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MLB Power Rankings: The Good, Bad and Ugly Stats from the First Half

Baseball is back.

The few off days felt like an eternity, although it was pure heaven for THE WIFE.

The Twin Cities hosted a successful All-Star Game, headlined by Derek Jeter’s farewell and a 5-3 victory for the American League.  There were plenty of moments in this Midsummer Classic, and plenty more during a first half that took what could be a record number of twists and turns.

Good, bad and ugly turns.

Of course, considering that the majority of teams have played 90-plus games, calling this a first half would be like asking Chris Christie to cut a sandwich in half and split it with you.  

But that’s neither here nor there.

Headlining “The Good List” is the state of California, mostly due to the play of the Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers.  These three franchises land in the top three spots of KP’s MLB Power Rankings at the All-Star Break.

california-trio-scott-kazmir-mike-trout-and-clayton-kershaw

Scott Kazmir (A’s), Mike Trout (Angels) and Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) have all been great this season

But every team had good, bad and ugly moments – some more than others.

To celebrate the arrival of the “second half”, here’s a rehash of the “first half”, attempting to highlight the best of the good, the worst of the bad and the ugliest of the ugly:

KP’s MLB Power Rankings: All-Star Break

Note: Statistics and point totals as of Friday July 18, 2014 and do not include tonight’s games

1. Oakland Athletics (177 points) –Previously: #1 (+12) 

GOOD: Scott Kazmir leads the team in wins (11) and strikeouts (108), while anchoring one of the best pitching staffs in baseball – and a group that got deeper after adding Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel

BAD: Not much is bad on this team, but Yoenis Cespedes could work on improving his .299 OBP.

UGLY: Acquired from Baltimore during the offseason, pricey closer Jim Johnson faltered, posting a 6.18 ERA and 1.96 WHIP in 36 games.

2. Los Angeles Angels (138 points) –Previously: #6 (+39)

GOOD: Mike Trout’s MVP-worthy numbers – he leads the team in batting average (.310), HR (22), RBI (73), OBP (.400) and hits (107)

BAD: The bullpen, which has struggled, and could use reinforcements

UGLY: The Raul Ibanez experiment – he posted a .157 average in 57 games and has since moved on to K.C.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers (117 points) –Previously: #3 (+5)

GOOD: Clayton Kershaw’s 41-inning scoreless streak, along with his 11-2 record and 1.78 ERA.

BAD: First place in the NL West, but just 25-24 at home

UGLY: Kemp, Crawford and Ethier are an expensive trio of outfielders, especially considering that no one in the trio is batting above .270

4. Detroit Tigers (114 points) –Previously: #5 (+15)

GOOD: Martinez, Cabrera and Kinsler have been a solid trio on offense, while Scherzer, Porcello and Sanchez have been equally as potent in the rotation

BAD: Justin Verlander (8-8, 4.88 ERA) is catching a lot of heat, to the point that even Kate Upton is being blamed for his struggles

UGLY: Joe Nathan (5.61 ERA) and the bullpen have really struggled

5. Baltimore Orioles (96 points) –Previously: #11 (+33)

GOOD: Nelson Cruz (.287/.353/.570, 28 HR, 74 RBI) is a legitimate MVP candidate and arguably the biggest bargain of the offseason.

BAD: Chris Davis (.199 average, 106 K’s) is a far cry from his 53 HR, 2013 campaign

UGLY: With 60 walks, three wins and a 4.52 ERA, Ubaldo Jimenez is currently not living up to that four-year, $50 million contract.

6. Washington Nationals (93 points) –Previously: #8 (+9)

GOOD: The pitching staff had the best ERA (3.08) at the break

BAD: Not one player on offense has a batting average over .300

UGLY: Bryce Harper has played in just 34 games, and is batting .244 with just 2 HR

7. Seattle Mariners (87 points) –Previously: #4 (-22)

GOOD: Opponents batting average at the break was .226, the best mark in baseball

BAD: Despite the pitcher’s park and strong rotation, Seattle is just 24-26 at home

UGLY: Justin Smoak (.202/.274/.350) has yet to develop into a premier power hitting 1B

8. Milwaukee Brewers (76 points) –Previously: #2 (-37)

GOOD: Jonathan Lucroy (.315/.385/.494, 9 HR, 44 RBI) has emerged as the most consistent hitting catcher in Major League Baseball

BAD: The Brewers are just 2-10 in July, the worst mark in the National League

UGLY: Jean Segura (.232/.266/.315) has faltered following last year’s breakout season

9. San Francisco Giants (68 points) –Previously: #7 (-16)

GOOD: Tim Hudson (7-6, 2.87 ERA, 1.10 WHIP) has been a great free agent addition

BAD: Sergio Romo (5 blown saves, 4.86 ERA) was bounced from the closer role

UGLY: Matt Cain (2-7, 4.18 ERA) has allowed 13 homers this season

10. Atlanta Braves (66 points) –Previously: #10 (-4)

GOOD: The rotation has 65 quality starts, three more than any other team in baseball

BAD: Gavin Floyd’s fractured elbow was unfortunate, especially after his solid start

UGLY: B.J. Upton (.215/.277/.341) continues to be a high-priced bust

11. Cincinnati Reds (66 points) –Previously: #13 (+13)

GOOD: Cincinnati’s 41 errors are the fewest in baseball at the break

BAD: The injury to Brandon Phillips leaves a large hole in the lineup and at second base

UGLY: Joey Votto has battled through injuries and is currently 55 points below his career batting average

12. St. Louis Cardinals (63 points) –Previously: #14 (+16)

GOOD: Adam Wainwright (12-4, 16 quality starts, 1.83 ERA, 0.91 WHIP) continues to be one of the most dominant starters in baseball

BAD: Michael Wacha’s shoulder injury has delivered a major hit to the pitching staff

UGLY: The offense’s 60 HR are the fewest in the National League

13. Kansas City Royals (54 points) –Previously: #12 (-2)

GOOD: Yordano Ventura (3.22 ERA) and Danny Duffy (2.76 ERA) adding significant depth to a rotation that already featured James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie and Jason Vargas

BAD: Mike Moustakas (.192/.257/.371) continues to underachieve; Might be time for a change in scenery

UGLY: The team’s power outage: 55 HR, the fewest in all of Major League Baseball

14. Pittsburgh Pirates (36 points) –Previously: #15 (-7)

GOOD: Andrew McCutchen is once again putting up MVP numbers, and currently leads the team in batting average (.324), HR (17), RBI (61), OBP (.420) and hits (115).

BAD: Pedro Alvarez is well off his 36 HR – 100 RBI pace from last season

UGLY: Francisco Liriano (1-7, 4.72 ERA) is nowhere near where he was last year

15. Toronto Blue Jays (31 points) –Previously: #9 (-39)

GOOD: Toronto’s 116 HR leads the Major Leagues 

BAD: Rotation depth is a question mark outside of Buehrle and Dickey, though rookie Marcus Stroman has shown some positive signs in recent weeks.

UGLY: Brett Lawrie (.244/.299/.419) and Colby Rasmus (.212/.266/.453) have struggled during a hefty portion of the first half.

16. New York Mets (28 points) –Previously: #18 (+32)

GOOD: The future isn’t just with Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler; Look at Jacob deGrom, with 8 quality starts and near a K an inning.

BAD: Travis d’Arnaud (.217/.292/.354) over the course of the season has been bad, but there have been improvements since his most recent call-up

UGLY: Bartolo Colon at the plate.  Google it.  Nevermind, Here’s a video…

17. Cleveland Indians (17 points) –Previously: #19 (+22)

GOOD: Lonnie Chisenhall (.328/.392/.515) and Michael Brantley (.322/.382/.519) have been huge.

BAD: Justin Masterson (5.51 ERA in 19 starts) and Danny Salazar (5.53 ERA in 8 starts) have both been major disappointments

UGLY: Cleveland’s 76 errors are more than any other team in baseball

18. New York Yankees (15 points) –Previously: #17 (+11)

GOOD: Dellin Betances (1.46 ERA, 0.70 WHIP and 84 K’s in 55 1/3 innings) has been one of the most dominant relievers in baseball, and deserves to be the team’s future closer.

BAD: The rotation injuries (Sabathia, Tanaka and Pineda) have killed the team’s pitching depth

UGLY: The offense…since when have we seen zero regulars batting over .300 in the Bronx?

19. Tampa Bay Rays (1 point) –Previously: #21 (+9)

GOOD: It’s David Price (9-7, 3.23 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 164 K’s), although fans are not too happy to be seeing his name popping up in so many trade rumors

BAD: Of the offensive regulars, no one is batting above .275

UGLY: The injuries (Matt Moore, Wil Myers, etc.) have really decimated this team’s chances

20. Minnesota Twins (-4 points) –Previously: #24 (+18)

GOOD: His average isn’t off the charts, but Brian Dozier (18 HR, 16 SB) has added a spark to the offense

BAD: The off-time for Kendrys Morales (.229/.254/.328, 1 HR) has put a damper on his usually potent bat

UGLY: After signing a four-year deal with the Twins, Ricky Nolasco has struggled out of the gate, with a 5.90 ERA, 1.62 WHIP and just six quality starts (in 18 tries)

21. Miami Marlins (-12 points) –Previously: #16 (-20)

GOOD: Giancarlo Stanton (.295/.395/.538, 21 HR, 63 RBI) has finally been healthy all season, and he’s mashing the ball, too.

BAD: Ace Jose Fernandez, who like many others, required Tommy John surgery

UGLY: Mike Dunn, a reliever, leads the team in wins, with seven

22. Chicago White Sox (-13 points) –Previously: #23 (+8)

GOOD: Rookie Jose Abreu, who leads the Major Leagues, with 29 home runs

BAD: The luck for Jose Quintana – 15 quality starts and only five wins

UGLY: The closer role… injuries, inconsistency and inefficiency, all included

23. Boston Red Sox (-14 points) –Previously: #22 (+6)

GOOD: Brock Holt (.327/.371/.463), who provided a spark to an offense that desperately needed one

BAD: The offensive production (or lack thereof) from the team’s talented young players, mainly Xander Bogaerts (.235/.311/.348) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (.227/.305/.311)

UGLY: Jake Peavy (4.59 ERA) and Clay Buchholz (5.42 ERA) have combined to go 5-13 in 33 starts

24. Philadelphia Phillies (-26 points) –Previously: #27 (+2)

GOOD: Marlon Byrd (18 HR, 54 RBI) could bring back a decent return at the trade deadline

BAD: The fact that GM Ruben Amaro should’ve started trading away veterans last year, but didn’t.

UGLY: Jonathan Papelbon’s bloated contract, because it will likely limit the number of trade partners, even with his dynamite 2014 numbers (1.21 ERA, 22 saves)

25. San Diego Padres (-38 points) –Previously: #26 (-12)

GOOD: Ian Kennedy (7-9, 3.47 ERA, 1.19 WHIP), if made available on the trade market, could bring back some decent prospects from a contender

BAD: After signing a lucrative contract extension, Jedd Gyorko (.162/.213/.270) floundered offensively, then later was sidelined with an injury

UGLY: The offense, with its horrific .214 batting average, is by far the worst in baseball

26. Colorado Rockies (-38 points) –Previously: #25 (-14)

GOOD: Troy Tulowitzki is healthy, and mashing the ball.  The offense, with its 112 HR and MLB-best .281 batting average, is mashing, too.

BAD: The rotation, which was 27-39, with a 5.33 ERA and 1.49 WHIP during the first half.

UGLY: The pitching staff, which has an ugly, MLB-worst 5.07 ERA

27. Arizona Diamondbacks (-39 points) –Previously: #29 (-3)

GOOD: Paul Goldschmidt is once again putting up big numbers, and currently leads the team in batting average (.308), HR (16), RBI (61), OBP (.400) and hits (110).

BAD: The “Tommy John Plague”, which keeps biting the D’Backs (Hernandez, Arroyo and Corbin fell victim this season, and Daniel Hudson last year)

UGLY: Arizona’s 71 errors are more than any other National League team

28. Chicago Cubs (-45 points) –Previously: #20 (-37)

GOOD: Acquired from Baltimore last season, Jake Arrieta (5-1, 1.95 ERA, 1.01 WHIP) is emerging as the new team ace, following the departure of Jeff Samardzija

BAD: Nate Schierholtz (.204/.250/.314) just hasn’t had the same impact this season

UGLY: Edwin Jackson (5-10, 5.64 ERA) and his four-year, $52 million contract continue to be a bust

29. Houston Astros (-75 points) –Previously: #30 (-14)

GOOD: Rookie George Springer, who leads the team in HR (19) and RBI (50)

BAD: Five players with 70+ games played are betting below .240

UGLY: The bullpen has a 5.05 ERA and 1.47 WHIP through 93 games

30. Texas Rangers (-76 points) –Previously: #28 (-41)

GOOD: Not much, but Adrian Beltre (.337/.383/.534, 13 HR, 51 RBI) comes to mind

BAD: The pitching staff, with an MLB-low 31 quality starts and AL-worst 4.93 ERA

UGLY: Significant injuries have killed this team, and here are a few names: Prince Fielder, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Jurickson Profar, Alexi Ogando and Mitch Moreland

* All stats per MLB.com and ESPN.com

Note: RED = Falling 3+ spots from last week, GREEN = Rising 3+ spots from last week

The Wife Hates Sports’ MLB Power Rankings system has a method to its madness, attempting to be different and not just rank by popularity and record.  It mixes a secret formula of six completely different categories, meshed into a points system.  The categories don’t just include team results regarding record, but how each team has performed recently, as well as incorporating some statistics on both a team’s offense and pitching staff, too.

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By | 2017-08-25T17:32:09+00:00 July 18th, 2014|Features, Kevin Paul, MLB, Power Rankings, Writers|9 Comments

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9 Comments

  1. KP July 31, 2014 at 7:00 AM

    I would say hitting has been worse, TOP. Just look at some of the names available on the market right now. Byrd is the top option, potentially?

  2. tophatal ........... July 30, 2014 at 8:49 PM

    Pitching in baseball this season has been considerably woeful on all counts .

  3. KP July 30, 2014 at 7:00 AM

    Interesting, TOP, so you are looking at an all-LA World Series?

    I can see the Dodgers… like their overall talent, and it does appear that they are pushing to acquire another major piece. There are rumors that Jon Lester may be traded before the deadline, as he was scratched from his start. Dodgers could be in play there.

    I would go with Detroit over the Angels. Baltimore has played well against Anaheim, and taking care of them. Trout is great, but that pitching staff is inconsistent.

  4. admin July 28, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    TOP–
    Who are your current favorites to head to the ALCS and NLCS? Just curious, especially considering some of the conversations that we have had in recent weeks.

  5. admin July 21, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    Not sure I would say pitiful… think there are a number of really solid teams and both leagues are pretty wide open. It should be an entertaining second half.

    Yes, any posts I missed from you guys, I plan to try and get to later tonight, or possibly tomorrow. If I brought your page in the office, I would get canned, ha ha.

  6. admin July 21, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    REV-
    With a rotation that on day one featured Price, Moore and… well, “more”… it’s not surprising. They had young talent across the board. Injuries can really derail a team. TB needs to again try to deal a key piece and get some legit bats to boost the offense. Whether that’s Price, I don’t know. He may be the only option to bring those kind of pieces in though.

  7. SportsChump July 19, 2014 at 3:33 AM

    The Rays have definitely put the UGH in ugly this season.

    And to think Vegas had them favored to win the AL East.

    That should have been a sure sign to bet the opposite way.

  8. admin July 18, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    Haha, nice Darrell…
    But “The Good, The Bad and The Dumpster Fire” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it….does it?

  9. Darrell Harden July 18, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    The bullpen in Detroit is working hard to go from “ugly” to “dumpster fire.”

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