Thursday September 23rd, 2010

MLB Power Rankings
11Boston Red Sox
Last Week: 11
David Ortiz is one of only 12 players in the majors have at least 30 home runs and 95 RBIs this season, a remarkable comeback season before the Red Sox decide whether to exercise his $12.5 million contract option. Ortiz has made it clear he'd like to stay in Boston and preferably for more than just one more season. Big Papi's problem, however, is that he is the oldest player on that 30-HR/95-RBI list -- he'll turn 35 in November -- and so though he'd like a long-term extension, it's entirely possible Red Sox management will only give him the one option year, waiting until next year's offseason to re-evaluate.
 
12Detroit Tigers
Last Week: 17
Earlier this week Jim Leyland managed his 3,000th game -- but at the time had only 1,487 wins and 1,511 losses, which, any calculator can tell you, adds up to only 2,998 decisions. Why the discrepancy? In 1989 the Pirates played two games that were called off due to bad weather with the scored tied -- they counted as official games for statistical purposes but not wins or losses.
 
13Florida Marlins
Last Week: 15
Marlins rookie left fielder Logan Morrison has now reached base in 41 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the majors. Not only is he having a stellar, albeit abbreviated, rookie campaign (.308/.424/.485 with two home runs in 198 at bats) but also he is able to do it with his father watching. His dad, Tom Morrison, is battling an incurable form of lung cancer and has taken long train trips to see his son play because he is not cleared to fly. Tom Morrison's first question after learning his diagnosis in April was, according to this heartwarming story in the Miami Herald, "Am I going to be around long enough to see my son get his first big-league hit?" He has -- and then some.
 
14Toronto Blue Jays
Last Week: 14
Jose Bautista has hit 49 home runs for the Blue Jays, which SI.com's Joe Posnanski rates as the No. 5 flukiest home-run season of alltime, with the caveat that Bautista in 2010 may be the No. 1 alltime fluke if he doesn't continue hitting homers next year. He continues to defy expectations, not only with his volume of home runs but the fact that he has still never hit one to the opposite field and has struck only eight of his 140 hits to right field.
 
15Chicago White Sox
Last Week: 12
Thanks to an eight-game losing streak and 12 losses in 14 games, the White Sox are on the brink of elimination from playoff contention. At the same time manager Ozzie Guillen has let it be known he wants to given a long-term extension or else he'd like to leave -- it's rumored that he has interest in the Marlins' job. And Manny Ramirez was an unexplained last-minute scratch from the Chicago's lineup on Wednesday. These are troubling times on the South Side, but there is one bit of good news. Juan Pierre is about to become the first White Sox player to lead the American League in stolen bases since Luis Aparicio did it every year from 1956 to 1964. Pierre has a healthy edge of 60 to 46 on Oakland's Rajai Davis.
 
16St. Louis Cardinals
Last Week: 13
Cardinals backup catcher Jason LaRue retired recently after symptoms from the concussion he suffered during a brawl with the Reds -- in which Cincinnati pitcher Johnny Cueto repeatedly kicked him -- were slow to subsude. LaRue told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he has endured "close to 20" concussions, but expect this last one to have an impact across the majors. For one, the rivalry between the Cardinals and Reds will likely escalate, and also expect Major League Baseball to start giving stiffer penalties for brawls.
 
17Houston Astros
Last Week: 16
After starting 0-8, most of the Astros' start to the season has likely been repressed in Houston, but something positive did come from those nascent days: Brett Myers has thrown at least six innings in every start since the beginning of the season, a streak that is now up to 31 games after he threw seven shutout innings on Sunday. Now he's chasing Curt Schilling's streak of 35 games from 2002, though Myers may not make enough starts. Either way, it's been a season to remember, as he has gone 13-7 with a 2.76 ERA.
 
18Chicago Cubs
Last Week: 24
Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin ought to be known for a strong rookie season in which he hit 20 home runs, but instead he'll forever be linked to the cause to ban maple bats after one of his teammates' lumber exploded and a shard stabbed him in the chest. Colvin had a breathing tube inserted to prevent against a collapsed lung. This incident has re-opened the debate over the safety of swinging maple -- the bats are preferred by many because they are typically harder than ash and more durable though, as we learned, when they do break, they often explode dangerously.
 
19Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 19
It's unknown whether Dr. James Andrews -- who by most accounts is a friendly, down-to-earth man -- greets pitchers in his office while wearing a black cloak and scythe, because he must seem to be the Grim Reaper for hurlers. And unfortunately for the A's, that's whom closer Andrew Bailey is off to see. Bailey, who had Tommy John surgery five years ago, has experienced elbow soreness, similar to what ailed him in spring training. Bailey, last year's AL Rookie of the Year, has 25 saves and a 1.47 ERA this season.
 
20Los Angeles Angels
Last Week: 20
It turns out that the July trade of Alberto Callaspo for Sean O'Sullivan was like trading the measles for the mumps. Since acquiring Callaspo from the Royals, the infielder has only a .298 OBP and .323 slugging percentage in 50 games, despite batting in the top five spots in the Angels' lineup for 39 starts, including 21 as the No. 3 hitter. O'Sullivan, a right-handed pitcher, is 1-6 with a 7.69 ERA in 11 games for the Royals.
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