MLB Power Rankings, Week of June 7: Surging Atlanta Braves Take Over NL East

Taylor SmithAnalyst IJune 7, 2010

With the Rays falling back to Earth a bit, there isn't as big a gap between the AL East and the rest of baseball as there was to start the season.

All three NL division leaders are neck and neck in terms of records, and each has a team (or several) breathing down their respective necks.

The largest divisional lead actually belongs to the Minnesota Twins, who sit 3.5 games ahead of the second-place Tigers as we head into Monday.

Here's how close they are.


1. Tampa Bay Rays (37-20)

Tampa still owns baseball's best record, but the Yankees are closing in quickly.

They hold the league's best road record at an incredible 22-8 but are curiously just 15-12 at Tropicana Field.


2. New York Yankees (35-22)

Despite holding the second-best record in baseball, the Yankees have been looking up at the Rays all season long.

Robinson Cano has emerged as a legitimate MVP threat, boasting a .363 batting average with 12 home runs and 45 runs batted in already in 2010.


3. Atlanta Braves (33-24)

Atlanta's slow start had many wondering how a team with so much talent up and down the roster could look so mediocre through a month of the season.

The Braves have certainly righted the ship and now own a two-game lead over the phree-phalling Phillies.


4. Minnesota Twins (33-24)

They don't get much mention, but the Twins just keep chugging along.

With every team but Detroit seemingly out of it in the AL Central, Minnesota is a threat to run away with this thing before the All-Star break.


5. San Diego Padres (33-23)

Despite ranking towards the bottom of the majors in most major offensive statistical categories, the surprising Padres have played the "pitching and defense" game perfectly so far in 2010.

They rank second overall in team ERA (3.04), third in strikeouts (434), and first in WHIP (1.19).


6. St. Louis Cardinals (33-23)

The Cards and Reds are fighting it out in the NL Central, with the other four teams at least 7.5 games behind.

Albert Pujols is making a strong bid for his fourth MVP award, with his .317 average (.430 OBP), 13 home runs, and 43 RBI.


7. Cincinnati Reds (33-24)

Cincy is already one of the best offensive teams in the league, and pitching help is on the way.

Both Cuban phenom Aroldis Chapman and injured/suspended former All-Star Edinson Volquez could be with the big club near the All-Star break.


8. Toronto Blue Jays (33-25)

Toronto certainly qualifies as one of the two most surprising teams in baseball this season, along with San Diego.

The Jays have a whopping 97 home runs as a team, 18 more than the second-place Red Sox.


9. Boston Red Sox (33-25)

Even with the rough start to the season, the Sox are still just four games back in the vaunted AL East.

While his goose appeared cooked throughout April (when he hit .143 with four home runs), David Ortiz unexpectedly came alive in May (.363 with 10 home runs).

Through six games in June, though, Big Papi is hitting just .105.


10. Los Angeles Dodgers (33-24)

Like Atlanta, L.A. suffered through April and looked as though they wouldn't be much of a factor this season.

Also like Atlanta, they rebounded in May and sit a half-game behind division-leading San Diego.


11. Texas Rangers (30-26)

The Rangers currently lead the AL West, but the Angels and A's are right there with them. 

Vladimir Guerrero has been the signing of the offseason thus far, leading the team in average (.333), homers (12), RBI (47), and OPS (.918).


12. Philadelphia Phillies (30-25)

While it's highly unlikely an offense as potent as Philadelphia's can struggle like this for much longer, their recent struggles at the plate have been quite alarming.

They'll attempt to take three of four from San Diego Monday night.


13. Los Angeles Angels (31-28)

Despite the freakish loss of top hitter Kendry Morales last Saturday, the Angels have won seven of eight to climb right back into the thick of things in the AL West.

With status of Morales for the rest of the season up in the air, rumors have been swirling about the Angels possibly being interested in either Derrek Lee or Lance Berkman to help fill the void at first base.


14. New York Mets (30-27)

New York's up-and-down ride continues, as they rounded out a three-game sweep of the Marlins Sunday afternoon at Citi Field.

Due to strong play from Angel Pagan, the Mets were able to designate the disappointing Gary Matthews, Jr. for assignment earlier in the week.


15. San Francisco Giants (30-25)

Top prospect Buster Posey has come up from AAA and given the Giants' stagnant offense a boost. He is hitting .433 in eight games since the call-up.

San Francisco has also picked up former Phillie and Ray Pat Burrell, with hopes that he'll be able to resurrect his career a bit.


16. Oakland Athletics (30-28)

Gio Gonzalez has quietly become the most consistent pitcher for the A's this season.

The 24-year-old lefty is 5-3 with a 3.58 ERA so far.

If the A's can keep scoring enough runs, their pitching is good enough to keep them relevant all summer long.


17. Detroit Tigers (29-27)

Miguel Cabrera has been quietly tearing up the American League in 2010, hitting .351 with 17 home runs and 51 runs batted in already.

Also, Armando Galarraga will try to throw his second straight perfect game Tuesday against the White Sox.


18. Colorado Rockies (29-27)

Picked by many to take home the NL pennant for the second time in four years, the Rockies have scuffled a bit out of the gate and sit in fourth place in the tough NL West.

Ace Ubaldo Jimenez had his scoreless innings streak snapped at 33 Sunday but still gave up just two runs in seven innings against Arizona to earn his ML-best 11th win of the season.

His ERA rose to 0.93.


19. Florida Marlins (28-30)

The Marlins fell to two games under .500 with their weekend sweep at the hands of the Mets and will now enter into one of the toughest stretches of the season.

Starting Tuesday, their next nine series are at Philadelphia, at Tampa Bay, vs. Texas, vs. Tampa Bay, at Baltimore, vs. San Diego, vs. New York Mets, at Atlanta, and at Los Angeles Dodgers.

Excluding the Baltimore series, that's brutal.


20. Washington Nationals (27-31)

After winning the opener of the series 14-4, the Nats lost three of four to the lowly Astros before losing two of three to the Reds over the weekend.

All eyes will be on Washington, D.C. Tuesday for the much-anticipated debut of Stephen Strasburg against the Pirates.


21. Chicago Cubs (25-31)

Aramis Ramirez has 44 strikeouts this season, compared to just 30 hits.

He's hitting .169.


22. Chicago White Sox (24-32)

The Windy City hasn't had much good baseball blow their way so far this season, as each of its two teams sit at least eight games back in their respective divisions.

Paul Konerko, in his 52nd major league season, is amongst the league leaders in both home runs and runs batted in.


23. Kansas City Royals (24-34)

Former top overall pick Luke Hochevar has shown flashes of brilliance from time to time, including Saturday's start against the Tigers.

He struck out 10 batters in seven innings Saturday while allowing just one run.

Despite the effort, he still picked up the L.


24. Seattle Mariners (22-34)

In case you missed it, Ken Griffey, Jr. retired last week.

He finishes his career with 630 total home runs, good for fifth on the all-time list.

Had he not missed so much time due to injury over the past decade, we could be talking about him now as the best that ever played the game.


25. Arizona Diamondbacks (22-35)

The D-Backs were another trendy preseason pick that hasn't worked out so well so far.

Kelly Johnson, who ripped nine home runs in the first month of the season, has not hit one since May 19.


26. Pittsburgh Pirates (23-33)

The Bucs are almost certainly headed towards their 18th straight losing season.

Andrew McCutchen has been as good as advertised so far.

He's leading the team with his .313 average and also has seven home runs, 17 RBI, and 13 stolen bases.


27. Milwaukee Brewers (22-34)

Milwaukee has a powerful offense, but if you can't stop the other team from scoring, you aren't going to win many games.

They've whacked the fourth-most home runs in the majors this season, but the team ERA of 5.35 is the second-worst in the league.


28. Houston Astros (22-35)

You know your offense is in trouble when one of your most consistent hitters is former Reds spare Jeff Keppinger.

The utility infielder leads the Astros with his .301 average, and his 16 doubles put him near the top of the league.


29. Cleveland Indians (21-34)

Grady Sizemore is out for the season after undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee.

The former All-Star had been having a season to forget so far, hitting just .211 with zero home runs and 13 batted in in 33 games.


30. Baltimore Orioles (16-41)

Welcome, Juan Samuel.

The O's interim skipper was greeted with an 11-0 loss to the Red Sox in his first game at the helm Friday.

He recorded his first win in the series finale Sunday afternoon.


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