10. Oakland Athletics
The Athletics went 10-17 after taking the league by storm for the majority of the season. This team doesn’t have a superstar, and they rely on their team play to win games. Josh Donaldson led the team with a .255 average, 29 homeruns, and 98 RBIs. This is a playoff team, but they aren’t talented enough to go far in the postseason. This is evident by them losing a thriller 8-9 in the Wild Card round to Kansas City. It was just a stroke of bad luck that they lost, but even if they had advanced, they wouldn’t have gone all the way.
9. Pittsburgh Pirates
Obviously, the last two teams on the power rankings will be the two who were knocked out in the Wild Card round. The only reason why the Pirates aren’t last in the rankings, despite losing 8-0 to the Giants, is because they finished September 17-9. Josh Harrison led the Pirates with a .315 average, but Andrew McCutchen led the Pirates with 25 homeruns and 83 RBIs. The Pirates made the playoffs for the second time in two years after a drought of 21 years.
8. Los Angeles Angels
Even though the Angels reversed their free fall to the bottom and finished with the best record in baseball, 98-64, they are currently losing to the Royals 0-2 in the ALDS. They are one game away from going home early at the hands of the Royals. Both games went to the 11th inning and they play again tonight at 7:30 EST. Tonight will be a good way for the world to see how the Angels play with their backs against the wall. Even though they have the most dynamic player in the league in Mike Trout, that might not be enough for them to keep their World Series hopes alive.
7. Washington Nationals
The once World Series favorites now site at 0-2 vs the Wild Card San Francisco Giants. They play again tomorrow with the chance to be eliminated earlier than expected. The Nationals had the second best record in baseball at 96-66 on the way to the #1 seed in the NL. The Nationals will rely on Doug Fister to keep their playoff hopes alive.
6. Detroit Tigers
Another team that was expected to do well but are now down 0-2 in the ALDS. While the Tigers have a lot of talent (Miguel Cabrera, David Price, Max Scherzer), they haven’t put the pieces together. As of now (around 5:30 EST), the Tigers are tied 0-0 in the 4th with the Orioles. If they lose tonight, they are eliminated from the playoffs.
5. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are tied 1-1 to the Cardinals in the NLDS. They played their way to the 2nd seed in the NL. They play again tomorrow in the third game. Hyun Jin-Ryu and John Lackey are the projected starters for the Dodgers and the Cardinals. The Dodgers have the game’s most dominant pitcher in Clayton Kershaw and one of the game’s best up and coming players in Yasiel Puig. The Dodger’s roster is loaded with stars and if they can advance, they have a chance to go all the way.
4. St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are consistently good and now face the Dodgers in the NLDS. They are tied 1-1 and play again tomorrow night. The Cardinals have arguably the best catcher in Yadier Molina and one of the best pitchers in Adam Wainwright. I don’t expect the Cardinals to beat the Dodgers, but the certainly have the talent to do so. The Cardinals are not as talented as they were last year when they went 97-65. They have to rely on their team play, rather than single player dominance in order to compete in this years playoffs.
3. Kansas City Royals
The top three are all teams that are beating their opponents 2-0 in their league’s division series. The only reason the Royals are third is because they barely advanced to the ALDS, beating the Athletics 9-8 in 12 innings. The Royals are a true small market team. They don’t have a bona fide star, rather, they rely on their team play to win games. The Royals have a chance to advance tonight against the Angels at 7:30 EST tonight.
2. Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles have beaten the Tigers by a combined score of 19-9 in two games. They have the league leader in homeruns in Nelson Cruz. Chris Davis is currently serving his 25 game suspension for testing positive for amphetamines. If the Orioles should advance, Chris Davis will carry his suspension into the ALCS. The Orioles are hot, and are my favorites to make the World Series.
1. San Francisco Giants
The most surprising and dominating team in this years playoffs (so far) has been the Giants. They beat the Pirates 8-0 to get to the NLDS. Now they are winning 2-0 against the Nationals with the chance to advance tomorrow night. The key to the Giant’s perfect postseason record has been their pitching. They have a 0.75 ERA through three games. Last night, Tim Hudson held the Nationals to 1 run in 7 1/3 innings. This is typical for Tim Hudson, who enjoyed a pitching renaissance after not being re-signed by the Braves this year. If the Giants continue their pitching dominance and their above average batting, they could advance all the way to the World Series, where they would beat the Orioles (if my prediction were correct).