By Joe Lemire
August 12, 2010
MLB Power Rankings
11 San Francisco Giants
Last Week: 6
The NL leaders in extra-base hits start how you think they might: 1. Adam Dunn; 2. Jayson Werth; 3. Albert Pujols;. and 4.. . . Andres Torres? Who? The Giants' outfielder made his major-league debut with Detroit in 2002 but in his three seasons there and his '05 stint with Texas he played a total of 89 games and had only 54 hits, just 11 of them for extra bases. Then he didn't play in the majors at all from 2006-'08 before returning with the Giants in a part-time role last season. And at the age of 32 he has broken out in 2010, keeping pace with the league's luminaries with 53 extra-base hits (36 doubles, five triples and 11 home runs), one more than a pair of other stars, Matt Holliday and Joey Votto.
12 Cincinnati Reds
Last Week: 8
Lost in the commotion of the brawl was the Reds' acquisition of veteran center fielder Jim Edmonds, who was traded by the Brewers for outfielder Chris Dickerson. Edmonds has now played for four of the six NL Central teams, having spent eight years with the Cardinals and parts of a season with the Brewers, Cubs and now Reds. The 40-year-old, who is batting .279 with a .346 OBP and eight home runs, says he's retiring at the end of the year, but don't bet against a split-season between the Astros and Pirates.
13 Colorado Rockies
Last Week: 13
While Washington's Adam Dunn has drawn considerable attention for his power outburst over the last fortnight and how many millions he is making for himself in his upcoming free agency, he hasn't been the game's hottest power hitter. Flying under that radar is Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who has eight home runs in his last 13 games since July 28, the same number Dunn has hit in that span. But Gonzalez is also batting nearly twice what Dunn has over that time span (.446 to .241) while slugging an outrageous 1.018. CarGo is, without question, baseball's hottest hitter.
14 Toronto Blue Jays
Last Week: 14
Typically, if a rookie catcher has four hits, including two home runs, in his major-league debut, that would be the team's dominant story for days, if not a week. The same could be said for a promising but inconsistent starter who came within out of a no-hitter while striking out 17. But that's what catcher J.P. Arencibia and starter Brandon Morrow did this weekend, as the Blue Jays have gone 15-9 since the All-Star break and own the sixth best overall record in the AL.
15 Los Angeles Dodgers
Last Week: 15
When the Dodgers designated Garret Anderson for assignment -- the veteran was hitting just .181 with 12 RBIs in 155 at bats -- they subsequently promoted Jay Gibbons from Triple-A, completing his long, strange road back to the majors. Gibbons, who had three seasons of at least 23 home runs with the Orioles, had a terrible 2007 season (.230 average, six home runs), was named in the Mitchell Report that December and was out of the majors in 2008 and 2009. He played some minor-league and independent ball. And he wrote letters to all 30 teams pleading for another chance, only for the letter to be leaked to the media. After the Dodgers promoted him on Aug. 8, he had a pinch-hit RBI single that day and then went 3-for-4 with a homer the next day.
16 Los Angeles Angels
Last Week: 20
The Angels promoted their Aug. 10 plaid hat giveaway day for weeks via messages on the videoboard and a large ad on the right-center field wall, but when the day came, the real star was Dan Haren. Wearing a regular Angels cap for just his fourth start with his new team, Haren got his first win for Los Angeles, ending a 10-game winless streak of starts, during which time the teams he pitched for went 1-9.
17 Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 16
While Oakland's major-league first baseman, Daric Barton, has the unique distinction of leading the AL in walks (69) and ranking tied for second in sacrifice hits (12) the organization's recently promoted Triple-A first baseman, Chris Carter, is best known for his power -- a tool more commonly associated with a corner infield position than Barton's bunting. Carter hit 39 home runs while playing high Class-A ball in 2008 and had 27 home runs through 113 games at Triple-A this season before his promotion. To accommodate both Barton and Carter in the same lineup, the latter has moved to left field for now. Carter has started slowly, however, going 0-for-9 with a walk and five strikeouts in his first three games.
18 Detroit Tigers
Last Week: 17
Tigers and Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch is reportedly interested in buying the Pistons, who play their home games in the distant suburb of Auburn Hills, and may move them downtown. Despite Detroit's downtrodden economy, the Tigers have proven that a sports team can draw well if it has a winning product. While the club averaged just shy of 40,000 fans in 2007 and '08, it has still averaged more than 30,000 last year and this year in the worst of the economic downturn. Ilitch has maintained payrolls in the upper quintile each of the past three seasons, at an average of about $125 million.
19 New York Mets
Last Week: 18
Needing to shake up the offense -- the Mets have, after all, hit only .212 since the All-Star break -- New York promoted prospects Ruben Tejada and Fernando Martinez and, to make room in the lineup, released Alex Cora and announced that Jeff Francoeur would be platooned. The moves, particularly cutting Cora 18 games away from having his option for 2011 automatically kick in, were not popular. But a general malaise has sunk into the lineup, and so the club's most offensive act this year has been the arrest of closer Francisco Rodriguez, for allegedly assaulting his father-in-law after Wednesday night's game.
20 Florida Marlins
Last Week: 19
No player likes being on the receiving end of a shaving-cream pie to the face -- it can get in one's eyes and mouth or up one's nose -- and now Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan is a cautionary tale as to why you shouldn't deliver them either. After Wes Helms won a game with a walkoff hit a few weeks ago, Coghlan jumped to deliver the "pie" but landed awkwardly and tore the meniscus in his left knee. He recently had season-ending knee surgery, just as the team was about to transition him to third base to make room for rookie Logan Morrison.
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