MLB Monthly Rankings: June

This is my monthly power rankings for June.  I had much more time so I could put more effort into it than just a list.

1. St. Louis CardinalsSt_Louis_Cardinals

The Cardinals clearly deserve Number 1. they’ve held on to the best record in the MLB for a long time, Michael Wacha is 8-2 with a 2.45 ERA in and he’s pitched in the MLB for under 2 years.  Jhonny Peralta has a .317 batting average, and Matt Holliday’s hitting .303 with a team leading .417 on base percentage.  Impressive stats and ecord have earned the Cardinals the numer 1 spot.  Even if the games they’ve won have been close, it’s not the score that matters, it’s who wins, even if they’ve been outscored in some winning series’.

los-angeles-dodgers2. Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers are rising again, and Joc Pederson is helping. 17 home runs is great for a rookie.  Zach Greinke also has stayed as a record breaker this season with a 1.95 ERA.  They have a good offense and rotation, and will continue to rise for the rest of the season.  Hopefully Clayton Kershaw can do whatGreinke’s doing too, and some other hitters can get warmer.  I see good things to come.

kansas_city_royals3. Kansas City Royals

Even if the hitting is starting to wear off, the Royals lineup has led the team to victory, and I think later in the season, they’ll get back on track.  Mike Moustakas has put up a .318 average to start the year.   Salvador Perez and several other contributors to the Royals lineup are leading all star candidates.  This really reminds me of a modified version of last year.

Chicago_Cubs4. Chicago Cubs

Joe Maddon has really improved the team this season ever since he took over as manager.  They’ve added OF Dexter Fowler, 2B Tommy La Stella, 3B Kris Bryant, OF Javier Baez and C Miguel Montero to their lineup, and Jon Lester, former Red Sox and A’s starter to their rotation.  How have they performed with the new additions.  Pretty good, especially compared to Cubs squads from recent years.  Cubs veteran Anthony Rizzo has led in most major batting stats.  He has a .307 average, 69 hits, .421 on base percentage, 11 home runs and 37 RBI.  Not too thrilling, but still good.  They’re 34-27 currently in the NL Central’s third place spot.  Also, Jason Hammel has a 2.81 ERA, although Jon Lester has struggled mildly so far. Usually, he tops the rotation.  Otherwise, they’ve been just a little over average.  They could be a wild cardcanditate, but aren’t at the top of the current race.

5. Toronto Blue Jays Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays are red hot and had won eleven straight until Monday night, including sweeping my Red Sox for their 4th-6th striaght losses.  They now have a seven game losing streak over in Boston.  Chris Colabello is hitting a whopping .345.  Josh Donaldson has 17 home runs on the season with his new team here in Toronto.  The Blue Jays made some great off season moves that built them into a much better team this season.  Additions like Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson have really helped the 2015 squad.

Houston Astros6. Houston Astros

Surprise, surprise.  The Astros have finally rebuilt enough to be in the playoff race.  Their pitching has shocked all.  Dallas Keuchel is 8-2 with a 2.04 ERA.  Pat Neshek has 17 holds and Luke Gregerson has 16 saves.  They’ve had plenty of new contributors to the lineup this year as well.  Have you heard of Luis Valbuena?  He replaced Matt Dominguez and has smashed 14 homers so far this year.  With a few player outbreaks, the Astros have managed to climb from the bottom to close to the top.

Minnesota_Twins7. Minnesota Twins

Another surprise team that quickly climbed to the top is what I would call this ball club.  Again, they’ve balanced on a few outbreak players.  Do you recall Brian Dozier from the 2014 Home Run Derby?  Well, he’s hit 13 for the Twins this season.  In the pitching staff, Glen Perkins has closed well with 22 saves on the season.  This team is very similar to the Astros in many ways, especially this season so far.

new-york-yankees8. New York Yankees

The Yankees have managed to stay on the top of the weak AL East division balancing on just a couple stars.  Brett Gardner to start the season was just hot overall.  Mark Teixeira has finally overcome his 2011 injury completely after a few very mellow years, hitting 18 home runs so far this season.  Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting .324 with fourteen stolen bases already, even being on the 15 day disabled list during part of the start.  Also, pitching is another smaller factor.  Michael Pineda is 8-4, winning two out of every three starts with a win or loss and Andrew Miller has put up 17 saves this season.  Are the Yankees finally Yankees again?  The consistent Yankees they once were?

Pittsburgh_Pirates9. Pittsburgh Pirates

This Pirates team is red hot, especially their pitching, surprising everybody.  Gerrit Cole is 11-2 with a 1.78 ERA.  Mark Melancon has 24 saves.  Francisco Liriano has struck out 105 on the season.  Those are what you call great pitching stats that boost you in the power rankings.  A.J. Burnett also has a whopping 2.05 ERA and isn’t the team leader, trailing behind Cole.  The one thing that makes me think they don’t belong higher is their lack of a good lineup this season.  It looked good, but just like the Red Sox pitching, it’s not executing like it was supposed to.  The only other difference is that Pittsburgh is winning more, lots more.  That’s why the Red Sox are down at the bottom rather than up here.

Washington-Nationals10. Washington Nationals

This was supposed to be an all star team with the best rotation in the MLB.  They’ve been a few games above .500, and no more than that.  But looking at how badly they did to start the season, I would call them hot, and Bryce Harper is finally hitting like the all starhe was meant to be.  He’s hitting .339 with 24 home runs and 57 RBI.  Yunel Escobar was another great addition to the lineup, hitting .325 so far.  Max Scherzer has also had a great year with his new team, putting up 123 strikeouts and a 1.76 ERA.  Closer Drew Storen has put up 21 saves.  So they have put up stats like an all star team would.  They just need to win some more games.  If April never happened, the Nationals would be a whole lot better.

Tampa_Bay_Rays11. Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays have somehow, some way, pushed through tons of injuries, losses, and setbacks, but still have stayed near the top of the division all season.  Well, who exactly has put up such uge numbers, without getting hurt?  CHRIS ARCHER.  He’s in his prime years of his career, with a 2.10 ERA, 123 strikeouts and a 9-4 record.  Closer Brad Boxberger has also earned 19 saves this season.  Even if hitting has struggled moderately, Chris Archer has led the Rays to victory after victory.

detroit-tigers12. Detroit Tigers

Their record hasn’t been dependable, but Miguel Cabrera’s having a breakout season, andif he had more home runs, he would be a Triple Crown candidate.  He’s hitting .351/.455/.590 with 52 RBI, 15 home runs and 88 hits on the season.  J. D. Martinez also has 17 home runs while hitting .272/.331/.517, which isn’t quite as impressive has the homers.  He also has 43 RBI and 72 hits.  Pitching is decent as well, David Price with a 2.42 ERA and 95 strikeouts, and Joakim Soria with 16 saves.  If only they could win some games.

new-york-mets13. New York Mets

The Mets have surprised pretty much everybody by starting their season so well.  Pitching is part of the matter.  Jacob DeGrom has a 2.34 ERA and 93 strikeouts.  Jeurys Familia has 19 saves, and Carlos Torres has 11 holds.  However, hitting has seriously been struggling.  Their record isn’t even so great, and that’s exactly why they’re down here and not up in the top 10.  They really need to improve their lineup and the rotation besides DeGrom, including the struggling star Matt Harvey, or they’re going to start to have some serious problems.

san-francisco-giants14. San Francisco Giants

The Giants actually sill have something in them, even after losing the Panda to Boston.  Nori Aoki, acquired from the Royals has 83 hits while batting .317.  In pitching, Madison Bumgarner has a 3.04 ERA with 102 strikeouts.   Santiago Casilla has 19 saves, and Sergio Romo has a whopping 18 holds!!!!   Still, the stats could be better, bumping the Giants down to almost the bottom half of my June Power Rankings.  Besides, they’re only 39-34.  So, there are some consequences for dropping Panda, one of them being that he’s red hot on the Red Sox over these last several games.

Texas-Rangers  15. Texas Rangers

The Rangers have been red hot, of late especially.  Chi-Chi Gonzalez has a 2.27 ERA.  Nick Martinez has a 2.77 ERA.  Yovani Gallardo has a 2.98 ERA.  Colby Lewis is 7-3.  So each starter may not be good in every way, but are contributing in at least on way each.  After an injury, Prince Fielder has been a huge contributor, batting .342/.412/.522 and with 93 hits and 47 RBI.  However, the lineup hasn’t been up to it’s expectations besides Fielder.  Fielder also only has 11 home runs, which is below his average per season.  the Rangers aren’t even that far above .500.  They sit at a mediocre 37-35 record, in 2nd in the AL West.  Just like 2014, they started the season about average?  The question is, will they stay that way for a change, or be early season conquerors again and fall apart late?

los-angeles-angels-of-anaheim16. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Angels aren’t meeting their expectations exactly, but they’ve been okay.  Albert Pujols has been red hot, with 47 RBI, 23 home runs, and joining the 500 home run club (I bet Big Papi is next.)    Mike Trout also has 80 season hits and continues to be like the potential star he is.  Trout also has 18 home runs, and a .296 batting average, that nobody on the team has done better than, except pitchers against interleague teams, going 1 for 3 and batting .333 each in one start with at bats.  In the rotation, Hector Santiago has a 2.68 ERA.  But pitching and somewhat hitting have been struggles.  The team has been far below the high 1st place expectations most people had for them, including me.

cleveland-indians  17. Cleveland Indians

The Indians had an April and early May disaster, but are starting to recover and have been playing like they should be lately.  Corey Kluber has struck out 117 this season, and lineup members like Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley are hot and all star worthy as well.  Kipnis is hitting .354/.431/.521 with 31 RBI and 10 stolen bases.  Kipnis also is one hit shy of 100 hits this season, at 99 hits currently.  One more game and he should have 100+ season hits.  Kipnis has also scored 49 runs, 1 run shy of fifty runs, which it should probably take a couple more games to get.  Michael Brantley also is hitting .293/.370/.435 with 37 RBI, and former Oakland Athletic Brandon Moss has 11 home runs, however he has no other stats that are that impressive.  I think the Indians will continue to improve throughout July and August.

Baltimore-Orioles-Logo  18. Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles have gained, regained and lost many members of their trusty lineup.  Alejandro De Aza was signed by the Red Sox.  Have you heard the name Jimmy Paredes?  Since they found he would be a great starting DH after losing Nelson Cruz at the start of this season, he’s hit .311/.333/.486.  Manny Machado has returned from his injury and impressed all by hitting .303/.357/.516 with 14 home runs and 84 hits.  Chris Davis has returned from a struggling season well with 15 home runs and 41 RBI, hitting the way he should be.  His classic, low average, home run king kind of mindset. Slugging percentage is the new stat in town.  However, his slugging percentage is a lowly .461, as well.  For pitching, each guy has one good stat.  Wei-Yin Chen has a 2.89 ERA.  Ubaldo Jimenez has struck out 82.  Closer Zach Britton has 20 saves.  The team does have some missing pieces to the puzzle though, even if they are doing well, and that’s why they’re down here.

19. Arizona Diamondbacks

How have the D-Backs gotten so high up?  It’s because of a few shining guys in the lineup that are red hot, like Paul Goldschmidt.  Goldschmidt is hitting amazingly, at .351/.468/.645 with 20 home runs, 93 hits and 62 RBI.  He’s just been a gem for them this season.  There aren’t any better hitters, or hitters even close to what Goldschmidt’s done on the Diamondbacks.  For pitching, it’s been off to a hard start, and the pitching has continued to struggle, and losing Wade Miley to the Sox didn’t help much.  So technically, Paul Goldschmidt is leading the entire D-Backs squad to big wins.  Nobody else has shined like him on this team at least.

20. Atlanta Braves
The Braves are just below .500 on the season.  Why is this?  They practically gave up everything.  They didn’t give away any starting pitchers.  Shelby Miller has a 1.94 ERA.  Plus, the bullpen and new closer have really paid off.  Jim Johnson has 18 holds and Jason Grilli has 21 saves.  That makes Miller-Johnson-Grilli the perfect starter-reliever-closer combo.  The one struggle has been the lineup.  But a couple guys have paid off.  Nick Markakis is hitting .300/.387/.355 with 86 hits and Freddie Freeman has 41 RBI.

21. Cincinnati Reds
The Reds have plenty of guys that have the potential to do well.  Only a few have actually shined though, and that’s why they’re here.  Todd Frazier has slugged with 25 homers, 53 RBI and 85 hits while hitting .290/.353/.625.  Joey Votto also has 14 homers while hitting .284/.394/.504.  Johnny Cueto has been the rotation ace with a 2.98 ERA with 92 strikeouts.  Several pitchers like Mat Latos and Homer Bailey have gotten seriously hurt, holding back majority of the rotation while taking the spotlight and number one spot.  The Reds supposed hitters, like second year all star Billy Hamilton, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce haven’t actually hit like they’ve supposed to, while they have made some plays in the field.  Hamilton is also a mighty lead off who can get on base and has stolen 33.

22. Chicago White Sox
Hitting, especially out of Cuban sleeper Jose Abreu has struggled.  Abreu still leads the team, but he’s an underperformer based on his expectations.  He has 13 homers, 41 RBI and 80 hits.  The pitching’s been the same way, except it has done well, all really close to underperforming ace Chris Sale.  He’s 6-4 with a 3.02 ERA.  But, the ERA is decent and he has and MLB leading 129 strikeouts.  I just thought of something.  You know how hitters can win a Triple Crown Award, for leading their league in RBIs, batting average and home runs?   They should have a pitching Triple Crown Award, wins, ERA and strikeouts.  That’s the big three of pitching stats, just like the three chosen for hitting are the big three of batting stats, along with overall hits as a fourth hitting component.

23. Colorado Rockies
The pitching has been disastrous, keeping the team below .500.  But the lineup has shocked everyone.  TROY TULOWITZKI.  This all star shortstop is hitting .313/.347/.480.  J. A. Arenado has 24 homers and 68 RBI. He is also hitting .293/.326/.632.  Troy LeMaieu is also hitting .304/.363/.405 with 83 hits.  The Rockies have struggled overall though, with only one starter getting 16 starts, Kyle Kendrick and he has a very sad 6.07 ERA, one of three pitchers worse than Rick Porcello of the Red Sox, also including Orioles supposed ace Chris Tillman.

24. San Diego Padres
The Padres new guys aren’t all doing quite as well as I expected, but they’re not doing to bad, and a few guys are shining.  Ace James Shields is 7-2 with 116 strikeouts.  Closer Craig Kimbrel has 19 saves, and Joaquin Benoit has 10 holds.  Yonder Alonso hasn’t played as an everyday starter, but he’s hitting .318/.407/.415.   Justin Upton also leads the team with 14 homers and 46 RBI.  But otherwise, they had some higher expectations from most.  However, I was mostly correct saying the Padres would stink, then modifying to say they’d be unpredictable.  That’s what they’ve been.  An average team that you can never know with.  It’s near impossible to make Padres picks unless you’re a Padres expert.

25.  Seattle Mariners

I’d expect more out of the Mariners if they’re going to go out in the off season and sign Austin Jackson, Nelson Cruz and more new sluggers, although they lost Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders to Toronto.  Cruz has shined, hitting .305/.368/.552 with 19 homers, 46 RBI and 85 hits, but besides Cruz and third baseman Kyle Seager, (12 HR & 38 RBI), the lineup has been pretty disappointing.  King Felix has done as expected though, led the rotation, but only a couple guys are following Hernandez’ great starts.  Hernandez has 100 strikeouts, is 10-4 and has a 3.05 ERA.

26. Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers are probably the biggest disappointment in the NL, (It would be by far the Red Sox in the AL).  After the September collapse last season, they haven’t gotten any better.  Adam Lind has the best average on the team.  Does .294 sound like the leading average on a team?  Not to me it doesn’t.  Ryan Braun is the only guy with a good stat.  50 RBI.  Not bad.  But he’s also team leader in home runs, but he only has fifteen!  Well, Hanley Ramirez of Boston is the same way.  And the only impressive pitching stat comes from Mike Fiers, with 93 strikeouts.  But his ERA is over 4.00 and he has a losing record.  So that’s pretty much just considered a fun fact if it’s all alone.  The pitching stinks.  They need to rebuild the rotation for next season.  Practically every starter is underperforming.

27. Miami Marlins

Alright, I will admit that Giancarlo Stanton may be the best hitter in the current MLB.  He has 27 homers, has a .606 slugging percentage, and 67 RBI.  Dee Gordon was also a good acquisition, hitting .353/.373/.423 and having 112 total hits.  But the pitching is a disaster, and if those two hitters can’t win the games alone, they don’t belong very high in my rankings.  And they can’t.  It’s a team effort.  They need at least okay play from all aspects to make a winning team.

28. Boston Red Sox

Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez are the leading hitters right now.  Pedroia is hitting .306 and Hanley has 15 homers.  But those stats aren’t so great, and they’re both injured now, even though the Sox have won 3 of 4 with out them.  That’s good, because Hanley is expected to return, but Pedroia is on the disabled list, and when he’s on the DL, it means a serious injury, because he plays through the worst of them unless it gets really bad.  If the lineup had a better start to the season, the team might be better.  And pitching is an underperforming component of the team.  The best ERA from a starter is Clay Buchholz’s 3.68 ERA, and no other starter has an ERA under 4.00, not even minor league sleeper and now possible Rookie of the Year, Eduardo Rodriguez, also known as Eddie Rodriguez or E-Rod, after the great Alex Rodriguez, (A-Rod).  The bullpen is okay though.  Japanese natives Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara have made a great reliever-closer combo, Tazawa with 12 holds and Uehara with 16 saves.  They just need a good starter that can pitch well through the first six or seven innings.  The Red Sox have spent a ton on great stars of the past, but some of them, like Rick Porcello, are having and first years with the team.

29. Oakland Athletics

The pitching here has been great in a couple starters, but a lousy lineup and lack of run support has cost the A’s to lose majority of their games.  Steven Vogt is a sleeper hitter though, hitting .300/.393/.532 with 13 homers and 53 RBI, all team leading.  Josh Reddick also has a close 46 RBI.  Sonny Gray has aced again, with a 2.09 ERA, going 9-3 with 97 strikeouts.  Scott Kazmir has a 2.79 ERA while he’s struck out 85.  Why did the Athletics go signing all these new hitters if they aren’t going to hit?
Really, why?

30. Philadelphia Phillies

ABSOLUTE DISASTER.  Their lineup is getting too old to help much, making them 27-50.  The games they have won have been mostly because of Cole Hamels (106 strikeouts, 3.26 ERA).  But with Hamels and closer Jonathan Paplebon both trade targets, what should they do?  Go completely young and let go of their current generation.  That’s what most disastrous teams do.  But if they’ve been that way for it’s third year now, then why haven’t they yet?  It’s time.

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