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Power Rankings: AL East, NL West lead pennant race at quarter mark

by | Baseball Writer
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Chris Davis and Adam Jones are just two reasons the O's could win the stacked AL East. (USATSI)
Chris Davis and Adam Jones are just two reasons the O's could win the stacked AL East. (USATSI)

We're nearing the point where each team will have played 40 games in this baseball season. That's right, we're almost a fourth of the way through. With that in mind, why not go nuts and predict which division races will be the most exciting?

I'll give it a shot and definitely look forward to all the polite and respectful disagreements that Power Rankings seem to inspire. Each division will be listed in order of how exciting I think the race will be this year.

1. AL East: Heading into the season, I felt like any order of these five teams wouldn't surprise me at season's end. At this point, the only thing that would really surprise me would be if the Blue Jays found a way to come back and win the division. Otherwise, anything goes here. It's gonna be awesome.

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2. NL West: This one could end up being outstanding. What if a few of these come true: The Dodgers start to live up to their expectations, the Padres play like they did for that excellent stretch where they won 11 of 14, the Rockies get back on track like when they started the season 13-4, the Diamondbacks permanently leave their bullpen woes in the rearview. I still like the Giants here, but plenty can happen before the end of the season.

3. NL Central: The Reds and Cardinals are both going to be in the playoff hunt until the end, and the Pirates' chance to break the dubious below-.500 streak adds serious intrigue here. The Brewers are an enigma to this point and the Cubs aren't awful, so there's potential for spoilers down the stretch, too.

4. NL East: I'm still sticking to my preseason thought that this is a two-team race between the Nationals and Braves. And I believe it's going down to the last week between these two. That could be the difference between a possible playoff exit after one game and getting a five-game series. As for the Phillies, don't expect them to go away easily.

5. AL Central: As I said last week, I feel like the Tigers end up running away with this thing eventually, but the Indians are showing early mettle, the Royals are knocking at the door, the Twins continue to hover around .500 and I don't think we should bury the White Sox.

6. AL West: The Rangers are only going to get better as they get more healthy. I feel like the Angels are getting close to "lost cause" territory and the Astros were already there when the season started. The A's and/or Mariners certainly could push Texas -- at this time last year we definitely didn't see the A's winning this thing -- and we can't yet dismiss the Angels entirely. For right now, though, this division race has the best potential to be a laugher in September.

I excluded the wild card races, because those come secondary and I also believe that those are going to be crazy this year. Really, an argument could be made that every single race above will go down to the wire. After all, there are only 12 teams below .500 right now and my top 15 gets completely turned over every week below. It's an exciting time to be a baseball fan.

Please feel free to contact me with comments either on Twitter (@MattSnyder27) or via email: matt.snyder@cbs.com. These were posted the morning of Wednesday, May 15. Any action coming after posting is not included.

RANK TEAM MOVE (LW)
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