Power Rankings – August 1

The Power Rankings work the same way as always: Pythagorean record adjusted for strength of schedule. Remember that as the season advances, we’ll see less and less change because both SOS and Pythagorean record become more stable as sample size increases.
1. St. Louis Cardinals (1) – The Cards have been somewhat average lately, but that’s okay – they’re still the only team in baseball with a Pythagorean W% over .600 at .628. With Mark Mulder anchoring the staff, St. Louis has to be considered a favorite to get to the World Series. Their biggest cause for worry? Houston is now less than 10 games behind 🙂
2. Atlanta Braves (2) – After weeks of being near the top of the rankings while trailing in their division, the Braves have finally taken over first – probably for good. They’ve won six in a row, lead the NL East by 5, and with Hudson and Smoltz anchoring their rotation, let’s just say that I’m looking forward to a Houston-Atlanta playoff series.
3. Chicago White Sox (4) – The White Sox move up a spot into third, and even though they’ve pretty much clinched their division, up 14.5 games on the Twins and Indians after a four game losing streak by Minnesota and three game winning streak for the ChiSox, I’d still be worried if I were a White Sox fan. They have a good pitching staff, but it’s not the best, in my opinion, and their going to have to win a lot of 1-0 games in the playoffs with this offense. I’m shocked that Kenny Williams didn’t go all out to acquire Adam Dunn. That would have been a great boost.
4. Los Angeles Angels (3) – The Angels chose the wrong time to start losing: Oakland is only all of a sudden 1.5 games back.
5. Toronto Blue Jays (5) – How are the Blue Jays still in fifth? Well, they’ve been under the radar, but very good. They’re 6-4 in their last 10 games, and have continued winning without Roy Halladay. They have a great run differential and are only 5 games back in the wild card race and 6 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East.
6. Oakland Athletics (9) – If I was a major league general manager, I would offer to trade rosters with the A’s for the second half of every season.
7. Boston Red Sox (6) – The Sox have won five in a row, pulling up to 2.5 games up on the Yankees. And as I showed today, they did a great job at the deadline.
8. New York Mets (7) – The Mets have to be considered the biggest deadline loser. They needed someone and got nothing. Maybe Omar Minaya should have concentrated on making smaller moves, like upgrading the bullpen with Eddie Guardado than trying to make a big splash with Manny Ramirez or Alfonso Soriano. The Mets offense should be okay if Carlos Beltran starts hitting, but Adam Dunn would have given it a huge boost and would have been worth trading away the farm more than Ramirez or Soriano.
9. Houston Astros (13) – The Astros have jumped 13 spots in the last two weeks, and now lead the NL wild card race. Roy Oswalt and Roger Clemens give them a real chance to do damage in the playoffs (as they did last year). But without a Carlos Beltran type acquisition, you have to wonder how far they can go.
10. Texas Rangers (10) – It’s not that they’ve been bad lately; as you can see, their ranking hasn’t changed. But with the A’s streaking, the Rangers have fallen back in the AL West, though they are still only 6.5 games back.
11. Cleveland Indians (8) – The Indians are suddenly tied for second place in the AL Central. And it doesn’t mean a damn thing.
12. New York Yankees (12) – The Yankees are hanging tough, but you have to wonder how far a team with Hideo Nomo, Alan Embree, Al Leiter, and Shawn Chacon playing prominent roles can go. Jason Giambi’s comeback has been mesmerizing. What a player.
13. Florida Marlins (14) – Does Florida really think it can contend? Having won 7 of their last 10, the Marlins are still 2.5 games back in the wild card race and 10.5 back in the NL East. The Marlins haven’t been particularly good at scoring or preventing runs. That certainly can’t be encouraging for Marlins fans.
14. Milwaukee Brewers (16) –Though they gained two spots mostly by default, the Brewers are having a great season, with a positive run differential and within two games of .500.
15. Minnesota Twins (11) – The Twins dropped big time, having lost four in a row. After leading the wild card race for most of the year, the Twins look like a non-contender, having gotten nothing at the deadline and losing Torii Hunter for a long time.
16. Chicago Cubs (15) – An astonishingly consistent team: 27-26 at home, 26-26 on the road, having scored 479 runs and allowed 470.
17. Philadelphia Phillies (19) – The Phillies are making a playoff push, and finally seem to be fulfilling their potential. Uggy Urbina has been a big help. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’ll make it. Atlanta and Houston are too good to be passed by the Phils.
18. Detroit Tigers (17) – Three teams in the AL Central are on a four game losing streak, who are now four games under .500, and seem unlikely to salvage a .500 record, which would have been great for a team that just two years ago lost 119 games.
19. Baltimore Orioles (18) – Two games under .500 and eight games back, the Orioles are wishing they had dealt for A.J. Burnett, who they desperately needed. Their front office needs to be fired.
20. Seattle Mariners (20) – Should have traded Easy Eddie. There was no reason to hold onto him.
21. Washington Nationals (21) – Told you they would come back to earth – they’re 2-8 in their last 10. Nevertheless, if the Nationals finish above .500, it would be a great accomplishment and a good sign of things to come for this franchise.
22. Cincinnati Reds (24) – Another one of those “huh?” situations. While the Reds have won five in a row, they’re not exactly a contender. I just don’t understand why they didn’t move Ken Griffey Jr. whose value likely never will be higher. They have four outfielders – the other three are young and cheap – it just doesn’t make sense.
23. San Diego Padres (22) – The most pitiful franchise in the major leagues. When I ranked them in the 20s three weeks ago, I was totally right (just thought I’d throw that out there). The Chan Ho Park deal was horrible for them. God, the NL West just sucks.
24. Los Angeles Dodgers (23) – My pick to win the NL West at the beginning of the season. And now.
25. Pittsburgh Pirates (25) – The only team in the NL Central with a losing record at home. And while Zach Duke is great, doesn’t he kind of remind you of Oliver Perez – a tall, 22-year-old, Pirates left hander who comes onto the scene from nowhere? If both can play up to their potential in ’06, this will be a great team. Otherwise…it can’t get any worse, can it?
26. Arizona Diamondbacks (27) – They’re tied for first in the NL West despite a losing home record and a -79 run differential. And you wonder why I like the Dodgers…
27. San Francisco Giants (26) – The most pointless deadline deal was trading for Randy Winn. San Fran is not a contender and giving away Jesse Foppert was just plain stupid.
28. Tampa Bay Devil Rays (29) – Search for “Fire Chuck LaMar” and you get 181,000 hits. Maybe the Devil Rays should take the hint.
29. Kansas City Royals (28) – The Royals are at this point a dead-end franchise.
30. Colorado Rockies (30) – How does a team playing in the worst division in baseball have the worst team in baseball?

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