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Your Monday Morning Power Rankings

Aug 1, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT

Howard Ortiz

A lot of movement by default this week, it seems. No one except the Brewers really made a big impression, and as I mention in their comment, it wasn’t that big. Perhaps all of the trades that went down over the past few days will shake things up between now and our next Power Rankings which — because I’m going on vacation next week — will be two weeks from today.

For now, though, this is what we have. Most of the comments are about trade deadline stuff because that’s what’s on my mind right now.

1. Red Sox/Phillies (1):  If anyone can point to a way in which one of these teams separated from the other last week, be my guest.

3. Yankees (3): People are complaining about the lack of upgrades to the rotation, but most of those people are unaware of the fact that the Yankees’ starting rotation’s xFIP is 3.79, 2nd-best in the AL after the Mariners. (factoid from Larry Koestler on Twitter)

4.  Braves (5): Center fielders who have started for the Braves since Andruw Jones left town and prior to the dawning of the Michael Bourn era include Gregor Blanco, Mark KotsayJordan Schafer and Nate McLouth. And those are the highlights.  They didn’t change the balance of power in the NL East with that move, but they definitely improved.

5. Rangers (4): The addition of Koji Uehara and Mike Adams to join Neftali Feliz means that a lot of teams are going to have to get their work done against the Rangers in the first six innings or not at all.

6. Giants (5): Rough series against the Reds. Back home to lick their wounds and, they hope, to fend off the Dbacks, who come to town tonight.

7. Brewers (13): Winners of six in a row, but those six came against the Cubs and the Astros, so let’s not throw any ticker tape parades for ‘em just yet.

8. Diamondbacks (7): Definitely improved themselves at the deadline, and are calling up slugger Paul Goldschmidt to boot.  Big series for them kicking off tonight in San Francisco.

9. Cardinals (11): Like the Brewers, they got a bunch of games against the Cubs and Astros. Unlike the Brewers, they didn’t take great advantage of it, going 4-3 against two of the worst teams in the game.

10. Angels (8): They did nothing at the deadline, which was a bit surprising, but then again, given how much they committed to Vernon Wells last winter, perhaps their hands were tied. Which is quite depressing when you think about it.

11. Rays (10): Also a stand-pat team, although it makes more sense for them given that catching the Yankees and/or Red Sox seems like a pipe dream.

12. Tigers (9): Look, it’s Carlos Guillen’s home run trot!

13. Mets/Blue Jays (17, 16): Both teams who (a) have no real shot this year; but (b) are really dangerous and interesting all the same; and (c) had good trade deadlines.  About as well as you can do for your fans without actually contending.

15. Indians (14): Still can’t believe they got Ubaldo Jimenez.  Even if he doesn’t revert back to 2010 form and stays in the same “what the heck is wrong with Ubaldo Jimenez” place he is right now, he’s going to more than earn his money for the Tribe.

16. Pirates (12): Derrick Lee and Ryan Ludwick are improvements, but not game-changers.  I feel like they’re gonna slide out of it slowly but surely.

17. Reds (15): Most confounding team in baseball right now. Looked awful getting swept by the Mets, looked great sweeping the Giants. We’re going to need a team of scientists for the post mortem on this season.

18. White Sox (18): Kenny Williams’ threats to turn over the whole roster were empty. Probably for the best. They’re four games out in a division in which anything can happen.

19. Marlins (21): No trade activity here either, but they didn’t have anything they really needed to do. No muy expensive players to ship out, nothing they could reasonably add that would make a difference. Although they did play a fun prank on Leo Nunez at the Cubs’ expense.

20. Rockies (20): Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Matt McBride and Joe Gardner is a nice haul for Ubaldo Jimenez.  Do Indians fans wonder and/or worry why the Rockies felt the need to trade him in the first place?

21. Athletics (24): They continue to score runs in bunches. Too late to matter, but nice to see.

22. Nationals (19): The Nats are turning the rest of their season into extended spring training, it seems.

23. Twins (22): The Nats also saved the Twins from themselves, I think, in that called-off Denard Span deal.  You just can’t be in the business of trading players who man valuable defensive positions for relief pitchers. Especially Washington Nationals’ relief pitchers.

24. Dodgers (23): Here’s the conversation I imagine happening before that Erik Bedard trade yesterday in which the Dodgers sent their most promising offensive prospect, Trayvon Robinson, to Seattle:

Theo Epstein: Hey Jack, it’s Theo. I want Erik Bedard, and you want a top prospect for him, which I won’t give up. What’s say you and I call Ned Colletti and see if we can’t rip him off?

Jack Zduriencik:  No way he falls for that, is there?

Theo: Hey, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.  I’m patching him in.

Ned Colletti: Hello?

Theo:  Hey Ned, Theo.  I could really use your help. I have three nickel prospects that I’d like to give you if you send that one measly quarter you have in Trayvon Robinson up to Jack in Seattle. Three is more than one, so you gotta be down with that, right? And you know I’m not trying to rip you off here, because I’m not even the one getting Robinson!

Ned: Um, OK.  But hey: you suppose you could give me a job next year?

Theo: Nah.

Ned: Well, OK.

25. Padres (25): I like the arms — Joe Wieland and Robert Erlin — that they got back from Texas in the Mike Adams trade.

26. Royals (26): Francoeur remains. Whew!

27. Mariners (30): Even if that little one act play I wrote in the Dodgers blurb didn’t happen, you have to like that they turned Erik Bedard into a top prospect.

28. Orioles (28): The bright side of the trade deadline: everyone can recycle their Jeremy Guthrie articles this winter and then, possibly, again at next year’s trade deadline.  Of course at that point they’ll be two-years-old, but who cares? They’re still current.

29. Cubs (27): The most inexplicable trade deadline ever. Nothing but veterans and despair on this team, and no one got moved.  If you can find me one person who is happy with the makeup of this Cubs team besides Jim Hendry, please, let me know.

30. Astros (29): They got a lot of useful parts in the Bourn and Pence trades, but there is absolutely no reason to watch the rest of the Astros’ season. Really, I think the Columbus Clippers could beat them in a seven game series right now.

  1. sdelmonte - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    If you had the Phils and Sox play each other right now, the Phils would probably take two of three just based on starting pitching. So I would put the Phils just a bit ahead of the Boston on this alone.

    The Mets are better than the Indians or Pirates? I am not sure about that, but I do wish I could find a way to transfer the Mets to either Central Division, where they would contend. (Blue Jays probably want to do the same. Permanently.)

    • Jonny 5 - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:20 AM

      Phillies to Hunter Pence, “You complete me”

      Just to note, Howard has been on a tear since Pence was plugged in behind him. Ahem!!! (cough, cough, protection exists, cough) I love that argument btw….

      Mr. sdelmonte, I too think the Phillies are the better team, I think the Phillies biggest challenge is by good pitching teams, such as you see within the NL top dogs.

      • foreverchipper10 - Aug 1, 2011 at 3:40 PM

        Howard has been on a tear since Pence was inserted into the lineup? What is that…..two days?

  2. halladaysbiceps - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    “If anyone can point to a way in which one of these teams separated from the other last week, be my guest.”

    Phillies 1, Boston 2: Why, might you ask? Phillies aquired Hunter Pence and their offense over the past 7 days is thrusting on all cylinders now. Superior pitching plus great offense makes them the most dangerous team in baseball.

    • Kevin S. - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:13 AM

      “Great” offense? Pence helps them, but the Phillies are 13th in runs scored, 10th in OBP, 16th in SLG, and 13th in wRC+. Settle down, sparky.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:17 AM

        The Phillies now have a balanced lineup with right handed Pence hitting 5th behind Howard. Utley is 100% healthy, Rollins is killing the ball, and Ibanez is ultra-hot (his 25 rbi’s in July lead the NL in the month) Everyone is healthy now. Watch them steam roll teams now.

      • cktai - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:58 AM

        Those numbers are with Valdez and Martinez filling in for Utley half the time though.
        Checkout this line up (in wRC+)

        Victorino 151
        Utley 146
        Mayberry 113
        Howard 119
        Pence 135
        Rollins 111
        Polanco 90
        Ruiz 107
        Pitchers ~0 (although Lee has 54)

        It’s not the Red Sox, but its pretty darn good.

      • FC - Aug 1, 2011 at 4:01 PM

        Kevin, Biceps qualified his argument with: Last 7 Days. If the power rankings are a week by week measurement, you have to evaluate what they’re doing in the past week. That said I’m undecided in putting one team over the other.

    • offseasonblues - Aug 2, 2011 at 10:41 AM

      The Fillies won the Derby by a whisker. They’re leading the Preakness by a nose. But the Belmont is the test of champions, and the front runner rarely wins.

  3. Jonny 5 - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    Holy coincidence batman! A week of seclusion nestled in the forest on a lake are going to do Jonny 5 and family just fine, next week. Of course I’ll be dying to know what’s going on in the baseball world, but it should be worth it. I think there may be a hot spot to pick up a signal a short drive away so I may be alright.

    • hasbeen5 - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:23 AM

      I found the HBT Android app this weekend. It was awesome for the trade deadline, can’t recommend it enough.

  4. proudlycanadian - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    So the Columbus Clippers should be ranked # 30?

  5. Ari Collins - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    Again: run differential. The Sox outscored their opponents by 16 this week, the Phillies 11, continuing the trend.

    • halladaysbiceps - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:37 AM

      Ari,

      With the benefit of a DH. Of course the Phillies will never outscore the Red Sox through the course of the season.

      • Joe - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:05 PM

        Yeah, it really sucked for Boston’s opponents that THEY weren’t allowed to use a DH. Totally unfair.

    • kellyb9 - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:39 AM

      Depends on who a team’s playing. The Red Sox played the Royals and the White Sox this week… the Phillies played the Giants and the Pirates. The Phillies had the tougher week…. they get the top spot IMO.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:51 AM

        kelly,

        Great point. Just by strength of opponents, the Phillies should be #1.

      • bleedgreen - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:20 PM

        The Red Sox also played the Orioles 7 games in July.

      • Ari Collins - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:24 PM

        And the Phillies played all 7 at home. Probably still advantage Phillies, but worth noting.

    • Jonny 5 - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:57 AM

      Ari, I like you. Even with your “stat head” you still can be such a homer at times. It’s endearing actually…. ;)

      Run differential while having the DH in a league with lesser pitching while you face lesser opponents will net you a better run diff every single week. lol..

      • spindervish - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:06 PM

        It’s staggering that some people have trouble with this: run differential is not the same as “total runs scored.” If the Sox have the DH and so do their opponents, and the Phillies don’t have the DH and neither do their opponents, then the DH is irrelevant to this comparison. The Sox will likely end up playing higher-scoring games, but that has nothing to do with run differential.

        The lesser pitching/lesser opponents argument is fine, however.

      • Jonny 5 - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:28 PM

        “run differential is not the same as “total runs scored.””

        Spindervish, Actually I know that. I have trouble remembering that I know that for some reason. But yeah, the SOX are an offensive juggernaut and the Phills are a defensive one . I would expect this “trend” to continue right up until the end of the season. And it really doesn’t mean anything anyway. besides what i said, “Offensive Juggernaut”. Which becomes “Juggernaught ” anyway when facing a spectacular pitcher.

      • spudchukar - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:51 PM

        Troubled to come to the Phillie aid, but teams with high-powered offenses almost always have greater run differential then those who are defense and pitching oriented. Year in and year out it is quite consistent. These days the Red Sox are bludgeoning their opponents, which invariably drives up run differential. Look at the 2011 stats, I chose the top 12 teams with positive run differential and compared them to Wins, and then RS and RA. It is obvious that RS are significantly more indicative of RD than RA

        Run Differential Wins RS RA

        NYY PHI BOS PHI
        BOS BOS NYY SFG
        PHI NYY TEX ATL
        TEX ATL STL LAA
        ATL TEX TOR SDP
        STL SFG CIN SEA
        CIN MIL ARI OAK
        TBR ARI DET PIT
        ARI LAA NYM NYY
        LAA STL COL WAS
        TOR DET PHI CHW
        NYM TBR KCR TBR

      • spudchukar - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:53 PM

        Sorry, spacing was changed by Word Press, and I am too ignorant to know how to remedy that, but nontheless it is obvious, RS impact Run Differential than RA do.

      • spudchukar - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:55 PM

        *should read “more” than

    • FC - Aug 1, 2011 at 4:06 PM

      The much hyped Run Differential did nothing for Boston when they visited Philly. I will continue to poo-poo on a stat that measures future wins in a seasonal trend being used as a barometer for past performence.

  6. aceshigh11 - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    The Red Sox pitching is still highly suspect.

    I’m loving our offense (who wouldn’t?) but it’s hard to breathe easy when anyone takes the mound, aside from perhaps Beckett (who has the potential to regress any game now).

    Lester has been good but not dominant, and the rest of the staff is walking a tightrope. Bullpen…same thing, aside from Bard and a somewhat better-than-usual Papelbon.

    Bedard does nothing to calm my fears.

    • Joe - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:11 PM

      Why don’t people think Lester is having a great season?

      2010 19-9, 3.25 ERA, 134 ERA+, 1.20 WHIP, 2.71 K/BB, 4th in the Cy Young vote.
      2011 11-4, 3.17 ERA, 129 ERA+, 1.19 WHIP, 2.88 K/BB, “Good but not dominant.”

      I swear, Jon Lester is the most underrated starting pitcher in the AL, even by Red Sox fans.

      • aceshigh11 - Aug 1, 2011 at 1:16 PM

        Hey, I LOVE Jon Lester…when he’s dealing, there are few better in MLB.

        He’s just had a few more shaky starts than normal this year.

        I see your point though…he is having a quite good year.

      • spindervish - Aug 1, 2011 at 1:36 PM

        I’m also a huge fan of Lester. But I don’t really think he belongs in the same class with AL aces like Felix, Verlander or even Sabathia, and people often seem to put him in there. He doesn’t pitch that deep into games, he walks a lot of guys and he seems to get lit up a bit more often than you’d like from a dominant number one. Maybe his park works against him more than the aforementioned three, but even still. Also his velocity is down this year.

        I still like him more than Beckett though, despite Beckett having the significantly better year.

    • spindervish - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:13 PM

      Everybody keeps underrating Bedard. The guy is nasty. The fact that he can’t seem to stay healthy doesn’t change that. As someone (I think Pouilot) said recently, “Bedard has never been healthy and bad.”

      Also, his DL stint this year was due to knee trouble, not arm trouble, which seems significantly less worrisome to me. Assuming his knee is healed, he should return to being nasty soon enough.

      I think a healthy Bedard is clearly better than anyone in the Yankees rotation not named Sabathia.

  7. jkay123 - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    So no one is adding the yankees to this mix at all? I guess this weekend will be a sign of some things, not all. Aside from the erratic AJ, their starters have been excellent. Chavez is back, soriano is back, arod coming back soon. It’ll be a nice race for all 3 these final 2 months.

    • marinersnate - Aug 1, 2011 at 2:20 PM

      “So no one is adding the yankees to this mix at all?”

      Yes. How Dare anyone discuss the best teams in MLB without mentioning the Yankees. Aren’t there laws against this sort of thing?

      • jkay123 - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:30 PM

        right, considering the yankees are only a game behind boston and play them this weekend. i think they could be considered “in the mix”

  8. foreverchipper10 - Aug 1, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    For all the Phillies love on this site how is there no mention that Oswalt is making a rehab appearance at AAA in about an hour and a half? I would go to the game but it starts at 5:35 and I work until 7 so……yeah.

  9. dcent87 - Aug 1, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    Can’t wait to see that run dif. During the W.S…..when the sox have to face a rotation like no other in the MLB currently.

  10. mojosmagic - Aug 1, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    Hunter Spence, advantage Phils.

    • Ari Collins - Aug 1, 2011 at 8:31 PM

      Knowing the names of our players, advantage every other team.

  11. dirtyharry1971 - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:22 PM

    both are in first place, good records but the phils beat them in their only series so therefore the phils should get the #1 ranking for now.

  12. phillyphan975 - Aug 2, 2011 at 9:32 AM

    I love the power rankings and I am so thankful they crown the World Series Champs every year!

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