The Oakland Athletics remain on top of the MLB Power Rankings for yet another week thanks to their dominant play over the course of this season. From there one starts to identify the differences between the divisions in baseball, especially in the American League.
If the season ended today, three teams from the American League West would make the playoffs. In the meantime, the American League East is such a jumbled mess at this point that the Tampa Bay Rays aren’t completely crazy to think they are still contenders at 8.5 games out of first place.
One can sense teams settling in as the elite teams, as well as a group getting comfortable as the worst teams in baseball. In the middle, any team is one long winning streak or losing streak from overhauling the complexion of their 2014 season.
With that, here are the MLB Power Rankings for this week.
1. Oakland A’s (55-33, no change)
The success of their blockbuster trade this week rests largely on the kind of pitcher Jeff Samardzija is while pitching for the A’s. Jason Hammel is a nice piece to land, but ultimately he is a rental and kind of a hedge as the A’s prepare for the second half. You don’t give up a blue chip prospect like Addison Russell because you are also getting Hammel; you do it because you think Samardzija can be something close to an ace.
So far so good for Shark in his debut on Sunday, but the pressure remains on his shoulders to make the A’s look smart for making this deal.
2. Milwaukee Brewers (52-37, no change)
3. Los Angeles Dodgers (51-40, +1)
4. Detroit Tigers (48-36, -1)
5. Los Angeles Angels (51-36, no change)
6. Washington Nationals (48-39, +3)
7. Seattle Mariners (48-40, +3)
8. Atlanta Braves (49-39, +3)
The winners of nine straight during a stretch that ended this week, the Braves are a tough team to figure out. With any measure of consistency from their lineup they look like they are scary good. Goodness knows they have the arms to be contenders, especially if they got in the mix at the trade deadline. Then again, would anybody be surprised if they lost five straight this week? Truly a tough team to figure out.
9. San Francisco Giants (49-39, -2)
10. St. Louis Cardinals (47-42, -2)
11. Toronto Blue Jays (47-43, -5)
12. Baltimore Orioles (48-40, +1)
13. Pittsburgh Pirates (47-41, +3)
The Pirates are 8-2 in their last 10 games. Their lineup is showing life and Andrew McCutchen is as good as he’s ever been. They are in position to make a deal for another starting pitcher at the trade deadline and be firmly in the mix for a playoff spot once again in a crowded National League Central.
14. New York Yankees (44-43, no change)
15. Cincinnati Reds (45-42, -3)
16. Kansas City Royals (45-42, -1)
17. Cleveland Indians (43-44, no change)
18. Miami Marlins (43-45, no change)
19. Tampa Bay Rays (41-50, +11)
Maybe they weren’t crazy…
To go to Balt, NY and Detroit and go 9-2 – based on where we have been – really speaks for our resiliency.
— Joe Maddon (@RaysJoeMaddon) July 7, 2014
20. Chicago White Sox (42-47, +2)
21. Minnesota Twins (39-48, no change)
22. Texas Rangers (38-50, -2)
23. Boston Red Sox (39-49, -3)
24. New York Mets (39-49, -1)
The Mets, playing in the unpredictable National League East, still have visions of a playoff berth running through their head. Inconsistent though the Nationals and Braves have been, the Mets need to understand the reality of their situation and start selling – there are valuable pieces to be gained in deals for Bartolo Colon and Daniel Murphy.
25. San Diego Padres (39-49, +3)
26. Chicago Cubs (38-48, +1)
27. Colorado Rockies (37-52, -3)
28. Houston Astros (36-54, -3)
29. Philadelphia Phillies (37-51, -3)
30. Arizona Diamondbacks (37-53, -1)
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