By Ted Keith
October 01, 2009
MLB Power Rankings
21 Chicago White Sox
Last Week: 19
Which number is higher: the amount of White Sox losses this year (82 and counting) or the number of Ozzie Guillen tirades? Given that there's usually one for every loss, it's probably about the same, but Guillen's latest rant was a little lame. Guillen ripped into his team for watching college football after being pounded by the Tigers on Saturday night. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with trying to take your mind off another humbling defeat. Now, if they were laughing while watching it, that would be something different. But they weren't. Guillen's act is running a little tired, and it's possible his team is just tuning him out at this point.
22 San Diego Padres
Last Week: 22
Kudos to the Padres for their Shirts Off Their Backs promotion, and not just because it benefits a charity for children. They're also giving fans the ultra-cool camouflage jersey that they'll be wearing in the season finale on Sunday. A nice gesture for their fans, now how about one for their best player? GM Kevin Towers has to get Adrian Gonzalez some help. Gonzalez this week became the fourth Padre ever to hit 40 home runs in a season. No other Padre has even half that total, and the team ranks dead last in the NL in batting average, slugging percentage and hits, and next-to-last in runs.
23 Houston Astros
Last Week: 23
With this Astros season long since over, it's time to look toward the future. Could next year's Astros get a little boost from a little Rocket? Koby Clemens, son of former Astro, onetime Hall of Fame lock and ex-Zest soap spokesman Roger Clemens, was honored at Minute Maid Park last week as the MVP of the club's Class A team. Koby led all Astros minor leaguers in batting average (.341) and RBIs (123) and with a solid start next year, likely at Double-A, could make his major league debut sometime in 2010.
24 Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 25
Rest comfortably, D-backs fans. Augie Ojeda('s bobblehead) has been found. After months of searching, a Typhoon Morakot-related screw-up, a Tony Pena trade and a website to find where he went, the bobblehead was finally delivered to Chase Field last week, completing the longest and strangest bobblehead tale of the season. Ojeda himself was MIA for much of the season, playing in just 100 games and hitting only .248 with one home run and 16 RBIs. That's about right for a team that led the league in strikeouts and has been at least 10 games out of first in the NL West since mid-May.
25 Kansas City Royals
Last Week: 24
The good news: they won't lose 100 games and Zack Greinke will win the Cy Young Award. The bad news: pretty much everything else. But in the sea of disaster that is the Royals, this stat stands out: their cleanup hitters are batting a combined .208 with 12 -- yes, 12 -- home runs. Both figures are easily the lowest in baseball, as are the 68 RBIs, .279 on-base percentage and .310 slugging percentage, which is the worst in the game by more than 70 points. It's enough to make Royals fans yearn for that slugging second baseman of yore, George Brett.
26 Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 28
First Cliff Lee, then Victor Martinez and now Eric Wedge. Apparently, those rumors that Wedge would be brought back were just that: rumors. The Indians will be looking for a new manager next season (I think this guy might be available), which is appropriate because they'll pretty much need new pieces in place everywhere. One bright spot should be Matt LaPorta, who got a nice taste of the majors this year and will be worth keeping an eye on when the Indians get together for spring training next year. LaPorta batted .295 with six home runs after his late-August recall, but hurt his hip trying to score in a game earlier this week, an injury Wedge said was probably due in part to moving LaPorta to first base, where he was forced to bend and stretch more. Not much of a parting gift there, skip.
27 New York Mets
Last Week: 27
Other teams had a worse record but no one had a worse season than the Mets, who are finishing up in fashion typical of their second half by getting swept by the Nationals, the only team keeping the Mets from the NL East basement. Since the All-Star break, the Mets have the second-worst record in the National League and third-worst in all of baseball, going just 25-46. They've already started with their rebuilding plan for next year. The team is considering uniform changes for 2010 that would get rid of the pinstripes they've had for their entire 48-year history and perhaps go with a cream, rather than white jersey. Fail and fail. Thankfully the Citi Field/Domino's pizza patch that was mocked from the blogosphere to the Colbert Report will be gone next year, but the Mets need to just pick a jersey and stick with it. Constantly bouncing between multiple combinations makes them look bush league.
28 Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 26
After Baltimore dropped its 12th straight game on Tuesday night, Orioles manager Dave Trembley announced he was canceling batting practice the next day and told everyone they could "go do something nice tomorrow. Come to the ballpark and we'll win tomorrow night." They didn't, and are now almost assured of their first 100-loss season since the famously dreadful Orioles team of 1988. On the bright side, the 1989 O's rebounded to win 87 games and finish just two games out of first in the AL East, so maybe there's hope yet for a Matt Wieters/Adam Jones/Chris Tillman-led revival next season.
29 Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 30
Headline on The Daily Show last week: Pittsburgh Irates. (Being mocked -- sort of -- by the Emmy-winning show may be the only highlight the Pirates have had in recent months.) The G20 summit last week is mostly to blame for keeping crowds low at PNC Park -- that and the Pirates themselves -- but rather than show their frustration with civil disobedience, Pirates fans protested by simply staying away from PNC Park. They actually missed some pretty good baseball last week. The Pirates took three of four from the Dodgers, the team with the best record in the Senior Circuit, to keep the Dodgers from clinching the NL West. It's too bad, really. That would have been the only clinching celebration PNC Park is likely to see for quite some time.
30 Washington Nationals
Last Week: 29
The Nationals clinched something this week, too, and not just a return to their once-familiar spot at the bottom of the Power Rankings: the worst record in baseball, and with it, the top pick in next year's draft. That will almost certainly be Bryce Harper, whom you may have heard of. With Harper and Stephen Strasburg, this year's No. 1 pick, the Nationals would ensure that they will continue to be much more interesting at the minor league level than the major league level, but they are also ensuring that they will one day soon be putting some very young and very talented players on the field to go with mainstays like Ryan Zimmerman.
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