I always enjoy Nick Cafardo's Sunday baseball column in
The Boston Globe. To me, it is the closest thing to Peter Gammons' old Sunday columns in the same paper.
This week, Cafardo had a thought-provoking factoid on
Ken Griffey Jr.'s Hall of Fame induction
. The MLB Amateur Baseball Draft began in 1965, and Griffey is the first No. 1 overall pick to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Griffey was selected No. 1 in 1987. Cafardo wrote that it shouldn't be too long before fans get another No. 1 overall pick into the Hall of Fame, as Chipper Jones was selected No. 1 in 1990.
The fact remains that it took 51 years for the talent evaluators to get it perfectly right.
When the Minnesota Twins fired longtime general manager Terry Ryan July 18, the story seemed to catch everyone off guard. But the actual story is a bit different.
While it wouldn't have changed things, it seems before the All-Star break, the Twins reportedly told Ryan of their plans to remove him at the end of the season. Ryan chewed on it and came back to management and said he didn't feel good about it ending that way, and he wanted to immediately get out of the way. While his assistant general manager Rob Anthony takes over at a pivotal time, as the Twins have about four-to-six selloff pieces, the club is expected to do a full search for Ryan's successor.
As for Ryan, he won't be out of work long. Watch for the Phillies to swoop in and grab him. Ryan had a working relationship all the way back to the 1980s with then-Twins wunderkind and general manager Andy MacPhail.
MLB would hate it, and of course there is a lot of runway between now and the end of the regular season, but with the Orioles moving up to No. 2 in my rankings and the Nationals slipping slightly to No. 3, it remains a real possibility the MASN teams could square off in a World Series.
There's no truth to the rumor MLB is working on a contingency plan that would allow the Nationals to host all seven games of the World Series in D.C.
Here are this week's rankings:
1. Chicago Cubs (59-38 overall record, No. 2 ranking last week) -- After agreeing to a trade with the New York Yankees for 100-mph closer Aroldis Chapman, it seems the Cubs have propelled themselves into a higher gear.
2. Baltimore Orioles (57-40, No. 6) -- An amazing week ended with the Orioles sweeping the Cleveland Indians and showed Baltimore's in-house starting pitching is improving.
3. Washington Nationals (58-41, No. 1) -- General manager Mike Rizzo's inflexibility cost the Nationals a true shot at Chapman. Could they turn toward Royals closer Wade Davis?
4. Boston Red Sox (55-41, No. 7) -- The Red Sox looked like they were ready to take over the lead in the American League East, but they then slipped with a surprising home split versus the Minnesota Twins. The 2016 version of David Price seems to be an imposter. He is 9-7 with a 4.51 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. His 143 hits and 16 home runs surrendered are OK for a No. 4-5 starter but not so good for a guy with more than $210 million owned to him during six more seasons
5. Cleveland Indians (56-41, No. 3) -- Their starting pitching is wonderful. I amazed at how they have been able to score runs without outfielder Michael Brantley and with catcher Yan Gomes, who before his injury was batting .165 with an unheard of .198 OBP. They are all over the map in their trade targets, as they were reportedly interested in Chapman, as well as Yankees reliever Andrew Miller and Minnesota catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Don't be surprised if they beat out the Nationals for Davis.
6. Houston Astros (54-44, No. 8) -- Are you wondering why, even though they trail the Rangers, I have the Astros a spot higher? During the last five weeks the Astros are 20-8, while the Rangers are 12-17.
7. Texas Rangers (57-42, No. 4) -- Injuries have killed their staff, and a year later they are trying to pick up the 2016 version of left hander Cole Hamels.
8. San Francisco Giants (58-40, No. 5) -- Aside from this "win the World Series every even year thing," the Giants seem about a quart low to me in the rotation and in the production of the everyday lineup. They were rumored to be in the hunt for a relief pitcher, such as San Diego's Andrew Cashner, who the Giants believe could help in the rotation or as a line swingman. Outfielder Hunter Pence is scheduled to play in Triple-A on a rehab assignment and could return to right field by the end of this week.
9. Los Angeles Dodgers (56-44, No. 9) -- The Dodgers held up surprisingly well without left-hander Clayton Kershaw. Now that his return this season is in doubt, the Dodgers have turned their attention to Tampa Bay's Chris Archer, who president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman knows from his days as the Rays' general manager.
10. Toronto Blue Jays (55-44, No. 11) -- Something doesn't smell right with this team. They are only batting .250 but are ahead of the Orioles and Red Sox in runs scored. Their team ERA is a respectable 4.40 compared to O's (4.21) and Red Sox (4.38). They have sure missed right fielder Jose Bautista, who has been out since mid-June with turf toe. I still don't believe manager John Gibbons is the right fit.
11. St. Louis Cardinals (52-46, No. 15)
12. Miami Marlins (53-45, No. 12)
13. Pittsburgh Pirates (51-47, No. 13)
14. New York Mets (52-45, No. 10)
15. New York Yankees (50-48, No. 18)
16. Seattle Mariners (50-48, No. 17)
17. Detroit Tigers (51-48, No. 14)
18. Kansas City Royals (48-49, No. 16)
19. Colorado Rockies (47-51, No. 21)
20. Chicago White Sox (48-50, No. 20)
21. Oakland Athletics (45-54, No. 23)
22. Philadelphia Phillies (45-55, No. 19)
23. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (43-55, No. 24)
24. San Diego Padres (43-56, No. 22)
25. Arizona Diamondbacks (41-57, No. 25)
26. Minnesota Twins (37-61, No. 27)
27. Milwaukee Brewers (41-55, No. 26)
28. Tampa Bay Rays (38-60, No. 28)
29. Cincinnati Reds (38-60, No. 30)
30. Atlanta Braves (33-66, No. 29)
Catch "The Bat Around" with Stan "The Fan" Charles and Adam Gladstone every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at PressBoxOnline.com/StanTheFan.
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