www.redeyechicago.com/sports/ct-spt-0719-rogers-rankings-20130719,0,4036813.column

redeyechicago.com

Phil Rogers' MLB power rankings

Phil Rogers

On Baseball

6:41 PM CDT, July 18, 2013

Advertisement

1. Cardinals (1 last ranking): They might not be the best team but they're the toughest one, with the playoff wars in 2011 and '12 behind them. Key second-half guy: David Freese.

2. Tigers (2): Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder have stored up a lot of energy for October. The bullpen needs upgrading, however. Key second-half guy: GM Dave Dombrowski.

3. Red Sox (3): Amazing turnaround from 2012, built on a lineup that leads the majors in scoring and on-base percentage and is third in stolen bases. Key second-half guy: Jacoby Ellsbury.

4. Rangers (4): Joe Nathan's All-Star Game save won't be his biggest this season. Key second-half guy: Yu Darvish.

5. Pirates (5): Huge series in Cincinnati to get things started anew. Key second-half guy: Andrew McCutchen.

6. Rays (9): Bud Selig's frustration over attendance is reaching critical mass. Maybe Naperville should build this team a stadium. Key second-half guy: Wil Myers.

7. A's (7): When Mariano Rivera was being selected as All-Star Game MVP, was Yoenis Cespedes the runner-up? His Home Run Derby victory was as entertaining as anything that happened in the game. Key second-half guy: Jed Lowrie.

8. Diamondbacks (8): Your NL West leaders for two months, and counting. Key second-half guy: Ian Kennedy.

9. Braves (10): An unimpressive 42-40 since the 12-1 start. Key second-half guy: Justin Upton.

10. Dodgers (15): Nate Eovaldi and minor league pitcher Scott McGough for Hanley Ramirez just keeps looking better. Key second-half guy: Kenley Jansen.

11. Orioles (11): They have gotten almost nothing from the DH spot. Alfonso Soriano, anyone? Key second-half guy: Chris Davis.

12. Reds (6): They are on pace to win 90 games and haven't played well since May. Ninety-five victories and an NL Central title still very possible despite Johnny Cueto's struggles. Key second-half guy: Mat Latos.

13. Yankees (12): People talk about them like they're going to lose 90 games; they still might win 90. Key second-half guy: Derek Jeter.

14. Indians (16): Terry Francona should have an easier time than Manny Acta and Eric Wedge in getting midseason reinforcements from the front office. Key second-half guy: Justin Masterson.

15. Phillies (18): Next 10 games should determine direction. Key second-half guy: Chase Utley.

16. Nationals (13): Only the Marlins scored fewer runs before the All-Star break. Key second-half guy: Denard Span.

17. Rockies (20): It's time for Walt Weiss to morph into Mike Matheny, circa 2012. Unfortunately, he doesn't have Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals' collection of arms. Key second-half guy: GM Dan O'Dowd.

18. Angels (14): Losing four of the last five to the Mariners and Cubs was a rotten way to end a rotten first half. Key second-half guy: Josh Hamilton.

19. Royals (19): Hard to believe this is the same team that looked so great in Arizona. Key second-half guy: Mike Moustakas.

20. Blue Jays (17): Wire-to-wire underwhelming in the first half, especially in the 7-13 stretch leading to the All-Star Game. Key second-half guy: Jose Reyes.

21. Cubs (21): The 13-9 stretch before the break could be as good as it gets for a team that's 16-10 behind Matt Garza and Scott Feldman and 26-41 with anyone else starting. Key second-half guy: Starlin Castro.

22. Mets (22): They always will have Matt Harvey's start in the All-Star Game. Key second-half guy: Zack Wheeler.

23. Giants (23): Most disappointing team in the majors. Key second-half guy: Pablo Sandoval.

24. Mariners (25): Closed second half with home runs in 22 straight games. Only the Orioles have hit more homers, and still they're nine games below .500. Key second-half guy: Justin Smoak.

25. Twins (24): Time to cut the cord with Justin Morneau. Key second-half guy: Oswaldo Arcia.

26. Brewers (27): Paying the price for going for it in the Prince Fielder era. Key second-half guy: Yovani Gallardo.

27. White Sox (28): John Danks quietly is making a nice comeback after shoulder surgery. Key second-half guy: Danks.

28. Padres (26): Lost 14 of their last 16 before All-Star Game. Key second-half guy: Chase Headley.

29. Marlins (29): Taking care of Jose Fernandez should be Job No. 1. Key second-half guy: Jacob Turner.

30. Astros (30): If Bo Porter thinks his job has been tough so far, wait until August and September. Key second-half guy: Jose Altuve.

progers@tribune.com

Twitter @ChiTribRogers