It’s a phrase that the baseball world hasn’t said in years: the Pittsburgh Pirates own the best record in Major League Baseball. Riding a nine-game win streak, the Pirates have opened up a two game lead on the St. Louis Cardinals, the league’s former top team. But even with 51 victories, Pittsburgh could only jump three spots to third place in KP’s latest edition of MLB Power Rankings at The Wife Hates Sports. A struggling offense, mediocre road record and the fourth-best run differential in the National League kept the Pirates from the top.
The Cardinals remain in the top spot, followed by the American League’s top team, the Boston Red Sox. Boston and Pittsburgh posted two of the best weeks, and here are the five teams with the biggest ratings gain over the last seven days:
Los Angeles Angels: +36 points
Pittsburgh Pirates: +32 points
Washington Nationals: +23 points
Boston Red Sox: +22 points
Miami Marlins: +22 points
The Detroit Tigers posted the worst week, dropping 39 ratings points, and here are the five teams that saw the biggest decline:
Detroit Tigers: -39 points
Arizona Diamondbacks: -34 points
Houston Astros: -33 points
Milwaukee Brewers: -29 points
San Diego Padres: -24 points
The entire list of rankings are as follows, featuring a stat for each of the thirty teams during the month of June, while highlighting the clubs that had positive or negative jumps in the latest poll:
KP’s MLB Power Rankings: July 2, 2013
Note: Statistics and point totals as of Tuesday morning (7/2/13) and do not include night games
1. St. Louis Cardinals (153 points) – Last Week: #1 (-8)
The Cardinals’ pitching staff has been the highlight of the first few months, but the bats led the National League in batting average (.286) during the month of June.
2. Boston Red Sox (128 points) – Last Week: #3 (+22)
Boston’s .298 team batting average, 151 RBI and .359 on base percentage were the best in baseball during the month of June.
3. Pittsburgh Pirates (121 points) – Last Week: #6 (+32)
Opposing hitters batted .229 against the Pittsburgh pitching staff in June (the top mark in baseball).
4. Texas Rangers (110 points) – Last Week: #4 (+13)
Nelson Cruz had a big month of June for the Rangers, batting .290 with 7 HR and 22 RBI.
5. Atlanta Braves (103 points) – Last Week: #7 (+15)
Atlanta’s bats drew 115 walks in June, more than any other team in baseball.
6. Oakland Athletics (89 points) – Last Week: #9 (+21)
In five June starts, Barton Colon was 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA, while teammate Jarrod Parker was 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA over six starts in the month.
7. Cincinnati Reds (79 points) – Last Week: #5 (-16)
Jay Bruce’s bat woke up in June, as the Cincinnati slugger batted .294 with 10 HR, 21 RBI and six doubles over 109 at bats.
8. Detroit Tigers (79 points) – Last Week: #2 (-39)
Call it another hot month for Miguel Cabrera, as the slugger batted .378 with five doubles, 9 HR and 21 RBI over 98 at bats.
9. Baltimore Orioles (68 points) – Last Week: #10 (+19)
The Orioles hit 37 HR in June, more than any other team in baseball.
10. Cleveland Indians (59 points) – Last Week: #13 (+20)
Filling in as closer in June, Vinnie Pestano posted a 2.08 ERA, with 6 saves and 15 K’s in 13 IP.
11. Tampa Bay Rays (56 points) – Last Week: #16 (+22)
The Rays struck out 230 batters in June, more than any other team in baseball.
12. Arizona Diamondbacks (43 points) – Last Week: #8 (-34)
The D’Backs may still be division leaders, but the team’s 4.54 ERA in June was tied for the worst mark in all of baseball.
13. Kansas City Royals (39 points) – Last Week: #12 (-2)
He only had 1 HR and 3 RBI in June, but Mike Moustakas recovered with a .274 batting average in 84 AB’s.
14. Colorado Rockies (37 points) – Last Week: #11 (-11)
Colorado’s three saves were the fewest in baseball during the month of June.
15. Los Angeles Angels (32 points) – Last Week: #20 (+36)
For his standards, it was a mediocre June for Jered Weaver, who went 0-3, with a 4.40 ERA and 1.30 WHIP over five starts.
16. Washington Nationals (24 points) – Last Week: #19 (+23)
Rookie Anthony Rendon led the team in June with a .330 batting average.
17. New York Yankees (22 points) – Last Week: #15 (-14)
During the month of June, the Yankees only had four hitters post an average of .270 or higher, and one of those players was rookie Zoilo Almonte, who only played in 11 games.
18. Toronto Blue Jays (19 points) – Last Week: #14 (-17)
Toronto’s pitching staff (2.91 ERA in June, the best in the AL) was the main reason for the team’s recent surge.
19. Los Angeles Dodgers (6 points) – Last Week: #21 (+13)
The team’s top starter in June was not Clayton Kershaw, but Stephen Fife, who posted a 3-2 record and 2.21 ERA in six starts.
20. Chicago Cubs (1 point) – Last Week: #22 (+9)
Just traded to the Baltimore Orioles, Scott Feldman posted a 2-2 record, 4.75 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in his final five starts with the Cubs.
21. San Francisco Giants (-8 points) – Last Week: #17 (-22)
Buster Posey was lights out in June, posting a .374 average, .426 OBP, with 11 doubles, 5 HR and 17 RBI in 99 at bats.
22. San Diego Padres (-14 points) – Last Week: #18 (-24)
The Padres stole 27 bases in June, more than any other team in baseball.
23. Philadelphia Phillies (-18 points) – Last Week: #25 (+8)
Boosting his trade value at the right time, Michael Young hit .333, with seven doubles, one triple, three homers and 10 RBI in 108 June at bats.
24. New York Mets (-24 points) – Last Week: #24 (+1)
The team’s top starter in June was not Matt Harvey, but Jeremy Hefner, who posted a 1-1 record and 1.80 ERA in five starts.
25. Minnesota Twins (-29 points) – Last Week: #23 (-19)
Minnesota’s two steals in June were the fewest in baseball and on top of that, the Twins were also caught stealing seven times last month.
26. Chicago White Sox (-48 points) – Last Week: #27 (-20)
He’s still striking out an average of one time a game, but in June, Adam Dunn batted .274, with 21 walks, 9 HR and 24 RBI.
27. Milwaukee Brewers (-55 points) – Last Week: #26 (-29)
The Brewers had 16 triples in the month of June, more than any other team in baseball.
28. Seattle Mariners (-59 points) – Last Week: #28 (-16)
Rookie Nick Franklin led the team with a .296 batting average in the month of June.
29. Miami Marlins (-59 points) – Last Week: #30 (+22)
Three of Miami’s young starters were lights out in June: Jose Fernandez (2-1, 1.67 ERA in five starts), Nate Eovaldi (1-0, 2.00 ERA in three starts) and Jacob Turner (1-0, 2.12 ERA in five starts).
30. Houston Astros (-110 points) – Last Week: #30 (-33)
Prime trade candidate Bud Norris was spectacular in June, posting a 2.77 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 33 strikeouts in six starts.
* 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.
This Pirates team feels different to me. They still won’t have the bank to make major moves, but they have a better farm system, and the pitching staff has held together, despite the injuries to veterans. This team is going to be in the chase to the end…
Damage? No, I don’t think so… can they make it finally? Yes, absolutely. They need to add a bat at the trade deadline and hope that the rotation can get healthier for the stretch run.
The Pirates are definitely up there as one of the best stories, and we’ll see if they can hang on in the second half. If you will recall, the Pirates had a solid start last year, too, but fell apart and out of the race rather quickly. The team’s pitching has been the key… but now they are fending off numerous injuries in its rotation.
I agree, the Giants have been a major disappointment… along with the Dodgers, Angels and Blue Jays.
Do you think the Pirates can do any real damage in the post-season?