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MLB Power Rankings

by Photo of Rob Rubinstein

Yankees top the MLB mid-season power rankings

MLB Power Rankings

There have been numerous surprises and disappointments half way through the 2012 Major League Baseball season, most notably the Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies. The Pirates have come strong of late and currently lead the NL Central by one game over the Cincinnati Reds. The Phillies have struggled for most of the season, including recently, and as a result are 14 games back in the competitive NL East.

This is the 2nd MLB power rankings of the year; the first came about 1/3 of the way through the season (one month ago). I will provide the current position on the power rankings as well as indicating the difference in rank from my previous power rankings a month ago to this one (In parenthesis left of the team name), and of course their respective records (In parenthesis to the right of the team name). Without further delay, my 2012 MLB mid-season power rankings are as follows:

1. (+4) New York Yankees (52-33) - Despite the recent losses of CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte, the Yankees have been one of the hottest teams in the league over the past two months. After a slow start to the season, Robinson Cano has been on a tear since the start of June. The Yanks are on their way to yet another post season berth and AL East division title. With that being said, they must hit better with runners in scoring position if they want to make a run at the fall classic.

2. (--) Texas Rangers (52-34) - Josh Hamilton continues to supplant himself as the leader for the AL MVP award. The Rangers keep chugging along in 1st place out west, however, the Angels are only 4 games back and could push them for the division crown. Nevertheless, the Rangers will still have the opportunity to defend their AL pennant in this year's post season.

3. (--) Washington Nationals (49-34) - They have one of the best starting pitching staffs in the league, led by Stephen Strasburg. Michael Morse is healthy now and Ryan Zimmerman is finally starting to heat up at the plate. The Nats bullpen is also one of the best in baseball and it could even get better when Drew Storen returns from the DL. Strasburg's innings count could play a role later in the year, but with they are playing now that isn't a big issue. They have led the NL East pretty much all season and it doesn't look like they will relinquish that lead anytime soon, barring injury.

4. (+14) Pittsburgh Pirates (48-37) - The Pirates have the best record in the majors over the last month and a half, and for that they move up 14 spots on my power rankings. Andrew McCutchen is one of the best players in the game and James McDonald is one of baseballs best pitchers, despite being left out of the All-Star game. If they can avoid a 2nd half collapse like last season, the Pirates could win their first division title in 20 years.

5. (+11) Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (48-38) - The Halos have been coming on strong of late. It seems like a a long time ago when they had one of the worst records in the league back in April. If you really thought that Albert Pujols was going to underachieve all year then you never paid attention to him over the last 10 years. LA's young talent, Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout, have been terrific in the first half. Their play has keyed the Angels' turnaround. The Angels could very well win the AL West, even with the Rangers being as good as they are.

6. (+6) Chicago White Sox (47-38) - Since trading for Kevin Youkilis the White Sox have won 13 of 18. Robin Ventura has his team playing very well, especially of late. Their pitching, from starters to their relievers, are nothing to write home about, outside of Jake Peavy and Chris Sale. With that being said, the offense has picked up for the poor pitching at times, and as a result, they are very much in the playoff picture. The White Sox will probably relinquish the NL Central lead to the Tigers, however they can still very much win one of the two wild cards.

7. (+2) Cincinnati Reds (47-38) - Johnny Cueto has all the right to be upset that he was left out of the All-Star game because he is having one of the best seasons of any NL starting pitcher. Joey Votto continues to be a monster in the middle of a potent Reds lineup. Aroldis Chapman has come down to earth after an all-world start to the season, but he still remains one of the best closers in the NL, hence his All-Star selection. The Reds will be competing with the Pirates and Cards for the division, as well as a wild card spot.

8. (--) Atlanta Braves (46-39) - The loss of Brandon Beachy will loom large for Atlanta. Tommy Hanson has yet to reach his potential and if the Braves want to stay in contention they must get a better Hanson the rest of the year. Craig Kimbrel might be the best closer in the NL this season for a team that possesses a very good bullpen overall. I don't see the Braves winning the NL East, so one of the wild card positions seems to be what Atlanta will be fighting for.

9. (-2) San Francisco Giants (46-40) - Tim Lincecum is having one of the worst seasons out of any NL starting pitcher. Fortunately for San Francisco, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, and Ryan Vogelsong are all having great years. Melky Cabrera continues to have a fantastic season as he is currently 2nd in the majors in batting average. With the Dodgers reeling, the Giants have a chance to win the NL West and give it another shot at the World Series.

10. (+1) New York Mets (46-40) - The Mets remain one of the surprise teams in baseball. The biggest reason for their success so far is their consistent starting pitching and their timely hitting at the plate. David Wright and R.A. Dickey were both snubbed as All-Star starters because they are statistically the best players at their respective positions in the NL. If the Mets do not improve their bullpen I don't see them lasting as a contender for a postseason berth moving forward.

11. (+3) St. Louis Cardinals (46-40) - Despite a suspect pitching staff for most of the year, the Cardinals have hit their way to a record that sits 6 games over .500 by the All-Star break. Adam Wainwright hasn't been the same since having Tommy John Surgery over a year ago and Chris Carpenter has yet to stay consistently healthy this season. Carlos Beltran has had a tremendous first half and is the centerpiece of a potent Cardinals offense. Improvement within the starting pitching is essential if the Cardinals want a chance to defend their World Series championship.

12. (-11) Los Angeles Dodgers (47-40) - The Dodgers were my number 1 ranked team a month ago and now they're the 12th ranked team. That shows how poorly they've played over the past month. They desperately need Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier back in the lineup because ever since they hit the shelf the Dodger offense has struggled to score runs and, therefore, win games. With Kemp and Ethier coming back right after the All-Star break, the Dodgers should be able to compete with San Francisco for the NL West title.

13. (+7) Detroit Tigers (44-42) - After a sluggish start, the Tigers have come on strong of late winning 10 of their last 15 games. Justin Verlander could be on his way to winning another AL Cy Young award. The bullpen has been a bit suspect to this point, and that includes Jose Valverde, who has struggled at times this season. Detroit does have arguably the best 3-4 hitters in the league in Miguel Carbera and Prince Fielder and that will go a long way for this team. I expect the Tigers to surpass the White Sox and win the AL Central.

14. (-8) Baltimore Orioles (45-40) - The Orioles were one of the nice surprises in the 1st half of the season, although they have dropped off slightly in the last few weeks. Adam Jones continues to have a monster year in the middle of the Baltimore lineup, however, their pitching has been rather inconsistent. While they are in the running, the Orioles will be pushing to acquire a starting pitcher. They won't be able to compete with the Yankees for the division, so they better hope a wild card spot becomes obtainable come September.

15. (-11) Tampa Bay Rays (45-41) - The Rays offense is nothing to write home about, especially with Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce on the DL. Their starting pitching staff has let them down, for the most part, with the exception of David Price. Fernando Rodney has resurrected his career this season as the Rays closer. If they want any chance to compete with the Yankees for the division, their pitching must improve, to go along with getting back Longoria sooner rather than later. A wild card berth will be a more realistic goal for this team.

16. (-3) Cleveland Indians (44-41) - Shin Soo Choo has come on strong of late and the rest of the Indians offense, especially Jason Kipnis, has been the main reason for the success they've experienced this season. Set up man Vinny Pestano and closer Chris Perez have been a solid duo at the the back end of the Cleveland bullpen. The Indians chances of competing with the Tigers and White Sox for the division is slim to none, but with the two wild card system in place, their chances of making the postseason certainly improve.

17. (--) Boston Red Sox (43-43) - The Red Sox are .500 at the All-Star break, which happens to be where they were a month ago when my 1st power rankings came out. David Ortiz continues to be one of the most feared hitters in the AL. The main reason for their mediocrity this season was the health of their team, or lack thereof. Jacoby Ellsbury has played just 7 games and Carl Crawford and Andrew Bailey have been out the entire season. Boston will have a difficult time contending for an AL East title. However, with Ellsbury and Bailey coming back soon, they have as good of a shot to clinch a wild card berth as any other team in the AL.

18. (-3) Toronto Blue Jays (43-43) - Jose Bautista is still the best power hitter in the AL, and quite possibly in the whole league. Edwin Encarnacion is in the midst of a tremendous breakout season for the Jays. The pitching has let them down for most of the year, and it has to get better to keep up with the offense. The division will virtually be out of reach soon, but the two wild card system allows for some hope for Toronto.

19. (+2) Arizona Diamondbacks (42-43) - The Diamondbacks have struggled for most of the 1st half with the exception of the last few weeks or so. Their pitching hasn't been terrible nor great and their most talented hitter Justin Upton has not been himself at the plate all year. Aaron Hill is probably the team's best hitter to this point of the season. The D-Backs have an outside shot to compete in the NL West and they certainly have a shot at a wild card spot, if Justin Upton gets back into his old form.

20. (-10) Florida Marlins (41-44) - The Marlins are losing precious ground in the NL East Standings. This team really struggled in the month of June, especially with their pitching. Josh Johnson isn't what he was 2 years ago and Heath Bell is on his way to losing his job as the team's closer. Giancarlo Stanton just hit the DL, and that only makes matters worse. Unless something unforeseen happens, Miami will not compete for the division, and their chances of making the postseason at all could dwindle if their pitching doesn't improve.

21. (+2) Oakland Athletics (43-43) - The A's pitching, from their starters to their bullpen, have been the key to their success over the past month or so. Tommy Milone, Jarrod Parker and closer Ryan Cook have filled in well as capable pitchers in their respective roles. The offense isn't anything special and they will have trouble scoring runs at a consistent rate. The Athletics are probably not going to be competing for a playoff berth come September.

22. (--) Milwaukee Brewers (40-45) - Ryan Braun is once again showing the baseball world that he is one of the top players in the league today. Unfortunately the rest of the Brewers lineup isn't following suit. Other than Zack Greinke, the Brewer pitching has been less than stellar, especially with Shaun Marcum on the DL. The Brewers will have a difficult time competing for the the NL Central crown as well as a wild card spot.

23. (+2) Kansas City Royals (37-47) - Royals fans don't have much to be excited about except for the All-Star game and festivities taking place at their team's home ballpark. Billy Butler and Mike Moustakas as both having very good years, however, Eric Hosmer has been a big disappointment so far this season. What a surprise, the Kansas City Royals will not be contending for a playoff berth this season.

24. (-5) Philadelphia Phillies (37-50) - The anomaly that is the 2012 Philadelphia Phillies. Yeah they didn't have Ryan Howard and Chase Utley for the 1st half of the season, but they still possess one of the most best starting pitching staffs in the league. Cliff Lee has 1 win this season and that is a combination of inconsistency and a lack of run support, which has been the problem of the Phillies all season.  Roy Halladay has been injured. There is speculation that the Phillies are going to be sellers prior to the trade deadline, and unless they make a push up the standings from now until the end of July, that will probably end up being the case.

25. (+3) Minnesota Twins (36-49) - Ron Gardenhire has gotten his team to play inspired baseball since my last power rankings in early June. Josh Willingham and Trevor Plouffe have been nice surprises for the Twins throughout the first half of the season. With this all being said, it's hard to see the Twins making the postseason even though they have made unbelievable comebacks in previous years. 

26. (-2) Seattle Mariners (36-51) - The Mariner offense often struggles to score runs and it seems that every opposing pitcher, good or bad, shuts out this team. Felix Hernandez had a slow start to this season, but is starting to get back into his old form as the weather starts to heat up. Seattle will be watching the postseason in their respective living rooms come October.

27. (+2) Chicago Cubs (33-52) - The Cubs are not nearly as bad as they were when I made my first power rankings, however, they're still a bad team. Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster will most likely be dealt by the end of the month. Anthony Rizzo might be the only thing Cubs fans have to look forward to the rest of the season. The Cubs are looking to avoid owning the worst record in baseball by seasons end.

28. (+2) San Diego Padres (34-53) - The Padres hitting, pitching, and defense have been inconsistent all year. Luckily for Padre fans San Diego is a beautiful city that doesn't get too cold so when their team isn't playing in October they have other outdoor activities to look forward to.

29. (-3) Colorado Rockies (33-52) - Despite the brilliance of Carlos Gonzalez, the Rockies are one of the worst teams in baseball. Colorado does not have a bad hitting team, however, they might have the worst pitching staff in the majors. If I were a Colorado resident right now I would just be looking forward to seeing Peyton Manning in a Denver Broncos uniform because the Rockies 2012 season is essentially over.

30. (-3) Houston Astros (33-53) - There is not much to say here, as this team is the worst in baseball at the All-Star break. Jose Altuve is the lone bright spot right now on a team that lacks in a multitude of areas. Hopefully they will pick a Mike Trout/Bryce Harper type player in next year's draft because they could certainly use some more talent on their roster.

Do you agree with the rankings?

Let CHARGED.fm get you tickets to see your favorite MLB teams over the second half of the season.

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