MLB Power Rankings 2013: Slow Starters That Will Turn Things Around

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MLB Power Rankings 2013: Slow Starters That Will Turn Things Around
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The 2013 MLB regular season is in full swing, as teams approach the 35-game mark and thus have come into their own. Up to this point, however, there are countless teams that have started significantly slower than expected.

The question is, which of those teams will turn things around in time to salvage their season?

Certain teams have already begun to turn it around, but small spurts have yet to prove their legitimacy. Other squads haven't been quite as fortunate, as the losses continue to pile on and they fall victim to either injuries or unexpected shortcomings for key individuals.

Regardless of why it is, certain teams just can't seem to find their groove.

 

30. Miami Marlins (10-25)

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The Miami Marlins are an MLB-worst 10-25 and have lost three consecutive games. This is nothing short of a disappointing turn of events, as they'd won five of eight entering their series with the San Diego Padres.

Not even Kevin Slowey's 1.81 ERA through seven starts can save them.

The key to Miami's struggles is the fact that they simply can't put their bat on any pitches they see. They're 29th in batting average and on base percentage, and rank 30th in runs and slugging percentage.

Remember how we told you Slowey's ERA is 1.81 through seven starts?

Well, he's 1-2.

 

29. Houston Astros (9-24)

The Houston Astros' transition to the American League hasn't been any kinder to them than their experience in the NL. They're 10-24 and have lost 18 of their past 25.

With that being said, Houston has won two straight over the Los Angeles Angels.

Bud Norris has been solid for Houston, going 4-3 with a 3.40 ERA. Unfortunately, the rest of the pitching staff has failed to follow suit.

The Astros rank 30th in ERA, WHIP, BAA and quality starts.

 

28. Los Angeles Angels (11-21)

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Can we really expect former MVP Josh Hamilton to struggle all season?

The Los Angeles Angels started slow, but recently, they've plummeted and become one of the worst teams in the MLB. Despite boasting a World Series caliber roster, they're 11-21 and have lost 11 of their past 14 games.

That includes four consecutive losses, with two coming against the Houston Astros.

They haven't been hitting well, but the key to L.A.'s struggles is their lack of reliable pitching. They're 20th in quality starts, 26th in BAA, 28th in ERA and 29th in WHIP.

Jered Weaver can't return soon enough.

 

27. Toronto Blue Jays (13-21)

The Toronto Blue Jays were expected to be one of the best teams in the AL East after loading up on talent via free agency. They acquired the likes of Jose Reyes, R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Melky Cabrera and Mark Buehrle to complement Jose Bautista.

Injuries and lackluster pitching have the postseason appearing to be a pipe dream.

The Blue Jays have just 14 quality starts in 35 games and boast a team ERA of 4.71, ranking 29th in the MLB. It certainly doesn't help that they're 26th in batting average and their only player hitting above .300 is injured.

Reyes was at .395 before joining Johnson, Kyle Drabek and Sergio Santos on the disabled list.

 

26. Chicago Cubs (13-21)

The Chicago Cubs have been pitching the lights out, leading the league in opponent batting average and ranking fourth in quality starts. Unfortunately, their hitters haven't been able to complement the pitching staff with many runs.

They're 24th in runs scored, for those curious.

Anthony Rizzo has played well, registering nine home runs and 25 RBI through 34 games. With no other player on the roster registering five home runs, however, it's clear that Chicago needs help.

They have a star, but without depth, their high-quality pitching will be meaningless.

 

25. Los Angeles Dodgers (13-19)

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The Los Angeles Dodgers are falling apart, losing six consecutive games. Worst of all, three of those games have come by one run, including a 10-9 loss in extra innings to the San Francisco Giants.

It's all a product of being unable to capitalize on opportunities.

The Dodgers are currently sixth in on base percentage, which suggests that they are in position to win. Unfortunately, they're also 28th in team RBI and have grounded into the 10th most double plays.

It certainly doesn't help that they're 24th in ERA.

 

24. New York Mets (13-17)

The New York Mets' franchise was embodied in one game on Tuesday, May 7. Matt Harvey threw 9.0 scoreless innings, striking out 12, walking no one and allowing just one hit.

The Mets won the game, but Harvey walked away with a no decision.

Unfortunately for the Mets, Harvey's brilliance hasn't been duplicated by anyone else on the roster. Despite his record of 4-0 with an ERA of 1.28 and a WHIP of 0.69, the Mets are 23rd in quality starts, 20th in ERA and 22nd in WHIP.

As always seems to be the case, the Mets have two stars in Harvey and David Wright, and seem to think that's enough to win games—sound familiar, Jose Reyes?

 

23. Chicago White Sox (14-18)

The Chicago White Sox may not be able to hit, but they can pitch with the best of them. They rank in the Top 10 in ERA, WHIP, opponent batting average and quality starts.

Closer Addison Reed has backed the starters up by converting 11 of 12 save opportunities.

With that being said, Alex Rios is the only player who seems to have remembered how to put his bat on a ball. With eight home runs, 17 RBI and a batting average of .274, Rios is a strong enough force to help anchor this lineup.

Unfortunately, no other player with at least 100 at bats is hitting above .261—as long as the pitching holds up, expect the hitting to follow suit at some stage of the season.

 

22. Tampa Bay Rays (14-18)

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Tampa Bay needs David Price to turn it around.

Matt Moore is bouncing back from a tough 2012 campaign, posting a 6-0 record with an ERA of 1.95 and WHIP of 1.05. Unfortunately, David Price is doing the opposite after winning the Cy Young award in 2012 by going 1-3 with an ERA of 6.25.

That's a major reason the Rays are four games below .500.

With that being said, it's hard to imagine Price struggling throughout the duration of the season. He's pitched beyond the sixth inning in all but one of his seven starts and should return to his Cy Young form soon enough.

With he and Moore leading the charge, Tampa Bay should be just fine.

 

21. Minnesota Twins (14-15)

The Minnesota Twins haven't been an extraordinary squad, but they've been consistent both at home and on the road. They're 14-15 overall, 7-6 at home and 7-9 away from Minnesota.

Splitting wins and losses won't lead to a postseason berth, though.

Kevin Correia has an ERA of 2.83, Joe Mauer is hitting .311 and Justin Morneau has driven in 21 runs. With Josh Willingham turning things on as of late, there is upside here.

Minnesota appears to be a non-playoff team, but they'll be a tough squad to beat for anyone.

 

20. Seattle Mariners (16-19)

The Seattle Mariners haven't started well, but they're certainly coming on strong. They've won seven of their past 10 games and appear to have found their groove both offensively and along their pitching staff.

The hitting aspect is the key.

Seattle ranks 23rd or lower in terms of runs scored, batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage. They're also fourth in quality starts and sixth in WHIP, which displays the fact that a solid base is already in place.

The upside is there for a turnaround.

 

19. Milwaukee Brewers (15-16)

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If you're the Milwaukee Brewers, you have to be very concerned about where your season is heading.

Despite playing 20 of their first 31 games at home, the Brewers are below .500 at 15-16 and come in at just 10-10 at Miller Park.

When you fail to capitalize on an early season advantage, late season road games can be your ultimate undoing.

The Brewers certainly have the firepower, led by all-around performer Ryan Braun. With Kyle Lohse not yet performing up to his greatest abilities, there's reason to believe Milwaukee can turn it around.

With a rough road schedule ahead, however, Milwaukee will have an uphill battle.

 

18. Philadelphia Phillies (16-19)

The Philadelphia Phillies have faced injuries and inconsistency from the players they rely upon most. Even still, they're only three games below .500 and have gone 7-5 during their past 12 games.

Don't write these old legs off just yet.

Kyle Kendrick has been superb, while Cliff Lee appears close to his previous status as an ace. Michael Young, meanwhile, is hitting well and Ryan Howard has home runs in three of his past seven games.

Philadelphia's looking a lot better than 16-19.

 

17. Oakland Athletics (18-17)

The Oakland Athletics began the season at 12-4, appearing to be the class of the MLB. Since then, they're 6-13 and have lost three consecutive games.

Even as the top run producing team in the MLB, Oakland can't seem to catch a break.

Three of their past five losses have come by one run, which proves that they are in every game they play. Unfortunately, coming close to achieving victory and actually walking away with a W are completely different.

Until they close the deal, Oakland will continue to drop down these rankings.

 

16. Arizona Diamondbacks (18-15)

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The Arizona Diamondbacks are a mediocre 8-8 at home, but they've gone 10-7 away from home thus far. After going 41-40 at home in 2012, there's a strong possibility that both of these trends continue.

If that is the case, the Diamondbacks could fall just short of the postseason, once again.

23-year-old Patrick Corbin has been a revelation, going 4-0 with an ERA of 1.80 through six starts. Trevor Cahill and Wade Miley have followed suit, but Ian Kennedy and Brandon McCarthy have both been shelled.

When the two players expected to lead your rotation have ERA's above 5.19, success is tough to come by.

 

15. San Diego Padres (16-18)

The San Diego Padres were once viewed as one of the worst teams in the MLB, starting off at 5-15. Since then, San Diego has been more than dominant.

The Padres have won 11 of their past 14 games.

They're currently in the midst of a four game winning streak, achieving victory in three of those games by at least four runs. Yonder Alonso has caught fire in that time, driving in runs in 10 of his past 15 games.

San Diego looks like a threat for the division crown, not a 16-18 team.

 

14. Cleveland Indiana (17-14)

The Cleveland Indians are proving just how phenomenal of a manager Terry Francona truly is. They're 17-14 overall and have experienced success winning both at home and on the road.

A major reason for their success is the power surge the Indians have received from their lineup.

Players such as Carlos Santana and Mark Reynolds are producing as they're expected to, hitting for power and driving in runs. Santana is also hitting .358, which may dip, but his general quality of play is sustainable.

As long as the pitching staff can keep the pace, Cleveland should be in the race for a wild card spot.

 

13. Kansas City Royals (17-13)

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The Royals have had plenty of reasons to celebrate.

The Kansas City Royals are finally translating a high-quality farm system into major league success. They're 17-13 overall and appear to be a legitimate contender for the AL Central division crown.

Unfortunately, they've lost three consecutive games.

The Royals are fourth in batting average and have the quality hitters necessary to drive in runs. With a surprisingly effective pitching staff, ranking third in ERA and seventh in WHIP, Kansas City appears to be a legitimate team.

Ervin Santana and James Shields have changed quite a bit for this team.

 

12. Colorado Rockies (19-13)

The Colorado Rockies have been dominant at home and an even 8-8 on the road. Unfortunately, they're just 4-6 during their past 10 games and have lost 10 of their past 16.

It's the same old story—the Rockies hit like champions and pitch like bottom feeders.

Thus far, the Rockies lead the league in batting average and rank second in runs scored, on base percentage and slugging percentage. Troy Tulowitzki has recovered from a brief injury absence to continue playing at a high level, while Dexter Flower is flashing impressive power.

With Michael Cuddyer and Carlos Gonzalez yet to be mentioned, you know they can hit—they just can't outhit their poor pitching.

 

11. Pittsburgh Pirates (18-15)

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Marte and McCutchen have elite potential—they're starting to live up to it.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been playing as their record suggests, performing well enough to win but never taking control and leaving the door open for a loss. Fortunately, they're beginning to hit better and their pitching staff is being led by a strong force.

A.J. Burnett is 3-3 with a 2.57 ERA and a WHIP of 1.08.

As of Apr. 29, Andrew McCutchen had been hitting .217 with two home runs and 14 RBI. Since then, McCutchen is hitting .464 with two home runs and five RBI in seven games.

With Starling Marte hitting .331, it appears as if the Pirates have the dynamic squad necessary to lead a turnaround.

 

10. Cincinnati Reds (19-16)

The Cincinnati Reds haven't been too hot on the road, but they've gone 13-6 at home during the 2013 regular season. Even with Johnny Cueto missing time due to injury, Cincinnati has used their dominant bullpen to remain above .500.

Unfortunately, Mat Latos is the only starter that stepped up in the proper manner.

Cincinnati has won four of their past six, but they're just 6-7 during their past 13. Until Cueto returns, that trend is likely to continue.

Fortunately, Cueto will return and the Reds' starting rotation will improve accordingly.

 

9. Washington Nationals (17-15)

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The Washington Nationals were favorites to win the World Series entering this season, but began the season at 13-14. Since then, they've won five of their past six games and have seen their pitching staff remember what their jobs are.

With Dan Haren pulling out consecutive wins and Gio Gonzalez settling in, the Nationals are finally looking like themselves again.

Bryce Harper looks like an MVP candidate, going for 10 home runs and 20 RBI with a batting average of .313. Still, the Nationals are 26th or worse in runs scored, batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage.

Something tells us that will change.

 

8. New York Yankees (19-13)

The New York Yankees started at 15-9, but have since gone 4-4 and are beginning to feel the absence of their stars. When Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira are all absent from your lineup, what else could you expect?

Fortunately, the potential for those players to return suggests the Yankees will turn things around.

Even if the Yankees are to split wins until that time comes, they'd remain six games over .500 and in position for a run for the division crown. With Robinson Cano in All-Star form and Hiroki Kuroda pitching the lights out, the stars would easily slip back in.

As long as CC Sabathia continues to improve, New York should keep their heads above water.

 

7. Atlanta Braves (20-13)

The Atlanta Braves are 20-13 overall, despite playing just 14 games at home. They've reached this level of success by doing what they do best, pitching the lights out and hitting for power.

Unfortunately, Atlanta has lost eight of their past 13 games.

Justin Upton, Dan Uggla and Evan Gattis have been crushing the ball out of the park, combining for 26 home runs. With the exception of Julio Teheran, the pitching staff has been solid to date.

Jason Heyward's potential return should help, but not if he continues to hit .121.

 

6. San Francisco Giants (20-14)

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There's no way around how surprising it is that the San Francisco Giants are 20-14. Not only are they a team that hits for average, but their elite level pitching has been non-existent thus far.

Surprisingly, Barry Zito and Madison Bumgarner are the consistent two while Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong fail to do anything positive.

Due to their reputations alone, we're inclined to believe that the Giants' starting rotation will improve throughout the duration of the season. Tim Lincecum is more of a question mark, but the upside is there for big time success.

It's all about finding the rhythm that we know these players possess.

 

5. Texas Rangers (20-13)

They may have lost players to free agency and injury, but the Texas Rangers are still piling up the runs and pitching at a high level. They're 20-13 overall, including 11-4 at home, and haven't missed a beat without Josh Hamilton.

They rank in the Top 10 in batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage, ranking 11th in runs scored.

Most impressively, the Rangers are in the Top 10 in ERA, WHIP, quality starts and opponent batting average. Leading the charge is the tandem of Yu Darvish and Derek Holland, as well as closer Joe Nathan.

With Ian Kinsler looking like an MVP candidate and Nelson Cruz rediscovering his power stroke, the Rangers are the class of the AL West.

 

4. Baltimore Orioles (21-13)

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The Baltimore Orioles aren't an elite pitching team by any stretch of the imagination, but they've improved enough to piece together wins. With a top tier batting lineup, they've given the opposition trouble and moved to 21-13 in the process.

Expect them to continue on this path of success.

Baltimore is fourth in runs produced and ninth in batting average, which displays their offensive efficiency. Led by power hitter Chris Davis and a deep lineup including Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Manny Machado, it's unlikely that we see a change in that trend.

The fact that Matt Wieters is finally hitting the ball suggests we could see the Orioles improve in that regard.

 

3. Detroit Tigers (19-11)

The Detroit Tigers' roster suggests that they could be the most balanced team in the MLB. Their production is on par with that reputation, as they're dominating in every sense of the word.

Just check the numbers.

Detroit ranks in the top five in terms of quality starts, WHIP, ERA and batting average. They also place in the top five for batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage and runs scored.

The numbers certainly suggest that Detroit is the best the MLB has to offer.

 

2. St. Louis Cardinals (21-12)

The St. Louis Cardinals are doing what they always do, pitching the lights out and putting forth elite starters. They're first in ERA and quality starts, with every single starter boasting an ERA below 2.72.

What more do we need to say?

The Cardinals haven't been hitting well for power or getting on base at a high clip. Even still, they're seventh in runs scored and continue to produce in opportune situations.

That may be a dangerous way to live, but it's been a successful approach for the Cardinals for years on hand.

 

1. Boston Red Sox (21-12)

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The Boston Red Sox continue to exceed their reputation, hitting the ball at an elite level and discovering their pitching form. Led by Dustin Pedroia and Clay Buccholz, the Red Sox appear to be showing no signs of slowing down.

What a difference a change of managers makes.

After a lackluster 2012 campaign, Mike Napoli is bouncing back and helping lead the Red Sox batting lineup. They're third in slugging percentage and on base percentage, and fifth in both batting average and runs scored.

Until they slow down, there's no reason to judge them as anything but one of the top teams in the MLB.

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