1. St. Louis (1) – They've got arguably the best hitter in baseball in Pujols and the best pitcher this year in Carpenter. Plus, offseason acquisition Eckstein was huge for them. Well, figuratively, not literally. Literally, the guy weighs like seven pounds.
Team MVP: Hard to argue with Carpenter, but it's got to go to Pujols.
2005 vs. San Diego: 3-4
2. Chicago White Sox (2) – Thought they were just gonna roll over down the stretch? Eau Contreras. Jose's led the charge of late, going 9-1 in his last 10 starts with 58 Ks and a 2.19 ERA in that stretch.
MVP: Paul Konerko
2005 vs. Boston: 3-4
3. NY Yankees (5) – What a shocker, look who's back at the top. Anyone who thought the Yanks were done back in June should probably get themselves checked out – they finished the season 28 games above .500! Though I can't say I expected Aaron Small to run a 10-0 record.
2005 vs. Anaheim: 4-6
4. Boston (3) – I'm telling you, getting their hair done and getting manicured as a team on Queer Eye For The Straight Guy is gonna cost them at least 86 years before another World Series win.
MVP: David Ortiz
2005 vs. Chicago White Sox: 4-3
5. Anaheim (7) – Remember when the AL West race was close? You know, like two whole weeks ago? Then the Angels won 14 of 16 and won the division by seven.
MVP: Vladimir Guerrero, though Colon pitched like a madman
2005 vs. NY Yankees: 6-4
6. Atlanta (6) – Hey, it's just 14 Division Titles in a row. No biggie. Oh, and now they have young up-and-coming talent (Francoeur, Johnson, Langerhans, LaRoche, etc) to build off of. I guess this is considered a rebuilding year in Atlanta.
MVP: Andruw Jones
2005 vs. Houston: 5-1
7. Cleveland (5) – Baseball's hottest second half team won 40 out of 53 games at one point and finished with a better record than every NL team except the Cards. But losing 6 of their last 7 (three of which were to Kansas City and Tampa Bay) did them in.
MVP: Travis Hafner.
8. Houston (9) – At one point, they were 15 games below .500 and struggling to even score. Now, they're back in the playoffs.
MVP: It's hard to dismiss with what Clemens has done, but Morgan Ensberg and his 36 homeruns were the sparkplug when the offense needed it most. I just think it's lame to give co-MVP's, don't you? Hmmm… that said, Clemens and Ensberg.
2005 vs. Atlanta: 1-5
9. Philadelphia (10) – Tough to miss out on the Wild Card by just one game, but going 0-6 against the Astros on the year probably didn't help a whole lot. And where was Jimmy Rollins down the stretch? Huh? Oh yeah, hitting in 36 consecutive games (and counting). Okay, that works.
MVP: Chase Utley.
10. Oakland (8) – Basically, they were the Astros of the AL this year. Well, except the part about making the playoffs. But that's a minor detail, right?
MVP: Pitchers Zito, Blanton, and Haren finished with virtually identical impressive numbers. And most would agree that the injured Rich Harden was even better. But they only seemed to win games if Bobby Crosby was in the lineup (55-29 when he played; 33-45 without him).
11. Minnesota (13) – It will be strange for them, watching the playoffs from home. Maybe next year they'll actually score runs (688 in '05; good for last in the AL).
MVP: Johan Santana.
12. Florida (11) – Manager Jack McKeon steps down after 1010 career wins – one for every year he's been alive.
MVP: Dontrelle Willis. And, while we're at it, the NL Cy Young too (though I'm sure "Florida Marlins Team MVP in these rankings" means more to Dontrelle).
13. NY Mets (19) – Sure, you know that David Wright emerged as a top-flight third baseman this year. And that Willie Randolph led the team to a 12 win improvement in his first year as manager. But did you know that Juan Padilla had a 1.49 ERA? Chew on that for awhile!
MVP: Pedro Martinez. Once again, it was just Pedro being Pedro (15 wins, 208 K's, 2.82 ERA).
14. San Diego (15) – As pathetic as it may be that they're making the playoffs with such a mediocre record, they could still be a threat with pitchers Jake Peavy (NL-best 2.27 ERA and 216 K's) and Adam Eaton throwing in a short first round series. Unless, they meet the Cardinals. And they do. Bye.
2005 vs. St. Louis: 4-3
15. Washington (12) – You know, the people in Montreal have to be asking where all this talent was when they were the Expos. Actually, the people in Montreal are probably asking, "we had a baseball team?"
MVP: Livan Hernandez was a workhorse, pitching a major league leading 246 1/3 innings. And Chad Cordero led the majors in saves (47). But, the team MVP's gotta go to Frank Robinson. He made this team believe all year long.
16. Milwaukee (14) – With their 81-81 record, it wasn't a bad year for the Brewers. Actually, by the Brewers' standards, it was a great year. Parade on Thursday! No more Brewers jokes!
MVP: Carlos Lee. But Brady Clark and Chris Capuano stepped up too.
17. Toronto (17) – You think you had a half decent year then you find yourself looking up at the Brewers.
MVP: Vernon Wells.
18. Chicago Cubs (18) – Yeah, but just wait til NEXT year, right?
MVP: Derrek Lee. What a year. He made a run for the Triple Crown (46 HR and a .335 average). Too bad, there was never anyone on base for him to drive in.
19. Texas (16) – The Power Rangers set an MLB record with nine different players hitting at least 15 homeruns. If only Gerald Laird had stepped up, that could've been 10 players.
MVP: Mark Teixeira and his 43 HR and 144 RBI. Only Boston's Ortiz had more RBI.
20. Arizona (25) – D'Backs fans can at least smile at the fact that the team improved this year by 26 wins. Then they can shudder at how absolutely awful that means they were last year.
MVP: Tony Clark. Despite getting just 349 at-bats, he hit 30 HR and drove in 87. Imagine if he had played the full year. They could've won the highly esteemed NL West by 70 games.
21. Baltimore (20) – The fact that Brian Roberts hit just three home runs and dropped his average by 31 points after the All-Star Break is very symbolic of the team as a whole.
MVP: Well, I can definitely tell you who it's not, but that wouldn't be nice. So for the sake of anonymity, we'll refer to him as R. Palmeiro. Too obvious? Oh well, he can just blame team MVP Miguel Tejada for that too.
22. San Francisco (23) – How did everyone in this division have such horrible records?!? Didn't they ever play each other?!?
MVP: Noah Lowry. One of the few bright spots this year, he had more wins (13), a better ERA (3.78), and more strikeouts (172) than usual staff ace Jason Schmidt.
23. Cincinnati (21) – Well, they do say Eric Milton's a fly ball pitcher. They just fail to mention that those fly balls don't ever land (major league worst 40 HR allowed). Maybe they should specify that.
MVP: Ken Griffey Jr. Despite missing 34 games, he managed to smack 35 long balls and drive in 92 while hitting over .300.
24. Los Angeles (24) – Wow. These guys went to the playoffs last year?!? Does Adrian Beltre really make that much of a difference? Ask any Mariners fan that question. Then duck.
MVP: Jeff Kent.
25. Detroit (22) – Yes, fire Trammel. He is the reason the Tigers had such a bad year. It's all his fault.
MVP: Thanks to Jeremy Bonderman falling off so hard in the second half (losing 7 of his last 8 – including a rousing 7 earned run performance against the Royals in his final outing), its gotta go to Polanco and his .338 average. And it's kind of fitting that the Tigers' MVP didn't even start the year with the team. "MVP" stands for Most Valuable Placido anyway, doesn't it?
26. Seattle (26) – They finished in last place again - 26 games out. They led baseball in players in the organization suspended for testing positive for steroids. They unloaded a ton of money on Adrian Beltre, who promptly hit a whopping .255 with 19 HR. Even Ichiro barely hit .300. Yeah, what a fun year.
MVP: Richie Sexson. Hard to argue with 39 HR and 121 RBI.
27. Tampa Bay (27) – Bad things happen when you walk an AL-worst 612 batters.
MVP: Jorge Cantu. More RBI (117) than any other second baseman in baseball.
28. Pittsburgh (29) – Bad things happen when you walk an NL-worst 611 batters. See a pattern here?
MVP: Jason Bay. But don't forget about Zach Duke. Forget about everyone else. Just not these two.
29. Colorado (28) – They were so close to getting that franchise record 96th loss but they let that slip away when they accidentally beat the Mets on Sunday. And here I thought this would be a meaningful season. Maybe next year.
MVP: Todd Helton. And it was probably the worst he's played in his career so that should tell you something.
30. Kansas City (30) – Ranking minor league teams can be fun too!
MVP: Yeah, right.
Let Luke know what you think of his last power rankings of the season by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
While the Major League playoffs gets under way later this evening, the Arizona Fall League has…