Tuesday, June 17, 2014

MLB Power Rankings (6/17/14)

MLB Power Rankings

This is a very rudimentary look at ranking MLB teams, as it is only mid-June and I have not published a power rankings system before.

1. Oakland Athletics – Their run differential says it all (an insane +126). The Athletics had a mixed week in terms of wins and losses, and Josh Donaldson has been ice cold at the plate, but they still remain the best team in baseball and should continue their rise once Donaldson snaps out of it.

2. San Francisco Giants – The Giants had a disappointing week, winning only four of their last ten, but they are second in run differential (+54), and continue to amaze in even years.

3. Toronto Blue Jays – The Blue Jays have taken a fairly commanding lead in a competitive division, despite only winning four of their last ten, but I am not quite sure how long they can hold onto this spot if they do not trade for a starting pitcher. The odds are not in Marcus Stroman’s favor in terms of succeeding as a starting pitcher.

4. Milwaukee Brewers – The Brew crew and their voodoo magic continue to put up winning numbers in a division with four teams in search of a playoff spot.  They had a week over .500 and they have proven to be successful at home and on the road. Their pitching staff has been good so far, but I am not sure it can be successful in the long-term. The team makes this up with Gomez, Reynolds, Lucroy, and Braun among others, who have proven to be successful this season.

5. Los Angeles Angels – The Angels have been really good this year after two slumping years, finally getting production from high dollar signings in Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols. Trout is still phenomenal. Callups like CJ Cron have proven to have some value in terms of power. Pitching has been mixed, but Garrett Richards has been fantastic, keeping the staff alive. They finished the past ten games with six wins.

6. Detroit Tigers – Outside of their closer woes, the Tigers have had a fairly successful season, even with Verlander looking like the odd man out in that rotation. Anibal Sanchez has been the most underrated pitcher in baseball, having a WHIP of 0.941. Victor Martinez has been a godsend for the Tigers as DH, even at age 35.

7.  Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodgers are 6-4 in their last ten games thanks to the pitching staff. Everyone in the rotation has been good, even Josh Beckett and offseason pickup Dan Haren. Butera and Crawford are questions in regards to their offensive production, but overall the offense has been productive for the season, even though it has slipped a bit in the past couple weeks.

8. Kansas City Royals – The Royals have been powered by a much better than anticipated pitching staff, which has kept them only half a game back behind the Tigers in the American League Central.
9. St. Louis Cardinals – While the Cardinals are 3.5 games back from the leading Brewers, they have been on a hot streak over the past ten games, winning seven with phenomenal pitching. This is now up in the air with staff ace Adam Wainwright having some arm issues, which could impact their season greatly. Their offense has been lukewarm to say the least, so it remains to be seen which direction they’re headed with the Wainwright injury.

10. Atlanta Braves - The Braves lead the National League East by half a game and it is going to be a struggle to hold onto that spot, as the Nationals close in. Ervin Santana has not been the impact pitcher that the Braves hoped for, so expect them to shop for a starting arm possibly by the trade deadline. One time janitor Evan Gattis has been raking for the Braves, posting an OPS+ of 153, which has led them to four wins in their past ten games.

11. Washington Nationals – While Gio Gonzalez has been disappointing, the rest of the pitching staff has been good for the Nationals, keeping them in the NL East race. Nate McClouth has been a disaster in left field and the rest of the offense has had mixed results. Bryce Harper needs to get healthy if the Nationals want to trend upward.

12. Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles offense has been led by Nelson Cruz who has crushed the ball 8% of the time. Kevin Gausman will likely be brought up to replace Ubaldo Jimenez, who has disappointed. They are trending downward with the loss of Matt Wieters to Tommy John surgery.

13. Seattle Mariners – The Mariners have put up a run differential of +32 in the wood chipper that is the American League West. Seager and Cano have kept their offense afloat, with Seager increasing his power almost exponentially and Cano getting on base. They have two great pitchers in Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez, but need another arm to contend down the stretch. Mariners could trend up or down, it is just too hard to tell at this point.

14. Cleveland Indians – While they have a run differential of -13, they have won six of their last ten games, propelling them upward. Lonnie Chisenhall is a legit MVP candidate so far and the rest of the offense has performed well, save for Ryan Rayburn. The pitching staff is the real problem here, with their one-time ace Justin Masterson underperforming big time. If the pitchers get it together expect a big jump upward.

15. Miami Marlins – Who would have ever guessed the Marlins would have been this good, even without Jose Fernandez? With a +15 run differential, the Marlins are only one game behind the NL East lead. Led by Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins offense has actually been above league average overall (they are held back offensively by Adeiny Hechavarria, who makes up for it with great defense at shortstop). The rotation has been modest, but the addition of recent call up Andrew Heaney will surely help their pitching. They are without a doubt a team that can swing upwards.

16. Colorado Rockies – There is a good case to be made that Troy Tulowitzki is the National League MVP, as he has lead the Rockies to keeping their heads above water, posting a +12 run differential on the season. The pitching staff has been poor to say the least with three of their five starters under an ERA+ of 100. With an rough schedule upcoming and their division, expect them to trend downward.

17. Pittsburgh Pirates – The pitching staff has been a real disappointment for the Pirates this year, especially after losing A.J. Burnett. The only starter on the team with an ERA+ over 100 is Charlie Morton. Francisco Liriano is having a rough year. Jason Grilli has not been as good as he was during last year’s winning season. The good news is that Andrew McCutchen is starting to put it together and the recent call up Gregory Polanco appears to be a boost that the Pirates desperately needed.

18. Cincinnati Reds – The Reds have not had the greatest season so far, struggling in the National League Central, but do have some positives going in their favor. Votto, Mesoraco, and Frazier have all had great years, keeping the offense above water. Johnny Cueto may very well win the National League CY Young award at this rate. Chapman has looked great since coming back. The negatives? Pretty much everything else. This is another team that could go either way trending-wise.

19. New York Yankees – Sitting at 6-4 after their last ten games, the Yankees have had a mixed season. Teixera, Solarte, and Ellsbury have performed well, but the Derek Jeter retirement tour is really dragging down the offense and defense, but then again the Yankees do not have many other options, other than maybe Brendan Ryan. The pitching staff has been riddled with injuries, but Tanaka has been a phenom and Whitley has surprised, albeit in six games started.

20. Chicago White Sox – Another team that has struggled and is being carried by a few players. Do not expect the Sox’s stock to rise as they are stuck as a middle of the pack team at best.

21. Houston Astros – The Astros have increased their stock since the beginning of the year by calling up George Springer and Jonathan Singleton. Fowler and Jose Altuve have also been valuable for the club throughout the year. Dallas Keuchel has somehow been great all season. This is a rebuilding team that has won six of their last ten.

22. Minnesota Twins – The Twins have not been good this year, but are somehow only five out of the lead in the American League Central. They have a league average offense, but the magical Phil Hughes is the only worthwhile starter on the team. I would expect Hughes to regress eventually, sliding this team even further down.

23. Texas Rangers – Plagued with injuries, the Rangers still remain fighters in the American League West, going 5-5 over their last ten games. Beltre, Choo, and Rios have produced, but injuries have left positions like 1B up to AAA guys like Brad Snyder. Darvish has been great and Saunders has been good in his limited time starting, but the Rangers are just such a mess now. At least Joey Gallo is an up and comer!

24. New York Mets – Not a good season by any stretch of the imagination for the New York Mets, but at least Bobby Abreu has been on fire. 40 year old Abreu has posted an OPS of .833 in 94 plate appearances. At least you have a cool guy on your team, Mets fans!

25. Boston Red Sox – This has not been the Red Sox year. Despite going 5-5 over their last ten games, Red Sox outfielders have been unable to hit, with Jackie Bradley posting an OPS+ of 64, which is just horrible. Ortiz and Napoli have been good, as has Mike Holt in limited time, but that is not enough. Brandon Workman has thrown quality innings, which may give some Sox fans that the team will trend upward.

26. Chicago Cubs – Rizzo and Starlin Castro have not been bad this year, but they are still in their rebuilding state, where half of the lineup and rotation is on the trade block. Arrieta and Hammel had good outings against the Phillies which boosted their and the team’s stock some.

27. Arizona Diamondbacks – Arizona has been miserable at home, but they are .500 on the road, which is why I am placing them as high as I am. A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt are really carrying the offense, while nobody is carrying the pitching staff. To make matters worse, highly paid Trevor Cahill was just demoted to A ball.

28. San Diego Padres – Only one person, Seth Smith, on the offense is producing. Only one person, Andrew Cashner, on the pitching staff is producing. Over their previous ten games they are 2-8. They are bad, real bad.

29. Philadelphia Phillies – Philly just lost a home series to the Chicago Cubs. Ben Revere and Dominic Brown have been anchors for this offense. Hamels and Lee are producing on the pitching end of things, but that really is it for the Phillies. It is time for this team to be sent out to pasture.

30. Tampa Bay Rays – David Dejesus is really the only guy on the offensive producing at a high level. The pitching staff is not even that bad, just really mediocre. Only Chris Archer has an ERA+ over 100. Being in the American League East means that the Rays are doomed. 

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