injured/suspended) and 3B Aramis Ramirez (injured) missing so much time, Gomez was also the only one with more than 13 home runs.
This Week21Last Week22San Diego Padres76-86
Make the most out of what they have in the pitching staff, with the likes of Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, Eric Stults all providing decent starts, but the lineup is still a problem. Their .686 OPS ranked 25th and rookie 2B Jedd Gyorko led the team with 23 HR and 63 RBI.
This Week22Last Week21Philadelphia Phillies73-89
Too many holes in the lineup -- their .690 OPS ranked 24th -- and they couldn't find consistent piching beyond LHP Cliff Lee, who was great. Even LHP Cole Hamels, their No. 2 starter who pitched nearly as well as he did last year when he won 17 games, ended up with just eight wins. Change is going to be needed to reverse this course.
This Week23Last Week23Toronto Blue Jays74-88
A colossal disappointment, after spending big last offseason, the Blue Jays were ranked third in the preseason Power Rankings and only crept above the midpoint once all season. They had some quality offensive seasons from 1B Edwin Encarnacion, DH Adam Lind, RF Jose Bautista and CF Colby Rasmus, but the pitching, which was supposed to be better, was still pretty much a disaster, their starting pitchers ranking 29th with a 4.81 ERA.
This Week24Last Week24New York Mets74-88
Not much can make up for the fact that Mets ace RHP Matt Harvey has to undergo Tommy John surgery, which will cost him the 2014 season, but it was a fun ride until he got hurt. For a team with few offensive threats outside of 3B David Wright, it was nice to watch the developing young arms, including Harvey, Zack Wheeler and even older starters Dillon Gee, Jeremy Hefner and Jonathon Niese.
This Week25Last Week25Seattle Mariners71-91
Ranked second in MLB with 188 home runs, led by 29 from ageless Raul Ibanez, but a .306 on-base percentage left the Mariners ranked 22nd in runs scored. The pitching staff has promise, if Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma are at the top of the rotation and could get help from top prospects Taijuan Walker and James Paxton.
This Week26Last Week26Chicago Cubs66-96
RF Nate Schierholtz was the only Cub to play at least 100 games and have an OPS better than .750 and that lack of offence undermined a starting pitching staff that, collectively, had a 3.97 ERA, which ranked 15th.
This Week27Last Week28Minnesota Twins66-96
Minnesota's 4.55 ERA is only second-worst, ahead of Houston, but the Twins' ability to miss bats is in a league of it's own, with 79 fewer strikeouts than 29th-ranked Colorado. It's the third straight season that the Twins have been the only team in baseball to strike out fewer than 1000 opponents.
This Week28Last Week27Chicago White Sox63-99
Their 598 runs scored ranked last in the American League, with DH Adam Dunn the only one to hit more than 17 home runs or drive in more than 62. Pitching was almost decent, with a staff ERA of 3.98, thanks largely to ace Chris Sale.
This Week29Last Week29Miami Marlins62-*
After the All-Star break, Marlins starters had a 3.49 ERA, perhaps a reason for optimism going forward, as Jose Fernandez, Henderson Alvarez and Nate Eovaldi can grow together. A little harder to find offensive bright spots. Giancarlo Stanton, sure, then....maybe Christian Yelich?
This Week30Last Week30Houston Astros51-*
For the second straight season, the Astros had a league-worst run differential (-238). The good news? The last team to have a worse run differential was the 2010 Pittsburgh Pirates (-279), who are now headed to the playoffs three years later.