Luke's Power Rankings

The all-star break is in the rear view mirror and the season is heading into a critical time for teams to prove themselves. Which are the contenders? Which are pretenders? InsidethePark's Luke Lapinski has the answers in another installment of Luke's Power Rankings.

1. Chicago White Sox (1) – Rolled into the all-star break with the best record in baseball and… three consecutive losses at home to Oakland?

2. St. Louis (2) – National League lineup looked strangely like that of the Cards with Pujols and Edmonds leading the charge. And Eckstein. And Rolen. And Carpenter. And Isringhausen. And LaRussa.

3. Anaheim (3) – Garret Anderson has now hit safely in 66 of the team's 84 games this year. Pretty standard for one of the most consistent hitters in baseball.

4. Washington (4) – Sure do miss Montreal: losing seasons, nonexistent fans, powder blue uniforms. Now look at them: one of the best teams in baseball in the capital of the nation where the game began with new fans everywhere. Yeah, sure do miss Montreal…

5. Atlanta (6) – This year, the Home Run Derby taught us that Andruw Jones is… Dutch?

6. Minnesota (7) – Boone deal may be just what the team needs to get the infield going. As long as he stops hitting .231.

7. Boston (5) – It's a very real possibility that David Wells has no IQ whatsoever. And, like Davey says, no means no.

8. San Diego (9) – Brian Giles has drawn an MLB best 71 walks and is now behind only Nick Johnson and superhuman Derrek Lee in on-base percentage (.429).

9. NY Yankees (13) – Yep. It's over. The mighty dynasty has fallen. They're a whopping 2.5 games out of first. What ever shall they do?

10. Baltimore (8) – Apparently, these birds are flying south for the summer? (just 5-12 since June 21)

11. Texas (14) – Shoving that cameraman sure got rid of the media, huh Kenny? Everyone's in Mr. Rogers' neighborhood now.

12. Cleveland (10) – Phenom Jhonny Peralta is showing what all the hype is about (.348 average, 16 RBI, 17 runs, 5 HR in the last month).

13. Houston (22) – They were downright horrible. Winning 22 of their last 30 has quickly erased that.

14. Florida (13) – Strikeout machine A.J. Burnett (111 in 113 2/3 innings) will most likely be dealt in an effort to fix the shaky bullpen.

15. Philadelphia (15) – Bobby Abreu just hit another homer. Duck.

16. Oakland (23) – They're the AL equivalent of the Astros right now. And they never seem to start playing ball until about mid June.

17. NY Mets (17) – Yet another reason to throw Pedro every night: Carlos Beltran has nine home runs and 22 RBI in the 16 games Pedro's pitched, yet has just one home run and 22 RBI in the 65 games he hasn't. Thus, he'd hit 91 HR and have about 222 RBI's if Pedro pitched every game. Of course, he'd only hit 3 HR and drive in 55 if he never pitched.

18. Toronto (16) – Remember when Eric Hinske was having a good year? Well, that ended on May 26. Since then, he's hit a whopping one homerun in 125 at-bats and dropped his average 49 points to a robust .239.

19. Chicago Cubs (12) – Being forced to option season long disappointment Corey Patterson (.231 average and 84 strikeouts in 314 at-bats) to the minors and replace him with Matt Murton (absolutely no major league experience) is symbolic of how well things are going.

20. Detroit (20) – You can say what you want about the Tigers but, lately, there's been a lot of baseball talent in Detroit (for the All-Star game, that is).

21. Arizona (18) – Remember when Jose Cruz Jr. was having a good year? Me neither.

22. Milwaukee (21) – Chris Capuano leads the majors with nine pick-offs. Of course, he throws to first roughly 287 times a game.

23. Seattle (24) – Bret Boone was a true class act in his years with the M's. But I can't help thinking those were tears of joy he shed when being released.

24. Los Angeles (19) – Odalis Perez returns from the DL only to blast his teammates. He then points out how much better they'd be if they weren't blasting each other. Irony is a funny concept.

25. Pittsburgh (25) – Jason Bay would have had a much better Derby showing had teammate Oliver Perez (6.16 ERA, 20 HR allowed) been pitching to him.

26. San Francisco (26) – J.T. Snow has a gut feeling that Bonds is done for the year. I have a gut feeling the Giants are too.

27. Cincinnati (27) – Sure, you could make fun of the Reds. Or you could stop for a moment and reflect on how they're probably better than most softball teams in your city.

28. Colorado (28) –Don't worry Colorado, everyone's an all-star in their own special way! Well, except any of the Rockies.

29. Kansas City (30) – Maybe Mike Sweeney (5 all-star appearances) stays in Kansas City so he can be their lone representative every year.

30. Tampa Bay (29) - Yes. Newly acquired Joe Borowski IS the answer.

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