Here are this week’s MLB Power Rankings featuring thoughts on each team from Mark Zuckerman, Chase Hughes and myself, Steve Roney:
1. Athletics (LW: 1) – Zuckerman: Props to Billy Beane, who understands the time is now for Oakland to go all-in. This team is scary-good.
2. Angels (LW: 4) – Zuckerman: They might be the talk of baseball right now if not for those pesky A's standing in their way.
3. Tigers (LW: 3) – Roney: Might Rick Porcello be coming into his own, a little bit? Easy to forget that he’s only 25, and with a pair of shutouts and improved control, he’s having a career year.
4. Brewers (LW: 2) – Roney: Others have said it, but what on Earth is Aramis Ramirez doing starting at third base? The ASG is always screwy, sure, but Todd Frazier and Anthony Rendon have legit gripes.
5. Dodgers (LW: 5) – Zuckerman: Four starters with ERAs under 3.10, two starters with ERAs under 2.30. Pretty, pretty good.
6. Orioles (LW: 10) – Hughes: With the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays in their current states, it might be smart for the O's to go for something big at the deadline.
7. Giants (LW: 8) – Zuckerman: Lineup is going to have to start producing again if they're going to keep pace with the red-hot Dodgers.
8. Nationals (LW: 6) – Hughes: For the Nats to get only one All-Star is a little ridiculous. Several of the NL's biggest snubs have to play in D.C.
9. Braves (LW: 7) – Hughes: Atlanta is really taking advantage of their recent easy schedule and it's not getting any harder until they play the Dodgers in L.A. July 29-31.
10. Mariners (LW: 11) – Zuckerman: Turns out they actually are more than just Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez. Good team starting to come together.
11. Cardinals (LW: 12) – Roney: They have rumored interest in Boston’s Jake Peavy – an odd spot for a club with an embarrassment of pitching riches to start the year. Peavy is only meh at best, so if they deal, wouldn’t expect much more than a B-/C+ level prospect.
12. Blue Jays (LW: 9) – Hughes: Toronto may want to look at a deadline deal as well. Pitching would be the obvious target.
13. Reds (LW: 14) – Roney: Through 85 games last year, Reds CF/leadoff man Shin-Shoo Choo had 29 RBI. In 85 games this year, Reds CF/leadoff man Billy Hamilton has 36 RBI. And Hamilton is making 28 times less.
14. Pirates (LW: 13) – Roney: Gerrit Cole, back to the DL. The team, and the game, need him healthy – too many talented young hurlers are hurt.
15. Royals (LW: 15) – Roney: Salvador Perez will start in place of the injured Matt Wieters at catcher in the All-Star game. The universe tends to unfold as it should.
16. Yankees (LW: 16) – Hughes: A Yankees fan is trying to sue ESPN for showing him sleeping in his seat in TV. Get a sense of humor, dude.
17. Indians (LW: 18) – Roney: You can’t get deked on the base paths by Jeter like that, Kipnis. A low moment in a back-to-Earth season.
18. Marlins (LW: 17) – Hughes: Henderson Alvarez (2.27 ERA, 115 IP) is quietly having one of the best seasons among MLB starters this year.
19. Rays (LW: 27) – Hughes: The Cubs got a haul for Jeff Samardzija and David Price has a much more accomplished resume. Tampa should wait for an offer they can't refuse.
20. White Sox (LW: 21) – Roney: Can’t say enough about a healthy Chris Sale – his 6:1 K/BB ratio is mind-boggling.
21. Mets (LW: 23) – Hughes: Travis d'Arnaud has a career .204 average in 81 games. Not gonna cut it.
22. Twins (LW: 19) – Roney: Phil Hughes got his redemption season back on track with 7 1/3 shutout innings over the Mariners; he’d been knocked around pretty good in three starts before that (1-2, 8.05 ERA).
23. Padres (LW: 24) – Zuckerman: More than halfway through the season, not a single player with 30 RBI. That's pathetic.
24. Red Sox (LW: 20)– Hughes: Boston goes from worst to first then back to worst. I think any fanbase would take it if given the choice, though.
25. Phillies (LW: 28) – Hughes: "Well, I look at the standings, and you're in last place, Ruben." (Look it up)
26. Rangers (LW: 22) – Zuckerman: In their worst prolonged funk since 2003. They're in really bad shape right now.
27. Astros (LW: 26) – Zuckerman: Jose Altuve is a (very short) machine: 126 hits in 89 games.
28. Rockies (LW: 29) – Zuckerman: A dreadful pitching staff plus an injury-plagued lineup leaves you with this. Ugly.
29. Cubs (LW: 25) – Roney: As Chase remarked, that Theo Epstein turned Samardzija and Hammel into Addison Russell is extraordinary. The Cubbies could have an incredible infield in a couple years.
30. Diamondbacks (LW: 30) – Zuckerman: Thirteen blown saves before the All-Star break. Yes, 13.