Mikey’s MLB power rankings

The Yankees just keep winning, and suddenly the Padres keep losing, sitting with an 8-game losing streak, but still clinging to a three-game lead over the Giants. We may wind up with very few pennant races, but we are likely to have lots of new match-ups in the postseason this year. For that, I’m excited. And let me go out on a limb here. Watch out for the Rockies. They have this knack for winning 98% of their games in September and climbing fast in the standings.

1. New York Yankees (85-50)—They haven’t lost since I did my last rankings. The Rays caught up, but then the Yanks jumped back out to a 1.5-game lead. I know I’ve been high on the Rays, but the Yankees ain’t gonna fold. And CC for Cy Young?

2. Tampa Bay Rays (83-51)—With a 7-game lead in the wild card, that’s got to be what the Rays are gunning for. And they’d have to suffer a major collapse for that to happen at this point.

3. Cincinnati Red (78-56)—No longer a flash in the pan, the Reds are not just for real, they are striking fear in every other MLB team. How about the addition of Aroldis Chapman? Did anyone thing he would be helping this team in a pennant race in September?

4. Minnesota Twins (78-57)—The White Sox have Manny Ramirez now, but that won’t stop the Twins from pulling away this month.

5. Atlanta Braves (78-57)—Hanging tough as the Phillies make a charge. This could be one division race worth biting your nails over.

6. San Diego Padres (76-57)—Speaking of biting nails, how are you Padres’ fans feeling these days? Yikes.

7. Texas Rangers (75-59)—Now with a 9-game lead, Nolan Ryan can print those playoff tickets.

8. Philadelphia Phillies (77-58)—This team has caught fire at the right time, and we all knew they had it in them. One game back, and the Braves could wind up missing the postseason entirely after a great year.

9. Boston Red Sox (76-58)—A good season, and they’d be in the divisional hunt in every other division but the AL East.

10. San Francisco Giants (74-61)—With the Padres losing 8 in a row, the Giants have still not been able to capitalize. And now they trail the Phillies by 3 games in the wild card hunt.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Mikey’s MLB power rankings

Not much has changed at the top of this list, but the Rangers are making a statement. Meanwhile, the Mets, Cardinals and Twins have been playing such mediocre baseball that a few upstarts have knocked them off this list. Here are the pre-All Star game power rankings:

1. New York Yankees (55-31)—It’s on. The Rangers out-bid the Yanks for Cliff Lee, but lookie here—the Bombers have won 7 in a row. They don’t need no stinkin’ Cliff Lee.

2. Texas Rangers (50-36)—Yesterday, Nolan Ryan and company vaulted their team from playoff contender to World Series contender by obtaining Mr. Lee. The middle of their lineup with Vlad, Hamilton and Nelson Cruz just might be the most potent heart of the order in baseball.

3. Tampa Bay Rays (52-34)—Sorry, Boston. Sorry, New York. These pesky Rays are not going away.

4. Atlanta Braves (51-35)—This pains me as a Mets fan, but the Braves made a series-opening statement last night at Citi Field. They are for real and they are trying to pull away from the Mets and Phils.

5. San Diego Padres (50-36)—You think the Mets wish they still had Heath Bell?

6. Boston Red Sox (50-36)—They aren’t giving in either. The next two and a half months are going to be very exciting in the AL East.

7. Cincinnati Reds (45-35)—That team dressed in red leading the NL Central is not the Cardinals. By the way, if Joey Votto didn’t win that online voting, it would have been one of the worst all-star snubs in baseball history.

8. Detroit Tigers (47-37)—Don’t look now, the Tigers have won four in a row and the White Sox six in a row, and they are 1-2 in the AL Central while the Twins are suddenly floundering.

9. Los Angeles Dodgers (48-38)—Will the NL West be like a stock market correction and have the Dodgers and Rockies take over the Padres’ lofty spot? The Dodgers are winning again and making their move.

10. Colorado Rockies (48-38)—Always a late bloomer, the Rockies are also making a move, and their stud ace Ubaldo Jimenez is a positively sick 15-1 at the all-star break.

Mikey’s MLB power rankings

We are now in September, which means pennant races are becoming reality and every game is more meaningful.


Read the rest after the jump...

Great point about Mark McGwire and the “one-dimensional” argument

Ted Robinson of At Bat thinks that Mark McGwire is getting a raw deal from MLB Hall of Fame voters and brings up a great point about the argument that Big Mac was a one-dimensional player.

Mark McGwireMore voters are revealing their choices and it’s hard to argue that transparency is bad. I found the comments of a Boston voter puzzling and borderline deceiving. The man in question defended his anti-McGwire stance with the claim that McGwire was “one-dimensional.”

If we accept the premise, then we must ask what exactly is the problem with dominating the most important offensive dimension? McGwire, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa were the greatest home run hitters of their era. Bonds won the career battle but McGwire was the pioneer.

McGwire was the first to hit 50 home runs in four consecutive seasons, a mark Bonds reached only once.

One-dimensional? McGwire won a Gold Glove, an award often scoffed at by the Numbers Crowd. Although no one should confuse McGwire with Keith Hernandez, the Gold Glove is voted on by managers and coaches.

Another thought rushes to me when I consider the phrase “one dimensional” when used as an insult, the manner in which the Boston writer intended. (Disclaimer 1: here we will violate, mildly, a personal rule against invoking the comparison argument with any present Hall of Famers. It is never the intent here to denigrate anyone already so honored, however…would that writer call Nolan Ryan “one-dimensional?” Ryan’s resume leads with the career strikeout record, which he smashed and, like McGwire, is a symbol of dominance. (Disclaimer 2: I acknowledge that strikeouts are regarded by many voters as significant, a stance with which I don’t agree).

Strikeouts must be the reason Ryan is in the Hall. It can’t be his 324 wins because his career winning percentage is barely over .500 (.526). Surely, no rational person would conclude that seven regular season no-hitters warrant Hall of Fame inclusion.

It’s hard to argue with that point. Some players (Ryan is one of them) are in the Hall because they excelled at one facet of the game. Ozzie Smith was a career .262-hitter, but he was also one of the greatest defensive shortstops to ever play the game. McGwire was one of the best power hitters to ever play the game.

But the difference between McGwire and those players is that Ryan and Smith never took performance-enhancing substances to excel at their craft. McGwire did and fair or unfair, it’ll likely keep him out of the Hall for a very long time, if not forever. Stats are sacred in baseball and McGwire achieved his stats with help. Hall voters can’t look past that.

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