Ten weeks into the season and I have surprised myself with having a power rankings column for every week. In regard’s to my preseason predictions, an update: My AL preseason Manager of the Year has been fired. My AL Rookie of the Year pick was finally called up this week. My AL Central prediction is pretty much the opposite of the current standings, the same with the AL West. My NL Rookie of the Year was demoted, promoted, and then broke his wrist. As you can see, my crystal ball was malfunctioning back in March. On to the present…
1) Philadelphia Phillies (1)
While the Phillies are loaded with the big names, Howard, Rollins, Utley and the 4 aces, it has been Placido Polanco that has impressed me most this season. He has played in 65 of the Phillies 66 games hitting .309 with 4 home runs and 37 runs batted in. He is what every championship needs. He is the glue.
2) Boston Red Sox (9)
The Red Sox received good news this week when they learned that Dustin Pedroia’s knee issue was simply just a bruise. After missing a game because of his consultation, The Laser Show has returned with a vengeance going 6-9 with 4 runs batted in since returning from the knee exam going into Sunday’s game with the Blue Jays. I will also point out the Red Sox personify fire at the current time as they have won 9 in a row. In those nine games the lowest run total they have put up is 5. That is sick and wrong.
3) St. Louis Cardinals (3)
There isn’t a day that goes by that I have not regretted picking up Lance Berkman off the waiver wire in my fantasy baseball league. I, like many others I’m sure, thought Berkman was all done after his stint with the Yankees last season. He is proving all those doubters wrong to the tune of leading the Cardinals in most offensive categories. The Cardinals. The team with the best offensive in baseball. The Cardinals. With players named Pujols, Holliday, and Rasmus. The leader? Berkman.
4) Atlanta Braves (11)
I have no idea how they are doing it, but the Braves are shooting right up these rankings over the past few weeks. Their whole starting outfield (Heyward, Prado, and McLouth) are all on the disabled list. Dan Uggla is still slumping hitting just .183. I understand the Braves have the best pitching in all of baseball to this point in the season, but you need at least some offense to win games. How are they doing it?
5) Milwaukee Brewers (8)
Carlos Gomez has been playing a sensational center field for the Brew Crew. Earlier in the week he had two eye opening catches against the Mets including robbing Carlos Beltran of a home run. Today he made a game saving catch on a ball hit by Colby Rasmus. It won’t be long before he has his own personal high light reel.
6) New York Yankees (4)
The Yankees are understanding what it was like to be the 2010 Red Sox in regards to being afflicted with the injury bug. They have been without Phil Hughes the majority of the season. They lost Rafael Soriano for awhile. Joba Chamberlain is now out for the season with Tommy John surgery pending. Just yesterday, Bartolo Colon went on the disabled list with a strained hamstring. All of this really makes me marvel at the durability of Mariano Rivera.
7) San Francisco Giants (10)
The Giants continue to be stung by the injury bug. This week they lost Freddy Sanchez to a dislocated shoulder. They are now without Pablo Sandoval (although he is expected back soon), Buster Posey, and now Sanchez. Where the Giants will get their offense is anyone’s guess.
8) Cleveland Indians (2)
The Indians have started their slide as they are 2-9 in the month of June. They are now tied with the Tigers for first place in the AL Central. Josh Tomlin has come back down to earth as his ERA is now 4.01. The Indians really need Travis Hafner to come back from the DL and they need Carlos Santana to start hitting the baseball.
9) Detroit Tigers (12)
The play of catcher Alex Avila has made Victor Martinez the most expensive designated hitter in baseball. Avila is hitting .296 with 9 home runs and 34 runs batted in. Avila is just 24 years old and is clearly the catcher of the present and future. Martinez has been producing as well, hitting .310 with 6 home runs and 34 runs batted in. But I don’t think those numbers are worthy of the 4 year $50 million deal he signed, especially if he is going to be used as the team’s designated hitter/backup catcher.
10) Texas Rangers (6)
The Texas Rangers organization selected former University of Georgia outfielder Jonathan Taylor in the 33rd round of the MLB Draft earlier this week. Taylor was paralyzed from the waist down after a collision in a game this season. What a classy move by a classy organization.
11) Arizona Diamondbacks (5)
After a scorching second half of May, the Diamondbacks have cooled a bit. They are 6-5 in June and are a half game back of the Giants in the NL West. The young corps of Justin Upton, Chris Young, and Stephen Drew have led the offense and with the NL West looking weaker in weaker by the day, the division is there for the taking.
12) Tampa Bay Rays (14)
Matt Joyce has 3 years of major league experience. He has never played in more than 92 games and has never had more than 262 at bats. So far this year he is enjoying a break out year hitting .330 with 10 home runs and 34 runs batted in through 60 games and 200 at bats. The obvious question is: Can he keep it up?
13) Cincinnati Reds (15)
In my research for this post, I came across a rumor that I really like. Jose Reyes to the Reds. Could you imagine the double play combo of Reyes and Brandon Phillips? Could you imagine Reyes setting the table for Phillips, Votto, and Bruce? While I think that the Reds more pressing need is starting pitching, this Reyes rumor is very intriguing.
14) Seattle Mariners (13)
Ichiro’s consecutive games played streak of 255 was snapped this week, as he was given a day off because of his prolonged slump. The streak was the second active longest behind Matt Kemp (268). Just seeing those numbers makes me laugh when I think of Cal Ripken’s 2,632 straight games played. Talk about streaks that will NEVER be broken.
15) Florida Marlins (7)
You know its been a rough week for the Marlins when a sportscaster on Friday night was quoted as saying, “And for the first time all week, the Florida Marlins have a lead.” Yikes. In the interest of fairness, their two best players, Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson are on the disabled list.
16) Pittsburgh Pirates (18)
Believe it or not the Pirates are just 2 games under .500. Usually around this time the Pirates are well out of the pennant race and are about 10 games under .500. This has to be encouraging for whatever Pirates fans there are in this world. Their star player, Andrew McCutchen is just 24 years old. Jose Tabata is 22. Reason for optimism in Pittsburgh.
17) Toronto Blue Jays (16)
After watching Kyle Drabek’s start against the Red Sox on Sunday, I couldn’t help but agree with Sox radio commentator Dave O’ Brien that Drabek might be best served pitching in the minors right now. There is no doubt Drabek has a great arm. But he is trying to hard to strike out the ball park instead of letting his fielders play behind him. The result? He leads the majors in walks. Let him go to Triple A where he can learn how to pitch and not just throw.
18) Colorado Rockies(19)
A year after being nearly unhittable, Ubaldo Jimenez is just terrible this year. On Sunday Jimenez went 5.1 innings giving up 11 hits and 7 runs (only 2 earned), and three home runs. On the season, Jimenez is 1-7 with an ERA of 4.63. His ineffectiveness paired with the loss of Jorge De La Rosa is the reason the Rockies have fallen out of contention as quickly as they have.
19) New York Mets (21)
The Mets have to be crazy if they don’t want to re-sign Jose Reyes. He is just 28 years old and is leading the majors in hits and batting average. He is doing it all at a position where there isn’t much offense anymore. The argument could be made that he is the best shortstop in baseball with all due respect to Hanley Ramirez and Troy Tulowitzki. The Mets would be best served to trade David Wright and to hold onto Reyes.
20) Baltimore Orioles (22)
The Orioles have announced that they intend to cut Zach Britton’s workload in an effort to get him pitch deeper into September. Over 13 starts he is 6-4 with an ERA of 3.18. The 23 year old has thrown 82 innings so far this season and has never thrown more than 154 in any year. This is a smart move by the Orioles because Britton is a building block that the Orioles can start a franchise around and some day be competitive in the ultra-competitive AL East.
21) Chicago White Sox (20)
Ozzie Guillen recently said that Paul Konerko will walk into the Hall of Fame “the right way.” While there is no doubt in my mind that Konerko is clean, is he a Hall of Famer? At this point in his career, he is a .282 hitter with 381 home runs and 1,207 runs batted in. If a decision had to be made right now, I would say he wouldn’t be getting into Cooperstown as he compares to Tino Martinez right now. Konerko needs 2-3 seasons of 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in for me to say with any certainty that he would be a Hall of Famer.
22) Los Angeles Angels (17)
The Angels are about to embark on a 12 game road trip starting in Seattle, then to New York to face the Mets, followed by a trip to Florida, and then back across the country to face the Dodgers. This news isn’t awful for the Angels since they are 16-16 on the road this season and 15-20 at home.
23) Los Angeles Dodgers (23)
Another week and its more of the same for the Dodgers. Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier continue to mash the ball with little to no help from anyone else in the lineup. Kemp is hitting .331 with 20 home runs and 56 runs batted in and Ethier is hitting .321 with 5 home runs and 32 runs batted in.
24) Washington Nationals (26)
Other than Bryce Harper showing he is a Class A deusch this week by blowing a kiss to a pitcher he just hit a bomb off of in the minors, the Nationals did receive good news this week. Their best player, Ryan Zimmerman, is expected back Tuesday. He is 8-16 on his current rehab stint.
25) San Diego Padres (25)
The Padres called up Anthony Rizzo this week, one of the pieces of the Adrian Gonzalez deal. He has helped alleviate the pain of losing one of the games best hitters by producing himself. The 21-year old is 3-7 with a home run this week. He is the future of San Diego.
26) Kansas City Royals (27)
This week the Royals called up my pre-season Rookie of the Year, Mike Moustakas. He had a very slow start in Triple A, and quite frankly I was surprised the Royals called him up as he isn’t much of an upgrade over Wilson Betemit at this point. He wasn’t mashing the Triple A pitching like teammate Eric Hosmer was either. Through 2 games so far he is 2-6 with a home run and 2 runs scored.
27) Oakland Athletics (24)
Bob Geren was my preseason pick to be the American League Manager of the Year. Instead he is the first manager relieved of his duties in 2011. It is hard to blame Geren for the Athletics’ woes when their offensive personnel is terrible and their closer had an ERA near 5. Let this be a lesson to all readers: Take my predictions with a grain of salt and laugh at them.
28) Chicago Cubs(28)
There isn’t much good news in Wrigley Land as the Cubs are pretty awful this year. But they are expecting to get Alfonso Soriano, Reed Johnson, and Jeff Baker all back this week from the disabled list. Aramis Ramirez is showing signs of getting his power turned back on as he homered twice this week.
29) Minnesota Twins (30)
The Twins are 8-3 in the month of June. They have finally got out of the cellar in these rankings and I doubt they will get to the #30 spot again. Joe Mauer and Tsuyoshi Nishiokia are expected back within the next two weeks. They should be getting Jason Kubel back soon as well. If only Justin Morneau could return his former self, the Twins could make a push in the AL Central.
30) Houston Astros (29)
Mark Melancon does not have to worry about losing his closing job with the return of Brandon Lyon. On Saturday, Lyon came on in the tenth inning against the Braves and promptly gave up 4 runs on 3 hits and a walk without getting an out.
I can be followed on Twitter @ ScottieNTCF
Filed under: MLB | Tagged: Alex Avila, Carlos Gomez, Dustin Pedroia, Ichiro, Kyle Drabek, Mike Moustakas, Paul Konerko | Leave a Comment »