The Texas Rangers suffered through a stretch of mediocrity last week, tallying a 3-4 record against the likes of the Royals, A’s and Astros. But while the Los Angeles Dodgers hold onto baseball’s best record and the Baltimore Orioles sit at the top of the American League, it’s the Rangers that maintain a strong lead in this week’s MLB Power Rankings – and for a variety of reasons.
The stats say it all for Texas: 3rd overall in team ERA (3.18), 2nd in WHIP (1.15), 3rd in BAA (.230), 1st in runs scored (230), 1st in team batting average (.292), 1st in OBP (.348) and 1st overall in slugging percentage (.473). The numbers are mindblowing a quarter of the way through the season and it’s clear that this is easily the team to beat in baseball. Time will tell if that holds true by the time October arrives.
Elsewhere, the MLB-best Los Angeles Dodgers (28-13) move into second place, followed by the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves and AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles.
Here’s KP’s latest edition of MLB Power Rankings, featuring a few stats, thoughts and figures for each of the teams that made major moves in the poll (whether up or down).
KP’s MLB Power Rankings: May 21, 2012
*Stats, records and information as of Sunday May 20, 2012
1. Texas Rangers – 26-16 (135 points) – Last Week: #1
2. Los Angeles Dodgers – 28-13 (119 points) – Last Week: #3
3. Atlanta Braves – 26-16 (99 points) – Last Week: #4
4. Baltimore Orioles – 27-15 (91 points) – Last Week: #5
5. St. Louis Cardinals – 22-19 (83 points) – Last Week: #2
The reeling Cards have lost four straight games and eight of ten, but most painful of all, recently lost impact bat Lance Berkman to a knee injury. Rumors were swirling on Monday, stating that Berkman may have a torn ACL and could choose to retire.
6. Washington Nationals – 24-17 (66 points) – Last Week: #6
7. Tampa Bay Rays – 25-17 (55 points) – Last Week: #10
The Rays opened the week with two key road wins over the Blue Jays, increasing its overall value. But it’s a 3.12 team ERA in the month of May (4th best in baseball) has been the main reason for Tampa Bay’s recent boost.
8. Toronto Blue Jays – 23-19 (54 points) – Last Week: #8
9. Philadelphia Phillies – 21-21 (52 points) – Last Week: #14
The Phillies had won six straight games before falling at the hands of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and the Red Sox. Perhaps more surprisingly, the Philadelphia offense – despite being without the likes of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley – is ranked 7th in team batting average. The Phillies currently have the NL’s best batting average in the month of May (.285).
10. Boston Red Sox – 20-21 (48 points) – Last Week: #19
The Red Sox are still a game below .500 and also sitting in last place in the AL East, but Boston is showing signs of life. The Red Sox have won eight of ten, while allowing three runs or less in seven of those games. Boston also posted a +19 run differential over the last week.
11. San Francisco Giants – 21-20 (47 points) – Last Week: #9
12. Cleveland Indians – 23-18 (46 points) – Last Week: #15
The AL Central division leading Indians have won five out its last seven games, posting two shutouts during that span (over Minnesota and Miami).
13. Chicago White Sox – 21-21 (43 points) – Last Week: #20
The ‘South Siders’ have posted four straight road victories and have to be especially pleased with the resurgence of Adam Dunn’s bat (14 HR in 146 AB’s).
14. Miami Marlins – 22-19 (41 points) – Last Week: #11
The Marlins are an abysmal 7 for 16 in save opportunities, but overall, Miami has posted a 3.33 team ERA, which is good for the 4th best mark in baseball to date.
15. New York Yankees – 21-20 (35 points) – Last Week: #7
The struggling Yankees have lost five of six, managing just 15 total runs during that span. New York has also taken a major hit to the back of its bullpen, not only losing Mariano Rivera for the year, but also David Robertson to the DL with an oblique injury.
16. Cincinnati Reds – 21-19 (32 points) – Last Week: #13
The Reds escaped a seven-game road stretch with a 4-3 record, holding its own against the likes of the Mets, Yankees and Braves. However, in the three losses, the Reds were outscored by a total of 13 runs.
17. Detroit Tigers – 20-21 (21 points) – Last Week: #16
18. New York Mets – 22-19 (17 points) – Last Week: #12
The Mets lost some ground last week after losing four of six games, coupled with an 8-0 blowout loss at the hands of the Brewers and a 14-5 loss to Toronto.
19. Oakland Athletics – 21-21 (15 points) – Last Week: #18
20. Arizona Diamondbacks – 19-23 (15 points) – Last Week: #26
It may not be showing in the standings, but Arizona is showing some signs of life on both offense and on the mound. Players like Ryan Roberts are starting to escape an early season funk and Chris Young is also recently returning from injury.
21. Houston Astros – 18-23 (15 points) – Last Week: #17
The youthful Astros have been giving opposing offenses fits. In fact, it may come as quite a surprise to many, but Houston’s pitching staff has the second best ERA in the month of May, posting a 9-9 record and 2.87 ERA over 18 games this month.
22. Kansas City Royals – 16-24 (9 points) – Last Week: #22
23. Los Angeles Angels – 18-24 (8 points) – Last Week: #23
24. Pittsburgh Pirates – 19-22 (1 point) – Last Week: #21
The Pirates have been struggling from the plate this month, posting an abymsal .205 batting average in May, twelve percentage points lower than any team in baseball during this month.
25. Seattle Mariners – 19-24 (-5 points) – Last Week: #24
26. San Diego Padres – 16-26 (-12 points) – Last Week: #28
27. Milwaukee Brewers – 17-24 (-23 points) – Last Week: #29
28. Colorado Rockies – 15-25 (-24 points) – Last Week: #27
29. Chicago Cubs – 15-26 (-33 points) – Last Week: #25
Many expected there to be bumps in the road for the Cubs, but that fact doesn’t make a six-game losing streak any less painful, especially one that featured a sweep at the hands of the cross-town rival White Sox.
30. Minnesota Twins – 14-27 (-48 points) – Last Week: #30
* All stats per MLB.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.