PTBPR: Place to Be Power Rankings: September 2014

Welcome to the Place to Be Nation’s MLB Power Rankings!

In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop once in a while, you won’t get Power Rankings done in timely manner.”

Or something like that.

Anyway, here it is. The final regular MLB season PTBPR of 2014.

As always, for the sake of comparison, here are the inaugural PTBPR; here’s the second edition; the third; and the fourth.

All statistics are thru games played as of September 21, 2014.

Previous ranking in brackets; team records in parentheses.

Division Rankings seem a bit irrelevant at this point, with three divisions already clinched, so let’s get right to the team rankings.

It’s Mike Trout, the Angels, and then everyone else in the latest PTBPR.

Team Rankings:

1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (96-60) [1] — The manner in which this team shot up the standings to clinch the A.L. West is pretty amazing. A mostly patchwork starting staff, a suspect bullpen, and a lineup that looked to be Mike Trout and the Hasbeens at the start of the year has been fantastic since early summer.

2. Washington Nationals (91-64) [3] — The best team in the National League and the first senior circuit team to clinch its division. They play great defense, hit well, have a solid starting staff, and a strong bullpen, despite Soriano’s struggles.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers (89-67) [6] — The season-ending injury to Giancarlo Stanton pretty much sealed the N.L. MVP going to Clayton Kershaw. If he and Zack Grienke get on a roll in October, then look out.

4. Baltimore Orioles (93-62) [5] — Despite injuries to star players like Matt Wieters and Manny Machado, and a down year plus suspension from Chris Davis, the O’s are atop the A.L. for the first time since 1997. Showalter needs some Manager of the Year love for the job he’s done this year.

5. St. Louis Cardinals (87-69) [8] — The Redbirds continue to get it done, taking advantage of the Brewers’ collapse to seize control of the N.L. Central. Believe it or not, this represents the Cardinals’ highest ranking this year in the PTBPR!

6. Detroit Tigers (86-69) [10] — The bullpen’s still a mess, but Verlander has come along recently and with Anibal Sanchez and Joakim Soria getting healthy again, the Tigers look to be in good shape as they attempt to lock up the A.L. Central. Something most of us, back in April, probably thought they’d have done a month ago.

7. Pittsburgh Pirates (84-71) [11] — A team that just won’t go away. They’re on an 8-2 run and currently just 2.5 behind St. Louis in the division and three up on Milwaukee for the second Wild Card spot, tied with next team the list.

8. San Francisco Giants (84-71) [15] — Peavy’s been a great addition for them, but if Tim Hudson continues to struggle, things could get ugly for the Giants, who currently control one of the Wild Card berths.

9. Seattle Mariners (83-72) [9] — Struggling a bit at the moment, but I think all of us are still rooting to see King Felix in October.

10. Kansas City Royals (84-70) [7] — Detroit is widening the gap on KC, having taken two of three on the Royals’ home turf over the weekend. They’re not done yet, but if they win, it’ll be in spite of Ned Yost, not because of him. Remember that come Manager of the Year time.

11. Oakland A’s (85-70) [2] — This may seem low for a team that was consistently near the top of the PTBPR for most of the season, but do you think Oakland can hang with any of the teams above them at this point? A second-half record of 26-33 could cost them a Green-and-Gold October.

12. Milwaukee Brewers (80-76) [4] — A strong push out of the second-half gate (18-12 in the first 30 after the ASB) helped keep the Brew Crew afloat, but they’ve gone 8-21 outside of those 30. Yikes.

13. Cleveland Indians (81-74) [19] — The Indians are just sort of hanging around the fringes at this point, 3.5 games in back of a Wild Card spot, but out of things in the A.L. Central. They can play a pretty mean spoiler during the season’s final week, though.

14. New York Yankees (80-75) [13] — A questionable decision to return Masahiro Tanaka to the mound says this team believes it still has a shot, but a 4.5-game deficit for a Wild Card is pretty unlikely.

15. Toronto Blue Jays (78-77) [17] — Really, this is as close to a three-way tie as I can get here with the Jays, Yanks, and Tribe. A hot streak by one team, coupled with a bad week from Seattle, Kansas City, Detroit, or Oakland, could put any of these teams in a postseason spot.

With the rest of the MLB teams eliminated from postseason contention, it doesn’t make much sense to rank them at this point. So, we’ll keep these rankings simple and move onward. See you all for the postseason!