By Jacob Kornhauser on July 28, 2014
With the trade deadline just a few days away, the baseball landscape could change very soon. We're just over a week removed from the All-Star break and teams are starting to separate themselves. As teams begin to make their push in their divisional races, this is how everyone stacks up.
Previous Ranking: 30
The Ranges continue to struggle and are still in the basement of the tough AL West. Players on the block from their team include Joakim Soria and Alex Rios. Once they begin to make moves, the rebuilding process can commence.
Previous Ranking: 28
Even though Houston is showing small glimpses into the future, the Astros are continually reminding us just how young their team is. Until they add a couple free agents this offseason, they can't truly compete. Still, Astros fans shouldn't be too bored down the stretch because their young players will get plenty of exposure.
Previous Ranking: 29
If only the Rockies had any pitching at all. It's ridiculous that a team with this good of an offense is this bad. Part of it has to do with their hitter-friendly ballpark, but the Rockies are going to be in trouble for the foreseeable future unless they add quite a few quality starters.
Previous Ranking: 27
The lovable losers are living up to the second part of their nickname more than the first lately. They've been absolutely abysmal since trading away top pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel and haven't shown signs of life. Excitement may soon be on the way though, with prospect Javier Baez expected to make his MLB debut shortly.
Previous Ranking: 25
The once-great Phillies continue to plummet this season. Adding insult to injury is that their top four trade assets in Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels have extensive no-trade clauses. Unless they can get something in return for a couple of those guys, this season will have been a total disaster in Philadelphia.
Previous Ranking: 26
The D'Backs have actually played some decent baseball as of late, but they just can't dig themselves out of the huge hole they got themselves into at the beginning of the year. If everyone comes back healthy, they could be competitive in 2015, but for now they're a team that's well below average.
Previous Ranking: 24
Among the most active sellers this trade deadline, the Padres are building well for the future. They've already traded Chase Headley as well as Huston Street and could still be shopping Tyson Ross and Seth Smith. Regardless, those moves aren't making them any better for the time being.
Previous Ranking: 23
The Twins are one of the colder teams in all of baseball, losing seven of their past 10 games. Slowly but surely they're falling completely out of the playoff picture. With prospects Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton moving through the minors, 2015 should be more exciting.
Previous Ranking: 21
The Red Sox previously seemed like they had an outside shot at the playoffs, but they're slipping out of contention. It's really starting to look like they should be sellers at the deadline and focus more on 2015 because this season looks like a disappointment.
Previous Ranking: 18
Even as the teams ahead of them refuse to pull away, the Mets won't go on a run. Still back seven games in the wild card race, they're not out of it just yet. However, since they had a relatively poor first half, they have to make their move quickly if they want to be in the conversation come September.
Previous Ranking: 19
The White Sox continue to get great performances from their cornerstones Chris Sale and Jose Abreu, but the rest of their role players need to step up. They're not technically out of the playoff race, but either way they should be encouraged that they have a couple stars under team control for several more years.
Previous Ranking: 13
To say the Reds are ice cold would be an understatement. They've only won a single game since the All-Star break and that's sent them to fourth in the NL Central. Trailing the Brewers by six games is not where they wanted to be at this point. They need to get it together quickly before they become an afterthought in the division.
Previous Ranking: 15
It's beginning to look like the Mariners are slipping. Not only have they not made the big splash in the trade market they hoped they would, they're falling in the standings. They've conceded the final wild card spot in the AL to the Blue Jays for now and have to turn it on to avoid completely falling out of contention.
Previous Ranking: 14
The Indians are a hard team to figure out. Due to inconsistency, it's hard to get a good read on just how competitive the Indians should be. Since they've gotten surprising performances from guys like Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chissenhal, they should be right in the thick of things. They have plenty of work to do before they're considered in the thick of things.
Previous Ranking: 20
After they slowed down following their strong start, many people forgot about the Marlins. However, they haven't completely fallen out of it and trail the Braves by just 5.5 games for the final wild card spot in the NL. If they chip away at that lead and surge late in the season, there's no reason to think the Marlins shouldn't be in it in September.
Previous Ranking: 12
The Bronx Bombers are currently just a game out of the second wild card spot in the AL and have been playing some good ball lately. Their trade to acquire Chase Headley didn't make much sense given the fact they gave up Yangervis Solarte, who was having a better season. Nonetheless, captained by Derek Jeter, this team will be right there late in the season.
Previous Ranking: 9
At the start of the week, it seemed like the Pirates were ready to go on a run and claim the division lead. However, things didn't exactly go that way. They fell behind the Cardinals in the division and now sit in third behind both them and the Brewers. Nonetheless, they seem primed to stay in the race down the stretch.
Previous Ranking: 17
This season, the Royals have put together separate winning streaks of 10 and five games. The later of those two came this past week and helped Kansas City climb in the AL wild card standings. With a solid rotation and stellar bullpen, the Royals need their underachieving lineup to step up in order to cover the two games they're currently trailing the Blue Jays by in the wild card race.
Previous Ranking: 22
The Rays are the hottest team in baseball and no longer seem like they will trade ace David Price. We've seen a type of run like this from the Rays before and if they continue to play this good, they'll be firmly in the wild card discussion within a few weeks. They're only 4.5 games back in the wild card and could easily cover that ground in the next month if they can sustain their play.
Previous Ranking: 11
Firmly in the NL East race, the Braves are in a good spot right now. However, if it wasn't for their ability to beat the Nationals in head-to-head matchups right now, they'd have a lot of ground to make up. Expect them to try to add another starter at the deadline. They will need one to keep up with the surging Nationals.
Previous Ranking: 16
The Blue Jays have gone from the cream of the crop in the AL East to seeming like they were falling out of contention and now have moved into consistent play. With their lineup full of power hitters and an overachieving pitching staff, Toronto should be a favorite to land the second wild card spot in the AL or even supplant the Orioles in the division.
Previous Ranking: 3
The Giants aren't necessarily playing bad baseball, but the Dodgers are playing great and that's why they now lead San Fran by a game and a half in the NL West. This is going to be one of the better divisional races in the league and right now, the Giants are playing second fiddle to their rivals.
Previous Ranking: 6
With plenty of chances to pull away in the division, the Nationals haven't managed to do so. Even so, this team is clicking and playing consistently. They haven't gone on a big run to give themselves separation in the division, but if they continue to play consistently, they have a very good chance of reaching the postseason.
Previous Ranking: 7
Continuing to lead the AL East, the Orioles are steady as they come. For a team without many guys with experience in these situations, they're handling the pressure extremely well. It's a good bet they will add an arm at the deadline. Should they pull that off, they should continue to be looked at as favorites in the AL East.
Previous Ranking: 5
Despite their plethora of injuries, the Cardinals continue to maintain their spot in contention in the NL. Adding catcher A.J. Pierzynski earlier this week is already paying dividends as he had a three-hit game in his first game with the team. Performances from him and other role players will be key in Yadier Molina's extended absence.
Previous Ranking: 4
Despite the relatively mediocre play of the rest of the division, the Tigers refuse to pull away from the Royals and Indians. As Kansas City goes on a run, they trail Detroit by just five games in the division and can sense the Tigers' vulnerability. Adding a reliable closer should be priority No. 1 for Detroit as the deadline approaches. They haven't been able to depend on Joe Nathan all season long.
Previous Ranking: 10
It's time for the Brewers to start getting the respect they deserve. For a while now, most have generally anticipated a collapse by Milwaukee. Before the All-Star break, it appeared as though they were on their way to that scenario, but they've come out of the break strong. Milwaukee is putting everybody on notice that they're for real and they're a force to be reckoned with in the NL Central.
Previous Ranking: 8
With a great top of the rotation and timely hitting, the Dodgers have climbed ahead of the Giants by a game and a half in the division. Clayton Kershaw is having one of the most dominant pitching stretches we've ever seen and with his dominance comes confidence. The Dodgers are playing with a ton of that as they look to continue their recent run.
Previous Ranking: 2
It really is a shame that the Angels are in the same division as the Athletics. They have the second-best record in baseball and are in second place in their own division. It may be a shame for them, but the fact that the Angels and Athletics will have to fight it out to the end in the division is a treat to every true baseball fan.
Previous Ranking: 1
The Athletics were probably already the best team in baseball before they made a single trade. Now that they have Samardzija and Hammel performing extremely well, they are clear World Series favorites. At almost 30 games over .500 already, the Athletics are as dominant a team as we've seen in baseball in quite some time.
December 26, 2014 by Owen Gabbey
The American League East will be extremely competitive. This means the possibility of the Yankees finishing in a very rare spot in the division. Read More
December 26, 2014 by Pete Schwichtenberg
Justin Verlander has not been the same over the past two seasons. If Detroit has any hopes of contending for a World Series title, he needs to be elite again. Read More
December 26, 2014 by Drew Jenkins
The St. Louis Cardinals could turn a good bullpen into a great one by signing Rafael Soriano or Francisco Rodriguez. Read More
The St. Louis Cardinals need to add some infield depth, and Everth Cabrera is an intriguing way for them to do that. Read More
December 26, 2014 by Justin Broyles
The Pittsburgh Pirates have several players they should offer a contract extension to, but Neil Walker is not one of them. Find out why here. Read More
December 26, 2014 by Andrew Lenz
As good as the Pittsburgh Pirates have been recently, these five players will see a regression this season. Read More
December 26, 2014 by Dan Marmaduke
The Chicago Cubs improved dramatically this offseason, but they won't contend for the NL Central crown in 2015. Read More
December 26, 2014 by Jacob Kornhauser
The Cubs have already added Jon Lester to their rotation, but if they want the best chance at a title over the next five years, they will trade for Cole Hamels as well. Read More
December 26, 2014 by John Shea
The San Francisco Giants can greatly improve their 25-man roster depth by acquiring veteran utility man Ben Zobrist from the Tampa Bay Rays. Read More
The Washington Nationals needed to improve at second base this offseason. After signing Dan Uggla to a minor league contract, they must continue to look for answers. Read More
Clatyon Kershaw has owned the National League Cy Young in recent years, but coming off of both an MVP and Cy Young award winning season, here is a look at five under-the-radar candidates. Read More
December 26, 2014 by Brad Faber
Here are five reasons why the Detroit Tigers should not re-sign ace pitcher Max Scherzer. Read More