PTBPR: June 2018 MLB Power Rankings

Hey-hey! It’s finally time to post up another PTB Power Rankings for the 2018 MLB Season. So, dust off those cleats, pull your bats out of storage, and find a glove that still fits because we are BACK and ready to, uh, well, rank 30 teams in opinionated order of performance.

Shit, well, it’s good to get back to it anyway.

Yes, Miggy, the first PTB MLB Power Rankings of the year are FINALLY out!

Editor’s note: Truly sorry about my lack of sports/baseball stuff, Nation. Grad school, unemployment, re-employment, and a lot of busy-ness at work have a way of sidetracking things. And once out of a habit, well, you know…

All records and stats are current as of Saturday, June 9, 2018.

1. New York Yankees (42-18) — The Bronx Bombers have won nine of their last 10, they’re playing .700 ball, and are the only team in MLB that has yet to lose 20 games. Ridiculous.

2. Boston Red Sox (44-21) — Personally, I find it quite boring when these two superpowers lead MLB. However, with the BoSox ripping up the league with 5.22 runs scored per game (second to the Yanks at 5.54), 600 team hits, 144 doubles, and 95 home runs, the offense is in *ahem* full swing. Solid support for Chris Sale (2.83 ERA), Rick Porcello (3.59), and David Price (4.00) and what has been a pretty good bullpen.

3. Houston Astros (41-25) — The defending champs are allowing the fewest runs in MLB (3.02 per game) while offensive core stalwarts Jose Altuve (142 OPS+), Carlos Correa (130 OPS+), Alex Bregman (136 OPS+), and George Springer 145 OPS+) lead the way on offense. Oh, and Justin Verlander (262 ERA+) and Gerrit Cole (176 ERA+) are posting best-ever seasons.

4. Seattle Mariners (40-24) — Listen, there are only four teams with 40+ wins to this point in the season (Milwaukee, see below, is at 39 as of this writing). The AL has all four them. The Mariners are probably the least likely to maintain, but, hey, those 40 are in the bank.

5. Milwaukee Brewers (39-25) — Raise your hand if you figured the Brewers posting the NL’s best record this far into the season. The offense has been alright (4.39 runs a game) as has the pitching overall (3.72 runs allowed), but that bullpen has been great (2.54 ERA). Josh Hader, in particular, is out-of-this-world. Getting ace Jimmy Nelson back soon could put the Brew Crew over the top.

6. Chicago Cubs (37-24) — Just half a game behind the Brewers, with six everyday batters posting OPS+ numbers over 100 (average). The bullpen features a whole bunch of sub-3 ERAs and Jon Lester (7-2, 2.22) has been great atop the rotation. While all those arms could regress, the solid showing at the plate from the Cubbies should keep them in the midst of October talk.

7. Washington Nationals (36-26) — The injuries have mounted for the Nats, but Max Scherzer has been healthy and continues his march toward Cooperstown. Teen phenom Juan Soto has been awesome in his 19-game introduction (.328/.435/.552) with a very promising 11-10 BB-to-K ratio.

8. Atlanta Braves (37-27) — The Bravos seem to have arrived a year ahead of schedule, but this team looks real good for a dynastic run, with Freddie Freeman (28), Ozzie Albies (21), Dansby Swanson (24), Ronald Acuna (20), and top hurlers Mike Foltynewicz (26) and Sean Newcomb (25) all well ahead of the curve.

9. Los Angeles Angels (37-28) — Mike Trout. We need to appreciate him more. Here’s his current line: .306/.439/.646, 1.085 OPS, 198 OPS+, 52 runs, 70 hits, 15 doubles, 19 homers, 13 steals (no caught stealings), 53-53 K-BB rate. And the dude is still only 26. Insane. Now, how the Halos hang around with Shohei Ohtani’s elbow woes remains in doubt, but the dominance of the Millville Meteor is of no question.

10. St. Louis Cardinals (35-27) — Only Jose Martinez (145 OPS+) and Tommy Pham (118) are really raking for the Redbirds, but strong starts from Miles Mikolas (2.27 ERA), Michael Wacha (2.47), and Carlos Martinez (1.83) are keeping the Cards alive in the Central and in the thick of things for a postseason spot.

This guy is really, really, really, amazingly good at baseball.

11. Philadelphia Phillies (32-30) — A week or so ago, these guys would rate much better, but the Phils have gone 1-7 in June. The talent is there, but the next big test for rookie manager Gabe Kapler will be righting the ship.

12. Arizona Diamondbacks (34-29) — Remember back in April when Arizona was the toast of baseball with a 28-8 record? Yeah, well, going 14-21 since has certainly put that in the distant past. Of note, though, Paul Goldschmidt seems to waking up (13-for-20 with four homers over his last four games). It’s a thoroughly mediocre division to this point, so the winner of the NL West may well wind up being the team that takes most advantage of when its best players produce.

13. Cleveland Indians (33-29) — The lowest-rated division leaders here, the Tribe has played well at home (20-11) but been the pits away (13-18). While they’re still pretty odds-on to win the Central, that vaunted bullpen (worst in MLB with a 5.82 ERA) has a chance to torpedo anything beyond that. Of note, Cleveland could be the first team since 1920 to lead MLB in bullpen ERA one year (2.89 in 2017) and then finish dead-last the next.

14, 15, 16 (tie). Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants (32-32) — The Rockies’ regression was expected from last year, while the Dodgers have been hit by more injuries than a clown car at a demolition derby, and the Giants have managed to hang around via a great home record (19-11). With a little luck and health, any of these three could challenge for the division crown, or a wildcard berth.

17. Detroit Tigers (31-35) — They are not a good team, but also not as bad as once thought. While they should still look to trade guys like Shane Greene, Michael Fulmer, and a few others, this is a very fun team to watch when they are playing well. Ron Gardenhire deserves a lot of credit here. He won’t get many (any?) votes, but this is what a Manager of the Year looks like, folks.

18. Oakland Athletics (33-32) — Trevor Cahill. Blake Treinen. Matt Chapman. Matt Olson. Mark Canha. Raise your hand if you knew these were five members of the 2018 Oakland A’s and not the roster of some non-descript mid-90s boy band. Personally, I prefer Matty C. over Matt O. And that Trevor. He’s so good to his mother.

19. Minnesota Twins (27-34) — Injuries, starting with Ervin Santana in February, have not stopped dogging this team. It’d be a real shame if we don’t get to appreciate Byron Buxton fully because of his health. However, Eddie Rosario (.318/.355/.566 & 14 HR) has been a real breakout star for these erstwhile preseason darlings.

20. Pittsburgh Pirates (31-33) — The Pirates have a talented core of players. They have a gorgeous ballpark. They have a devoted fanbase. But they also have a shitty ownership group that refuses to give said fans what they want — a winner. The hard part should be developing your supporting cast, not paying for the top-tier talent.

21. Toronto Blue Jays (29-35) — Oh, well. That window sure closed in a hurry. A selloff could bring some much-needed youth ot the Jays, as well as adding intrigue to the wild-card races around the league.

22. San Diego Padres (30-36) — I can’t believe I’ve got them this high, either. Clearly, Eric Hosmer’s will-to-win-veteran-presence even affects mid-season rankings. In truth, the Friars have a great bullpen, which, if they wish to sell off, could bring in some depth to an already-well-liked farm system.

Hey Eddie! Yeah, you. Sorry about your team. But hey, great season so far, mate!

23. Tampa Bay Rays (29-34) — The “opener” trend seems like grasping at straws to be innovative, like Kevin Cash wants Michael Lewis to write a book about him or something. That said, despite a horrid start to the year, and a veritable “Who’s That?” roster, these guys are not all that bad. They are not good either. They are the bologna and cheese on white bread of the American League. Mustard optional.

24. New York Mets (27-34) — Well, they did the right thing by dumping C— Harvey, but this team is still just Mets-ing all over the place. Losers of eight straight, with whispers they might deal deGrom or Thor. I’m sure if those trades happen, this organization will find a way to Mets those up too.

25. Texas Rangers (27-40) — It’s nice to see National Treasure Bartolo Colon pitching well. He’s old and fat, so we should adore him. I guess. I’m actually a bit lost on his precise appeal.

26. Cincinnati Reds (22-43) — The mere fact that C— Harvey shares a team with Joey “The Last Angry Canadian” Votto, and Tucker “What A Great Last Name” Barnhart, boils my blood and causes me night sweats. Also, the pitching stinks.

27. Chicago White Sox (21-41) — Lucas Giolito leads the Pale Hose with four wins, but has a 7.08 ERA. Meanwhile, Jose Abreu (139 OPS+, team-high 24 doubles) is an island unto himself.

28. Kansas City Royals (22-43) — The Royals are giving up 5.52 runs per game. The Yankees have scored 5.54 runs per game. That’s right, folks! When the Royals are in town, it’s just like watching the Yankees!

29. Baltimore Orioles (19-44) — It’s pretty clear Buck Showalter doesn’t care anymore, right? While we all know Manny Machado is great at baseball (166 OPS+) and will be traded, just gander at the awfulness of Chris Davis’s season (.152/.232/.232, four home runs, a 30 OPS+). It’s soooooooo gross!

30. Miami Marlins (23-41)  — No, the Marlins are not last because of my spite over how they have been a joke forever, constantly screw over fans, and make a mockery of competition. No, it’s not because their current and former owners are emblematic of the excessive awfulness of capitalism . No, it’s not because they plead “process” over “results” whenever someone rightly gives them a second look. It’s because they suck. Last in runs scored per game (3.48) and tied for fifth-worst in runs allowed (5.14) should do.

And with that, we are back in the pink with our Power Rankings. I hope to bring you guys more MLB goodness throughout the rest of the year when time allows. Until then, it’s batter up and play ball!

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