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Power Rankings: Vol. 5

May 28, 2012
  1. Texas Rangers – 30-18 – Yawn. It’s getting boring at the top of the rankings. After going a sizzling .292/.353/.484 as a team in April the Rangers have “cooled off” to a meager .285/.340/.462 in  May. The Rangers rank first in runs and the three rate stats, and also rank in the top five in ERA, WHIP and opponents’ average, so it’s not just the offense that’s been clicking.
  2. Washington Nationals – 29-18 – The Nats are 16-10 in April and have four winning streaks of three games or more in the month so far. With all the success that Stephen Strasburg has had, Gio Gonzalez has been even better. The 26-year-old has won in five straight starts and seven of eight, overall; his only loss was a six-inning, two-earned run performance in which his team was shutout. In his last five starts he has a 45:13 K:BB, and he hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of those starts.
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers – 32-15 – The Dodgers are 7.5 up on the Giants in the NL West, and own a +49 run differential, which is third best in the majors. Even without Matt Kemp, who still leads the team in homers and runs, since May 13 the Dodgers are 9-4. They don’t have even a good offense, but rank fourth in the NL in runs due to a .342 team OBP, which is second in the league. Their OPS also goes up over 40 points when runners are in scoring position, so they’re getting hits at the right time.
  4. Tampa Bay Rays – 29-19 – The Rays have been able to stay afloat despite losing Evan Longoria and Desmond Jennings and starting Drew Sutton, Will Rhymes and Chris Gimenez. Their pitching (3.04 May ERA, second in the AL) has helped make up for lack of firepower in the lineup. And so have the Rays’ remaining lineup fixtures – Carlos Pena (.351 OBP, 7 HR), Matt Joyce (.290/.405/.552 and 9 HR), Ben Zobrist (.352 OBP), B.J. Upton (.301/.353/.463 and 11 steals) and Luke Scott who leads the team in RBI.
  5. Baltimore Orioles – 29-19 – 15-10 in May, but more importantly 11-5 against NYY, BOS, TB and WAS. The O’s are able to make up for a lack of on-base-ness (?) with their timely power hitting. They rank 19th in OBP but fifth in slugging. To keep up the hot start they need to draw more walks, as no regular has an OBP above .350.
  6. Cincinnati Reds – 27-20 – Arguably the hottest team in the league, the Reds have won eight of nine, including two from the Yankees and a four-game sweep of the Braves. The Reds’ strength is its bullpen, which has a 2.51 ERA on the season, and features Aroldis Chapman (0 ERA), Logan Ondrusek (2.61), Sean Marshall (24:4 K:BB) and Jose Arrendondo (2.38 ERA).
  7. St. Louis Cardinals – 26-22 – The Cards have been struggling quite a bit, but still have the best run differential in the NL. Every team hits a rough stretch once or twice in the season, and this is definitely one of the Cardinals’. Their offense – which ranks in the top three in runs and the rate stats – is fine, but their pitching has taken a step, or three, back in May. A 4.63 ERA is 28th in the majors in the month, after putting up a 2.61 mark in April.
  8. New York Yankees – 26-21 – The Yanks have won five in a row after meddling at .500 early last week. But they had to sweep the A’s and win two in a row from the Royals to do that. They’ve only scored 95 runs in May, which ranks 21st. Having to rely on Ivan Nova (1.57 WHIP), Phil Hughes (1.37) and Andy Pettite (OLD) isn’t what I think Yankees fans would want to do. And it’s not like Hiroki Kuroda’s been great (1.37 WHIP). The offense will be fine, but with such a logjam in the AL East it could be time to worry for the Yanks.
  9. Chicago White Sox – 26-22 – They don’t even lead their own division, but they’re 9-1 in their last 10 games and have a run differential that’s 48 runs better than the first-place Indians.
  10. Los Angeles Angels – 24-25 – The Angels have won six in a row and are 16-10 in May, with a +18 run differential. Albert Pujols is back to being normal, and Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout have just been killing it this month. The rest of their offense should get going soon, which will make things scary for the rest of the AL.
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