Phil Rogers' MLB power rankings

Kemp's bat could give Dodgers a September lift

1. Dodgers (2): Matt Kemp may yet provide a lift for the team that went 42-12 in July and August. One thing they're not doing is hitting for power. Their 19 homers in August were the third fewest among NL teams.

2. Tigers (1): Miguel Cabrera remains the best hitter on the planet and is the biggest reason that his team was the second-highest scoring team in August. Nick Castellanos, promoted Sept. 1, profiles as a future batting champ — not a bad piece to add down the stretch.

3. Red Sox (3): Koji Uehara has turned into baseball's toughest closer since replacing Andrew Bailey, who replaced Joel Hanrahan. He has held opposing hitters under .200 in each of the last two years and currently has them hitting .137 against him.

4. Rangers (4): With Adrian Beltre leading the way, they scored a majors-best 5.9 runs per game in August.

5. Braves (7): B.J. Upton's four-hit game Saturday capped an encouraging month in which he hit .269. He'll provide a late lift if he can build off that.

6. Pirates (5): Welcome aboard, Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau.

7. A's (14): Passed the latest test presented by the schedule, taking three of four in Detroit and returning home to sweep the Rays heading into a series against the Rangers.

8. Cardinals (6): Joe Kelly's 2.11 ERA in 11 starts is the lowest in St. Louis' talented starting rotation.

9. Reds (9): Playing a lot of high-scoring games lately, which is a worrisome trend for October.

10. Rays (8): Still in solid position for a wild card despite losing seven of eight through Sunday. The big concern is scoring average of 3.4 in August.

11. Yankees (12): One good week away from being back in the conversation — and a bad week away from saying adios.

12. Diamondbacks (15): Former Cub Tony Campana has hit the ground running in Phoenix after batting .293 and stealing 32 bases in Triple A.

13. Orioles (11): Matt Wieters (.179 with a .590 OPS) and Nate McLouth (.194, .605) went into extended slumps in August.

14. Nationals (13): Had won eight of nine before a disappointing weekend series against the Mets.

15. Angels (18): It's time for the too-little, too-late kick.

16. Indians (10): Where'd the thump go? Averaged an AL-low 3.3 runs in August. Jason Kipnis, Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn (.551 – ouch!), Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Brantley all had a sub-.700 OPS for the month.

17. Royals (17): James Shields continues to be everything he was cracked up to be.

18. Mets (19): Expected to spend heavily to add a couple of bats in the offseason.

19. Giants (16): How galling will it be for San Francisco fans to watch Brian Wilson pitch big October innings for the Dodgers?

20. Brewers (20): Three strong starts in a row by Yovani Gallardo, who could ease concerns about his future with a strong September.

21. Rockies (21): Dexter Fowler can be a force when he's healthy, but he's in his fifth big-league season and likely to once again fail to reach 500 at-bats. He would be in demand if the Rockies opted to put him on the trade market this winter.

22. Blue Jays (25): After hitting .239 in Triple A, once-top prospect Anthony Gose is struggling as he fills in for Jose Bautista.

23. Mariners (24): Nick Franklin, expected to help lift the lineup, hit .107 with a .408 OPS in 84 August at-bats.

24. Phillies (23): Welcome back, Cole Hamels. In his last six starts, Hamels has a 2.00 ERA and has walked four and struck out 37 in 45 innings.

25. Twins (26): They'll take a good look at outfielder Alex Presley after getting him from the Pirates in the Justin Morneau trade.

26. White Sox (22): Trip to Boston, New York and Baltimore is a tough way to start a September that will include home-and-away series against the Tigers.

27. Cubs (29): Barring any offseason trades, it looks like the 2014 starting rotation is four-fifths set with Travis Wood, Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson and Jake Arrieta, who is taking advantage of a fresh start in an organization that is light on power arms.

28. Padres (27): Andrew Cashner and Will Venable are the bright spots in another trying season.

29. Marlins (28): Lost 11 of their last 12 in August as they have started to resemble the pushover that opened the season 13-41. They will take a look at oversized lefty Brian Flynn, a 23-year-old starter they acquired along with Jacob Turner and Rob Brantly in the Anibal Sanchez trade last year.

30. Astros (30): Triple-A center fielder George Springer might take Minor League Player of the Year honors away from the Cubs' Javier Baez. Springer hit .303 with 37 home runs, 45 stolen bases and a 1.010 OPS, in 135 games. He's part of a young core that could keep the Astros from having the first overall draft pick for a fourth year in a row in 2015.

progers@tribune.com

Twitter @ChiTribRogers

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