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MLB Power Rankings: Playoff bracket nearly set

Oct 3, 2015, 3:40 PM EST

Photo by 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. Reds – Hughes: (LW: 27) Now Bryan Price will return as manager. Like Brad Ausmus, he was hired the same winter as Matt Williams and has had less success.

29. Phillies – Hughes: (LW: 30) Jeremy Affeldt says Phillies fans are so terribly mean that free agents think twice about signing there.

28. Braves – Hughes: (LW: 29) It sounds like the Braves could be big players in free agency this offseason.

27. Athletics – Zuckerman: (LW: 26) Was wonderful to see Zito back in the big leagues, back wearing green and gold.

26. Rockies – Hughes: (LW: 28) Walt Weiss has been endorsed by both Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado. Will that be enough?

25. Brewers – Hughes: (LW: 25) New GM David Stearns will essentially have to start from scratch with that pitching staff.

24. Marlins – Hughes: (LW: 24) Former Nats third base coach Bo Porter interviewed for the Marlins’ managerial job. I think he deserves a second chance, maybe with a good roster this time.

23. Tigers – Zuckerman: (LW: 23) Ausmus will return as manager next year. What will his roster look like?

22. White Sox – Zuckerman: (LW: 21) Sale sets new franchise record for strikeouts in a season (270).

21. Padres – Hughes: (LW: 22) It’s been a rough year for GM A.J. Preller. He just got fined for holding an illegal international workout last summer.

20. Mariners – Zuckerman: (LW: 17) Time for new GM Jerry Dipoto to build them into the contenders they were supposed to be.

19. Rays – Zuckerman: (LW: 19) As they often have, they exceeded expectations this season.

18. Red Sox – Zuckerman: (LW: 20) Really tough situation in Boston: Lovullo has turned them around, but can’t fire Farrell while undergoing cancer treatment.

17. Orioles – Zuckerman: (LW: 15) From 96 wins to potentially a last-place finish. That’s a real disappointment.

16. Diamondbacks – Hughes: (LW: 18) Patrick Corbin looks to be finally turning a corner after an up-and-down first season back from Tommy John.

15. Indians – Zuckerman: (LW: 16) Never could quite make the necessary move to get into serious contention.

14. Nationals – Hughes: (LW: 14) Just days away from a long offseason. I have a feeling they will be a lot more aggressive in free agency than people think.

13. Giants – Hughes: (LW: 12) Hughes: (LW: 12) Speaking of Jeremy Affeldt, he is calling it a career after this season. He has a 0.86 ERA in 33 postseason appearances. Pretty good.

12. Twins – Zuckerman: (LW: 13) Not sure anybody has been able to figure out how they’ve done it, but credit to them for hanging in the race all year.

11. Angels – Zuckerman: (LW: 11) They’ve been through an awful lot this season, but they’re in it down to the final weekend.

10. Astros – Zuckerman: (LW: 10) It’s not a failure if they miss the playoffs, but it would be a big disappointment given where they stood not long ago.

9. Yankees – Zuckerman: (LW: 7) It’s not a word you usually associate with them, but the Yankees are quite a resilient bunch.

8. Rangers – Zuckerman: (LW: 9) A remarkable second-half surge: From sub-.500 to cusp of a division title.

7. Mets – Hughes: (LW: 8) The pitching matchups between the Mets and Dodgers could be epic. Mets may have best staff overall, but Dodgers could have game’s two best pitchers.

6. Dodgers – Hughes: (LW: 6) That said, I’m taking the Dodgers over the Mets.

5. Royals – Zuckerman: (LW: 5) Not exactly cruising into the postseason, but they’re still formidable this time of year.

4. Blue Jays – Zuckerman: (LW: 3) For the first time in 22 years, the playoffs are heading north of the border.

3. Cubs – Hughes: (LW: 4) Cubs fans tried to convince Steve Bartman to attend their wild card game. Why in the heck would they want him there? Makes no sense.

2. Pirates – Hughes: (LW: 2) The Pirates are headed to the playoffs for the third straight year. They are no longer just happy to be there. It’s time to make a deep run.

1. Cardinals – Hughes: (LW: 1) Oh man, that rap song the Cardinals made is terrible. If you haven’t seen it, don’t.

LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY

  1. natsfan1a - Oct 3, 2015 at 4:15 PM

    I’d counter with, why in the heck would he want to take them up on it? Yes, the national broadcast crew contributed to making him a pariah, but Cubs fans played a role, too (not to mention Cubs players, who kinda sorta choked after the incident – I’m looking at you, Alou.) If you’ve not seen it, this film lays it out very well.

    http://espn.go.com/espn/espnfilms/story/_/page/catchinghell/catching-hell

    “3. Cubs – Hughes: (LW: 4) Cubs fans tried to convince Steve Bartman to attend their wild card game. Why in the heck would they want him there? Makes no sense.”

  2. NatsNut - Oct 3, 2015 at 4:38 PM

    Oh my gosh. This is pure poetry!

    “29. Phillies – Hughes: (LW: 30) Jeremy Affeldt says Phillies fans are so terribly mean that free agents think twice about signing there.”

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