MLB Power Rankings: A’s, Giants the best in baseball; Cardinals surge
1. Oakland Athletics (42-28, previous: 2) – Oakland continues to consistently be the best team in baseball overall with its spectacular plus-126 run differential, by far the best in the game. Scott Kazmir has been great for the A’s this season as he is 8-2 with a 2.05 ERA, the four-best mark in all of baseball. The Athletics will play two more games with the Rangers before hosting the Red Sox for four games over the weekend.
2. San Francisco Giants (43-27, previous: 1) – San Francisco has now lost three straight games, but even with that, it still has the best record in baseball. Closer Sergio Romo is having a solid season with 20 saves to this point, second in the National League. The Giants’ plus-54 run differential is tops in the NL. They will now begin a five-game road trip, taking on the White Sox and Diamondbacks. They are 20-12 away from home this season.
3. Milwaukee Brewers (42-29, previous: 4) – With the Giants’ recent small skid, the Brewers could very well be in the 2 spot next week. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy is having a tremendous season, bursting onto the scene as he has a batting line of .335/.397/.512, the third-best batting average in all of baseball. Milwaukee will play three more games at Arizona before shooting up to Colorado for a weekend series with the Rockies.
4. Toronto Blue Jays (41-30, previous: 3) – The Blue Jays have came back to Earth a bit in the past week or so as several teams have gained ground in the AL East. Along with their powerful offense, starting pitcher Mark Buehrle has impressed this season as he is tied for the American League lead in wins with 10. Toronto will wrap up its 10-game road trip this week, taking on the Yankees and Reds.
5. St. Louis Cardinals (38-32, previous: 8) – The Cardinals are the hottest team in the National League at the moment, gaining ground on the Brewers, as they have won seven of their last 10 games. St. Louis’ pitching continues to be the key as it is led by Adam Wainwright and his 9-3, 2.15 ERA. The Cards have a good chance to extend their win streak as they have games coming up with the Mets and Phillies, all at home.
6. Los Angeles Angels (37-32, previous: 5) – The Angels have played steady ball in the AL West hunt, but the Athletics have just been too good this season. Mike Trout continues to dominate the league with a .305/.394/.582 batting line. His slugging percentage is fourth in the American League. Los Angeles will play three more games in Cleveland before returning home for six straight.
7. Los Angeles Dodgers (37-34, previous: 6) – With all the outstanding pitchers in the Dodgers’ rotation, it is Josh Beckett who is leading the way with an ERA of 2.49. But L.A. is six games out of first place in the NL West as their top starters haven’t pitched up to their capabilities so far. Following a series with Colorado, the Dodgers will take on the lowly Padres as they look to make up some ground in the division.
8. Kansas City Royals (37-32, previous: 18) – Kansas City has suddenly emerged as the hottest team in the American League as it has won eight straight and nine of its last 10 games. Outfielder Alex Gordon is quietly having a solid season for the Royals as he is hitting .286, with seven homers and 36 RBIs. The Royals are now just half a game behind the Tigers for tops in the AL Central.
9. Seattle Mariners (36-34, previous: 7) – Though the Mariners are two games over .500, they are just 16-20 at home this season and find themselves six games behind Oakland in the AL West. After a sluggish start, Felix Hernandez has picked it up of late as he’s 8-2 on the year with a 2.29 ERA, the eighth-best mark in baseball. The Mariners will finish a home-and-home with the Padres before continuing on the road to Kansas City.
10. Detroit Tigers (36-30, previous: 9) – The Tigers lead the AL Central by half a game, but don’t exactly look like the same team that made the ALCS last year. A major reason for their relative struggles is the poor season Justin Verlander is having, as he is 6-7 with a 4.98 ERA. Detroit will play three more games with the Royals before beginning a nine-game road trip.
11. Cleveland Indians (36-35, previous: 12) – Cleveland has won three straight, and is now just three games behind Detroit in the AL Central. Michael Brantley took home AL Player of the Week honors, last week hitting .538 (14-for-26) with three doubles, two homers, three walks, three RBIs and nine runs scored in seven games.
12. Atlanta Braves (36-33, previous: 10) – Atlanta isn’t having a typical Braves season as it leads the NL East by just half a game and has a minus-five run differential, which is unusual for a division leader. The Braves haven’t hit much this season, but have received good starting pitching, especially Julio Teheran, who despite his 6-4 record has a dominant 2.31 ERA.
13. Washington Nationals (35-33, previous: 13) – Despite dropping four straight, the Nationals still remain just half a game behind the Braves in the NL East. It’s a race that will likely be contested through the summer and in to September. Though Stephen Strasburg is 6-5 with a 3.06 ERA, he has recorded 113 strikeouts on the season, the second-most in the league.
14. Miami Marlins (35-34, previous: 11) – Miami continues to impress the baseball world with the season it is having. Much of the talk with the Marlins is surrounding stud outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and whether or not they will trade him, but with being just one game back of the Braves, it’s unlikely they will be sellers at the next month’s trade deadline.
15. New York Yankees (35-33, previous: 16) – The Yankees continue to play above-average baseball to keep them in striking distance of the Blue Jays in the AL East. Without anyone standing out at the plate, the story continues to be how well rookie pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has performed this season, as along with his 2.02 ERA, the third-best mark in the majors, he’s struck out 103 – which is good for eighth in all of baseball. The Yankees are set to open a big, three-game set with the Blue Jays.
16. Baltimore Orioles (35-34, previous: 14) – Baltimore has fallen to third place in the AL East standings and received some bad news when it was learned catcher Matt Wieters will need to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. The Orioles will continue a six-game road trip with stops in Tampa Bay and New York.
17. Texas Rangers (35-35, previous: 17) – Battling injuries all season, Adrian Beltre has still had a strong season at the plate – hitting .308 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs. As a team, the Rangers are third in baseball in total batting average, but cannot get the pitching to win close games as they sit at .500 and in fourth place in the AL West.
18. Pittsburgh Pirates (34-35, previous: 19) – It’s been a disappointing year to this point for the Pirates, although outfielder Andrew McCutchen took home NL Player of the Week honors last week, leading the majors over the seven days with four home runs, 13 RBIs, a 1.034 slugging percentage, and 30 total bases.
19. Colorado Rockies (34-36, previous: 20) – Colorado couldn’t sustain its success of the first month of the season as it is now nine games behind the Giants in the NL West. Troy Tulowitski, Justin Morneau and Charlie Blackmon are enjoying strong seasons, hitting over.300. But pitching has been the problem.
20. Cincinnati Reds (33-35, previous: 21) – It’s been a disappointing season for the Reds, even with them winning six of their last 10 games. Their offense has been nowhere to be found this year, scoring the second-fewest runs in all of baseball.
21. Chicago White Sox (33-37, previous: 15) – The wheels are starting to come off the wagon for the White Sox as they have now fallen five games out of first in the AL Central and have three teams in front of them. Their lack of pitching continues to be the big issue.
22. Boston Red Sox (32-38, previous: 24) – The constant trend for the Red Sox this season is one step forward, two steps back. Lack of offense is a huge issue as a number of players are struggling at the plate, including Xander Bogaerts who is hitting just .185 in the month of June.
23. Minnesota Twins (32-36, previous: 22) – Aside from signing Kendrys Morales, there isn’t much good to talk about in Minnesota, besides maybe the All-Star Game coming to town. Although he missed two and a half months, since signing on June 8, Morales is hitting .310 with an on-base percentage of .355.
24. Houston Astros (32-39, previous: 23) – While the Astros are in last place in the AL West, they still can say at the moment that they have as many wins as the defending champion Red Sox.
25. New York Mets (31-39, previous: 25) – Things are not going well at all with the Mets as they have lost seven of their last 10 games. Their .231 team batting average is the second-worst mark in baseball as they have struggled scoring runs all season. New York will finish a three-game series in St. Louis before a four-game weekend series in Miami.
26. Philadelphia Phillies (30-38, previous: 28) – It’s getting ugly in Philadelphia as they are eight games below .500 and not playing good baseball. Things would be even worse for the Phillies if not for the strong seasons of Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, who have 2.78 and 3.18 ERAs, respectively. Following a series in Atlanta, the Phillies will travel to St. Louis for a weekend set with the surging Cardinals.
27. Arizona Diamondbacks (30-43, previous: 27) – Allowing a major league leading 359 runs this season, Arizona has the most losses in all of baseball.
28. Chicago Cubs (29-39, previous: 29) – With the fewest wins in the National League, it will be an interesting month and a half in Chicago, with trade rumors certain to be swirling.
29. San Diego Padres (29-40, previous: 26) – A .215 batting average as a team puts the Padres as the worst in baseball at the plate.
30. Tampa Bay Rays (28-43, previous: 30) – It’s been quite the contrast of seasons for the Rays as they have gone from making the postseason to now having the fewest number of wins in all of baseball.
*All stats and records are as of Tuesday, June 17
Follow Metro sports writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter: @RyanHannable