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Sep 29, 2015

Blue Jays finally No. 1 in MLB Power Rankings

The Toronto Blue Jays have finally overtaken the St. Louis Cardinals for top spot in the TSN.ca MLB Power Rankings. It's the first time in more than three months that the Cardinals have not been rankd No. 1.

Blue Jays celebrate

The Toronto Blue Jays have finally overtaken the St. Louis Cardinals for top spot in the TSN.ca MLB Power Rankings. It's the first time in more than three months that the Cardinals have not been rankd No. 1.

There has been a sense of inevitability that the Jays would be able to catch St. Louis, with a league-best run differential (93 runs better than second-best St. Louis!), but it took a couple of Cardinals injuries, to catcher Yadier Molina and starting pitcher Carlos Martinez, to get the Blue Jays to the top of the table. Marcus Stroman's return to the Toronto rotation hasn't hurt their rating either.

There aren't a lot of big moves to be made this late in the season, but the New York Yankees climb from 12 to nine, getting Masahiro Tanaka back in the rotation, while the melting-down Washington Nationals drop from 10 to 13.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toronto Blue Jays

This Week: 1 | Last Week: 2 | Record: 91-65

Team Stats

  • RS
    857
  • RA
    634
  • Diff.
    +223
  • OPS
    .793
  • ERA
    3.77

Maybe the Blue Jays will have to slug their way to a World Series, and that's not been the path of most common success, but with Marcus Stroman (1.89 ERA, 1.00 WHIP in three starts) contributing, it's possible that Toronto will have the pitching to get the job done. At the very least, it's good enough to warrant the top ranking now.
Key Injuries: LF Michael Saunders (knee), 2B Devon Travis (shoulder), SS Troy Tulowitzki (back).

St. Louis Cardinals

This Week: 2 | Last Week: 1 | Record: 99-58

Team Stats

  • RS
    634
  • RA
    504
  • Diff.
    +130
  • OPS
    .718
  • ERA
    2.89

Late-season injuries, first to C Yadier Molina and now to RHP Carlos Martinez finally bump the Cards from their perch atop the rankings, a spot they've held much longer than any other club this season. Martinez has a 3.4 fWAR this season, so that's a major hit to the St. Louis rotation.

Key Injuries: RHP Adam Wainwright (Achilles), 1B Matt Adams (quad), C Yadier Molina (thumb), RHP Carlos Martinez (shoulder).

Los Angeles Dodgers

This Week: 5 | Last Week 3 | Record: 87-69

Team Stats

  • RS
    642
  • RA
    582
  • Diff.
    +60
  • OPS
    .742
  • ERA
    3.49

Eight losses in 10 games isn't an ideal stretch run from the Dodgers, but as long as they can roll out ace pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, they are going to be a handful in the postseason.
Key Injuries:  LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (shoulder), RHP Brandon McCarthy (elbow), RF Yasiel Puig (hamstring).

New York Mets

This Week: 3 | Last Week: 4 | Record: 89-67

Team Stats

  • RS
    673
  • RA
    594
  • Diff.
    +79
  • OPS
    .718
  • ERA
    3.44

Before the All-Star break, the Mets ranked 28th in baseball with a .660 OPS. Since then, it's .789, ranking second only to the Blue Jays, and that offensive surge, combined with power arms in the rotation, gives the Mets a legitimate shot (especially if Matt Harvey is going to keep going).
Key Injuries: RHP Zack Wheeler (elbow).

Pittsburgh Pirates

This Week: 4 | Last Week: 5 | Record: 95-62

Team Stats

  • RS
    677
  • RA
    576
  • Diff.
    +101
  • OPS
    .720
  • ERA
    3.20

It's been a phenomenal season for the Pirates, yet they are staring at a Wild Card game against the Chicago Cubs, and their unhittable ace pitcher Jake Arrieta. Sending Gerrit Cole to the bump isn't exactly waving the white towel, but it's tough to have a season come down to a single game before even getting to a playoff series.

Key Injuries: SS Jung Ho Kang (knee).

Kansas City Royals

This Week: 6 | Last Week: 6 | Record: 90-66

Team Stats

  • RS
    697
  • RA
    627
  • Diff.
    +70
  • OPS
    .735
  • ERA
    3.79

The Royals' run to the World Series last year was heavily-dependent on their lights-out bullpen, which is now going to be without closer Greg Holland. Wade Davis has the stuff to close, and Kelvin Herrera can handle the setup role, but Ryan Madson (2.20 ERA, 0.96 WHIP) takes on more importance in the late innings.

Key Injuries: LHP Jason Vargas (elbow), RHP Greg Holland (elbow).

Chicago Cubs

This Week: 7 | Last Week: 7 | Record: 91-65

Team Stats

  • RS
    660
  • RA
    599
  • Diff.
    +61
  • OPS
    .718
  • ERA
    3.46

 

Much like the Pirates, the Cubs are looking at having their impressive season come down to a one-game Wild Card game, but sending Jake Arrieta to the hill has to have Chicago liking their chances. Since the All-Star break, Arrieta is 11-1 with a 0.80 ERA and 0.75 WHIP with 106 strikeouts in 101 1/3 IP.

Key Injuries: None.

Texas Rangers

This Week: 8 | Last Week: 9 | Record: 84-72

Team Stats

  • RS
    713
  • RA
    707
  • Diff.
    +6
  • OPS
    .736
  • ERA
    4.24
Losing three straight has suddenly tightened the AL West race, but the Rangers have a 1.5-game lead on the Astros and two over the Angels. With the last four games of the season a head-to-head series against the Angels, this could go right down to the wire.
Key Injuries: RHP Yu Darvish (elbow),.
New York Yankees

This Week: 9 | Last Week:12 | Record: 86-70

Team Stats

  • RS
    742
  • RA
    656
  • Diff.
    +86
  • OPS
    .744
  • ERA
    3.93
Can the Yankees cobble together enough pitching to make a dent in the postseason? Between Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi they have some potential, and what about LHP CC Sabathia, who has a 2.25 ERA in four starts since coming off the DL?
Key Injuries: 1B Mark Teixeira (shin).
Houston Astros

This Week: 10 | Last Week: 8 | Record: 83-74

Team Stats

  • RS
    688
  • RA
    594
  • Diff.
    +94
  • OPS
    .743
  • ERA
    3.56

Three straight wins puts the Astros in a position to pressure on Texas, and while Houston is on the road the rest of the way, Arizona and Seattle would appear to be favourable matchups.
Key Injuries: None.

San Francisco Giants

This Week: 11 | Last Week: 11 | Record: 82-74

Team Stats

  • RS
    680
  • RA
    598
  • Diff.
    +82
  • OPS
    .736
  • ERA
    3.68

Kelby Tomlinson, hitting .299 with a .730 OPS has been a solid replacement at second base for Joe Panik, but it's worth noting that Panik was quietly great this season, with a .378 on-base percentage and 4.2 fWAR in 100 games played.

Key Injuries: RHP Tim Lincecum (forearm), 2B Joe Panik (back), RF Hunter Pence (oblique).

Cleveland Indians

This Week: 12 | Last Week: 14 | Record: 77-78

Team Stats

  • RS
    643
  • RA
    624
  • Diff.
    +19
  • OPS
    .723
  • ERA
    3.73

Rookie SS Francisco Lindor has been an impact player for the Tribe, hitting .319 with an .844 OPS in 93 games. He's helped the Indians to a strong finish (32-24 in the past 56 games), even if it's not strong enough to get into the playoff picture.
Key Injuries: RHP Gavin Floyd (elbow), RHP Cody Anderson (oblique).

Washington Nationals

This Week: 13 | Last Week: 10 | Record: 80-76

Team Stats

  • RS
    694
  • RA
    629
  • Diff.
    +65
  • OPS
    .732
  • ERA
    3.71

Can you imagine pitching one inning 65 games a year and taking it upon yourself to be the arbiter of the league MVP's hustle? Jonathan Papelbon can, and that's why that was the angle focused on during his dust-up with Bryce Harper, as opposed to Papelbon not liking that Harper criticized Papelbon for hitting Orioles 3B Manny Machado with a pitch in a previous game. When you consider it from Harper's perspective -- as the star hitter, he's the one that will bear the brunt of the retaliation -- maybe this shouldn't be about a young star not respecting the game.
Key Injuries: None.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

This Week 14 | Last Week 13 | Record: 82-74

Team Stats

  • RS
    628
  • RA
    641
  • Diff.
    -13
  • OPS
    .697
  • ERA
    3.92

It's been a 38--homer season for 1B Albert Pujols, but the career resurrection stories of the first half have quieted since he's managed a .658 OPS since the All-Star break. In a lineup without much pop, Pujols' slide leaves Mike Trout to carry the team during their playoff push. 
Key Injuries: RHP Tyler Skaggs (elbow), LHP C.J. Wilson (elbow)

Minnesota Twins

This Week: 15 | Last Week: 15 | Record: 81-75

Team Stats

  • RS
    680
  • RA
    673
  • Diff.
    +7
  • OPS
    .709
  • ERA
    4.08
The Twins have won six of eight, assuring that they won't have a losing record, but they are likely to be just good enough to miss out on the playoffs.
Key Injuries: None.
Boston Red Sox

This Week: 16 | Last Week: 17 | Record: 76-08

Team Stats

  • RS
    725
  • RA
    727
  • Diff.
    -2
  • OPS
    .743
  • ERA
    4.31

During their current four-game winning streak, the Red Sox have allowed just one run. Even in a lost season, the Sox have been finishing strong, going 24-14 in the past 38 games.

Key Injuries: C Christian Vazquez (elbow), RHP Clay Buchholz (forearm), RHP Koji Uehara (wrist), LF Hanley Ramirez (shoulder).

Arizona Diamondbacks

This Week: 17 | Last Week: 19 | Record: 75-81

Team Stats

  • RS
    693
  • RA
    673
  • Diff.
    +20
  • OPS
    .736
  • ERA
    3.99

The Diamondbacks' most effective pitcher this season, by fWAR, is Robby Ray, who has a 1.9 WAR to go with his 5-12 record and 3.53 ERA.
Key Injuries: C Tuffy Gosewisch (knee).

Seattle Mariners

This Week: 18 | Last Week: 18 | Record: 74-83

Team Stats

  • RS
    634
  • RA
    702
  • Diff.
    -68
  • OPS
    .723
  • ERA
    4.16
I'll admit, I thought Nelson Cruz was due for a decline in homers after mashing 40 for Baltimore last season. Hitting 43, with Safeco as his home park (where he's hit 16) this year? Impressive.
Key Injuries: None.
Tampa Bay Rays

This Week: 19 | Last Week: 16 | Record: 75-81

Team Stats

  • RS
    610
  • RA
    621
  • Diff.
    -11
  • OPS
    .717
  • ERA
    3.76

CF Kevin Kiermaier has a modest .723 OPS with 18 stolen bases, but has been an impact player for the Rays this year, and by defensive metrics has been the best defender in baseball this season.
Key Injuries: RHP Alex Cobb (forearm).

Baltimore Orioles

This Week: 20 | Last Week: 20 | Record: 76-80

Team Stats

  • RS
    675
  • RA
    664
  • Diff.
    +11
  • OPS
    .719
  • ERA
    4.05

How tough is the prospect game in baseball? Coming into the 2009 season, C Matt Wieters was the top prospect in baseball. Seven years in, with a respectable, but hardly earth-shattering .739 OPS and 15.6 career fWAR, he may be on his way out as a free agent.
Key Injuries: None.

Chicago White Sox

This Week: 21 | Last Week: 21 | Record: 73-83

Team Stats

  • RS
    605
  • RA
    678
  • Diff.
    -73
  • OPS
    .689
  • ERA
    3.99

OF Trayce Thompson has had a nice MLB debut, posting a .910 OPS in 39 games since getting called up, but he only had a .744 OPS at Triple-A, so it might be fair to temper expectations.
Key Injuries: None.

Detroit Tigers

This Week: 22 | Last Week: 23 | Record: 73-83

Team Stats

  • RS
    671
  • RA
    784
  • Diff.
    -113
  • OPS
    .749
  • ERA
    4.68

It's been a rough finish for 1B Miguel Cabrera, who hasn't hit a home run in 28 games and has a .630 OPS over the past 28 days. Considering the Tigers' tailspin, this may only matter to his fantasy owners but, ahem, there were certain expectations.

Key Injuries: RHP Joe Nathan (elbow), RHP Anibal Sanchez (shoulder).

San Diego Padres

This Week: 23 | Last Week: 22 | Record: 73-83

Team Stats

  • RS
    638
  • RA
    707
  • Diff.
    -69
  • OPS
    .688
  • ERA
    4.11

The Padres' outfield overhaul in the offseason, that saw them add Justin Upton (who they decided not to trade at the deadline, FYI), Wil Myers and Matt Kemp, has combined for 4.5 WAR this season. That's not much from three everyday players and Kemp's 0.4 fWAR in 153 is particularly crushing.
Key Injuries: LHP Cory Luebke (elbow), RHP Brandon Morrow (shoulder), CF Wil Myers (wrist), 1B Yonder Alonso (back).

Miami Marlins

This Week: 24 | Last Week: 25 | Record: 69-87

Team Stats

  • RS
    592
  • RA
    649
  • Diff.
    -57
  • OPS
    .695
  • ERA
    3.99

If nothing else comes from this season, at least the Marlins' middle infield pulled their weight. 2B Dee Gordon and SS Adeiny Hechevarria combined for 7.2 fWAR, after their combined 2014 fWAR was 3.4.

Key Injuries: RHP Henderson Alvarez (shoulder), RF Giancarlo Stanton (wrist), RHP David Phelps (forearm).

Oakland Athletics

This Week: 25 | Last Week: 24 | Record: 65-92

Team Stats

  • RS
    672
  • RA
    704
  • Diff.
    -32
  • OPS
    .708
  • ERA
    4.11

Brett Lawrie stayed relatively healthy this year (playing 144 games to this point) and, while he smacked a career-high .16 homers, his .717 OPS isn't good enough -- and he was the centrepiece of a trade for the likely AL MVP in the offseason.

Key Injuries: RHP Jesse Hahn (forearm), RHP Kendall Graveman (oblique), 1B Ike Davis (hip), RHP Jesse Chavez (rib).
 

Cincinnati Reds

This Week: 27 | Last Week: 27 | Record: 63-93

Team Stats

  • RS
    626
  • RA
    724
  • Diff.
    -98
  • OPS
    .713
  • ERA
    4.31

Outscored 64-21 during their current eight-game losing streak. Nice finish to the year.
Key Injuries: RHP Homer Bailey (elbow), SS Zack Cozart (knee), C Devin Mesoraco (hip), CF Billy Hamilton (shoulder).

Colorado Rockies

This Week: 26 | Last Week: 26 | Record: 66-90

Team Stats

  • RS
    709
  • RA
    820
  • Diff.
    -111
  • OPS
    .751
  • ERA
    5.08

It tends to get lost because the Rockies are so bad, but 3B Nolan Arenado is so good -- 41 homers and stellar D at the hot corner.
Key Injuries: RHP Tyler Chatwood (elbow), RHP Adam Ottavino (triceps), RHP Jordan Lyles (toe).

Atlanta Braves

This Week: 28 | Last Week: 29 | Record: 62-94

Team Stats

  • RS
    557
  • RA
    756
  • Diff.
    -199
  • OPS
    .673
  • ERA
    4.57
Since the All-Star break, the Braves have a .655 OPS; the 29th-ranked Angels are at .681 in that span.
Key Injuries: LHP Mike Minor (shoulder), RHP Jason Grilli (Achilles).
Milwaukee Brewers

This Week: 29 | Last Week: 28 | Record: 66-90

Team Stats

  • RS
    643
  • 134
    721
  • DIFF
    -78
  • OPS
    .707
  • ERA
    4.34

With Jimmy Nelson and Ryan Braun hurt to end the season, the only active Brewers player with a fWAR over 2.0 this season is 1B Adam Lind.
Key Injuries: RF Ryan Braun (back), RHP Jimmy Nelson (head).

Philadelphia Phillies

This Week: 30 | Last Week: 30 | Record: 59-97

Team Stats

  • RS
    597
  • RA
    787
  • Diff.
    -190
  • OPS
    .681
  • ERA
    4.75

The one plus of being out of contention as early as the Phillies were this season is that they have had lots of time to audition players for next year and, it turns out, some of them can play.

Key Injuries: LHP Cliff Lee (elbow), 3B Maikel Franco (wrist), 2B Cesar Hernandez (thumb).

Scott Cullen can be reached at scott.cullen@bellmedia.ca