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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

MLB Power Rankings

Welcome to the first edition of Michel's MLB Power Rankings. Yes, it is the time of the year when baseball is the predominant thing to talk about, because all of the other sports are either finished or soon to be finished for the year.

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30.Chicago Cubs(23-44):  Proud owners of the worst record in the bigs. . The only thing interesting about the Cubs is; who will they trade, to speed up there rebuilding process? SP Ryan Dempster is as good as gone. Can they find takers for Alfonso Soriano's gigantic contract? Is Matt Garza on the block, or will new GM Theo Epstein see him as part of the future? more after the jump

29.San Diego Padres(24-43): The sad-sack Padres have scored just 225 runs in 67 total games. This is good for the fewest runs scored per game average in the MLB. San Diego has hit just 36 HRs so far this season, and is already 18 games behind the NL West leading Dodgers. Yikes. Thankfully the Weather is always beautiful in San Diego. That is the only good thing going for fans of this team
28.Colorado Rockies(25-40): The Rockies pitching staff; has the worst ERA in all of Baseball, (5.35 ERA per game); the fewest quality starts(17); the highest batting average allowed(2.98), and the most total bases given up (1111). Good thing this isn't the year of the pitcher....
27.Minnesota Twins(26-39): Owners of the worst record in the AL. They are playing better after a horrendous start. If it wasn't for Colorado's terrible pitching, the Twin's would own the majors worst staff. As it is, the Twins are second worst team in most pitching categories, ahead of only the aforementioned Rockies. And lead the league in HRs given up with, 88 bombs allowed.
26.Houston Astros(28-39): The 'Stros have been surprisingly competitive at home this season. Owning a 19-14 record at Minute Maid park. They have been horrendous on the road, as they are tied with the Cubs for the worst road record in the Bigs at, 9-25.
25.Seattle Mariners(29-40): Seattle can field as usual. They own the second highest fielding percentage in all of baseball at, 98.8%. Another trend the Mariner's continue; is losing ball games, because they can't hit. They are batting just .234 as a team.
24.Milwaukee Brewers(31-36) Although Ryan Braun continues to impress(.316 avg/19 HR/47 RBI), the Brewers miss Prince Fielder greatly, as they are hitting just .240 as a team, in their first year without the hefty lefty. Braun's performance also begs the question; is he getting tested? And if so, who is pissing in his cup for him? Zach Greinke?
23.Kansas City Royals(29-36): The Royals have overcome a horrid start, to pull within 5 games of the AL Central lead. Granted it's the AL Central, but it's still impressive considering they were 3-14 to start the season. Kansas City owns the Majors worst home record at 11-20. If they want to stay in contention in the AL central, they must start winning at home.
22.Oakland Athletics(31-36): It is amazing that this team is just 5 games below 500.  The A's are the worst hitting team in all  of baseball. They have a .226 batting average as a team. That is more in line with the 1900's, then the modern era.
21. Philadelphia Phillies(31-37): The Phillies have been plauged by injuries and bad luck all season. SP Cliff Lee, has yet to record a win in 11 starts, despite a .348 ERA. That fact, and the fact that Roy Halladay has a below .500 record (4-5) and is on the DL for another month or so, are the two main reasons for this club's underwhelming first half.
20.Detroit Tigers(32-34): Another team that has not met the expectations placed on them at the outset of the season, so far. When you can't field your not going to win many ball games. Maybe having two first-baseman in the infield, wasn't such a great idea?? Who knew?
19.Miami Marlins(33-33): The Marlins have given up 47 more runs then they have scored. This is good for fifth worst in baseball. Only the Twins, Padres, Cubs, and Astros have a worse run differential, and all of those teams are far below .500. Look for the Marlin's record to look more like those teams at the end of the year, then the .500 record they currently enjoy.
18.Pittsburgh Pirates(34-31): Pittsburgh is looking to field it's first .500 ballclub since 1992. They haven't had a winning season since Barry Bonds left. This team could use Bonds, as they are hitting just .228 as a team. They have a paltry .283 on base percentage so far this season, which if continued will be the downfall of this squad. And will lead to another losing Pirates season.
17.Arizona Diamondbacks(33-34): The Diamondbacks are one game below .500, but they have scored 22 more runs then they have given up. This should lead to more wins in the future. Fixing a bullpen that has killed them this season is a must. Arizona has blown 9 of their 25 save attempts.
16.Cleveland Indians(34-32): This team is just a half game back of first place in the AL Central, somehow. Indian's pitchers have given up 319 runs, which is fourth worst in all of baseball. They have also hit below average this season, as they are batting for just a .250 average on the year. Look for them to fade away in the second half.
15.NY Mets(36-32): The Mets have surprised this season because of their pitching staff. Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in Mets franchise history earlier this season. Since then, R.A. Dickey, is the first National Leaguer since 1944 to have back to back one hitters. In his last 6 starts Dickey has a 0.18 ERA and 63 strikeouts. Nasty. He will be the NL's All Star Game Starting Pitcher.
14.Chicago White Sox(35-32): The pale-hose sit in first place of the AL Central, which isn't saying much and is not necessarily a compliment this season. Chicago owes most of their success to veteran slugger Paul Konerko, and young left-handed pitcher Chris Sale. Without these two players, Chicago would be well below .500.
13.Toronto Blue Jays(34-33): For years the Jays have had the misfortune of playing in the best division in baseball, the AL East. Toronto has had teams good enough to make the playoffs for the last couple of years, but could never get past the Yanks or the Red Sox. The MLB adds a second wild-card playoff team this year, which  increased their chances of making the Playoffs. But Toronto loses 3 starting pitchers to injury in five days, and it looks like another year outside of the Playoffs.
12.Boston Red Sox(33-33): The Sox have recovered from a bad start, to get to a .500 record. They have been led by their offense which has produced 330 runs, good for second most in the MLB. Injuries have really hurt this club, and contributed to their slow start. If Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury can return healthy after the All-star break, this team could make a run.
11.Atlanta Braves(35-32): The Braves sit 4.5 games behind the Nationals in the NL East, but in my opinion, they are the favorites to win the Division. They have scored the third most runs in the NL(298), without getting great production from Jason Heyward, or Brian McCann yet. They could be a dangerous second half team.
10. St. Louis Cardinals(34-33): The defending World Series champs are just a game over .500, despite outscoring their opponents by 53 runs so far this season. Which is the third best run differential in the league. Injuries to pitchers Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia, plus half of their positional players have slowed down this team. Look for them to come alive in the second half of the year, when these players get healthy.
9.Baltimore Orioles(39-28): Despite being 11 games above .500 the Orioles have only outscored their opponents by ten runs. This means the O's are playing above their respective heads. They have been extremely good in one run games, and extra inning games. Which is a difficult trend to continue. Baltimore, plays in the best Division in Baseball, and is due for a regression to the mean in the second half, so look for them to miss the Playoffs again, despite their present day gaudy record.
8.San Francisco Giants(37-30): The Giant's are 5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. Another year, another season in which the Giants struggle to score runs. They went over two week without hitting a HR, earlier this season, and have only 43 HR on the year. But as usual, the Giant's have great pitching. Matt Cain threw the first perfect game in Giants history last week. If Tim Lincecum can turn his season around(shockingly just 2-8 with a ERA of 6.19), this team has the goods to be a tough out in the Playoffs.
7.Tampa Bay Rays(37-29): Another team that is succeeding this year because of it's great pitching. The Ray's have the sixth best ERA in the MLB at 3.50. Tampa has also been surprisingly effective hitting the ball, as they have scored 286 runs, which is good for 14th in the MLB, despite Evan Longoria, their best player missing the majority of the year. They have done all of this in the toughest Division in the MLB, and with the smallest payroll of any contending team.
6.LA Angels(36-31): The Angels have come on strong after a slow start to the year. Not coincidentally, they have heated up at the same time as, Albert Pujos, their $200 million dollar off-season acquisition. With Pujos rounding into shape, and the Majors fourth best pitching staff (3.46 team ERA), this is going to be a tough team to beat in the Playoffs. 
5.Washington Nationals(38-26): The Nats have been one of the biggest surprise in all of Baseball. Despite being swept by the Yankees over the weekend, they still hold a 4 game lead over the Mets in the NL East. Washington has a 3.00 ERA, which is the best in the league. If they make the Playoffs, they will be a tough out. Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzales are mowing down NL batters. They are the best 1-2 starting pitching combination in all of Baseball.
4.Cincinnati Reds(38-28):The Reds have outscored their opponents by 39 runs, which is good for the third best run differential in the NL. Joey Votto is having an MVP year for Cincy. He is batting a league leading .366. He also leads the Majors with a .489 on base percentage. Meaning he is getting on base in almost 49% pf his at-bats. This is Babe Ruth like. His 12 HR and 44 RBI are not too shabby either.
3.LA Dodgers(42-25): LA owns the Major's best record, despite Matt Kemp, their best player, missing over a month with an injured hamstring. The Dodger's own the second best ERA in all of Baseball allowing just 3.13 earned runs per game. At 24-12, LA owns the MLB's best home record.
2.NY Yankees(41-25): The Yanks are currently riding a 10 game winning streak, and have opened up a 2.5 game lead on Baltimore in the AL East. NY has only blown 4 saves in 24 chances, despite losing Hall of Fame Closer, Mariano Rivera, to injury for the season. The Yankees have the second best run differential in all of Baseball, outscoring their opponents by 60 runs so far this season.
1.Texas Rangers(40-27) The Rangers have cooled down a bit, since their hot start to the season. But they have still outscored their opponents by 87 runs, which is the best run differential in the MLB. The Rangers have the MLB's best offense scoring 358 runs so far this season. Texas also has the Major's best batting average(.281), and most total bases(1089). With an above average pitching staff(3.59 team ERA), and Baseballs best offense, the Rangers earn the top spot of these rankings.

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