By Joe Lemire
June 17, 2010
MLB Power Rankings
11 Texas Rangers
Last Week: 11
Starter Colby Lewis, back in the majors after two years pitching in Japan, shared AL Player of the Week honors with teammate Josh Hamilton for his performance last week, in which Lewis won both of his starts, throwing 15 innings of three-run, 15-strikeout baseball. He leads the AL in allowing opposing hitters to bat just .197 against him.
12 Los Angeles Angels
Last Week: 12
Howie Kendrick better sleep with one eye open. With Erick Aybar suffering a hyperextended knee on a takeout slide from the Brewers' Casey McGehee on Monday, Kendrick is the only infielder from the Angels' Opening Day starting lineup not to have been injured yet this year. Third baseman Brandon Wood was on the disabled list until Tuesday with a hip flexor strain, and first baseman Kendry Morales is out for the season with a broken leg.
13 San Francisco Giants
Last Week: 13
Offseason concerns about his catching ability have become moot, as Buster Posey has been just fine at first base and, far more importantly to the Giants, the batter's box. After getting called up in late May, Posey had three hits in each of his first two games and by June 11 was batting .444 and had been promoted to the No. 3 spot in the batting order. His stay there lasted just the one game, but he's provided some much-needed offense to San Francisco's lineup. Of course, Posey still has his eyes back on his alma mater, Florida State. When FSU coach Mike Martin texted him congratulations for his first big league home run, Posey replied, according to the Orlando Sentinel, "Forget about me ? we've got a Super Regional to concern ourselves with." The Seminoles have since advanced to the College World Series.
14 Detroit Tigers
Last Week: 16
He may have received sympathy votes for the obvious personal anguish he suffered after making the mistake, but umpire Jim Joyce, he who robbed Tigers starter Armando Galarraga of a perfect game, was voted the game's best umpire in a recent ESPN The Magazine poll of 100 players. Joyce received 53 votes; Tim McClelland, the runner-up, received 34. More interestingly, 77 percent of players opposed the use of instant replay for close calls on the bases.
15 Toronto Blue Jays
Last Week: 10
Not even an earthquake can rattle John Buck. The Blue Jays catcher, who hit his 10th and 11th home runs earlier in Monday's game in San Diego, didn't even notice the 5.7-magnitude quake that shook Petco Park in the eighth inning. When Padres third baseman Chase Headley stepped out of the box, Buck incredulously asked him, "What's going on?" Added Buck, "I didn't even get to feel it."
16 Philadelphia Phillies
Last Week: 14
The Phillies' offensive slump continues, and perhaps no one is more affected than second baseman Chase Utley, who batted just .165 (14-for-85) with one home run and only four RBIs over 24 games before getting three hits in the first two games of the series against the Yankees. It wasn't exactly reassuring when the club's general manager, Ruben Amaro Jr., admitted he was baffled, too, telling the Philadelphia media, "I mean, everyone is kind of confused by that." But the fans haven't gotten on Utley's case, leading some to wonder: Why not?.
17 Colorado Rockies
Last Week: 15
With Ryan Dempster and Rich Harden having uncharacteristically down seasons, Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis has reasserted himself as the major leagues' best Canadian-born pitcher. The pride of the University of British Columbia, Francis missed all of 2009 after having shoulder surgery but has pitched well in six starts, going 2-2 with a skimpy 3.29 ERA. Thanks to the dominant season of teammate Ubaldo Jimenez, Francis, the onetime staff ace, can ease back into the rotation without the burden of being the club's No. 1 starter.
18 Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 19
General manager Billy Beane has long spoken of dividing the season into thirds: the first third is to evaluate your team, the second third for adjusting the roster and the final third for letting the changes play out. As the middle portion of the season begins, it's clear Beane at least tentatively wants to buy, not sell, judging by his trade of a pitching prospect for Diamondbacks outfielder Conor Jackson. Beane must think the AL West is vulnerable -- and he's probably right.
19 Washington Nationals
Last Week: 18
Happy 10-day anniversary to Stephen Strasburg! Yes, that's as long as he's been in the majors, though it has been enough time to read the Top Ten list on Letterman and appear on SI's cover. He next starts at home on Friday against the White Sox, and in a remarkable nod to Strasburg, Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen is considering shuffling his rotation to allow former Padre Jake Peavy -- whom Strasburg, a San Diego native, idolized -- to face the Nationals' phenom.
20 Florida Marlins
Last Week: 20
Just what does a new Florida Marlins ballpark need? Real marlins, of course. The club is planning to install two giant saltwater aquariums in the backstop of the new park, full of local coral and sea life. Only problem: PETA doesn't like it. Of course it doesn't, but the Marlins don't plan on making any changes.
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