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Archive for May, 2010

MLB Power Rankings

Posted by mizzou1028 on May 7, 2010

Thought we’d try something different for fun.  These MLB rankings are not necessarily based on record.  These are based strictly on gut reaction from what I’ve seen unfold in the first month of the season.  Call it a midseason prediction barometer of sorts. 

1. Tampa Bay Rays: Their lineup is scary good.  2-6: Crawford, Zobrist, Longoria, Pena and Upton.  If they can get their bullpen straightened out they are the World Series favorite in my opinion.

2. Philadelphia Phillies: Made a huge statement this week taking three of four from St. Louis.  They have the rotation (Halladay and Hamels leading the way) and the lineup, especially once Rollins is healthy.

3. St. Louis Cardinals: In spite of the series loss in Philly, this team is a pretty much a lock to win the NL Central.  Their middle of the order is scary, they have the rotation, and they have the bullpen.  Need more production of Matt Holliday in the long run.

4. Minnesota Twins: In spite of injuries to Joe Mauer and Joe Nathan, the Twins are not skipping a beat.  The names on the roster may not be flashy, but they know how to win. 

5. New York Yankees: I know their record is excellent, but they have to be concerned about the ineptitude of their heart of the order this season (only 3 combined HRs for Teixeria and A-Rod).  Starting pitching is solid enough to land them in the playoffs anyway.

6. San Francisco Giants: The rotation is in my opinion MLB’s best, especially with Barry Zito joining the party for once.  If their offense continues to hit as it has so far, look out.

7. Detroit Tigers: They have managed to replace Curtis Granderson without too much drop off, and their offense continues to score runs.  The problem has been the starting pitching, but if they can figure it out, they are capable of challenging the Twins in the central.

8. Toronto Blue Jays: A surprise top ten entry for sure, especially considering the loss of Roy Halladay via trade.  They are getting surprising power from Vernon Wells and Alex Gonzalez, and the pitching has been terrific.  Could be a second half surprise challenger if they keep it up.

9. Texas Rangers: Their record may only be hovering around .500, but this lineup is as scary as any in baseball.  Since they are capable of scoring 10 runs every night, that makes them the favorite in the AL West, particularly if the pitching ever stabilizes. 

10. New York Mets: The return of Jose Reyes has been huge.  The addition of Jason Bay has been a major disappointment.  If Bay ever starts hitting, they have the pitching (both starting and relief) to make a deep run at the playoffs. 

11. Oakland Athletics: The overlooked team in the northern California bay is quietly playing solid baseball.  Andrew Bailey is in my opinion the best closer in baseball, and their starting pitching isn’t bad either.  This is a team to watch.

12. Colorado Rockies: This is another .500 team, but they’ve been hit with a real rash of injuries.  Huston Street, Brad Hawpe and Jeff Francis are all close to returning, and this team is based on sound fundamentals.  Don’t sleep on them yet, they will be a contender in the NL West when it’s all said and done.

13. Washington Nationals: Certainly this team is a surprise that they aren’t in the bottom five, but they’ve quietly been able to put together good clutch hitting and their pitching has been getting the job done well enough to keep comfortably above .500.  Phenom Stephen Stasburg will almost certainly join the big league club before the season is over, and should only make them even better.  Now the fans need to notice and start coming to their games.

14.  Cincinnati Reds: The Reds seem to get a walk off win every time I turn one of their games on.  Another team that isn’t flashy with big name stars, but they play the game the right way.  There are a lot of good young players on this team (Joey Votto especially) and they may finish as high as second in the NL Central if they keep up their current play.  That would certainly be a sign of progress and hope heading into 2011.

15. Florida Marlins: Anytime you have Hanley Ramirez, you’re automatically a threat to win every night.  The problem has been the lack of support to help him out, both from his fellow hitters and starting pitching.  There is too much talent here for them to remain below .500, so I would be surprised if they didn’t make a second half run.

16. Boston Red Sox: This team has needless to say been a huge disappointment.  The only reason they’re this high is because they just swept the Angels, but before that they got shelled in three games against hapless Baltimore.  Jacoby Ellsbury’s return from injury will help, but the starting pitching has just been ghastly every time I’ve watched them, which is a lot.  ESPN really needs to learn that just because the Red Sox are a big name doesn’t mean they’re good.

17. San Diego Padres: I know this team is six games above .500, and their starting pitching has been excellent, but there is nothing special about this team that jumps out.  Other than Adrian Gonzalez they have no power, and they’ve been a lot of 2-1 and 3-2 games.  Eventually they’re going to have to get consistent offense to compete, and I still think Gonzalez gets moved at the trade deadline for money reasons.  This team will fade.

18. Arizona Diamondbacks: If Brandon Webb returns healthy in June, their rotation will get a major shot in the arm.  It needs it too with Edwin Jackson’s awful performance as the current number two starter.  Their lineup is stacked with power, but it also leads MLB in strikeouts by a lot.  This team is flashy, but lacks consistency.

19. Milwaukee Brewers: This team has really lacked consistency, especially in the bullpen.  LaTroy Hawkins and Trevor Hoffman are too good to keep pitching this poorly.  Their lineup is good enough to score enough runs to win consistently, but they’ll need the pitching to go with it if they want to keep up.

20. Atlanta Braves: How the Braves are four games under .500 is absolutely beyond me.  Their starting pitching and bullpen are solid and they have a talented lineup.  They need more consistent run production, although Jason Heyward looks like he’s going to be a star for a really long time.

21. Chicago White Sox: They are certainly in the running for biggest underachiever of the first month.  Guys like Alex Rios and Jake Peavy need to start justifying their mega contracts.  The rest of the starting pitching has been abysmal too, especially Gavin Floyd.

22. Los Angeles Angels: In spite of the White Sox’ disappointment, the Angles are clearly MLB’s biggest underachiever so far this year.  Their star studded lineup is not hitting consistently, but more importantly the starting pitching is not getting it done.  Scott Kazmir and Jared Weaver in particular have been awful. 

23. Pittsburgh Pirates: It is a surprise that they are not further under .500 being that their roster is basically a Triple A team.  Considering the youth, the Pirates have pulled out some surprising wins and have mostly been competitive.  Whether it lasts is another story, but there are two teams in their division ranked below them on this list, and that’s something.

24. Chicago Cubs: The Cubs have one of MLB’s biggest payrolls and yet they have one of the worst on field products this year.  Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez are hitting way below their career numbers, although a red hot Alfonso Soriano is trying to make up for it.  The starting rotation is mediocre.  The fact that $91 million man Carlos Zambrano is now in the bullpen tells you everything you need to know.

25. Los Angeles Dodgers: The starting pitching hasn’t been there save for Hiroki Kuroda.  The lineup hasn’t been much better, although Manny Ramirez returns this weekend.  I expect this team to jump up in the rankings before the year is over, but the tough NL West they can’t wait too long to make a move.

26. Cleveland Indians: Closer Kerry Wood returns this weekend, and that should stabilize the bullpen.  Grady Sizemore has been a major disappointment with a .200 average and no home runs.  His struggles reflect the entire lineup right now.

27. Houston Astros: An 0-8 start to the season put them in a major hole to dig out of, and they’ve had a hard time doing so.  Lance Berkman’s return helps, but they need more than one home run from $100 million man Carlos Lee.  Pitching, both starting and bullpen, has also been less than desired.

28. Seattle Mariners: The M;’s have been plagued by poor hitting (why on Earth did they sign Milton Bradley, the guaranteed clubhouse poison?).  Cliff Lee is an elite starter but he’s already said he won’t be a Mariner beyond 2010 and will sign elsewhere as a free agent next season.  Ouch.

29. Kansas City Royals: Poor Zack Greinke doesn’t have a win yet and actually has a pair of 1-0 defeats on his resume this season.  The Royals have gotten good hitting at times from Jose Guillen and others, just not when they’ve had good pitching to go with it.  The middle relief is awful, and even Joakim Soria has blown a couple of saves.  Not good.

30. Baltimore Orioles: I look at this team and I find it hard to be able to name five players on the roster.  I feel bad for former Rockie Garrett Atkins, who is being asked to carry much more of the load than he is capable.  Every area is bad.  You know you’re in bad shape when you can’t for your closer (Michael Gonzalez) to return from the DL.  The problem with that? His ERA was over 9.00 before he went on the DL last month.

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