When this season started, there was a lot of talk about how good the Boston Red Sox were going to be. Everyone kept saying things about how the Red Sox were the best team in the AL, and that the matchup between them and the Philadelphia Phillies from the NL for the World Series title was going to be an epic showdown. The Phillies pitching rotation versus what should be the best offense in the majors. Well, every day, it looks more and more as if those predictions are true. The Red Sox are still on top and the Phillies are not far behind, both teams in the top three.
1. Boston Red Sox (39-26)
I think it is finally safe to say, the Red Sox have the best offense in baseball. In their most recent series against the Toronto Blue Jays, they outscore the Jays 36-5. That's an AVERAGE of 12 runs per game! Now that the offense is finally rolling, it doesn't look as if they can be stopped. The pitching has been doing it's part as well, but let's be honest, when you are scoring 10+ runs per game, your pitching could have an ERA north of 5.00 and you would still win. Such hasn't been the case with the Red Sox, it was just a hypothetical. The AL had better watch out for this team as they make their way toward the ultimate goal, winning the World Series. With the second best record in baseball (one game behind the aforementioned Phillies), it could be safe to say that they're the best team in baseball right now.
2. Atlanta Braves (38-28)
The Braves have been playing great baseball in the last week, and are now just two games behind the Phillies for the division lead. They've won six games in a row now, and behind that pitching they have formed (best ERA: 2.96, best WHIP: 1.15, best BAA: .227), some might even consider that rotation to be the best in baseball. I know, everyone wants to talk about the Phillies rotation, but there just might be a better rotation in the NL East. Not to take anything away from the Phillies rotation, because those guys are nasty. Just something to think about. The Braves have a chance to take the division lead this coming week and if they can keep playing like this, they could do it.
3. Philadelphia Phillies (40-26)
At 14 games over .500 and the best record in baseball, the Phillies are showing signs of the World Series team that everyone has thought them to be. They have the second-best team ERA (3.15) behind those Braves, and have played some of the best defense all season. They have done well enough on offense to back up their great pitching, and they are just getting better. They took the series over the weekend from the Chicago Cubs. The Phillies were able to fight off the Florida Marlins until they fell to the wayside, and now they are going to have to do the same with the Braves. The Phillies have the offense and the pitching to stave off elimination, and we will just have to see what happens over this coming week.
4. Milwaukee Brewers (38-28)
The Brewers swept the weekend series from division rival St. Louis and have now taken over the division lead from the rival Cardinals. The offense behind the red-hot Prince Fielder has been absolutely dominant lately, plus their pitching staff has backed them up. The deadly combo of Fielder and Ryan Braun has carried this team all the way to the top. The Brewers were one of three teams picked to win the NL Central at the beginning of the season (the other two teams are in this top 10), and they are finally playing like it. This team could do big things this season behind the pitching of offseason acquisition Zack Greinke and the bats of Braun and Fielder.
5. Texas Rangers (36-31)
The Rangers' offense has finally made it back to prestige, but they just lost three out of four to the June-hot Minnesota Twins (yeah, that isn't a mistake). They won five in a row to start the month of June, but have lost five out of their last seven and hold just a 1.5 game lead over the...you guessed wrong...Seattle Mariners. Their pitching let them down over the last week and they haven't been scoring like the Red Sox. The Rangers are going to have to pick up the pace if they want to hold off the Mariners (never thought I'd say that) and they have the ability. We will just have to see if they can utilize that talent and keep their division lead.
6. Cincinnati Reds (34-33)
At just one game over .500, the Reds have been able to rest on their offensive laurels. Their offense is still one of the best in the league, top 10 in each of our offensive categories, but their team ERA of 4.23 has held them back. They have finally started to get some innings out of their starters, which was a problem for most of the last month. The rotation has been the big issue so far this season, and a rotation that was supposed to be one of the best in the NL needs some sort of spark. If they can have a good week, maybe they can keep up with the Brewers and the Cardinals in the division.
7. New York Yankees (36-27)
Are the Yankees going to be able to keep up with the red-hot Red Sox? The Yankees swept the Cleveland Indians, who are falling apart in front of us, and have kept themselves just two games out of the division lead. They have the offense to do so and with the newfound power from Curtis Granderson and the performance of fellow bash brother Mark Teixiera, the Yankees are a force to be reckoned with. This week, we get to watch Derek Jeter go for 3,000 hits, as he is just seven hits away. I know I will be watching to see if he can do so. That many hits is nothing to be ashamed of, even if Jeter's season has been less than successful.
8. St. Louis Cardinals (38-29)
The Cardinals just lost the division lead, but have still found themselves in the top 10 here. With a three-game losing streak and being swept by the Brewers, the Cardinals are going to have to find some sort of spark to see if they can keep themselves from dropping farther down the standings. The Cardinals offense, with a resurgent Albert Pujols, has the capability to be one of the best in the NL, but their pitching, with ace Chris Carpenter struggling, has let them down a bit lately. They can quickly turn it around, because they have the talent, but we will have to see if they can do it after losing the division lead.
9. Tampa Bay Rays (35-30)
The Rays are now four games behind the Red Sox for the division lead and sit at third in the AL East. There was a lot of speculation early this season as to whether or not the young team could make a play for the division crown, but with the play of the Red Sox, things aren't looking good. The Rays have done fantastically well so far this season with a makeshift offense full of players that one wouldn't imagine would be stars. Their pitching has been good so far, they just need a few more games to go their way. Follow them this week to see if they can keep up with their division rivals.
10. Los Angeles Angels (31-36)
The Angels fell four spots and are barely holding on in the top 10, but their pitching is keeping them in it. The chances that they are going to win the division with the Rangers playing well enough and the newfangled Mariners taking advantage of some good play are slim. They are still only five games out of the lead with a sub-.500 record, so crazier things have happened. It will be interesting to see where this division goes before the All-Star break and watching could be fun.
Honorable Mention-Minnesota Twins (26-39)
The Twins have been the second best team in the month of June and have gone 8-2 over their last 10 games. The Twins have gotten to nine games out of the division lead, which I'm not sure anyone saw coming any time soon. They just took three out of four from the Rangers, which they needed to do in order to consider themselves successful so far this month. With that series win, I think the Twins have finally found themselves in an upward trend. Francisco Liriano almost threw another no-hitter just yesterday and they can take this momentum even further with some good play and some luck.
The Rockies finally fell out of this top 10, as people have been calling for it for weeks. They have been playing good baseball for a while, but were getting lucky with their early offensive numbers. They are the only team to fall out of the top 10 this week, as the rest of the teams just shifted.
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We are doing a ranking system this season that takes into account 13 different variables (four offense, four defense, four pitching and the overall win-loss record). We are trying to find the most accurate and realistic ranking system that will give a general perspective on which teams are performing at the most optimum level thus far. We can only hope that we are close.
|Team||Rank||Sum||Win %||Rank||Team BA||Rank||Team OBP||Rank||Team HR||Rank||Team RBI||Rank||Team ERA||Rank||Team WHIP||Rank||Team BAA||Rank||Team SO||Rank||Team FPCT||Rank||Team E||Rank||Team DP||Rank||Team DER||Rank|
|Boston Red Sox||1||82||0.6||2||0.276||1||0.349||1||77||2||338||1||4.08||20||1.29||12||0.242||5||470||9||0.987||3||31||1||54||21||0.7191||4|
|New York Yankees||7||159||0.571||5||0.257||12||0.34||3||95||1||320||2||3.63||11||1.32||19||0.248||9||439||22||0.983||19||40||18||50||26||0.7154||12|
|St. Louis Cardinals||8||162||0.567||6||0.274||2||0.347||2||58||15||310||4||3.77||14||1.3||16||0.256||19||442||21||0.985||14||39||16||57||13||0.7102||20|
|Tampa Bay Rays||9||163||0.538||10||0.246||22||0.312||22||61||13||261||15||3.78||15||1.23||4||0.238||3||415||26||0.987||4||31||1||49||27||0.7367||1|
|Los Angeles Angels||10||167||0.463||22||0.254||15||0.319||19||48||21||234||24||3.53||7||1.28||9||0.248||8||460||14||0.987||5||34||8||61||9||0.7168||6|
|San Francisco Giants||15||193||0.561||7||0.24||25||0.307||25||45||22||219||29||3.25||4||1.26||7||0.234||2||540||1||0.983||21||42||21||59||10||0.7109||19|
|Chicago White Sox||16||195||0.485||17||0.257||13||0.327||9||71||7||275||11||4.1||21||1.32||18||0.259||23||454||17||0.986||11||35||10||57||13||0.7074||25|
|Toronto Blue Jays||17||201||0.485||17||0.259||8||0.328||8||72||6||300||5||4.34||27||1.4||27||0.257||20||486||8||0.983||22||43||24||70||3||0.7038||26|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||20||219||0.463||22||0.259||9||0.321||15||52||19||247||17||4.12||22||1.38||25||0.263||26||493||6||0.987||7||31||1||53||22||0.6968||28|
|New York Mets||22||227||0.492||16||0.259||10||0.33||6||43||26||256||16||4.07||18||1.36||22||0.259||22||446||20||0.986||12||33||6||46||29||0.7078||24|
|Kansas City Royals||24||245||0.439||25||0.262||7||0.329||7||51||20||286||8||4.6||28||1.45||29||0.271||30||386||28||0.985||17||40||18||67||5||0.7088||23|
|San Diego Padres||25||250||0.433||26||0.23||28||0.3||29||37||29||211||30||3.18||3||1.26||6||0.249||12||459||15||0.981||25||49||26||67||5||0.7129||16|