Ryne's Rankings: Open season
By Ryne Sandberg, Yahoo Sports
May 30, 2005
To view previous rankings, click here.
Team records are through May 29.
THE TOP 10
1. St. Louis Cardinals (32-17) – The Cardinals are my new No. 1 team this week because of the way they've handled the injury to Scott Rolen. A lot of teams would have lost ground with a player like Rolen on the DL. But the Cardinals have won seven of nine, with Colorado next. They have the best offensive lineup in the NL, and can cover losing one guy.
3. Baltimore Orioles (30-19) – They keep playing at about .500 after their hot start and will be in second place by the All-Star break – perhaps sooner now that starter Erik Bedard (5-1) is on DL. Their starting pitching just isn't strong enough to last an entire season.
4. Los Angeles Angels (30-20) – The Angels have survived thus far without Vladimir Guerrero in the lineup. But they have a tough road trip coming up with stops in Chicago, Boston, Atlanta and New York to play the Mets. If they can play .500 ball over the next two weeks it would be a huge accomplishment.
5. San Diego Padres (31-19) This team keeps moving up my rankings, because they keep winning. They're 16-4 at home, and are starting to love Petco Park. They rank seventh in the NL in batting and sixth in team ERA, which shows they are solid on both ends.
6. Texas Rangers (29-20) – Texas has won eight in a row. Nobody thought too highly of its pitching, but the Rangers are not bad at all (eighth in the AL in team ERA). And Alfonso Soriano had a huge week with nine hits in his last five games.
7. New York Yankees (27-23) – The Yankees were hot before Boston beat them two out of three over the weekend. Alex Rodriguez is unreal right now, batting .331 and leading the AL in home runs, RBIs and runs. The Yankees lead the AL in runs scored.
8. Florida Marlins (27-20) – I keep waiting for the Marlins to put some distance between themselves and Atlanta, but they just can't seem to do it. They've lost four of five.
9. Minnesota Twins (29-20) – The Twins are just 3½ games behind the White Sox in the AL Central, and should stick around for the postseason no matter what. Shannon Stewart is hot, batting .330 during the month of May.
10. Arizona Diamondbacks (29-22) – A great story. This team was the worst in the NL last year, and is now just 2½ games behind San Diego in the division. GM Joe Garagiola Jr., considered to be on the hot seat at the start of the season, has shown that he deserves to stay. Arizona's pitching is improved despite the loss of Randy Johnson, thanks to Javier Vzquez and Russ Ortiz. The additions of Craig Counsell, Royce Clayton, Troy Glaus and Shawn Green have really changed their lineup.
ON THE RISE
6. Texas Rangers (29-20) – I already listed the Rangers in my top 10, but they're worth mentioning again here. They've won eight straight, with Detroit and Kansas City next on the schedule. Their roll should continue for a while.
ON THE DECLINE
Washington Nationals (25-25) – It looks like the Nationals' inexperience is catching up with them; they lost five in a row and dipped below .500 before winning at St. Louis on Sunday. Hopefully the excitement is not wearing off in D.C.
THE BOTTOM FIVE
26. Tampa Bay Devil Rays (19-32) – Danys Báez has trade value wherever a closer is needed. Outfielder Carl Crawford also would draw interest. I wouldn't mind seeing the Cubs get either player. Crawford would answer all the questions about the leadoff spot. And Baez could fill the closer spot.
27. Oakland A's (17-32) – Rest assured, GM Billy Beane will get some young talent in exchange for players such as Barry Zito. Once Zito's gone, Beane will have dealt the entire Big Three a span of six months. Amazing – and painful for fans in that small market.
28. Houston Astros (18-31) – It's sad to see this team struggle, especially after last year's postseason excitement. They have a lot of fan favorites and good guys nearing the end of their careers.
29. Colorado Rockies (14-34) – Another team that could start dealing away players, though they don't really have that many options. They'll probably send Preston Wilson to a team that is looking for a solid outfielder; he has been hot of late. Other than him, they're young and will not part with Todd Helton.
29. Kansas City Royals (13-37) – The Royals should get what they can for Mike Sweeney now; he's a great player who can hit for power and average. They should be able to get some young, talented arms from a team like the Angels in exchange for him.
Updated on Monday, May 30, 2005 11:55 am, EDT