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MLB Power Rankings: Buyers or sellers?

Jul 17, 2015, 11:31 AM EDT

USA Today

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 – Zuckerman: (LW: 30) On pace to lose 110 games. And that pace may get worse if they trade guys away.

29. Marlins – Zuckerman: (LW: 29) Second half will be about identifying who is part of the long-term plan and who isn’t.

28. Brewers – Zuckerman: (LW: 27) Aramis Ramirez would be a nice pickup for a lot of contending clubs.

27. Rockies – Zuckerman: (LW: 28) Four-game winning streak to end the first half, but it’s too little too late.

26. Reds – Zuckerman: (LW: 23) Did a wonderful job hosting the All-Star Game. Now, time to rebuild this club.

25. Padres – Zuckerman: (LW: 25) GM A.J. Preller faces some very tough questions before July 31. Who goes? Who stays?

24. Athletics – Hughes: (LW: 26) The Nats rarely make bad trades, but Billy Burns looks like a future All-Star. He’s hitting .303 with a .739 OPS and 17 steals.

23. Mariners – Hughes: (LW: 22) Not that their offense is great, but starting pitching now looks like a big problem for Seattle outside of Felix Hernandez.

22. Braves – Zuckerman: (LW: 18) Did an admirable job hanging in there for 3 months but now starting to fade.

21. Red Sox – Hughes: (LW: 21) Boston is in a weird spot heading into the traded deadline. They’re in last place, but only six games out of the playoffs. Buy or sell?

20. White Sox – Hughes: (LW: 24) Adam LaRoche is having his worst season since his first year with the Nats, but is still second on the White Sox in OPS.

19. Indians – Hughes: (LW: 20) Right-hander Danny Salazar looks to be back after a sophomore slump last season. He’s got a 3.74 ERA with 116 strikeouts in 98 2/3 innings.

18. Rangers – Hughes: (LW: 19) Ross Detwiler was released by the Rangers this week after refusing to play in the minors. We’ll see if he lands elsewhere.

17. Diamondbacks – Zuckerman: (LW: 16) Have done well to climb back toward the .500 mark. Where do they go from here?

16. Blue Jays – Hughes: (LW: 12) Toronto should be look to add some starting pitching before the deadline. They are within striking distance of first place.

15. Tigers – Hughes: (LW: 14) Detroit may have to start thinking about the wild card, as they are nine games out of the division but just 3 1/2 out of a playoff spot.

14. Orioles – Hughes: (LW: 11) Have to wonder if Dan Duquette will go out and get a pitcher like he did with Andrew Miller last season.

13. Rays – Hughes: (LW: 17) Everyone is fawning over Chris Archer, and rightfully so. But Jake Odirizzi (2.30 ERA, 13 GS) has been a nice surprise as well.

12. Giants – Zuckerman: (LW: 15) Defending champs are getting healthier, which makes them a threat in second half.

11. Mets – Zuckerman: (LW: 13) Will they get a bat to help supplement that dynamite pitching staff? The time has come.

10. Twins – Hughes: (LW: 10) The second half should be fun for Minnesota fans, who haven’t felt the heat of a pennant race in five years.

9. Astros – Hughes: (LW: 4) The Astros have only had one player (Jed Lowrie) over the age of the 30 make a plate appearance for them this season.

8. Cubs – Zuckerman: (LW: 7) First half went very well. Now we find out how the kids handle the pressure of a pennant race.

7. Yankees – Hughes: (LW: 9) As close as the AL East is at this point, I see the Yankees adding pieces at the deadline and running away with it.

6. Angels – Hughes: (LW: 8) L.A.A. has won 11 of their last 14 games in a stretch that also saw their GM resign.

5. Nationals – Zuckerman: (LW: 6) They’ve made do with half their lineup injured. Now it’s time to get healthy and get consistent.

4. Dodgers – Zuckerman: (LW: 5) Best 1-2 pitching punch in baseball. Will they try to bolster that duo with another acquisition?

3. Royals – Hughes: (LW: 2) Kansas City’s bullpen continues to be a force. They led the majors in relievers’ ERA at 2.18 in the first half.

2. Pirates – Zuckerman: (LW: 3) What a way to close out the first half, taking 3 of 4 from the Cards, back-to-back come-from-behind walk-offs.

1. Cardinals – Zuckerman: (LW: 1) All of a sudden, they don’t look invincible. But they hang onto the No. 1 spot for now.

LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY

  1. Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 17, 2015 at 12:23 PM

    “The Astros have only had one player (Jed Lowrie) over the age of the 30 make a plate appearance for them this season.”

    That’s amazing.

    • npb99 - Jul 17, 2015 at 1:05 PM

      That jumped out at me too. That is indeed a youth movement.

  2. Theophilus T.S. - Jul 17, 2015 at 12:34 PM

    Lot of teams that are in a position similar to Red Sox — not going much of anywhere but conceivably w/in reach of a P/O spot.

    Probably only the bottom seven are genuine sellers. Hence, a seller’s market at the deadline. Given the Nats’ contractual situation they’re going to need all of their Tier I prospects (Giolito, Ross, Fedde, Turner, Difo) within the next 2-3 years. And I don’t think their Tier II prospects are good enuf to fetch anyone that would really be helpful. Maybe enough to pick up an experienced bullpen piece but I don’t see them able to pick up anyone truly more useful than Barrett or Treinen without overpaying. I think the As will get a better offer than Taylor Jordan for Clippard (I think he’s probably headed for the Yankees).

    My big fear is that Rizzo will go for a veteran RH bat — and end up w/ a Gomes/Hairston type.

    • jd - Jul 17, 2015 at 12:40 PM

      Theo,

      Clippard is the last thing the Yankees need with Miller and Betances in place. I mostly agree with your analysis although there are several other pieces such as A.J.Cole, Reynaldo Lopez, Brian Goodwin which can be moved. I think that the real need isn’t a veteran right handed bat (I think Moore and Uggla are fine off the bench). The real need may be an every day left handed hitting 1st baseman (unless Zimmerman is coming back soon) and the guy you need should not have a contract guaranteed beyond this year and you should be able to acquire him without giving away anyone from the ‘A’ list.

      • Theophilus T.S. - Jul 17, 2015 at 1:08 PM

        The Yankees’ solution to their starting pitching questions will be to strengthen their BP.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 17, 2015 at 2:56 PM

        Reynaldo Lopez is a top 50 prospect candidate himself (just named #47 on minorleagueball.com’s midseason update list). I’d move Difo before I’d move Lopez.

        There is some chatter about the Nats moving Difo and Lopez for Chapman – Dave Cameron of Fangraphs thinks that the Reds would do it, isn’t sure that the Nats would do it.

  3. masterfishkeeper - Jul 17, 2015 at 1:32 PM

    Off topic, here’s a link to an interesting piece about neuroscience and baseball:

    http://www.sbnation.com/longform/2015/7/15/8952915/take-me-out-to-the-brain-game

  4. masterfishkeeper - Jul 17, 2015 at 1:39 PM

    Fangraphs article on Desmond’s hitting woes.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/ian-desmonds-weakness-has-turned-into-a-massive-hole/

  5. Danny - Jul 17, 2015 at 1:46 PM

    Another day another injury. Carpenter to 15 Day

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 17, 2015 at 2:01 PM

      Too bad.

      But honestly, how times did you tell yourself over the last month, “Just bring in Carpenter now and we’ve got this thing locked up!”

  6. langleyclub - Jul 17, 2015 at 1:54 PM

    Makes it all the more likely that the Nats will deal for a reliever.

  7. rlndtln - Jul 17, 2015 at 5:13 PM

    When will Zim and Rendon get ready for rehab assignments?Then they will need at least 2 weeks there and 100 abs to be real ready.Thats about a month from the time they start.But nobody seems concerned like we will beat these teams wit Robinson,Danny and MT.

  8. rlndtln - Jul 17, 2015 at 5:44 PM

    Rivero has the best stuff.Use him.

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