American League Power Rankings
The state of Texas continues to struggle in the American League
Happy Monday everyone. It may have been an abbreviated week for Major League Baseball, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a few shake-ups in the Power Rankings. With only a handful of games played, there wasn’t a ton of movement, but the bottom of the rankings looks a little different, while the top remains much the same – for now. Let’s take a look where every team comes in, with a quicker-than-usual explanation as to why:
15. Texas Rangers (39-59; LW: 15)
They’ve lost nine of ten and are clearly the worst team in the American League. The battle for Texas inferiority is squarely in the Rangers’ favor.
14. Houston Astros (41-58; LW: 14)
No matter how hard they try, Houston isn’t Texas’ worst team. Don’t get me wrong; they’re close. But winning five of their last ten puts the Rangers to shame.
13. Minnesota Twins (44-53; LW: 11)
After hosting the All-Star festivities, the Twins came out after the break and were promptly swept at home by the Rays. This is 2014 for the Twins, hovering about 6-10 games under .500. I don’t see them ever getting much better than that.
12. Chicago White Sox (47-52; LW: 10)
Every time I think the White Sox might make some kind of run, they falter and return to the bottom part of the AL Central. I think this only proves to me that, despite their talent both on offense and on the mound, the White Sox aren’t ready to harness that talent just yet.
11. Boston Red Sox (46-52; LW: 13)
Boston came out of the All-Star break, swept the Royals, annnnnd I’m back in. I don’t like myself for it, but I’m totally in. The only question now is how many games the Red Sox win the East by, right? Also, one more Lester start like his last one (8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 8 K 2 BB) and I think you’re going to start seeing some Kickstarters to pay the man’s contract.
10. Tampa Bay Rays (47-53; LW: 12)
A post-All-Star-Game sweep of the Twins has the Rays virtually tied with the Sox at the bottom of the AL East, but rising. David Price has been steadily improving each month, and the Rays overall have played much, much better baseball over the last two months or so. If I actually believe the Red Sox can make a run (which I sort of, kind of do) then I have to believe the same about Tampa. That’s assuming they keep Price, of course. The decision on whether or not to do that becomes trickier and tricker with each win.
9. Kansas City Royals (48-49; LW: 7)
A sweep in Boston has the Royals back under .500 and seven games out in the AL Central. I certainly wasn’t impressed by them this weekend, and they still desperately need a bat in the middle of that order. Still, seven games back isn’t impossible, and I still think the Royals have the pitching to stay competitive.
8. Cleveland Indians (50-48; LW: 9)
Winners of seven of their last ten, the Indians are now only 5.5 back of Detroit in the AL Central and are close to officially becoming the most confusing team of 2014. I mean seriously, this team isn’t good on paper. Maybe Terry Francona is a wizard. That’s the explanation I’m going with, anyway.
7. Toronto Blue Jays (51-48; LW: 6)
Another week, another fall for Toronto. Now only three games over .500 and three games back in the East, Toronto begins an important series today at home against the Red Sox. In what could be a huge series for both teams, Toronto will try to avoid falling all the way back to .500 after controlling the AL East through most of the first half.
6. New York Yankees (50-47; LW: 8)
The Yankees are climbing the rankings a bit and are now tied with Toronto for 2nd in the AL East, only three games out of first. New York came out of its break and swept the Reds, thanks in part to an excellent start by relative newcomer Brandon McCarthy. With Masahiro Tanaka on the DL, the Yankees are going to need guys like him to step up, and through three games, they’re getting what they need. Can they keep it up for the entire time Tanaka is on the shelf? We’ll have to see.
5. Seattle Mariners (52-46; LW: 5)
Losers of six of ten, the Mariners are back to nine games out in the incredibly tough AL West. At this point, the best Seattle can likely hope for is a Wild Card, as Oakland and LA seem like world-beaters right now. Still, Seattle has the pitching to compete for one of those Wild Cards, and if they can add a bat, maybe, maybe they can make a push for the division.
4. Baltimore Orioles (53-44; LW: 4)
The Orioles are, quite possibly, in the most important stretch of the season for them. Coming out of the break, the O’s have a nice little 10-game West Coast trip. So far, they’ve lost two of three to Oakland. Now, they have three in LA and four in Seattle. If the O’s can finish the trip even 4-6, they should be alright. A 1-9 or 2-8 trip could really derail them though.
3. Detroit Tigers (54-41; LW: 3)
The Tigers are so boring. They’re pretty good – not great, but pretty good – and are going to win their division without much of a fight. I knew this would happen before the season started, so I’m hardly surprised. It’s just tough to judge the Tigers when they play in the division they do. Not a ton going on here.
2. Los Angeles Angels (59-38; LW: 2)
After winning eight of ten, the Angels are making a push for the AL West that I don’t think anyone really saw coming a month ago. After a disappointing 2013, the 2014 Halos are doing all the things we expected of them last year, and Mike Trout is still doing Mike Trout things. Honestly, if I had to pick a World Series team right now, I might take LA over Oakland. When you have the best player in baseball, it just gives you that edge.
1. Oakland Athletics (61-37; LW: 1)
The Athletics have done enough to remain in first for now, but this is the closest it’s been in weeks. They’re still the only 60-win team in baseball, and they still lead the AL West by 1.5 games, but the Angels are coming. Taking two of three over Baltimore was just enough to keep them where they were, but LA is breathing down their necks. For the first time in a while, the think Oakland can finally feel it.