Saturday, August 4, 2012

MLB Power Rankings

Ahhh, August. A month that is typically spent by me working my butt off at my summer job, basically to kill time before the beginning of school. But it's also a fairly stagnant month for sports all around.

Obviously, with the Olympics this year, it's been fairly busy, which masks the fact that nothing's happening. But if you're like me, and not an Olympics fanatic like everyone else (apparently, 70% of the earth's population who are tuning into the Games this Summer), you're pretty bored.

Sure, there are "storylines" to follow, between the fake QB controversy between Sanchez and Tebow, NBA storylines like Blake Griffin's injury, the PGA tournament coming up next week, and I just received confirmation that people STILL care about Chad Johnson. But, if those storylines don't interest you, you're stuck with one sport only at this time of the year: Baseball.

So, in case you're looking for someone to handicap the rest of the season, I've taken the liberty of doing so for you. I have ranked the 30 teams, in order of where I believe they will finish. Keep in mind: my pre-season pick for the world series was Yankees over Marlins. So you know I'm not biased.

1.) Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim -- by my calculations, they're the best team in baseball. Not in terms of current record, but they can, and will, go toe to toe with anyone in baseball with that rotation. The only other team in the majors who can match their rotation is....the Phillies. Who have no chance of making the playoffs at this point.

2.) New York Yankees -- my team. However, this doesn't look like their year. Clearly I think they're the second best team in baseball, and with three quality starters, the best defense in baseball and a very productive offense, who can argue that? However, between teams 1-4 here, the gap is tiny. I just think LAA has the most firepower in terms of pitching, and a good enough lineup to beat them.

3.) Texas Rangers -- they've fallen apart at the seams lately, but do NOT count that offense out at any time. Their injuries in the rotation, and lack of an ace will be their downfall ultimately, but this team can beat anyone in a slugfest. If the game is 8-8 after the fourth inning, advantage Texas. For the record, Ryan Dempster was the worst pick-up of all time.

4.) Cincinnati Reds -- with Strasburg pitching, the Nationals are better. But, after he hits the magic number and his arm reaches the point where it can literally fall off, the Reds are better. They're very hot right now, and I think the way they can hit will carry them to the World Series this year. Votto is the second best hitter in baseball, behind....

5.) Detroit Tigers -- ...Miguel Cabrera. Hands down, the best hitter in baseball. With him, Prince and Boesch (underrated hitter) producing, and Verlander being himself, this team can run with anyone. If Doug Fister pitches well down the stretch, this team is the best in all of the Major Leagues. Write it down. I just don't see it happening.

6.) Washington Nationals -- I hate innings limits. Call me biased, but after watching the Yankees botch Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes AND Ian Kennedy for the last 6 years, I don't believe in them. And because of that, this team will miss its best chance to compete for a title it will have for a long time. Do you really think Gio Gonzalez is THIS good? And Jordan Zimmermann? The clock will strike midnight on this team eventually, and their inability to hit will be exposed. And when it does, they'll wish Stephen Strasburg was there to dominate 7 innings of a game.

7.) Los Angeles Dodgers -- they upgraded their team immensely with HanRam, although Joe Blanton was a bit of a reach. This team is a player or two away from being unstoppable. This offseason, Magic Johnson should get his cronies together and make a push to trade for Cliff Lee. With him and Kershaw anchoring the rotation, and HanRam, Kemp and Ethier in the middle of the order, this team could be unbeatable for years to come.

8.) Oakland Athletics -- this will be my last drawn out response. I think they're for real, which is scary. They swept the Yankees a few weeks ago, and they looked every bit like a team that can be dangerous in the playoffs. They can pitch, they can field, and Cespedes and Reddick can both really hit. Like the Dodgers, in three years, this nucleus can be unstoppable.

9.) Atlanta Braves
10.) Pittsburgh Pirates (will finish over .500, get the fifth playoff spot. Good for them.)
11.) Chicago White Sox 
12.) St. Louis Cardinals
13.) Baltimore Orioles
14.) San Francisco Giants
15.) Arizona Diamondbacks (oh yeah, they're quietly 2 games out of the NL West.)
16.) Tampa Bay Rays
17.) Boston Red Sox
18.) Toronto Blue Jays
19.) Cleveland Indians
20.) New York Mets (this one hurts, because I really honestly thought they had a chance. Too bad. At least Harvey gives them something to look forward to.)
21.) Seattle Mariners (King Felix is the best pitcher in the MLB.)
22.) Philadelphia Phillies
23.) Milwaukee Brewers
24.) Miami Marlins (way to alienate your "fan base.")
25.) Minnesota Twins
26.) San Diego Padres
27.) Kansas City Royals
28.) Chicago Cubs
29.) Colorado Rockies
30.) Houston Astros (I predict less than 50 wins for them in the AL next season. That bad.)

There you have it! Angels over Reds in the world series this year, in 6 games. Tough to win four games against some combination of Jared Weaver twice, C.J Wilson twice, Dan Haren twice and Zack Greinke once. As a Yankee fan, my only hope is that Greinke gets an anxiety attack so bad that he can't pitch, forcing Earvin Santana to pitch. He gives up 16 runs in the first inning (as per usual), the bullpen gets decimated and Weaver, Haren and Wilson all fail to pitch complete game shutouts in the final three games. We'll see what happens.

Until then, I hear Tim Tebow changed his shirt on a plane. Check it out!

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