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Jul 14, 2016

Giants rise to the top of MLB Power Rankings

The San Francisco Giants have overtaken the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals to secure the top spot in the TSN.ca MLB Power Rankings.

Johnny Cueto

The San Francisco Giants have overtaken the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals to secure the top spot in the TSN.ca MLB Power Rankings.

A 21-7 record in the last 28 games before the All-Star break gives the Giants the best record in baseball. 

Teams moving up this week include the Seattle Mariners, from 19 to 16, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, from 22 to 19. Going the other way, the Texas Rangers with pitching injuries sink from five to 11, the Kansas City Royals drop from 13 to 18 and the Colorado Rockies fall from 16 to 20. 

Coming out of the All-Star break, a look at team needs for the contenders, along with who might be available from the sellers.

 

 

 

San Francisco Giants

This Week: 1 | Last Week: 2 | Record: 57-33

Team Stats

  • RS
    424
  • RA
    351
  • Diff.
    +73
  • OPS
    .742
  • ERA
    3.55

If the Giants can get three regulars back from injuries, they will have a strong lineup -- at least as strong as they have had in championship seasons -- but they might add some pitching help. The top of their rotation (Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija) is great, but with Jake Peavy and Matt Cain struggling, rookie Albert Suarez may be their best No. 4 option. This relatively strong team doesn't need to make major moves to be in the title hunt, but could upgrade pitching depth or add a power bat for the outfield.

Key Injuries: RHP Matt Cain (hamstring), RF Hunter Pence (hamstring), 3B Matt Duffy (Achilles), 2B Joe Panik (concussion)

Washington Nationals

This Week: 2 | Last Week: 3 | Record: 54-36

Team Stats

  • RS
    422
  • RA
    317
  • Diff.
    +105
  • OPS
    .757
  • ERA
    3.29

The Nationals have the lineup of a contender, even during a season in which 2015 NL MVP Bryce Harper has been (comparitively) underwhelming and have up-and-coming speedy infielder Trea Turner pushing for playing time. With the best ERA in baseball, their pitching staff is impressive, too, so any moves that the Nationals make to bolster their roster should be minor tweaks -- maybe a bench bat and an arm for the bullpen.
Key Injuries: RHP Joe Ross (shoulder), 1B Ryan Zimmerman (ribs)

Chicago Cubs

This Week: 3 | Last Week: 1 | Record: 53-35

Team Stats

  • RS
    460
  • RA
    321
  • Diff.
    +139
  • OPS
    .786
  • ERA
    3.36

Chicago's midseason stumbles may cause some concern, particularly since their previously dominant pitching has gone off the rails (7.45 staff ERA in July), but a healthy Dexter Fowler would give the Cubs a lineup that is more than capable of winning. A bullpen upgrade or two would be enough to keep the Cubs in the hunt.  

Key Injuries: LF Kyle Schwarber (knee), LF Jorge Soler (hamstring), CF Dexter Fowler (hamstring)

Cleveland Indians

This Week: 4 | Last Week: 4 | Record: 52-36

Team Stats

  • RS
    436
  • RA
    355
  • Diff.
    +81
  • OPS
    .758
  • ERA
    3.63

As well as the Tribe have been playing, they have a few holes in the lineup and could look to upgrade at catcher (where Yan Gomes has a .516 OPS) or third base (where Juan Uribe has a .633 OPS). Starting pitching has been a strength but, like most contenders, they could use another arm or two in the bullpen. 
Key Injuries: LF Michael Brantley (shoulder)

Boston Red Sox

This Week: 5 | Last Week: 7 | Record: 49-38

Team Stats

  • RS
    490
  • RA
    424
  • Diff.
    +66
  • OPS
    .833
  • ERA
    4.43

The Red Sox have the most potent lineup in baseball, one that should be dangerous down the stretch and into the postseason, but they may not have the pitching to make the playoffs. Their best starter has been knuckle-baller Steven Wright; David Price and Rick Porcello have been up and down and Clay Buchholz has been mostly down. If the Red Sox are going to make a serious push, a starting pitcher would seem to be a major need. Presuming that Craig Kimbrel can return as expected (3-6 weeks) from his knee injury, the Boston bullpen may not need more than minor tweaking.

Key Injuries: RHP Craig Kimbrel (knee)

Baltimore Orioles

This Week: 6 | Last Week: 6 | Record: 51-36

Team Stats

  • RS
    442
  • RA
    401
  • Diff.
    +41
  • OPS
    .800
  • ERA
    4.35

While the Orioles could surely use a left-handed bat, either in the outfield or at DH, it's difficult to fathom this starting pitching being enough to go to the postseason. Beyond Chris Tillman, and maybe the potential of Kevin Gausman, it's hard to go ahead without adding at least one more starter. Two wouldn't hurt, but that could be costly. 
Key Injuries: None

Toronto Blue Jays

This Week: 7 | Last Week: 8 | Record: 51-40

Team Stats

  • RS
    447
  • RA
    372
  • Diff.
    +75
  • OPS
    .774
  • ERA
    3.76

Toronto's lineup is, once again, fearsome, and should eventually get Jose Bautista back from the DL. The major issue this season has been the bullpen, so adding relief help would make sense, but if Aaron Sanchez moves to the bullpen, that would certainly shore up the late innings. The question is whether the Jays would press forward with Drew Hutchison (who has a 2.78 ERA in 15 Triple-A starts this season) in the rotation or seek outside help. Given the new management, it would come as a shock if Toronto made a major deadline acquisition, but they should be contenders nevertheless.
Key Injuries: RF Jose Bautista (toe), RHP Marco Estrada (back)

Miami Marlins

This Week: 8 | Last Week: 9 | Record: 47-41

Team Stats

  • RS
    371
  • RA
    370
  • Diff.
    +1
  • OPS
    .743
  • ERA
    4.04

The Marlins are scrambling for a playoff spot, and already boosted their bullpen with the addition of Fernando Rodney. Would they be inclined to add another starting pitcher? If they could trust Wei-Yin Chen and Tom Koehler to follow Jose Fernandez and Adam Conley, it wouldn't be necessary, but it may also be a steep price for the Marlins to pay for a potential wildcard berth. 

Key Injuries: 1B Justin Bour (ankle)

St. Louis Cardinals

This Week: 9 | Last Week: 10 | Record: 46-42

Team Stats

  • RS
    455
  • RA
    366
  • Diff.
    +89
  • OPS
    .780
  • ERA
    3.86

As usual, the Cardinals are in the playoff hunt, and they'll probably find ways to improve their chances. The lineup has been great, even as CF Randal Grichuk struggled through much of the first half, and while there have been some inconsistencies from starting pitchers, it's difficult to imagine that they would replace the starters they already have. Where the Cardinals could improve, is in the bullpen, where closer Trevor Rosenthal has struggled, giving 33-year-old rookie Seung Hwan Oh a shot at finishing games. 

Key Injuries: 2B//3B Matt Carpenter (oblique)

New York Mets

This Week: 10 | Last Week: 11 | Record: 47-41

Team Stats

  • RS
    335
  • RA
    315
  • Diff.
    +20
  • OPS
    .725
  • ERA
    3.39

The Mets have been reeling a bit, and the wheels could really fall off if starting pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz run into further problems with the bone spurs in their pitching elbows. If those wheels stay on, though, the Mets added SS Jose Reyes, but could still use some help at left field and/or first base. 
Key Injuries: RHP Zack Wheeler (elbow), 1B Lucas Duda (back), 3B David Wright (neck), RHP Matt Harvey (shoulder)

Texas Rangers

This Week: 11 | Last Week: 5 | Record: 54-36

Team Stats

  • RS
    443
  • RA
    427
  • Diff.
    +16
  • OPS
    .755
  • ERA
    4.42

The way injuries have decimated the Texas rotation, they ought to have serious concerns, even with a 5.5-game lead in the AL West. If Colby Lewis makes it back, to join Cole Hamels, Martin Perez and A.J. Griffin, that could be okay, but another arm would help.

Key Injuries: RHP Yu Darvish (shoulder), LHP Derek Holland (shoulder), RHP Colby Lewis (lat)

Detroit Tigers

This Week: 12 | Last Week: 12 | Record: 46-43

Team Stats

  • RS
    426
  • RA
    427
  • Diff.
    -1
  • OPS
    .766
  • ERA
    4.57

The Tigers have a dangerous lineup, especially if they get J.D. Martinez back at some point, but pitching has been problematic. Rookie Michael Fulmer is suddenly the staff ace. Justin Verlander and Jordan Zimmermann have been okay, but another viable playoff starter would be great. At four games out of a wildcard spot, however, it may not be a season in which the Tigers are prepared to pay a premium for another arm.

Key Injuries: RF J.D. Martinez (elbow), RHP Jordan Zimmermann (neck)

Houston Astros

This Week: 13 | Last Week: 14 | Record: 48-41

Team Stats

  • RS
    401
  • RA
    371
  • Diff.
    +30
  • OPS
    .738
  • ERA
    3.87

The Astros have stormed back into contention after a terrible start to the season, and could get a boost from top minor-league prospect Alex Bregman (1.019 OPS in Double-A and Triple-A), a shortstop who could shift to third base. While their pitching staff hasn't been great, Houston may hope that they can simply get better performances from Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers and Collin McHugh. Doug Fister has been pretty good and Mike Fiers has been adequate, so there are some options, that mean the Astros don't necessarily have to pay a big price for pitching.
Key Injuries: None

Los Angeles Dodgers

This Week: 14 | Last Week 15 | Record: 51-40

Team Stats

  • RS
    382
  • RA
    329
  • Diff.
    +53
  • OPS
    .708
  • ERA
    3.43

If the Dodgers can't get Clayton Kershaw back into the rotation, it may not matter, but if Kershaw is good to go, the Dodgers should have a chance to contend and with RHP Brandon McCarthy returning from injury, RHP Bud Norris added in a deal with Atlanta, and phenom LHP Julio Urias getting more reps, the Dodgers could have sufficient pitching depth beyond Kershaw and Kenta Maeda. 
Key Injuries:  LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (shoulder), LHP Brett Anderson (back), RHP Alex Wood (elbow), LHP Clayton Kershaw (back), CF Joc Pederson (shoulder)

New York Yankees

This Week: 15 | Last Week: 17 | Record: 44-44

Team Stats

  • RS
    371
  • RA
    405
  • Diff.
    -34
  • OPS
    .711
  • ERA
    4.45

A .500 team, the Yankees are 5.5 games out of a wildcard spot, which is pretty close to selling time. If the Yankees head down that route, they have a couple of pending free agents that will be valuable trade chips. 39-year-old RF/DH Carlos Beltran has been having a phenomenal season and closer Aroldis Chapman may be morally reprehensible, but he can still throw 103 MPH+. Would there be interest in CC Sabathia, who is no longer an ace, but has a 3.77 ERA in 15 starts?

Key Injuries: None

Seattle Mariners

This Week: 16 | Last Week: 19 | Record: 45-44

Team Stats

  • RS
    435
  • RA
    384
  • Diff.
    +51
  • OPS
    .772
  • ERA
    3.95

The Mariners won't get far if they can't get their two best starting pitchers healthy, but if they become sellers, 1B Adam Lind offers some left-handed pop and veteran reliever Joaquin Benoit would figure to be highly sought-after by contenders. Maybe veteran starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma too. 
Key Injuries: RHP Felix Hernandez (calf), RHP Taijuan Walker (foot)

Kansas City Royals

This Week: 17 | Last Week: 13 | Record: 45-43

Team Stats

  • RS
    352
  • RA
    378
  • Diff.
    -26
  • OPS
    .731
  • ERA
    4.18

The defending-champion Royals have stumbled, and could be pressed to sell if they don't close the playoff gap quickly. DH Kendrys Morales might have some appeal for AL teams needing a bat, and the Royals have reportedly been shopping RHP Yordano Ventura this season. What about veteran RHP Edinson Volquez? 

Key Injuries: LHP Jason Vargas (elbow), 3B Mike Moustakas (knee), CF Lorenzo Cain (hamstring), RHP Wade Davis (forearm)

Chicago White Sox

This Week 17 | Last Week: 18 | Record: 45-43

Team Stats

  • RS
    368
  • RA
    380
  • Diff.
    -12
  • OPS
    .717
  • ERA
    4.02

The White Sox might hope that they can climb back into contention, but one of their catchers (Alex Avila or Dioner Navarro) or outfielder Avisail Garcia might have some appeal to teams needing depth. The White Sox do have a solid bullpen, though, and could draw some interest there.
Key Injuries: CF Austin Jackson (knee), LHP Carlos Rodon (wrist)

Pittsburgh Pirates

This Week: 19 | Last Week: 22 | Record: 46-43

Team Stats

  • RS
    423
  • RA
    416
  • Diff.
    +7
  • OPS
    .751
  • ERA
    4.36

The Pirates appeared to be fading, but have picked up steam lately, to get within 1.5-games of a wildcard spot, which is probably close enough to not sell. If they can get ace Gerrit Cole back at the top of the rotation, and then add some combination of prospects Steven Brault, Tyler Glasnow or, if healthy, Jameson Taillon, Pittsburgh should have enough pitching to keep pace.

Key Injuries: RHP Gerrit Cole (triceps), C Francisco Cervelli (hand), RHP Jameson Taillon (shoulder)

Colorado Rockies

This Week: 20 | Last Week: 16 | Record: 40-48

Team Stats

  • RS
    454
  • RA
    468
  • Diff.
    -14
  • OPS
    .795
  • ERA
    5.08

The Rockies are out of contention, again, but could be players in the trade market. Lefty reliever Boone Logan is one option, as are C Nick Hundley and platoon options Mark Reynolds and Ryan Raburn, but if Colorado wants to make a splash, they could shop RF Carlos Gonzalez, who has one year left on his contract. 
Key Injuries: LF Gerardo Parra (ankle)

Philadelphia Phillies

This Week: 21 | Last Week: 24 | Record: 42-48

Team Stats

  • RS
    328
  • RA
    415
  • Diff.
    -87
  • OPS
    .690
  • ERA
    4.35

The Phillies have rallied lately, winning 10 of the past 13 games, but they're obviously open for business. Catcher Carlos Ruiz, OF Peter Bourjos and reliever David Hernandez might have limited value, but maybe the Phillies could find a taker for RHP Jeremy Hellickson, who is having his best year -- by far -- since 2012. 

Key Injuries: RF Aaron Altherr (wrist), RHP Charlie Morton (hamstring)

Cincinnati Reds

This Week: 22 | Last Week: 23 | Record: 32-57

Team Stats

  • RS
    376
  • RA
    530
  • Diff.
    -154
  • OPS
    .694
  • ERA
    5.46

This has been a lost season for the Reds, so they are going to continue building for the future. RF Jay Bruce, a power-hitting outfielder who leads the team with a .853 OPS, is likely their most marketable asset.
Key Injuries: RHP Alfredo Simon (shoulder), C Devin Mesoraco (shoulder)

Milwaukee Brewers

This Week: 23 | Last Week: 20 | Record: 38-49

Team Stats

  • RS
    342
  • RA
    418
  • DIFF
    -76
  • OPS
    .715
  • ERA
    4.50

This has been a rebuilding year for the Brewers, and they already moved out veteran infielder Aaron Hill, but their may not be much more value to extract, unless Milwaukee considers moving C Jonathan Lucroy or finds a team desperate enough to take RHP Matt Garza.
Key Injuries: RF Domingo Santana (elbow)

Arizona Diamondbacks

This Week: 24 | Last Week: 21 | Record: 38-52

Team Stats

  • RS
    402
  • RA
    456
  • Diff.
    -54
  • OPS
    .761
  • ERA
    4.77

The Diamondbacks haven't met expectations (well, at least their expectations), and have moved out reliever Brad Ziegler to Boston. Might they consider moving another pitcher?
Key Injuries: CF A.J. Pollock (elbow), CF Chris Owings (foot), RF David Peralta (back), RHP Rubby De La Rosa (elbow), RHP Zack Greinke (oblique)

San Diego Padres

This Week: 25 | Last Week: 25 | Record: 38-51

Team Stats

  • RS
    393
  • RA
    441
  • Diff.
    -48
  • OPS
    .703
  • ERA
    4.57

With CF Jon Jay injured, the Padres lost one of their best trade chips, but perhaps they could drum up interest in RHP Andrew Cashner, who didn't improve his marketability by allowing eight earned runs in 2 2/3 innings during his last start.
Key Injuries: RHP Tyson Ross (shoulder), 2B Cory Spangenberg (quad), CF Jon Jay (forearm)

Tampa Bay Rays

This Week: 26 | Last Week: 28 | Record: 34-54

Team Stats

  • RS
    344
  • RA
    418
  • Diff.
    -74
  • OPS
    .726
  • ERA
    4.57

Few teams have been run on a budget as tightly as the Rays, so they should be expected to deal some assets this year. Utility man Steven Pearce and 1B Logan Morrison are a couple of options. 
Key Injuries: RHP Alex Cobb (elbow), CF Kevin Kiermaier (hand), RHP Alex Colome (biceps), LF Desmond Jennings (hamstring)

Oakland Athletics

This Week: 27 | Last Week: 27 | Record: 38-51

Team Stats

  • RS
    366
  • RA
    435
  • Diff.
    -69
  • OPS
    .701
  • ERA
    4.73

Of course the A's will sell, since they aren't contending this season. Outfielders Josh Reddick and Coco Crisp will be free agents, and lefty reliever Mark Rzepczynski ought to be in demand. LHP Rich Hill also has a 2.25 ERA in 13 starts, so he could be a difference-maker if Oakland makes the 36-year-old available.

Key Injuries: RHP Chris Bassitt (elbow), RHP Henderson Alvarez (shoulder)

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

This Week 28 | Last Week 26 | Record: 37-52

Team Stats

  • RS
    403
  • RA
    423
  • Diff.
    -20
  • OPS
    .736
  • ERA
    4.52

The Angels expected to be better this season, but injuries to their pitching staff made that an uphill fight. Relief pitchers Joe Smith and Fernando Salas could move.
Key Injuries: LHP Andrew Heaney (forearm), LHP C.J. Wilson (elbow), RHP Garrett Richards (elbow), 1B C.J. Cron (hand)

Minnesota Twins

This Week: 29 | Last Week: 30 | Record: 32-56

Team Stats

  • RS
    395
  • RA
    466
  • Diff.
    -71
  • OPS
    .739
  • ERA
    4.97

The Twins have lived down to expectations, so they should be able to deal. Reliever Kevin Jepsen could go and, if healthy, 3B Trevor Plouffe could add some corner infield pop.

Key Injuries: LHP Glen Perkins (shoulder), 3B Trevor Plouffe (rib), RHP Phil Hughes (knee)

Atlanta Braves

This Week: 30 | Last Week: 29 | Record: 31-58

Team Stats

  • RS
    307
  • RA
    414
  • Diff.
    -107
  • OPS
    .649
  • ERA
    4.32

It's been a tough year for Atlanta, though it's been entirely expected. SS Erick Aybar would be a candidate for trade if he had an OPS better than .532. 1B Freddie Freeman and RHP Julio Teheran may be the only untouchables.

Key Injuries: RHP Williams Perez (shoulder), CF Mallex Smith (thumb)

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