Hello Place to Be Nation!
It’s that time again: Another installment of the MLB Power Rankings. June was a fascinating month, with teams really starting to separate themselves into contenders and pretenders.
At the halfway point of the season, nothing is assured, but given the fluctuations at the top of this month’s rankings, the only sure thing is an exciting second half.
Stay tuned! Same PTB Time! Same PTB Channel!
All stats and records are current through July 3.
|1||Texas Rangers (6)||52-31||A 20-8 June catapults the Rangers to the top spot, despite having 60% of their rotation on the DL. Being 3rd in the AL in scoring and having a solid bullpen helps manage those losses. For now.|
|2||San Francisco Giants (2)||52-32||The G-Men followed up a 21-8 May with a 17-10 June to stake their claim atop the NL West. Johnny Cueto (12-1, 2.93 ERA) continues to be stellar, while Jake Peavy has quietly righted the ship, going 3-3 with a 3.38 over his last eight starts.|
|3||Cleveland Indians (13)||49-32||Yes, it’s a huge jump, but that’s what a 14-game winning streak gets you sometimes. Well, that and a league-best 3.58 team ERA.|
|4||Chicago Cubs (1)||51-30||Despite playing .571 baseball during the month of June, injuries and a few sour starts have the Cubbies in enough of a mini-slump to drop them from the top spot.|
|5||Washington Nationals (3)||50-33||Stephen Strasburg (11-0) continues to lead the charge on the mound, despite being partially constructed out of tinfoil, Elmer’s, and pipe cleaners. Meanwhile, Wilson Ramos (.336) and Daniel Murphy (.346) continue their respective impersonations of Mike Piazza and Robbie Alomar.|
|6||Baltimore Orioles (5)||47-34||Mark Trumbo has to be in the running for best offseason trade pickup, right?|
|7||Los Angeles Dodgers (11)||47-37||The Dodgers are five back of the Giants, and they cannot afford to lose more ground, so LA has to hope Kershaw’s back injury is not serious. Also, Corey Seager is just so, so good.|
|8||Houston Astros (24)||43-39||The team we left for dead in April has gone 36-21 since May 1, including a June of .692 baseball. It was Dallas Kuechel who once said “The report of our death has been greatly exaggerated.” [Note: maybe not.]|
|9||Detroit Tigers (18)||44-38||The Tigers have gotten excellent offense all year, fourth in the AL with a .774 team OPS. Miggy Cabrera (.910 OPS), Ian Kinsler (.837), Nick Castellanos (.856), and Victor Martinez (.906) have all been crazy good, but so has offseason add Cameron Maybin (.848). Now if the Tigs could just clone Michael Fulmer (8-2, 2.17).|
|10||New York Mets (10)||44-37||Every year, certain contenders get their seasons wrecked by injuries. With Lucas Duda and David Wright out, and the elbow scares of Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, maybe this is the Mets’ year. Fun fact: Matz attended the same high school as Mick Foley (and Kevin James, if you’re into his schtick.)|
|11||Kansas City Royals (9)||43-38||The defending champs are hanging in there, but injuries to Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas — and now Lorenzo Cain — have slowed the Royals a bit. That, and a starting rotation with a collective 4.97 ERA.|
|12||Toronto Blue Jays (14)||45-39||Michael Saunders has helped pick up the slack (.294/.370/.552) while Jose Bautista is out; the Jays’ pitching has been alright, but there are no mega-deals coming this year.|
|13||St. Louis Cardinals (15)||43-38||Matt Carpenter (.298/.421/.575) is the superstar no one knows and he’s going to get some MVP love if he keeps this up.|
|14||Miami Marlins (17)||43-39||Miami is still hanging around, thanks to Marcell Ozuna (144 OPS+) and Christian Yelich (137 OPS+) both being fantastic. The Marlins’ pitching staff looks similar to a lot of 2016 contenders: one ace, a second capable arm (in this case, Adam Conley), a couple of iffy ones, and then a standout bullpen.|
|15||Boston Red Sox (14)||44-37||The phenomenal offense (1st in the AL in runs, RBI, OBP, and total bases) could not save the BoSox from a 10-16 June, where the team was outscored 142-126. A garbage pitching staff (11th in AL at 4.49) could wreck the season in Fenway.|
|16||Pittsburgh Pirates (8)||41-41||The Buccos absolutely cratered last month, going 9-19 thanks to an offense that hit .230/.302/.369 for the month. The pitching was not much better, carrying a 5.31 ERA.|
|17||Seattle Mariners (7)||43-39||The M’s 3.88 team ERA ranks 2nd in the AL, a remarkable feat considering the absence of King Felix. Also, it’s safe to say Robbie Cano is over his 2015 stomach bug (.304/.360/.539).|
|18||New York Yankees (20)||40-41||In almost any other market, this team would be perfectly set up for a fire sale and rebuild. But this is New York, so the most the Yanks will do is move a piece or two (Chapman? Miller?) and look to spend again in the offseason.|
|19||Chicago White Sox (12)||42-40||April’s Cinderella story (17-8) lost its glass slipper in May (11-17) and still has not recovered (12-14) in June. Thus far in July, a run differential of -1 does not bode well for a bounceback.|
|20||Colorado Rockies (19)||37-44||Early-season breakout Trevor Story has been alright since his monster April, while Nolan Arenado (126 OPS+), Carlos Gonzalez (128), and Charlie Blackmon (117) form a nice offense core. The pitching still has a massive case of awful, however.|
|21||Arizona Diamondbacks (22)||37-47||The offense is pretty decent (tied 8th in MLB with a .768 OPS), but the defense is not (24th with a .678 Defensive Efficiency). The pitching (26th with a 4.64 ERA) is poopy.|
|22||Milwaukee Brewers (26)||35-46||The Brew Crew is a bad team, but not as awful as we thought. Still, the team is a few years from contention. The big questions are if Ryan Braun (age 32) and Jonathan Lucroy (30) will be around to see it?|
|23||San Diego Padres (27)||35-47||Wil Myers (11 homers in June; 19 overall) finally looks like the player worth all that hype. As does former first-rounder Drew Pomeranz (2.65 ERA). It’s really a shame the rest of the squad is so bad.|
|24||Oakland A’s (23)||35-47||The A’s can’t pitch (4.75 team ERA), can’t hit (.707 OPS), and can’t field (.673). Honestly, they are lucky to be ranked this high.|
|25||Philadelphia Phillies (16)||37-46||Odubel Herrera (121 OPS+) and Maikel Franco (103) look like building blocks at ages 24 and 23, respectively. The pitching also has some hope with Aaron Nola (9.9 K/9) and Vincent Velasquez (10.8) mowing guys down. The best news might be that Philly signed first-rounder Mickey Moniak quickly.|
|26||Tampa Bay Rays (21)||33-48||Back in March, I picked Chris Archer (4-11, 4.50 ERA) to build on his excellent 2015 and win the 2016 Cy Young. I would like to apologize for that statement and retract my choice. I’ll go with my back-up selection of Drew Smyly. Wait, what?|
|27||Los Angeles Angels (25)||33-49||You cannot win scoring 4.4 runs per game when you allow 4.8. That just does not work. Mike Trout’s engagement may be the most noteworthy Angels news the rest of the year.|
|28||Cincinnati Reds (29)||30-53||The Reds have a 5.51 team ERA. That’s nearly 0.40 runs worse than the Rockies (5.13). Yep, that’s ugly.|
|29||Atlanta Braves (30)||28-54||The Bravos nabbed a couple of young players for Bud “3-7” Norris. Atlanta does not have a lot of other pieces to move, but those they do have (Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino) could fetch a ransom in this arm-starved market.|
|30||Minnesota Twins (28)||27-54||I worry for Byron Buxton. I know he’s only 22, but to be so highly touted, you’d think he could do better than this (.201/.235/.347; 53 OPS+). Maybe he’s just caught up in all the losing?|
We are at the mid-point of the season now, with the All-Star break coming next week, followed by the well-deserved Hall of Fame inductions of Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mike Piazza.
A lot of baseball is left to be played and there are still some surprise contenders out there, waiting to emerge!
It should be a great second half, Place to Be Nation! So sit back and enjoy!