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Baseball Rankings, August 3

   by Al McMordie - 08/03/2015

Our Top 6 teams remained mostly unchanged, with just the Angels falling out (and down five spots to #10). But that's what a 6-game losing streak will do to you. The Giants jumped two spots to #6, while Toronto moved up to the #2 spot, after acquiring David Price and Troy Tulowitzki. But the biggest decliner was Atlanta, which fell all the way down to #29 (from #23) after winning just one game last week. And if things continue the way they've been going since the All-Star Break, the Braves could displace the Phillies in the cellar, which seemed unthinkable a few weeks ago.

(Money Line Power Ranking in Parentheses)

1. St. Louis Cardinals (-129) - The Cards got the 1B they so desperately needed, and they killed two birds with one stone, as Brandon Moss is capable of playing the outfield as well -- which will come in handy with Matt Holliday back on the DL. They took three of four from Colorado and now get six games vs. the Reds and Brewers. (Last week: 1)

2. Toronto Blue Jays (-120) - In desperate need of pitching, the Jays turned to the team with the worst pitching (Colorado) and acquired the best SS in baseball. But that was just the appetizer as -- right before the deadline -- they raised the stakes even higher, and landed LHP David Price in a trade with the Tigers. (Last week: 4)

3. Houston Astros (-119) - The Astros acquired OF Carlos Gomez from the Brewers after a trade to the Mets was nixed by health concerns. Gomez appears healthy for now, and with SP Scott Kazmir, the 'Stros should be poised for a big run. They got things off to a great start with a three-game sweep of the Angels. (Last week: 3)

4. Los Angeles Dodgers (-117) - The Dodgers pulled off the biggest trade at the deadline in terms of the number of teams involved (3) and players who changed hands (13). They took on a ton of salary, but added two starters - Alex Wood and Mat Latos - who could make an impact down the stretch. (Last week: 6)

5. Kansas City Royals (-114) - The acquisition of Ben Zobrist may not have been the biggest deal last week, but it might just turn out to be the best. KC not only needed a left fielder to replace Alex Gordon, but Zobrist can slot into 2B as well for Omar Infante when Gordon returns. And Zobrist is off to a torrid start with KC. (Last week: 2)

6. San Francisco Giants (-113) - Do the Giants ever seem to need to add much in the way of players at the deadline? This is the one team that seems to favor minor trades for key players over mass acquisitions (see Dodgers). They did just that with their one deadline deal, adding RHP Mike Leake from the Reds. (Last week: 8)

7. Pittsburgh Pirates (-113) - The Pirates made the most of minor acquisitions in the last 10 days, shoring up their infield with 3B Ramirez, their SP with veteran RHP Joe Blanton, and their bullpen with veteran closer Soria. But there was bad news as well, with AJ Burnett going on the DL with elbow soreness (MRI scheduled for Monday). (Last week: 7)

8. Baltimore Orioles (-113) - It seems the Orioles' winning streak against weak opposition - the Rays, Braves, and Tigers - may have convinced them that they didn't need to make a major move at the deadline. They did get OFs Junior Lake and Gerardo Parra, but will their failure to add a quality starter come back to haunt them? (Last week: 10)

9. New York Yankees (-111) - Bronx Bombers, indeed! The offense has been off-the-charts amazing. Three games last week where they scored 21, 13, and 12 runs. A-Rod still mashing into his 40's. And Mark Teixeira perhaps the hottest hitter in baseball. Are they worried about the Blue Jays? It sure doesn't seem like it. (Last week: 9)

10. Los Angeles Angels (-111) - Was it wise for the Angels to limit their deadline trades to three OFs and one IF? Time will tell, but so far the trio of David Murphy, David DeJesus, and Shane Victorino has not paid any dividends as the Halos have lost six straight games and now LHP CJ Wilson is out for the season (elbow). (Last week: 5)

11. Chicago Cubs (-106) - The Cubs improved their pitching by adding a veteran starter (Dan Haren from the Marlins) and reliever (Tommy Hunter from the Orioles) and they didn't have to give up any of their prized prospects to get them. Haren will slot in nicely as a #3 or #4 and Hunter could get a shot at closing. (Last week: 13)

12. Washington Nationals (-105) - Drew Storen must have thought that saving 29 of 31 opportunities with a 1.73 ERA and 1.02 WHIP would be enough to ensure his job, but apparently not. Jonathan Papelbon is traded to DC and immediately moves into the closer role. How Storen responds is going to be interesting to watch (Last week: 12)

13. New York Mets (-103) - What a week for the Mets. They made a trade for Carlos Gomez only to see it voided for medical concerns, but discovered a new hero in Wilmer Flores. Then they finally got the bat they needed in OF Cespedes right at the deadline, and finally capped it all off with a sweep of the Nats and a first place tie. Wow! (Last week: 16)

14. Oakland A's (-102) - Ben Zobrist and Scott Kazmir are gone and now the A's find themselves in rebuilding mode yet again. They still boast one of the best pitchers in baseball in young Sonny Gray. They have one of the toughest stretches of games coming up with the O's, Stros, Jays, O's again, and Dodgers. (Last week: 11)

15. Arizona Diamondbacks (-101) - Congratulations to the Diamondbacks, who were the only Major League team which didn't pull the trigger on a deadline deal. That will likely keep the young fans who have invested in their favorite players' jerseys happy for a while, even if doesn't result in a pennant this season. (Last week: 15)

16. Minnesota Twins (-100) - The Twins find themselves in a pennant race in the second half of the season for the first time in five years. But the only deadline deal they made was for reliever Kevin Jepsen from the Rays, while everyone around them in the standings made much more significant moves. (Last week: 14)

17. Tampa Bay Rays (+102) - The Rays ended the week just three games back in the race for the second A.L. Wild Card spot. Exactly how they've done it remains a bit of a mystery. Chris Archer is a legitimate Cy Young contender and Logan Forsythe has come out of nowhere to be the new Ben Zobrist - or possibly better. (Last week: 18)

18. Texas Rangers (+105) - The Rangers, a team which usually does well in front of their packed stands in Arlington, have one of the worst home records in the Majors at 20-29. They may be acting like they can be a playoff team, but if they can't win at home, that's not going to happen. (Last week: 20)

19. Detroit Tigers (+109) - The Tigers were sellers, then they changed their mind, but a few more losses before the deadline brought them back to the obvious. They moved three of their top players in the last two days of trading as LHP Price went to the Jays, CL Soria to the Pirates, and OF Cespedes to the Mets. (Last week: 17)

20. Cincinnati Reds (+109) - There's going to be an open casting call for starters in Cincinnati, with both Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake gone. So, just about anyone in the minor league system knows they may get a shot at a Big League start in the next eight weeks. It will be fun to watch, especially if there's a diamond in the rough. (Last week: 24)

21. Cleveland Indians (+110) - The Indians' offense continues to struggle, so the Tribe traded two of their best hitters, OFs David Murphy (Angels) and Brandon Moss (Cardinals). It doesn't seem to make sense. Team leader Kipnis fired off that the team lacks "accountability," a comment which seemed to indict skipper Terry Francona. (Last week: 21)

22. Miami Marlins (+111) - Latos and Haren are gone from the rotation, but who needs those guys when you have Jose Fernandez? Fernandez extended his career non-losing streak at home to 24 starts (15-0). Now if the Marlins could just find a way to start Fernandez in every game instead of every fifth game. (Last week: 19)

23. San Diego Padres (+113) - Does Padres GM AJ Preller really think his team can make the post-season, or is he simply in too deep with the off-season deals he made? One thing's for sure: with the Pads standing pat at the deadline, they at least better improve in the remaining weeks, or Preller will have even more explaining to do. (Last week: 27)

24. Colorado Rockies (+114) - You may think that the Rockies were the loser in the trade which essentially swapped Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Reyes. But if you look at the salary numbers - and the fact that no money changed hands - then you realize that Colorado is saving about $50 Million, and still has a pretty good shortstop. (Last week: 25)

25. Milwaukee Brewers (+115) - On the one hand, this team will look a lot different in the coming weeks. But on the other hand, most would agree that the Brewers didn't trade as many players as people thought with 1B Adam Lind, CL Francisco Rodriguez, and SPs Matt Garza and Kyle Lohse staying in Milwaukee for now. (Last week: 22)

26. Chicago White Sox (+115) - When the White Sox sent IF Conor Gillaspie to the Angels a week before the deadline, folks must have figured it was the first of many deals the team would pull off. Instead, it was the only deal as Chicago got hot and noticed that it was within striking distance of a Wild Card spot. (Last week: 29)

27. Boston Red Sox (+116) - With Victorino being traded, Rusney Castillo will finally get a shot at an everyday job. But the pitching is imploding right now, and Mookie Betts is on the short-term DL for a concussion. Fortunately, almost all of the attention this past week in New England was on the Patriots and Tom Brady, and not the Sox. (Last week: 28)

28. Seattle Mariners (+120) - Like the Padres over the National League, the Mariners' brass seems to think that this team can still compete this season. So, besides shipping off Dustin Ackley and Mark Lowe, the M's stood pat. Cano's bat is heating up, but it hasn't really helped much as Seattle went 2-5 last week. (Last week: 26)

29. Atlanta Braves (+123) - This could be one heck of a team in a couple of years and that's clearly what the Braves are counting on. They shed even more salary than they did in the offseason and they acquired more solid prospects from the Mets and Dodgers. (Last week: 23)

30. Philadelphia Phillies (+138) - Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon finally said goodbye to the City of Brotherly Love and the Phillies kept winning, going 12-3 in their last 15 games. Go figure. Then again, they've had the Marlins, Rays and Braves for 10 of those 15, but it's still an impressive run regardless. (Last week: 30)

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