Shea’s MLB Power Rankings (as of 30/06/2011)
The MLB divisions just keep on scrunching. No current leader has a cushion bigger than 4.5 games.
Looking at the teams on top, it appears the true World Series contenders are starting to emerge as the season reaches its halfway point.
(Previous rankings in brackets)
1. (1) Philadelphia Phillies (51-30): As if the Phillies needed more things to go right…Cliff Lee has started one of his maniacal hot streaks again. Three consecutive complete-game shutouts.
2. (3) New York Yankees (47-31): Could Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson give the Bronx Bombers their first 50-homer tandem since the glory days of Mantle and Maris?
3. (10) Atlanta Braves (47-35): Brandon Beachy fills the void for injured Tommy Hanson – and pitches just like Hanson. The Braves have another great kid on their hands.
4. (12) San Francisco Giants (46-35): The champs are hot, primarily because of their pitching but also because their anemic hitting has shown the slightest signs of life.
5. (6) Tampa Bay Rays (45-36): It was only a matter of time before Evan Longoria exploded. No coincidence that the Rays are heating up just as he does.
6. (2) Boston Red Sox (45-34): Their bats have randomly gone cold and they’ve lost six of seven as a result. Are you worried? I’m not.
7. (21) Los Angeles Angels (42-40): The Halos are 8-2 over their last 10, largely because the Weaver/Haren connection is on fire again. But this team still isn’t deep enough to make waves in October.
8. (16) Texas Rangers (43-38): Who knew that the Rangers’ MVP candidate this year would be Michael Young and not Josh Hamilton nor Nelson Cruz?
9. (7) Milwaukee Brewers (44-37): The Brew Crew is good enough to win the National League Central but that 15-26 road record sticks out like a sore thumb. What if they open a playoff series away from Miller Park?
10. (20) New York Mets (41-39): Whoa, daddy. Where’d this offense come from? Jose Reyes has possibly been the NL’s best player, Carlos Beltran is turning back the clock and David Wright is on the mend.
11. (4) Cleveland Indians (42-37): Even though Shin-Soo Choo wasn’t doing much, his thumb injury hurts. The rest of the team is crashing back to Earth and the Tribe really needed Choo to get hot.
12. (9) St. Louis Cardinals (43-38): .500 over their last 10 and that’s all they can really ask for with the greatest ballplayer on Earth sidelined with a fractured forearm.
13. (8) Detroit Tigers (43-38): Are the Tigers at their ceiling? Their best players – Verlander, Cabrera, Martinez, etc. – are all playing great ball. But the team is a so-so five games over .500. The Tigers just aren’t deep enough to be much better than this.
14. (13) Arizona Diamondbacks (44-38): Looks like the Diamondbacks will remain relevant all season. Management publicly stated this week that the team will be a buyer in July.
15. (17) Chicago White Sox (39-42): Miraculously just four games out of first in the AL Central. This is still the division’s deepest, most talented team. Only a matter of time before the lead belongs to the Pale Hose. Imagine if Adam Dunn played like something other than a bench player?
16. (11) Cincinnati Reds (42-40): Joey Votto may have another MVP on his shelf by season’s end but the Reds don’t look like division champion material this time around.
17. (24) Pittsburgh Pirates (40-39): The Pirates are over .500 at almost the halfway point! This is almost…awkward. What do we say about them?
18. (22) Colorado Rockies (39-41): I suppose we don’t have to worry yet. The Rockies are almost due for their annual second-half tear.
19. (18) Toronto Blue Jays (40-41): As usual, they’d be in the thick of the playoff race in almost every other division. But they’re simply fourth-best in the AL East.
20. (19) Washington Nationals (40-41): Raise your hand if you knew that Jordan Zimmermann had a 0.85 ERA in June. This guy is a stud and no one knows about him aside from fantasy baseball nuts.
21. (27) San Diego Padres (37-45)
22. (5) Minnesota Twins (34-45)
23. (14) Oakland Athletics (36-45)
24. (25) Los Angeles Dodgers (36-46)
25. (15) Seattle Mariners (39-42)
26. (28) Chicago Cubs (33-48)
27. (30) Florida Marlins (35-45)
28. (26) Baltimore Orioles (35-42)
29. (23) Kansas City Royals (33-48)
30. (29) Houston Astros (28-53)
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