It’s been awhile…
1. LA Angels: The halos take over the top spot because of an incredible June. Unfortunately for them, one of the reasons for their ascent to the zenith of the major leagues, Casey Kotchman, is on the bench with a concussion. This team would leapfrog the Red Sox for good if they can acquire another bat, preferably one that replaces Chone Figgins. Miguel Tejada shifting to third would be an exceptional acquisition.
2. San Diego: Never mind the sweep by the Mariners last week, they expended a lot of energy in their own sweep of the hated Dodgers right before and the Mariners aren’t half bad. This may be the best Padres team ever… no doubt about the pitching.
3. Boston: Don’t worry, even though the Yanks swept them they are in absolutely no danger of losing the division.
4. Cleveland: Grady Sizemore is one special player and all, and that Fausto Carmona kid has some electric stuff, but this team just is missing something. If they add either an impact bat or an ace (especially both) they might be able to take that last step to the series.
5. Detroit: Verlander is just amazing. If he goes on an extended hot streak his pitching and Magglio’s MVP-worthy bat stand a good chance to leapfrog the Indians for the AL Central.
6. NY Mets: They are much better than their recent play, trust me. That being said, this team looks old and overpaid. Right now the Mets would have no chance in a playoff series against the Padres.
7. Milwaukee: Not too many people give this team much respect despite how much of a lead they have in the NL Central. I think that’s a mistake… this is one talented young team with a very solid lineup, rotation, and bullpen.
8. Oakland: The best pitching staff nobody has ever heard of. They certainly still have a chance for the wild card, especially if Cleveland hits a rough patch.
9. Arizona: Losing Randy Johnson for a few starts doesn’t help. The Dbacks probably won’t be able to overtake the Padres for the division no matter how slim the lead happens to be now but they definitely have the talent to hold off the Braves and the Dodgers for the wild card. Their chances will dramatically improve if Carlos Quentin ever comes around and Johnson makes a quick return.
10. Seattle: They looked very impressive in their sweep of the Padres, unfortunately they have lost a few in a row recently. The M’s can’t really afford to do that again, but their recent success and the fact that they are very much in the race for the wild card ensures that Ichiro stays with this team for the rest of the year. They cannot afford to lose him to free agency.
11. LA Dodgers: Great pitching, but the Dodgers need an impact bat more than any team in baseball.
12. NY Yankees: Yeah yeah yeah, nine in a row, we all saw it. Too little too late…
13. Atlanta: They are VERY lucky that the Mets have also gone cold. Their season could have been completely over, but instead they still have an outside shot at a playoff spot.
14. Colorado: Matt Holiday is the most underrated player in the game, followed by Garrett Atkins. If they find a way to develop some young pitching that can handle the high altitude this team might actually compete for once.
15. Philly: BIG gap between #14 Colorado and #15 Philadelphia. They always seem to need starting pitching.
16. Minnesota: Johan Santana just hasn’t been the same pitcher this year. Even with him, they aren’t going to seriously compete until Liriano comes back.
17. Florida: The Fish have lost three series in a row. JJ’s return should help, but the Marlins still have a long ways to go before they can seriously compete for the wild card. Fredi Gonzalez does not appear to be inspiring this young squad to win with his lackadaisical approach to managing.
18. Toronto: Now AJ goes to the DL… just like clockwork with him.
19. San Francisco: The Giants would be five games above .500 if they were in the Central.
20. Washington: Congrats to Dmitri Young for turning his career around. The Nats have a pretty good supporting cast going if they can manage to develop, or acquire, a couple of all star types.
21. Kansas City: The Royals’ young offense has just as much potential as Tampa Bay’s despite the fact that they get half of the press.
22. Tampa Bay: Carlos Pena has been a pleasant surprise for the Rays.
23. Chicago Cubs: Should have signed Zambrano when they had the chance, now they can kiss him goodbye.
24-29. Pittsburgh, Texas, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Houston: It doesn’t really matter where I place these teams, they all suck about equally as much.
30. But nobody sucks as much as Baltimore: This team actually WANTS Girardi to manage them…