The New York Yankees, led by solid pitching from Bartolo Colon, C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, made a charge in this week’s MLB Power Rankings, jumping six spots after notching four victories of four runs or more last week.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Indians continue to sit in the top spot, holding a comfortable lead over the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies.
KP’s MLB Power Rankings: May 23, 2011
Note: All stats & records as of Monday morning, and do not reflect the results of night games
1. Cleveland Indians – 29-15 (134 points) – Last Week: #1 (+35 pts)
The Indians now hold a commanding lead on the top spot, with a record two games better than any team in baseball. The recent sweep over the Reds provided a major boost.
2. St. Louis Cardinals – 28-20 (113 points) – Last Week: #3 (+18 pts)
The Cardinals continue to lead all of baseball in team batting average (.282). Even more impressive is the team’s .361 OBP, nearly twenty points higher than any other club.
3. New York Yankees – 25-20 (96 points) – Last Week: #9 (+40 pts)
The Yankees climb six spots this week after notching five wins by 3 runs or more, plus solid pitching from the rotation, specifically by Sabathia, Colon and Burnett.
4. Philadelphia Phillies – 28-18 (82 points) – Last Week: #2 (-16 pts)
The Phillies continue to possess the NL’s best record, but a week that featured a four-game losing streak to the Cards and Braves knocked them down two spots in the rankings.
5. Atlanta Braves – 26-23 (71 points) – Last Week: #4 (-18 pts)
The Braves lost ground after a lackluster week on offense that saw Atlanta score no more than five runs in one game, and one run or less during 3 games last week.
6. Tampa Bay Rays – 26-21 (65 points) – Last Week: #5 (-19 pts)
After a complete game shutout with 13 K’s on Sunday, James Shields lowered his ERA to 2.00, plus notched his fifth win of the season.
7. Florida Marlins – 26-19 (61 points) – Last Week: #8 (-3 pts)
The pitching staff took a major blow this week, when the Marlins had to put ace Josh Johnson on the DL due to an inflamed shoulder.
8. Cincinnati Reds – 25-22 (57 points) – Last Week: #6 (-26 pts)
The Reds took a tumble this week due to a five-game losing streak where Cincinnati managed to score only 12 runs.
9. Texas Rangers – 24-23 (51 points) – Last Week: #11 (-1 pt)
The Texas offense will get a needed shot in the arm with the return of both Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz to the Rangers lineup on Monday.
10. San Francisco Giants – 27-19 (51 points) – Last Week: #14 (+8 pts)
A five-game win streak vaulted the Giants to the division lead and the top ten in this week’s rankings, but the offense (or lack thereof) has prevented them from rising higher.
11. Toronto Blue Jays – 23-23 (50 points) – Last Week: #12 (+3 pts)
Jose Bautista continues to post eye-popping numbers, batting .353 on the season, while slugging 18 of the team’s 51 home runs.
12. Los Angeles Angels – 24-24 (50 points) – Last Week: #7 (-24 pts)
After starting the season off 6-0, SP Jered Weaver has lost four straight starts, including last week’s 3-0 loss to the Mariners.
13. Boston Red Sox – 25-21 (47 points) – Last Week: #17 (+27 pts)
After a slow start to the season, the Red Sox offense now has the 4th best average in baseball (.265). Leading the way is Adrian Gonzalez, who is batting .342 in 190 AB’s.
14. Colorado Rockies – 23-22 (33 points) – Last Week: #16 (+7 pts)
After a strong start to the week, the Rockies have lost four of five, including a sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers.
15. Oakland Athletics – 22-25 (30 points) – Last Week: #13 (-14 pts)
Of the players seeing regular time on offense this season, Coco Crisp leads the way with a .270 average. Kurt Suzuki is second, batting a measly .245 on the year.
16. Milwaukee Brewers – 24-23 (30 points) – Last Week: #18 (+10 pts)
The Brewers have lost just twice since May 13th and the powerful starting trio of Marcum, Greinke and Gallardo currently has a combined record of 13-4.
17. Arizona Diamondbacks – 23-23 (25 points) – Last Week: #22 (+25 pts)
The D’Backs are currently the hottest team in the National League, winning six straight games and eight of its last ten.
18. Detroit Tigers – 23-23 (21 points) – Last Week: #10 (-35 pts)
After a hot stretch the previous week, the Tigers went ice cold, winning just one game during the week, while scoring just 10 runs over its last six games.
19. Chicago White Sox – 22-26 (21 points) – Last Week: #25 (+26 pts)
In his second start back from injury, Jake Peavy pitched a complete game shutout against the Indians, giving up just three hits, while striking out eight.
20. Seattle Mariners – 22-24 (18 points) – Last Week: #28 (+41 pts)
The Mariners made one of the biggest jumps this week, all backed by dominant pitching from rotation arms Felix Hernandez, Michael Pineda and Erik Bedard.
21. New York Mets – 22-24 (11 points) – Last Week: #19 (-6 pts)
Dillon Gee has quietly had a solid season thus far, going 3-0 with a 3.44 ERA and 25 K’s over 34 total innings.
22. Kansas City Royals – 22-24 (8 points) – Last Week: #15 (-27 pts)
In a two-game sweep at the hands of the Indians, Kansas City was outscored 26-4, including the 19-1 pounding the team took on Monday 5/16.
23. Pittsburgh Pirates – 22-24 (7 points) – Last Week: #27 (+21 pts)
In eight starts this season, Charlie Morton has posted a 5-1 record with an ERA of 2.62, two complete games and a shutout over 55 innings.
24. Washington Nationals – 21-25 (-6 points) – Last Week: #21 (-10 pts)
The 17 runs the Nationals scored in a win over Baltimore on Friday 5/20 was the most the team has scored in a game since returning to the DC area.
25. Chicago Cubs – 20-25 (-12 points) – Last Week: #23 (-11 pts)
The Cubs offense continues to thrive, as five players with 100+ AB’s or more have posted an average of .296 or better (Ramirez, Barney, Byrd, Castro and Fukudome).
26. San Diego Padres – 19-28 (-14 points) – Last Week: #20 (-26 pts)
In a three-game sweep at home at the hands of the Mariners, the Padres managed to score just two runs, while giving up 14.
27. Baltimore Orioles – 21-24 (-25 points) – Last Week: #24 (-20 pts)
A tough week for the Birds saw a blown 6-0 lead, DL visits by Brian Roberts and Derrek Lee, plus a two-game stretch where the O’s were outscored 30-7 at the hands of the Yanks and Nats.
28. Los Angeles Dodgers – 21-27 (-32 points) – Last Week: #26 (-27 pts)
In 30 total starts, Hiroki Kuroda, Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw have combined to strike out 175 total batters.
29. Houston Astros – 17-30 (-51 points) – Last Week: #29 (-15 pts)
Houston’s pitching staff continues to struggle, posting a team ERA of 4.77 (2nd worst in baseball), while managing just 7 saves – the lowest in baseball.
30. Minnesota Twins – 15-30 (-108 points) – Last Week: #30 (+5 pts)
The Twins survived a brutal west coast road stretch last week, going 3-4, while also gaining a little bit of ground on the Astros in this week’s rankings.
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.