MLB Power Rankings: Drama at the bottom

MLB Power Rankings: Drama at the bottom
May 23, 2013, 1:45 pm
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The Cardinals are holding strong as the top dog in the league, and the Braves are trending back upwards as the Marlins and Astros duke it out to see if there will be a challenger to the '62 Mets. Here's how Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman, Nats writer Chase Hughes, and I see the rest of the league shaking out:

1. St. Louis Cardinals (29-16; LW: 1) - Zuckerman: Every member of the rotation boasts an ERA under 3.60. That's how you win night in and night out.

2. Texas Rangers (29-17; LW: 2) - Roney: Baseball America No. 1 prospect Jurickson Profar has finally made the show -- it'll be interesting to see if he's up for good.

3. Cincinnati Reds (28-18; LW: 4) - Zuckerman: Shin-Soo Choo might prove to be the most important acquisition of 2013 across the big leagues.

4. Atlanta Braves (27-18; LW: 10) - Hughes: Atlanta is getting hot while the Nats are having trouble. Evan Gattis is back to hitting homers and Kris Medlen is looking like the ace he was last season.

5. New York Yankees (28-17; LW: 3) - Hughes: With an average offense, the Yankees are riding the second best pitching staff in the American League. Huroki Kuroda is getting better and he's 38.

6. Boston Red Sox (27-19; LW: 9) - Hughes: They have the A.L.'s second best offense and a certified ace in Clay Bucholz. Jon Lester has been excellent as well.

7. Cleveland Indians (26-18; LW: 12) - Zuckerman: Feels like something special might be going on in Cleveland this season.

8. Pittsburgh Pirates (27-18; LW: 8) - Zuckerman: Remember Francisco Liriano? He's back and better than ever (3-0, 1.00 ERA), bolstering a good rotation.

9. San Francisco Giants (26-20; LW: 5) - Roney: Matt Cain finally looked like himself Tuesday after a shaky first inning. If he starts to turn it on, the Giants will rise.

10. Detroit Tigers (24-19; LW: 7) - Zuckerman: Still the most talented team in the AL Central (maybe the entire AL), but looks like they'll be challenged.

11. Arizona Diamondbacks (26-20; LW: 11) - Roney: How badly do they wish they could have Justin Upton back? They're much improved this year, but the Upton loss hurts.

12. Baltimore Orioles (24-21; LW: 6) - Hughes: The other local team has been sliding just like the Nats, but calling up Kevin Gausman could give their rotation a nice boost.

13. Oakland Athletics (25-22; LW: 17) - Roney: Poor Brett Anderson, back on the DL in Oakland. Eventually getting 32 starts from him would be huge for this team.

14. Tampa Bay Rays (24-21; LW: 16) - Hughes: Tampa has a winning record despite 5.00+ ERAs for both David Price and Jeremy Hellickson. Their hitting has carried them and Matt Moore (8-0, 2.29 ERA) has been great.

15. Colorado Rockies (25-21; LW: 15) - Roney: When did Troy Tulowitzki become the only true slugging shortstop in the major leagues?

16. Washington Nationals (23-23; LW: 13) - Hughes: In the last week the Nats have seen injuries pile up and their depth tested. With questions across the board, maybe a home stand is just what they need.

17. Kansas City Royals (21-21; LW: 14) - Zuckerman: Starting to fall back to earth. They need to right the ship soon before they fall too far back.

18. Philadelphia Phillies (22-24; LW: 20) - Hughes: The Phillies are seeing key contributors go down with injuries, just like the Nats, but they are closing in on second place in the division.

19. San Diego Padres (21-24; LW: 21) - Roney: Chase Headley isn't a free agent until 2014, but already trade winds are swirling around the third baseman. He's San Diego's best bet to land significant prospects, but parting with him would be painful.

20. Chicago White Sox (21-23; LW: 22) - Zuckerman: Chris Sale deserves to be receiving more attention. Legitimately one of the best arms in MLB.

21. Seattle Mariners (20-26; LW: 21) - Roney: Dustin Ackley has woken up a little, but they really need one of their former blue chippers -- he, Smoak, Montero -- to become at least an average contributor.

22. Minnesota Twins (18-24; LW: 18) - Zuckerman: Looks like the real Twins finally showed up -- in a complete tailspin right now.

23. Los Angeles Dodgers (18-26; LW: 23) - Roney: Home runs by Adrian Gonzalez in his first 89 games of 2011, before participating in that season's Home Run Derby: 17. Total home runs in 270 games since then: 32. They say his 2010 shoulder injury sapped his power, but his production was fine for the first half of 2011.

24. Los Angeles Angels (18-27; LW: 27) - Roney: Mike Trout became the youngest player ever to hit for the cycle in the American League -- even if the first base ump may have aided it with a blown call. Can't help but feel that Trout and Bryce Harper are going to have a Williams/DiMaggio bragging rights struggle for the next 15 years. 

25. Chicago Cubs (18-26; LW: 25) - Zuckerman: Couple of really nice players (Castro, Rizzo), but they just don't have enough talent to compete on a daily basis.

26. Toronto Blue Jays (18-27; LW: 24) - Hughes: What was supposed to be a stacked rotation has produced the second worst ERA in the majors. R.A. Dickey has been solid in recent weeks, but overall that trade has been a big bust so far.

27. Milwaukee Brewers (18-26; LW: 26) - Zuckerman: Rotation sporting a collective 5.18 ERA. Absolutely dreadful.

28. New York Mets (17-26; LW: 28) - Hughes: David Wright and Matt Harvey have been the only bright spots of the Mets' season.

29. Houston Astros (13-33; LW: 30) - Roney: The newest members of the AL have as many six-game losing streaks (3) as they do winning streaks. It's difficult to decide whether it's the Astros or Marlins who have the best chance to challenge the '62 Mets.

30. Miami Marlins (13-33; LW: 29) - Hughes: Miami has only won one series this year, taking two out of three against the Mets in late April. Jose Fernandez is a solid young pitcher, but that's about all they have going for them.