MLB Power Rankings: A’s, Brewers, Giants, Blue Jays lead the pack
1. Oakland Athletics (47-29, previous: 1) – Oakland is undoubtedly the best team in the American League at the moment, winners of seven of its last 10 games. The Athletics have three starters in the top 10 in the American League in ERA in Scott Kazmir, Jesse Chavez and Sonny Gray. The A’s will now open an eight-game road trip with games against the Mets, Marlins and Tigers.
2. Milwaukee Brewers (47-31, previous: 3) – Winners of seven of their last 10 games, the Brewers have taken over as the best team in the National League. Strong pitching has been the key for them all season long as Kyle Lohse is third in the NL with nine wins on the year and closer Francisco Rodriguez’s 25 saves is tops in the league. Milwaukee will now host the Nationals and Rockies at home this week, where they are 20-16 on the year.
3. San Francisco Giants (45-31, previous: 2) – The Giants have slipped this past week as they have lost seven of their last 10, including a stretch of six straight losses. Outfielder Hunter Pence is quietly having another strong season as he is hitting .301 with 11 homers and 29 RBIs. San Francisco will now look to turn things around with 10 straight games at home, taking on the Padres, Reds and Cardinals.
4. Toronto Blue Jays (43-35, previous: 4) – Toronto continues to lead the AL East, but it’s lead is shrinking as the Orioles are coming on strong and are now just 1.5 games back. With Edwin Encarnacion’s strong season getting most of the headlines, Jose Bautista has gotten lost in the shuffle despite his 3.9 WAR being the third best in the American League. The Blue Jays are opening a nine-game homestand, taking on the Yankees, White Sox and Brewers.
5. St. Louis Cardinals (42-35, previous: 5) – The Cardinals are starting to play like the team many expected them to be at the beginning of the season as they are now just 4.5 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central. Matt Adams continues to put up monster numbers as he has a .328 average, fifth in all of baseball, and a .530 slugging percentage. St. Louis will look to stay hot on a seven-game road trip with stops in Colorado and Los Angeles, against the Dodgers.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers (42-36, previous: 7) – Los Angeles is starting to make things interesting in the NL West as it is now just four games behind the Giants for first place. Yasiel Puig has picked up his play of late, as his .312 batting average is fifth in the National League. The Dodgers will now finish out their series in Kansas City before playing seven straight games at home.
7. Los Angeles Angels (41-33, previous: 6) – The Angels continue to play steady ball and although they trail the Athletics for best record in the division, Los Angeles is currently leading the AL wild card race. Starter Garrett Richards is enjoying a great season thus far, posting a 7-2 record with a 2.79 ERA, eighth in the American League. The Angels will host the Twins for three games before departing for Kansas City for a weekend series with the Royals.
8. Seattle Mariners (41-36, previous: 9) – Seattle has thrown itself in the mix in the AL West race as the M’s have won four straight and seven of their last 10. Felix Hernandez has continued his dominance with a 9-2 record, a 2.24 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. His ERA is the third best in the American League. The Mariners will wrap up their series with Boston before hosting the Indians over the weekend.
9. Detroit Tigers (40-32, previous: 10) – After going though a bit of a slump, the Tigers have picked it up recently as they have won four straight games. Despite sub-par pitching from their rotation, Victor Martinez has paced the offense with a .326 batting average and 19 homers, which is good for third and fourth best respectively in the American League. Detroit will now open a series with the Rangers in Texas.
10. Washington Nationals (40-35, previous: 13) – It took almost three months of the season, but the Nationals have taken over first place in the NL East with their plus-43 run differential, which is tied for the best in the entire National League. With much of the talk surrounding the Nationals focused on their pitching, first baseman Adam LaRoche is leading the offense by hitting .310, 14th in the NL, and has driven in 39 runs. The Nats will look to keep their division lead as they finish out a series with the Brewers before four games over the weekend with the Cubs.
11. Baltimore Orioles (40-35, previous: 16) – Baltimore is starting to play really well as it has won three straight and six of its last 10 to now only trail the Blue Jays by 1.5 games in the AL East. Most impressive was the O’s wins on back-to-back days against Masahiro Tanaka and Chris Sale, two of the top pitchers in all of the American League. Baltimore will now play 11 straight games at home, all against below average opponents in the White Sox, Rays and Rangers.
12. Kansas City Royals (40-36, previous: 8) – After a slow start to the season, the Royals are coming on strong and now trail the Tigers by just two games in the AL Central. Despite his 4-6 record, starter Danny Duffy has a 2.28 ERA and is quietly one of the better pitchers on the Royals’ staff. Their plus-16 run differential is the best in the AL Central, as they will look to overtake Detroit in the coming weeks.
13. New York Yankees (39-36, previous: 15) – Though no one on the Yankees has been having an overly strong season besides Masahiro Tanaka, they are still three games over .500 and 2.5 games out of first place in the AL East. Besides Tanaka’s 2.11 ERA, no starter has an ERA below 4.07. New York is in a brutal stretch of 15 games against division opponents.
14. Atlanta Braves (38-37, previous: 12) – For the first time in quite awhile, the Braves have fallen out of first place in the National League East. Their offense is what is holding them back this season as they have scored the second fewest runs in all of baseball with 268. Atlanta will look to get back to the top of the division with games against the Astros and Phillies on tap.
15. Cincinnati Reds (38-37, previous: 20) – The Reds had been seeking a hot stretch. They’ve got it now as they have won three straight and seven of their last 10. Johnny Cueto is currently the best pitcher in the National League with a 1.86 ERA, despite his 7-5 record.
16. Miami Marlins (38-38, previous: 14) – Despite their .500 record, the Marlins remain just 2.5 games out of first place. While everyone is raving over Giancarlo Stanton, third baseman Casey McGehee is also having a productive season, batting .309 with 46 RBIs for the Marlins.
17. Pittsburgh Pirates (38-38, previous: 18) – Even with a .500 record and having won three games in a row, Pittsburgh is still eight games behind the Brewers in the division and will likely not be in the postseason picture after making it a year ago.
18. Cleveland Indians (37-39, previous: 11) – The Indians had seemed to have turned things around, but they took a step or two back this past week and are now five games back of the Tigers in the division. A player to watch is third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall as he is having a very productive season with a batting line of .355/.410/.565 in 226 plate appearances.
19. Minnesota Twins (36-38, previous: 23) – The Twins have won four straight games, but still remain five games out of first place in the AL Central, which is a good indication of just how poorly they have played in the first few months of the year. Their team ERA of 4.26, 13th in the AL, is a major reason why they sit two games below .500.
20. Texas Rangers (35-40, previous: 17) – Losers of five straight games, this doesn’t appear to be Texas’ year and it doesn’t seem like the Rangers will be in the playoff picture, which hasn’t been the case in quite some time.
21. Boston Red Sox (35-42, previous: 22) – The Red Sox just cannot get into any rhythm this season and therefore are seven games below .500 and 7.5 games out of first place in the AL East. Offense has been the big issue of late as the Sox have scored three runs or less in nine of their last 10 games. Boston will finish its 10-game road trip this week by wrapping up its series with the Mariners and then a weekend series against the Yankees.
22. New York Mets (35-41, previous: 25) – Things certainly haven’t gone the way the Mets had hoped for, but despite being six games below .500, they remain five games behind the Nationals for first place in the division. New York will host the best team in the AL, in the Athletics, before a weekend series in Pittsburgh with the Pirates.
23. Chicago White Sox (35-42, previous: 21) – Things are going South quickly in Chicago as the White Sox have lost five straight and eight of their last 10, which leaves them in last place in the AL Central.
24. Colorado Rockies (34-42, previous: 19) – Colorado has now lost seven straight games and after leading the NL West for much of the first month, it is now 11 games out of first place. They’ve allowed 392 runs, the most in the National League.
25. Philadelphia Phillies (34-41, previous: 26) – It’s a strange year in the NL East as the Phillies are seven games below .500, but are still realistically in the mix, trailing the Nationals by only six games. The one bright spot has been Cole Hamels as his 2.76 ERA is 15th in all of baseball, but that could mean he could be dealt to a contender at the trade deadline.
26. Houston Astros (33-44, previous: 24) – Well, the Astros are back playing the way most expected them to, as they have lost seven of their last 10 games and have the second fewest wins in the AL.
27. San Diego Padres (33-44, previous: 29) – The Padres have scored 231 runs this season, 87 less than the next lowest team in their division. San Diego will surely be sellers at next month’s trade deadline.
28. Arizona Diamondbacks (32-47, previous: 27) – Being 15 games below .500 on June 24 will certainly make the Diamondbacks sellers at next month’s trade deadline.
29. Chicago Cubs (31-43, previous: 28) – The most exciting month of the Cubs season is coming up. Watching who ends up getting traded will be fascinating.
30. Tampa Bay Rays (31-47, previous: 30) – Much has been made of all the injuries the Rays have had to deal with, but their ace David Price is struggling this season – posting a 3.81 ERA, very uncharacteristic of the lefty.
*All stats and records are as of Tuesday, June 24.
Follow Metro sports writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter: @RyanHannable