Tag: Sports Illustrated

The 30: Contenders and Spoilers in This Week’s MLB Power Rankings

The longshots have faded, and the early-season flukes have fizzled out. The six-month dogfight is nearly done, and only the strongest teams have survived.

This week’s four featured teams are all either contenders to watch or potentially dangerous spoilers. The Athletics end the season with a four-game series that could decide one American League West contender’s fate.

The 30: Trust the Process in This Week’s MLB Power Rankings

Trust the process. It’s a phrase that’s gained lots of traction in sports over the past few years. If a team’s making smart moves, the theory goes, then over the long haul those moves should eventually lead to strong results for that team and the players it’s acquired.

The problem is, trusting the process is often easier said than done.

The 30: Four Teams Creating Late-Summer Drama in This Week’s Rankings

August can be a rough month to be a baseball player. Dating back to the start of spring training, you’ve been diving after liners in the gap and snapping off curveballs for six months. When a day game after a night game comes along in 97-degree weather, it’s easy to feel a little less sharp or to lose that normal jolt of energy.

The 30: Four Teams Going Streaking in This Week’s Power Rankings

The concept of momentum in baseball is fraught with counterexamples. Plenty of teams have entered the postseason scorching hot only to flame out quickly. Plenty of teams have backed into the playoffs only to go on to win the World Series. Generating big winning streaks (or big losing streaks) late in the season guarantees nothing.

The 30: Highlighting Four MVP-Caliber Seasons in Power Rankings

One of the most puzzling trends in baseball awards voting over the years has been (some) voters’ attempts to tie themselves in knots over the meaning of the word “value.” The Most Valuable Player award, they posit, must go to a player who plays for a playoff team. Their flip-side argument often looks something like this: If a team is losing with a great player on the roster, it can also lose without him.

The 30: Four Teams Seeking Relief in This Week’s MLB Power Rankings

With just one week to go until the trade deadline, nearly every team in baseball figures to explore the market for one particular asset, either buying or selling it. That asset? Relief pitching.

This week’s four featured teams could all play major roles in that bullpen-swapping bonanza. The Brewers have a loaded ‘pen, which has other teams burning up the phone lines.

The 30: Underrated Players Get Their Due in This Week’s Power Rankings

The All-Star Game gave 68 of the game’s brightest stars a chance to enjoy the accolades of the crowd in San Diego, and to acknowledge the respect of the fans and managers who tapped them to play. But we have far more than 68 players making an impact this year in the big leagues, many of those not receiving much attention for their excellence.