PTBPR: September MLB Power Rankings

Hello, Place to Be Baseball Fans!

Welcome to the latest MLB Power Rankings. Sorry for a slight delay in getting this edition out, but I had a fairly significant relocation (and new job) to settle in to before I could get back to baseball again.

With that out of the way, let’s get to it.

All stats and records are thru games played as of September 6, 2015

Jul 31, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) and starting pitcher David Price (14) and right fielder Jose Bautista (19) celebrate the win during the eleventh inning in a game against the Kansas City Royals at Rogers Centre. The Toronto Blue Jays won 7-6. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
New additions Troy Tulowitzki (left) and David Price (center) have helped Jose Bautista (right) and the Blue Jays climb to the No. 2 slot in the latest PTB Power Rankings.
Ranking Team, Record, Previous Ranking My Two Cents
1 St. Louis Cardinals, 87-49 (1) The only team in MLB without 50 losses yet. The Cards are middle the pack in offense, with a team OPS of .717 good for 6th in the NL, but the pitching (1st with a 2.71 ERA) is lights-out and they just keep coming up with the wins.
2 Toronto Blue Jays, 77-58 (14) The best team in the bigs right now; they’d be No. 1 in a ranking of momentum. The offense is prime Selig-Era good, and the deadline deals have all paid off. A 21-6 record in August vaulted them atop the AL East as the Jays look to reach October for the first time since 1993.
3 Kansas City Royals, 82-53 (3) Lorenzo Cain (6.6 WAR) is a sleeper MVP candidate, while the excellent defense (3rd in the AL with a .706 DER) and bullpen (ML-best 2.48 ERA) has KC rolling along with the most wins in the league.
4 Pittsburgh Pirates, 81-54 (2) The Buccos are getting great pitching and defense to prop up a so-so offense, but MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen is leading his team to another October berth.
5 Los Angeles Dodgers, 77-58 (4) It’s the Zack and Clayton Show out west, as the rest of the staff is middling at best and horrific at worst. Adrian Gonzalez (133 OPS+) is leading the offense, which boasts seven regulars with OPS+ over 100 (league average). The only guy under (75) is Jimmy Rollins, who should lose a significant amount of playing time in the final month to top prospect Corey Seager, who made his debut this past week.
6 Chicago Cubs, 77-57 (10) “I wish I could go back to the beginning of the season, put some money on the Cubbies!” — The old Hill Valley clock-tower collections guy in Back to the Future II, and a lot of others in the modern day. Jake Arrieta’s no-no is a jewel in his great season. Could some hardware and a ring be too far along?
7 New York Mets, 75-60 (13) A big three-game series with the second-place Nationals is on deck for the Mets this week. It may not matter too much, as that series is followed by four at Atlanta and three at Miami. The real drama for the Mets seems to be Matt Harvey and Scott Boras waging an innings-war with the team. Could this lead to an offseason trade of the team’s ace?
8 Houston Astros, 74-62 (8) The ‘Stros are reaping the benefits of their trade for Scott Kazmir (2.77 ERA in 8 starts) and Mike Fiers (2.25 ERA and a no-hitter in 4 starts). They just have to hope their youngsters, including SS Carlos Correa, are up to the task of an October run.
9 New York Yankees, 75-59 (7) Rookie Greg Bird has been a fine fill-in for injured 1B Mark Teixeira (5 HR in 22 games), with the bullpen continuing to prop up the shaky rotation. Can the ‘pen keep it up?
10 Washington Nationals, 70-65 (5) Everyone’s preseason National League favorite has struggled all year, in part due to injuries, and perhaps, the poor management of skipper Matt Williams. Bryce Harper is still an MVP front-runner, but it looks like that might be all the Nats get to celebrate this year.
11 San Francisco Giants, 70-66 (11) The superb SF infield keeps chugging along, despite missing 2B Joe Panik and SS Brandon Crawford to some injuries. SP Mike Leake’s been good (3.16 ERA) despite an 0-2 record for the G-Men. OF pickup Marlon Byrd (17 H, 3 HRs in 16 games) has been solid for an injury-wrecked outfield.
12 Texas Rangers, 71-63 (17) Prince Fielder (.312/.380/.467), Shin Soo Choo (.253/.349/.432) and Mitch Moreland (.289/.340/.484) have paced the offense, but the leaky bullpen (4.44 ERA is 26th in MLB) could hurt the Rangers’ playoff hopes.
13 Los Angeles Angels, 68-67 (6) A limp offense (.244/.306/.388) ranks 13th or 14th in the slash categories and the pitching doesn’t look strong enough to drag the team into October.
14 Minnesota Twins, 70-65 (9) The Twins are just kinda hanging around the periphery of the Wild Card race … somehow. Top prospect Byron Buxton (.188 in 26 games)  has not done much, but Miguel Sano (15 HR in 55 games) has been ridiculous. Looks a bit like a young David Arias, right?
15 Tampa Bay Rays, 67-68 (12) Another team that’s just hanging around the edges, thanks to sharp defense (Kevin Kiermaier is a daily highlight in CF) and great pitching (3.69 ERA is 3rd in the AL). The offense has a severe case of butt, though (no one over 18 HRs).
16 Arizona Diamondbacks, 65-71 (19) The D’Backs are 13 games out of a wild card spot, so they’re battling for a .500 season at this point. Too bad for a team that is home to potential MVP Paul Goldschmidt (167 OPS+).
17 San Diego Padres, 65-71 (26) Aiming for a .500 finish isn’t what GM A.J. Preller had in mind during the offseason, but here we are.
18 Cleveland Indians, 65-69 (18) The lineup doesn’t have enough punch to overcome the still-porous defense and *meh* bullpen. The starters are still alright, although Corey Kluber’s hurt, and Trevor Bauer’s been a tire fire since the All-Star Break (.655 opponents’ OPS before; .858 since).
19 Boston Red Sox, 63-72 (24) The worst offseason signing award easily, EASILY goes to the Sox adding Hanley Ramirez. It’ll take some work for new head honcho Dave Dombrowski to dig his way out of this, but given his track record, he’ll do it faster than we all expect.
20 Seattle Mariners, 65-71 (23) The M’s, another trendy preseason pick, have bombed. It cost GM Jack Zduriencik his job, with manager Lloyd McClendon likely soon to follow. This could get a lot worse before it gets better.
21 Baltimore Orioles, 65-70 (15) Over their past 20 games, the O’s are 5-15, a mark that pretty kills any hope they had for October. *Softly plays “Taps”*
22 Chicago White Sox, 64-70 (22) A winning streak at the end of July convinced GM Rick Hahn to stand pat at the trade deadline. No hiding the awfulness of this team, though. Should’ve sold what he could …
23 Detroit Tigers, 62-73 (16) …  which was the saving grace of the Tigers’ lost season. The deadline moves for prospects helped to prop up a wretched farm system. Still, this team has pretty much licked the envelope, addressed, and stamped this season. In not-so-many words, they have mailed it in. Brad Ausmus, there’s the door.
24 Milwaukee Brewers, 60-75 (29) When something called “Taylor Heath Jungmann” leads your team in WAR (3.6 at Baseball Reference), I mean … just … wow.
25 Oakland Athletics, 58-78 (20) The A’s are on pace for their worst record since 1997. Currently, the team is looking at a 69-93 finish. In ’97, they ended up 65-97. Yuck.
26 Cincinnati Reds, 55-79 (25) Joey Votto is amazing (1.027 OPS and a 180 OPS+), but is pretty much the lone bright spot. First-half stud Todd Frazier has gone ice-cold since the ASG (25 HRs before, 5 since). Bryan Price, could you shut the door behind you & Brad? Thanks.
27 Miami Marlins, 56-80 (27) Everything this front office does is embarrassing. That won’t change until Jeffrey Loria is gone. At this point it’s just sad how poor this team is playing. Too bad Giancarlo Stanton got hurt; he was the only thing worth watching in Miami.
28 Colorado Rockies, 56-79 (28) Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado, each with 36 HRs, are studs. It’s just too bad they’re stuck on such a garbage team.
29 Philadelphia Phillies, 53-83 (30) GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. (and the rest of the front office) did a nice job selling off most of the Phils’ veterans, including a solid haul for Hamels. However, this is still a rotten team … for now.
30 Atlanta Braves, 54-82 (21) The Braves are 9-31 over their last 40 games. Pretty amazing tear-down by GM John Hart. We know the goal is to be competitive by 2017, so at least they are losing with honesty. Gotta give ‘em that.

The Power Rankings will be back one final time at the end of the season. We’re in the home stretch now. So, until the playoffs, enjoy the races, PTB Nation!