By Joe Lemire
May 06, 2010
MLB Power Rankings
21 Seattle Mariners
Last Week: 15
Cliff Lee's pitching line from his first start could hardly have been better: seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts, three hits and no walks. (His second start wasn't quite as sharp: four runs in eight innings.) All that was missing from his debut was a win because, well, the Mariners couldn't score and lost 2-0 in the 12th inning. That's what happens when your club has the fewest runs (91), homers (10) and lowest OBP (.306) and slugging (.327) in the AL.
22 Milwaukee Brewers
Last Week: 20
Say this about the Brewers lineup: They've taken the mantra of "get on base any way you can" to heart. In the NL they rank second in hits and walks and first in hit by pitches, with 18, five more than any other major-league team. Milwaukee also leads the majors in stolen-base percentage (90 percent, with 19 successes in 21 tries), but it's batting only .260 with runners on base, contributing to its middling 32 percent rate of runners on base scoring, hovering around the majors' average.
23 Atlanta Braves
Last Week: 22
The Braves are playing poorly and getting worse. Shortstop Yunel Escobar and starter Jair Jurrjens were both placed on the disabled list this week, as Atlanta -- until beating the Nationals in 10 innings on Wednesday -- was mired in 13-game slump in which its only three wins came in a series sweep over the even-more-woeful Astros.
24 Chicago White Sox
Last Week: 24
Grounding into double plays is, of course, detrimental to success, but a team with a lot of GIDPs can take solace in the fact that it likely has a lot of men on base -- except the White Sox. Chicago is fifth in the majors in GIDPs (31) but only 26th in OBP (.313).
25 Los Angeles Dodgers
Last Week: 25
Homeboykris, the horse partially owned by Dodgers manager Joe Torre, finished 16th out of 20 in the Kentucky Derby field. That's not a great showing but better than his baseball team, which ranks 15th out of 16 NL teams.
26 Kansas City Royals
Last Week: 26
The 2005 MLB first-round draft class is famously talented: Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki and Ryan Zimmerman are but the three headliners in a deep class in which all but seven of the first 30 picks have made the majors. Picks two (Alex Gordon, by the Royals) and three (Jeff Clement, by the Mariners and since dealt to the Pirates), however, have made the big leagues but largely been disappointing. That was further evidenced this week by Gordon's demotion back to the minor leagues where he will try and learn left field.
27 Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 27
Cleveland's first-round pick in 2009, UNC pitcher Alex White, has taken no-hitters into the sixth inning in each of his last two starts in high A ball, but not even all of the Indians' farm report is good: catcher Carlos Santana, one of the top prospects in all of baseball, fouled a ball of his knee two weeks ago and entered a significant slump. After starting 16-for-44 (.364), he's just 8-for-36 (.222) since, according to
28 Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 30
If nothing else, the Pirates do have one very bright spot: setup man Evan Meek. The 2002 11th-round pick of the Twins who was released during the middle of the 2005 minor-league season has been one of baseball's best relievers. His 0.53 ERA ranks third among all relievers with at least 15 innings of work, and he recorded his first save last Thursday in place of closer Octavio Dotel, who had thrown the previous two days, was given the night off.
29 Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 29
By no means has the season gone the way the Orioles had planned, but at least they've gotten some revenge. After going 2-16, 6-12, 6-12 and 3-15 against Boston the past four years, Baltimore swept the Red Sox this past weekend. Of course, the O's were then promptly swept by the Yankees, restoring the world to its natural order.
30 Houston Astros
Last Week: 28
Streakiness, thy name is Astro. Houston started the year on an eight-game losing streak, then won eight of its next 10 and then lost eight in a row again. Left fielder Carlos Lee finally hit his first home run of the season Wednesday night, in his 26th game, and is batting just an even .200, not to mention that he's one of the only five outfielders rated worse defensively than the aforementioned Fukudome, as noted above.
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