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MLB Power Rankings: Cardinals, Royals look dominant

Jun 26, 2015, 12:51 PM EST

Jun 24, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Jason Heyward (right) is greeted by first baseman Mark Reynolds (left) after Heywood hit a three run homer during the seventh inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Here is a look at Major League Baseball with analysis from Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman and Nationals writer Chase Hughes:

LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY

30. Phillies – Hughes: (LW: 30) Philly has the worst offense in baseball and has a certain pitcher with two different colored eyes up next. Good luck!

29. Brewers – Hughes: (LW: 29) Packers season can’t start soon enough for sports fans in Wisconsin.

28. Marlins – Hughes: (LW: 26) Giancarlo Stanton has 27 homers in 73 games. He might pass his career-high of 37 by August 1.

27. Red Sox – Zuckerman: (LW: 27) Looking like a long summer in New England.

26. Rockies – Hughes: (LW: 25) The Rockies’ only starter with an ERA below 4.80 this year is a dude named Chad Bettis.

25. White Sox – Zuckerman: (LW: 24) They play in a good hitters’ park, but they’re last in AL in homers.

24. Mariners – Zuckerman: (LW: 23) Just haven’t gotten enough production from young position players they were counting on.

23. Athletics – Zuckerman: (LW: 28) Starters have a 3.06 ERA. Shows you how many other things have gone wrong in Oakland this year.

22. Padres – Hughes: (LW: 21) Matt Kemp has a .282 OPB and a .638 OPS this season.

21. Reds – Hughes: (LW: 22) Billy Hamilton is getting on base at just a .270 clip, yet he has 36 steals already this season.

20. Indians – Zuckerman: (LW: 20) Remember Michael Bourn? In 3 years with Tribe, hitting .256/.314/.347 with 38 total steals.

19. Mets – Hughes: (LW: 13) The last few weeks may have shown the Mets’ only chance to win the NL East is if the Nats suffer injuries.

18. Diamondbacks – Hughes: (LW: 18) Paul Goldschmidt, who is hitting .354 with 20 homers and 60 RBI, is also on pace for 30 steals.

17. Braves – Hughes: (LW: 19) Losing Freddie Freeman is tough. With him, they have a shot at the playoffs. Without him, they do not.

16. Rangers – Zuckerman: (LW: 10) Turns out Yovani Gallardo (1.22 ERA last six starts) still has something left.

15. Tigers – Zuckerman: (LW: 14) Ian Kinsler (88 OPS+) has fallen off a cliff, and at 33 it may be too late for him to climb back up.

14. Angels – Zuckerman: (LW: 17) Reports of the demise of Albert Pujols’ career may have been premature.

13. Blue Jays – Zuckerman: (LW: 12) Forget Max Scherzer. Marco Estrada has carried a no-hitter into 8th inning each of last 2 starts!

12. Orioles – Zuckerman: (LW: 15) Record when Matt Wieters is in lineup: 10-2. Record when he’s not in lineup: 28-32.

11. Twins – Zuckerman: (LW: 9) Alex Meyer (who Nats traded for Denard Span) finally makes MLB debut … as reliever.

10. Yankees – Zuckerman: (LW: 8) Starting pitchers sporting a 4.43 ERA. Paging Cole Hamels?

9. Giants – Hughes: (LW: 11) When I first saw Matt Duffy in person, I thought he worked in the Giants’ analytics department. He’s only about 6-foot-1, 165 pounds but he’s hitting for power.

8. Cubs – Hughes: (LW: 7) If I’m Chicago, I’m trading for a top shelf starting pitcher before the deadline and making a real run at the Cardinals.

7. Nationals – Hughes: (LW: 16) What a difference a week can make. Now that’s what people thought when they said the Nats would have a historically good rotation.

6. Dodgers – Hughes: (LW: 5) Relievers Kenley Janssen and J.P. Howell have combined to allow two earned runs in 43 total appearances.

5. Rays – Zuckerman: (LW:6) Joey Butler is hitting .320 and slugging .503. Who knew?

4. Pirates – Hughes: (LW: 3) Pittsburgh has the best record of any team currently in second place in their division, but the Buccos are eight games back from St. Louis.

3. Astros – Zuckerman: (LW: 4) Getting to that point when we find out just how real these guys are.

2. Royals – Zuckerman: (LW: 2) Wade Davis’ pitching line last 2 seasons: 103 IP, 52 H, 9 R, 33 BB, 144 K. Sweet Fancy Moses!

1. Cardinals – Hughes: (LW: 1) The Cardinals are starting to look like one of the best teams we’ve seen in recent years. They’re on pace for 108 wins currently.

LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY

  1. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 26, 2015 at 12:56 PM

    The @Nationals have assigned the top pick in the 2015 draft, Andrew Stevenson (OF – LSU), to the Doubledays.

  2. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 26, 2015 at 12:56 PM

    The @Nationals have assigned the top pick in the 2015 draft, Andrew Stevenson (OF – LSU), to the Doubledays.

  3. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 26, 2015 at 12:56 PM

    The @Nationals have assigned the top pick in the 2015 draft, Andrew Stevenson (OF – LSU), to the Doubledays.

    • positivelyhalfst - Jun 26, 2015 at 1:10 PM

      Each such assignment seems to come with a corresponding release. It makes me glad that the Nats sign mainly college players- if baseball doesn’t work out, these guys have an education to fall back on. Some of them probably need to go back for just one more year for a degree.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 26, 2015 at 1:14 PM

        The 2nd pick was a High School pick in Blake Perkins. Much greater risk for High School kids. Many of these college kids are also playing summer baseball in Cape Cod or other similar wood bat leagues which are heavily scouted.

        You’re right on education!

      • #4 - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:01 PM

        High school kids who get released can also go back to college. They benefit from the fact that when they attend college they are there in fact to attend college. If they have been smart they also negotiated a contract that pays for it. Most college baseball players are spending far more time in the batting cage than in the classroom. Don’t fool yourself. The best reason for a kid to play college baseball is to mature emotionally and physically before having to play professionally. It has little to do with the education – at least for the guys at the top of the talent pyramid. Sad, but true.

      • nats128 - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:20 PM

        #4, many of the baseball players are only on partial scholarships and take school more seriously.

        Some kids see the bigger pickture. Between all the levels of the Minor Leagues and the GCLs and short-season programs theres about 5,000 kids in the pro system. Very few become some of the 100 or less that move from the Minors to the Majors every year to make there MLB debuts.

  4. nats128 - Jun 26, 2015 at 1:36 PM

    “9. Giants – Hughes: (LW: 11) When I first saw Matt Duffy in person, I thought he worked in the Giants’ analytics department. He’s only about 6-foot-1, 165 pounds but he’s hitting for power.”

    Now that is funny!

  5. Eugene in Oregon - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:15 PM

    Nats drafted Vanderbilt’s CF, right? Status?

    • nats128 - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:23 PM

      yes Rhett Wiseman who should be signing shortly

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:21 PM

    Anthony Rendon placed on DL with L quad strain. Emmanuel Burriss called up from AAA.

    Smart to get him 100% healthy as his defense was not good.

    • nats128 - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:27 PM

      Funny how that could have worked out if it was 2 weeks from now that Trea Turner could have been the call-up.

      I guess they make Rendon retroactive to Thursday’s game.

  7. Danny - Jun 26, 2015 at 2:22 PM

    Rendon is back on the DL….

  8. therealjohnc - Jun 26, 2015 at 3:05 PM

    15. Tigers – Zuckerman: (LW: 14) Ian Kinsler (88 OPS+) has fallen off a cliff, and at 33 it may be too late for him to climb back up.

    14. Angels – Zuckerman: (LW: 17) Reports of the demise of Albert Pujols’ career may have been premature.

    I am amused by the fact that in back-to-back listings MZ laments that Kinsler, age 33, may be done while praising Pujols, age 35, for not being done.

    Of course, I have a very low entertainment threshold 😀

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