Power Rankings: Cardinals back in first, Pirates rise, Tigers take a fall

1:25 | MLB
MLB Power Rankings: Cardinals in first place
Monday June 1st, 2015

Welcome back to the No. 1 spot, St. Louis. The Cardinals took advantage of the Royals' 1-4 week to jump into first place in this week's Power Rankings, edging the Dodgers thanks to four first-place votes. Los Angeles moved up to second place, with Kansas City falling to third. The Astros and Nationals swapped spots from last week, with Houston grabbing fourth and Washington dropping to fifth.

We're No. 1: Cardinals

St.Louis went 5–1 last week, sweeping the Diamondbacks and taking two of three from the Dodgers, but that impressive stretch isn't the only reason the Cardinals are back at No. 1. St. Louis has the most wins in baseball (33), the majors' best winning percentage (.660) and run differential (+60), the lowest ERA (2.73) and the biggest lead of any first-place team (six games). The only thing that hasn't gone to plan for the Cardinals so far is their offense: St. Louis' lineup is producing 4.18 runs per game with a team OPS+ of 101—both of those figures are just a touch above league average. That won't be helped by the loss of first baseman Matt Adams, who is likely to miss the rest of the season with a torn quad muscle. The Cardinals are going with Mark Reynolds at first base for the time being, but they will need a better solution to help jumpstart the offense.

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Cellar Dweller: Phillies

Here's one example of how bad things are for the Phillies: They have just one player with an OPS+ above league average. That would be first baseman Ryan Howard, whose 112 mark masks a brutal .284 on-base percentage and awful defense. By Wins Above Replacement, the only Philadelphia hitter at 1.0 or better is shortstop Freddy Galvis, and that's buoyed by a red-hot April (.355/.395/.434) that gave way to a brutal May (.240/.270/.271). Things are a little brighter on the pitching side, where Aaron Harang and Cole Hamels have posted WARs of 2.7 and 2.2, respectively. But the Phils are getting no help from an offense that is producing an MLB-worst 3.02 runs per game. Currently mired in a seven-game losing streak, the Phillies managed just 11 runs in 54 innings last week, making them an easy choice for No. 30.

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Biggest Riser: Pirates

Four teams—the Angels, Mariners, Pirates and Rangers—jumped four spots this week, so we'll focus on the one that finished the highest in our rankings: Pittsburgh, which moved from No. 11 to No. 7. The Pirates are scorching, with eight wins in their last 10 games, including a 5–2 stretch last week that got them back above .500 after a slump in the first half of May. Who's driving that resurgence? Unsuprisingly, it's Andrew McCutchen. After a dispiriting April (.194/.302/.333 in 86 plate appearances), McCutchen has looked more like his MVP-winning self since the calendar flipped to May. Last month, he hit .330/.419/.566 with five home runs, and he's been scorching in the last two weeks, with a .400/.491/.733 line in 53 PA. The Bucs enter June seven games behind the Cardinals in the NL Central, but just 1 1/2 out in the wild card, and a productive McCutchen should help them stay in the postseason hunt.

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Biggest Faller: Tigers

Detroit started the week by taking two of three from Oakland, but a trip to Los Angeles was a disaster, with the Tigers getting swept in a four-game set against the Angels. That has left Detroit 3 1/2 games out of first place in the AL Central and cost it six spots in this week's rankings, from No. 6 down to No. 12. David Price has been strong, with a 128 ERA+ that would be his best mark since his 2012 AL Cy Young campaign, and Alfredo Simon has posted a 2.67 ERA in 57 1/3 innings in his first year with Detroit since coming over in an offseason trade with the Reds. But the rest of the starting five has been a mess, with Anibal Sanchez the most worrisome of the group. The Venezuelan righty has an unsightly 5.75 ERA through 67 1/3 innings, including a whopping 12 home runs allowed. Sanchez's strikeout rate is strong (9.1 per nine) and he allowed just two runs in seven frames against the Angels last Friday. But he has to get his gopher-itis under control—he's allowed 12, second-most in the AL—if he's going to help the Tigers right their shaky rotation.

  • 1
    1St. Louis Cardinals
    last week: 2
    points: 176
    High Vote: 1st (4x)
    Low Vote: 3rd (2x)

  • 2
    2Los Angeles Dodgers
    last week: 3
    points: 170
    High Vote: 1st
    Low Vote: 5th

  • 3
    3Kansas City Royals
    last week: 1
    points: 161
    High Vote: 2nd (2x)
    Low Vote: 9th

  • 4
    4Houston Astros
    last week: 5
    points: 155
    High Vote: 2nd
    Low Vote: 7th (2x)

  • 5
    5Washington Nationals
    last week: 4
    points: 152
    High Vote: 2nd
    Low Vote: 8th

  • 6
    6San Francisco Giants
    last week: 8
    points: 144
    High Vote: 5th
    Low Vote: 9th (2x)

  • 7
    7Pittsburgh Pirates
    last week: 11
    points: 142
    High Vote: 4th (3x)
    Low Vote: 12th

  • 8
    8Minnesota Twins
    last week: 10
    points: 137
    High Vote: 1st
    Low Vote: 18th

  • 9
    9Los Angeles Angels
    last week: 13
    points: 128
    High Vote: 8th (3x)
    Low Vote: 12th

  • 10
    10Chicago Cubs
    last week: 7
    points: 118
    High Vote: 6th
    Low Vote: 18th

  • 11
    11New York Mets
    last week: 12
    points: 115
    High Vote: 9th
    Low Vote: 14th (2x)

  • 12
    12Detroit Tigers
    last week: 6
    points: 114
    High Vote: 4th
    Low Vote: 18th

  • 13
    13Tampa Bay Rays
    last week: 9
    points: 109
    High Vote: 8th
    Low Vote: 18th

  • 14
    14New York Yankees
    last week: 15
    points: 106
    High Vote: 12th (3x)
    Low Vote: 15th (2x)

  • 15
    15Cleveland Indians
    last week: 16
    points: 92
    High Vote: 10th
    ​Low Vote: 19th (2x)

  • 16
    16Texas Rangers
    last week: 20
    points: 87
    High Vote: 13th
    Low Vote: 22nd

  • 17
    17Toronto Blue Jays
    last week: 14
    points: 83
    High Vote: 7th
    Low Vote: 25th

  • 18
    18Seattle Mariners
    last week: 22
    points: 82
    High Vote: 10th
    Low Vote: 23rd

  • 19
    19San Diego Padres
    last week: 21
    points: 78
    High Vote: 13th
    Low Vote: 23rd

  • 20
    20Atlanta Braves
    last week: 19
    points: 67
    High Vote: 16th
    Low Vote: 25th

  • 21
    21Baltimore Orioles
    last week: 18
    points: 66
    High Vote: 19th
    Low Vote: 21st

  • 22
    22Arizona Diamondbacks
    last week: 17
    points: 65
    High Vote: 13th (2x)
    Low Vote: 26th

  • 23
    23Chicago White Sox
    last week: 25
    points: 45
    High Vote: 21st (3x)
    Low Vote: 27th (2x)

  • 24
    24Oakland Athletics
    last week: 24
    points: 40
    High Vote: 19th
    Low Vote: 28th

  • 25
    25Cincinnati Reds
    last week: 27
    points: 39
    High Vote: 22nd
    Low Vote: 28th

  • 26
    26Boston Red Sox
    last week: 23
    points: 38
    High Vote: 17th
    Low Vote: 28th (2x)

  • 27
    27Colorado Rockies
    last week: 28
    points: 32
    High Vote: 23rd
    Low Vote: 28th

  • 28
    28Miami Marlins
    last week: 26
    points: 31
    High Vote: 24th
    Low Vote: 28th

  • 29
    29Milwaukee Brewers
    last week: 30
    points: 12
    High Vote: 29th (6x)
    Low Vote: N/A

  • 30
    30Philadelphia Phillies
    last week: 29
    points: 6
    High Vote: 30th (6x)
    Low Vote: N/A

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