Tuesday May 8th, 2012
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-We are going to bring you a monthly power rankings every month of the season. There will be a few verses for each team. Please feel free to let us know your thoughts.
May Power Rankings
- Texas (19-10) Josh Hamilton is clubbing the ball at his 2010 like AL MVP clip. Yu Darvish appears to be the real deal. Mike Napoli hits 8th on most nights. Michael Young might be the most under-appreciated hitter in the last decade. Ian Kinsler is on pace for 162 runs. If Nelson Cruz starts hitting and or Nathan rounds into form, than this team may blitz by every one.
- Tampa Bay (19-10) The pitching staff is incredible right now. David Price is asserting himself as one of the premier left-handed pitchers in baseball. Strong starts from Evan Longoria, Luke Scott and Carlos Pena have helped. Joe Maddon may be the best ‘in-game manager’ of baseball now with Tony La Russa out of the Majors.
- Atlanta (18-12) The reason I have Atlanta rated so high is they are not even having a good year from Tim Hudson yet and Jair Jurrjens has been atrocious. Still they sit near the top of the standings. Chipper Jones has 21 RBI and Freddie Freeman has taken the next step so far with 26 RBI. Last year the team had a lot of players with career worst years and they were only eliminated on the last day of the season. This year may be different.
- St. Louis (18-11) You lose a franchise player like Albert Pujols and you spend half the money for Carlos Beltran and Rafael Furcal, who are finally hitting the numbers like the back of their bubble gum cards from 5 years ago. Are we giving enough credit to Mark McGwire here? Lance Lynn has morphed into Chris Carpenter with his 6-0 start.
- LA Dodgers (19-10) Matt Kemp is the best player in baseball right now and may walk away with the triple crown this year. Andre Ethier has matured into the RBI guy he needs to be. Solid pitching by Clayton Kershaw, Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly have this team looking solid. Dodgers look good in the future when the new ownership takes over.
- New York Yankees (15-13) I am not giving the Yankees a high rating because I am a fan. Their offense looks awesome right now without your usual major contributions from Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez or Robinson Cano. Derek Jeter is hitting like he is 25 and Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson have had strong starts. Losing Mariano Rivera hurts but they have David Robertson and Rafael Soriano throwing well to take over. Andy Pettitte coming back should also help.
- Washington (18-10) The Bryce Harper era has started in Washington. Seeing this kids mechanics has me baffled that he is only 19 with such a nice weight transference. 5 doubles in 8 games is a great start. With Jayson Werth out for some time, I think this kid will stick in the Majors Leagues for sure. Stephen Strasburg, Ross Detwiler, Jordan Zimmerman, Edwin Jackson and Gio Gonzalez have pitched incredibly well. Who ever would have thought this would be their strength? They still must find a closer. This will be the team to watch in the future of this division.
- Toronto (16-13) Despite the offensive struggling so far(except for Edwin Encarnacion), the pitching staff has carried the club. Usually in the course of a season you seep to your own water level. Adam Lind and Jose Bautista will not hit under .200. Ricky Romero looks better every year. Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek and Henderson Alvarez look to keep up their strong pitching starts.
- Baltimore (19-10) You not need look further for the biggest surprise of the 1st month than the Orioles. Will they be able to keep it going is the next question? The bullpen has been tremendous so far as several pitchers haven’t even given up a run. Adam J0nes has been as steady as they come in CF.
- Cleveland (17-11) Cleveland is just one of those teams that is winning games in the clutch. Derek Lowe is 4-1 and Asdrubal Cabrera has had a hot start. The bullpen has been solid. The Indians also are playing in a weaker division, but this is a promising start. Ubaldo Jimenez looks a lot better this year. I like the signing of Johnny Damon to bring depth and a great veteran presence.
- Detroit (14-14) Injuries and fielding have caught up to the Tigers. Lets not get out of hand here. This team will be right on top of the division when it is all said and done. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder will round in to form. Justin Verlander is still the horse of the American League. Give them time to gel.
- Cincinnati (15-13) Jay Bruce with 9 HRs and 21 RBI and Joey Votto .444 OBP are leading the offensive charge for the Reds. Aroldis Chapman has 25 SO in 14 innings to anchor a lights out bullpen. Johnny Cueto also has a 4-1 record with a 1.31 ERA.
- New York Mets (16-13) The Mets have parlayed a strong 10-6 record at home to put themselves in the top 5 records in the National League. David Wright is healthy and tearing the cover off of the ball. Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Andres Torres have provided a good spark to the lineup. Johan Santana and RA Dickey have anchored the staff to better than expected numbers.
- San Francisco (14-15) It is the same thing that always plagues this team. The offense is struggling despite having decent averages. It’s the lack of clutch hitting . Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito have all had strong pitching starts. If you looked at the stat lines of all concerned you would have a tough time believing they are under .500.
- Philadelphia (14-16) Lets see since 2009 WS, The Phils have lost Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez, while Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are hurt. You throw in that Jimmy Rollins is not the same player and that was their 1-5 lineup that year. Carlos Ruiz, Juan Pierre and Hunter Pence with decent starts, but unless Utley and Howard come back it won’t matter how strong the pitching is.
- Boston (12-16) The Red Sox started out slow yet again. Their offensive is looking good though and it is only a matter of time before they improve the pitching from what it is. David Ortiz is having a renaissance year and Ryan Sweeney plus the combination of Dustin Pedroia and Cody Ross are providing enough offense. We can be sure Adrian Gonzalez will still have some torrid hitting left in him this year.
- Los Angeles Angels (13-17) How are the Angels struggling so badly even though Jered Weaver is 5-0 with a 1.60 ERA and he has already thrown a no-hitter? I will tell you how. King Albert Pujols waited 111 AB for his first round tripper of the year. The offense just needs to be mediocre for this team to thrive. They have won 6 of their last 8 games.
- Miami Marlins (15-14) With all of the buzz and in the inaugural season of their New Marlins Ball Park, the team started off really slow. However Giancarlo Stanton has started to rip it up and the team has won 7 games in a row. Carlos Zambrano is even keeping it it real so far with a 1.98 ERA. Signing Zambrano was a good move, he has had 8 straight winning seasons. If Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez can find their games-the Marlins will make their first year at the new park memorable.
- Arizona (14-16) It was only a matter of time before the Stephen Drew injury was going to finally catch up with them. The Diamondbacks had lots of guys with career years last year and now it is almost impossible to duplicate the same this year. Ryan Roberts, Justin Upton and Paul Goldschmidt need to step their game up right now to help the pitching staff. The Dodgers are only looking to improve in the division so it could end up being a tough year in the desert.
- Chicago White Sox (13-17) For a team that is only 13-17, they actually are not looking that bad. Adam Dunn is sliding back to is 40 HR 100 RBI pace that they expected out of him. Paul Konerko continues to paste the ball around the yard and should have a chance at another ALL-Star Game. A.J Pierzynski is also clubbing the ball. The pitching is struggling and their depth is not very strong. They will be lucky to finish .500.
- Milwaukee (12-17) Much like the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Brewers had career years out of a number of players last year and it will be tough produce again this year. Losing Prince Fielder‘s presence has not gone over well. Nyjer Morgan has been a liability so far and it is only a matter of time before he snaps. Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf have been no picnic to watch either. They are lucky they play in the NL Central versus the Astros, Cubs and Pirates.
- Oakland (15-14) The Athletics have feasted on the Mariners, Royals and the early season version of the Angels, to post a winning record. Bartolo Colon is on borrowed time. Yeonis Cespedes does give the fans something to look forward to. This team is laden filled with 6-8 hitters on every other club all hitting in their top 6 spots. The organization is waiting for a new ballpark before the spend anything.
- Colorado (12-16) When 49-year-old Jamie Moyer has been your best starting pitcher this year, that certainly is not saying much for the rest of the bunch. Carlos Gonzalez is hitting everything in sight and maybe on his way to another awesome season. The Rockies can’t expect a superhuman charge in the second half that they always seem to get when Troy Tulowitzki heats up.
- Chicago (12-17) In a transition year, the club may have found a first baseman of the future in Bryan LaHair. He has 8 HR’s and his OPS is over 1.2 to date. Starlin Castro is following up a great campaign by being on pace for another 200 hit year. Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano are flat-out stealing money. The team should trade Matt Garza for a collection of young pitchers and continue the rebuild.
- Pittsburgh (12-16) It is a minor miracle that Pittsburgh’s record is even remotely close to .500 The offense would make a bakery proud with all of the bagels they are turning out. They should have re-signed Derrek Lee and his .983 OPS swinging for the Bucs last year. The good news is that they can still turn it around. Pedro Alvarez does have 7 HRs in 77 ABs so far. Unless A.J Burnett rescues the team, (pause for laughter here) it will be another sad season in Pittsburgh.
- Seattle (14-17) Even with winning 3 games in a row, Seattle is still 3 games under .500. Chone Figgins never panned out in the lead off spot and now he is left the Mariners with a 4th and 40 situation(football joke for yardage). Ichiro Suzuki has done okay in the 3rd spot. Felix Hernandez has pitched really well this year and it is a shame this right hander never receives any run support. A nice surprise start from Kyle Seager at third base and Jesus Montero seems to be the real deal. The Mariners do have a future with the likes of these guys and Dustin Ackley to build around.
- Houston (13-16) The Astros have overachieved so far yet the legend of Jose Altuve is growing. He is only 5 foot 6 and swings through with as much ferocity as anyone. Morgan Ensberg and Mike Ferrin of XM radio have even come up with a new unit to measure home runs as an honor to him. The measurement goes the amount of feet a ball travels divided by 5.6-which is an ‘ALTUVE.’ Jed Lowrie has also provided some spark for the Houston club. Not enough of just about everything hurts the club.
- San Diego (10-20) The Padres are a brutal offensive team. No batter is hitting over .283 and we are still really early into the season. On the bright side, the pitching staff is still not bad with the addition of Edinson Volquez. The bullpen is holding its own. The ownership needs to start investing in this club!
- Kansas City (9-19) With the young hitters of Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler, it is only a matter of time before this team contends. This team really misses departed Melky Cabrera this year. The pitching is still coming up through the minors. This team has a big chance to move up the rankings before June. I would be really surprised to see them at 29th still next month.
- Minnesota (7-21) This club is saddled with two big contracts destroying their budget. Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer are turning into the hitter version tandem of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. Injuries and the new ballpark dimensions are chopping this team down to the core. My only hope is that the fans keep coming to Target. I wish that these two former All-Stars would return to form but I don’t foresee it.
***Thank you to our Baseball Writer- Douglas “Chuck” Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***
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