2012 MLB Power Rankings – Top 10 Teams Heading into September: The battle for the postseason is heating up, and the added wild card spot is keeping a ton of teams in the mix. The recent roster shuffling at the trade deadline and beyond has added fuel to the fire, as well. Even though dominant teams have emerged in a few divisions, nothing is set in stone just. However, that is going to change in the coming weeks as the playoff picture really takes shape and every game is crucial to a team’s chances. As the calendar turns to September, here is a look at the latest MLB Power Rankings.
2012 MLB Power Rankings: Top 10 Teams Heading into September
1. Cincinnati Reds (80-52): No Joey Votto, no problem. Cincinnati has been just fine without its best player in the lineup, building an 8 ½-game lead in the NL Central and becoming the first team to win 80 games. Closer Aroldis Chapman leads what might be the best bullpen in the game, and Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos are a great 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation. The offense should get better when Votto returns, and the Reds appear to be gearing up for a deep playoff run.
2. Washington Nationals (79-51): Although the impending shutdown of starter Stephen Strasburg is a bit worrisome, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman and the rest of the staff should be able to hang on to the lead the Nationals have built in the NL East. While pitching has been this team’s calling card all year, the offense has improved of late now that Michael Morse, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman are healthy. There is a reason that Washington had the third-best run differential in baseball, and it’s not all because of Strasburg.
3. Texas Rangers (77-53): The starting rotation has been dealt some injuries, but the Rangers continue to remain out front in the AL West thanks to a strong bullpen and an incredible offense that has outscored opponents by an MLB-best 111 runs this season. Texas has the most wins in the American League, and with Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz among the many weapons that dot the Rangers’ lineup, this team just doesn’t go through many prolonged slumps.
4. San Francisco Giants (74-57): San Francisco is quietly taking control of the NL West despite the seemingly endless amount of moves that the Los Angeles Dodgers have done in recent weeks. Of course, the Giants added a solid bat themselves in Hunter Pence, and even with the loss of Melky Cabrera, this team continues to win. San Francisco is 8-2 in its last 10 games and has built a 4 ½-game lead in its division. Armed with a great starting rotation, the Giants might just stay atop the division for the rest of the year.
5. Chicago White Sox (72-58): They run hot and cold, but a 7-3 stretch has the White Sox back atop the AL Central by three full games. Cy Young candidate Chris Sale and veteran Jake Peavy has provided stability at the top of the rotation, while the offense has been stout all season. Adam Dunn leads the majors with 38 home runs, and Chicago is tied for second as a team with 170 homers. The White Sox also rank seventh in the majors in runs scored, and they are looking more and more like the most complete team in their division.
6. New York Yankees (75-55): The Yankees are still leading the AL East, but their double digits lead has evaporated as both Baltimore and Tampa Bay have moved to with three and 4 ½ games, respectively. Offense really isn’t the problem for a team that continues to lead the majors in home runs by a wide margin, but starting pitching has become an issue. Hiroki Kuroda and CC Sabathia are the Yankees’ only two reliable starters at this point, and Sabathia is dealing with some shoulder soreness. A lack of starting pitching is taking its toll.
7. Oakland Athletics (73-57): Hats off to the Athletics’ front office. With a rotation full of names most people have never heard of and an offense full castoffs and unknowns, Oakland just keeps winning games. The Athletics have won six in a row and are 8-2 in their last 10 games. More importantly, they have positioned themselves in the thick of the wild card battle. Oakland certainly doesn’t have the biggest names powering its recent surge, but the results in the win/loss column are all that matter.
8. Atlanta Braves (74-57): While the Braves just can’t seem to catch the Nationals in the NL East, they have built a little cushion as far as the wild card goes. A healthy Tim Hudson and the newly-acquired Paul Maholm have solidified the starting rotation, and closer Craig Kimbrel is as nasty as they come at the backend. Meanwhile, the offense continues to rank in the top 10 in the majors in runs scored as it has almost all year. Atlanta is solid top to bottom, but the Braves seem destined for a wild card berth unless Washington slows down.
9. Baltimore Orioles (72-58): Every time you get ready to write off Baltimore, the Orioles find a way to go on a run and climb right back into contention. A 7-3 stretch has moved Baltimore to within three games of the Yankees for the top spot in the Al East, and the Orioles continue to be players for a wild card spot. A career-year at the plate from outfielder Adam Jones has helped the cause, and this scrappy bunch seems determined to stay in the mix the rest of the way.
10. Los Angeles Angels (69-62): Rookie sensation Mike Trout and the rest of the Angels’ offense have done their part, but the starting rotation has let this team down. Big-money signees C.J. Wilson and Zack Greinke just aren’t getting it done on a consistent basis, and it is the main reason why Los Angeles is 8 ½ games out in the AL West. A recent 7-3 surge has helped matters, but unless the pitching gets on track, the Angels’ big payroll isn’t even going to lead to playoff appearance.
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