MLB Rankings: Lineups

Who has the best lineup in all of baseball – the one feared by the opposition and can neutralize the framework that states pitching and defense wins championships? And what teams have the worst lineups in baseball?

Best Lineup In Baseball

What makes a good lineup – a balance of speed with catalysts at the top and bottom of the order mixed with power in the middle? Normal convention would say that is true. Leadoff hitters, however, aren't the same in this era of baseball. Instead, the lineups that can find tough outs throughout have a leg up.

American League

1. Tampa Bay Rays

The most clutch lineup in all of baseball, this team has a balance of speed and power that allows them to push runs across in multiple ways. If B.J. Upton every realizes his potential and Carlos Pena stays close to his career marks, the Rays will be even more dangerous. They have more speed than any team and know how to use it, pushing pitchers to make pitches or pay.

2. New York Yankees

It's hard to find a hole in this lineup, even with the slow starts of several players. They don't have a conventional leadoff man, but Derek Jeter is as clutch as they come. The three through six hitters can turn a game quickly, and the latter half of the order has balance. This is a team that works the count, reaches base and knows how to hit with runners in scoring position.

3. Minnesota Twins

A terror for opposing starters, the Twins masterfully work counts into their favor and take advantage of pitcher mistakes. Joe Mauer, Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau are about as good a threesome in the middle of the order as one could ask for.

National League

1. Philadelphia Phillies

The loss of Jimmy Rollins stings, especially his speed element, but there are plenty of bats throughout that can change the game with a swing with Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth leading the charge. And this is a team that heats up as the summer months hit – scary.

2. Chicago Cubs

Starlin Castro adds another potent bat to a lineup that is consistently on base. If Aramis Ramirez can return to form, few teams can compete with the eight men in this lineup. They do lack speed and rely on the long ball a bit too much. Castro will help in that department.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

The young hitters on this squad are maturing at an alarming rate. Andre Ethier has become a terror – and this occurred without Manny Ramirez in the lineup. Now Ethier may hit the DL while Ramirez is back. With Matt Kemp, they have three legitimate power threats and plenty of doubles hitters and speed to push the pace on the opposition.

Worst Lineup In Baseball

A lineup with power that can bridge the gap and turn a loss into a win with one swing is vital in today's game. These teams are left wanting in the power arena. A lack of overall talent plays a significant part in the proceedings when locating the worst lineups in baseball.

American League

1. Oakland Athletics

When they dropped Jack Cust from the big league club, everyone wondered, why? Those same feelings are still apparent, obviously, as they have brought him back into the fold. This is a team that can't miss scoring opportunities. A club made for hitting the ball into the gaps, it takes more than one hit to manufacture a run. Also, Rajai Davis is their only true speed threat.

2. Chicago White Sox

The worst hitting team in all of baseball with runners in scoring position, the White Sox score runs via the long ball or not at all. While they are amongst the league leaders in dingers, few are coming with men on base. Just three regulars are batting over .250.

3. Seattle Mariners

Next to last in the American League in on-base percentage, the Mariners offer little power to make up for the lack of brawn. And without men on base, there are few opportunities for runs to be scored. Ichiro Suzuki can only do so much.

National League

1. Houston Astros

When the big boppers of Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence aren't hitting, this team has no chance of scoring runs. The trio is at the heart of every major play, as few others can consistently produce. And right now, no one is producing. They are last in the majors in on-base percentage.

2. Washington Nationals

Ryan Zimmerman is a talent and Adam Dunn will reach base, but is there anyone else that can come through on a regular basis? It is a team that needs to play small ball well and execute to get their runners into scoring position, hoping for someone to come through. That doesn't happen often enough.

3. Pittsburgh Pirates

This is a team that may not reside in the bottom three of long, as they possess some burgeoning talent. Andrew McCutchen is the real deal. Garrett Jones could be too. This is a team that is short on experience and will improve over time.

Final Outs:

  • It would have been easy – and wrong – to list the San Diego Padres as one of the worst hitting teams. They are amongst the leaders in situational hitting. Also, their attitude to push the pace by being aggressive on the base paths has paid off. True, they don't have a bopper outside Adrian Gonzalez but have a team that can come up with a different hero each night.
  • It may have been prudent to list the Cleveland Indians amongst the lowliest lineups. The feeling is this team is not performing up to standards and should see improvement in the second half.
  • The Texas Rangers were considered for the top lineups. How much of their success through the years has been dependent on their park? They are not a patient team and go through life hacking. That catches up to you.
  • With Albert Pujols, the St. Louis Cardinals had to be processed. The lineup has some major plusses, especially with the underrated Yadier Molina and his clutch at-bats but just fell shy.
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