MLB Power Rankings (June 22), Part 2: Marlins Continue Downward Slide
Now that you've read the first half of our MLB power rankings, here are the teams that did not quite make the cut...or in some cases, never even came close:
16. Cleveland Indians (37-32, +/- 0) – Within the next two weeks, the Tribe will take on the Yankees, Orioles, Angels and Rays. It will be interesting to see if Cleveland can pass the mid-season test and maintain its AL Central lead. After a slow start, right fielder Shin-Soo Choo has finally gotten into a rhythm with nine multi-hit games this month.
17. St. Louis Cardinals (36-35, +/- 0) – Carlos Beltran is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down, but collectively, the team’s hitting has declined. From May to June, the team’s batting average and slugging percentage has dropped by 22 and 89 points, respectively. The Cardinals could use more power from guys like Matt Holliday and David Freese.
18. Toronto Blue Jays (36-34, -7) – Even with Jose Bautista belting 11 home runs in the Blue Jays’ last 18 games, the team has only managed to win half the time. Brandon Morrow’s injury may have something to do with that. The ace of the staff has been sidelined since June 11 with an oblique strain.
19. Chicago White Sox (36-34, -13) – Everyone knows how bad the Cubs are this season. That fact made it especially embarrassing when the Cubbies took two of three from the south-siders earlier this week. Adam Dunn hits a bunch of home runs, while striking out a ton and hitting for a low average. The team’s next two run-producers, A.J. Pierzynski and Paul Konerko, are 35 and 36 years old, respectively. But then again, their age may not hurt the White Sox if they can continue driving in their teammates as they’ve generally done this season.
20. Arizona Diamondbacks (35-35, +/- 0) – The Snakes were a trendy pick to win the NL West, but many analysts quickly abandoned their prediction. With 12 wins in their last 18 games, Arizona finds itself only 6.5 games behind the first-place Dodgers. I don’t know if the pool in center field has anything to do with this, but Arizona has won eight of its last nine home games. First-year Diamondback Jason Kubel is one reason why Arizona boasts one of the best offenses in the National League. Did you know he’s recorded 20 RBIs this month?
21. Milwaukee Brewers (33-37, +1) – Right-hander Yovani Gallardo is starting to look like the 2011 Yovani we all knew and loved. Six June home runs surrendered in fours starts is pretty bad, but other than the home runs, he’s been pretty unhittable. Just a quick update on the Brewers’ record when ace Zack Greinke doesn’t start: 23-32. Milwaukee’s record stands at 10-5 when Greinke takes the mound.
22. Kansas City Royals (31-37, +4) – After getting swept by the Pirates in beautiful PNC Park, the Royals have been victorious in seven of their last 10 behind a number of strong pitching performances. In those seven wins, K.C. has given up fewer than two runs per game. They’ve also begun to win close games. Of those seven wins, five came in one-run games, while the Royals won by two runs in each of the other games. Don’t ask me why, but the Royals are currently one of the best road teams in the big leagues.
23. Miami Marlins (33-37, -14) – Good thing the Heat are getting all the attention, because the Marlins are mired in a terrible slump, in which they’ve dropped 14 of their last 16 games. Despite hitting home runs in the team’s last two games. Giancarlo Stanton has struggled to find his power this month. By contrast, Giancarlito lit up opposing pitchers in the month of May to the tune of a .769 slugging percentage. Stanton's June slugging percentage? Just .389.
24. Philadelphia Phillies (33-38, -5) – The Phillies rank 16th in team ERA? Pretty weird, I know. The starters aren’t as dominant as they’ve been in past years, and many members of the bullpen have been struggling. In offensive news, Chase Utley is currently rehabbing with the Phillies’ advanced-A team and he’s batting just .172 through eight games. The question becomes: When Utley returns, how much of an impact will he have? The second baseman’s knees have given him problems nearly his entire career.
25. Minnesota Twins (28-41, +3) – Every month, the Twins’ pitching continues to improve. The pitching is still below-average, but at least the team is making progress in that respect. Hitting has also recently improved. Left fielder Josh Willingham is extremely underrated, partially as a result of where he plays. Willingham is on pace for more than 100 RBIs, and not many people are aware of that.
26. Houston Astros (28-42, -1) – Two and a half weeks ago, the Astros drafted Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa with the No. 1 overall pick. That’s the future, but the present is not nearly as exciting. The ‘Stros have won just four of 13 Interleague games this season. They’ve also struggled against every other division except for their own, the NL Central.
27. Seattle Mariners (30-42, -4) – The M’s have lost 10 of their last 13. They even got swept by the Padres! The Padres! Felix Hernandez no longer appears to be as dominant as he once was. In 2010, he struck out 232 batters, while holding them to a .212 batting average. Last season, opposing batters improved to .248 against King Felix. That number has gotten worse for Hernandez yet again (though only slightly), as batters are hitting .256 against him in 2012. He’s also on pace to allow more homers than he’s surrendered in any of the past four seasons. Ichiro’s decline is also troubling. The 38-year-old right fielder is on pace for his second consecutive sub-.300 season, which would only be the second of his prolific, 12-year MLB career.
28. Chicago Cubs (24-46, +1)– Cubs ace Ryan Dempster threw 22 scoreless innings over three consecutive starts, but was suddenly placed on the D.L. with tightness in his right lateral muscle. That’s the kind of season it’s been for the Cubs. The Cubs will hope for a quick recovery from Dempster, most likely because they’d like to trade him in return for some young talent.
29. San Diego Padres (25-46, +1) – Chase Headley leads the team in RBIs with 35, and we’re in late June. That’s all you really need to know about this team.
30. Colorado Rockies (26-43, -6) – The Rockies are in a tailspin right now after losing 13 of 15 games. They rank dead last in nearly every important pitching category, and the Coors Field excuse is not acceptable. Even on the road, their pitchers possess a 4.62 ERA. Overall, the Rockies‘ 5.32 ERA easily “beats” the Twins’ 5.04 ERA for worst ERA in baseball. On the hitting side, the Rockies struggle to hit for power away from the high altitude of home. On the road, Colorado slugs just .381. The team’s best hitters, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, are both banged up. CG is considered day-to-day with a knee injury, while Tulo is on the D.L. The shortstop underwent surgery on his groin Thursday.