Thursday, May 5, 2011

MLB Power Rankings - May edition

(Editor's Note: This is the May installment of the power ranking series, provided by Ruben from the Red Sox Nation in Alberta blog, who is letting me cross-post here.   Feel free to add your comments. -- Reg)

Now that the season is 1 month old, time to update the power rankings and give my readers a chance to comment on some laughably bad predictions that I had made earlier.  Not unexpectedly there is a new team atop the rankings.  And it has as much to do with Philadelphia's league best 18-8 start as it has for previously #1 ranked Boston's underwhelming April.  With that unsurprising spoiler out of the way, here are the full rankings.

Note that numbers in brackets are movement from last month, and their high/low rank for the season.  Look at previous rankings  (here, here and here) for explanations of how the team got to where they are.

#1 - Philadelphia (+1, 1/2) Have easily overcome the absence of their injured players, with others stepping up just as Placido Polanco who is nearly hitting .400.
#2 -Colorado (+2, 2/6) They were my initial preseason pick for WS Champions, and are starting to play like it.
#3 - Texas (+5, 3/10) Even without Josh Hamilton, these guys can really hit the ball.
#4 - Yankees (+5, 4/10) A potent offence and a good bullpen is overcoming shaky starting pitching.
#5 - Florida (+13, 5/19) My first big surprise.  If the Phillies flounder, they and not the Braves may provide the competition in that division.
#6 - St. Louis (+9, 6/15) The perils of ranking perennial favorites low is that you look like an idiot when they play as well as they always have. They are doing with offense, leading the majors in batting and OBP, which is a rarity for an NL team.
#7 - Tampa (--, 7/8) Took some heat for not ranking them lower initially.  Their offence has struggled, but should improve now that Longoria has returned, and their pitching is still among the AL's best.
#8 - Boston (-7, 1/8) After a horrendous start, they showed signs of being the team that many had as preseason favorites when their pitching carried them through an unbelievable string of strong starts.  Jed Lowrie has shown he deserves to be a full time starter, Crawford WILL start hitting sooner or later, the only real question mark that remains is behind the plate.  Will Saltalamacchia or Varitek play satisfactorily enough that they don't bring down the rest of the team?
#9 - Detroit (+1, 9/11) With the Twins and White Sox faltering, this may become the team to beat in that division.
#10 - Oakland (-4, 4/10) Pitching is leading the majors (a rarity for an AL team), which I predicted would carry them far.  In fact, the only loss in Boston's 8-1 stretch was when Brett Anderson shut us out.  But their struggling offense is barely keeping the team above .500.
#11 - Angels (+11, 11/22) I thought this was the year that everything would fall apart in DisneyLand.  I didn't foresee Weaver and Haren being confused with Spahn and Sain, but the only way they will keep up with the division leaders is by praying for and getting lots of rain after those 2 pitch.
#12 - San Francisco (-7, 3/12) I knew their offence wouldn't scare anyone, but thought that outstanding pitching would cover up that weakness.  However slightly above average pitching is not enough, and so far that's all they've gotten.
#13 - Cleveland (+17, 14/30) The biggest surprise so far.  I said this was going to be the worst team in the majors, and all they've done to prove me wrong is hit well, pitch well, and have the best record in the league.  I'm still not convinced, although I have (for now) placed them in the top half of the rankings.  If they're still above .500 at the end of the season I'll apologize to all the fans in Lake Erie.  If either one of them read this.
#14 - Toronto (+3, 13/20) Adam Lind looks like his oldself,  Bautista looks like Bautista, and Kyle Drabek looks like he's here to stay.  Still not enough to compete in the AL East. At least this year.
#15 - Cincinnati (-1, 14/16) The definition of mediocre.  Have not been ranked below 16 or above 14 all season, and fall right in at #15 this month.  But that may be all it takes to win the NL Central once the Cardinals cool down.
#16 - Atlanta (-5, 11/16) When I ranked them at #13 in January, I said "I have a bad feeling about this group  .. a hunch it will be a long season at Turner Field." Looks like I should have gone with my instincts and ranked them lower


I've ran out of time for more commentary, as I don't want to delay publishing this any longer.  Below are the rest of the rankings:


#17 - Baltimore (+4, 17/23)
#18 - Milwaukee (-5, 7/18)
#19 - Cubs (-7, 12/19)
#20 - Minnesota  (-17, 3/20) - Ok, one more comment.   Are these real ballplayers, or did they all get their less-athletic twins to take the field for them??
#21 - Dodgers (-1, 20/21)
#22 - Kansas City (+4, 22/26)
#23 - White Sox (-7, 15/23)
#24 - Washington (--, 24/25)
#25 - Seattle (+2, 25/27)
#26 - Pittsburgh (+2, 26/29)
#27 - Arizona (-2, 25/27)
#28 - Mets (-5, 22/28)
#29 - San Diego (-10, 17/29)
#30 - Houston (-1, 28/30)

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