There’s just one week left in the season, and it’s time to take one last look at the MLB power poll, showing the 32 teams and the results that they had with their 2013 seasons.
1: Boston Red Sox (95-62, +$2,044) (LW: 2): Last season, the Red Sox were the worst team in baseball from a monetary perspective, losing $3,685. This year, they are over 50 units ahead of that pace, which is a remarkable accomplishment. Boston has made it to the top spot in the power rankings thanks to the fact that it has the best record in baseball. Manager John Ferrell should be Manager of the Year for this turnaround, though he might not be so lucky to get the honor.
2: Pittsburgh Pirates (89-67, +$1,957) (LW: 1): The Bucs were the top team in the league for the whole second half of the season, but they have been caught at this point. The team has dropped five of its last seven games at home, and now it has to go on the road to end the season. If Pittsburgh can’t figure out how to win at least a few of these last games, it is going to have to go on the road for the second season in the one-game playoff for the Wild Card game against likely the Reds. There’s still a shot for the division title, but it’s not seemingly awfully likely.
3: Oakland Athletics (93-63, +$1,895) (LW: 3): Oakland has already wrapped up the AL West title, and that’s a tremendous accomplishment for a team that spent a lot of the season in second place. You don’t think of this team as one that is going to win around 96 or 97 games this year, but that’s the case. The A’s have the pleasure of being able to just wind down the season the way they want to get ready for the playoffs next week.
4: Cleveland Indians (86-70, +$1,892) (LW: 4): What a charge that the Indians went on at the end of the year! Cleveland did what it had to do and swept all four games against the Astros at home, and they are now holding one of the two Wild Card slots. It’s not a done deal yet, but the Tribe are the favorites to get into the postseason from here, especially knowing that its remaining games are against the White Sox and the Twins. Manager Terry Francona should be the Manager of the Year in his first year on the job in Cleveland for the effort that he has gotten this team to play with this season.
5: Atlanta Braves (92-63, +$1,097) (LW: 5): The Braves have hung on to clinch the NL East, but we are a bit worried about the form that they are in right now. This is a team that has only hovered right around .500 over the course of the last several weeks, and that isn’t going to cut it come the second season. Atlanta is going to finish with the best home record in baseball, as it already has a 52-22 mark and has its last seven games here at Turner Field. The problem is that 40-41 road record, which could come back to put the team in a heck of a lot of trouble if it loses one or two in the second season.
6: Los Angeles Dodgers (90-66, +$1,011) (LW: 6): The Dodgers have become the first team in the history of baseball to come back from last place on June 1st to win a division title, and they have done so with gusto. Whether it be OF Yasiel Puig or SS Hanley Ramirez offensively or the emergence of RHP Zack Greinke as the perfect complement to LHP Clayton Kershaw, who is going to win the Cy Young Award this year, this team has done it all. Manager Don Mattingly will have some hardware at the end of the year to collect in all likelihood, and that’s not so bad for a man that was on the verge of getting fired in the middle of June.
7: Kansas City Royals (82-73, +$591) (LW: 9): KC has put on its charge, and it is now guaranteed a winning season. It’s an accomplishment in and of itself, but if it doesn’t get into the playoffs, it’s going to be hard to not look at the year as a disappointment. The Royals enter the week three back of the Indians with just seven to play, and they’re going to be hard pressed to end up getting into the playoffs when push comes to shove.
8: St. Louis Cardinals (91-65, +$506) (LW: 7): St. Louis just has to be careful and not fall apart over the course of the last week of the season, and it will capture another NL Central crown. Six wins will totally remove all doubt, but four should be good enough, and three could be as well, especially knowing that the Reds and the Pirates are playing against each other for the final few games of the season over the weekend. The bats can certainly mash on this team, but beyond the first three starters, we have no idea what Manager Mike Matheny is going to be doing with his rotation in the second season.
9: New York Yankees (82-74, +$460) (LW: 8): The Yankees have flown the white flag on the season. They are going to be without LHP CC Sabathia for the rest of the regular season, and they probably have to win all six of their games this week to have any shot of even forcing a tiebreaker against either the Rays or the Indians. Cleveland is four ahead of the Yanks, while Tampa Bay is five up, and even that 6-0 mark might not get the job done, especially knowing that it New York has to catch Texas, as well as fend off Kansas City and Baltimore to get into the playoffs.
10: Cincinnati Reds (89-67, +$216) (LW: 13): The Reds aren’t quite locked into the playoffs yet, but it is looking more and more like they are going to have to play the one-game playoff against Pittsburgh. Cincinnati has three at home with the Mets this week, and winning these three will at least keep it in a position to win the NL Central. It’s a tough, uphill climb to catch the Cardinals from here, though. Manager Dusty Baker and the gang should be proud of the 92 or so games that they will win this year regardless of the outcome.
11: San Diego Padres (72-83, +$129) (LW: 12): The Padres had hoped to finish .500 this year. They’re going to fall just short, but we contend that they have done a lot of damage to a lot of teams in the NL that thought they were going to coast into the playoffs. The offense fell apart down the stretch, averaging just 2.0 runs per game in its last nine games, but the Pads have also shut out three foes in that time period as well. The future is definitely brighter in San Diego.
12: Baltimore Orioles (81-74, -$17) (LW: 11): It’s time to bid farewell to the Orioles in all likelihood. The team had a rough week, losing in 18 innings to the Rays and eventually losing the other two games over the weekend as well. By Wednesday, we think that the math will finally work against Manager Buck Showalter and company, sending them packing and making it so they don’t get into the second season for a second straight year. The good news? 1B Chris Davis broke the team record by blasting 51 home runs this year.
13: Arizona Diamondbacks (79-76, -$185) (LW: 14): The Diamondbacks were officially eliminated from playoff contention over the weekend, but we still think that they should be proud of the way that they have played this year. They are likely end up finishing at least at, if not above .500 when the campaign is said and done with, and though the team has had better years at times of late, this was a good finish for a team that didn’t have much in the way of major expectations.
14: Tampa Bay Rays (86-69, -$224) (LW: 15): Give this one to the Rays – They figure out how to win the games that they really need to. Last week, they took on the Rangers and the Orioles, the two teams that were right there in the thick of the Wild Card chase. Tampa Bay won two of the four with Texas to keep it at bay, and it ultimately swept the first three games of a wraparound series against the O’s. The sailing isn’t clear yet, but the Rays know that they control their own destiny to host the one-game playoff next week to get into the main portion of the postseason, and it will be tough to see how any other side, likely Cleveland, will end up winning at the Trop.
15: Minnesota Twins (65-90, -$296) (LW: 10): Sometimes you just run into a buzz saw. The Twins never had a shot against Oakland for four games over the weekend, and now, they finish up with the Tigers and the Indians. Minnesota is heading into the last week of the season ranking 25th in run production, 26th in team batting average, 24th in team OPS, 29th in ERA, 28th in WHIP, and dead last in both strikeouts and quality starts. It’s a miracle that this team avoided losing 100 games this year.
16: New York Mets (71-84, -$426) (LW: 18): Manager Terry Collins has managed to keep his job, and he has managed to keep his Mets in competition for third place in the NL East this year. It might not seem like much, but it would make the sell a lot easier to potential free agents to come to the Big Apple to help get this team right. New York is definitely heading in the right direction, and the rumors are already swirling that this team is ready to open up the purse strings to make a huge move or two in the hot stove season.
17: Washington Nationals (84-72, -$499) (LW: 16): The Nats are 24-8 in their last 32 games, but it just hasn’t been enough to totally get back in the thick of the fight. They aren’t eliminated yet, but they have to close five games in just seven days if they want to get into the playoffs. Winning out is the best that Washington can hope for, but even 90 wins probably isn’t going to be enough. It would be interesting to see what would happen if it could sweep the Cardinals on the road to start the week, though. In all likelihood though, this is the end for the retiring Manager Davey Johnson.
18: Detroit Tigers (91-65, -$657) (LW: 17): The Tigers still haven’t quite clinched up the AL Central, though it seems to be a bit of a formality at this point. They are going to head into the second season as the worst money team in the playoffs (unless Texas happens to get in), and the truth of the matter is that they really have been a disappointment for the most part. For a team with so much talent, 100 wins should have been the benchmark. Getting to 95 or so might be good enough to win the division, but nothing less than a World Series will help from here.
19: Texas Rangers (84-71, -$1,061) (LW: 20): There is never such a thing as a good time to lose eight straight games, but the Rangers in a week and a half went from a team that was going to contend for the AL West title until the dying days of the season to one that is probably not going to make the playoffs. Manager Ron Washington is already being rumored to be the fall guy after blowing the division crown for the second straight year. Only getting one of the Wild Card slots and at least making a bit of headway into the ALCS or beyond will save Washington now.
20: Milwaukee Brewers (69-86, -$1,108) (LW: 22): The Brewers have had a patchwork lineup for most of the season, and they are going to end up on the wrong side of averaging four runs per game on the campaign as a result. That said, we think if you put OF Ryan Braun and 1B Corey Hart back into this lineup, this could have been a .500 team this year that might still be contending for a spot in the playoffs. What might be next season in what could be a very crowded and very, very good NL Central…
21: Toronto Blue Jays (71-84, -$1,109) (LW: 21): Five men hit at least 20 homers this year for the Jays, and four drove in at least 64 runs. That wasn’t the problem, though. The problem is that LHP Mark Buehrle wasn’t spectacular, RHP RA Dickey is 13-13, LHP JA Happy never panned out, RHP Josh Johnson went 2-8, and the rest of the kiddies that were never traded that came up (we’re looking at you, Kyle Drabek) only turned out to be busts. Perhaps Toronto is going to need yet another new look to its pitching staff this next season. The Marlins maybe don’t look so bizarre for that trade at this point.
22: Chicago Cubs (65-91, -$1,191) (LW: 19): The Cubbies aren’t exactly ending the season in good form, but we are going to be harping on what they were doing at home at this point. This is a team that is 30-48 at Wrigley Field on the campaign, and more losses are likely to pile up against the Pirates in the home finale over the course of the week. Chicago has gone since July 5th-7th with exactly one home series win. The fans at Wrigley clearly have to be wondering if they should inflict themselves with poison ivy rather than watch the home team play.
23: Colorado Rockies (71-86, -$1,576) (LW: 26): Not one week after we talked about the fact that the Rockies didn’t have much of a team outside of SS Troy Tulowitzki and OF Carlos Gonzalez, the rumor came up that these two are on the trading block at this point. Colorado wants to totally reform its team, and it has to find a club that is willing to take on a lot of payroll and has a need at shortstop and in the outfield. The Mets and perhaps the Yankees are listening intently…
24: Seattle Mariners (68-88, -$1,662) (LW: 24): 100 losses are going to be avoided, but the Mariners aren’t going to end up avoiding fourth place in the AL West. The good news? At least the Astros are in the division now, and that makes it a heck of a lot more palatable to be able to look down at someone in the division instead of just taking up the rear once again. The M’s need gobs of work on their offense going into 2014 if they want to contend.
25: Los Angeles Angels (76-79, -$1,777) (LW: 28): Manager Mike Scioscia figures to be the man that ends up getting the axe first on Monday, and it would make a lot of sense. Short of maybe Washington and Toronto, the Halos have been the biggest disappointment in baseball this year, and even finishing .500 isn’t going to cut it. If you add up what 1B Albert Pujols and OF Josh Hamilton did this year, you have 38 homers and 136 RBIs. That would be great for one of them, but for both of them combined? Yuck.
26: Philadelphia Phillies (71-84, -$1,893) (LW: 25): It’s not that the Phillies have lost four straight games that is really of a concern at this point. It’s that all four games were at home and all four were against NL East foes that should have been beaten. Then again, perhaps this should serve as a notice to the oddsmakers to never make a team this bad a -211 favorite against anyone regardless of who is on the mound. Manager Ryne Sandberg has been tabbed as the full-time manager going into next year, which seems to be a wise choice for the good of the franchise.
27: Miami Marlins (57-99, -$1,966) (LW: 27): The Marlins are going to try to go the entire season without hitting 100 home runs on the season. They are averaging 3.20 runs per game, are hitting .231 as a club, have a team OPS of .629, and have 95 bombs on the season. All of those marks rank dead last in the league. Miami won’t finish with the worst record in the game, but it has the worst offense that we have seen in quite some time.
28: Houston Astros (51-105, -$1,982) (LW: 23): In pretty fitting fashion, Houston has lost its last nine games to drop to 105 losses on the season, and knowing that there are two teams that are fighting for their playoff lives on the horizon, there is a decent chance that the team could end up with 110 defeats by the time the season is over with. In this nine-game skid, the Astros have scored more than two runs in a game exactly once. They’re trying their best not to go down as one of the worst teams in the history of baseball, but it’s going to be a tough sell at this point to avoid that distinction.
29: San Francisco Giants (72-84, -$2,262) (LW: 29): The Giants are now guaranteed a losing season, which makes them one of the rare defending World Series champions who went on to have a losing campaign the very next year. Manager Bruce Bochy gets a pass because of his two World Series crowns in the last three years, but this is a tough business. Another season with around 90 losses next year, and you’ll see how quickly those World Series titles look like ancient history.
30: Chicago White Sox (61-94, -$2,930) (LW: 30): We’ll at least give Chicago this much: At least it tried its best to make its team as bad as possible this year. The White Sox did stack up a nice number of prospects this year at the trade deadlines, and there is going to have to be more purging on the horizon. This is a team that is at least three or four years away from being competitive again, especially in the AL Central where the Tigers are always good, and the Indians and Royals are certainly heading in the right direction.
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.
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