Ma­jor League BaseBaLLpower rank­ings

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

At the All-Star break, here are the ma­jor-league power rank­ings by Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune:

1. N.Y. YAN­kEES

Alex Ro­driguez was a mys­te­ri­ous DNP at the All-Star game, but he’s alive and well. A-Rod has three homers and 16 RBIs in 11 games in July, rais­ing his RBI to­tal to 70, third in the ma­jors.

2. AT­LANTA BRAvES

There’s noth­ing flashy about Bobby Cox’s team, but since a nine-game los­ing streak in April it has been the class of the NL, go­ing 44-22 af­ter April 29.

3. TAMPA BAY RAYS

The last team still op­er­at­ing with its orig­i­nal five-man ro­ta­tion. Jeremy Hel­lick­son is ready to step in, which could al­low GM An­drew Fried­man to trade a starter for the sec­ond year in a row.

4. TEXAS RANGERS

Yes, they’re ris­ing, even af­ter be­ing swept by the Ori­oles in a four-game se­ries. They’re a lot stronger than they were a week ago, thanks to the shock­ing deal for Cliff Lee. One nag­ging prob­lem with the trade is that Ar­ling­ton has been the tough­est park for Lee to pitch in.

5. CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Not sure what flipped the switch, but it’s hard to ar­gue with a 25-5 stretch. They’re one of nine teams with three hit­ters who have 49-plus RBIs, and five of those teams are po­si­tioned for the play­offs.

6. COLORADO ROCk­IES

Their pat­tern of slow starts and re­cov­er­ies is re­peat­ing it­self. Amaz­ing come­back se­ries against the Car­di­nals, the kind that turns around a sea­son. GM Dan O’Dowd faces a tough de­ci­sion in re­plac­ing fad­ing Todd Hel­ton.

7. ST. LOUIS CAR­DI­NALS

Adam Wain­wright, Chris Car­pen­ter and Jaime Gar­cia are the best com­bi­na­tion of three starters in the NL, if not the ma­jors.

8. BOS­TON RED SOX

Held to­gether by Kevin Youk­ilis’ will and bail­ing wire. They bet­ter get some of their big guns back soon.

9. SAN DIEGO PADRES

Fight­ing grav­ity. How can a team with so lit­tle win so much?

10. PHILADEL­PHIA PHILLIES

Four-game sweep over the Reds was a good way to fin­ish the first half, but the de­fend­ing league champs face a long haul.

11. CINCIN­NATI REDS

Need a good start to the sec­ond half to show they’re ready to win. But if Edin­son Volquez re­turns to his 2008 ver­sion, they’ll re­main tough to beat.

12. N.Y. METS

Hop­ing for a lift when Car­los Bel­tran re­turns to cen­ter field, but it has been a long time since Bel­tran was a force.

13. DETROIT TIGERS

Split six games with the Twins over the last two weeks. They are that even.

14. L.A. DODGERS

The on­go­ing McCourt divorce con­tin­ues to tie GM Ned Col­letti’s hands on the trade front.

15. MIN­NESOTA TWINS

Very dis­ap­point­ing for al­most two months now (22-28 since May 17). GM Bill Smith may need to chase Roy Oswalt.

16. SAN FRAN­CISCO GIANTS

Rook­ies Buster Posey and Madi­son Bum­gar­ner are do­ing their part. You can’t say the same for Pablo San­doval and Matt Cain.

17. L.A. AN­GELS

You can ar­gue they shouldn’t be this far be­low the Rangers, just as you can say the Tigers shouldn’t be so far be­hind the White Sox, but some­thing is missing.

18. OAk­LAND ATH­LET­ICS

Billy Beane hopes some con­tender no­ticed the six shutout in­nings from Ben Sheets.

19. FLORIDA MAR­LINS

Add Ricky No­lasco to the list of pitch­ers who could be dealt be­fore the dead­line.

20. TORONTO BLUE JAYS

The power bats are back: 22 homers in the last eight games be­fore the break.

21. kANSAS CITY ROY­ALS

Very qui­etly play­ing bet­ter since Ned Yost re­placed Trey Hill­man. 27-26 un­der Yost.

22. MIL­WAU­kEE BREW­ERS

Corey Hart to the Rays for

young pitch­ing?

23. CHICAGO CUBS

How has the coun­sel­ing been go­ing, Big Z?

24. HOUS­TON ASTROS

Team Delu­sional fi­nally has some­thing to feel good about for the fu­ture. Un­for­tu­nately, out­fielder Ariel Ovando is only 16.

25. WASHINGTON NA­TION­ALS

An Adam Dunn re-sign­ing is more likely than a trade of the slug­ger.

26. BAL­TI­MORE ORI­OLES

The Birds may ac­tu­ally be able to trade hot Corey Pat­ter­son for more than a bag of balls at the dead­line.

27. SEAT­TLE MARINERS

Af­ter the Lee trade, the M’s have thrown in the towel.

28. CLEvE­LAND IN­DI­ANS

Hey, some­thing good hap­pened for the Tribe! LeBron James left town.

29. ARI­zONA DI­A­MOND­BACkS

Here’s an idea if Kirk Gib­son doesn’t work out as man­ager — see if Bob Melvin is avail­able.

30. PITTS­BURGH PI­RATES

Win­less week be­fore the break is blamed on the sched­ule: No games against the Cubs.

Frank Franklin II as­so­ci­aTed press

Best in the AL: New York Yan­kees third base­man Alex Ro­driguez has been hot in July, smack­ing three homers and driv­ing in 16 runs.

John Baze­more as­so­ci­aTed press

Best in the NL: At­lanta third base­man Chip­per Jones is hit­ting just .252, but the Braves are 44-22 since snap­ping a 9-game skid in April.

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