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The Road to Prominence

In Around The League on August 17, 2010 at 12:02 pm

With still over a month and half left till the post season, there can still be a lot of movement around the divisions to claim a playoff spot. A lot of teams haven’t been able to expand their division lead outside of the Texas Rangers. They are only team in baseball with a lead more than 5 games. It seems like their division rival Angels are not going to be making any ground on their own without some help. Rangers left fielder, Josh Hamilton, looks like he should win the MVP award. His .362 average is the best in baseball and he is on pace to crack the 100 RBI mark. Many Rangers fans hoped that pitcher Cliff Lee would be an automatic win when he takes the mound. Since his debut with the Rangers, Lee has gone 2-3 and his ERA has jumped .43 %. Come post season, Lee has been very dominate going 4-0 as he helped the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series. When in the playoffs, you only really need three good pitchers and a dominate closer to be successful. The Rangers do have three good pitchers but four of the five starters have zero playoff experience. Along with that their closer too has not seen the more beautiful side of October. This being said, the Rangers should still make a good run but I do not think they will make it past the ALCS.

The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays have identical records but the Rays would be crowned A.L. East Champions as they boast a 6-5 record vs the Bronx Bombers as of now. These two teams will face each other seven more times and unless the Red Sox make ground up, the AL East will be very interesting race to claim the crown.

While the Red Sox are only 5.5 out, their up and down play isn’t going to help them gain any ground. If they can get back on track, the rest of their schedule is very manageable. They face four teams with records under .500 and outside of the Yankees and Rays, they face two teams with winning percentage that barely clips the .510 mark. Josh Beckett has seemed to lost his dominance presence as he claims a 3-2 record with an ERA over 6. Lester and Bucholz have been very good this year but struggled as of lately. Dice-K who was once a dominate pitcher has been turned into a very good number three starter. Though he does boast an 8-4 record, his era is still way to0 high.

The Minnesota Twins have still been the hottest team in baseball since the All-Star break. They have only loss eight times while winning twenty-two. They currently have a three game lead over the White Sox. Their team batting average is an impressive .281 while being lead by Joe Mauer, Delmon Young and Justin Morneau. The Twins could make a solid playoff run too but like the Rangers their starters are not greatly experience. The White Sox seem to more of a gritty team that likes to grind it out day in and day out. They do have talent but their play doesn’t seem to be very polished at times. Their starters are not un hittable and their hitters are not overwhelmingly dangerous. With Ozzie Gullien being the coach, he will always have this team prepared every day.

The National League definitely has the more intriguing and tighter races in baseball. A week of baseball could make a huge difference in the division leaders. All the current division leaders have had their struggles but seem to find a way to win. In the NL East, it has been the Phillies  and Braves for the past two months while the Mets tried to contend but now have dropped 10 games out. The Braves currently lead the division by two and half games. They have been really good even with Chipper Jones being out with an ACL injury. Outside of the Reds, the NL top-tier teams are in the bottom half of run production while the AL elite are all in the top ten. When it comes to pitching though, three of the four top NL teams are 1-3 in overall pitching but the AL does also have all their top four teams in the top ten. The Phillies might have one of the best starting rotation as they were able to acquire Houston’s ex ace Roy Oswalt. They also have Roy Halladay who has been worth every penny since his trade from the Blue Jays.

The Central has been between the Reds and Cardinals from pretty much day one. Every other day it is either the Red Birds or the Reds leading. The Reds survive on great hitting with mediocre pitching while the Cardinals are opposite and have great pitching but their offense isn’t near what it use to be. Puljos is still a threat every game and Matt Holliday is still producing. It’s the players as Rasmus, Schumaker and Molina that are struggling this year. At the end of the day though when the season comes down to its finally games, the Cardinals pitching should prevail. Both Carpenter and Wainwright could win the Cy Young this year and Jamie Garcia as his first real year as a starter has been outstanding. This division will be the most exciting to watch because who ever wins will be in the NLCS and possibly a very good shot at the World Series.

The West has been the Padres for a while. While teams like the Dodgers, Giants and Rockies have been shuffling  all season to maintain distance, the Padres keep churning away. Their hitting has picked up while their pitching has been untouchable. They still ranked number one over all in pitching with a 3.23 ERA. Starting pitcher Mat Latos has been unbelievable as he has only surrender six runs in his last seven starts. The Padres hitting is so mediocre that despite them leading the division, they have scored the least amount of runs than any other team in their division. The Giants are only four games back but they seem to have trouble maintaining good play by anyone. One week it could be the pitching but then the offense struggles. Next week it would be vice versa. Lincecum has not lived up to his usually self and Barry Zito who started the season 6-1 has a  record of 8-6 now. Matt Cain still hasn’t been able to find consistency in his performance. He was able to extend his record to 6-4 with three straight winning performances. Then he followed that up with three straight losing starts. I think the Padres will be able to keep up their strong pitching and if their hitting still gets better, they will win this division.

This season definitely has the potential to be the most exciting as their will be tight finishes in nearly all the divisions. Also there will be some exciting playoff series as we might be seeing some new faces this year.

8/2/10 MLB Top Five

In Around The League on August 2, 2010 at 4:57 pm

With the second half of the 2010 fully underway, there have been numerous trades to help get teams in position for the playoff run. This being said, not a lot recently has changed much as your current division leaders have been there for the past three weeks. After the trades though, some clubs became a lot stronger while others are just hoping their current roster is good enough to maintain a playoff spot.

1.) New York Yankees ( 66-38 ) – Even though they just lost the series to their division foe Rays, they are still the powerhouse team of their division and baseball. With the recent acquisitions of Lance Berkman, Kerry Wood and Austin Kearns, the Yankees now have made their already all-star line up stronger and added more depth to their pen and bench. Once all these players settle, I expect the Yankees to finally pull away and easily win this division by 7 + games.

2.) Tampa Bay Rays ( 65-39)- For awhile the Rays were battling with the Red Sox for the second spot and basically the wild card spot. They are 11-5 so far in the second half and should keep this winning pace up for the rest of the year. They rank third overall in the majors in hitting as they are also third overall in runs scored. They do not have an outstanding batting average but they do have one of the best pitching staffs. Three out of five starting pitchers have ten or more wins while the two other are sitting at nine.

3.) Texas Rangers ( 61-44 ) – The Rangers might have been the biggest winners out of all the clubs trading. Outside of signing starting pitcher Cliff Lee, they also acquired Bengie Molina, Jorge Cantu, and Cristian Guzman. Since joining the club, Cliff Lee has gone 1-2 but has had decent outings. Their already 8 game lead out in the West seems to be enough to win the division as the Angels are not deep enough to make a run.

4.) San Diego Padres ( 61-42 ) – The Padres were one of the few teams that didn’t make any moves this past week. They still cannot hit but having surprisingly good pitching. With the rest of their division making moves though, mainly the Dodgers. How long will the Padres be able to keep this miracle run up? If the Padres do make the playoffs, they are not good enough to go anywhere past the first round.

5.) Minnesota Twins ( 59-46) – They might not be winning their current division but they definitely have been the hottest team in baseball. A 13-4 record this half, the Twins have dominated their opponents. Fifth overall in hitting, they do have the best batting average at .283. Justin Morneau, Delmon Young and Joe Mauer are all in the top ten in hitting. The Twins acquired closer Matt Capps from the Nationals making their back end extremely efficient  as they will know have two strong closers but Jon Rauch taking over the set up role.

Second Half Predictions

In Around The League on July 18, 2010 at 1:50 pm


The NL finally won an All-Star game that will finally secure home field advantage when the World Series rolls around. This might be really important considering out of the top ten teams so far that half of them are AL squads but the Yankees and Rays are 1 and 2 while Boston, Texas, Chicago WS are 5,6, and 7. Now with the second half underway I don’t think there will be a lot of changes to the top of each division leader boards.

The American League East current has the New York Yankees sitting atop with the Rays and Red Sox not too far behind. I think the Yankees should walk away with this division unless some major catastrophe occurs. They are just on a different level of playing field when it comes to the rest of baseball. This being said, they Rays and Red Sox will be battling it out for the wild card spot. The Rays currently hold a 3.5 game lead and have been playing ball down the stretch. They are younger and I think more talented than the Red Sox. In my seasoning predictions, I had the Rays finishing behind the Red Sox and that still could be true. Veterans over youth is always important but the Rays youth seems to be finally understanding how to handle pressure. As far as the rest of the division, the Blue Jays should be extremely positive for how well they have played this season. They are one game above .500 which I wouldn’t have bet and for awhile actually ahead of the Red Sox. The Orioles are just a mess. They might not even win 65 games this year and probably would end up finishing behind the leader by 40 games.

American League Central for awhile look like the Minnesota Twins division. They to me just seem to have the superior staff but with the loss of Joe Nathan, their back end became pretty weak. now they are sitting in third place and 2.5 games out while the White Sox are in the lead. This might be one of the closest division races in baseball because the Twins, White Sox and Tigers will all be contending for first. They all have had great seasons so far and two of them will walk away extremely disappointed come season end. I am still going with my gut instinct and saying that the Twins will pull this out but who ever wins will be much deserving. Also watch for Miguel Cabrera as will be contending for the 30-30-30 club. Unfortunately the AL East is still too strong and the second place team in the Central won’t have a good enough record to snatch the wild card spot away.

The American League West is a two team race. The Texas Rangers keep getting better as the season progresses but the Angels do too. The way the Rangers have been playing the last month and half, you would think they would hold a bigger lead than 3.5 games. With the acquisition of Cliff Lee, Texas has made sure they have a strong enough starting rotation to maintain their lead. I could really see the Rangers make a deep run in the playoff. If Texas can avoid the up and down roller coaster they tend to go on at bad times, they might end up with the best record in baseball. The biggest disappointment here is the Seattle Mariners. They made ton of off-season moves that seemed really positive but now sit in dead last and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. The Angels will need to make two big moves soon to add more talent to their line up and rotation. They have given up a lot of runs for a team contending and they will need to fix that or the Rangers will just keep adding to their lead.

The National League East could be the second most entertaining division to watch. Atlanta, Philadelphia and NY Mets are all trying to win this division. This division mirrors the AL East as there are three teams also trying to make a playoff spot also one of these teams might walk away with the wild card too. I had the Phillies winning this and I still think they will. Atlanta has been playing great though which is shocking too me. I didn’t think they were as talented as they are. The Braves traded with Toronto and the two big pieces that were switch were short stops. Yunel Escobar was sent to the Blue Jays while the Braves added Alex Gonzalez. Gonzalez has been much more productive than the Brave’s previous short stop Escobar. Gonzalez average is 20 points better and has double the amount of RBIs. This will add even more depth to the club which should keep them in the hunt as they will expect the Mets and Phillies to make some moves. I could see the Mets slipping away in the race but they are a very scrappy club. Since this isn’t their division to lose, they might play better from behind.

The National League Central has been a two team races for majority of this season. Cardinals and the Reds have switch back and forth taking the division lead and should continue this progress until the end of the season. I honestly didn’t think they Reds would even be contending for first as I though the Cubs would have finally figured out how to play better as a team. Instead the Cubs are ten games out and in fourth. The Reds do have a few studs on their team but it isn’t filled with an all-star caliber lineup. Instead they all mesh really well together and great chemistry can make you a very promising club. They like to play in a lot of close games which I am sure Reds fans hate but they win them. The Cardinals despite being only .5 game out of first should be pretty disappointed. Outside of Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday, they rest of their lineup hasn’t been as dominating as Cardinal fans hoped for. Colby Rasmus is having a decent year but Ludwick, Schumaker and Molina are all struggling which has kept the Red Birds from really busting this thing wide open. Carpenter and Wainwright are both having great season while Jamie Garcia is showing that he can be a solid third pitcher.

The National League West has been run by the most surprising club of the year, San Deigo Padres. They are one of they worst offensive production clubs in the league but yet have one of the most solid pitching staff. Not filled up with All-Stars, they some how manages to keep on winning. I have mention this before, solid pitching will win you games and they are the perfect definition of that. Their rotation majority of people outside of San Diego wouldn’t have heard of but they know how to win. Outside of Mat Latos who has a 10-4 record, the rest of them record wise are not overly impressive. They just know how to keep runs off the board and then the Padres lack luster offense knows how to score at the right time to win games. Eventually I would think the stress the lack of offensive would build up on the pitchers but that has been yet to be seen. The Giants are in second and Rockies and Dodgers are not too far behind. If the Padres start to struggling, this could become a four team race. It is hard to say who will walk away with this as each club is has been dominating in certain categories.

2010 First Half Top Position Players

In Around The League on July 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm

With a few games left there have been some players that are having a their best seasons of their career. Some will be your typical All-Star list but it is always nice to see the future stars finally rising to their potential. Majority of these players on this years list will be seen in the 2010 All-Star game held in Anaheim, California.

Catcher- Joe Mauer ( Minnesota Twins ) : It looks like the new eight year $ 184 million dollar contract is paying off as Joe Mauer leads all catchers in the majors in overall hitting. He has the highest batting average of all starting catchers are .301, has the most doubles, and second highest OBP. He in reality is one of the best hitters in all of baseball and would be the best player on the Twins if it wasn’t for Justin Morneau outstanding season.

First Base- Miguel Cabrera ( Detroit Tigers) : Right now Miguel is the MLB MVP. He is just not leading all first basemen in hitting but leading baseball. He is on pace to have over 150 RBIs which if reached would be the most in his career. His 21 home-runs ties him for the second most while he is leading the majors with an SLG percentage .647. Of the top 25 first basemen, Cabrera is second overall in runs scored with 63.

Second Base- Robinson Cano ( New York Yankees) : No real surprise here that Cano is a top of this list. One of those future stars has now become a star amongst baseball elites. If his trend continues, he is on pace to break all his career numbers by significant amounts.

Third Base- David Wright ( New York Mets) : Despite Wright being third overall for a third baseman in hitting, his numbers are more impressive than the top two contenders. He already has surpassed his 2009 home-run total, eight away from tying his RBI total and is on pace to have over 200 hits which would be a first in his career. He does have a significant higher strikeout ratio than most third basemen. When he does get on base, Wright is a threat to steal which is why he has a high run total.

Short Stop – Hanley Ramirez ( Florida Marlins) : Once again Ramirez is having another outstanding season and making his third All-Star appearance. Hanley has 53 RBI which is significantly more than majority of the top-tier short stops. Outside of teammate Dan Ugly, Hanley leads the Marlins in most categories. Hanley pretty much has the whole package as a complete player and should be putting up even bigger numbers the second half.

Left Field- Josh Hamilton ( Texas Rangers) : After a slow start to the season, Hamilton has turned in on the past five weeks to become one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball. Josh was currently on a 23 game hitting streak before it was snapped against the Angles. During the streak, Hamilton was about to bring his batting average up by .48 %. He is currently tied for second overall in home-runs with 22.

Center Field- Carlos Gonzalez ( Colorado Rockies ) : Just like David Wright, Carlos isn’t atop of of the leaderboard in his current position. Carlos does have better numbers in majority of the stats including home-runs, rbis, runs and SB. He does have more strikeouts than the Rockies would like but still managed to reach 100 hits which is 30 more than his closest teammate Miguel Olivio.

Right Field- Andre Ethier ( Los Angeles Dodgers) : Ethier is definitely having his best year of his career. He should break all his numbers after only being in the majors for five years. His .324 batting average isn’t the highest but his overall consistency to produce runs is more impressive. Andre isn’t a speedster has he only has one stolen base but he won’t strikeout a lot. He has the highest OPS for starting right fielders.

Designated Hitter – Vladimir Guerrero ( Texas Rangers ) : The Rangers look smart for picking up Vlad as the Angels were not able to willing to give him more money. This has paid off significantly for the Rangers has he has been one of the best players on the team and in baseball. His 55 runs, 103 hits, 20 home-runs, 75 rbi, 3o strikeouts, and .322 batting average leads all major DH players.

Pitcher – Ubaldo Jimenez ( Colorado Rockies) : There are ton of pitchers that have performed outstanding this first half but Ubaldo’s 15-1 record just puts him over the top. He ranks in the top 15 for total strikeouts and has the fifth best ERA 2.20 for starting pitchers. He doesn’t give up many hits either which is why he has such a low WHIP at 1.05.

Closer -Joakim Soria ( Kansas City Royals ) : It is always nice to find a player from the Royals that makes any All-Star list but Soria has been one of the most impressive players so far this season. HIs 25 saves leads the majors and he has only blown two games. He doesn’t get as many innings as the rest of the top closers which is why his ERA isn’t the lowest, 2.34. Joakim has only given up nine runs and is in the top ten for strikeouts as a closer.

All-Star Game Thoughts

In Around The League on July 7, 2010 at 5:42 pm

The Astros have begun their series against the Pittsburgh Pirates by winning 6-2. With this being said, Houston has five more games before All-Star week. This will be much-needed considering how of a disappointing of a first half they have had. With bunch of positive anticipation going into the season with the new manager and players looking to continue their 2009 run, the 0-8 start looked to already write their season off. Michael Bourn will be making his first all-star trip as a reserve. If you look at his numbers, they are definitely not worthy of any type of trip but they look pretty memorable compared to the rest of the team. His .262 batting average, 1 HR, 20 RBI and 26 steals are his current credentials. I wouldn’t lose any sleep pondering if he will start or even enter the game. With thirteen other plays in the reserve spot, the only way I can see Bourn entering the game would be as a base-runner due to his beneficial speed on the base pads. He has been relatively strong as a defender as a centerfield but with multiple players providing more spark in the batting order, his speed alone isn’t enough to render any opening in the lineup. There are a couple of other Houston candidates that I could have seen make the cut, Pence and Keppinger. Pence does have more home-runs but both of these players do have a lower batting average. Outside of the City of Houston, most people do not even recognize these players names nor even consider any player an all-star. If Roy Oswalt were able to get significant run support, than he could have made the roster. Lance Berkman has been disappointing and Carlos Lee looks like his days a feared batter are over.

With ideas floating about Stephen Strasburg making the all-star roster, his last two starts should have ending any of those conversations. His debut was outstanding as he struck out 14 and only allowed one run. Since then he has had quality starts giving up one run per game in his next three starts. Just like Oswalt, Strasburg is in the same predicament as he will need to be perfect every start. Washington’s batting is slighty better than Houston but not enough where Strasburg will feel confident going into every game. His last two starts have been decent but notched a loss and a no decision. In the loss, Strasburg allowed 3 earned runs while the Nationals were able to get zero across the plate. In the no decision, two runs were earned but the Nationals couldn’t score soon enough for Stephen to notch the win. He currenlty has a 2-2 record with a 2.45 era and will have one more start before the break.

Top 10 MLB Rankings 6/7/2010

In Around The League on June 7, 2010 at 11:46 am

Things have really not changed a lot since my last top rankings release. Most of your big name clubs that you expect to be leading are and you are starting to see some cinderella teams emerge. Once again, The Hot Corner has Tampa Bay Rays leading off with most of the same teams in the top ten, just switching spots.

1.) Tampa Bay Rays ( 37-20)- Still the best team in baseball, the Rays have been able to keep a lead in the tight A.L. East. They have struggled since they took the series against the Astros, going 5-8 while dispensing a lot of runs. This could be blamed on the Rays hitting their meat of their May schedule but they havent faired too well starting in June. Their next five series do not show any signs of relief as they will face four teams with winnings records and are contending for first. The hitting hasn’t let up any but the pen isn’t performing as well as they should. They actually boast a far better road record 22-8, than a home record, 15-12.

2.) New York Yankees ( 35-22)- The Bronx Bombers have been playing well but not great. With the Rays not playing any better though, the Yankees have been able to make a ground and tighten the gap between them by two games. After dominating the Twins and Indians, the Yankees have been able to boost their record vs. the Central to 10-7. Their dominance over the Orioles also help close the gap on the Rays, only to fall a game back by losing the series to the Blue Jays. Next NY faces the two worst teams in baseball in the Orioles and Astros. A clean sweep vs. these two ball clubs could propel them into first.

3.) San Diego Padres ( 33-23)- It is still odd to see the Padres in the top 10, neither less the top five. But the boys from the West Coast have been making noise by defeating their tougher opponents. Unfortunately the team they suffered losses to were the Dodgers who have made huge strides to get back into contention. Out of all the teams leading their respected division, the Padres have scored the least amount of runs at 239. Still the same story from three weeks ago, out of all the teams leading their division, the Padres have allowed the fewest amount of runs at 187. With this, they have one of the top positive differentials in the league.

4.) Atlanta Braves ( 33-24) – With the Mets and Phillies playing up and down baseball the past two weeks, the Braves have been able to take advantage. Sitting in third for majority of the season, Atlanta has gone 10-3 in their past four series and are now sitting in first. Martin Prado is still tearing it up has he has 80 hits, 26 more than the next leading guy, Tony Glaus. Rookie sensation Jason Heyward has the highest OBP for a starter and second most HR on the team at 10. Starting pitchers Derek Lowe, Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson are all dominating as they been able to double their win to loss total.

5.) St. Louis Cardinals ( 33-24) – For the past two and half weeks, the Cardinals have been battling it out with the Reds for first place. Now they both sit atop of the N.L. Central tied with about a month and half until All-Star break. The Cardinals hitting isn’t as near as dominate as last year but they are getting solid production from their whole line up. Their number one and two pitchers are still dominating, possibly making them the best 1-2 combo in the Central. Inter-league play is about to kick in as they face the Athletics, Mariners, Blue Jays and Royals. The toughest club as of now will be the Blue Jays and the Athletics could poise problems.

6.) Minnesota Twins ( 33-24) – There are currently five teams boasting a 33-24 record and one of them is the Twins. Minnesota though is the only team out of the A.L. to match this record and maintain a three game lead over the Tigers. Justin Morneau still leads the major with his batting average of .370. He also leads his team in home-runs, RBIs, OBP and hits. He also has 30 more total bases than the next leading candidate , Michael Cuddyer. The Twins starting five are pitching well but not great. They all have pretty inflated ERAs but are able to rack up quality starts.

7.) Boston Red Sox ( 33-25)- Finally the Red Sox look like what many hope to expect. After 20-20 start, Boston has now turned it on and gone 13-5 propelling them into a tie for third and now only 4.5 games back. The Red Sox are tied with the Yankees for runs scored and lead baseball overall in hitting. Jonathan Pabelbon is tied fifth in saves while starting pitcher Clay Buchholz leads the team in wins with 8. After their next series with the Indians, the Red Sox will face five N.L. teams, starting off with the Philadelphia Phillies. Then the next four opponents will all be from the West except the division leading Padres.

8.) Los Angeles Dodgers ( 33-24)– For awhile, it looked like the Dodgers where going to have a very destructive season. Than in the month of May, L.A. went 19-8 and only .5 games back of the Padres. With the return of Andre Ethier, L.A. has been able to keep up their winnings ways in the month of June. Kemp, Etheir and Loney are the big bats as they all lead their respected categories. Their isn’t a real dominated ace right now on the squad but there is enough dominance throughout the order to maintain winning baseball. With Jonathan Broxton dominating the closer roll, this has helped take tax off the bullpen. The rest of June, L.A. possibly has the hardest schedule as they face the Cardinals, Angels, Yankees, Red Sox, Reds and Giants.

9.) Cincinnati Reds ( 33-24) – Not much has changed for the Reds throughout the month of May and into June. Still winning and trying to maintain in first. This teams overall schedule in May wasn’t that tough but June should tell a different story. The Reds should walk out of June with a winning record but could have a pretty big dint in their overall record. The Cardinals, who are currently tied for first with the Reds, have about the same type of schedule. Luckily, most of June is interleague play, so not a lot of ground could be loss but unfortunately, not a lot of ground could be gained.

10.) Toronto Blue Jays ( 33-25) – This team doesn’t seem to go away and they look like they are here to stay. They ended the month of May on a four game winning streak and just took their first series in June against the Yankees. This team doesn’t look fancy on paper but they carry huge bats. Leading the league in home-runs with 97, the Jays are well ahead of the Red Sox who have 79. Their starting pitchers have good records with Ricky Romero leading the squad. Romero is in second behind Tim Lincecum in strikeouts and has pitch the fourth most innings at 85.1. The Jays interleague schedule is pretty tough as they will face two first place teams, two second place teams and then a resilient Rockies squad.

MLB Top Performers 5/20/2010

In Around The League on May 21, 2010 at 12:56 am

Baseball is now a month and half in and there have been some surprising performances and then your everyday all-stars. I will run through your top hitters, pitchers and closers.

Batters

1.) Andre Ethier #16, RF ( Los Angeles Dodgers)- Though this Los Angeles Dodger right fielder hasn’t had as many at bats as most starters, he still batting league leading .392. He already has 38 RBI which ties him with Miguel Cabrera. For active starters, Ethier only has 16 strikeouts which is one of the lowest AB/K rates. He is in the top five in home-runs will eleven and even though he isn’t leading in home-run department. Ethier does have the highest SLG. percentage.

2.) Justin Morneau #33, 1B (Minnesota Twins) – Probably one of the least talked about players, Morneau is having one of his best seasons of his eight year career. Justin currently has a .362 average which is .78 higher than his career average. He is tied with Ethier in total home-runs at eleven. One of his knocks is that he does have the most strikeouts for a top ten hitter. Morneau leads the Twins in every major batting category and he almost leads the team in total runs.

3.) Miguel Cabrera #24, 1B ( Detroit Tigers)– Cabrera has been a beast at the plate since entering the league in 2003. He has had four season where his average has been over .300 and 2010 looks too be added to that list. His .340 average puts him in number six overall and reaching second base 14 times ties him for fifth. Just like most of these top players, Cabrera leads his Tigers offense and has help them stay in contention with the Twins.

4.) Vladimir Guerrero #27, DH ( Texas Rangers)- Most people didn’t see Guerrero to perform this well, especially after a down year with the Angels. We couldn’t be more wrong as Guerrero is easily the MVP of the Rangers. Already with 8 home-runs, he is only seven away from tying last years mark. He is also is has 54 hits which places him 5th only four behind your typical leader Ichiro Suzuki. It will be interesting to see if Vlad can keep this up as this will be his 15 season.


5.) Robinson Cano#24, 2B ( New York Yankees)- Number five was hard to choose from but to me Cano deserves this spot. Once again, he is proving that he is a very good player all around. If he can keep it up, his .340 average will be his fourth season to end up over .300 in six years. It looks like he will be on pace to have over 100 RBI which will be a first and he is showing more patience at the plate.



Starting Pitchers

1.) Ubaldo Jiminez #38, SP ( Colorado Rockies) – Easily the best pitcher in the bigs right now, Ublado is 8-1 with an ERA under 1.00. Along with his ERA being under 1.00, his WHIP is too. Even though he isn’t in the top ten in strike outs, his seven earned runs is outstanding. April 17, Ubaldo through a no-hitter versus the Braves and gave up no runs despite walking six.

2.) Roy Halladay #34, SP ( Philadelphia Phillies)- There is no question that Roy is the best pitcher in the game right now over the past four seasons. His transition from the A.L. to N.L. was smoother as it should be and his numbers show it. A 6-2 record ties him in second with the most wins. He is 58 strikeouts but one stat that stands out his the amount of hits he has allowed. Amoungst the top fourty starters, he has allowed the most hits with 65.

3.) Tim Lincecum #55, SP ( San Francisco Giants)– Despite his teammate Zito having a lower ERA and one more win, Lincecum could easily be 8-0 right now. But instead he is 5-0 but easily leads the league in strikeouts with 75. Tim is the only starting pitcher in the top forty without a loss. Tim does give up a little more walks than most aces but bounces back really well.

4.) Adam Wainwright  #50, SP ( St. Louis Cardinals)- Though he isn’t in the top ten overall, his numbers are just as good. He is has six wins and even though he plays in the N.L Central, Wainwright has beaten some quality teams. His ERA is a little higher than your top ten aces but he is still up there in total strikeouts. His 1.02 WHIP is one of the lowest and is performing slightly better than the Cardinals ace, Chris Carpenter.

5.) David Price #14, SP ( Tampa Bay Rays)- It looks like Price has finally established himself as a legit starter. His 2008 postseason performance was one to remember and many believe 2009 would be the year. That wasn’t the case as he was sent down to the minors to develope more. Now a starter in 2010, Price post a 6-1 record and a 1.81 ERA. He only has allowed 39 hits and eleven earned runs.

Closers

1.)  Matt Capps #55, RP ( Washington Nationals)- The Nationals have 21 wins and 21 losses. Matt Capps has 15 saves and zero blown. It is easy to see that the Nationals rely heavily on Capps to perform at top peak and he has. He leads all closers in saves and innings pitched. Matt’s 2.11 ERA isnt the lowest but is great considering the amount of innings he racks up.

2.) Francisco Cordero #48, RP ( Cincinnati Reds)- Ever since becoming part of the Red’s organization three years ago, Cordero has been very solid. His thirteen saves places his in second despite having three blown saves. His ERA, hit count and IP are a little higher than most but he tends to get out of the tough situations well. This is very evident as the Reds tend to win a lot of 1 or 2 run ball games.

Mid May Top 10 MLB Power Rankings

In Around The League on May 18, 2010 at 3:53 pm

May 18, 2010

Not much change in the past couple of weeks. Few movements in the bottom of the rankings. Right now most of these clubs are just making space between them and their competition. Six teams from the A.L and four from the N.L round out the top ten.

1.) Tampa Bay Rays (27-11) – Still the powerhouse of the A.L. East and the league, the Rays are 10-5 in the month of May. They are averaging over 4 runs a game in their wins. The Rays also possess the highest run differential with +87. Their schedule first half of May hasn’t be tough and the second half should determine if they can hold their two game lead over the New York Yankees. The Rays do not have one of the higher batting averages, sitting at .249. Their pitching though is what has made them so difficult to beat. David Price and Matt Garza have five wins already and James Shields is sitting at four. Their team ERA is an outstanding 2.74.

2.) New York Yankees (25-13)- Could be the best team in the league if it wasn’t for their little stumble on the road versus Detroit. The Yankees have the second best record, just ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies. They have lost six in May but have been able to beat their better competition outside of the Tigers. They have a 6-2 record versus their rival Red Sox and have scored the most runs out of any team in baseball. Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes are both 5-0 with ERA both under 3.00. A.J Burnett is 4-1 while C.C. Sabathia is 4-2.

3.) Philadelphia Phillies (24-13) – Winners of the last five out of six, the Phillies have only lost three games in the month of May. They have scored seven or more runs in eight games and have shut out teams three times. Overall they are the second best hitting club and are first overall with a batting average of .280. Roy Halladay is still dominating as usual posting a 6-1 record with an ERA of 1.59. The six wins has him tied for second for active starters.

4.) Minnesota Twins ( 24-14)- I believe the Twins are one the best well-rounded ball clubs. They can hit, pitch and their the best fielding team. They are the only team the has given up less than ten errors. They also have two players in the top five in hitting, Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. Both of these players have an B.A. over .360. They rank ninth overall in hitting and have the third highest batting avg. Pitching wise, they Twins are ranked 8th overall. All their starting pitchers have 4 wins or more.

5.) San Diego Paders ( 23-15)– Still the surprising team out of the N.L.West, what San Diego is able to do so well is play very consistent ball. They do not go on hot and then cold streaks off an on. They can score runs in bunches but are able to grind out the close games. Their pitching staff allows the lowest BAA of .216 which definitely has contributed to the least amount of runs given up, 111. Also they have the lowest ERA and the most shut outs. With all these combined, their hitting hasn’t been needed  to carry the load. In fact they number 24 in overall hitting and have the fifth lowest batting average. None of their active starters are batting over .300, while only three are batting over .250. Closer Heath Bell is a 11 for 13 in save opportunities which places him third in the N.L. and tied for third overall.

6.) Detroit Tigers ( 22-16)- The Tigers started off the season struggling but now are 6-3 in the last nine games. During that they were able to take the series from the Yankees, winning three of four. They are a middle of a pack team as they rank 17th in overall pitching and 15th in hitting. Their ace Justin Verlander is 4-2 and has won the last three outings. New closer Jose Valverde has done well as he has been able to rack up ten saves and maintain a microscopic ERA of .51. Hitting wise, Miguel Cabrera owns every major category has he leads the team in Avg, HR, RBI and OBP. His first year in the bigs, Austin Jackson is proving to be a very viable bat an a potential all-star.

7.) Toronto Blue Jays (23-17)- The Jays would be leading three divisions if they didn’t have to play the Yankees and Rays all the time. Just like the Padres, no one outside of their respected city expected the Jays to be doing so well. They lead the league in home-runs with 61 and this seven more than the second place club, Boston. They have only lost five games in May and went on a six game winning streak before dropping three of four. After sweeping Texas and splitting the two game series with the Twins, they go on a three series road trip versus the Mariners, Diamondbacks and Angels. Vernon Wells, Jose Bautista and Alex Gonzalez all have ten or more home-runs.

8.) San Francisco Giants ( 21-16)- Even with the sweep of the Houston Astros again, the Gaints have been struggling as of lately. Starting with the series @ New York Mets, S.F. record is 4-6. Outside of Zito and Lincecum, the rest of their starters have been mediocre, especially Matt Cain. Lincecum could easily be 8-0 but their bullpen has been terrible as they have blown late inning leads, almost twice against Houston in the bottom of the ninth. Tim also leads all pitchers in strikeouts with 69. Hitting this team isn’t bad. They produce enough runs to win most ball games and should if their bullpen was more solid.

9.) Cincinnati Reds ( 22-16)- The  Cardinals struggling helped the Reds take top spot in the N.L. Central. The Reds have been able to win 9 of 10 and took the series vs. the Cardinals which help propel them into first. Their closer Francisco Cordero has been able to rack of saves too which brings his total to 13. Three out of five starting pitchers have winning records, one of them being Mike Leake who is 4-0. Joey Votto leads the team in most major categories but is getting a lot of support from the rest of the lineup.

10.) Texas Rangers ( 21-18)- This team is one of the best inconsistent top ten teams on the list. They cannot maintain a few solid winning streaks without losing three our four straight after. They also like to put up huge numbers and then allow huge numbers as well. The Rangers have also been a top ten hitting team the past few years and just sit outside of it at number eleven. Overall their pitching has improved but they have yet to find a solid ace. If anything positive can be taken out of the pitching staff is that they might have found their closer for years to come in Neftali Feliz. Feliz has been clocked over 100 a few times and has only given up one run since April 28.

A.L. Wrap Up

In Around The League on May 12, 2010 at 3:18 pm

The American League is still claims the powerhouse clubs with eight teams have winning records above .500 while only six are under.  Four clubs have reached the twenty win mark and three have reached 180 runs scored.

The East is definitely again the league to beat with four out of five clubs having winning records and three of them have twenty wins. What is the most surprising is one of those twenty win teams isn’t the Red Sox, but the Toronto Blue Jays. The one problem that the Jays possess is inconsistency in streaks. Winners of six straight, the Jays have now lost the last three of four. Their losing streak might continue as they play the Rangers and Twins in the next two upcoming series. The Rays are on top the East as they have looked unstoppable despite having a perfect game thrown against them. Yankees are not far behind them as they sit 1.5 games out.

The Central is basically being run by the Minnesota Twins. Even with Joe Mauer out until yesterday, the Twins have one the best winning percentages in the month of May. The Detroit Tigers are in second with a current two game winning streak. They are currently facing the Yankees and then will face the Red Sox and White Sox at home. The Tigers have  the best home record in the A.L. and with both Sox’s clubs struggling, the Tigers could possible win four out of five. The rest of the Central is a mess with all the clubs sitting 8 or  more games back.

The Wild West is still wide open even with the Seattle Mariners struggling. They are only 4.5 games out but with more club house drama, they could eventually drop further down. The Rangers have played exceptionally well and now that they Rangers have finally chosen a closer in Neftali Feliz, they can finally stop going into extra innings. The Rangers would be in first but Oakland is surprising everyone this season. Starting pitcher Dallas Braden, threw the 19th perfect game in history versus the Rays. Oakland isn’t one of the greatest hitting teams but their pitching staff is performing above expectations. The two teams that majority of fans and experts predicted to be atop of the West are the Angels and Mariners. Both of these clubs are the only two in the West to be under .500. The Angels are trying to rebound from their seven game losing streak by going 3-2 in the past two series.

N.L. April Wrap Up

In Around The League on May 3, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Roughly twenty-five games have been played by most ball clubs and it seems like we can tell who is going to come out of the National League already. Over half the teams in the NL are under .500 and one of them hasn’t even the reached the ten win mark yet. Obviously you can say it is too early to right off certain teams like the Dodgers, Cubs and Mets just because the NL is so weak. All it takes is a five game winning streak to put you right back into contention. It’s those teams such as the Astros, Diamondbacks and Nationals that need to already start packaging players for a major overhaul.

Houston started of 0-8 went on a winning streak to put them right back in the middle of the Central just to fall back to last as they are riding a six game losing streak. The rest of the Central isn’t looking too impressive either and it looks like the Cardinals already have this division locked up. The Red Bird’s top two pitchers, Wainwright and Carpenter, already both have four wins which puts them in second behind Roy Halladay. Anytime you have Pujols, even with the rest of the offense cold, you are going to be competitive. The Cardinals do not lead the league in runs but they are tied for second for least amount of runs allowed in the NL. The Cubs who many had predicting to win the Central sit five games back and will be the St. Louis only threat all season.

The East right now is the closest division as the last place Braves are only three games out. Despite everyone predicting the Phillies to win the East, they haven’t been playing great ball. 14-11 ball won’t help keep the Phillies in first for long with the Mets finally coming around. Philadelphia leads the league in runs scored but despite this, they seem to struggle against the better clubs. The Mets have lost the last two but have won the last 8 of 10. There isn’t a true leader on this squad but with David Wright, Jason Bay, and Jeff Francoeur hitting well, the Mets have been able to find stability in their lineup. The Nationals are surprisingly not in last place and have a winning record (13-12). This is extremely promising knowing that Stephen Strasburg could be called up later this month.

I still think the NL West is the most interesting and exciting division to watch. The Padres are in first with a very impressive 16-9 record. Almost like the Mets, the Padres are led by a solid line up instead of a couple of stars. What is really setting them apart is their pitching. Ace starting Kevin Correia is off to an 4-1 start and even though Jon Garland has a 3-2 record, his 2.03 ERA is outstanding. The Giants are 1.5 games back and Tim Lincencum is still undefeated and proving why again he should win the Cy Young Award for the third consecutive time.  What is probably the most surprising is the lack luster performance of Matt Cain and the dominance of Barry Zito. I do not think any believed that Zito would be 4-0 at this point, especially with a WHIP of 0.88. The rest of the division is shaping up how I thought it would be even with the Dodgers in fourth.

I do not see much changing throughout May with most clubs just gaining more ground on their opposition. Teams to watch would be the Padres, Nationals and Mets.