Results tagged ‘ New York Mets ’

Pick a GIF, Any GIF!

I just happened to notice that a wealth of brilliant GIF’s were produced over the last week or so of baseball. I’d like to take a few minutes of yours to ask: Which one is the best?

Use whichever parameters you see fit–hilarity, overall awesomeness, quality of GIF-making abilities–to judge the best GIF among the five I present below. Then make sure to vote in the poll. Thanks for playing, and keep tuning in for more baseball fun this season:

1. Yu Darvish “throws” all his pitches to Albert Pujols

Yu makes many good pitches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. An ump gets unwanted cup check

umpire nut shot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Michael Morse hits a no-doubter, pitcher says bad things

Morse homer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. A.J. Burnett doesn’t understand baseball

stupid burnett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. John Buck is a mean pie-thrower. Really mean.

buck hates people

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook for all your 2013 MLB news

Toss-Up: Giancarlo Stanton or Carlos Gonzalez?

Giancarlo StantonAccording to MLBTradeRumors.com, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News has information that the New York Mets’ front office may be looking seriously at trying to swing a trade for either Miami Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton or Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies.

We don’t need to tell you that the Mets’ outfield is a mess (the two highest-paid outfielders on the team aren’t actually on the team), or what kind of impact either one of those bats would have on a young lineup struggling to keep pace with the monster of the NL East. But, that’s what we’re here for. So…

…it’s this writer’s opinion that trading for Stanton is the best hypothetical move for the Mets. I prefer Gonzalez as an all-around player, but he’s more expensive to maintain in the long run than the 23-year-old Stanton would be and allows them a lot less financial flexibility to bring in free agent replacements for the pitching staff.

Though the Mets front office has indicated they are willing to increase the payroll (contrary to popular belief, it is not so they can pay Bobby Bonilla even more interest), the 27-year-old Gonzalez would bring over a contract that owes him nearly $65 million over four years, whereas Stanton will be under team control through 2016.

But as Mets’ superfan and MLBFanCave Dweller Travis Miller (@AtTravisMiller) mentions: “I’d go with CarGo. Even though he’s a few years older, he’s a proven .300 hitter who can swipe bags, and is gold glove-caliber in the outfield. A 500-foot bomb is pretty to look at from time to time, but I’ll go with the five-tool player every single time.”

It’s a tough choice, knowing that either trade would likely cost the Mets their top two prospects in Zack Wheeler and Travis d’Arnaud, as well as a hefty financial investment. But the opportunity to improve the heart of the order and complement David Wright may be too good to pass up.

CarGo

Stanton brings massive home run potential and has been improving his batting average every year in the big leagues (career high .290 in 2012), but Gonzalez has won a batting title and two Gold Gloves, and sports an average slash line of .299/28/97 with about 25 steals.

Would CarGo struggle away from the thin air of Coors Field? Would Stanton continue to blossom into a premier all-around hitter? Nobody knows for sure, but it seems the Mets may be willing to pay in order to find out.

Vote in our poll below–who would be the better hypothetical pick up for the Mets? And comment with who YOU would prefer if your team was in the same situation.

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Follow @3u3d on Twitter and LIKE Three Up, Three Down on Facebook for all of your 2013 MLB news!

Ranking the World Baseball Classic Rosters

World-Baseball-Classic-2013In about six weeks, the World Baseball Classic will be upon us again and Team USA will look to win its first title in the competition’s history. They’ve got a good shot — manager Joe Torre released his roster on Thursday, and they are absolutely loaded.

Unfortunately for fans of Team USA, one glance at a few competing rosters will stop the celebration in its tracks. Can someone unseat two-time defending champions, Team Japan? Will Team USA improve upon their 4th-place finish in 2009?

We can’t predict the results down to the wire, but we’re here to do what we do best at Three Up, Three Down. We rank the rosters! So strap in, baseball fans, and see if your favorite team stands a chance:

**The “Stick to Soccer” Group**

Brazil hat wbc

#16: BRAZIL

Notable player(s): Barry Larkin, Manager (and Hall of Fame Reds SS)

International Baseball Federation (IBAF) Ranking: 20

Breakdown: Good thing for their dominance on the international soccer scene, because Brazil isn’t going anywhere in the Classic. Yan Gomes was the first Brazilian player to ever reach the big leagues, and the country itself only has 14 players signed to Major League contracts. How they will win: They won’t. Why they won’t: See “How they will win.”  

china wbc cap

#15: CHINA

Notable player(s): Bruce Chen, SP, Royals 

IBAF Ranking: 18

Breakdown: The Chinese baseball team is a decade away from being a serious contender, but they are headed in the right direction. They’ve made steady improvements over international tournaments since a decent showing at the 2009 WBC, in which they eliminated Chinese Taipei. How they will win: Hustle, starting pitching. Why they won’t: Not enough of either.

Spain wbc cap

#14: SPAIN

Notable player(s): Paco Rodriguez, RP, Dodgers/Engel Beltre, OF, Rangers

IBAF Ranking: 16

Breakdown: I’m not sure what to think about Spain. They lack star power, but did knock off Israel and South Africa in qualifiers. The roster is dotted with promising Major League prospects, but I don’t foresee Spain winning more than a game, maybe two in the WBC. How they will win: Breakout tourney from Beltre. Why they won’t: Their Pool C competition is stacked (Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic).

italy wbc cap

#13: ITALY

Notable player(s): Jason Grilli, RP, Pirates/Francisco Cervelli, C, Yankees/Nick Punto, IF, Dodgers/Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs/Chris Denorfia, OF, Padres

IBAF Ranking: 9

Breakdown: Not only did we miss out on a Hall of Fame induction for Mike Piazza, but he won’t be participating on Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic either. Props to the Italians for back-to-back Euro Championships, but the competition is pretty weak over there right now. I think they will be humbled in the WBC. How they will win: Play with a chip on their shoulder. Why they won’t: Even the MLB-level hitters are thin.

kingdom of netherlands wbc cap

#12: KINGDOM OF THE NETHERLANDS

Notable Player(s): Jair Jurrjens, SP, MLB Free Agent/Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox/Jurickson Profar, 2B, Rangers/Jonathan Schoop, 3B, Orioles/Andrelton Simmons, SS, Braves/Roger Bernadina, OF, Nationals/Andruw Jones, OF, MLB Free Agent

IBAF Ranking: 7

Breakdown: The Dutch soccer team is one of my favorites to watch. And for the first time in recent memory, so will their baseball team. They just missed my “dark horse” cut, due to sheer overall talent of the rest of the field. But the Major League potential of some youngsters on this roster is extremely intriguing. They’ve won 20 of 32 Euro Championships ever played. How they will win: Infield of dreams breaks out. Why they won’t: Not all the youngsters will perform.

**The Dark Horses**

south korea wbc cap

#11: SOUTH KOREA

Notable player(s): Jae Seo, SP, former Met, Dodger, Ray in MLB

IBAF Ranking: 4

Breakdown: I feel ridiculous ranking Korea this low, considering their past successes in the WBC. But, it’s the third time this tournament has been played and each team has scouting on the opposition now. I don’t think South Korea will sneak up on anyone this time around. How they will win: High on-base percentage, good defense. Why they won’t: Too much good competition.

Australia-WBC-hat

#10: AUSTRALIA

Notable player(s): Peter Moylan, RP, Dodgers

IBAF Ranking: 10

Breakdown: There’s a handful of good Major League players (like A’s closer Grant Balfour) who hail from the land down under, but there isn’t a whole lot of MLB experience on this roster. Team Australia still has a shot at advancing, but they may have more trouble than in years past. How they will win: Pure grit. Why they won’t: Not enough runs, upstart opposition in Pool B.

canada wbc cap

#9: CANADA

Notable player(s): Jesse Crain, RP, White Sox/John Axford, RP, Brewers/Jameson Taillon, SP, Pirates/Russell Martin, C, Pirates/Brett Lawrie, 3B, Blue Jays/Justin Morneau, 1B, Twins

IBAF Ranking: 6

Breakdown: We all know that Canada produces some bona fide stars in MLB (Joey Votto, anyone?), but not all are present and accounted for on this roster, similar to Team Australia. They still have the talent to make a run with Lawrie, Morneau and Martin in the middle of the lineup though. How they will win: Dominant bullpen, good middle of the lineup. Why they won’t: Too much youth in the rotation.

taipei wbc cap

#8: CHINESE TAIPEI

Notable player(s): Chien-Ming Wang, SP, MLB Free Agent

IBAF Ranking: 5

Breakdown: There’s a reason that Team Chinese Taipei is a top-five ranked country right now. But their proudest current professional representative (Orioles pitcher Wei-Yin Chen) is not on the team yet. This team is still legit, and has a very winnable pool group. How they will win: Small ball. Why they won’t: Overall talent is lacking.

**The “Justtttt A Bit Outside” Group**

puerto rico wbc cap

#7: PUERTO RICO

Notable player(s): Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals/Carlos Beltran, OF, Cardinals/Angel Pagan, OF, Giants/Mike Aviles, IF, Indians/Javier Vasquez, SP, MLB Free Agent

IBAF Ranking: 12

Breakdown: There may be no more high-ceiling-yet-average team in the WBC this year. Team Puerto Rico has finished fifth at both tournaments preceding this, and killed Team USA in 2009 before being ousted by them two games later on a walk-off hit. Even with players such as Molina, Beltran and Pagan, they won’t even be favorites in their own pool. How they will win: The Major League talent they have is relentlessly good. Why they won’t: Lack of depth in the rotation.

mexico 2013 wbc cap

#6: MEXICO

Notable player(s): Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Dodgers/Luis Cruz, 3B, Dodgers/Yovani Gallardo, SP, Brewers/Danny Espinosa, 2B, Nationals/Sergio Romo, RP, Giants

IBAF Ranking: 11

Breakdown: In their pool, Team Mexico will have to deal with Team USA, but other than that they should be favored to top Team Canada and Team Italy to move on. They have a decent infield, top-of-the-line ace, and one of the best closers in baseball. How they will win: Adrian Gonzalez goes off, Gallardo is dominant. Why they won’t: Romo is neutralized unless they have a lead late.

cuba wbc cap

#5: CUBA

Notable player(s): None 

IBAF Ranking: 1

Breakdown: Don’t let the lack of notable players deceive you — this team is good. Really good. They have played in the IBAF World Cup 29 times and won 25 gold medals, finishing second the other four times. In the WBC, Team Cuba has finished second and fourth (which, at the time, was their lowest finish ever in international competition). They just can’t legally have players like Aroldis Chapman or Yoenis Cespedes on their squad, otherwise they might be even better. How they will win: Hard-throwing starters, handful of five-tool prospects. Why they won’t: The top four teams are just too stacked.

**The Favorites**

japan wbc hat

#4: JAPAN

Notable player(s): None

IBAF Ranking: 3

Breakdown: Again, don’t let the lack of Major League firepower fool you. Much like Cuba, Team Japan has been a hotbed for MLB stars over the years (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Yu Darvish). Even though none of them joined the fray in 2013, this team is stacked. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of future MLB players come off this roster after good WBC performances. After all, they are two-for-two in WBC titles up to this point. How they will win: Ichiro-style on-base scavengers, deceptive pitching. Why they won’t: Not having Ichiro and Darvish, among others, will end up costing Team Japan.

dominican republic wbc hat

#3: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Notable player(s): Santiago Casilla, RP, Giants/Octavio Dotel, RP, Tigers/Alexi Ogando, RP, Rangers/Fernando Rodney, RP, Rays/Wandy Rodriguez, SP, Pirates/Edinson Volquez, SP, Reds/Carlos Santana, C, Indians/Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers/Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees/Edwin Encarnacion, DH/OF, Blue Jays/Hanley Ramirez, IF, Dodgers/Jose Reyes, SS, Blue Jays/Nelson Cruz, OF, Rangers/Melky Cabrera, OF, Blue Jays

IBAF Ranking: 13

Breakdown: The only reason Team Dominica is ranked so low by the IBAF is because all those notable players are stars in the big leagues, and don’t regularly compete internationally for their country. But now that the WBC has rolled around again, this is one unbelievably good team. My only concern is their starting pitching depth. How they will win: Scoring 15 runs per game (no…really). Why they won’t: Like I said, starting pitching depth. Will Volquez and Rodriguez be enough?

USA wbc hat

#2: UNITED STATES

Notable player(s):  Jeremy Affeldt, RP, Giants/R.A. Dickey, SP, Blue Jays/Craig Kimbrel, RP, Braves/Kris Medlen, SP, Braves/Ryan Vogelsong, SP, Giants/Chris Perez, RP, Indians/Joe Mauer, C, Twins/Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds/Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies/David Wright, 3B, Mets/Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees/Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers/Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins/Adam Jones, OF, Orioles/Joe Torre, Manager

IBAF Ranking: 2

Breakdown: I didn’t even pick all the “notable players” I could have for this team. It’s Team USA’s equivalent of the MLB Dream Team, and Justin Verlander still is undecided as to whether he’ll join the rotation. This team is already a favorite with a balanced lineup and very strong pitching staff, but adding JV would be a coup. Check out fellow Three Up, Three Down host Bryan Mapes’ grades-by-position for Team USAHow they will win: Veteran experience, explosive pitching. Why they won’t: The bane of their existence, Team Japan, will come along eventually.

venezuela wbc cap

#1: VENEZUELA

Notable player(s): Anibal Sanchez, SP, Tigers/Felix Hernandez, SP, Mariners/Francisco Rodriguez, RP, MLB Free Agent/Ronald Belisario, RP, Dodgers/Miguel Montero, C, Diamondbacks/Salvador Perez, C, Royals/Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers/Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Indians/Miguel Cabrera, 3B/1B, Tigers/Pablo Sandoval, 3B, Giants/Marco Scutaro, 2B, Giants/Carols Gonzalez, OF, Rockies/Gerardo Parra, OF, Diamondbacks

IBAF Ranking: 8

Breakdown: The quantity of star power on Team Venezuela might not match up to Team USA or Team Dominica, but the quality is far and beyond. When you start your rotation with Hernandez and stack the middle of your lineup with the reigning Triple Crown winner between Gonzalez and Sandoval, you are a very, very scary team. Even though their WBC pool is very tough, it would be a momentous upset to not see Team Venezuela make moves in the 2013 tournament. How they will win: A large margin of victory. Against anyone. Why they won’t: Slumping hitters or being outplayed by one of the other favorites.

And that’s a wrap. This writer believes Team Venezuela is the team to beat, with Team USA, Team Dominica and Team Japan not far behind. But in all honesty, there are about 10-11 teams who could potentially take home the title in 2013. Root for your team and country to take home top honors, and stay tuned to Three Up, Three Down because we’ll have all your World Baseball Classic coverage.

Like what you see? Follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook for more WBC and MLB news and analysis.

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Episode 35 – Marlins Move to Toronto

We’re back for our first off-season podcast talking about the big moves that have been made around the majors.  Marlins hold a mini fire sale and David Wright secures his title as ‘Mr. Met’.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the podcast!

or use this link to download on iTunes

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=508049520

Twitter: @3U3D
Facebook: Three Up, Three Down

Enjoy!

More Proof That Chicks Dig the Long Ball

Well, the San Diego Padres are the newest organization to give a big middle finger to traditionalist baseball fans by announcing they would move their outfield fences in for the 2013 season. Petco Park will follow Safeco Field in Seattle, Citi Field for the New York Mets before the 2012 season, and the ridiculous right field porch at the new Yankee Stadium.

What happened to the good old days? What happened to stadiums like the Polo Grounds (483 feet to the center field wall)? Okay, that’s a bit extreme. But still, since when does giving in to the fan’s thirst for the long ball take precedence over classic, fundamental baseball?

I’ll tell you when. It was 1998 when a juiced-up Mark McGwire hit a then-record 70 home runs in the same season Sammy Sosa hit 66. In 2001, Barry Bonds got so big it looked like he would have trouble lifting his arms above his shoulders, and he smacked 73 home runs in a single season.

Even though everyone and their mothers know those numbers were inflated, Americans really fell in love with the home run. And it’s understandable – to most fans, there is nothing more majestic than a perfectly squared up fastball hitting the upper deck on the fly. It’s the biggest, hardest, farthest, most impressive feat a batter can accomplish.

But we have the Home Run Derby every July, so why can’t we get our fix then? When the Mets decided to move their fences in to a more attainable distance, for lack of nicer terms, it didn’t help. They still finished in fourth place in the NL East, and star third baseman David Wright didn’t see a huge jump in his power numbers.

So what’s the big deal? Personally, I think it’s a cop-out. Did the Yankees really need a joke of a right-field fence? Did the Mariners really finish in fourth place because their fences were too deep? If the Padres get better in 2013, is it going to be because the fences were 11 feet closer? Or because they have a better team in general, regardless of the stadium?

Mets GM Sandy Alderson admitted that when the Mets decided to move the fences in at Citi Field, it was because “scoring brought excitement.” Well Sandy, so does winning.

The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers have two of the most pitcher-friendly parks in baseball, and neither team were a power threat in their own stadiums in 2012. They finished 1-2 in the NL West and now the Giants are in the World Series.

Let’s ban the moving of the fences (and the wave while we’re at it…sheesh), and put together teams that thrive on base hits, good base running, bunting, defense and pitching.

You know…how baseball is supposed to be.

Alas, chicks dig the long ball. Fences will continue to move. But are you for or against it? This blogger says nay. Vote below:

If you like what you see, follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook!

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

2012 Power Rankings: Monday, July 30th

This is the time of year when contenders start to pull away from the pretenders. The trade deadline is TOMORROW, and there should be a lot of frantic activity in the next 24 hours that will change the standings. In turn, our rankings will look completely different in a week.

That being said, teams like the New York Mets are falling fast after the All-Star Break, while their polar opposites rise to the Wild Card lead in Oakland. Speaking of the A’s, they are one of our “Stock Up” teams. Look for the up or down arrow next to six teams – teams you should buy into and take seriously versus three teams you need to start worrying about.

You know what they say – better late than never. So here is the official Three Up, Three Down MLB Power Rankings:

30. Houston Astros (35-68, 1-9 in last 10)

Astros’ GM Jeff Lunhow’s wish list: Trade Carlos Lee. Check! Trade J.A. Happ. Check! Trade Brandon Lyon. Check! Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, and Chris Johnson. Check! Check!  And Check! You get the point. This is why the Astros can’t have nice things.

29. Colorado Rockies (37-63, 2-8)

The Rockies are good for one insane, late-season run every year. Unfortunately for 2012, they could win out and still miss the Wild Card by double digits. How long will Michael Cuddyer be wearing purple and black?

28. Kansas City Royals (41-60, 2-8)

K.C. played me like a fool this winter – I refused to take heed in an inexperienced, well below average rotation and fell in love with the big bats in the lineup. “No Jeremy,” they said. “We won’t take the second A.L. Wild Card. You idiot.”

27. Chicago Cubs (42-58, 5-5)

Raise your hand if you are surprised! Even the most loyal Cub fan knew this would be a long season. They seem headed in the right direction, it will just take a few years. As if 104 of them isn’t enough.

26. Milwaukee Brewers (45-56, 1-9)

Proof positive that Prince Fielder would be, will be and IS missed in Milwaukee. With a paper-thin bullpen and nobody not named Braun that scares an opposing pitcher, the Brew Crew are bad and getting worse.

25. Minnesota Twins (43-58, 5-5)

I think the front office of the Twins is still laughing at 29 other GMs for missing out on Josh Willingham. That being said, this club is a lot of pitching away from returning to the top of their division.

24. San Diego Padres (43-60, 5-5)

Huston Street locked up for two years. Carlos Quentin extended for three. Tons of young, talented players under team control. Johnny Cueto turning things around. Well done, Padres. Well done. Just not enough. Not yet, at least.

23. Philadelphia Phillies (45-57, 4-6)

Injuries aside, how does a club with the best rotation in baseball fall from grace so quickly? Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay have not been themselves this year, but I have to admit it’s nice seeing a different name atop this division for once.

22. Seattle Marines (47-57, 7-3)

I have one piece of advice for Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik: DON’T TRADE KING FELIX. I know his stock is high and the M’s could use some more offense. But relying on three top prospects to hold down the future rotation? Not smart.

21. Miami Marlins (47-54, 3-7)

Established closer: $27 million. Left-handed starter: $56 million. New shortstop: $106 million. Idiot manager leading an exceptionally talented team into the abyss? Priceless. Wait…it doesn’t work that way. Fire sale time again in Miami!

20. New York Mets (49-53, 2-8)

The Metropolitans just can’t win post -All-Star Break. This is the curse that has plagued them since 2010. Add another quality arm, re-work the bullpen and get one more good bat. That’s all. Okay, that’s a lot. But something must change.

19. Boston Red Sox (51-51, 4-6)

The Sox are still hanging around somehow, despite any semblance of a starting rotation and a very slow start from Adrian Gonzalez. With Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury back in the fold, they have a chance to make a late run.

18. Toronto Blue Jays (51-50, 6-4)

Toronto, a.k.a. TommyJohn-to, is where starting pitchers’ arms go to die. It seems like the entire rotation has hit the shelf this year, leaving Edwin Encarnacion and Joey Bats to shoulder the load. They are headed in the right direction; just need to stay healthy.

17. Cleveland Indians (50-52, 3-7)

The Tribe had such a promising start to the season (again), but much like the Mets, just crashed and burned around the All-Star Break. They aren’t completely out of it, but with Ubaldo Jimenez and Derek Lowe as two of your star pitchers…well…

16.  Arizona Diamondbacks (51-51, 7-3)

Shhh…don’t tell anyone. But the D’Backs are only 4.5 games back in the West. That is absolutely terrifying, knowing the defending division champs are lurking that close and they haven’t even hit full stride yet. Can L.A. and S.F. fend them off?

15. Baltimore Orioles (53-49, 5-5)

Oh, the O’s. The little engine that could, still can, and just might make the playoffs. Buck Showalter has done an incredible job getting the most out of this lineup, which really doesn’t have any stars besides Adam Jones.

14. Tampa Bay Rays (53-49, 6-4)

The original little engine is the Rays, who are at it again. They aren’t holding down a playoff spot right now, but aren’t far out. And they are still in the market for a bat to help that offense. I, for one, have learned to never count them out.

13. St. Louis Cardinals (54-48, 7-3)

I thought I’d never feel bad for the defending champs after all the glory last October. But no matter how well they play, the Reds and Pirates just…won’t…lose. Like the Rays though, this team is too good to quit on.

12. Detroit Tigers (54-48, 6-4)

Wait, did you see that flash of light? It was the Tigers finally holding first place! And just like that, the White Sox pulled the rug right out from under them. Still, Detroit is a stronger team than last year and should make the playoffs.

11. Chicago White Sox (55-46, 5-5)

Speak of the devil – the Sox have really performed well under first-year manager Robin Ventura (isn’t it nice that we don’t have to associate White Sox post games with Ozzie anymore?). I picked them to finish last in the Central back in March. OOPS.

10. Los Angeles Angels (55-47, 5-5)

Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson came in to solidify a slowly declining team with huge off-season contracts. They have performed well, but Mark Trumbo and Rookie of the Year/MVP double threat Mike Trout have stolen the show.

9. San Francisco Giants (55-46, 4-6)

I’ll try to remain impartial here. The Giants continue to get ridiculous production from Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey and good starting pitching from guys not named Tim. But with Sandoval injured and Pagan struggling, they need to add another bat because…

8. Los Angeles Dodgers (56-47, 7-3)

…the rival Dodgers just came into town and did WORK in three games. A road sweep to move back into a virtual first-place division tie capped off a 7-3 road trip. And yes…Hanley Ramirez is good. And yes, the trade was smart. Don’t let anyone make you think otherwise.

7. Oakland A’s (55-46, 8-2)

Raise your hand if you thought the A’s would be leading the Wild Card on July 30th of the 2012 season! DON’T LIE AND PUT YOUR HAND DOWN RIGHT NOW. Billy Beane’s team has become the best story in baseball, and show no signs of slowing down.

6. Pittsburgh Pirates (58-43, 7-3)

If the season ended right now, Andrew McCutchen is likely your National League MVP. The guy has been playing out of his mind in Pittsburgh (and everywhere else for that matter) and with 23 more wins, the Bucs will finally reach a .500 season!

5. Atlanta Braves (57-44, 7-3)

The Atlanta scouting department and front office look like absolute geniuses after signing Ben Sheets mid-season. He’s been much better than the other mid-season pick up (Roy Oswalt) and might be just what they needed to solidify the rotation.

4. Texas Rangers (59-41, 4-6)

When Pitchers Injure Everything. How to Trade for Any Player Anywhere. Where Lightning Strikes Thrice. Just some titles I’m brainstorming to describe the recent woes of the Rangers. When Ham-ilton Goes Bad. Okay, that one sucked. Sorry.

3. New York Yankees (60-41, 3-7)

The Yankees have absolutely nothing to worry about in the AL East. The division is won. But with A-Rod injured, C.C. Sabathia struggling and being swept in a four-game set by the mighty A’s? The Bronx should be a little worried in October.

2. Washington Nationals (61-40, 8-2)

I picked them to win the division, and they are coming through for me right now. This team is way too much fun to watch – from Bryce Harper and other young sluggers on offense, to Stephen Strasburg and the electric pitching staff. Can’t…help…rooting…for…the Nats!

1. Cincinnati Reds (61-40, 10-0)

Remember how the Cardinals couldn’t catch up in the Central? That’s because the Reds said, “No Votto? No problem!” over the past couple weeks. They have literally been unbeatable. They are a scary, scary postseason team.

*Records current as play began on Monday, July 30th, 2012*

Do you agree with the rankings? Disagree? Want to punch us in the balls? Comment below to let us know how you really feel! And while you’re at it, follow us on Twitter @3u3d and LIKE Three Up, Three Down on Facebook.

- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

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