American League Power Rankings
With the acquisition of Jeff Samardzija, the Oakland A’s are running away in the American League
15. Houston (36-54; LW: 14)
Losses in seven straight and eight of their last ten push the Astros back into last place in the American League. The Astros are a classic bad team; no matter how many times they seem poised to make a real step in the right direction, they can’t help but fall back into their losing ways.
14. Texas Rangers (38-50; LW: 13)
Losers of seven out of ten, the Rangers continue to hit new lows. It’s hard to believe this team has won 90 games four years in a row, because they sure as hell won’t be hitting that milestone this season.
13. Boston Red Sox (39-49; LW: 11)
So remember how I said bad teams tend to fall back into their losing ways no matter how often they look poised to make real progress? Exhibit A is the Boston Red Sox. Every time I decide I’m out, they rope me back in with a couple nice wins, then lose a bunch in a row again. At ten games under .500, they’re really, truly, definitely done. I think.
12. Tampa Bay Rays (41-50; LW: 15)
Tampa is still nine games out of first in the AL East, but they should consider that an accomplishment. The Rays have won eight of ten and 13 of 18 overall, and are now actually ahead of the Sox by half a game. They’ve still got a ton of ground to make up, but they’re on the right track now.
11. Minnesota Twins (39-48; LW: 12)
Minnesota is hosting next week’s All-Star Game, but that may be the brightest spot of the Twins’ season. They just aren’t very good, and franchise catcher-turned-first-baseman Joe Mauer may never be the same guy he was a few seasons ago. It’s a shame, but Minnesota is about as mediocre as they come.
10. Chicago White Sox (42-47; LW: 10)
Chicago is more or less treading water right now, which isn’t the worst thing in the world. In the American League right now, treading water isn’t a far cry from making a mark. I still think the Sox are a season or two away, but don’t be shocked if they make a real push this season. Now, the important thing for Chicago is convincing Jose Abreu to do the home run derby.
9. Cleveland Indians (43-44; LW: 9)
Cleveland has been in this mid-stage of the rankings pretty much all season, and it’s because they are painfully average. I do not have a singe memory of the Cleveland Indians this season. Not one. I think that says all that needs to be said. The Indians are an 80ish-win team. Nothing to see here.
8. New York Yankees (44-43; LW: 8)
The Yankees may also be an 80ish-win team, but at least they’re exciting. And they’re trying – they just traded Vidal Nuno for Brandon McCarthy. The Yankees still have a lot of work to do, but they’re certainly not going to go down without a fight.
7. Kansas City Royals (45-42; LW: 6)
I want Kansas City to be better than they are. If I hadn’t already attached myself to the Mariners bandwagon, I’d hop on the Royals’. They just need a bat so badly. They simply can’t expect to compete if they don’t add some power to that lineup. Look for them to be buyers at the deadline as they try to end their two-decade playoff drought.
6. Toronto Blue Jays (47-43; LW: 5)
Toronto has been falling the past few weeks in these rankings as well as in the AL East. They now sit two games back of Baltimore, and I have a feeling no team is more excited for the All-Star break than they are. The best thing for a team that’s been struggling after really tearing through the first half of the season is a break for them to regroup.
5. Baltimore Orioles (48-40; LW: 7)
Well, well, well, look who stumbled into first place. The Orioles have won seven out of ten and now lead the American League East by two games as we approach the All-Star break. They may have lost the Jeff Samardzija sweepstakes, but there are still arms to be added at the deadline and Baltimore should be first in line for them. One more arm, and the Orioles could be looking at their first division crown since 1997.
4. Seattle Mariners (48-40; LW: 4)
Let’s goooooo. The Mariners are doing their best to make the AL West a three-horse race, and that starts Fridaywith a three-game set right before the All-Star break against the first-place Athletics. Seattle may only be the third-best team in their division, but they are one or two bats away from making a real push. While teams like Baltimore and Toronto look for arms, look for Seattle to try to find a bat.
3. Detroit Tigers (48-37; LW: 3)
To quote an old football coach, the Tigers are who we thought they were. Sure, their pitching hasn’t quite been as good as we expected, but they’re doing exactly what I predicted they would – they’re winning the AL Central in the least exciting way possible. I don’t think Detroit is good enough this year to win it all, but I really don’t think any other Central teams are good enough to challenge them for the division. So they will be here, in the 3-5 spot, every week on their way to a fourth straight division crown.
2. Los Angeles Angels (51-36; LW: 2)
You know what really helps win ballgames? Having the best player on the planet, that’s what. As long as the Angels have Mike Trout, they will compete in this division. They may not be as well-rounded as Oakland, but nobody in baseball is as good as Mike Trout, and he makes it very, very difficult to forget that.
1. Oakland Athletics (55-33; LW: 1)
Remember that time the best, most complete team in baseball acquired one of the top pitchers in the game? My god Oakland, chill out. Already heads and shoulders above the rest of the league, the addition of Jeff Samardzija (who, of course, won his first start on Sunday and gave up one earned in seven innings) makes Oakland a bona-fide World Series favorite. The days of moneyball are over; the Athletics are legit.
That’s it for this week. Check back every Monday to see where your favorite team stacks up.