Thursday May 20th, 2010

MLB Power Rankings
21Los Angeles Angels
Last Week: 21
It might be time to pull the plug on the Brandon Wood era. The long-celebrated prospect who struggled in major-league cameos each of the past three seasons is doing no better in 2010. Wood, playing the traditional power position of third base, is batting .162 with two home runs in 36 games. Worse, he's only walked twice in 123 plate appearances, compiling a dreadful .175 on-base percentage.
22Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 28
During a game against the Cubs on May 6, Lastings Milledge crushed a liner into deep left field that at first glance appeared to be a grand slam. The broadcaster called it "gone," and even the PNC ballpark staff started shooting off its home run fireworks. Those explosions tricked Milledge into thinking he had, in fact, homered when his liner actually went off the wall. He was easily tagged out when trotting around second base. (Check out what will undoubtedly become a blooper mainstay.) The Pirates got their revenge on the Cubs this past week, taking two of three at Wrigley Field to start a 4-2 week that ended with a nice bump in the rankings.
23Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 25
Might the Indians be the only Cleveland citizens for whom a potential departure by LeBron James would be a good thing? That's the argument of Forbes, which says James so vastly overshadows all other sports in town that the Indians are almost buried.
24Chicago White Sox
Last Week: 26
Consider the state of the White Sox when their manager makes joke like this one: When their game in Detroit was rained out on Tuesday, several Tigers players wanted to play despite heavy rains, to which Ozzie Guillen said, "If I were them, with the way we are playing, I would play against us in canoes out there if they have to."
25Milwaukee Brewers
Last Week: 19
Might the Padres' Adrian Gonzalez get company as a left-handed, power-hitting first baseman available at the trade deadline? Dave Cameron at makes a compelling argument that the Brewers might be best served trading PrinceFielder, even though he won't be a free agent until after the 2011 season, because of the unlikelihood they rally to make the playoffs.
26Kansas City Royals
Last Week: 27
Kerry Wood is a good remedy for a cold team. The Royals, who fired manager Trey Hillman last week, were 0-23 when trailing after eight innings until facing the Indians' struggling closer and scoring five runs in one-third of an inning to turn a 4-3 deficit into an 8-4 win. Credit for such a comeback goes more to Wood -- who had an ERA of 135.00 for the outing -- than to new manager Ned Yost, but it was impressive nonetheless.
27Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 23
Brandon Webb is too obtuse. It's not that he's dumb or stubborn, but as the Arizona Republic reports, the angle of his arm slot during rehab has been too high, creating an angle of 110 degrees, well above the standard range for elite pitchers, which is between 88 and 102 degrees. That obtuse angle is creating undue strain on his arm and hampering his recovery. Webb hasn't pitched in the majors since Opening Day 2009.
28Seattle Mariners
Last Week: 24
From old to new, on one is safe. As the Mariners still recover from Napgate, in which Ken Griffey Jr. was reportedly unavailable to pinch hit because he was asleep in the dugout, now even the organization's minor-league development plans are being questioned. In an article by Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein -- the same writer who quoted an anonymous scout who badmouthed likely No. 1 draft pick Bryce Harper -- found an unnamed front-office official who reports that 2009's No. 2 overall pick, Dustin Ackley, is struggling so severely in Double A that he's been reviewed as a "fringe prospect." Ackley is batting .200 with one home run and 10 RBIs in his first 35 games of pro ball.
29Houston Astros
Last Week: 29
The Houston Business Journal reported this week that, as part of the Astros' environmental awareness campaign, the club will be giving away free tickets in exchange for bringing unwanted electronics to be recycled. Given the way the Astros are playing, it begs the question: Can unwanted tickets be recycled too?
30Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 30
Garret Atkins has played 32 games and logged 115 plate appearances but scored only four runs. The major-league average is to score one run every 8.6 plate appearances; Atkins is averaging one run every 28.8.
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