Stan 'The Fan' Charles' MLB Power Rankings
By Stan "The Fan" Charles
Including games on Sunday, June 10
1. New York Yankees (5-1 since June 4, 34-25 overall) -- This is probably longer coming than expected, and probably with lots more twists and turns than expected. The bottom line is the Yankees are 13-5 during the last three weeks. Given the injury to closer Mariano Rivera, general manager Brian Cashman is now lucky owner Hal Steinbrenner forced an exorbitant contract for Rafael Soriano as closer in waiting.
2. Tampa Bay Rays (4-2, 35-25) -- A sweep in Miami and horrible weeks by the Red Sox and Marlins catapulted the Rays back up this high. It's more than Joe Maddon's glasses that make me think they are smarter than anyone else.
3. Los Angeles Angels (4-2, 32-29) -- The past three weeks, the trend of where they are heading with a 16-9 run gets them up this high. Mike Trout has been a huge spark plug. But, this offense, sans former batting coach Mickey Hatcher, is getting downright scary.
4. Texas Rangers (3-4, 35-26) -- The Rangers have the division lead, but have had some of that smug knocked off their collective faces. They still have the most talent, but will the Angels, injuries and a lack of hunger catch up to them?
5. Los Angeles Dodgers (6-1, 39-22) -- They have the best record in baseball, and their big comeback week was impressive, but let's see how they fare against Los Angeles' other team -- the one in Anaheim.
6. Washington Nationals (5-1, 35-23) -- An impressive week ended with a big sweep in Boston. Now the fun begins as the Nationals go to Toronto and end up at home versus the Yankees.
7. Baltimore Orioles (4-2, 34-26) -- The Orioles move back in the top 10, bolstered by the collapses of Miami and Boston. But, there is a buzz that they get Brian Roberts back Tuesday, and the fans were back big time during this past weekend.
8. Chicago White Sox (2-4, 33-27) -- It's not often a team will move up after a 2-4 week, but despite their first losing week during the past month, the White Sox are a sterling 17-8 during their past 25 games. This coming week will reveal a lot.
9. Boston Red Sox (1-5, 29-31) -- Just when I thought they had turned the corner, the Red Sox had a 1-5 week. This coming week, they travel to Miami and then say hello to former general manager Theo Epstein at the Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field. It has the makings of a weird week for manager Bobby Valentine and Co.
10. Miami Marlins (0-6, 31-29) -- The Marlins had been the most consistent team in baseball during the past five weeks, but that is over now. They are back to the drawing board, with the incoming Red Sox and a trip over to Tampa.
11. Cincinnati Reds (2-4, 32-27) -- The Reds took a minor step back this week, but move up ever so slightly. Baker has to hope his ill-fated decision to bring Aroldis Chapman into the nationally televised game versus the Tigers on Sunday hasn't shattered his confidence.
12. San Francisco Giants (4-3, 34-27) -- The Dodgers came back last week. Now, it'll be up to the Giants to earn respect. With Tim Lincecum pitching the way he is, going to be hard to get on a real roll (the Giants have won just two of the 11 games Lincecum has started).
13. Atlanta Braves (5-1, 34-26) -- A great week and near twin sweeps versus Miami and Toronto get the Braves' roller coaster back in the right direction.
14. New York Mets (1-6, 32-29) -- The schedule makers gave them back-to-back weeks of reckoning. This week, they get Tampa and Cincinnati. They'd better do better this week than how they fared versus the Nationals and Yankees.
15. Pittsburgh Pirates (5-1, 32-27) -- This hasn't happened overnight. This progress has taken nearly 1.5 seasons. Three games in Baltimore and then Cleveland provide a decent measuring stick. They just may find themselves in the thick of things.
16. Cleveland Indians (4-2, 32-27) -- The Indians had a great start in 2011, and they ran out of gas about this time last year. This year, it feels different, and the fact the Tigers didn't run off and hide helped.
17. St. Louis Cardinals (4-3, 31-30) -- The Cardinals inched back over the .500 mark. They look like a team trying to find their identity and that should come as no surprise during the first season without former manager Tony La Russa and first baseman Albert Pujols.
18. Toronto Blue Jays (3-3, 31-29) -- I am sure general manager Alex Anthopoulos expected a lot more. The question is, what was supposed to happen differently? Adam Lind's lost season hurt, and I guess that Sergio Santos guy was supposed to be important.
19. Arizona Diamondbacks (5-1, 30-30) -- When you play six games in a week against the Rockies and A's, this is the least you should expect. Yet, no rule says you have to gain momentum against the good teams.
20. Detroit Tigers (3-3, 28-32) -- I started writing this week's rankings while the Reds were leading a Sunday-night game against Jim Leyland's squad, 3-0. The Tigers came back to win. We may remember that comeback as the team's biggest moment of the year. I don't want to say the manager is in a desperation mode … but letting Justin Verlander throw 127 pitches for six innings this early in the season is, well, ludicrous.
21. Philadelphia Phillies (1-6, 29-33) -- Getting to see the Phillies up close this weekend, I was able to focus on why they haven't fired on all cylinders. There are larger issues than Chase Utley and Ryan Howard missing. The awful defense plays more than a small part of their problem. Philadelphia really should enter selling mode.
22. Milwaukee Brewers (4-2, 28-32) -- The Brewers have teased a couple times before this season. With Kansas City and Minnesota in their crosshairs, let's see whether they can take care of business.
23. Minnesota Twins (4-2, 24-35) -- Manager Ron Gardenhire has pulled this mess together, and that can't have been easy. The Twinkies are 9-2 during the last two weeks, and the bigger bonus is they are allowing some young players to play and pitch enough to try to gauge their real value.
24. Seattle Mariners (3-3, 27-35) -- Usually one finds that good teams are balanced, and at least good in all categories. This Mariners team not only is impotent on offense, but based on ERA, and the number of quality starts, it's just plain less than mediocre.
25. Kansas City Royals (1-5, 24-34) -- The best way to describe the Royals' season is sputtering. They are on their way to nowhere. It's at times like this, teams need a change -- I can't imagine manager Ned Yost survives.
26. Oakland Athletics (3-4) -- I say it almost every week in slightly different ways. Manager Bob Melvin must scratch his head every time he has to fill out this lineup card. Until general manager Billy Beane spends some of his offensive dollars smarter, this gang can't win.
27. Houston Astros (3-3, 26-34) -- The Astros are up one spot, but seem now to be firmly entrenched as part of the bottom five of the rankings. Now there are rumors that shortstop Jed Lowrie could join with Carlos Lee, Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers as players on the way out of Minute Maid Park.
28. Colorado Rockies (1-5, 24-35) -- Lots of smart folks thought this team could contend. I didn't see it, but I sure as hell didn't see this team as the trainwreck it has become.
29. Chicago Cubs (2-5, 20-40) -- It can't get much worse, can it? Well, coming to the friendly confines are two desperate AL teams, the Tigers and Red Sox. It could get worse.
30. San Diego Padres (2-4, 20-41) -- There's nothing witty to say this week.
Posted June 11, 2012