John McGrath’s Major League Baseball rankings

July 12, 2014 

1. Oakland Athletics (1): Baseball Prospectus estimates Oakland’s playoff odds to be 99.7 percent. So they’re saying the A’s have a chance.

2. Los Angeles Angels (4): Garrett Richards (11-2, 2.55 ERA, holding hitters to a .196 batting average) is an All-Star-caliber starter without an All-Star invitation.

3. Detroit Tigers (3): Streaky Tigers could be a nightmare to face in a best-of-five division series.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers (6): Outfielder Carl Crawford OK with reduced role after return from disabled list.

5. Milwaukee Brewers (2): Crew’s huff-and-puff approach to break has turned NL Central into four-team race with Cards, Reds and Bucs.

6. Baltimore Orioles (9): Winning two of three in Beltway Series against red-hot Nats was a statement.

7. Washington Nationals (8): Will Bryce Harper ever come halfway close to living up to his ridiculous hype?

8. Atlanta Braves (7): Aaron Harang, former M’s punching bag, has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 14 of 19 starts.

9. St. Louis Cardinals (12): All-Star catcher Yadier Molina, who could miss the rest of season with a torn thumb ligament, is as close to irreplaceable as anybody on Cards.

10. San Francisco Giants (10): Nobody needs midsummer break more than Giants.

11. Seattle Mariners (5): University of North Carolina product Kyle Seager is M’s first home-grown All-Star drafted out of a four-year college program since Tino Martinez in 1995.

12. Cincinnati Reds (15): Just as Reds appeared primed for second-half run, they learned Brandon Phillips would be joining Joey Votto on the DL.

13. Kansas City Royals (13): Raul Ibañez, 42, last week became oldest Royals player to hit a home run.

14. Pittsburgh Pirates (14): Switch-hitting second baseman Neil Walker has settled in as Bucs’ cleanup hitter.

15. Toronto Blue Jays (11): Jays’ injury epidemic might have them interested in Rainiers’ infielder/outfielder Nick Franklin.

16. New York Yankees (16): Masahiro Tanaka’s right-elbow injury worst news yet for a rotation rocked by injuries to CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova.

17. Cleveland Indians (17): Lonnie Chisenhall finally has accrued enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title.

18. Miami Marlins (18): Third baseman Casey McGehee, who began the weekend hitting .320, with 53 RBIs, denied a deserving All-Star invitation.

19. Chicago White Sox (19): Carlos Rodon, the Sox’s first-round pick from N.C. State, figures to join a 2015 rotation featuring fellow lefties Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and John Danks.

20. Minnesota Twins (25): Any chance they were fired up by the Mariners’ decision to swap Felix Hernandez’s Thursday start for a “big-series” game Friday against the A’s?

21. New York Mets (22): Shaggy-locked right-hander Jacob deGrom looking like hair-apparent to the Giants’ Tim Lincecum.

22. Philadelphia Phillies (23): Four-game road sweep of Brewers evidence that Phils still have a pulse.

23. San Diego Padres (26): Padres have interviewed seven candidates to fill GM vacancy, with no clear front-runner.

24. Tampa Bay Rays (27): Weekend series vs. Toronto looking like a line-in-the-sand juncture for down-but-not-quite-out, Rays.

25. Boston Red Sox (21): A.J. Pierzynski earned his DFA: The subpar defensive catcher was an indiscriminate hacker at the plate and an indifferent teammate in the dugout.

26. Arizona Diamondbacks (29): Outfielder David Peralta, fast-tracked from Double-A on June 1, emerging as a Rookie of the Year candidate.

27. Chicago Cubs (20): Fans got a glimpse of the future with the MLB debut of 22-year old second baseman Arismendy Alcantara. More to come.

28. Houston Astros (30): Sweep of Rangers finally liberated Lastros from fifth place.

29. Texas Rangers (24): You know the wheels are off the track when Yu Darvish is torched by Houston.

30. Colorado Rockies (28): Ex-Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker, a former college rival and minor league teammate of Russell Wilson, picked up his first big league hit Wednesday.

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