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MLB Power Rankings: Royals making noise

Jun 21, 2014, 11:01 AM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

Here are this week’s MLB Power Rankings featuring thoughts on each team from Mark Zuckerman, Chase Hughes and myself, Steve Roney:

1. Oakland Athletics (LW: 1) – Zuckerman: In a season of vast parity, they stand out right now as one of the only elite teams in the sport.

2. San Francisco Giants (LW: 2) – Zuckerman: They’ve been in a tailspin since Nats series, but built up enough cushion to weather it.

3. Milwaukee Brewers (LW: 3) – Roney: As Mark noted last week, Jonathan Lucroy is a monster; his slam was the perfect answer to the never-ending macho silliness that the D-Backs embody.

4. Toronto Blue Jays (LW: 4) – Hughes: Toronto hasn’t earned a series win in four straight matchups. Are the Jays starting to fall back down to Earth?

5. Kansas City Royals (LW: 15) – Roney: Alex Gordon may not be exactly what you hope for with the #2 overall pick, but he may be the game’s great underrated player.

6. Los Angeles Dodgers (LW: 11) – Zuckerman: Was Kershaw’s no-hitter the best-pitched game by a Dodger since Koufax? Strong case for it.

7. Los Angeles Angels (LW: 8) – Zuckerman: Trout’s OPS is higher this year than last two years — just remarkable.

8. St. Louis Cardinals (LW: 9) – Roney: In this season of ripped-up elbows, is huge for St. Louis that Adam Wainwright is returning this weekend, thanks to a lack of structural damage.

9. Washington Nationals (LW: 6) – Hughes: The Nationals will find out a lot about themselves this weekend against the Braves, especially with the trade deadline approaching in six weeks.

10. Detroit Tigers (LW: 5) – Roney: Their pitching has largely deserted them, and Max Scherzer has been a big part of the problem. By his own admission, he’s just not putting hitters away.

11. New York Yankees (LW: 12) – Hughes: The Yanks are really starting to heat up and everyone knows they will probably add something of note before the deadline.

12. Atlanta Braves (LW: 7) – Hughes: The pitching injuries they suffered during spring are starting to catch up to them. I still think their offense will improve, though.

13. Miami Marlins (LW: 13) – Hughes: Andrew Heaney looked pretty good against the Mets in his debut, but whether he will be enough to keep them in the NL East race is another story.

14. Baltimore Orioles (LW: 10) – Hughes: Losing Matt Wieters to Tommy John surgery is a tough blow. It will be interesting to see how the pitching staff holds up the rest of this season without his direction.

15. Seattle Mariners (LW: 14) – Zuckerman: Really streaky team. In June alone, they’ve had winning streaks of 5, 3 and 3 games as well as a 5-game losing streak.

16. Cleveland Indians (LW: 17) – Roney: Michael Brantley has been an MVP candidate (.323/.391/.519, 11 HR). Who would’ve guessed he’d be the big star of the CC Sabathia haul.

17. Cincinnatti Reds (LW: 20) – Roney: Billy Hamilton has three homers and 11 RBI over the last two weeks. For a guy who looked like he was swinging a toothpick a month ago, that’s shocking.

18. Texas Rangers (LW: 21) – Zuckerman: Nobody on this team has more than eight homers. On the Rangers? How did that happen?

19. Pittsburgh Pirates (LW: 18) – Roney: Gerrit Cole is on track to return next week, and not a moment too soon.

20. Chicago White Sox (LW: 16) – Roney: With 12 dingers so far this year, Dunn sits at 452 for his career. Even at just 34, I give David Ortiz (38, 447) better odds of making it to 500.

21. Colorado Rockies (LW: 20) – Zuckerman: Even with half of your games at Coors Field, 4.74 team ERA is unacceptable in this day and age.

22. Boston Red Sox (LW: 23) – Hughes: You may have seen Brock Holt’s catch in left field this week, the one that bailed out Johnny Gomes. Did you know he’s also hitting .329 with 21 runs and 12 doubles?

23. Minnesota Twins (LW: 22) – Roney: Phil Hughes continues to pitch the best baseball of his career. Some just thrive without the expectations and the pressure.

24. Philadelphia Phillies (LW: 26) – Hughes: The Phillies just swept the Braves in Atlanta. Who saw that one coming?

25. Houston Astros (LW: 24) – Zuckerman: Props to Bo Porter, who has these guys playing as hard as anybody in baseball.

26. New York Mets (LW: 25) – Hughes: Not only are the Mets losing, but David Wright is hitting just .265 in what has been the worst season of his career. It’s going to be a long second half for the Metropolitans.

27. Chicago Cubs (LW: 29) – Roney: I didn’t think there was much question a couple months ago, but does Javier Baez make the show this year? Slashing .217/.273/.425 in AAA, I’m not so sure anymore.

28. San Diego Padres (LW: 28) – Zuckerman: Team OBP: .274. That would be worst in MLB history if season ended today. Just awful.

29. Arizona Diamondbacks (LW: 27) – Zuckerman: Yeah, but at least they’re good at high-fiving each other after intentionally throwing at opposing hitters.

30. Tampa Bay Rays (LW: 30) – Hughes: Grant Balfour has a 5.93 ERA through 27 appearances. The Nats and Orioles must be glad they avoided that disaster.

  1. micksback1 - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    9th is about right, if Nats win the next 2 I would say they are 7-8, if they get swept, they are not even in the top 15 which makes them the losers I suspect hey might really be

  2. NatsLady - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    Max Scherzer? Don’t you mean Justin Verlander? Scherzer had a bad start but before that he pitched a complete game.

    • Steve - Jun 23, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      Verlander has been off for sure, but Scherzer is Detroit’s ace now, and he hasn’t been performing up to snuff of late. Yes, he did just toss the first shutout of his career, but in the four starts before that, he’d allowed an average of five runs and ten hits. Then, after the shutout, he was tattooed by the Royals for 10 runs (and he allowed two homers to a team that doesn’t hit home runs). That’s not merely a bad start, that’s a Bay of Pigs-level disaster (excuse the hyperbole, of course, but 10 earned runs off of a reigning Cy Young winner is ludicrous). He did have another quality start on Saturday, but I definitely stand by the assertion that he’s been a big part of the rotation woes for Detroit in the past five or so weeks.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 57 47 --
ATLANTA 58 48 --
MIAMI 53 53 5.0
NEW YORK 51 56 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 47 60 11.5
Through Tuesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m. TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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