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Sports MLB power rankings: Here's something positive about baseball's four worst teams

15:55  27 september  2021
15:55  27 september  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

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Heading into the final week of the season, the Baltimore Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks have already reached 100 losses (both are 50-106), while the Texas Rangers (57-99) and Pittsburgh Pirates (58-97) are likely to join them in the coming days.

If the Rangers and Pirates also hit triple digits, it will be the second consecutive full season that four MLB teams finished with 100 losses. Prior to 2019, it hadn't happened since 2002.

Things have been mostly ugly for these four teams in 2021, but it hasn't been all bad. Here's something positive to take away from each club's season:

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Baltimore Orioles: Cedric Mullins became the first player in franchise history to hit 30 homers with 30 steals in a season. Under team control through 2025, Mullins looks like a star to build around as the team's top prospects move towards the majors. That is assuming management makes an earnest effort to win.

Cedric Mullins waves to the crowd at Camden Yards. © Tommy Gilligan, USA TODAY Sports Cedric Mullins waves to the crowd at Camden Yards.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Zac Gallen proved he wasn't a fluke. After making three trips to the IL by the All-Star break, Gallen found his footing late in the summer. In his last seven starts, Gallen has a 3.21 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 42 innings, limiting hitters to a .210 average and four home runs.

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Texas Rangers: Nathaniel Lowe showed himself to be an everyday player. Acquired from the Rays in the offseason, the 26-year-old has been the team's first baseman since opening day and has shown some of the the skills that made him one of baseball's top hitting prospects a few years ago.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Bryan Reynolds established himself as one of the best hitters in baseball. The 26-year-old center fielder had a rough 2020 but moved on from the sophomore slump and wound up starting the All-Star Game in 2021. Reynolds has 24 HR, 88 RBI and an .886 OPS.

Here's how USA TODAY Sports' seven-person panel voted this week:

Rank (movement from last week)

1. San Francisco Giants (–)

  • Anthony DeSclafani (2.67 ERA in five September starts) building momentum for October.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers (–)

  • AJ Pollock, batting .331 in the second half, deserves some more attention for his performance.

3. Tampa Bay Rays (–)

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  • Shane Baz (14 K in first two big-league starts) will play a big role in the postseason.

4. Milwaukee Brewers (–)

  • Willy Adames back with a bang: 2 HR, 6 RBI in first six games off the IL.

5. Houston Astros (–)

  • Yuli Gurriel could become the only non-Jose Altuve to win a batting title for Astros.

6. St. Louis Cardinals (+5)

  • Team's 16-game winning streak through Sunday set a new franchise record.

7. New York Yankees (+2)

  • Yankees end the season with three in Toronto, three vs. Rays in the Bronx.

8. Chicago White Sox (-2)

  • Jose Abreu has one home run through 21 games in September.

9. Boston Red Sox (-1)

  • Red Sox have a favorable final week with road series against Orioles and Nationals.

10. Toronto Blue Jays (-3)

  • Marcus Semien could have a second top-three MVP finish in three years.

11Seattle Mariners (+2)

  • Playoff drought continues but this is Seattle's fourth 86+ win season since 2014.

12. Atlanta Braves (–)

  • Rotation lines up well: Charlie Morton, Max Fried, Ian Anderson set to start vs. Phillies.

13. Oakland Athletics (-3)

  • All-Stars Matt Olson and Matt Chapman could be on the block this winter.

14. Philadelphia Phillies (–)

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  • Phillies head into crucial series vs. Braves having won 9 of 12.

15. Cincinnati Reds (+1)

  • Reds have a 2022 team option on lefty Wade Miley (3.37 ERA).

16. San Diego Padres (-1)

  • Club has some big decisions to make after a disappointing season.

17. Cleveland (–)

  • Shane Bieber tosses three no-hit innings in first start since June 13.

18. Detroit Tigers (+2)

  • Tigers have gone 35-29 in the second half – and are a team to watch in 2022.

19. Los Angeles Angels (–)

  • Angels clinch a sixth consecutive losing season.

20. New York Mets (-2)

  • Francisco Lindor has 7 HR, 18 RBI and an .896 OPS in 23 September games.

21. Colorado Rockies (–)

  • Jon Gray, a free agent this winter, has a 5.93 ERA in his last seven starts.

22. Kansas City Royals (–)

  • Reliever Josh Staumont has a 2.20 ERA in 30 games since the All-Star break.

23. Minnesota Twins (+2)

  • Jorge Polanco's 5.0 bWAR through Saturday was 10th among AL position players.

24. Chicago Cubs (-1)

  • Limited by injuries this season, Nico Hoerner returns and looks to finish strong.

25. Miami Marlins (-1)

  • Rookie Lewin Diaz flashing his power with seven homers in 33 games.

26. Washington Nationals (–)

  • Patrick Corbin has been sharper in September, a good sign for 2022.

27. Texas Rangers (+1)

  • Rangers finish the season with home series vs. Angels and Cleveland.

28. Pittsburgh Pirates (-1)

  • Nice to see Shelby Miller back in the majors, making seven appearances in September.

29. Arizona Diamondbacks (–)

  • Ketel Marte missed a lot of time, but he's been great: .324/.385/.538 in 84 games.

30. Baltimore Orioles (–)

  • Cedric Mullins becomes first Oriole to join the 30-30 club.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MLB power rankings: Here's something positive about baseball's four worst teams

Braves, Brewers spurred to playoffs by bold midseason deals .
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Freddie Freeman and the Atlanta Braves left spring training with high hopes following three straight NL East titles. Then star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. tore the ACL in his right knee, and it fell on the front office to get underwhelming Atlanta the help it needed. The Braves hadn’t been above .500 all season when general manager Alex Anthopoulos essentially acquired an entirely new outfield at the trade deadline. Those moves helped Atlanta surge to another NL East crown and a Division Series matchup starting Friday with the NL Central champion Milwaukee Brewers, who benefited from their own roster adjustments.

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