Power Poll: Three NL West teams make top 10

Adrian Gonzalez is the Padres' only reliable bat, but they keep winning.
Adrian Gonzalez is the Padres’ only reliable bat, but they keep winning.

The American League East has three teams—the Rays, Yankees and Red Sox—in the top 10 of this week’s power poll. That’s not even the least bit surprising.

That the National League West can make the same claim, though, is at least a little bit surprising. The Padres, despite their lack of a legitimate offensive threat other than Adrian Gonzalez, are 11 games over .500 and leading the division. The Dodgers, despite their offseason of inactivity because of the tumultuous situation regarding the owners, are a game back. The Giants, despite another inconsistent offensive lineup (though, better than last year), are a game-and-a-half behind the Padres. Anyway, on to the poll.

1. Rays (last week: 1). After watching his batting average plunge to a season-low .169 on June 5, Carlos Pena has seven homers, 10 RBIs and a .345 average (1.456 OPS) in his past in seven games. The Rays, though, are just 4-3 in that span and have been caught atop the AL East by the Yankees.

2. Yankees (2). Last week, we said not to read too much into Jorge Posada’s poor performance so far this year with runners on base because of the small sample size. So what does Posada do this weekend? Grand slams in back-to-back games. Patience is a virtue (when analyzing stats, not when your BCS conference affiliation is on the line).

3. Padres (3). Before the Dodgers took first place last Tuesday, the Padres had been in first place (alone or tied) since April 19. After taking two of three against the Mariners this weekend, they’re back atop the division entering the week.

4. Braves (4). Kenshin Kawakami has an 0-8 record this season despite a relatively respectable 4.48 ERA. To add further evidence to the wins-aren’t-a-reliable-stat argument, 33 pitchers entered the week with at least four wins and an ERA of 4.48 or higher. Derek Lowe, Kawakami’s teammate, is 8-5 despite his 4.81 ERA.

5. Mets (15). David Wright leads the Mets with 12 homers. Which is, y’know, the season-ending total team-leader Daniel Murphy had for the 2009 Mets. Wright is hitting .394 with 11 RBIs and three of those bombs during the Mets’ current stretch of eight wins in nine games.

What happened to Joe Mauer's power?
What happened to Joe Mauer’s power?

6. Twins (8). So, at what point do people start to talk about Joe Mauer’s lack of power this season? He had 28 homers last season in 138 games; this year he has two in 55 contests.

7. Dodgers (6). After reeling off six consecutive starts in which he allowed two runs or fewer, rookie John Ely has been touched for eight runs in his past two starts. Still, though, his 3.38 ERA through nine outings has far exceeded expectations.

8. Red Sox (10). Dustin Pedroia and Marco Scutaro enter the week with exactly 298 plate appearances each. Pedroia has more doubles, homers, RBIs and stolen bases and has a better OPS; Scutaro leads his middle-infield mate in runs, hits, average and on-base percentage.

9. Giants (14). Juan Uribe is getting love on the West Coast for his offensive production this season, but I wonder how many folks east of Yosemite know he’s hitting .290 with 10 homers and a team-high 41 RBIs.

10. Reds (7). Yes, the Reds are in first place in the NL Central, but they drop a few spots after dropping two of three at home to the Royals this weekend.

11. Rangers (12). After a rough start to his life in the majors, Justin Smoak is starting to heat up for the Rangers. The rookie first baseman is batting .317 with a pair of homers and 12 RBIs in his first 13 June games. This, after hitting .175 in his first 35 games.

12. Angels (13). Erick Aybar has seven multihit games in his past 14 contests; he’s hitting .424 in that span, with five stolen bases, six RBIs, seven extra-base hits and 13 runs scored.

13. Tigers (17). The Tigers’ sweep of the Pirates this weekend was the first time they’ve won three in a row since a five-game streak that ended on May 2.

14. Cardinals (5). The Cardinals haven’t done much right in losing seven of their past eight games. The bright side is they’re only a game-and-a-half behind the Reds in the NL Central to start the week.

15. Blue Jays (9). Seven Blue Jays have at least eight home runs on the season, and Toronto’s team total of 99 leads the majors, 15 ahead of the Red Sox. Which is why it’s a bit surprising that the Blue Jays have failed to score more than three runs in any of their past eight games.

16. Phillies (11). Starting May 22, the Phillies are just 6-14. They’re averaging 1.43 runs per game in those losses and 4.67 runs per game in the wins.

17. Rockies (16). No chance of Carlos Gonzalez being voted in as a starter for the National League All-Star team, but the Rockies’ center fielder belongs in the game. He’s hitting .302 and leads the Rockies in homers (10), RBIs (41) and stolen bases (eight).

18. A’s (18). Trevor Cahill has allowed more than one earned run just once in his past five starts. He’s 4-0 with a 1.91 ERA in that stretch.

Josh Johnson has dominated.
Josh Johnson has dominated.

19. Marlins (19). This is getting ridiculous. Ace Josh Johnson has allowed just one earned run in his past five starts, covering 35 innings. That’s a tidy 0.26 ERA.

20. Nationals (20). Josh Johnson’s dominance is impressive but not necessarily unexpected. What is unexpected is Livan Hernandez and his 2.28 ERA. He’s allowed more than two earned runs just twice in 12 start; this, despite having just 33 strikeouts against 25 walks.

21. White Sox (23). At least the White Sox took two of three from the Cubs this weekend, eh?

22. Cubs (21). As if this season wasn’t enough of a disappointment, the Cubs lost two of three at home to the cross-town Sox.

23. Royals (22). The Royals did their in-state neighbors, the Cardinals, a favor when they went into Cincinnati and took two of three from the Reds.

24. Diamondbacks (28). Ian Kennedy has been the Diamondbacks’ best starter since the beginning of May. In those eight starts, he’s fashioned a 2.42 ERA, though personally he’s just 2-2 in that stretch.

25. Brewers (24). The Milwaukee pitching staff is third in the majors in strikeouts, but 28th in ERA, 29th in hits allowed, 30th in walks allowed and (not shockingly) 30th in WHIP.

26. Astros (27). The Houston offense is last in the majors in batting average (.236), on-base percentage (.287) and slugging percentage (.339).

27. Mariners (26). Sixty-three games into the season and not one Mariner has more than 15 extra-base hits on the season. They have 138 as a team, which is last in the AL; the Red Sox and Blue Jays are tied for the league lead with 254.

28. Indians (29). Prize prospect Carlos Santana got the call-up last week. In his first three games, he delivered a homer and three RBIs to go with a .273 batting average. He was hitting .316 with 13 homers and a 1.044 OPS for Class AAA Columbus.

29. Pirates (25). Tough times for the Pirates. They’ve lost eight in a row.

30. Orioles (30). The Orioles’ winning percentage is .270 (17-46). Only two teams since 1935—the 1962 Mets and 2003 Tigers—have finished with worse marks.

Ryan Fagan is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at rfagan@sportingnews.com, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ryan_fagan.

Adrian Gonzalez is the Padres' only reliable bat, but they keep winning.
Adrian Gonzalez is the Padres’ only reliable bat, but they keep winning.

The American League East has three teams—the Rays, Yankees and Red Sox—in the top 10 of this week’s power poll. That’s not even the least bit surprising.

That the National League West can make the same claim, though, is at least a little bit surprising. The Padres, despite their lack of a legitimate offensive threat other than Adrian Gonzalez, are 11 games over .500 and leading the division. The Dodgers, despite their offseason of inactivity because of the tumultuous situation regarding the owners, are a game back. The Giants, despite another inconsistent offensive lineup (though, better than last year), are a game-and-a-half behind the Padres. Anyway, on to the poll.

1. Rays (last week: 1). After watching his batting average plunge to a season-low .169 on June 5, Carlos Pena has seven homers, 10 RBIs and a .345 average (1.456 OPS) in his past in seven games. The Rays, though, are just 4-3 in that span and have been caught atop the AL East by the Yankees.

2. Yankees (2). Last week, we said not to read too much into Jorge Posada’s poor performance so far this year with runners on base because of the small sample size. So what does Posada do this weekend? Grand slams in back-to-back games. Patience is a virtue (when analyzing stats, not when your BCS conference affiliation is on the line).

3. Padres (3). Before the Dodgers took first place last Tuesday, the Padres had been in first place (alone or tied) since April 19. After taking two of three against the Mariners this weekend, they’re back atop the division entering the week.

4. Braves (4). Kenshin Kawakami has an 0-8 record this season despite a relatively respectable 4.48 ERA. To add further evidence to the wins-aren’t-a-reliable-stat argument, 33 pitchers entered the week with at least four wins and an ERA of 4.48 or higher. Derek Lowe, Kawakami’s teammate, is 8-5 despite his 4.81 ERA.

5. Mets (15). David Wright leads the Mets with 12 homers. Which is, y’know, the season-ending total team-leader Daniel Murphy had for the 2009 Mets. Wright is hitting .394 with 11 RBIs and three of those bombs during the Mets’ current stretch of eight wins in nine games.

What happened to Joe Mauer's power?
What happened to Joe Mauer’s power?

6. Twins (8). So, at what point do people start to talk about Joe Mauer’s lack of power this season? He had 28 homers last season in 138 games; this year he has two in 55 contests.

7. Dodgers (6). After reeling off six consecutive starts in which he allowed two runs or fewer, rookie John Ely has been touched for eight runs in his past two starts. Still, though, his 3.38 ERA through nine outings has far exceeded expectations.

8. Red Sox (10). Dustin Pedroia and Marco Scutaro enter the week with exactly 298 plate appearances each. Pedroia has more doubles, homers, RBIs and stolen bases and has a better OPS; Scutaro leads his middle-infield mate in runs, hits, average and on-base percentage.

9. Giants (14). Juan Uribe is getting love on the West Coast for his offensive production this season, but I wonder how many folks east of Yosemite know he’s hitting .290 with 10 homers and a team-high 41 RBIs.

10. Reds (7). Yes, the Reds are in first place in the NL Central, but they drop a few spots after dropping two of three at home to the Royals this weekend.

11. Rangers (12). After a rough start to his life in the majors, Justin Smoak is starting to heat up for the Rangers. The rookie first baseman is batting .317 with a pair of homers and 12 RBIs in his first 13 June games. This, after hitting .175 in his first 35 games.

12. Angels (13). Erick Aybar has seven multihit games in his past 14 contests; he’s hitting .424 in that span, with five stolen bases, six RBIs, seven extra-base hits and 13 runs scored.

13. Tigers (17). The Tigers’ sweep of the Pirates this weekend was the first time they’ve won three in a row since a five-game streak that ended on May 2.

14. Cardinals (5). The Cardinals haven’t done much right in losing seven of their past eight games. The bright side is they’re only a game-and-a-half behind the Reds in the NL Central to start the week.

15. Blue Jays (9). Seven Blue Jays have at least eight home runs on the season, and Toronto’s team total of 99 leads the majors, 15 ahead of the Red Sox. Which is why it’s a bit surprising that the Blue Jays have failed to score more than three runs in any of their past eight games.

16. Phillies (11). Starting May 22, the Phillies are just 6-14. They’re averaging 1.43 runs per game in those losses and 4.67 runs per game in the wins.

17. Rockies (16). No chance of Carlos Gonzalez being voted in as a starter for the National League All-Star team, but the Rockies’ center fielder belongs in the game. He’s hitting .302 and leads the Rockies in homers (10), RBIs (41) and stolen bases (eight).

18. A’s (18). Trevor Cahill has allowed more than one earned run just once in his past five starts. He’s 4-0 with a 1.91 ERA in that stretch.

Josh Johnson has dominated.
Josh Johnson has dominated.

19. Marlins (19). This is getting ridiculous. Ace Josh Johnson has allowed just one earned run in his past five starts, covering 35 innings. That’s a tidy 0.26 ERA.

20. Nationals (20). Josh Johnson’s dominance is impressive but not necessarily unexpected. What is unexpected is Livan Hernandez and his 2.28 ERA. He’s allowed more than two earned runs just twice in 12 start; this, despite having just 33 strikeouts against 25 walks.

21. White Sox (23). At least the White Sox took two of three from the Cubs this weekend, eh?

22. Cubs (21). As if this season wasn’t enough of a disappointment, the Cubs lost two of three at home to the cross-town Sox.

23. Royals (22). The Royals did their in-state neighbors, the Cardinals, a favor when they went into Cincinnati and took two of three from the Reds.

24. Diamondbacks (28). Ian Kennedy has been the Diamondbacks’ best starter since the beginning of May. In those eight starts, he’s fashioned a 2.42 ERA, though personally he’s just 2-2 in that stretch.

25. Brewers (24). The Milwaukee pitching staff is third in the majors in strikeouts, but 28th in ERA, 29th in hits allowed, 30th in walks allowed and (not shockingly) 30th in WHIP.

26. Astros (27). The Houston offense is last in the majors in batting average (.236), on-base percentage (.287) and slugging percentage (.339).

27. Mariners (26). Sixty-three games into the season and not one Mariner has more than 15 extra-base hits on the season. They have 138 as a team, which is last in the AL; the Red Sox and Blue Jays are tied for the league lead with 254.

28. Indians (29). Prize prospect Carlos Santana got the call-up last week. In his first three games, he delivered a homer and three RBIs to go with a .273 batting average. He was hitting .316 with 13 homers and a 1.044 OPS for Class AAA Columbus.

29. Pirates (25). Tough times for the Pirates. They’ve lost eight in a row.

30. Orioles (30). The Orioles’ winning percentage is .270 (17-46). Only two teams since 1935—the 1962 Mets and 2003 Tigers—have finished with worse marks.

Ryan Fagan is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at rfagan@sportingnews.com, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ryan_fagan.

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