New acquisitions shake up race in NL West; Nationals still on top

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The NL West is shaping up to be an epic battle between bitter rivals. Over the weekend, the Giants and Dodgers both swept weaker opponents and just a half game continues to separate the two at the top of the division.

Both teams reloaded at the trade deadline last week, but haven't gotten any significant contributions from their deadline acquisitions. Hanley Ramirez (.238/.347/.405) has hit at the same level he did in Miami, while Shane Victorino (.118/.118/.176) has been an automatic out for the Dodgers, but they've been bailed out by Matt Kemp's hitting and Clayton Kershaw's pitching. The story is the same in San Francisco, where Hunter Pence is at .182/.208/.318 since the Giants added him to their outfield, but Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey have more than made up for his struggles and carried the Giants offense while he tries to adjust to a new surrounding.

The Dodgers have kept adding, though, picking up Joe Blanton to improve the back of the rotation, and Ramirez and Victorino should be able to contribute more than they have in their first week in Dodger Blue. With those three now in uniform, Los Angeles may have enough talent on hand to keep pace with a Giants team that has performed better over the first four months of the year. While the Giants lead in the power rankings suggests that they should be slight favorites, this race is going to come down to the wire.

NOTE: All stats are through Sunday, August 5.

Rankings written by Ben Duronio of The system used to rank the teams is based not on the current standings or a gut feeling about team quality, but on how well they've performed at the underlying traits that predict future performance better than wins and losses.

wRC+ is an offensive index where 100 is league average and every point above or below that denotes how far from league average a player's performance has been up to that point. It is adjusted for park and league, so it takes into account the context of a player's surroundings, and allows for comparison of performance from players in different situations and in different times.

MLB Power Rankings