Major League Baseball Power Rankings, June 27th, 2016
For an explanation of how the SD Score is calculated, see below.
1 – Chicago Cubs (48-26) SD Score +3.55; Record this week (1-6), Ranking Last Week – 1
Opponents – Cardinals (0-3), at Miami (1-3)
The Cubs had an awful week, winning just one game. The pitching has still been solid, with Jason Hammel and Jon Lester getting quality starts, but no wins. The bats have largely gone cold and they’ve left too many on base. A nice surprise has been the hot start for rookie Willson Contreras. (8-20 with 3 HR)
2 – Texas Rangers (49-27); SD Score +1.17; Record this week (4-2), Ranking Last Week – 3
Opponents – Orioles (1-0), Reds (1-1), Redsox (2-1)
Texas has been as hot as anyone as they’ve won 23 out of their last 30 games and the schedule is favorable this week as they travel to play the Yankees and the Twins.
3 – San Francisco Giants (49-28); SD Score +1.51; Record this week (5-2), Ranking Last Week – 6
Opponents – at Pirates (3-1), Phillies (2-1)
The Giants remain one of the hottest teams in all of baseball as they have won 14 of their last 17. The only odd thing is Madison Bumgarner (8-4) has lost his last two starts. Giants fans should not worry though. His ERA is still only 1.99 and his WHIP is just 1.02.
4 – Cleveland Indians (44-30); SD Score +1.86; Record this week (6-0), Ranking Last Week – 5
Opponents – Rays (3-0), at Tigers (3-0)
The Indians are riding a 9-game winning streak as they extend their lead in the AL Central race. After a trip to Atlanta, they’ll be tested with a 4-game series at Toronto. If their pitching continues like this, they will be very difficult to beat in October.
5 – Washington Nationals (44-32); SD Score +1.56; Record this week (1-5), Ranking Last Week – 2
Opponents – at Dodgers (0-3), at Brewers (1-2)
The Nationals lost two very close games to the Dodgers, but allowing a 2-run inside-the-park-walkoff to lose Game 3 was brutal. The Nationals need to rebound after dropping 7 of 8 games.
6 – Baltimore Orioles (45-30); SD Score +1.10; Record this week (5-2), Ranking Last Week – 8
Opponents – at Rangers (0-1), Padres (1-1), Rays (4-0)
The Orioles have been very consistent, winning 8 of their last 11 games. Matt Weiters and Mark Trumbo have been stellar as they propelled the offense to 48 runs this week.
7 – Boston Red Sox (41-34); SD Score +1.72; Record this week (2-5), Ranking Last Week – 4
Opponents – White Sox (1-3), at Rangers (1-2)
Boston’s bats weren’t all that hot as they failed to put up more than 3 runs four times this week. David Ortiz remains their best hitter and it hurt not having him in the lineup in Sunday’s game against the Rangers.
8 – Los Angeles Dodgers (41-36); SD Score +0.84; Record this week (5-2), Ranking Last Week – 11
Opponents – Nationals (3-0), at Pirates (0-3)
The Dodgers were able to sweep the Nationals (did you see the game-winner on Wednesday??), but then dropped the first 3 games of a four-game series against the Pirates. Clayton Kershaw is human after all as he gave up 4 runs on 9 hits through 6 innings in Sunday’s 4-3 loss.
9 – St. Louis Cardinals (39-35); SD Score +1.80; Record this week (4-2), Ranking Last Week – 7
Opponents – at Cubs (3-0), at Mariners (1-2)
The Cardinals got off to a great start by sweeping the Cubs and then lost 2 of 3 at Seattle. Trevor Rosenthal has been removed as the closer as the Cardinals try to get better at finishing games.
10 – Toronto Bluejays (41-36); SD Score +0.83; Record this week (2-3), Ranking Last Week – 10
Opponents – Diamondbacks (1-1), at White Sox (1-2)
While it wasn’t an eye-popping week for the Bluejays, their leaders Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson continue to lead the offense. Donaldson had 7 hits in 4 games, but is also dealing with a minor neck injury that kept him out of Sunday’s game against the White Sox.
11 – Miami Marlins (41-35); SD Score +0.16; Record this week (4-3), Ranking Last Week – 15
Opponents – Rockies (0-1), Braves (1-1), Cubs (3-1)
Miami has won 9 of their last 12, but taking 3 out of 4 against the Cubs has been the highlight of the month for the Marlins as they continue to put pressure on the Mets and Nationals.
12 – New York Mets (40-34); SD Score +0.23; Record this week (4-2), Ranking Last Week – 12
Opponents – Royals (2-0), at Braves (2-2)
The Mets were able to rebound from some recent struggles, but still lost two games in Atlanta. They’re keeping pace with Miami and Washington, but their next three series are against the Nationals, Cubs and Marlins.
13 – Houston Astros (39-37); SD Score +0.25; Record this week (5-1), Ranking Last Week – 21
Opponents – Angels (3-0), at Royals (2-1)
The Astros have won 9 of 11 games and are now in 2nd place in the AL West. Jose Altuve is their clear offensive leader and homered in 4 of 6 games.
14 – Seattle Mariners (38-38); SD Score +1.04; Record this week (2-5), Ranking Last Week – 9
Opponents – at Tigers (0-4), Cardinals (2-1)
The Mariners got back on track after a 6-game losing streak by winning two of three against the Cardinals. The pitching has been spotty lately and Steve Cishtek’s wild pitch in the 10th inning of Thursday’s game against the Tigers, which scored the winning run, certainly didn’t help.
15 – Kansas City Royals (39-35); SD Score -0.42; Record this week (1-4), Ranking Last Week – 16
Opponents – at Mets (0-2), Astros (1-2)
The Royals didn’t have a great week this time, but were able to stop the bleeding by ending their 4-game losing streak on Sunday. Ian Kennedy picked up his first quality start of the month and getting Alex Gordon back will help.
16 – Detroit Tigers (38-38); SD Score -0.21; Record this week (4-3), Ranking Last Week – 13
Opponents – Mariners (4-0), Indians (0-3)
After a rough couple of weeks, Detroit had to feel good getting a 4-game sweep in against the Mariners. They have to pick it up this week as they play the Marlins and Rays.
17 – Pittsburgh Pirates (37-39); SD Score -0.34; Record this week (4-3), Ranking Last Week – 14
Opponents – Giants (1-3), Dodgers (3-0)
Getting a huge 3-game sweep against the Dodgers, including a win over Clayton Kershaw was really big for the Pirates. Andrew McCutchen is quietly heating up as well, which doesn’t hurt.
18 – Chicago White Sox (38-38); SD Score -0.25; Record this week (5-2), Ranking Last Week – 17
Opponents – at Red Sox (3-1), Bluejays (2-1)
The Sox were able to get back to .500 with a quality week against two good AL East teams. David Robertson now has 20 saves on the year.
19 – Colorado Rockies (36-39); SD Score +0.14; Record this week (4-3), Ranking Last Week – 19
Opponents – at Marlins (1-0), at Yankees (1-1), Diamondbacks (2-2)
Colorado is still up and down, but they’re going to have to bring it against the Bluejays, Dodgers and Giants coming up.
20 – New York Yankees (37-37); SD Score -0.63; Record this week (3-2), Ranking Last Week – 20
Opponents – Rockies (1-1), Twins (2-1)
For once, the Yankees won’t be playing the Rockies and the Twins. First a difficult 4-game series against the Rangers and then they travel to San Diego.
21 – Arizona Diamondbacks (36-42); SD Score -0.45; Record this week (4-3), Ranking Last Week – 23
Opponents – at Phillies (1-0), at Bluejays (1-1), at Rockies (2-2)
Arizona was starting to get on a roll before dropping their last 2 games to the Rockies. They’ll need to rebound against the Phillies before playing the Giants. Wellington Castillo has put together a good June with 6 multi-hit games.
22 – Milwaukee Brewers (34-41); SD Score -1.32; Record this week (3-2), Ranking Last Week – 22
Opponents – at A’s (1-1), Nationals (2-1)
The Crew played well against the Nationals, which was a boost after dropping 5 of 6 before their 3-game winning streak. Matt Garza returned to the team and got a win against Washington and closer Jeremy Jeffress earned his 21st save (in 22 opportunities) on Saturday.
23 – San Diego Padres (33-44); SD Score -1.02; Record this week (4-2), Ranking Last Week – 26
Opponents – at Orioles (1-1), at Reds (3-1)
The Padres can sure bite you if you’re not paying attention. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t look like they’ll be consistent enough to make noise.
24 – Los Angeles Angels (32-44); SD Score -0.80; Record this week (4-2), Ranking Last Week – 24
Opponents – at Astros (0-3), A’s (1-3)
The Angels now find themselves on the bottom with Oakland and losing 3 out of 4 to the A’s didn’t help things.
25 – Oakland A’s (32-43); SD Score -1.39; Record this week (4-2), Ranking Last Week – 27
Opponents – Brewers (1-1), at Angels (3-1)
The A’s have played a little better as of late and I still chuckle when I see a headline like “Coco Crisp hits grand slam”.
26 – Tampa Bay Rays (31-43); SD Score -0.96; Record this week (0-7), Ranking Last Week – 18
Opponents – at Indians (0-3), at Orioles (0-4)
Last week, Tampa was hanging around. Now, after an 11-game losing streak, Tampa is in dead last in the AL East. They have to take advantage of this upcoming homestand.
27 – Philadelphia Phillies (32-45); SD Score -2.52; Record this week (2-5), Ranking Last Week – 25
Opponents – Arizona (0-1), at Twins (1-2), at Giants (1-2)
I’m not sure even the Phillies know how they managed to end the Giants’ win streak on Saturday, especially after dropping 2 of 3 against the lowly Twins.
28 – Cincinnati Reds (29-47); SD Score -2.57; Record this week (2-4), Ranking Last Week – 28
Opponents – at Rangers (1-1), Padres (1-3)
Cincinnati lost a series to the Padres in rough fashion this week, but seeing Anthony DeSclafani pitch 8 scoreless innings in Sunday’s 3-0 win was a positive. They have to look at every positive as the Cubs are coming to town.
29 – Atlanta Braves (26-49); SD Score -2.36; Record this week (3-3), Ranking Last Week – 30
Opponents – at Marlins (1-1), Mets (2-2)
The Braves have done very well against the Mets, which is odd. Unfortunately for them, the Indians and Marlins are coming to town this week.
30 – Minnesota Twins (24-51); SD Score -2.56; Record this week (3-3), Ranking Last Week – 29
Opponents – Phillies (2-1), at Yankees (1-2)
When the Twins go 3-3 for a week, you have to say that was a good week.
SD Score explanation:
Run production is one of the best measures of how a team is performing and how dominant or bad they are.
The formula takes each team’s runs scored and runs allowed totals and how many standard deviations from the league average they are.
Example: 1927 Yankees
The 27 Yankees score 975 runs (1927 AL average was 762 and SD of team runs for the AL was about 115). Take the difference from the league average (975-762=213) and divide by the SD (115), the 1927 Yankees were 1.85 SD above the league average in runs scored.
They allowed 599 runs (the SD in runs allowed for the 1927 AL was about 88.5), which was 163 runs less than the league average. 163/88.5 gives us a 1.84 SD above the league average in runs allowed.
Add 1.85 and 1.84 to get a final SD Score of +3.69 for the 1927 Yankees, which is amazing.
(SD ranking explanation found in “Baseball Dynasties: The Greatest Teams of All Time” by Rob Neyer and Eddie Epstein)