Jesse Yomtov, USA TODAY
Published 7:30 a.m. ET Sept. 9, 2019
What I’m Hearing: USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale tells us what he’s hearing regarding which MLB players will take home some hardware at the end of the season.
USA TODAYTrading your best pitcher in July certainly isn’t something that contenders do regularly, but the Arizona Diamondbacks have won 11 of 13 games and find themselves in the thick of the National League wild-card race.After a four-game series with the Mets in New York this week, the Diamondbacks play 12 of their final 15 games at home, and only three games against teams above .500. The Brewers have a similarly light schedule the rest of the way, but the Phillies (17 of 20 vs. contenders) and Cubs (seven vs. Cardinals) both have to run a gauntlet over the season’s final three weeks.These Diamondbacks may have an inside track, which something few could have predicted when they traded Zack Greinke at the deadline.Here’s how USA TODAY Sports’ seven-person panel voted this week:RANK (movement from last week)1. Houston Astros (–)Top prospect Kyle Tucker will be a huge boost for this team in the postseason.2. New York Yankees (–)Dellin Betances on rehab assignment, almost ready to make his 2019 debut.3. Los Angeles Dodgers (–)Adam Kolarek hasn’t given up a run in his first 17 outings with Dodgers.4. Atlanta Braves (–)The offense gets even better with Austin Riley’s return from injury.5. Minnesota Twins (–)Avoiding a sweep in Cleveland this weekend all but guarantees division title.6. Tampa Bay Rays ( 3)Tyler Glasnow returned Sunday, while Blake Snell starts rehab assignment.7. Oakland Athletics ( 1)Jesus Luzardo gets the call-up and will be expected to help in the wild-card chase.8. St. Louis Cardinals ( 2)After mid-week series vs. Rockies, their final 16 games are against contenders.9. Washington Nationals (-3)Getting Max Scherzer to full strength for the wild-card game should be top priority.10. Cleveland Indians (-3)Bullpen had a 6.08 ERA in the first week of September11. Chicago Cubs (–)Javier Baez’s injury comes at the worst time possible.12. Boston Red Sox (–)Won a game last week using seven pitchers who weren’t on the opening day roster.13. Milwaukee Brewers (–)Christian Yelich is somehow having an even better season than last year.14. Arizona Diamondbacks ( 2)With that favorable schedule, don’t be shocked to see them reach wild-card game.15. Philadelphia Phillies (-1)Corey Dickerson had 28 RBI in his first 30 games with Phillies.16. New York Mets (-1)Playoff hopes almost gone, Pete Alonso’s run at 50 homers makes them interesting.17. Texas Rangers (–)Rougned Odor vs. the Mendoza Line (.204 through Sunday) worth watching.18. San Francisco Giants (–)Evan Longoria (.262/.328/.456) has exceeded expectations this season.29. Cincinnati Reds (–)Luis Castillo becomes first Reds pitcher with 200 strikeouts since 2014.20. Los Angeles Angels (–)Shohei Ohtani isn’t getting enough attention for what he’s doing as a hitter.21. San Diego Padres (–)Can it be spring already so we can watch Fernando Tatis Jr. again?22. Chicago White Sox (–)Tim Anderson could be team’s first batting champ since Frank Thomas in 1997.23. Pittsburgh Pirates (–)SS Kevin Newman, OF Bryan Reynolds have established themselves as building blocks.24. Toronto Blue Jays (–)Lefty Anthony Kay (Stroman trade) impresses in MLB debut.25. Colorado Rockies (–)Wade Davis (7.02 ERA) is making $18 million this season.26. Seattle Mariners (–)Justin Dunn (Cano trade) averaged 10.8 K/9 in Class AA this season.27. Miami Marlins (–)Starlin Castro boosting his free agency stock with a big second half.28. Kansas City Royals (–)Ryan McBroom has the best name in baseball right now.29. Baltimore Orioles (–)Hanser Alberto is hitting .420 against lefties.30. Detroit Tigers (–)Miguel Cabrera is owed $124 million through 2023.AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext Slide
Jesse Yomtov, USA TODAY