Here are this week’s MLB Power Rankings featuring thoughts on each team from Mark Zuckerman, Chase Hughes and myself, Steve Roney:
1. Oakland Athletics (LW: 1) – Roney: I still love the trade for the Shark and Hammel, but you have to wonder if Russell could have been better used to bring in, say, David Price. Wonder too each starter’s if long-term price tag played a role.
2. Los Angeles Angels (LW: 2) – Roney: This is finally the team that Arte Moreno envisioned about three years ago. Props to Mike Trout on his MVP performance in already his third (!) All-Star Game.
3. Detroit Tigers (LW: 3) – Hughes: Justin Verlander (8-8, 4.88) will need a big second half to correct what has so far been the worst season of his career.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers (LW: 5) – Roney: So now the Dodgers are looking into bringing Jonathan Papelbon aboard, ostensibly to give them 2011’s dirtiest bullpen.
5. San Francisco Giants (LW: 7) – Roney: Still a bad deal when it was signed, but Tim Lincecum has actually been worth the $17 million he’s being paid. Not sure if that says more about his pitching or the going rate.
6. Baltimore Orioles (LW: 6) – Zuckerman: If Davis and Machado get hot, watch out.
7. Washington Nationals (LW: 8) – Zuckerman: Time for Harper to get going at last.
8. Atlanta Braves (LW: 9) – Zuckerman: They need Gattis back healthy and productive, big-time.
9. Milwaukee Brewers (LW: 4) – Hughes: Milwaukee hung on to their division lead by a thread heading into the break and they play the Nats next.
10. St. Louis Cardinals (LW: 11) – Hughes: Mike Matheny's decision to start pitch-groover Adam Wainwright and select Pat Neshek to the All-Star Game really backfired. Will it come back to bite the Cards in October?
11. Seattle Mariners (LW: 10) – Roney: Seattle should be buyers over the next two weeks, which still feels odd to put into writing.
12. Cincinnati Reds (LW: 13) – Hughes: Cincinnati has been arguably the NL's best team the last few weeks. They should be the favorite to win the NL Central at this point.
13. Pittsburgh Pirates (LW: 14) – Hughes: Little late to this one: Josh Harrison is a good player, but an All-Star?
14. Toronto Blue Jays (LW: 12) – Zuckerman: They really need somebody in their rotation besides Buehrle and Dickey to step up.
15. Kansas City Royals (LW: 15) – Hughes: The Royals are so close that they should be active at the trade deadline. Their fans deserve the postseason.
16. New York Yankees (LW: 16) – Zuckerman: Just don't see how they can hang on all summer with that decimated rotation.
17. Cleveland Indians (LW: 17) – Hughes: They've taken a step back this year, but I like the Indians in 2015. Michael Brantley is a star.
18. New York Mets (LW: 21) – Zuckerman: They're not going to challenge for a postseason berth, but Collins keeps these guys playing hard.
19. Miami Marlins (LW: 18) – Zuckerman: Stanton gets the attention (and deservedly so) but Ozuna is turning into a solid hitter as well.
20. Chicago White Sox (LW: 20) – Hughes: Jose Abreu has 29 homers in 82 games and is on pace to break Mark McGwire's 1987 rookie record of 49.
21. Minnesota Twins (LW: 22) – Hughes: I've been saying this for a while now, but when will the Twins call up Alex Meyer? He's 24 with a 3.06 career ERA in the minors.
22. Tampa Bay Rays (LW: 19) – Zuckerman: They've got two weeks to try to get back in the race, or else bye-bye Price.
23. Boston Red Sox (LW: 24) – Zuckerman: Could become first team ever to go worst to first and back to worst again.
24. Philadelphia Phillies (LW: 25) – Zuckerman: Props to Utley, who is showing he still has plenty left in the tank.
25. San Diego Padres (LW: 23) – Roney: If you don’t like Omar Minaya for Pads GM, here’s a more dynamic name: Kim Ng, currently in MLB’s front office. She’s interviewed for GM openings twice before – third time’s a charm?
26. Colorado Rockies (LW: 28) – Roney: Funny how organizations develop, and continue to fulfill, long-lasting stereotypes. Colorado just cannot pitch consistently.
27. Chicago Cubs (LW: 29) – Hughes: Anthony Rizzo looks like a future star right now, just wait until he gets some help in Chicago's lineup.
28. Houston Astros (LW: 27) – Roney: I knew there was a youth movement underway, but I didn’t realize just how extreme – Dexter Fowler is the oldest regular in the field, at a ripe 28.
29. Arizona Diamondbacks (LW: 30) – Roney: Sad that Bronson Arroyo had to go under the knife – you couldn’t ask for a more durable starter over the last 10 years (326 starts).
30. Texas Rangers (LW: 26) – Roney: Rare to see a club built to win now occupy the absolute bottom slot. They’re wasting some excellent Darvish with so many others on the shelf for the year.