MLB Power Rankings - June 9

by Jun 9, 10:41 AM
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters

1. San Francisco Giants

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
42-2139-2498.4%1

Positive regression from right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, who owns a 3.39 ERA over 12 starts while avoiding the home-run problems that plagued his 2013 campaign, has afforded San Francisco one of the league's strongest rotations. The club's opportunistic lineup, meanwhile - led by a resurgent Michael Morse - has enjoyed tremendous success in high-leverage situations this season, a trend explored last week by theScore's Blake Murphy.

2. Toronto Blue Jays

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
38-2636-2878.9%4

Marcus Stroman required just two starts to cement his status as Toronto's most entertaining starter, crafting a 1.50 ERA with a 6.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio over two outings since joining the rotation May 31. Though he stands just 5-foot-9, Stroman boasts a fastball that hovers from 94-96 miles per hour with a slider that's banned in certain countries, and his strike-throwing ability should be a welcome addition to a rotation with the worst walk rate in the American League.

3. Oakland Athletics

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
39-2445-1895.3%5

Though they still want for greater recognition, the Athletics are quickly emerging as an offensive juggernaut, as their 76 home runs represent the third-most in the majors this season. Oakland is also the only club to boast three players with at least 12 home runs apiece, and it's exceedingly difficult to identify many teams with a stronger triumvirate than Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, and Yoenis Cespedes.

4. Milwaukee Brewers

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
38-2635-2968.7%6

Despite leading all catchers with a 149 wRC+ and 2.6 wins above replacement, Jonathon Lucroy trails both Yadier Molina and Buster Posey in All-Star votes, an affront that pales in comparison to the $12.5 million he's set to earn over the next three seasons. Frankly, it's just disturbing to consider that Lucroy, one of the game's elite catchers, makes less money per season than Bartolo Colon.

5. Detroit Tigers

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
33-2630-2979.0%2

Tumbling velocity and a scary decrease in strikeout rate have marred Justin Verlander's season thus far, as the six-time All-Star owns a 4.19 ERA (101 ERA+) through 13 starts - his worst mark since 2008. The 31-year-old isn't inducing nearly as many whiffs this year, and his walk rate has increased appreciably. None of those stats, however, are as scary as the possibility that he might only be Detroit's third-best starter.

6. Los Angeles Angels

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
34-2834-2879.1%8

Mike Trout's heroics make the Angels invulnerable to criticism for the next little while.

[Courtesy: MLB.com]

7. St. Louis Cardinals

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
33-3134-3064.2%3

The Cardinals continue to excel at run prevention, but they can't seem to master the whole "scoring runs" thing, and it's increasingly difficult to dismiss the club's offensive woes as a consequence of small-sample randomness. Allen Craig can't get on base - that's what happens when you don't take walks and your BABIP regresses - and Matt Holliday's power seems to have abandoned him at age 34.

8. Washington Nationals

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
32-2935-2672.8%12

Hitting an inordinate number of home runs appears to be how Ian Desmond intends to remedy his low batting average, as the 28-year-old has eight round-trippers in his last 19 games while his .209 isolated power represents the second-highest mark among shortstops.  Desmond, an All-Star in 2012, has done a fine job compensating for the absence of Bryce Harper, who's inching closer to his return.

9. Atlanta Braves

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
32-2932-2952.4%9

Perhaps second baseman Tommy La Stella, who boasts the "best plate discipline of anybody in the organization," according to general manager Frank Wren, can repair Atlanta's abysmal offense, which is averaging just 3.48 runs per game. The 25-year-old has certainly looked comfortable since his promotion on May 28, hitting .400/.438/.400 with one stolen base through the first nine games of his big-league career.

10. Los Angeles Dodgers

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
33-3134-3079.9%7

"Basically, we're [expletive]," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said after Wednesday's loss to the White Sox. "We're just not that good."

"I think we would all agree," said outfielder Matt Kemp afterwards.

It seems like nobody is oblivious to the fact that the Dodgers, a team with a massive payroll that's replete with talent, have been one of the season's greatest disappointments thus far.

11. Seattle Mariners

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
33-2934-2834.5%16

Felix Hernandez punctuated Seattle's recent surge - the Mariners have lost just once since May 31 - with an electric 15-strikeout performance against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, lowering his ERA to a minuscule 2.39 through 14 starts. The Seattle lineup remains uncomfortably thin, but with Taijuan Walker and James Paxton poised to return shortly, it's not unreasonable to think the Mariners could contend for a wild-card berth.

12. Miami Marlins

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
33-3034-2912.5%15

The Marlins are tied for first place in the National League East despite the fact that Jose Fernandez hasn't thrown a pitch since May 9. It's almost as if they've cultivated a talented core of young players in Miami that extends beyond Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton.

13. Baltimore Orioles

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
31-3029-3219.6%13

Baltimore's dreams of fielding a passable rotation were abruptly quashed this week after veteran left-hander Johan Santana, who was working his way back from shoulder surgery, tore his left Achilles tendon in an extended Spring Training game. The beleaguered 35-year-old will miss the remainder of the season, which means the Orioles may be forced to confront the terrifying reality that Miguel Gonzalez is their best starter.

14. New York Yankees

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
31-3128-3426.4%10

Eager for an indictment of the profoundly mediocre Yankees? Consider that Yangervis Solarte, a 26-year-old rookie with precisely zero big-league experience prior to 2014, leads New York's seven qualified hitters with a 129 wRC+ through 57 games this season while Derek Jeter has seven extra-base hits in 234 plate appearances.

15. Cleveland Indians

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
32-3131-3228.5%25

Despite a paucity of household names, Cleveland's offense continues to enjoy tremendous success, leading the Indians to eight wins in their last nine contests. Lonnie Chisenhall figures prominently among the less-than-prominent members of Cleveland's lineup, hitting .365/.413/.538 with a 171 wRC+ through 50 games.

16. Kansas City Royals

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
31-3230-3310.2%21

It's scary to consider where the Royals would be this season without Alex Gordon, the 30-year-old left fielder who has quickly become the team's only reliable offensive contributor. Gordon, an All-Star last season, owns a 126 OPS+ this year while hitting .377/.517/.667 over his last 21 contests, and is one of the main reasons why Kansas City's 3.87 runs per game average is only the sixth-worst in the majors.

17. Texas Rangers

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
31-3228-359.4%18

Though injuries obliterated the Rangers' roster and likely destroyed their chances of postseason contention, Adrian Beltre alone is worth the price of admission. The 35-year-old third baseman owns a 1.104 OPS with five homers over his last 20 games, raising his batting average nearly 50 points in the process.

18. Colorado Rockies

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
29-3331-318.9%11

Eddie Butler started his big-league career with a sputter on Friday, surrendering six earned runs on ten hits and three walks over five-plus innings in a 7-2 loss to the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine. Though Butler's debut was disappointing, it's probably best for a Rockies prospect to get accustomed to lousy performances before migrating to Coors Field.

19. Cincinnati Reds

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
29-3228-3313.9%19

After a seemingly endless rash of injuries, right-hander Mat Latos appears set to make his regular-season debut this weekend. He should help bolster a strong rotation that has managed a 3.34 ERA in 2014, the fifth-best mark in the majors.

20. Minnesota Twins

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
29-3228-339.4%20

The Twins made an adorable little acquisition over the weekend, signing Kendrys Morales to a one-year, $12-million deal - a decision clearly informed by some delusion of contending for a wild card spot. This move would actually be somewhat justifiable if the Twins inked Morales to pitch, as Minnesota's rotation owns the worst ERA in the American League with a laughable 14.6 percent strikeout rate.

21. Pittsburgh Pirates

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
29-3329-3313.2%24

The enthusiasm generated by Pittsburgh's recent surge - the Pirates have won six of their last 10 games -- was mitigated by Sunday's announcement that Gerrit Cole is headed to the disabled list with shoulder fatigue. The club subsequently recalled Jeff Locke to take Cole's roster spot, while Gregory Polanco's arrival in the majors is imminent. It has to be, right? The Super Two deadline has passed and Polanco is hitting .347/.405/.540 in Triple-A as a 22-year-old.

22. Boston Red Sox

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
28-3429-3317.8%14

The maddening volatility has yet to relent for the reigning World Series champions, who have lost five of their last six since their seven-game winning streak (which, of course, was preceded by a 10-game losing streak). Maybe Red Sox fans can take solace in the fact that Xander Bogaerts appears resolved to usurp Dustin Pedroia as the club's best player. The rookie's 2.0 wins above replacement represent the 11th-best mark in the American League.

23. Chicago White Sox

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
31-3330-348.1%17

Though the White Sox will eke out the remainder of the season with a  sub-standard cadre of starters, another talented left-hander will join Chris Sale atop Chicago's rotation in the very near future. With the third overall pick in this year's draft, the White Sox nabbed North Carolina State southpaw Carlos Rodon, who boasts an overpowering fastball and a plus-plus slider described by ESPN's Keith Law as "the best breaking ball of any pitcher in this year's class."

24. New York Mets

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
28-3531-324.9%23

Travis d'Arnaud was reportedly shocked and visibly upset after learning he'd been demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas after sitting out Saturday's 4-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

"I'm absolutely incredulous right now," said d'Arnaud. "I know I'm hitting just .180 with virtually no power, just suffered my second concussion in three years, and have one hit in my last six games, but...wait, what was the question again?"

25. Houston Astros

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
28-3628-361.0%28

I mean, they have that Altuve guy, but everyone else stinks.

Well, fine, that Springer kid is pretty exciting, too.

And I guess Fowler isn't bad, either.

And I hear that Singleton kid has some legit pop.

Years of futility have made it tough to entertain the notion that the Astros could be a compelling baseball team, but they're getting dangerously close.

26. Philadelphia Phillies

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
25-3625-362.0%26

It's foolish to fret over decline from aging veterans like Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd, but it's entirely legitimate to feel uneasy about regression from 26-year-old Domonic Brown, whose abysmal 58 wRC+ represents the fourth-worst mark among the league's 167 qualified hitters.

27. Arizona Diamondbacks

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
28-3727-383.5%29

If nothing else, the Diamondbacks have a wealth of veteran relievers who could be attractive trade assets next month. Brad Ziegler, one of the league's foremost ground-ball specialists, owns a 2.70 ERA with 15 shutdowns this season while Oliver Perez and Joe Thatcher are both tremendously effective at neutralizing left-handed hitters.

28. San Diego Padres

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
28-3525-382.4%27

The Padres selected Johnny Manziel in the 28th round the 2014 MLB Draft on Saturday, as he was the "best athlete on the board," according to team president Mike Dee. This is easily the most significant development for the Padres organization since 2006.

29. Tampa Bay Rays

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
24-4026-382.7%22

There really isn't a single redeeming thing about the Rays right now, and their hasty descent into the division cellar is only exacerbated by the fact that David Price, a symbol of the club's improbable success in recent years, will be wearing another team's uniform sometime in the very near future. 

30. Chicago Cubs

2014 RECORD2014 PYTHAG RECORDPLAYOFF %PREVIOUS RANK
25-3529-312.3%30

As we wait patiently for Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and the other children to come make baseball relevant again on Chicago's north side, let's appreciate how Travis Wood - the left-hander with a 5.04 ERA - is hitting .273/.333/.591 with two home runs this season and is probably one of the five best hitters on the Cubs' 25-man roster.

Feature photo courtesy of Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters