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Your Tuesday Morning Power Rankings

Jun 8, 2010, 10:23 AM EDT

Rivera Cervelli shake hands.jpgLast week’s Power Rankings are all curdled and sour and are no longer fit for human consumption. Here are some new rankings, fresh out of the cow.  Or maybe it’s bull. You be the judge.

Nevertheless, these rankings reflect data and impressions through play on Sunday night — which was when I came up with the order — and do not include last night’s games. The reason they’re a day late is because it took me longer to write the comments.  Anyway:

1. Yankees: Consider this a leap of faith. A gut call. A wild hair. I know it’s not reflective of their records, but I just feel like it’s time for a change. In this I realize I’m not unlike those college football pollsters who pick some hot Pac-10 team in early October only to really regret it later, but (a) these are the Yankees, not Cal; and (b) they’ve won six of eight while the Rays have been idling for the better part of three weeks. Besides, the Yankees have six straight against the Orioles and Astros for Pete’s sake, and if they can’t blow through that with ease the rankings will take care of themselves.

2. Rays: Best record in baseball, sure, but they’re certainly a notch back from where they had been. That was fine while the Yankees were dealing with injuries and playing a tough patch of games, but Tampa Bay needs to stand on the accelerator a bit harder than they have been lately.

3. Braves: There’s no shame in splitting against the Dodgers in L.A., especially after the sweep of Philly. Once this Dbacks series is over they have six against the Twins and the Rays, however, so they might not want to get too cozy in the catbird seat of the NL East.

4. Twins: Despite being the banged-up (or in some cases just sick) team du jour, dropping three to the Mariners mid-week was not acceptable. Nice bounceback against the A’s, though.

5. Red Sox/Blue Jays: Yes, a freakin’ tie. And I’m not doing this because people have been jawing at me over their respective rankings. Facts are facts: as of yesterday morning they had the same record, nearly identical home and road records, a run differential that separates them by less than a single Pythagorean game, and they’ve both won six of ten. It’s been a month since they’ve played head-to-head and while the Jays took two of three then, this is a different Sox team now. As such, we’re cleaning the slate and moving on. Show us what you got, AL East also-rans!

7. Cardinals: David Freese and Colby Rasmus have been key contributors. The former left with an injury on Saturday and the latter Sunday. St. Louis can’t be without them long.

8. Reds: Remember when everyone was asking why the Reds were bothering to take on Scott Rolen in that trade last year? As of yesterday he was hitting .288/.351/.587, is leading the league in homers and is playing his usual excellent defense. MVP candidate, right?

9. Padres: Just humming right along. Now, trade Heath Bell for a big bat and put some distance between yourselves and the Dodgers.

10. Dodgers: They’re winning the close ones. Like, really, really winning the close ones.

11. Giants: Hanging in there despite a struggling Lincecum and a
double play happy offense. Whoever the Padres go after should be on
their trade deadline list as well.

12. Phillies: At this
point I’m guessing that someone on this team built a house on an ancient
Indian burial ground and in exchange had the entire team’s weapons
rendered impotent by the Great Spirit. Who was it? Werth? Ibanez? I’m
guessing it was one of those guys. 

13. Tigers: Seeing
them send Dontrelle Willis and Adam Everett away shows that
they’re aware that they’re not a complete team at present which should
an encouraging sign for fans. Also encouraging: the fact that even
though they haven’t been playing their best baseball of late they’re
still hanging in there with the Twins.

14. Rockies: A
total two-steps-forward-one-step-back team. Just as they’re righting the
ship they drop a series to the Dbacks? I remain convinced that they
have the talent to make a big run and put the flawed Dodgers, Giants and
Padres in their rear-view mirror, but they really need to get it

15. Mets:  You know what’s going to be a fun?
When press-favorite Jeff Francoeur is benched upon the return of Carlos
Beltran and Angel Pagan is given right field as he so richly deserves. I
wonder if the New York press corps will fall for the Jeffy charm like
the Atlanta press did and write about how a guy who has had over 3000
plate appearances to show his true level “just needs more time to turn
it around.”

16. Rangers/Angels/Athletics: Yes,
another tie. This one a three-way!  Really, I’m just going to throw the
Athletics, Rangers and
Angels in a hat pretty soon and just pick them out at random to see
where to rank them, because this “whoever is in first place this week
gets the highest slot” thing isn’t very satisfying to me.

: Conversation I had with my brother recently: Me: “I’m kind
of excited to see Mike Stanton.” Him: “He’s still hanging around? What
is he, 45?” 

20. Cubs: Where would they be without Carlos
Silva? What were the odds that anyone would say something like that
unironically this year?

21. Nationals: Between Harper and
Strasburg this is a great week for other Nats players to slump, slack
off, get arrested, etc. No one will notice.

22. Royals:
The Royals are hitting. Can you credit the hitting coach? I dunno, but
if there’s one I’d like to credit it’s Kevin Seitzer. Check
out this great profile
of one of my favorite players from back in
the day.

23. White Sox: The fire sale is imminent. In
other news, based on Ozzie
Guillen’s Spanish-language tweets from yesterday
, I’m pretty sure
he’s angling to become the next President of Venezuela. I’m torn here.
On the one hand he seems to care deeply about the plight of the
Venezuelan people who, for all of Chavez’s populist posturing, aren’t
doing as well as citizens in such a resource-rich country should be. On
the other hand, if you gave Ozzie Guillen an army and diplomatic
immunity you may very well destabilize the entire western hemisphere. 
Screw it: Ozzie in ’12!

24. Mariners: Griffey is off
fishing and Sweeney is on the disabled list. With mom and dad gone the
Mariners can finally throw that party they’ve been talking about.

: With Trembley gone in Baltimore I suppose Macha’s seat is
now the hottest in baseball.

26. Astros: Houston selected
Delino DeShields Jr. in the draft last night. They should try to trade
him to the Dodgers for Clayton Kershaw. What? They fell for it once,
they might fall for it again.

27. Indians:  Strasburg is
supposed to pitch in Cleveland on Sunday. It may be the Tribe’s biggest
crowd for the rest of the year.

28. Pirates: Don’t tell me
that they’re not sitting around the hotel this morning talking about
how sweet it would be to beat the holy Hell out of Strasburg tonight.
Part of me wants to see that. Part of me wants to see Strasburg strike
out 16. Part of me wants to see Strasburg come out, hit the mascot with
the first pitch, hit the leadoff batter with the second pitch and then
get ejected, after which he gives quotes about “controlling the

29. Diamondbacks: Talk about a brutal June
schedule: Dodgers, Rockies, Braves, Cardinals, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankeesm
Rays and then the Cardinals again. Mercy.

30.  Orioles:
How long does Juan Samuel get to prove himself before that “interim” tag
starts to set in concrete? I’d say a couple more weeks. If the O’s
don’t go on a nice little run by then he’s officially a placeholder.

  1. Paul Martin - Jun 8, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    I will not quibble too much with the tie for 5th place even though the Jays have faced tougher teams than the Red Sox lately. I do disagree with the Yankees over the Rays. Last week the Jays faced both the Yankees and the Rays. The games were very competitive, except for Toronto’s easy win over Burnett. The Jays were 1 and 2 against Tampa and 2 & 1 against New York. The edge belongs to Tampa Bay.

  2. Ace - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    Don’t you see Craig? Rather than falling back on your own personal wang-sucking biases, you ought to rank all the other teams according to their records against the Blue Jays (with run differentials as tie-breakers). I guess the NL is tied for last place, until such time as they man up and prove themselves against Toronto.

  3. kcmookie - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    You actually moved the Royals up. I thought a few weeks ago you stated Ned Yost would not sniff .500 again? Sure sucks to be wrong.

  4. Simon DelMonte - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    Frenchy will still see plenty of playing time when (and if) Beltran comes back. All of it after the sixth inning in close games where you want Francouer’s arm and don’t want Beltran’s knee out there. (I could suggest that Frenchy will surprise us all and stay hot, but it’s clear even to those of us who like him than he is the ultimate streak hitter.)
    If the Mets’ worst problem in August is who gets playing time between these guys, I will not be unhappy. But I will believe Beltran is back when I see it.
    Also, who makes up the interleague schedule that the D-Backs are playing two teams from the AL East and one from the Central? I half expect to see them play the Nippon Ham Fighters next.

  5. YankeesfanLen - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    When power rankings were delayed yesterday, I was tempted to write sarcastically: “1. Yankees 2-29 other teams Yada Yada Yada 30. Orioles” But you do a lot more than that, so I waited patiently.
    As I cannot do with Teixera. He said he was hitting better Sunday, so let’s now do it vs. O’s and Stros. Mr. Softee schedule all the way til the break, let’s deserve the ranking.
    Glad to see Tigers still in top half and at least trying to get somewhere. Sure they can’t beat the Twins, but where does that KC phobia come from. It’s the AL Central for corn’s sake.
    And Jonny5, let’s hear something about the Feelies.

  6. Infinite Wisdom - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    The Yanks #1? You make me proud, Craig.

  7. (Not That) Tom - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    Don’t worry Craig, Blue Jays fans are a lot like pollen: aggravating and annoying in May but usually gone by the second week of June. Soon enough you’ll only have to worry about pissing off just Red Sox (and Mets and Yankees and Phillies) fans.

  8. ZimmerFan - Jun 8, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    When the Yanks have the best record in baseball, then you can rank them at #1. Until then, quit sucking their caulks, and put them back at #2.

  9. bje - Jun 8, 2010 at 12:19 PM

    I’m not sure Frenchy’s career numbers are anything to be ashamed of. “Richly deserves” may be a bit of a reach.

  10. beezo - Jun 8, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    Both the braves and dodgers started the season at 8 and 14. Then they both went 23 and 8 over their next 31. Then they split a 4 game series. The dodgers won their next game over the 1st place cards while the braves lost vs the last place dbacks. The dodgers got off to a terrible start, and now they have the 4th best record in baseball.I know you are a braves fan, so id even let you put the braves ahead of the dodgers, but the dodgers should be right behind them, if not ahead.

  11. JBerardi - Jun 8, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    FWIW, the Red Sox passed not only the Blue Jays but also the RAYS in Baseball Prospectus’ Adjusted Standings this week. Tampa is a very good team, but they really don’t have any kind of business putting up the kind of run differential that they have. This might not matter, because they’re still very good and they have a decent cushion in the division, but preseason expectations of a very tight three-team race are starting to look much more accurate…

  12. Adrian Duran - Jun 8, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    The first paragrapgh was right, BULL…How can a team that has played .750 baseball over the last 30+ games get such little respect. That qualifies that particular team as the hottest in baseball over that time span and places them a half game out of the best record in the NL. It matters not that the victories are by 1 run or 10, a win is a win is a win!!! These rankings are ludicrous is the Dodgers are ranked no better than 10!

  13. Christopher Bates - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    “I’m just going to throw the Athletics, Rangers and Angels in a hat pretty soon and just pick them out at random to see where to rank them, because this “whoever is in first place this week gets the highest slot” thing isn’t very satisfying to me.”
    Hm, maybe you could, you know, judge based on their recent performance. The Angels, 6-1 last week, would seem to be the call on that basis.

  14. mick-7-1961 - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    Ranking the Yanks first…good call, Craig.

  15. Joey B - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    I’m sure other teams have their own version of this, but once they got past their 4-9 start, the RS have had the best record in BB. Playing .652 over the past 46 games.

  16. scatterbrian - Jun 8, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    Craig, tell your brother that the Astros just landed Delino DeShields.

  17. Matt - Jun 8, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    Its very funny how playing the O’s and the Stros are expected to make the yanx healthy again.

  18. Pisano - Jun 8, 2010 at 6:33 PM

    Your ranking would have more credibility if Tex wasn’t such an anchor. I’m a Yankee fan , but this guy is killing them . I’m so happy that Morneau is ahead of him in the All Star race . It just wouldn’t be right for Tex to start, it would be an insult to Morneau .

  19. Lorenzo - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:34 AM

    What is this fetish about San Diego trading its closer? First, it was for more magic beans to continue the “rebuilding” after the team has been rebuilt, now it’s for a bat. Were you talking about trading Trevor Hoffman ten years ago when he was in his prime? Admit it, your favorite team needs a premier closer and you’re hoping they can get Bell, isn’t it?

  20. Unreal - Jun 9, 2010 at 8:33 AM

    Sox and Jays tied? Grow a sack. You say you didn’t do it because people are ripping on you, yet you give your reason for it as basically they have identical stats. Fine. Except that these are not league standings, this is power rankings. It’s not based on stats, as you know from putting the Yanks over the Rays. So stop being a little girl and make a call on which one you put your money on.

  21. Larry - Jun 9, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    Great comment on the Astros.
    for others, Dodgers traded a young reliever Pedro Martinez to Expos for ‘studly’ 2B Delino Deshields many years ago. Pedro became great, Delino ok, but overall a very bad trade for Dodgers.
    they made this trade because their incumbent 2B, Jody Reed, turned down their obscene offer (something like $20M/4yrs) and a year or two later he was out of baseball.
    some free agents, or more typically, their agents, don’t know when to accept the big $; Jody Reed & Juan Gonzalez are my “heroes” when it comes to turning down big $$ & later never recoup.

  22. Helen - Jun 10, 2010 at 9:41 AM

    Go ahead – put the Yanks on top this week…. only gives the Rays more aim to prove you wrong! The Rays are up for the challenge and have the fire. Go RAYS!

  23. TortaFan - Jun 14, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    The Dodgers must really be kicking themselves today for only getting the Angels at home for 3 games. They lost all 3 and jumped up 3 slots. Imagine what would have happened if they had a chance to schedule 4 or 5 more losses to the Halos!

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