The Oakland A’s – headlined by baseball’s best pitching staff, with a team ERA of 2.93 – continue to hold a commanding lead in KP’s latest edition of MLB Power Rankings at The Wife Hates Sports. Oakland’s Bay Area counterpart, the San Francisco Giants, currently lead the NL West division and sit in second place, 22 ratings points behind the A’s.
The Boston Red Sox posted a huge week, gaining 50 ratings points in the standings, nearly double the team with the second highest mark, the Milwaukee Brewers. Boston’s seven game winning streak was especially impressive considering the team had previously just floundered through ten straight defeats. The top five teams (since the last poll) are as follows:
Boston Red Sox: +50 points
Milwaukee Brewers: +26 points
San Francisco Giants: +25 points
New York Mets: +25 points
Houston Astros: +12 points
The Tampa Bay Rays are the big losers of the week, falling to 29th place and dropping 29 ratings points. Overall, here are the five teams that had the biggest decline over the last week:
Tampa Bay Rays: -29 points
Chicago Cubs: -26 points
Kansas City Royals: -22 points
Los Angeles Angels: -21 points
Colorado Rockies: -18 points
The latest Power Rankings are as follows, featuring a key stat for each team during the month of May, while also highlighting the clubs that had positive or negative jumps since the last poll:
KP’s MLB Power Rankings: June 2, 2014
Note: Statistics and point totals as of Monday morning (6/2/14) and do not include night games
1. Oakland Athletics (144 points) – Previously: #1 (+9)
Oakland’s pitching staff posted five shutouts in the month of May, along with a Major League best .225 opponents’ batting average.
2. San Francisco Giants (122 points) – Previously: #2 (+25)
San Francisco’s pitching staff posted a 2.91 team ERA in May, the only sub-3.00 mark to be posted by any team in baseball for the month.
3. Milwaukee Brewers (96 points) – Previously: #8 (+26)
In April, it was the pitching. During May, the bats came alive, specifically Rickie Weeks (.413 average), Carlos Gomez (.354, 16 RBI), Jonathan Lucroy (.347), Ryan Braun (.323) and Khris Davis (6 HR).
4. Toronto Blue Jays (96 points) – Previously: #3 (+10)
Toronto’s May surge was steadied by its powerful offense, which led Major League Baseball in both home runs (48 – 11 more than any team) and 165 runs scored (23 more than any team). Edwin Encarnacion himself slugged one-third of those home runs.
5. Detroit Tigers (81 points) – Previously: #5 (+4)
Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez combined to slug 17 homers, with 55 RBI in May.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers (69 points) – Previously: #7 (-4)
Dee Gordon’s 21 steals in May were ten more than any other player in baseball for the month.
7. Los Angeles Angels (62 points) – Previously: #4 (-21)
It’s safe to say that Jered Weaver is healthy, considering these May numbers: 4-1, 1.98 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 27 strikeouts over five starts.
8. Atlanta Braves (60 points) – Previously: #9 (0)
Jason Heyward’s bat showed some life in May, posting a solid line – .284/.373/.404 in 28 games.
9. St. Louis Cardinals (56 points) – Previously: #6 (-18)
Here’s a surprising stat: The Cardinals had just 11 home runs in May, the fewest total in the month – and yes, even fewer than the power lacking Royals.
10. New York Yankees (41 points) – Previously: #10 (-12)
Jacoby Ellsbury (.231 average in 27 May games) and Alfonso Soriano (.220 in 26 games) will need to step it up, to help cover for the team’s injuries both on offense and within its pitching staff.
11. Miami Marlins (39 points) – Previously: #11 (-8)
Henderson Alvarez (3.16 ERA in 6 May starts) and Tom Koehler (3.35 ERA in 6 May starts) have helped anchor the rotation in the absence of ace Jose Fernandez, who underwent Tommy John surgery.
12. Washington Nationals (38 points) – Previously: #16 (+11)
Danny Espinosa struck out 37 times during the month of May, more than any other player.
13. Baltimore Orioles (34 points) – Previously: #13 (-8)
After a great April, Chris Tillman struggled in May, posting a 2-1 record, with a 5.68 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and 20 walks over seven starts.
14. Seattle Mariners (33 points) – Previously: #15 (+1)
Another typical May for Felix Hernandez, who went 4-0, with a 2.74 ERA and 1.15 WHIP over six starts.
15. Boston Red Sox (31 points) – Previously: #28 (+50)
In easily the wildest May, the Red Sox lost ten straight games starting on May 15th, only to finish the month with six straight victories. The seventh straight win came yesterday.
16. Colorado Rockies (29 points) – Previously: #12 (-18)
It was an ugly May for Franklin Morales, who gave up 27 ER runs over six starts, the most in baseball.
17. Texas Rangers (26 points) – Previously: #14 (-7)
Hampered by injuries, the Rangers’ pitching staff allowed opposing batters to hit .287 against them in May, the worst mark in baseball for the month.
18. New York Mets (24 points) – Previously: #22 (+25)
In his four May starts, Jacob deGrom has posted a quality start each time, yet tallied zero victories.
19. Chicago White Sox (19 points) – Previously: #18 (+4)
Chicago’s .245 May batting average is a likely sign that it missed rookie Jose Abreu’s bat and presence in the middle of its lineup.
20. Cincinnati Reds (16 points) – Previously: #20 (+12)
Clearly missing impact bats Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, the Reds floundered to a Major League low 86 runs scored during the month of May.
21. Kansas City Royals (3 points) – Previously: #17 (-22)
With the offense catching most of the flack, it was Kansas City’s pitching staff that actually posted baseball’s worst team ERA in May (4.51).
22. Cleveland Indians (2 points) – Previously: #24 (+4)
Bet you wouldn’t have guessed that Corey Kluber actually led all pitchers in baseball with 60 K’s in 6 May starts? He also posted a 4-0 record, with a 2.09 ERA and 0.98 WHIP.
23. San Diego Padres (2 points) – Previously: #26 (+7)
Returning from injury in May, Carlos Quentin (.345/.472/.586, 2HR, 6 RBI over 12 games) has already made a positive impact on the team’s lackluster offense.
24. Pittsburgh Pirates (-3 points) – Previously: #19 (-12)
The offense may be struggling to score runs, but the Pirates actually led all of Major League Baseball with a .346 on-base percentage during the month of May.
25. Philadelphia Phillies (-8 points) – Previously: #21 (-12)
Ryan Howard had an up and down May, with some impressive numbers (5 HR, 23 RBI), coupled with some ugly numbers (.206 average, 36 strikeouts).
26. Minnesota Twins (-11 points) – Previously: #27 (-4)
The Twins’ .290 on-base percentage in May was the worst in the American League.
27. Houston Astros (-27 points) – Previously: #30 (+12)
Rookie George Springer exploded for 10 May home runs, more than any other National League player during the month.
28. Chicago Cubs (-27 points) – Previously: #23 (-26)
The Cubs’ pitching posted a 3.51 team ERA in May, the 7th best mark in baseball. If anything, a few of the rotation arms could be solid bait when the trade deadline arrives.
29. Tampa Bay Rays (-32 points) – Previously: #25 (-29)
Known for its rock solid pitching, the Rays’ staff walked 103 batters in May, which was tied for the most in the American League for the month.
30. Arizona Diamondbacks (-36 points) – Previously: #29 (-3)
One positive sign: The D’Backs allowed just 58 walks in May, tied with the Nationals for the fewest in Major League Baseball for the month.
* 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.
Additional Note: “Previously” results (last week) never made it to TWHS, due to scheduling conflicts.